Forex trading allows you to speculate on the ups and downs of currency pairs. While it presents opportunities to profit, it also comes with risks that require careful management. An essential tool in every trader’s belt is the limit order – a simple yet powerful way to control risk and maximize profits.

In forex, a limit order is an instruction you give to your broker to buy or sell a currency pair at a specified price. More than just a way to enter and exit trades, limit orders can be used defensively and strategically in various situations. This comprehensive guide will teach you how to fully utilize limit orders in your trading plan.

What is a Limit Order?

A limit order is a pending order that instructs your broker to execute a trade only if the market reaches a price specified by you. It ensures that you never end up paying more than your specified limit price when buying or receiving less than that price when selling.

For example, if EUR/USD is trading at 1.1250/1.1252 and you want to buy when it falls to 1.1230, you can place a limit order to buy EUR/USD at 1.1230. This order will only be executed if the pair drops to your specified limit price.

The alternative is a market order which buys or sells at the current market price instead of a pre-set limit. Limit orders give you tighter control over entry prices.

How Limit Orders Work

When you place a limit order, it will remain pending until the market price reaches your specified level. Only then will it be executed at the limit price or better. If the limit is never reached, the order will not be filled.

There are two types of limit orders:

Buy Limit

A buy limit order is placed below the current market price and is used to buy dips.

For example, if EUR/USD is trading at 1.1250/1.1252, and you place a buy limit order at 1.1230, you aim to buy if the price falls to 1.1230. The order becomes active only when the ask price reaches your limit price.

Sell Limit

A sell limit order is placed above the current market price and is used to sell rallies.

If EUR/USD is trading at 1.1250/1.1252 and you place a sell limit at 1.1270, you intend to sell if the price rises to 1.1270. The order is triggered only when the bid price reaches your limit.

In both cases, the limit order ensures you never pay more or receive less than your specified limit price.

Why Use Limit Orders?

Limit orders give you control over the entry price and avoid slippage that can occur with market orders. Here are some key benefits of using limit orders:

Precision Entry Control

Limit orders allow you to specify your desired entry price precisely. This helps execute trades at optimal levels as per your trading plan.

Avoid Negative Slippage

Slippage with market orders can instantly put your trade at a loss. Limit orders reduce this risk by avoiding unwanted price swings beyond your specified limit.

Trade Pullbacks & Bounces

Limits are ideal for trading retracements and technical levels. Set limits at support, resistance, moving averages etc. to enter on bounces.

Maintain Discipline

They enforce patience and discipline by preventing chasing or panic buying/selling. You wait for your price instead of reacting to the market.

Risk Management

Pre-set limits ensure you don’t overpay when buying or undersell in panic. This prevents losses from worse entry prices.

Passive Execution

Limit orders allow hands-free execution of your strategy. Just set the limits and orders will trigger automatically once price is hit.

In summary, limit orders give you precision control over entries in fast-moving forex markets. While markets orders have their place, limits are generally recommended for most entry orders.

Placing Limit Orders

Limit orders are easy to place in your trading platform. Here are the steps:

  1. Decide which currency pair and order type (buy limit or sell limit)
  2. Set the limit price where you want the order executed
  3. Set the quantity (lot size) you want to buy or sell
  4. Configure any other settings like expiry, time-in-force etc.
  5. Submit the limit order

Once the limit price is reached, the order will be automatically executed at the limit rate or better.

When setting limit prices, consider current market conditions and technical factors like support and resistance levels. Use round numbers or psychological levels for cleaner execution.

Using Limits to Buy Dips

One of the most common uses of limits is placing buy limit orders to purchase dips and retracements in an uptrend. This technique allows you to buy at predefined lows.

For example, if EUR/USD is rising and you want to buy a 50 pip retracement, you can set a buy limit 50 pips below current price. This order will be triggered when the market pulls back to your limit rate, allowing you to purchase the dip.

You can also ladder multiple buy limits at increasing levels to buy deeper pullbacks. This builds up a position at favorable rates if the pair continues falling before reversing back up.

Using Limits to Sell Rallies

In downtrends, sell limit orders can lock in profits at resistance levels or specified heights. For instance, if EUR/USD is falling and reaches 1.1200 where you want to take profits, placing a sell limit at 1.1200 will close the trade if the price rises back to that level again.

