Updated: February 28, 2021 by FinPins

Stock Order Types

As investors, we must know about various tools available to us for controlling the buying and selling price of a stock. Unfortunately, many investors just use the plain ‘buy/sell’ options, not fully utilizing the array of stock order types provided by the investing platform or app. In this post we will go through some great ways to place orders for buying and selling stocks, while maintaining better control of the price we pay or fetch for the stock. We’ll focus on market buy, market sell, limit buy, limit sell, stop loss, buy stop, buy stop limit, sell stop limit, trailing stop loss, and trailing stop limit order types. We will also review how to place the different types of stock orders step by step on Robinhood and Webull apps

stock order types

Stock Order Types: Market Buy and Market Sell

Market Buy

This is like going to the market and paying whatever the current price (spot price) of the item is. In the market, there are multiple buyers and multiple sellers, by placing a market buy order you agree to pay the price that a seller is currently asking for. If a stock is trading at $49, you’ll end up paying close to that amount for buying a share of the stock. This is the simplest and most common form of buying transaction. Unfortunately, most investors are aware of ONLY this type of buy orders. Keep reading below to see other stock order types.

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Market Sell

Like the market buy orders, market sell orders are also like going to the market and selling your stock at the current price (spot price). If a current buyer is willing to pay $49 for the share, you’ll just sell it to them on the spot for $49. This is the simplest and most common for of selling transaction.

Conditional Stock Order Types: Limit Buy and Limit Sell

Limit Buy

Limit buy gives you more control on your purchase price. Let’s say a stock is trading at a current market price of $49. However, you want to pay a maximum of $46 per share of the stock. You can use the ‘limit buy’ feature and set a limit order with a purchase price of $46. When the order gets queued at the exchange, it carries the message that your maximum willingness to pay for the share is $46. Your order will not get executed until the stock drops to $46 or below.

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You can control the validity of your limit order as well. If you want to keep this order valid for only one day (i.e. willing to buy the stock for $46 only for the day), you can choose to make the order valid for the day only. However, if you are fine to wait out a few days in anticipation of the stock price to fall to $46 over the next few days, you can choose the validity as Good Till Cancelled (GTC) and keep your order valid for 90 days (or until you cancel before 90 days).

WeBull Order Validity - Day or GTC

WeBull Time in Force Order Validity – Day or GTC (Good Till Cancelled)

Limit Sell

Limit sell gives you more control on your selling price. Let’s say a stock is trading at a current market price of $49. However, you want to sell the stock for a minimum of $55 per share. You can use the ‘limit sell’ feature and set a limit order with a selling price of $55. When the order gets queued at the exchange, it carries the message that you are willing to sell the stock at a minimum price of $55. Your order will not get executed until the stock rises to $55 or above.

You can control the validity of your limit sell order as well. If you want to keep this order valid for only one day (i.e. willing to sell the stock for $55 only for the day), you can choose to make the order valid for the day only. However, if you are fine to wait out a few days in anticipation of the stock price to rise to $55 over the next few days, you can choose the validity as Good Till Cancelled (GTC) and keep your order valid for 90 days (or until you cancel before 90 days).

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Stock Order Types: ‘Stop Orders’

Stop Loss

What’s worse than losing money? Probably nothing. Many investors follow the mantra of limiting their loss. While traders may see this as absolutely essential, many long term investors also see value in placing stop loss orders. This way they can mitigate the risk of losing more money than they can afford to lose.

So how can a stop loss order help? Let’s say a stock is trading at a current market price of $125. You own the stock and want to see it grow. However, you believe that if the stock falls below $115, it might go into free fall and not rise back to an acceptable price point within a reasonable timeframe (say 6 months). In this case you can place a stop loss order at $115. If the share price falls to $115, your order gets executed as a market sell order (this means that you may also fetch lower than $115 for the stock, depending on availability and willingness of buyers on the exchange). If the share price doesn’t fall to $115 your sell order does not get executed.

It’s a good risk mitigation strategy as it protects your downside.

stop loss

Buy Stop

When you want to invest in a stock if it gains upward momentum, you can use the buy stop order to set a stop price (say $130) above the current market price (say $120). When the stock rises and hits the $130 mark, your order gets placed as a market buy order.

