People all over the world gain, and lose, from the stock market on a daily basis.

If you are a first-time investor, it can be quite overwhelming. There are numerous companies to purchase shares from. But where should you start?

Even experienced investors know the challenge of searching for the best places to invest their money.

Narrowing the choices down to one, or several, good stocks to invest in can be extremely time consuming. Moreover, for some, it can seem close to impossible. We can’t all have a team working for us. If you’re in it alone, we’re here to help.

Using a stock screener can sort out which stocks are worth your time. Let’s see what stock screeners are all about and which screeners we recommend.

What Is a Stock Screener?

A stock screener is an intelligent tool that lets the investor, and trader, search for stocks that fit their specific requirements. By selecting their requirements, the screening tool produces the best results.

The investor might choose specifics such as a stock’s average volume and its 52-week, price-change percentage.

Some investors may use the tool to find stocks that they are confident will perform well over a long period of long time. Also, traders can use the screener to sort out potential trading opportunities.

stock screener in black and white

How to Use It

The screener narrows down the results for you. When you first get started, the program will ask you a series of questions.

These include what your desired price-to-earning ratio is, if you like large-cap or small-cap stocks, and which industries you’re looking to invest in.

After answering the questions, you will get to choose the specifics. These could be anything from earnings to dividends to profit margins.

The more specific you are, the higher the chances of finding the right stock.

Why Are Stock Screeners Useful?

Stock screeners are a great tool for people who want to invest but aren’t sure where to start. They are useful in many ways. Here are some of the reasons why we like to use stock screeners:

  • Some of the best online stock screeners are for free.
  • They present easy-to-read, quick results.
  • Feature preset screens that some people may find beneficial.
  • Sort out penny stocks.

You can also buy stock screening software for your computer. However, this is beneficial for bigger investors. It costs more and can be quite complicated.

Where Can I Find a Good Stock Screener?

Doing a quick search on Google will uncover many stock screeners. To help you get started, here are a few of our favorite, free online stock screeners.

StockFetcher

StockFetcher is one of the best screening tools you can find. There are paid versions and a free version, too.

It lets the investor and trader select a high number of specifics. Moreover, it has an extensive list of parameters available. Perfect for everyday traders.

StockFetcher also has several preset lists available. If you are unsure where to go, these lists can be a good place to start.

The free version, also called evaluation, is acceptable. The data you receive is 10 days old. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing for everyone. On the upside, this gives you an idea of how the stock recently performed.

You can quickly make your own, excellent watchlist while you’re at it. It will also only give you a list of five potential stocks.

That’s fine considering a longer list of stocks can be overwhelming for most individuals. Keep in mind that you just need a push in the right direction.

The standard version is a paid subscription.

You get access to all of StockFetcher’s features, excluding the advanced settings. It helps you build a watchlist, save your preferred filters, backtest your ideas, and lets you look back in time to see previous stock values.

With the advanced version, you receive the same features as the standard version, but you’re also granted filter support. This allows the user to be much more specific.

Each filter has a certain limit so the user can then take it a little further. StockFetcher takes into consideration every measure made when finding the appropriate stocks.

The advanced support isn’t necessary for all filters, and you can usually find a way around them.

PROS

  • Free version lets you create a watchlist.
  • Has preset lists available.
  • Can narrow down results to a manageable range.
  • Even the advanced plan isn’t too expensive.
  • Superior technical service.
  • Lets you compare industries and sectors.
  • Useful information featured on the front page.

​CONS

  • The evaluation plan uses 10-day-old data.
  • You can’t save your filters with the free version.
  • The free version only shows a list of five results.

Google Finance

Is there anything Google can’t do?

The finance tool started all the way back in 2006, when it became a must have for many investors and traders. It had a long list of features that were very helpful when searching for stocks.

Up until 2017, the Google Finance tool remained the same, apart from a few tweaks. In late 2017 however, the management at Google announced a few changes to the raved-about finance feature.

They wanted to turn the finance tool into its own Google tab. However, while doing this, they removed some of the features that made the application so practical.

The first one being one of its most popular features—portfolios. The portfolio feature allowed users to track companies’ values.

You could compare your stocks to other market indices and it also showed upcoming events, such as conference calls with companies, on your watchlist. Investors had access to real-time prices of stocks from around the world.

The portfolio feature is still there, but it is a much simpler version. It doesn’t allow users to compare prices anymore, among other lost features.

Other great features you now find on the current Google Finance are real-time stock currencies and general market news. It also shows any news from large-cap traders and stocks.

It’s a very useful tool to gain current information concerning not only the stock market, but also finances at large.

