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Traders use a risk-reward ratio calculator to assess the potential gains of their trades before execution. Using a risk-reward calculator also enables traders to identify high-probability opportunities and avoid excessive risk. Integrating a risk-reward ratio calculator into trading strategies strengthens trade accuracy, consistency, and overall trading performance.

Let’s take a look at how to use a risk-reward calculator.


What is a risk-reward calculator?

A risk-reward calculator is used by forex traders to assess the potential gains of a trade relative to the risk involved. It helps traders determine the placement of stop-loss and take-profit levels based on their trading strategy

The calculator requires an entry price, stop-loss level, and take-profit level. Once these parameters are entered, it calculates the risk-to-reward ratio, which is the ratio of potential gain to potential loss for a given trade. This ratio is crucial for traders to evaluate whether a trade is worth taking based on their risk tolerance and gain targets. 

The formula is –

Risk-reward Ratio = Potential Reward / Risk


Strategies to use with a risk-reward calculator 

Trend following strategy

Trend following strategies are compatible with the risk-reward ratio as they aim to maximize gains while minimizing losses. By entering positions aligned with strong trends and using tight stop-loss orders, traders ensure their potential losses are limited.

Simultaneously, targeting reward potentials that exceed the risk taken ensures a favorable risk-reward ratio. This approach allows traders to objectively assess the potential gains of a trade before entering it. Knowing that their potential reward outweighs the risk, traders can confidently place trades, knowing they have a higher probability of trade accuracy.

Breakout trading strategy

Breakout trading strategies work well with the risk-reward ratio by focusing on significant price movements beyond key levels of support or resistance. Traders utilize stop-loss orders to manage risk, ensuring potential losses are contained if the breakout fails. 

By targeting substantial price movements beyond the breakout point, traders align their gain potential with the risk taken, thus maintaining a favorable risk-reward ratio. This approach enables traders to identify high-probability breakout opportunities and execute trades with confidence, knowing that the potential reward justifies the risk involved.

Swing trading strategy

Swing trading strategies maintain a balanced risk-reward ratio by capturing short- to medium-term price movements within established trends. Traders implement stop-loss orders to manage risk, protecting their capital from significant losses. 

Moreover, by aligning gain targets with acceptable levels of risk, swing traders ensure a favorable risk-reward ratio for each trade. This disciplined approach enables traders to assess the potential risk and reward of swing trades accurately, facilitating informed decision-making and helping them place trades accurately.


Using a risk-reward calculator: A step-wise guide

    1. Determine the entry point: Identify the price at which the trader entered the trade. This is the price at which they placed their long or short order.
    2. Set the stop-loss level: Decide on the price level at which the trader will exit the trade to limit the losses if the market moves against them. The stop-loss level is typically placed below the entry point for a long trade and above the entry point for a short trade.
    3. Determine the take-profit level: Choose the price level at which the trader will exit the trade to take gains  if the market moves in their favor. The take-profit level is usually set above the entry point for a long trade and below for a short trade.
    4. Calculate the risk: Measure the distance between the entry point and the stop-loss level. This is the amount the trader is willing to risk on the trade.
    5. Calculate the reward: Calculate the distance between the entry point and the take-profit level. This is the potential gain traders can make on the trade.
    6. Determine the risk-reward ratio: Divide the potential reward by the risk amount. For example, if the potential reward is $2 and the trader is risking $1, the risk-reward ratio would be 2:1.
    7. Evaluate risk tolerance: It is essential to consider risk tolerance and trading strategy when assessing the risk-reward ratio. The trader should ensure that the calculated ratio aligns with their risk management principles and financial objectives.
    8. Calculate the ratio: A risk-reward ratio greater than 1:1 indicates that the potential reward outweighs the risk, making it a potentially gaining trade. Traders often aim for risk-reward ratios of 2:1 or higher to ensure that winning trades compensate for losing trades over time.
    9. Record and analyze results: After executing the trade, record the outcome, including the actual gain or loss incurred. Analyze the results to identify patterns or areas for improvement in the trading strategy, which will help refine the approach for future trades.


Combining the risk-reward ratio with qualitative analysis 

The risk-reward ratio promotes disciplined decision-making and risk management. However, over-reliance on the risk-reward ratio can lead to missed opportunities or excessively conservative trading strategies, hindering potential returns. 

Strict adherence to the ratio may also overlook qualitative factors and market dynamics, potentially limiting adaptability and innovation in trading strategies. Thus, use of the risk-reward ratio alongside qualitative analysis is essential for optimal trading outcomes.


Disclaimer: All material published on our website is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered personal advice or recommendation. As margin FX/CFDs are highly leveraged products, your gains and losses are magnified, and you could lose substantially more than your initial deposit. Investing in margin FX/CFDs does not give you any entitlements or rights to the underlying assets (e.g. the right to receive dividend payments). CFDs carry a high risk of investment loss.

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