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Learn to Trade CFDs, Learn to Trade Forex, Learn to Trade Shares | March 16, 2023

How to Choose a Forex Robot (Expert Advisor) in 5 Steps

Choosing a good forex robot (expert advisor) takes time and effort and should not be rushed – this is our five-step guide to help you along the path towards a possible new source of passive income.

The decision to use a forex robot (expert advisor) to trade the forex markets automatically makes sense for those who do not have the time to trade themselves or who have decided trading manually is not for them.

Forex robots do not require any knowledge of forex or trading but choosing an expert advisor is not an easy task. Those who think it will tend to make several mistakes before finding the right one or giving up the search. It goes without saying that picking the wrong robot can lead to losing money!

We appreciate your sense of urgency upon discovering this new way to trade the financial markets- so we have compiled the following five steps that should be considered while choosing an expert advisor:

Step 1: Research 

Today’s internet is full of forex robot websites, making it a daunting task for a novice or a pro trader to decide which one is the best. Even a simple google “best forex robot” search provides 6,5 million results in 0.63 seconds.

The good news is that several legitimate forex robots can be found online. The critical question is how to find them. 

NOTE: We are not in a position to directly recommend forex robots or the websites that list them – Remember Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Our goal is for you to learn how to pick EAs yourself.

There are two shortcuts to researching MT4 EAs:

  1. Metaquotes

The company that runs the Metatrader 4 platform has extensive online forums in which you can pick free or paid Expert Advisors – or hire a programmer to code your own trading system.

Login to your KeyToMarkets MT4 platform and press CTRL+T to view the ‘Terminal’ and choose the ‘Code Base’ tab to scroll and find different custom indicators and EAs.

The Metaquotes website is the following:

  1. Google search 

Online search results may contain affiliate links and sponsored content so be wary of conflicts of interest but with enough research, you will be able to distinguish where the quality information lies. 

Search for a keyword or sentence that will get you several lists of the best forex robots. 

Thereafter, the process is easy – copy and paste the listed expert advisors on google from the first all the way down and compare the number of search results between them. 

Then add the forex robots with the most results in a list for your consideration.

  1. Reputable Communities

This process does not use the google search engine, but it narrows down the list of forex robots to ones that forex traders most follow or discuss on reputable trading communities. 

Although there are more than a dozen of highly respected communities, such as forex peace army, forex factory, and others, there is only one websites you will ever need to visit 

Myfxbook: search for “most followed systems” and “most discussed systems”.

MyFXBook is a great resource and can be tied directly to your Key To Markets account. The information there will get you off to a good start but you will always have to do a little bit more research to validate what you find.

Here’s where the next step comes in.

Step 2: Verify

You may not be aware but the performance of expert advisors can be manipulated. The sellers of these EAs create fake track records to dupe unknowing traders into buying their systems. This is what we will try to help you avoid.

Myfxbook employs a feature to verify trading records and privileges for providers who want to, well… be verified. A forex robot with fully verified records and privileges decreases the probability of a scam dramatically.

However, as an extra degree of caution, it’s best to check that the forex robot runs on a ‘real’ live account and not on a demo. The EA would also ideally be running on a reputable and certainly regulated forex broker, such as Key To Markets.

Example track record on MyFXBook

In addition, a background check of the company or person behind the forex robot is always recommended (you will need to log in to myfxbook to see the publisher of the expert advisor).

Once you verify that the expert advisor and people behind it are legitimate, it’s time to start digging into the exciting trading performance statistics. 

Step 3: Analyse

Before deciding whether an expert advisor is good or not, you should be able to first understand why. 

What are the important statistics for an automated trading system and what do they mean? 

Overall, people look at the 

  1. Profit/Loss
  2. Drawdown, and 
  3. Monthly return 

However, for those looking for robustness, attention should be paid to the 

  1. Total trades, 
  2. Win ratio, 
  3. Profit factor, and 
  4. Shape ratio.

EA statistics in MyFXBook


What statistics make for a good expert advisor is partly in the eye of the beholder.

Making a monthly return of 20% to 30% is on offer but clearly involves taking the extra risk to receive these returns. Traders can reduce account balance volatility (and sleepless nights!) by targeting systems with lower P&Ls.

Most people start to get worried when an account balance drops 20% from its high. This is known as the maximum equity drawdown. Allowing bigger drawdowns increases the chance of higher returns but also increases the chance of a margin call.

The system really needs to have placed more than 100 trades per year for the ‘population’ of trades to be enough to make a clear conclusion that it is profitable.

Other rules of thumb include a profit factor between 1.5 and 2.5, a win ratio between 55% to 75%, and a Sharpe ratio as close to or above 1.

It is common sense that a forex robot that has traded live for less than six months is riskier than one that has been trading for years, regardless of its performance. An expert advisor that has made it through more ups and downs and market environments has proved its durability through time. Try to avoid the trading system with ‘the best statistics’ but no history to back it up.

After you analyse the advanced statistics, it is ‘you’ time.

Step 4: Match

A good strategy is to sit down and ask yourself to set minimum and maximum limits for each of the criteria/statistics seen above. That will enable you to eliminate certain trading systems and filter down to ones that match your objectives / personality. 

Just like when deciding to open a forex trading account – a trader must additionally consider how much capital (money) they have available and how much they are willing to risk

All trading robots are characterised by their strategy, which most of the time is protected by proprietary rights, whereas choosing one is based on your risk profile compared to what the expert advisor has to offer. 

For example, some people like scalping trades, while others don’t. As we said, realistically most people don’t like to see their account balance drop by more than 20% but some are happy to risk it all for high returns. Which cohort do you belong to?

Step 5: Backtest

Backtesting a forex robot is a little different from the process of backtesting a trading strategy.

The purpose of both is to use historical data to check performance. In the case of the EA, the creator will advertise the performance – we just want to do our due diligence and test for ourselves. 

It might be that without owning the expert advisor, the only way to perform this last and crucial step is to request a limited version of the forex robot from the provider.

Matching your backtest results to the provider’s performance will be complicated by things like spreads and slippage but the overall result should be the same. Once the demo results show a 90%+ match with the advertised performance, you have clearance to choose your robust expert advisor.

After choosing your forex robot, and right before investing all your hard-earned capital, there is the last step to take.


Getting Started: Live Test

The only conclusive way to know how a forex trading robot works are by letting it run in a live trading account.

For the first test of an EA, it is recommended to run it on a separate account from any other EAs or manual trading you are doing. 

The idea is to invest an amount of money that gives the robot room to move without trades being liquidated but not too much in case the EA fails to perform. Forward Testing for a good six months should offer enough comfort before adding more capital.

Key To Markets prioritises creating the ideal environment for automated trading through the MT4 trading platform. All live accounts have free access to a Free VPS Service.


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