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Stop Limit

Sell Stop Limit

A stop limit sell order is very much like the stop loss order, with the key difference being that once your stop order price is reached, $115 from the example above, your order gets queued as a limit sell order instead of a market sell order. Understandably, for stop limit sell orders, you need to provide a limit sell price as well. The limit sell price should be greater than or equal to the stop price. Let’s say you’re willing to accept a minimum of $116 for the stock. When the stock price reaches $115, a limit sell order is triggered for a price of $116 per share.

The risk with sell stop limit order is that maybe the stock price goes in free-fall and keeps going down, because of the limit sell price of $116, you might not be able to sell your shares at all!

Buy Stop Limit

A stop limit buy order gives you control over the buying price of shares. For a buy stop limit order for a stock trading at $120, you need to provide a stop price (say $128) and a limit buy price (at or below the stop price, say $125). When the stock price rises and hits the stop price ($128), a limit buy order (for $125) is triggered.

If you anticipate a stock price to rise based on some news, earnings etc, but you only want to buy the stock if there is an initial uptick in the stock price (hence not you’re not buying it straightaway now), you can create a buy stop limit order.

The risk here is that if the stock price skyrockets after the news, and never comes down to $125, you might not be able to buy the stock since you’re setting a limit buy price ($125)’

TIP: Think of stop price as a trigger point.

In case of stop loss orders, the stop price triggers a market sell order.

For buy stop orders, the stop price triggers a market buy order.

In case of stop limit sell orders, the stop price triggers a limit sell order.

For stop limit buy orders, the stop price triggers a limit buy order.

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Advanced Stock Order Types

Trailing Stop Loss

Suppose a stock you own is trading at a current market price of $100. To protect your downside, you can place a stop loss or a stop limit order to sell the stock at $95 if the stock price falls. But, what if the stock goes up to $110 and you want to re-adjust your stop loss price to $105? You can keep monitoring the stock price and cancelling and placing new stop loss orders based on the price movement.

Luckily there’s a better way of doing it – by using trailing stop loss orders. Trailing stop loss orders can be configured in two ways

  • you can either set a trail percentage amount for the price fall from the peak price, for example 5%
  • or, you can set a trail dollar amount for the price fall from the peak price, for example $5
trailing stop loss - choose trail dollar or trail percentage

Robinhood – choose trail dollar or trail percentage

trailing stop loss - set trail percentage

Robinhood – Set trail percentage

Suppose you set a 5% trail percentage, the stock price rises from $100 to $110 the next day, the stop loss automatically adjusts from $95 (5% less than $100) to $104.5 (5% less than $110). If the stock goes further up to $130, the stop loss adjusts to $123.50 (5% less than $130).

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Suppose you set a $5 trail dollar, the stock price rises from $100 to $110 the next day, the stop loss automatically adjusts from $95 ($5 less than $100) to $105 ($5 less than $110). If the stock goes up further to $130, the stop loss adjusts to $125 ($5 less than $130).

In the stock price falls and reaches the stop price (calculated either via percentage trail or dollar trail), a market sell order is triggered.

trailing stop loss

Trailing Stop Limit

Trailing stop limit is pretty much the same as Trailing stop loss, with the added option of setting a limit sell price. So, in case the stock price falls and reaches the stop price, a limit sell order is triggered.


Robinhood Stock Order Types

Stock Order Types on Robinhood

Robinhood Stock Order Types for Buying

There are six main types of orders available on Robinhood, as seen on the screenshot here.

  • Market Orders
    • Buy in Dollars
    • Buy in Shares
  • Conditional Orders
    • Limit Order
    • Trailing Stop Order
    • Stop Order
    • Stop Limit Order
robinhood stock order types

Robinhood Stock Order Types for Buying

Let’s dive into each stock order type one by one.