Sell limits are used to sell into rally spikes against the main trend direction. Even if you miss the initial spike, your limit order will execute on the pullback from the highs.

Similar to buy limits, you can ladder multiple sell limits to take partial profits at designated points on the way up.

Risk Management with Limit Orders

Aside from entry execution, limit orders have multiple applications for risk management:

Stop Losses

A stop-loss exit can be placed as a sell limit (in a long trade) below the current price to limit losses if the market moves against you.

Take Profits

Profit targets can be set as buy limits (in a short trade) above the current price to lock in gains when reached.

Guaranteed Exits

In fast markets with volatility, exiting large positions with market orders has slippage risks. A limit order ensures you exit at the desired fixed price.


Limits allow you to place orders in the opposite direction to hedge or open counter-trend trades at predefined levels with precision.

OCO Orders

One cancels the other (OCO) orders combine a stop loss and take profit as two pending limit orders. If one is triggered, the other is automatically cancelled.

As we can see, limit orders give you better control over your trade exits just as they do over entries.

Advanced Limit Order Techniques

While the basic concept is simple, there are some sophisticated techniques to fine-tune your use of limit orders:

Layering Limits

This involves splitting your order into multiple limits at different prices to get a better average entry or exit price.

Cascade Limits

You can set a cascade of ascending or descending limits to scale into a trend at optimal retracements.

Duration and Expiry

Pending limits can be left open indefinitely or for a specified duration like a day or week, after which they expire if unfilled.

Resting Orders

This refers to passive limits left open for long periods to catch big swings or breakouts when the market revisits key levels.

Trigger Orders

A resting limit can be triggered when the price or moving average reaches a certain level first before your limit entry.

OCO and IFD Orders

As mentioned earlier, combine limits skillfully with OCO and IFD conditional orders for more robust strategies.

There are endless combinations using these techniques. Be creative and use limits to complement your trading style.

Pros & Cons of Limit Orders

Of course, every order type has its own ups and downs. Let’s summarize the main pros and cons of using limit orders:


  • Precision entry and exit control
  • Avoid slippage from market volatility
  • Can buy dips and sell rallies strategically
  • Enforce patience and discipline
  • Effective for risk management
  • Hands-free order execution


  • May not get filled if limit price is not reached
  • Require more monitoring than market orders
  • Do not guarantee fills in fast-moving or gapping markets
  • Visible to the market as pending orders

While limits have some inherent drawbacks, their advantages often make them preferable for most traders. Use them wisely by keeping the pros and cons in mind.

Best Practices for Limit Orders

Here are some tips for using limit orders effectively:

  • Place limits at significant technical levels like round numbers, support/resistance zones or moving averages.
  • Be realistic with limits. Consider volatility, sentiment and technicals to estimate if your limit price is achievable.
  • Adjust limits based on updated market conditions. Move them closer to price if getting filled is a priority.
  • Use partial fills and layered limits to get better overall entry or exit prices.
  • Try resting orders to catch big swings at key levels on daily charts.
  • Combine with OCO and IFD orders for added precision and automation.
  • Maintain records of your unfilled limits to tweak order placement for better execution.

Following best practices takes your limit order strategy to the next level.

The Future of Limit Orders

Limit orders have stood the test of time for many decades since the era of trading pit floors. Even in today’s electronic markets, they remain a staple component in every trader’s toolbox.

Looking ahead, limit orders are likely to continue playing a prominent role due to their unique benefits. Current innovations include:

  • More advanced conditional triggers and order combinations
  • Shorter expiry times and faster execution
  • Discretionary hidden limits on ECN platforms
  • Use on trading bots for automated execution

Technology will expand limit functionality, but the core concept of pending entry and exit orders remains unchanged. No matter your strategy, understanding limit orders is key to succeeding in forex trading.


From passive dip buying to take profit management, limit orders are an indispensable tool for forex traders. They give you surgical precision over trade entry prices while also offering flexibility for exits and risk management.

This guide covered the fundamentals of limit order placement and execution. We explored basic buy and sell limit techniques along with more advanced practices. While not without flaws, their advantages make limit orders suitable for most trading scenarios.

By mastering limit order strategies, you gain tighter control over your trades. Execution becomes an advantage rather than a cost. Combine sensible limit usage with robust risk management for a formula to trade with confidence and consistency. managing risk, and implementing advanced limit techniques in your trading plan.