Updated March 19, 2024

Robinhood vs Public vs Webull

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Robinhood, Public, and Webull are all great options for growing your money. But which one will suit you the most?

Robinhood, Public, and Webull all let you invest your money in a variety of assets. However, depending on your experience level and what you want to trade, one platform may fit your needs more.

For a full breakdown and direct comparison of all three platforms, read on.

How do you manage your investments?



Who Each Is Best For

  • Robinhood is best for investors who are just starting out or don't have a lot of capital to invest. You can trade for as little as $1 with a clean, beginner-friendly UI. Find out more

  • Public is best if you want to get investing ideas from fellow investors. It's also good if you want to invest in theme-specific assets. Find out more

  • Webull is best for active traders and more experienced investors. The platform is known for its advanced charting and technical analysis tools. Find out more

What matters most to you in a stock trading platform?

What All Three Offer

  • Commission-free trades
  • No account minimums
  • Stocks and ETFs (no mutual funds, bonds, or forex)
  • Fractional shares available
  • Highly rated mobile apps

How They're Different

  • Public also offers alternative investments like treasuries, royalties from intellectual property, fine art, and more.
  • Robinhood and Webull offer IRAs, while Public only offers an individual taxable account.
  • Robinhood and Public are more beginner-friendly while Webull caters to more experienced or active traders.

Why Choose Robinhood?

Robinhood offers 100% commission-free trading. You can invest in stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies for as low as $1. This makes it perfect for new investors who want to start with small amounts.

Fun fact: Robinhood was actually the first trading app to offer 100% commission-free trades.[1] This is something many trading platforms followed soon after.

Robinhood also offers the only IRA with a match on top of your annual contribution limits.[2] This gives you a nice little boost to your retirement savings.

For more experienced investors, they have a premium account called Robinhood Gold at $5/month. With it, you get bigger instant deposits, more advanced research tools, and an even higher percentage match on your IRA contributions.

Robinhood has over 20 million users. The app is very beginner-friendly and highly-rated on both Google Play and App Store.

Drawbacks:
The biggest drawback of Robinhood is that its research isn't as extensive as the other options.

You get access to professional research from Morningstar with Robinhood Gold, but you'll need to pay their monthly fee for that. Even then, it's not as extensive as Webull's array of tools.

One thing to note is that Robinhood has a history of controversy, such as freezing the purchasing of certain stocks during the GameStop fiasco. For that, they were fined $70 million.[3]

  • Very beginner-friendly
  • Invest from $1
  • IRA match
  • Past controversial issues
  • Limited research tools

Why Choose Public

Public is unique because of its social media platform, thematic investing, and alternative investments. It's tailored for beginners and social investors.

Besides stocks, Public also lets you invest in alternative assets like fine art and collectibles. Some examples include rare sneakers, trading cards, and even artwork from Banksy. You can even invest in royalties on intellectual property like music.

Public has a social community where you can follow popular traders and share ideas with other investors. This makes the whole process more inclusive, educational, and collaborative.

Public's thematic investing allows you to invest in themes that you like. Each theme contains ETFs that reflect the topic, so you can easily invest in companies that align with your values.

Let's say that you're looking to invest in environment-friendly ETFs. Public has a theme called Combat Carbon, which consists of companies that actively work toward reducing their carbon footprint. Other unique themes include Artificial Intelligence, American Made, and Self-Driving Cars.

Drawbacks:
You can only open an individual taxable brokerage account on Public. There are no IRA or joint account options.

Public also lacks research and analysis tools. It doesn't have any charting tools, stock screeners, or any other stock evaluation tools.

  • Collaborative community
  • Thematic investing
  • Fractional shares
  • No IRAs
  • No investment evaluation tools

Why Choose Webull?

Webull is perfect for more advanced, active traders. It offers commission-free trades on stocks, ETFs, and options.[4] This makes it ideal for those who make frequent transactions.

On top of that, they offer widely praised advanced charting tools and stock screeners. They also have great technical analysis tools to help you make your investment decisions.

