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What is the Difference Between a Market and a Limit Order?

When trying to place an order on a cryptocurrency exchange, you can choose between a so-called market order and a limit order. There are also more advanced order types, but in this article we want to focus only on market and limit orders. In this post, you will learn what the differences are. Choosing the right order type is critical, as there are crucial differences that everybody who is investing or trading should be familiar with before starting to trade.



What is a market order?

A market order is an order to buy or sell a cryptocurrency or other asset at the best available price in the market. Market orders are typically used when the trader wants to buy or sell as quickly as possible, and is willing to accept the current market price for the asset.

When you place a market order, the order is sent to the exchange where the coin or asset is traded. The exchange then matches your order with the best available offer to buy or sell the asset. If you are placing a buy order, the order will be filled at the lowest ask price, and if you are placing a sell order, the order will be filled at the highest bid price.

Market orders are often used for assets that are highly liquid, meaning that there are a lot of buyers and sellers in the market, and the asset's price is stable. However, they can also be used in less liquid markets, although in these cases the trader may have to accept a worse price in order to get the order filled.

One disadvantage of market orders is that they may incur higher fees than limit orders, as they require more processing and may involve more complex trades. Additionally, because market orders are filled at the best available price, you may end up paying more for an asset than you would with a limit order.


There are a few situations in which you might use a market order:

  1. When you want to buy or sell as quickly as possible: If you need to buy or sell immediately, a market order is the best choice, as it will be executed immediately at the best available price.

  2. When you don't mind paying a higher price: Because market orders are filled at the best available price, you may end up paying more for an asset than you would with a limit order. If you don't mind paying a higher price in exchange for faster execution, a market order may be a good choice.

  3. When you want to buy or sell a large quantity of an asset: If you are buying or selling a large quantity, it may be difficult to do so at a specific price using a limit order. In this case, a market order may be the best choice to ensure that your trade is executed promptly.

  4. When the asset's price is fluctuating rapidly: In a rapidly moving market, a limit order may not be filled at the desired price, or may not be filled at all. A market order ensures that your trade is executed as soon as possible, even if the price has moved away from your limit price.



What is a limit order?

A limit order is an order to buy or sell a cryptocurrency or other asset at a specific price or better. Limit orders allow the trader to specify the price at which they are willing to buy or sell, and the trade will only be executed if the market price reaches the specified limit price or better.

For example, if you place a buy limit order at $50, your order will only be filled if the asset's price falls to $50 or lower. If the price does not reach $50, the order will not be filled and will remain active until it is either cancelled or the specified time period has expired.

Limit orders are often used by traders who want to buy or sell at a specific price, and are willing to wait for the market to reach that price before executing the trade. They can be useful for traders who are trying to take advantage of small price movements or who want to limit their potential losses or gains.

One advantage of limit orders is that they give the trader more control over the price at which their trade is executed. However, they may take longer to be filled than market orders, and there is no guarantee that the trade will be executed at all. Limit orders may also incur lower fees than market orders, as they involve simpler trades and require less processing.


There are a few situations in which you might use a limit order:

  1. When you want to buy or sell an asset at a specific price: If you have a specific price in mind at which you want to buy or sell a security, you can use a limit order to ensure that your trade is only executed at that price or better.

  2. When you want to minimize your potential losses or gains: By setting a limit price, you can limit your potential losses (if you are selling) or gains (if you are buying) on a trade.

  3. When you want to take advantage of small price movements: If you are trying to take advantage of small price movements, you can use a limit order to specify a narrow price range in which you are willing to buy or sell.

  4. When you don't need the trade to be executed immediately: If you don't need the trade to be executed immediately, you can use a limit order to wait for the market to reach your desired price before executing the trade.

  5. When you are trading a security with low liquidity: In a less liquid market, it may be more difficult to get a trade executed at a specific price using a market order. In this case, you can use a limit order to specify the price at which you are willing to trade and wait for the order to be filled.


Are market orders or limit orders the best choice?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether market orders or limit orders are better, as the right choice depends on the individual trader's goals and the specific circumstances of the trade.

Here are a few factors to consider when deciding between a market order and a limit order:

  • Speed of execution: If you need to buy or sell as quickly as possible, a market order is the best choice, as it will be executed immediately at the best available price. Limit orders, on the other hand, may take longer to be filled, as they will only be executed if the market price reaches the specified limit price or better.

  • Price: If you are willing to pay a higher price in exchange for faster execution, a market order may be the best choice. If you want to ensure that you pay a specific price or better, a limit order is a better option.

  • Control: Limit orders give you more control over the price at which your trade is executed, while market orders offer less control but faster execution.

  • Fees: Market orders may incur higher fees than limit orders, as they require more processing and may involve more complex trades.

Ultimately, the best choice between a market order and a limit order depends on your specific trading goals and the circumstances of the trade. It may be helpful to consider your priorities and the trade-offs between speed, price, control, and fees when deciding which type of order to use.


How to place a market or limit order?

If you like to find out more about placing market or limit orders, feel free to check our free tutorial on Youtube about how to place market and limit orders on Bybit. Bybit is a cryptocurrency exchange that offers spot and futures trading for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies. Bybit offers a number of features to its users, including a high-performance trading platform, low fees, and fast order execution. It also provides educational resources and customer support to help traders make informed trading decisions.



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