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Difference between Market Order and Limit Order

Are you eager to improve your trading skills?  As we dig deeper into the trading world, we need to understand stock orders. These orders define how we buy and sell stocks, which shapes our experience in the financial markets. Although there are many other types of orders, market and limit orders are the two most common types.

Market orders execute quickly at the current market price, resulting in a speedy but uncertain execution. Limit orders enable price control, but they only execute at a set price or better, which may take longer. Market orders are most suitable for quick execution, whereas limit orders provide control but may not execute if the market does not match the desired price.

In this article, we’ll break down market orders and limit orders in a simplified manner, providing you with an advantage in your trading journey.

What is market Order?

Market orders provide simplicity and a guaranteed fill for liquid equities because they execute instantly at the going rate.

A market order is like ordering a pizza – you get it at the current market price. It’s quick and guaranteed, but you might pay a bit more than expected.

Example: Suppose you want to buy shares of a popular tech company, and its current market price is $100 per share. You place a market order to buy 100 shares of the company at the current market price.

Advantages Of Market Order

  • Quick execution: Market orders are executed immediately, ensuring you get the shares without delay.
  • Suitable for fast-moving markets or when timing is crucial.

Disadvantages Of Market Order

  • Price risk: The actual execution price may vary slightly from the quoted market price, especially in highly volatile markets, potentially resulting in higher costs.

What is a limit order?

Limit orders are preferred by those who are price purists. They allow you to decide how much you’re willing to buy or sell for. This protects you from adverse market changes and gives you more control over execution prices. However, there is no assurance that the execution will happen instantly, and under certain circumstances, it may take longer, which makes it less appropriate for extremely volatile markets.

A limit order is like setting a budget for your shopping. You specify the price you’re willing to pay, and it’s executed when the market reaches that level. It gives you control but may take some time to fill.

Example: You believe that a stock is overvalued at its current market price of $150 per share, but you are willing to buy it at $140 per share. You place a limit order to purchase 100 shares of the stock at $140 per share.

Advantages of Limit Order

  • Price control: You specify the exact price you are willing to buy or sell, ensuring you get the desired price.
  • Cost management: Helps in avoiding unfavorable price changes and controlling your expenses.

Disadvantages of Limit Order

  • Timing: Limit orders may not be executed if the market does not reach the specified price, which could result in missed opportunities.
  • Slower execution: They may take time to fill, as the market needs to reach your set price, so they are not suitable for fast-moving markets.

These examples and their advantages and disadvantages show how market orders and limit orders work in different trading scenarios. Traders must consider their goals, market conditions, and risk tolerance when choosing between these order types.

When to use market order and limit order?

Market orders

You use market order when you need to move quickly, such as when trading liquid equities or grabbing openings.

Limit orders

You use limit order when exact price control is critical. Their proficiency in risk management, particularly with stop-limit orders, makes them excellent choices for entering or departing at predetermined levels.

Difference between Market Order and Limit Order

AspectsMarket OrderLimit Order
ExecutionExecutes immediately at the current market price.Executes only when the market reaches the specified price.
Price ControlNo price control; the trade occurs at the prevailing market price.Offers price control by specifying the desired price for buying or selling.
Guaranteed ExecutionGuaranteed execution, but not guaranteed price.Execution is only guaranteed if the market reaches the specified price.
SpeedQuick execution.May take time to execute if the specified price isn't met.
Use CaseIdeal when timing is more crucial than price.Perfect for those who want to control the price at which they buy or sell.
RiskMay carry more price risk due to immediate execution.Lower price risk but may not execute if the specified price isn't reached.
CostThis may result in slightly higher costs due to potential price slippage.This may lead to lower costs if the specified price is favorable.
FlexibilityLess price flexibility as you take the current market price.Greater price flexibility as you set the price you are willing to accept.

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What is a market order, and when should I use it in trading?

 A market order is an instruction to buy or sell a security at the current market price. It’s ideal when you want quick execution, especially when timing is more critical than price.

When is it best to use a limit order in trading?

A limit order is used when you want to control the price at which you buy or sell a security. It’s ideal for traders who have specific price points in mind and are willing to wait for the market to reach those levels.

What are the key advantages of a market order? 

Market orders offer guaranteed execution and are typically faster. They’re suitable when immediate execution is a priority, such as when reacting to breaking news or rapidly changing market conditions.

What are the main benefits of using a limit order?

Limit orders provide price control, allowing traders to specify the exact price at which they want to enter or exit a position. This helps in managing costs and avoiding unfavorable price changes.

Are there any risks associated with market and limit orders? 

Market orders may carry more price risk due to immediate execution, while limit orders may not execute if the specified price is not reached, potentially resulting in missed opportunities. It’s essential to consider these factors when choosing the order type.


Selecting between Limit and Market orders is crucial. Limit orders provide precision at the possible cost of delayed execution, whereas market orders offer speed at the expense of control. Whether you choose quick market moves or deliberate price management, your approach is shaped by your decision. Make sure your selections are in line with your objectives and risk tolerance. Cheers to your trading!

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