Webull has features for different types of traders:

  • For day traders: Perform up to 3 day trades in a five-trading day period (unlimited for those with $25,000 or more in account balance).[5]

  • For margin traders: Get access to margin trading at no extra cost and up to 4x buying power (you need at least $2,000 to qualify).[6]

  • For short sellers: Short selling is supported on Webull.

Webull is also the only platform among the three that offers a paper trading account. You get unlimited virtual cash and real-time market data, so you can test your strategies before committing real money.

Drawbacks:
If you're a complete beginner, you may find all the research tools overwhelming. All the charts and screeners could scare you away from trading completely.

  • Advanced research tools
  • No trading fees
  • Fractional shares from $5
  • Free practice account
  • Can be overwhelming for beginners
  • No mutual funds, forex, or futures

What is the difference between Webull and Public?
Webull and Public cater to two very different types of traders. If you're just starting out and learning the ropes, Public may be a better option for you. If you like diving deep into research and stock evaluation reports before investing, Webull is the way to go.

Direct Comparison

To give you a better idea of which platform will suit your trading style, here's a direct comparison between Robinhood, Public, and Webull.

What extra feature interests you the most in a trading platform?

Fees

All platforms offer commission-free trading. They're also all completely free to start using. All you need to do is sign up and create an account, and you're ready to trade.

It's worth noting that with Public, there are a few extra charges. If you want extended trading hours, each trade will cost you $2.99 per trade. OTC trades will also cost $2.99. But if you're a Premium member, these charges are waived.

Robinhood and Public also offer premium accounts. Robinhood Gold will cost you $5 a month while Public Premium will cost you $10 a month.

For a complete breakdown, be sure to check out their fee schedules:

Is Webull more expensive than Robinhood?
Neither of the two platforms charges trading fees. Unless you're subscribing to Robinhood's premium account (Robinhood Gold), both Robinhood and Webull are free to start using.

Minimum Investment

None of the three platforms require any minimum investments or account minimums. They also all offer fractional shares. This means you start with as little as a few dollars.

Robinhood and Public start their fractional shares for as low as $1. Meanwhile, Webull starts its shares at $5.

Public has a fractional share calculator on their website that allows you to calculate how many shares you'd receive depending on the dollar amount you input.

Ease of Use

Robinhood is specially designed for beginner investors. Not only do they have commission-free trading and fractional shares as low as $1, they also have an incredibly intuitive user interface.

Public is also a great choice for beginners who aren't sure what to invest in. You can follow the moves of your favorite traders or choose your investments based on what you personally believe in.

If you like the moves of a particular trader on Public, you can go to their page, see what they've been trading, message them, or even follow them. The more traders you follow, the more comprehensive your social feed will be.

Since Webull is geared more toward active traders, it may not be suitable for most beginners. Although they have a paper trading account for newbies to use, the advanced research tools could be a little overwhelming for those just starting out.

If you want to be hands-off, you could try Webull's Smart Advisor. It will automatically invest for you based on your preferences.

Tradable Assets

RobinhoodPublicWebull
Stocks
ETFs
Options-
Cryptocurrency-
Mutual funds---
Bonds---
Fixed income funds---
US Treasurys--
Royalties--
Alternative assets--

All three platforms let you invest in stocks and ETFs. Robinhood and Public also offer crypto.

What makes Public unique is that it lets you invest in royalties (like music) and alternative assets (like fine art or collectibles). These are great ways for you to diversify your portfolio.

Plus, you can earn passive income on assets that behave independently from traditional markets.

Unfortunately, none of the platforms offer mutual funds, bonds, or fixed income funds.

Account Types

RobinhoodPublicWebull
Individual taxable account
Joint account---
Traditional IRA-
Roth IRA-
Margin account-
529 College Savings---
Health Savings Account---
Account for minors---
Robo-advisor--
Cash management account-
Paper trading account--

Public only offers an individual taxable account.

If you're looking for a retirement account, Robinhood offers a unique IRA match on your contributions, transfers, and rollovers. The match doesn't count toward your annual contribution limits, and there's no cap to how much you can earn.

The closest thing Public has to retirement accounts is their long-term portfolios— which do not give tax advantages like an IRA.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to practice first, Webull has a paper trading account. This lets beginners simulate trades with unlimited virtual money and real-time market data.


