Is there some "thumb rule" on how to choose the width of candlestick bars for analysis in relation to the time period for which a stock or currency pair is being analyzed? Obviously, minute bars do not make much sense in a 1-year chart, and hourly bars make even less sense for day-trading, but are there more specific "best practices"? I'm particularly interested in what is typically used in forex day-trading.

There's a lot of web pages and YouTube videos talking about moving averages and what not, but, surprisingly, I failed to find an answer to what seems quite a basic question.

3 Answers 3


Very common question. There is no any rule of thumb. This solely depends on your trading strategy. I will share my own experience. My day starts with the daily chart, if I have a signal, either I open my position or I check 30 minute chart to make sure that it won't go too much against my trade. and I open my position. If I am waiting for the signal the minimum timeframe is 4 hours for me. I use 30 minutes to find the best time to enter the market. So, this is totally something special for my trading strategy, that is why those things can change based on the different strategies. I also check weekly and monthly charts to confirm trend. I have been busy with forex since 2007 and I am a verified investor on etoro

At the end, I never use 1,5,15,60 minute charts as they are against my strategy.

  • Thanks for the answer. One point is confusing for me, though. When you mention 'X-minute chart', do you mean 'a chart with bar width = X' or 'a chart, which is X wide'?
    – badbishop
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 13:31
  • It simply means the price action between those x minutes timeframe. so 5-minute chart means the price action within that 5 minute. If you check the graph you will see that it is labeled as 10:00-10:05, 10:05-10:10 and so in in 5 -minute chart.
    – Sunuba
    Commented May 7, 2017 at 6:24

You could theoretically use any time period unit, but 1 minute and 30 minute seem to be the most common and useful. Especially for active traders.

This also has the added advantage of giving you useful insight into the trade volumes throughout the day; assuming that is also included on the chart. I think most include that as a bar chart across the bottom.

Here is a great example for crude oil on dailyfx: https://www.dailyfx.com/crude-oil

Notice that the chart has time options at the top left which include 1 minute, 30 minutes, 1 hour, and 1 day.


There's no rule of thumb but the purpose of candlesticks of any kind (fixed, volume weighted etc.) is to display the intra-period price action. So if you'd fit 3 years worth of 1 minute bars on a chart, candlesticks become useless and you might as well use a line chart.

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