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Two of the most popular and long-standing investment advice websites are Zacks Investment Research and The Motley Fool. While both offer free content that’s worth checking out, their premium subscription services give you much more in-depth analysis and recommendations.
What are the differences between the two and how do they compare? Ultimately, which one is better for your needs?
Zacks and The Motley Fool have both been around for decades and have developed solid reputations as leading investment research and advice services. Although they share some similarities, their services differ in several ways.
Zacks’ main focus is providing independent research to give you a trading advantage. Using primarily quantitative analysis, their team of experts focuses on stocks, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Zacks is best for seasoned investors who want to combine their own research with Zacks’ proprietary tools.
The Motley Fool’s biggest strength is stock advice, although they also provide sound advice on mutual funds and ETFs. They use more fundamental analysis in giving you their recommendations. The Motley Fool is best for beginners or investors who want a hands-off approach to investment picks.
Are both equally reliable? According to many customer reviews we found online, The Motley Fool comes out on top. Overall, their customers share a better experience in The Motley Fool’s stock picks and advice. In contrast, many Zacks customers were less than enthusiastic about their investment performances based on Zacks’ recommendations.
Reliability & Reputation Winner: The Motley Fool
Both companies offer a wide variety of features, including the latest investing news, analyst reports, real-time market data, top investment picks and portfolio management. It’s difficult to choose a winner in this category because each has definite strengths, depending on what you’re looking for. Here are some of each company’s standout features.
You’ll want to sign up for Zacks Premium to get all of the robust features. Here are some of their most popular features.
- Proprietary mutual fund ranking system that covers nearly 19,000 mutual funds
- Zacks #1 Rank list — the top 5% of stocks with the most potential for outperforming the market (updated daily)
- Premium Stock Screens that filter by value, growth, momentum, income and more
- Focus List — a portfolio of 50 longer-term stocks to consider
- Earnings ESP (Expected Surprise Prediction) Filter — find stocks that Zacks analysts think will beat the Wall Street expectations (good for short-term traders)
- Extensive equity research reports
Zacks also has two higher-tier subscriptions. Their Investor Collection (meant for long-term investors) comes with everything in Premium plus real-time buy and sell signals and their Stocks Under $10 strategy. Zacks Ultimate includes access to everything plus exclusive stock picks and analysis.
The Motley Fool
The Motley Fool offers 20+ different subscription services that involve everything from retirement guidance to investing in high-growth stocks or international markets. Each service is tailored to specific goals you want to achieve through investing. Their most popular service, by far, is The Stock Advisor.
Here are some of its features:
- Two new stock picks per month
- Weekly advice about the best 10 timely buys for hot-stock commodities
- Starter stock recommendations for newbies
- 4-8 email newsletters per month with new recommendations, the latest stock news and their expert analysis
- Favorites and Scorecard features, so you can keep track of stocks you’re keeping an eye on
- Detailed tables, charts and reports on the latest stock trends, specific industries to focus on, company information and more
- Highly active discussion boards, which include novice and seasoned investors who share a wide variety of advice
While Zacks’ tools are arguably more robust than The Motley Fool’s, you have to filter through more information to narrow down the best stock picks, for example. If you’re new to investing or don’t want to spend hours sifting through analysis, The Motley Fool is the way to go. They do the legwork for you.
Zacks is certainly worth diving into if you want to get down and dirty with your investment research. While more complicated for newbies, their tools can offer you some invaluable advice — it just takes a bit longer to get there.
Ease Of Use Winner: The Motley Fool
You can contact both companies’ member services departments during normal work hours, Monday through Friday. They offer phone and email support. When it comes to the quality of support, The Motley Fool has the edge. Overall, Motley Fool customers seem pleased with their support. However, we found several complaints about Zacks that it’s difficult to reach anyone by phone.
Customer Service Winner: The Motley Fool
While both sites offer some free content, The Motley Fool gives you more for free — trending news, investing articles, a stock tracker, online communities, assistance finding a broker, retirement resources, podcasts and more.
Zacks’ free content includes a daily newsletter, some free articles, a basic portfolio tracker, some rankings for stocks, mutual funds and ETFs and basic research content, including charts, quotes and news.
As you’ll see from their pricing, The Motley Fool is also a more affordable option.
The Motley Fool Pricing
They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee with all of their subscription options.
- Stock Advisor: $99/year
- Rule Your Retirement: $149/year
- Rule Breakers: $299/year
- View all subscription options
Zacks offers a 30-day free trial and a 90-day money-back guarantee.
- Premium: $249/year
- Investor Collection: $495/year or $59 monthly
- Ultimate: $2,995/year or $299 monthly
- View all subscription options
Value Winner: The Motley Fool
What’s The Verdict?
While Zacks and The Motley Fool offer distinct enough services that you could go with both to cover most, if not all, of your investing research needs. However, there is some overlap with the two, so if you have to choose just one, we’d recommend The Motley Fool over Zacks. They’re a better overall value and simpler to use. Learn more in our in-depth Motley Fool review.
Overall Winner: The Motley Fool
The Motley Fool and Zacks aren’t the only major players in online investment advice and research. To see alternatives, check out our reviews of the best investment advice websites, which compare the top players and also give you some recommendations on where to get the best investment news online.
What type of investment advice are you looking for?
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