Trading Platform

All three platforms let you trade via web browser or mobile app.

In addition, Webull also has a desktop app that's open to everyone. It's fully customizable to set it up the way you want. You can set up watchlists, customize charts with smart drawing tools, place orders, and more.

Although Robinhood and Public don't offer desktop apps, you can make trades via web browser using their clean, beginner-friendly UIs.

All three platforms offer extended trading hours:
  • Robinhood: 24/5 from Sunday 8 pm ET - Friday 8 pm ET (currently rolling out and isn't available to all users yet)
  • Public: Pre-market: 8:00-9:30 am ET; After-hours: 4:00-8:00 pm ET (fees apply for non-Premium members)
  • Webull: Pre-market: 4:00-9:30 am ET; After-hours: 4:00-8:00 pm ET

Order Types

Order TypeRobinhoodPublicWebull
Market order
Limit order
Stop limit
Stop loss
Trailing stop loss-
Trailing stop limit--
One-triggers-the-other (OTO)--
One-cancels-the-other (OCO)--
One-triggers-an-OCO (OTOCO)--

Robinhood and Public only provide the most basic types of orders. This is why they're better suited for beginners with simpler investment approaches.

Webull, on the other hand, provides more advanced conditional orders. These allow you to set order triggers for stocks and options based on price movement. This gives experienced investors more control over their trades to mitigate risk.

Market order vs. Limit order
Market orders execute right away, no matter what the price is. Limit orders, on the other hand, will let you set the price and the trade will execute once the share hits that price. This means limit orders aren't guaranteed to be executed, but may get you a better price.

Educational And Research Tools

Webull has the most advanced research tools, while Public's tools are the most basic. Here's a breakdown:

Robinhood
Because it's made with beginners in mind, Robinhood only has the basic research tools like:

  • Side-by-side stock comparisons and stock filters
  • Real-time market updates on stocks in your watch list
  • Candlestick charts with 5 indicators
  • Prices paid by Robinhood investors (per share)

If you have a Gold account, you'll get access to professional research from Morningstar. These include in-depth stock research reports, covering over 1,700 stocks, and are frequently updated.

Each report from Morningstar covers professional analysis and ratings on a company's:
  • Business strategy - initiatives a company takes to create value
  • Economic moat - ability to maintain an edge over its competitors
  • Fair market value - the price the company would sell for on an open market
  • Risk - probability of losing parts or all investments in the company
  • Leadership - the company's management

Public
The basic Public account doesn't have any research tools (just a Learn page for beginners).

If you subscribe to Public Premium ($10/month), you get access to:

  • Detailed performance metrics that track stocks and ETFs with unique KPIs and essential data (subscriber growth, cash flow, operating costs, and more)
  • Professional research from Morningstar for all popular stocks and reports on competitive pressures, business strategies, and more
  • Weekly market breakdowns on recent headlines, sector-wide trends, and key economic reports from Public's editorial team
  • Exclusive audio content from expert analysts that breaks down trending stories

If your Public account reaches a total balance of $20,000, you're given complimentary access to Public Premium.

Webull
Webull has the most extensive selection of advanced research and charting tools. These will help you do in-depth research and better decide which assets fit your methodology. These tools include:

  • Real-time market quotes
  • Price alerts (for stocks on your watchlist)
  • Stock screeners
  • Market data from 5 categories and 100+ exchanges
  • 50 technical indicators
  • Analyst ratings
  • Video replay (for historical stock price action)

Webull's learn section also offers educational resources like webinars, tutorials, and articles that span a wide range of topics.

Is Webull better than Robinhood?
If you need advanced research tools or a paper trading account to practice with, Webull is a better option. If you're a beginner or don't have a lot of capital to start with, Robinhood's user-friendly interface and cheap fractional shares may be better suited for you.

Security/Compliance

Robinhood, Public, and Webull are all SIPC-insured. This means up to $500,000 (including a $250,000 cash limit) is insured in case the brokerage fails.[7]

All three platforms also have supplemental coverage for amounts that exceed SIPC limits. Robinhood uses Lloyd's of London while Public and Webull use Apex Clearing for its extra coverage.

