MT4 vs. MT5: Which Forex Platform Should You Choose?

I’ve been getting some questions on the differences between MT4 and MT5 forex trading platforms so I’ve decided to give y’all a rundown of the advantages of each to help you decide which one to choose.

MetaTrader 5

Let’s start off with the newer MT5 platform which was released in 2010. The major improvements made on this version include the following:

  • Six types of pending orders and two types of stop orders (MT4 only has four types of pending orders)mt5 orders
  • Can offer more markets (commodities, indices, and equity CFDs) depending on the broker
  • Additional chart time frames (M1, M2, MI3, MI: Ghost Protocol, MI: Rogue Nation – Oh wait, that’s something else – I meant the 11 types of minute charts, 7 types of hourly charts, plus the daily, weekly, and yearly time frames)
  • Built-in economic calendar tab with release schedules, level of impact, previous data, and market consensus
  • Integrated MQL forex market products tab for EAs
  • Additional technical indicators, 22 analytical objects, and 46 graphical objects
  • Improved Strategy Tester for EAs, with Agent Manager for remote optimization

MetaTrader 4

The older MT4 platform has its simplicity as its major selling point, contrary to Barney Stinson’s claim that new is always better. Here are some of its advantages:

  • Forex EAs are designed through the native MQL language and are faster to compile
  • Allows almost all kinds of trading methods such as hedging and LIFO, but there may be limitations depending on your broker and region
  • Takes up less memory space than MT5 (Some say MT4 takes up a third of the RAM compared to MT5)
  • Still the most widely used platform by brokers and retail traders, which means that there’s a larger support community behind it

So which is better?

Well, that depends on your preferences. That’s just like asking if plain black coffee is better than an iced caramel macchiato with whipped cream and an extra shot of espresso!

If you believe that “less is more” and you’d rather stick to the essentials of straight up forex trading, then you might be better off using the more straightforward MT4 platform. On the other hand, if you like the flashy new features and a jam-packed menu of options, MT5 might have just what you need.

What about EA compatibility?

Aha! Excellent question. One very important factor to keep in mind if you’re using an EA and considering switching from one platform to another is that systems coded using MQL4 are not compatible with MQL5 or MT5. There’s just no shortcut to converting those custom indicators and functions (.ex4 and .mq4 files) so you’d have to rewrite the entire code in C++ if you want those executed on an MT5 platform!

Because of this, there was a bit of backlash against MT5 in the forex EA community. MetaQuotes, the creators of these platforms, has actively tried to convince programmers to rewrite their MT4-compatible codes to MQL5 but majority of developers didn’t want to go through all the trouble. Why fix what ain’t broke, right?

Have any of you tried trading on both MT4 and MT5 forex platforms? How was your experience? Don’t be shy to share your thoughts in our comments section!

  • ForExchange

    Hi Ninja,

    thanks for the great comparison, it was very informative.

    My question would be if you can write something about the two new types of pending orders (how they work in practice) in MT5:

    Buy Stop Limit and Sell Stop Limit

    Thanks,
    FE

    • I’ll look into it! At first glance I was confused with the buy stop limit and sell stop limit, too. Thanks for checking out my blog!

  • Eirik Kaasa Eliassen

    I am a Mac-user and newbie trader (still demo-trading) and I am currently trying out Trade Interceptor (maybe off-topic since I’m not using MT4 or 5 but anyway). It seems very good and simple. It also has an excellent mobile app. One drawback is that there are very few brokers that can be connected with it. Currently only 3. But hopefully more will be added in the future.

    • Thanks for sharing this! I’ve tried trading on my Mac laptop before and couldn’t find a seamless way to run MT4/MT5 without having to bootstrap to Windows. I mostly had to rely on web platforms instead. How are the features of Trade Interceptor?

  • Thanks for the explanation! I’ll see if I can come up with examples and charts to help other readers understand. This really clears things up, appreciate it!

  • Eirik Kaasa Eliassen

    Trade Interceptor has all normal trading features. Realtime charts, indicators, drawing tools, alarms, backtesting (I have not tested the backtesting-function yet) and order management. You can place instant and pending orders. Your TP and SL are displayed directly on the chart and can be adjusted by dragging the lines on the chart. You can also set trailing stops. There is also a news-feed, economic calendar and their own so called “TrendRisk Scanner”, a kind of indicator that gives you a suggestion for targets and stops for optimal risk-reward ratio on all pairs. I have not tried this function yet. You can set up several accounts with different brokers. Currently only Oanda, Swissquote and FXCM, but now I have learned that they are hooking up more brokers, and also will become a broker themselves. User interface is simple, and “mac-like”. No unnecessary buttons. Also their mobile app is very, very good.

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