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Robinhood Market Order – Buy in Dollars (step-by-step)

Step 1: Pick option 1 ‘Buy in Dollars’. You can also buy partial shares on Robinhood

Robinhood Market Order - Buy in Dollars step 1

Pick option 1 ‘Buy in Dollars’. You can also buy partial shares on Robinhood

Step 2: Enter Dollar figure you want to invest in the stock (at current market prices) and submit your order

Robinhood Market Order - Buy in Dollars step 2

Enter Dollar figure you want to invest in the stock (at current market prices) and submit your order

Robinhood Market Order – Buy in Shares (step-by-step)

Step 1. Pick option 2 ‘Buy in Shares’. You can also buy partial shares on Robinhood

Robinhood Market Order - Buy in Shares step 1

Pick option 2 ‘Buy in Shares’. You can also buy partial shares on Robinhood

Step 2. Enter number of shares you want to purchase (at current market prices) and submit your order

Robinhood Market Order - Buy in Shares step 2

Enter number of shares you want to purchase (at current market prices) and submit your order

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Robinhood Conditional Order – Limit Order (step-by-step)

Step 1. Pick option 3 ‘Limit Order’ in the Conditional Orders section.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Limit Order step 1

Pick option 3 ‘Limit Order’ in the Conditional Orders section.

Step 2. Enter the limit price of the maximum price you are willing to pay per share. For example, $30.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Limit Order step 2

Enter the limit price of the maximum price you are willing to pay per share. For example, $30.

Step 3. Select whether you are okay executing the order during market hours or also during the extended hours i.e. pre-market and after-market included.

[the general market hours in the US is 9:30 am – 4pm Eastern Time. At the time of taking these screenshots, the phone was in European Time Zone, hence the 6 hour difference (3:30pm to 10:00pm)].

Robinhood Conditional Order - Limit Order step 3

Select whether you are okay executing the order during market hours or also during the extended hours i.e. pre-market and after-market included.

[the general market hours in the US is 9:30 am – 4pm Eastern Time. At the time of taking these screenshots, the phone was in European Time Zone, hence the 6 hour difference (3:30pm to 10:00pm)].

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Step 4. Select the validity of the order i.e. for how long should the order be in force.

Let’s say you are okay with the order getting executed anytime within the next 90 days, so you can pick the relevant option.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Limit Order step 4

Select the validity of the order i.e. for how long should the order be in force.

Let’s say you are okay with the order getting executed anytime within the next 90 days, so you can pick the relevant option.

Step 5. Enter number of shares you want to purchase.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Limit Order step 5

Enter number of shares you want to purchase.

Step 6. Hit review and swipe up to submit your order.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Limit Order step 6

Hit review and swipe up to submit your order.

Robinhood Conditional Order – Trailing Stop Order (step-by-step)

Step 1. Pick option 4 ‘Trailing Stop Order’ in the Conditional Orders section.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Trailing Stop Order step 1

Pick option 4 ‘Trailing Stop Order’ in the Conditional Orders section.

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Step 2. On the ‘Set Trail’ screen you will see two fields. The first field is ‘Trail Percentage’ and the second field is initial stop price.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Trailing Stop Order step 2

On the ‘Set Trail’ screen you will see two fields. The first field is ‘Trail Percentage’ and the second field is initial stop price.

Step 3. If you wish to set a dollar trail instead of a percentage trail, click on the green down arrow and at the bottom of the screen there would a pop-up with two options – ‘Trail Amount’ and ‘Trail Percentage’. Select ‘Trail Amount’ if you wish so.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Trailing Stop Order step 3

If you wish to set a dollar trail instead of a percentage trail, click on the green down arrow and at the bottom of the screen there would a pop-up with two options – ‘Trail Amount’ and ‘Trail Percentage’. Select ‘Trail Amount’ if you wish so.

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Step 4. For the demo, let’s go with ‘Trail Percentage’ option and set the percentage to 5%.

What is essentially means is that the buy order will only get triggered when the stock price rises by 5% from the current levels i.e. 5% above $34.21 = $36.25.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Trailing Stop Order step 4

For the demo, let’s go with ‘Trail Percentage’ option and set the percentage to 5%.

What is essentially means is that the buy order will only get triggered when the stock price rises by 5% from the current levels i.e. 5% above $34.21 = $36.25.

Step 5. Set a validity period for the order to remain in force.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Trailing Stop Order step 5

Set a validity period for the order to remain in force.

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Step 6. Enter number of shares you want to purchase.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Trailing Stop Order step 6

Enter number of shares you want to purchase.

Step 7. Hit review and swipe up to submit your order.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Trailing Stop Order step 7

Hit review and swipe up to submit your order.

