Best stocks and shares ISA in the UK

We've analysed the stocks and shares ISA from the major share trading providers so you can quickly see the stand-outs.

BEST FOR

Ethical investing

Interactive investor top pick image

A stocks and shares individual savings account (ISA) is effectively a wrapper for an investment account that lets you use your annual ISA allowance. This means that you can invest up to £20,000 in each tax year without paying any capital gains tax on your profits. Think of it like a (completely legal) invisibility cloak for up to £20,000 of your investments that hide it from Mr. Tax Man.

You can divide your ISA allowance into a few different types of ISA, including the lifetime ISA, a cash ISA and, if you opened one before they stopped opening new accounts, a help to buy ISA. You can only pay into one of each type of ISA in each tax year.

We’ve analysed the investment platforms we’ve reviewed on our site and found the 3 best stocks and shares ISAs for buying stocks and the 3 best stocks and shares ISAs for robo-advice.

Stock trading vs robo-advice: What’s the difference?

Robo-advice is a pretty strange term, but it’s actually pretty accurate. Essentially, a robo-advisor is a platform that uses basic information about you and your investment goals to invest on your behalf — it’s mostly computer generated and autonomous, hence “robo”. You choose a portfolio — often based on how you feel about risk — deposit your money and the provider does all the work for you. It usually does this with managed portfolios — which is a portfolio of investments that’s managed by a professional.

Stock trading is a lot more hands on. You can choose to invest in funds or exchange-traded funds, which are baskets of stocks, or you can choose specific investments. This is what you’re looking for if you’ve got a specific company in mind.

Finder’s best stocks and shares ISAs in the UK 2021

Here are our top picks for stocks and shares ISAs in the UK for both share trading and robo-advice.

Best ISAs for stock trading:

  • Freetrade: Cheapest stocks and shares ISA
  • IG: Best for US shares
  • Hargreaves Lansdown: Best for training resources

Best ISAs for ready made portfolios:

  • InvestEngine: Cheapest ready-made stocks and shares ISA
  • Nutmeg: Best for range of portfolios
  • interactive investor: Best for ethical investing

Best ISAs for stock trading

Stock trading ISAs are for investors that want to build their own portfolio. We’ve found the best for 3 different categories of stock trading ISA: the cheapest, the best ISA for US shares and the best ISA for training resources.

To find the cheapest, we looked at several different trading costs, including the cost per trade for both regular and one off investments, the cost of a trade over the phone, any platform charges, foreign exchange fees and the minimum deposit required to open the account.

A massive 55.9% of stocks in the world belong to the UK, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got a stocks and shares ISA that lets you invest in them. To find the best ISA for US shares we looked at the features and fees of trading US stocks, including hwo you’d submit your W-8BEN form, how much it costs and what stock exchanges are available.

Nobody is born an investment expert. If you’re just starting out with buying stocks, you might want a provider that teaches you the ropes. We looked at what learning resources are available to investors and whether they have demo accounts for you to try them out first.

Understand and compare the best stocks and shares ISA companies

Cheapest stocks and shares ISA: Freetrade

Freetrade stocks and shares ISA
Finder score
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
We chose the Freetrade stocks and share ISA as our top pick because:
  • Freetrade lets you invest in an ISA for £3 per month. All trades are free.
  • The app is easy to navigate and understand and buying stocks is a breeze
  • You get a free share when you sign up with our link.

Need to know: You have a slightly limited selection of stocks available with Freetrade’s free and ISA accounts, but you’d have access to all the main ones. You can find out on its website which stocks are for Freetrade Plus subscribers only.

Read our review of Freetrade.

Understand and compare the best stocks and shares ISA companies

Best for US shares: IG

IG Share Dealing ISA
Finder score
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
We chose IG’s stocks and share ISA as our top pick because:
  • You can get free trades on US shares when you trade 3 or more times in the previous month.
  • You can submit your W-8BEN form to IG electronically.
  • IG has a great range of US and international stocks available to invest in.

Need to know: If you plan to make 3 trades per month to get commission free trades on US stocks, you’ll need to pay for your first month of trades.

Read our review of IG.

