Swing trading vs Day trading

Swing trading vs Day trading

Swing trading and day trading are two distinct trading strategies.

Day trading involves entering and exiting positions within the same trading day, without holding any positions overnight.

On the other hand, swing trading entails holding positions for a more extended period. When swing trading, you purchase an asset and hold it for a duration ranging from one day to several weeks, possibly even up to a month or two, although typically it lasts for a week or two.

The key difference is that day trading involves intraday trading, while swing trading focuses on longer-term positions.


Which trading approach demands more time?

Day trading requires significantly more time commitment compared to swing trading.

If you engage in day trading stocks, you need to allocate approximately 6 and a half hours each day to actively trade and also to check news and perform analysis in the morning and evening, which may take up to 2 hours. This means you have to be at your computer for around 8 to 9 hours daily.

On the other hand, swing trading offers a more flexible schedule. You can conduct your technical or fundamental analysis at night or after work, place your orders, and then manage your positions intermittently. Swing trading requires only 5 to 10 hours per week, making it less time-consuming.

It’s important to note that when you are starting out and learning, regardless of the approach, it will require some time investment. However, once you have implemented your day-to-day operations, swing trading doesn’t demand a significant amount of time.


Day trading presents greater challenges compared to swing trading due to its shorter-term nature.

When a trading strategy is focused on the short term, it involves a more complex set of considerations. Day trading entails dealing with higher fees, increased slippage, and the need for quicker decision-making in a highly competitive environment.

Conversely, swing trading allows for a longer holding period, typically spanning a few weeks. This extended timeframe provides traders with more time to analyze and make informed decisions, considering various factors involved in trading. Therefore, day trading is generally regarded as more difficult than swing trading.

It’s worth noting that even within day trading, strategies like scalping, market making, or high-frequency trading pose even greater challenges.

As the time frame becomes shorter, the task of generating profits becomes harder.

Return / Profit:

Which trading strategy has the potential for higher profits? Typically, the strategy that requires more time and involves more difficult tasks tends to offer greater rewards. In this context, day trading stands out. Despite its challenges and potential drawbacks, day trading can be appealing to some traders due to its potential for significant profits.

To illustrate, in swing trading, the goal is to generate a profit of one dollar over the course of one or two weeks. Conversely, in day trading, the objective is to make smaller profits, perhaps a quarter at a time, but repetitively throughout the day. While each individual profit may be smaller in day trading, the advantage lies in the ability to execute trades more frequently. By making profits more often within shorter timeframes, the cumulative result can be larger in the end.

Choosing between swing trading vs day trading

Interest and capacity:

It is crucial to prioritize both your interest and capacity when choosing a trading strategy. Firstly, it is important to pursue a strategy that aligns with your genuine interest. If you have no interest in day trading, it is advisable to avoid it and focus on other approaches, such as swing trading, which captures your enthusiasm.

Secondly, after assessing your interest, it is essential to evaluate your capacity to undertake the chosen strategy. For instance, if you are interested in day trading, you must consider whether you have the necessary time and energy to commit to the required workload. Day trading demands consistent dedication, as it involves spending significant time in front of a computer actively participating in trading activities. If you lack the capacity to fulfill these requirements, it is best to refrain from pursuing day trading. Engaging in a strategy without the required capacity may result in subpar performance and potential financial losses.

In summary, the key is to align your interest and capacity. Choose a trading strategy that captivates your interest, and then assess whether you possess the capacity, in terms of time and energy, to execute the strategy effectively. By doing so, you increase your chances of trading success.

The aforementioned points primarily pertain to manual traders. However, if you are an algorithmic trader, the dynamics are different. Whether your strategy involves swing trading or day trading becomes less significant because the computer executes trades on your behalf. Initially, you invest substantial time programming the algorithm, but once it is up and running, your role primarily shifts to monitoring its performance. Consequently, you do not need to spend as much time actively engaging with the trading process.

Algorithmic trading allows for a more hands-off approach, where the computer takes care of the execution while you focus on overseeing its operation.

Learning curve:

Another significant advantage of day trading is the faster feedback loop it offers. In day trading, the feedback on your trading performance is more immediate. If you continuously experience losses, it serves as a clear signal that something in your strategy needs to be revised or adjusted. This prompt feedback enables you to identify mistakes or shortcomings in your approach and make necessary changes sooner.

On the other hand, with swing trading, where trades typically last for a week or more, it takes a longer time to gather enough results to assess the effectiveness of your strategy. It may take several months, or even up to six months, to accumulate sufficient data and evaluate the success of your swing trading strategy. Consequently, learning from mistakes and refining your strategy can be a lengthier process compared to day trading.

Therefore, day trading allows for a quicker learning curve as the immediate feedback helps traders identify and rectify flaws in their strategy promptly, while swing trading necessitates more patience as it takes a longer time to gather substantial data for analysis and adjustment.