All three platforms also have data encryption, security protocols, and two-factor authentication (2FA) that protect all your private and personal data.

In terms of compliance, all three platforms have regulatory oversight. They all also comply with KYC/AML laws.

What is KYC/AML?
Know Your Customer (KYC) refers to checks that companies make to ensure that their customers are who they say they are and aren't a risk to the business. Anti-Money Laundering (AML) refers to the steps that companies take to prevent criminals from transferring funds that came from illicit activity.

Customer Support

All three platforms have available customer support to help you with any concerns or questions you may have:

  • Robinhood: 24/7 via live chat and phone[8]

  • Public: 24/7 via in-app chat, web chat, and email. You can also contact them on their socials or via snail mail.[9]

  • Webull: 24/7 via email and phone[10]

Mobile App

Here's a quick overview of their ratings on the mobile app stores:

RobinhoodPublicWebull
Google Play rating (no. of reviews)4.1/5 stars
(475,000+ ratings)
4.4/5 stars
(47,000+ ratings)
4.3/5 stars
(185,000+ ratings)
App Store rating (no. of reviews)4.2/5 stars
(4.1+ million ratings)
4.7/5 stars
(66,000+ ratings)
4.7/5 stars
(291,000+ ratings)

In terms of customer feedback, here are some comments from their app store reviews:

Robinhood

"As a beginner, I found this app super easy to use and the tutorials helped out where I needed clarity." - Sean, 5/5 stars on the Google Play store (September 17, 2023)

"After having this app for over 4 years, it has come a long way and is a really good app for normal people to invest what they can." - Jody, 4/5 stars on the Google Play store (September 16, 2023)

Public

"...The fact that you can invest whatever amount you want is huge. Amazon's stock at $2.5k may be too much, but Public allows you to purchase slices of stock in increments as low as $5. I would HIGHLY recommend this to anyone with some extra cash and half a brain…" - Jtf199876, 5/5 stars on the Apple App Store (August 13, 2020)

"This app is an awesome app. It even has a place where you can learn. For example, you listen to videos and they'll give you $1 or $2 to purchase stocks or coins. But not only that, you get a wealth of knowledge that will carry you for the rest of your investing journey, which allows you to make knowledgeable decisions when selecting your investment…" - Sheldon A, 5/5 stars on the Apple App Store (May 13, 2022)

Webull

"I'm impressed with the level of feature/functions on trades, the low fees for options, the charting tools and indicators, and the many other settings that make accessing important information quick." - Uncast Shadow, 4/5 stars on the Apple App Store (August 31, 2023)

"It took me a bit to learn the ins and outs of the app but it's easy to use, no nonsense, and straightforward." - Esdras, 4/5 stars on the Google Play store (September 15, 2023)

Bottom Line

All three platforms offer similar services. However, each is suited for a specific type of investor.

If you're a complete beginner, Robinhood and Public are great options for you. However, your decision between the two will depend on what specific asset you want to trade as well as your investment preferences.

If you're an active or more experienced trader, Webull has the best charting tools and screeners to suit your fast-paced style.

Either way, you can't go wrong with any of these options. What will matter the most is how and what you want to trade.

References

  1. ^ TechCrunch. Robinhood App Will Offer Zero-Commission Stock Trades Thanks To $3M Seed From Index and A16Z, Retrieved 10/16/2023
  2. ^ Robinhood. IRA match FAQ, Retrieved 10/16/2023
  3. ^ The New York Times. Robinhood is fined $70 million over misleading customers and system outrages, Retrieved 10/16/2023
  4. ^ Webull. What Are The Trading Fees On Webull? Are You Commission Free?, Retrieved 10/30/2023
  5. ^ Webull. What's The Difference Between Margin And Cash Account?, Retrieved 10/30/2023
  6. ^ Webull. Margin Trading, Retrieved 10/30/2023
  7. ^ SIPC. What SIPC Protects, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  8. ^ Robinhood. How to contact support, Retrieved 11/16/2023
  9. ^ Public. Contact Us, Retrieved 12/10/2023
  10. ^ Webull. How to File an Inquiry?, Retrieved 11/16/2023
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