Best Unusual Options Activity Scanner

Want to make it big with options trading? The thing with options is that they have a greater degree of risk, unlike stocks. But like in every cloud, there's always a silver lining even in such unpredictable marketplaces.

In fact, the greater the volatility, the higher the chances of making good money. And that's precisely where you're better off counting on the best unusual options activity scanner on the market.

You see, with thousands of options to analyze, zeroing in on all emerging opportunities is nearly impossible. It's easy to get lost in the sea of data. So, you're better off finding a tool that can filter out all the details and alert you whenever interesting opportunities arise.

Let us take a look at a few such tools.

Top 8 Scanners For Options Activity in 2022

1. Trade Ideas

Got an appetite for the big movers in the world of options trading? Trade Ideas (TI) has got your back. If this is the first time hearing about TI, you need to know that they've got one of the best AI systems out there called Holly.

Just to give you a rough idea of why we think Holly is worthy of the special mention, the AI tool has beaten the market back-to-back since 2016. In fact, in 2017 the AI market analyst delivered 85% gross returns compared to the S&P's average of 21.7% over the same period.

And that's not all – in 2019, Holly was named the "Best Machine Learning Development" in an award event by Fund Intelligence Tech & WSL.

Enough of Holly and "her" conquests in the world of trading!

If you're an options trader, the unusual options action scanner from Trade-Ideas is definitely worth a look. This tool identifies fast-moving options based on their volume and open interest. Immediately the system detects early signs of volatility, it will alert you effectively giving you a front-row seat so you can make optimal profits.

Pros

  • Highly reliable alerts
  • Filtering tools included for enhanced user-experience
  • Ideal for analyzing huge volumes of data
  • Sends real-time updates
  • Brokerage integration with Interactive Brokers

Cons

  • Does not come cheap

2. Black Box Stocks

Don't let the name fool you, Black Box Stocks is not just about stocks. In fact, this company has one of the best options activity tools we've come across this far. This system is powered by powerful servers and scans more than 13K stocks and options.

The Black Box options algorithms are similar to ones used in high-frequency trading methods. Yet, the developers behind this system have categorized the available alerts in a manner that makes it super easy for you to follow regardless of your level of experience.

Part of the Options arsenal at Black Box is the Options Flow tool that uses advanced logic to detect unique movements in the market. In fact, the Options Flow tool is so effective that the company brags that it can even detect orders before they're even filled!

If you're an options trader, this is the kind of information you need to be investing in. Why? Because the earlier you get into the market, the greater the potential of your trades will get.

But above all that, Black Box stocks is a community. It's home to live trade rooms where you can learn a lot from the professionals and experienced traders.

To be a part of this entire experience, though, you need to part with a subscription fee of $100 per month.

Pros

  • Fast and timely alerts
  • Straightforward pricing
  • Awesome customer support team
  • High-quality and lively chatroom
  • Can be a great source of newsfeed also
  • Ideal for high-frequency trading

Cons

  • You have to use the filters lest you're overloaded with alerts

3. Market Chameleon

Another scanner with a knack for detecting unusual activity in the options market is none other than Market Chameleon. Founded in 2017, Market Chameleon has grown in leaps and bounds to become one of the biggest names in the world of options trading.

And although their website looks a bit outdated, they're still a highly reliable source for quality alerts.

The unusual options activity scanner works by listing down equities whose options are experiencing major volume spikes. Ask any experienced trader out there and they'll tell you that good trading opportunities are normally characterized by high daily trading volumes.

And that's not all – to ensure that their alerts are as accurate as possible, the volume spikes are usually measured against the equity's average volume (90-day average). In other words, Market Chameleon digs into historical data so you don't have to.

To ensure that you never have to get overwhelmed by information, the developers behind this system provide you with a myriad of filters. These include Sector, Market Capitalization, % call OTM, Stock Price, and so forth.

Although there's a free trial available, it provides you with delayed data. As such, we'd suggest going for their Options Trader premium tier which goes for $69 per month.

Pros

  • Free trial available
  • Good customer support
  • System loads fast
  • Lots of filters available
  • Offers a myriad of strategies to try

Cons

  • Their website looks dated
  • Can be a little difficult for beginners to master

4. Benzinga Pro

If you're looking for an easy-to-use unusual options activity scanner, you've got to try Benzinga Pro. They sell their unusual activity tool as an add-on to the Benzinga Pro plan. The basic version of Benzinga Pro goes for 27 bucks a month while the Unusual Options Activity scanner goes for $28.

So, in total, we're talking about $55 per month at the very minimum. Unfortunately, there's no way to purchase this add-on alone, you have to be running an active Benzinga Pro plan to be allowed to use it.

Let's look at how it works…and well, when you activate it, it alerts you to large block trades typically ones traded near the bid. It also alerts you about option sweeps executed near the bid.

As you can imagine, these alerts always lead you to large and aggressive trades. Therefore, you get to swim with the big sharks. Normally, aggressive trades are an indication that someone somewhere is making huge bullish or bearish moves!

