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Best Times Frame Day Trading

Which time frames do professional day traders use?  What is my favourite day trading time frame?  Why should one care about day trading times frame?  Those are the questions I will be touching upon today?
Let's get started.

My Favourite Day Trade Time Frame

It is the three- minute time frame.  My faithful followers already know that.  Like other beginner day traders, I just picked that time frame, and began to day trade without knowing why one should day trade on the three-minute chart.  I was stuck to that time frame for years because it really suited my trading style. 

Indeed, I was at the step one of the ladder of trading and investing.  I was scalping without stop, and wished that the markets open weekends.  As soon as the Asian markets open late in the night in London, I quickly placed one or two trades.

You guess it right. I was on the three-minute chart.  So the three minute chart was really friendly to me from the start. 

As I began to move up on the ladder of trading and investing, I started to ask relevant questions about the top-down trading.  To keep a long story short, I now understand that one can combine 4H or 2H chart (setup), 15M chart (signal) and 3M chart (entry).  In my early days, I was using the 3M chart for the setup, signal and the entry. 

That was of course wrong.

It was really a roller coaster trading lifestyle.  One day is really good, but the next day I came back down.  Those ups and downs cause me to find the correct recipe for the day trading like a pro.

The First Best Time Frame For Day Trading

TSTW 24 day traders know it.  It is the 5M chart.  Look, most day traders trade on the 5M chart, but not everyone uses it like a pro or TSTW 24 day traders. 

The good thing about the 5M chart is that even one that is using both 2H and 4H can enter the trade on the 5M chart instead of 3M.  Weekly chart swing traders who do not want to enter the trade on 15M chart do switch to the 5M chart.  In fact, most beginner day traders prefer the 5M chart.
I have noted that the majority of technical traders like the 5M chart. 

One can agree that the 5M chart is the most watched time frame apart from the 15M chart.

To avoid a long explanation, the 5M chart is the first best time frame for day trading due to the highest level of trading activities on that time frame.  

Usually, those who master the top-down trading can go from the yearly chart all the way to the 5M chart.
Almost, every technical trader can break down their technical trading strategy and connect to the 5M chart if he or she does not want to use their specific entry time frame.

Day Trade Times Frame That The Pros Use

The professional day traders use the daily chart for most of their day trading setups.

After they have identified a daily chart high probability setup, they switch to the thirty-minute chart for the trading signal before entering the trade on the 5M chart.  

Some of them do only look for their trading setups on the 30M chart.  Then they will take the signal and enter the trade on the 5M chart.  More advanced professional day traders can look for day trading setups on any higher times frame before heading to a lower time frame for the signal and entry.
Really, a professional day trader can combine any higher time frame with 15M, 10M, 5M and 3M charts. 

Please understand that I am talking about day trading in its proper sense (not scalping). 

In my opinion, the second best time frame for day traders is the thirty-minute chart because most professional day traders do keep eyes on that time frame.  It is also a time frame that draws the attention of many technical traders.  The third best time frame for day trading is the 2H chart.  Both the 2H and 30M charts are used for day trading setups.


If one is using a day trading system, one must adhere to its rules and parameters otherwise it is not the same system.
Please do not change a strategy that is working for you after a losing trade.

Why Should One Care About Day Trading Time Frame?

A common day trading mistake is to use just one time frame.  Please do not do that.  The minimum time frame one should use is two.  One can combine 2H and 5M or 4H and 15M or 1H and 10M charts.

Please learn to master the top-down trading strategy. TSTW 24 traders can combine any higher time high probability trading setup with the first best time frame. 

One must care about day trading times frame because a day trader has only few hours to day trade per trading session.

The pressure is high because one can be instantly taken out a trade or stuck onto a useless day trade setup.  Therefore, the times frame one is using for signal and entry do count. 

Imagine a day trader that enters a trade on 30M or 1H chart, he or she can easily fail to spot the current short term price fluctuations that are more visible on 5M or 3M chart.  That failure can cause unnecessary losing day trades.  It may also lead one to move stop losses or use a larger stop loss.  Alright?

Ideally, a day trader wants to get in and get paid as soon as possible with a reasonable stop loss without hanging around for too long.

Therefore, he or she must care about the trading setups and times frame for both the signals and entries. 

Personally, I do not recommend the one minute chart though some professionals do use it during the low volatility period for scalping purposes.

One can enter a day trade on 10M chart if one wants to avoid the crowd on the 5M and 15M charts.  If one is using 10 or 15 pips stop loss on the 10M or 15M times frame, one can be quickly taken out.  

In those circumstances, one may use twenty-five or thirty pips. 
As one can see, the entry time frame does influence the size of the stop loss, and how long one must wait before getting paid.  Note that 10 and 15M times frame are good for swing trading entries though a more advanced day trader can still use them.

All in all, a day trader always hates to lose too soon or as soon as he or she enters the trade.  He or she also dislikes bigger stop losses and longer waiting time before he or she gets paid.
To avoid all those pains, a day trader ought to care about the times frame he or she is using.  Does it make sense?  I think so.

Improving Day Trading With Times Frame

The first thing one can do is to stop using just one time frame for the setup, signal and entry.  The minimum requirement is two times frame.  

The second thing that can help improve day trading with times frame is to use a demo account to test various day trading top-down trading tactics.  One may try a combination of two times frame for a month or so then try also the specific three times frame strategy.

After those, one will focus on one of those that works best, and the one is really good.

Once, one has found a top-down day trading approach, one must now drill it until one masters it flawlessly.  I mean until one has gain more skills and experience.

A day trader must know his or her high probability trade setups that he or she likes and has mastered. 

Indeed, to achieve consistent winning day trades, one ought to be consistent too.    One must be consistent with the day trading setups, financial instruments, times frame, trading strategy and the time of day one is day trading. 

One can not expect better trading results if one is changing day trading strategies every other day after a losing day.  A day trader must review every losing trade and stop repeating the six biggest trading sins.

Give it more time, keep learning and continue to practice using a live demo account.


The understanding of the day trading times frame will help one to become a better day trader.  For a day trader, both the signal and entry times frame can cause one to lose if one does not get them right.  If one has been neglecting the day trading times frame for a long time, one can now begin to do something about them.  I wish I knew about about that when I was a beginner day trader. 

So there you have it.  I enjoy writing this essential article, and I hope it has made your day.  If that is the case, please share and bookmark it.  Also, say few good words about us in your favourite day trading forum. 

I wish you the very best.
Happy Day Trading To All

This article is written by
George Beaulieu
founder of the website.

Please stay tuned because it will not be too long before I come back with another essential day trading article.

Please post relevant questions and comments at 24stocktrader YouTube channel and in due course I will answer them.