When it comes to the fact that you should pay attention before the start of trading on a real account, psychology and self-control are often mentioned. The importance of the choice of the time interval is usually silenced.

Meanwhile, the correct selection of the working timeframe is not less important than adherence to the rules of trading strategy. This will depend on the intensity of trading, as well as the dimensions of the SL and TP. In addition, the choice of the timeframe also affects the ability to predict the behavior of prices.

In general, to answer the question of what timeframe to choose, you need to start from the following:

  • consider the size of the deposit. If the initial capital is low, then it will be difficult to trade on the timeframe higher than h4. The main problem is a too big SL, which will not comply with the rules of MM;
  • consider the time spent. Not every trader can afford to spend a few hours a day at the terminal;
  • consider the trading system, especially in the indicator systems. If you plan to trade under a particular strategy, it is desirable to use only the timeframe recommended for it.


What timeframe to choose for stable trading?

Beginners tend to have high expectations of currency speculation. They conjure the image of a successful trader as a person spending the whole day at the monitor, who almost every minute makes deals for the millions of dollars.

This leads to the fact that the beginner spends all their spare time at the terminal, and every minute without a deal is perceived as wasted time. The result can be a multitude of hasty, ill-considered deals and siphon-off of the deposit.

As a rule, successful traders do not trade on small timeframes, so the analysis and assessment of the situation on one currency pair in total does not take more than an hour per day. To achieve stable and profitable trading on the m5-m15 timeframes is much more difficult, and the psychological burden is times heavier.

It is known that the lion's share of traders prefer intraday trading. Some cannot live a day without a deal, others believe that such trading results in much higher earnings than on D1. Arguing about what timeframe to choose, we can only recommend not to go below h1, the hour interval should become a kind of red line beyond which you can’t go.

About the advantages and disadvantages of small timeframes

Proponents of trading on m5-m15 argue that on small timeframes you can trade more intensively, and the profit will be respectively higher. It is a very controversial statement, there are more disadvantages of this method of trading:

  • you will have to spend most of the day at the monitor;
  • intensive trading guarantees fatigue, and the right decision-making would be called into question;
  • it is much more difficult to predict price behavior on small timeframes, technical and candlestick analysis do not give the desired results due to the influence of the "noise" – random fluctuations of the price chart;
  • benefits include small SL, but TP is also much smaller than on higher timeframes.

Pipsing should be mentioned as well (not to be confused with scalping). Pipsing expert advisors (often trading on m1 timeframe) promise fabulous profits in the shortest possible time, look impressive at the results of backtesting, but in reality the result is the same – the deposit is siphoned off. Therefore, if a trader seriously expects to trade profitably, it’s better to forget about m1 timeframe, as scalping and stability are incompatible in principle.

What timeframe to choose for medium- and long-term trading

Optimal choice for intraday trading is h1-h4 timeframe (h4 is desirable). Such trading has several features:

  • time-consuming. The situation analysis is conducted only after the closing of another candle. In trading, for example, on h4, it won’t take more than half an hour a day;
  • potential profit is much higher (in points) compared with smaller timeframes;
  • probability of working off candle combinations increases, technical analysis works much better;
  • disadvantages are only a greater SL and lower intensity of trading.

As for the long-term trading, you can stop your choice on D1, this timeframe can be called optimal to hone skills. Loss of time in this case will be minimized, because the terminal will need to be opened only once a day – after the closing of another trading day.

Candlestick patterns and technical analysis work almost flawlessly. Further increase of the working timeframe is impractical and is used only for the analysis of the market, such as additional construction in technical analysis.

The frequency of transactions will somewhat reduce, but with the right approach it will not affect profitability. Since the protective orders are insignificant, it is recommended to start with cent account, any novice trader can afford $50 - $100 initial deposit.

General recommendations for the selection of the optimal timeframe

Humans are accustomed to the fact that in the new activity you need to start with the small, perhaps this is why many try to learn how to trade on small time intervals. Beginners should clearly understand they need to learn how to trade only on large timeframes. In general, you can create a list of recommendations for the selection of the optimal timeframe:

  • D1 – suitable for both novice and experienced traders;
  • h1-h4 – beginners are undesirable to go below h4;
  • m5-m15 – recommended only for experienced traders;
  • m1 – not recommended for trading at all.


You also need to understand that when trading, for example, on h4, nobody forbids to use another timeframe for market analysis. Many trading systems are based on using multiple timeframes at a time, for example, “3 Elder Screens”.

Strategies based on technical analysis also work on a similar principle – trading is conducted in the direction of the trend established at the larger timeframe, and smaller time intervals are used as filters for the entry.

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