With the Benzinga unusual options activity scanner, you get to filter your alerts based on factors such as sector, watchlists, market cap, dividend yield, and so forth.

Pros

  • Highly customizable features
  • Easy to use
  • Reasonably priced (especially for existing Benzinga Pro users)
  • Lots of historical data provided
  • Great newsfeed

Cons

  • Not available as a standalone product
  • Only available to Benzinga Pro subscribers

5. OptionSonar

OptionSonar is to options traders what real sonars are to anglers. In a world full of opportunities, this system helps you zero-in on ones that you can easily profit from.

But how exactly does it work? The system runs on a proprietary algorithm that apparently has been trained for years to detect high potential trades. In fact, the system is so efficient that it even scours opportunities from the dark pool trading world.

Dark pool trading refers to the kind of trading that occurs away from the mainstream exchanges. In other words, this system has the ability to detect opportunities even before they're available to the wider public. And isn't that all we yearn for?

Another thing that OptionSonar is really good at is detecting sweep option trades. These are really large trades that are typically broken down into small lots that can be filled a lot quicker. These generally provide a very good opportunity for you to profit from.

What about the pricing? Well, you can get started for free although in that case, your data stream will be delayed by a couple of hours. If you want the front row seat, you're better off opting for one of their subscription plans.

Prices start from as low as $35 to as high as $109 per month. In fact, if the unusual options activity scan tool is all you need, the $35 plan will be just fine for you.

Pros

  • Quick summaries provided (at end of each day)
  • Available on desktop and mobile
  • You get email or SMS alerts
  • You can filter out data to avoid unnecessary alerts
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Email/SMS only available to premium subscribers
  • No feature to download the data

6. TrendSpider

Trendspider is renowned for its cutting-edge abilities in technical analysis. But did you know that they also have an unusual options activity scanner? This scanner is capable of tracking activity in real-time thereby detecting trades that are either aggressive or abnormally large right on the spot.

But as you probably know, tracking by itself is not enough. And so, Trendspider takes things a notch higher by visualizing the alerts with an easy-to-use scatterplot chart.

What's more, the algorithms running this system can track options volume and monitor expiration dates for you so you can solid decisions.

What's more? Trendspider has one of the best customer support teams in the game. You can get access to their Unusual Options Activity scanner as an add-on by subscribing to their Advanced package which costs $59.80 per month. Unfortunately, there's no way to purchase it as a standalone product.

Pros

  • Built-in filter tools
  • Free trial available
  • Free training sessions available
  • Relatively easy to use with a bit of training

Cons

  • There's a learning curve for beginners
  • Only usable on one browser at a time

7. InvestorsObserver

This is yet another one of the top-rated research platforms for options traders. Besides options, you can use it for crypto and stocks too. Therefore, if you're looking for an all-around tool, this is the one you really should consider.

If you want to keep tabs on any unusual activity happening in the world of options trading, the Option Trade Screener is all you need to keep your eyes on. This is more or less a search engine that you can use to interact with more than 10K possible options trades.

With it, you get to choose from seven possible options strategies along with thousands of trade ideas every trading day.

So, whether you're after covered calls, bearish diagonals, short puts, iron condors – you name it, InvestorObserver has got you covered.

And as if that's not enough, you also get a dedicated newsfeed for options under the Options News category. Plus, for your convenience, you can easily integrate your brokerage account here so you have an easier time opening and closing trades.

You can get started with as little as $19 per month if you opt for the annual package.

Pros

  • Awesome user interface
  • Highly reliable options alerts
  • Lots of features to simplify your analysis
  • Daily trading ideas provided
  • Affordably priced

Cons

  • Not a dedicated unusual options activity tool
  • Pricey if you opt for a monthly subscription

8. FDScanner

Known in full as the Financial Derivatives scanner, FDScanner is a tool that tracks over 10 million options at any given time. As an options-specific platform, FDScanner is probably the most effective tool for tracking unusual options activity right now.

And the best part? Their unusual activity scanner is available free of charge (although you get a lot more features when you register for 25 bucks a month).

So, how does this work? Well, first it retrieves unusual option behavior by analyzing the volumes of trades and then measures that against the open interest ratio.

Whenever the volume exceeds open interest, this tool detects that as a sign of high-potential new opportunities for traders.

This makes a lot of sense as whenever the number of new contracts exceeds the existing ones that could point to the possibility of something peculiar happening on an option. And as someone who needs to profit, that's sometimes all the information you need to know so you can narrow down your research.

Pros

  • Super easy to use
  • Analyzes 3000+ at any given time
  • A free plan is available
  • It's possible to download the data
  • High level of transparency

Cons

  • The free package offers delayed pricing
  • Some feel the data could be a lot more in-depth

Conclusion

When interest in an option suddenly rises, that's a sign that someone big somewhere knows something. Therefore, by investing in a system that helps you detect this, you'd effectively be opening up your world to infinite possibilities.

This article comprises a round-up of the 8 best unusual options activity scanners. These powerful tools can come in handy especially if you're a steadfast trader.