PROS

  • Offers real-time stock market quotes.
  • Provides a lot of useful information about the current stock market.
  • Is a basic starter tool.

​CONS

  • The original portfolio feature and other useful tools aren’t available.
  • Isn’t as thorough as other online screeners.

Stock Rover

Stock Rover is one of the more powerful stock screeners. It has a very flexible screener, with filters that screen many financial metrics. This tool also saves your screenings so that you can run them anytime.

Stock Rover provides its users with the ability to compare investments to other benchmarks. This feature will further help an investor make the best decision.

As of 2018, there are three paid options and one free plan.

The free plan gives a clear view of market data, news, investment ideas and an earnings calendar. You will also receive a basic, stock-researching tool.

The free plan is excellent for anyone who wants a good view of the market while receiving a primary-stock screening. It will work perfectly for everyday traders.

The essentials plan will provide the user with all the basic tools mentioned above. It provides portfolios, watchlists, basic alerting, and brokerage integration. It also provides the ability to compare investments.

The essentials plan is more advanced as it does provide the user with additional tools and knowledge – such as mutual funds and ETFs (exchange-traded funds).

With the premium plan, you have access to the fundamental and essential tools that you get from the above plans.

Where it differs is that you also have the chance to view a detailed and dated history – 10 years back and sometimes even older. The user will also see ranked screenings, and the ability to filter past data.

The premium plan also provides the user with Stock Rover’s portfolio analytics, along with trade planning and more financial metrics—among other powerful tools.

The premium plus plan gives you everything Stock Rover has to offer.

You will get to use a user-defined equation during screening and receive custom metrics as well. These features will refine your stock search. The premium plus plan also makes it even easier to compare investments.

Lastly, you don’t have to worry about waiting in line to get the help you need. With the plus plan, you will be prioritized.

monitoring through stock screener

PROS

  • Has four subscription plans available at affordable prices.
  • Very flexible and can narrow results down to a minimum.
  • Lets you compare investments.
  • Saves your previous screenings.

​CONS

  • Premium plans aren’t really necessary.
  • Can take time to understand its functions and details.

Chartmill

Chartmill is ideal for beginners who haven’t created a strategy yet.

It provides the user with quick, in-depth search results, and the ability to look at several charts at once. You can then read more about the investments and save your favorite on a watchlist.

Why Chartmill Is a Favorite

Chartmill is very easy to use and is one of the better stock screeners that comes with no cost. It gives the user the choice to purchase more credits without having to commit to a whole month’s subscription.

On the home page of Chartmill, it displays four of their most popular stock screens. Each one has a short description underneath to help you understand its function.

These premade screens are an excellent place to start. They provide the potential user with a small preview of what Chartmill can do. As you scroll further down, there’s also a small section that shows the day’s market forecast.

Displayed are three charts including the S&P 500 index ETF, statistical bullet points for selection purposes and also a feature for that day’s volume.

PROS

  • Good for beginners and advanced investors.
  • Free to use.
  • Uses a credit system, so you can buy more whenever you need.
  • No commitment.

​CONS

  • You only get a fixed number of credits each month.

Last-Minute Tips

Most free online stock screeners have a paid version to match. If you want to purchase that, by all means do—if you feel like it will bring you added benefit.

However, based on our research, the free versions usually provide you with all the necessities you need in order to make an informed decision.

After all, a stock screen is only a tool to help you find your way, not the ultimate decision maker. You can think of it as a guide to help you find a list of potential investment opportunities.

Even though the tool can narrow your results, it’s still your responsibility as an investor to finish the job.

man in front of the computer

If you want to be a smart investor, you have to do your research. When you get your results, take a look and see if there are any that catch your interest.

You can then edit these down even further and make your own list. Reach out to the different companies you’re interested in and ask the right questions concerning their stocks.

Best thing would be to get in contact with someone from the company who can answer all your questions.

A helpful feature most of the stock screeners offer is a preset screen. These screens give you an idea of where to start including information on low debt, rapid growth and high-insider ownership.

Usually made for advertising the site, investors can still find them helpful. You shouldn’t base your decisions on these screens alone, though. You can simply use them as a starting point in your quest for finding the best investment.

Summing It Up

Stock screeners are the first step to take when looking for investments. They simply guide you in the right direction.

stock screener chart

The stock screens let you enter as many requirements as possible, with specifics. It’s important for you, as an investor, to think about where you want to invest.

There are various industries to consider and other important details such as price-to-earnings ratio, volume, large-cap or small-cap and more. The screens make it easier to find a starting place.

The tool searches through all of your stock opportunities and eventually brings you a short list of investment ideas just for you.

Remember, it’s your hard-earned money—so don’t invest in anything unless you are sure it’s right for you.