Understand and compare the best stocks and shares ISA companies

Best for training resources: Hargreaves Lansdown

Hargreaves Lansdown stocks and shares ISA
Finder score
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
We chose Hargreaves Lansdown’s stocks and share ISA as our top pick because:
  • It has fantastic learning resources for beginners.
  • You can invest in global stocks, including some of the largest stock exchanges.
  • Hargreaves Lansdown has a demo account to help you learn how to trade before you get started.

Need to know: Trades are £11.95 each, but this can be reduced to £5.95 if you trade regularly.

Read our review of Hargreaves Lansdown.

Best ISAs for ready made portfolios

Ready-made options might be a good idea for you if you don’t really know what you fancy investing in but you’d like to give investing a go. We’ve found the best for 3 different categories: cheapest, best for its range if portfolios and best for ethical investing. To find the cheapest, we compared the fees to trade up to £10,000 with each of the robo-advisors that we’ve reviewed.

Even when you’re going with a ready-made portfolio, it’s nice to get some choice. To find the best range of portfolios we looked at how many portfolios each provider has, including the number of risk profiles available for each one.

Ethical investing is on the rise — more people want to make an impact on the planet with their investments. To find the best for ethical investing, we compared the features and fees of providers that have ethical options available.

Understand and compare the best stocks and shares ISA companies

Cheapest ready-made stocks and shares ISA: InvestEngine

InvestEngine stocks and shares ISA
Finder score
★★★★★
We chose InvestEngine’s stocks and share ISA as our top pick because:
  • It’s the cheapest provider to use for investments of up to £10,000.
  • Has 13 portfolios available to invest in.
  • investEngine asks you some questions to help you choose the right portfolio for you.

Need to know: If you have more than £10,000 to invest, you might find a cheaper provider..

Read our review of InvestEngine.

Understand and compare the best stocks and shares ISA companies

Best stocks and shares ISA for its range of portfolios: Nutmeg

Nutmeg stocks and shares ISA
Finder score
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
We chose the Nutmeg stocks and share ISA as our top pick because:
  • Nutmeg has 30 different portfolios to choose between.
  • Ethical choices available to invest in.
  • Easy to set up and use.

Need to know: Nutmeg’s fees aren’t the lowest available on the market.

Read our review of Nutmeg.

Understand and compare the best stocks and shares ISA companies

Best stocks and shares ISA for ethical investing: interactive investor

interactive investor stocks and shares ISA
Finder score
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
We chose the interactive investor stocks and share ISA as our top pick because:
  • You can choose between interactive investor’s 3 quick start funds
  • Ethical choices available to invest in.
  • You can use the same account to try out buying and selling individual stocks, too.

Need to know: interactive investor charges flat fees, so it might not be the cheapest option for smaller amounts.

Read our review of interactive investor.

How to choose the best stocks and shares ISA

There are loads of different things that you should consider when choosing the best stocks and shares ISA for you, such as:

  • How much does it cost? Work out the fee based on how much you plan on investing — many providers have calculators that can help with this.
  • Do you want ready-made or DIY? DIY providers tend to cost less, but ready-made options are convenient and managed by a pro.
  • How easy is it to use? Some platforms are designed for more experienced investors, so might be quite complicated and difficult to use. Try taking a look at what the app looks like, or try a demo account.
  • Do you want educational tools? Some providers have tools available to help you learn how to invest – consider whether these will be useful for you.
  • Do you want to invest ethically? Ethical investing is very popular at the moment. Consider whether you’re looking for a ready-made option that has ethical choices.

Bottom line

There isn’t one single best stocks and shares ISA — the best one is the one that suits you best out of the ones available to you. Make sure to take a look at the fees involved and the type of investing you fancy – whether that’s do it for you ISAs or do it yourself ISAs.

A stocks and shares ISA is a great way to invest without paying any tax on your profits. If you don’t have your investments in an ISA, you might have to pay tax on your profits over £12,300.

Frequently asked questions


Warning: the value of investments can fall as well as rise, and you may get back less than you invested. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. A stocks and shares ISA may not be right for everyone and tax rules may change in the future. If you are unsure if an ISA is the right choice for you, please seek independent financial advice.

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