Robinhood Conditional Order – Stop Order (step-by-step)

Step 1. Pick option 5 ‘Stop Order’ in the Conditional Orders section.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Stop Order step 1

Pick option 5 ‘Stop Order’ in the Conditional Orders section.

Step 2. On the ‘Set Stop Price’ screen, enter a price (higher than current market price) at which you want the buy order to be triggered, for example $37.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Stop Order step 2

On the ‘Set Stop Price’ screen, enter a price (higher than current market price) at which you want the buy order to be triggered, for example $37.

Step 3. Set a validity period for the order to remain in force.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Stop Order step 3

Set a validity period for the order to remain in force.

Step 4. Enter number of shares you want to purchase.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Stop Order step 4

Enter number of shares you want to purchase.

Step 5. Hit review and swipe up to submit your order.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Stop Order step 5

Hit review and swipe up to submit your order.

Robinhood Conditional Order – Stop Limit Order (step-by-step)

Step 1. Pick option 6 ‘Stop Limit Order’ in the Conditional Orders section.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Stop Limit Order step 1

Pick option 6 ‘Stop Limit Order’ in the Conditional Orders section.

Step 2. Robinhood shows visualization to help understand how stop limit order works.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Stop Limit Order step 2

Robinhood shows visualization to help understand how stop limit order works.

Step 3. On the ‘Set Stop Price’ screen, enter a price (higher than current market price) at which you want the buy order to be triggered, for example $38.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Stop Limit Order step 3

On the ‘Set Stop Price’ screen, enter a price (higher than current market price) at which you want the buy order to be triggered, for example $38.

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Step 4. After setting the stop price, you would be prompted to set a limit price as well i.e. the maximum you are willing to pay per share.

In theory, when the stock price will hit the ‘stop price’ or the trigger point at $38, your limit order of buying the stock at $35 will become active.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Stop Limit Order step 4

After setting the stop price, you would be prompted to set a limit price as well i.e. the maximum you are willing to pay per share.

In theory, when the stock price will hit the ‘stop price’ or the trigger point at $38, your limit order of buying the stock at $35 will become active.

Step 5. Set a validity period for the order to remain in force.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Stop Limit Order step 5

Set a validity period for the order to remain in force.

Step 6. Enter number of shares you want to purchase. Hit review and swipe up to submit your order.

Robinhood Conditional Order - Stop Limit Order step 6

Enter number of shares you want to purchase. Hit review and swipe up to submit your order.

So, now we have covered how to place all the six different stock order types for buying shares on Robinhood.

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WeBull Stock Order Types

Stock Order Types on WeBull

Webull offers invstors a single screen interface to choose a buy or sell order, choose the type of order (limit, market, stop, trailing stop, stop limit etc.). Webull even offers the ‘short’ selling feature wherein an investor can sell a stock without owning it (i.e. borrow from a broker and sell it) and buy at a later point when the price falls. Since ‘shorting’ or ‘short selling’ is riskier, we recommend beginners and intermediates to stay away from the ‘short’ selling order type (unless they fully understand the risks).

WeBull Order Types Available to Investors

  • Market Order (Buy, Sell, Short)
  • Limit Order (Buy, Sell, Short)
  • Stop Order (Buy, Sell, Short)
  • Stop Limit Order (Buy, Sell, Short)
  • Trailing Stop (Buy, Sell, Short)
  • OTO – One Triggers the Others (not covered in this article)

WeBull Conditional Order: Short Selling on Webull

We recommend beginners to stay away from shorting stocks until they grasp the concept and understand the risks fully. However, let’s quickly understand how shorting works on WeBull.

We recommend beginners to stay away from shorting stocks until they grasp the concept and understand the risks fully.

Let’s take a look at Short Selling or Shorting stocks. The main difference between regular selling and ‘short selling’ is the following:

  • Sell: You sell stocks you own i.e. you close a long position.
  • Short: You don’t own the stock. You borrow the stocks from broker, and sell it in order to buy it at a later time at a lower price (i.e. you’re betting the price will go down so your trade becomes profitable)

Read also: Short Story on GameStop

Difference between the ‘Sell’ and ‘Short’ orders

  • Sell: You sell stocks you own i.e. you close a long position.
  • Short: You don’t own the stock. You borrow the stocks from broker, and sell it in order to buy it at a later time at a lower price (i.e. you’re betting the price will go down so your trade becomes profitable)

Webull has introduced a new button ‘Short’ to distinguish it from the ‘Sell’ button. Earlier the ‘Sell’ button was used for shorting the stocks as well.

This is a good design change to make users aware whether they are selling stocks they own or accidentally shorting the stocks (i.e. borrowing from broker and selling it).

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WeBull Conditional Order: Limit Buy Order on Webull

Placing a Limit Buy order on Webull is fairly simple.

  • Select ‘Limit’ from the top bar
  • Select ‘Buy’ as the ‘Side’
  • Set a limit price you are willing to pay for the stock
  • Enter quantity i.e. no of shares (Webull does not allow buying partial shares yet, however Robinhood allows partial shares.)
  • Select the order’s time in force
  • Pick whether you want order to be executed during extended hours as well

Webull’s single screen order placement may seem overcrowded at first, but once you understand the fields, it is very convenient to place orders on Webull.

How to Place a Limit Buy Order on WeBull

  • Select ‘Limit’ from the top bar
  • Select ‘Buy’ as the ‘Side’
  • Set a limit price you are willing to pay for the stock
  • Enter quantity i.e. no of shares (Webull does not allow buying partial shares yet, however Robinhood allows partial shares.)
  • Select the order’s time in force
  • Pick whether you want order to be executed during extended hours as well

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WeBull Conditional Order: Stop Buy Order on WeBull

  • Select ‘Stop’ on the top bar
  • Choose the side as ‘Buy’
  • Set a ‘Stop Price’
  • Enter quantity
  • Select Time in Force

How to Place Stop Buy Order on WeBull

  • Select ‘Stop’ on the top bar
  • Choose the side as ‘Buy’
  • Set a ‘Stop Price’
  • Enter quantity
  • Select Time in Force

WeBull Order Types: Accessing ‘Stop Limit’ and ‘Trailing Stop’ Orders on WeBull

In addition to the ‘Stop’ order, you can access the Stop Limit and Trailing Stop order types by clicking on the small blue arrow next to ‘Stop’ on the top bar.

In addition to the ‘Stop’ order, you can access the Stop Limit and Trailing Stop order types by clicking on the small blue arrow next to ‘Stop’ on the top bar.

Webull Conditional Order: Stop Limit Order on WeBull

How to place a Stop Limit Order on WeBull

  • Click on blue arrow next to ‘Stop’ on the top bar and choose ‘Stop Limit’ from the drop-down menu.
  • Choose the side as ‘Buy’
  • Set a ‘Stop Price’
  • Set a ‘Limit Price’
  • Enter quantity
  • Select Time in Force

How to place a Stop Limit Order on WeBull

  • Click on blue arrow next to ‘Stop’ on the top bar and choose ‘Stop Limit’ from the drop-down menu.
  • Choose the side as ‘Buy’
  • Set a ‘Stop Price’
  • Set a ‘Limit Price’
  • Enter quantity
  • Select Time in Force

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WeBull Conditional Order: Trailing Stop Order on WeBull

  • Click on blue arrow next to ‘Stop’ on the top bar and choose ‘Trailing Stop’ from the drop-down menu.
  • Choose the side as ‘Buy’
  • Set a ‘Trail Amount’ or ‘Trail Percentage’

You can toggle the options between ‘Trail Amount’ and Trail Percentage’ by clicking on the icon on the right side of the data input field.

  • Enter quantity
  • Select Time in Force

How to place a Trailing Stop Order on WeBull

  • Click on blue arrow next to ‘Stop’ on the top bar and choose ‘Trailing Stop’ from the drop-down menu.
  • Choose the side as ‘Buy’
  • Set a ‘Trail Amount’ or ‘Trail Percentage’

You can toggle the trailing options between ‘Trail Amount’ and Trail Percentage’ by clicking on the icon on the right side of the data input field.

  • Enter quantity
  • Select Time in Force

We have covered multiple stock order types available on WeBull and hope that you would strategically use them to you advantage while investing.


Most of these order types are available on popular trading apps Robinhood and WeBull.

Also, read our feature by feature analysis of the best investment apps.


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