Motley Fool Stock Advisor vs Zacks Research: Which One is Better for Investors?

Written by Kim PinnelliUpdated: 1st Sep 2021
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Newcomers to the stock market and more experienced investors alike often need pointers about which stocks to buy and hold, especially since the market can be tricky to analyze or predict these days.

Let’s break down two top choices in the investment advice industry: The Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor and Zacks Investment Research.

About Motley Fool Stock Advisor

The Motley Fool was founded in 1993, so it’s a little younger than Zacks Investment Research. Even then, its Stock Advisor service didn’t launch until a few years later in 2002.

The Motley Fool is designed to help investors make long-term picks ideal for sustainable growth. As a result, most of its ranking and investment advice will center around stable, big-company stocks like Amazon, Costco, and similar.

As opposed to platforms that offer a ton of advice throughout a month, the Motley Fool only provides two major stock picks and included in-depth explanations for why they believe they’re good investments. Their tailored advice will help you learn how to start investing and pick winning stocks.

Best For:

  • New Investors
  • Passive Investors
  • Long-Term Investors
  • Young Adults Who Want to Learn
  • Seasoned Investors with Years of Experience

The Motley Fool Stock Advisor is an excellent choice for beginners who only want to make a few well-calculated moves every month or quarter. The Stock Advisor can help ensure that you only make great stock picks.

Learn More:Motley Fool Review

About Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research is a stock investment advice company that was founded in 1978, so it has a lot of history and experience under its belt. It employs experts in finances and investment and offers a host of membership levels to draw in investors of all needs.

As opposed to the Motley Fool, Zacks uses a proprietary “Zacks Rank” system to score individual stocks and funds on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being “buy” and 5 being “sell”.

This service offers lots of information about a wider variety of stocks with a little less detail per stock than you might expect from the Motley Fool, although it still includes a lot of detailed information with every report. More importantly, Zacks’ major list of the best stocks is updated daily.

Best For:

  • Hands-on Investors
  • Experienced Traders

Zacks Investment Research is better for slightly more aggressive or hands-on investors who don’t mind doing some research and taking advantage of all the analytical tools that come with Zacks’ subscription choices.

Learn More: Zacks Investment Research Review

Motley Fool Stock Advisor vs Zacks Research: Pricing Comparison

These two investment advice companies differ significantly in terms of their prices.

Stock Advisor Pricing

First up, the Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor is much more affordable than most of what Zacks offers.

You can get the Stock Advisor for just $199 per year, and the site periodically offers discounts such that you can often get a yearly subscription for only $99.

Even better, you get a 30-day trial period so you can try out the Stock Advisor before committing any cash.

Zacks Premium Research Pricing

Zacks is a much different pricing model. For instance, you can sign up for a basic Zacks membership for free and get a selection of simple services and stock advice information, like a weekly newsletter.

However, most Zacks members opt for one of the paid options since this gives them access to advanced analysis tools and much more information about recommended stocks, plus access to the Zacks Rank system mentioned earlier.

The middling membership plan for Zacks is called Premium and costs $249 per year. You can try the membership out for 30 days for free, however, which is a nice bonus.

Or you can sign up for the Ultimate membership tier, which costs almost $3000 per year or around $299 per month.

Only a few people choose this membership option due to its great expense and the fact that the Premium membership gives you most of what Ultimate does.

Between the two, the Motley Fool is undoubtedly better priced.

Learn: How to Invest in the S&P 500

Zacks vs Motley Fool: How They Pick Stocks

These two stock advisory services differ significantly in terms of how they choose stocks and advertise them as good picks for their members.

Motley Fool Stock Advisor Track Record

The Motley Fool’s stock-picking strategy is a little more transparent than Zacks. That’s partially because their Stock Advisor only chooses two stocks to highlight every month, and each stock comes with a detailed breakdown explaining why you should buy them ASAP.

The Motley Fool includes information about the company behind the stocks, what major clients are associated with them, and potential risk factors. In general, the Motley Fool’s experts take a more holistic or wide view approach to stock selection.

Zacks Investment Research Track Record

Zacks uses a stock-picking strategy that relies on lots of technical factors. For instance, most of their experts will rate stocks highly if they have high earning potential, especially if they can upset the S&P 500. Zacks Rank list will focus on P/E ratios and certain industry trends.

Basically, the Motley Fool focuses more on broad appeal and industry trends, as well as proven stock analysis tricks. In contrast, Zacks focuses on more technical math and obscure factors that take a little economics experience to really grasp.

Related: Best Financial Magazines 

Similarities Between Motley Fool Stock Advisor and Zacks Research

While the Motley Fool Stock Advisor and Zacks Research have plenty of differences, they also have several similarities.

  • For starters, both investment advice and services target long-term investors who want to hold certain stocks or funds for multiple years for maximum gains
  • In addition, both services prioritize or highlight stocks that have excellent basic features or catalysts rather than “wildcard” stocks that are riskier than anything else. A “catalyst” in this sense is anything that might have an impact on the price of a share. Both services use things like earnings reports, major news concerning the company behind the stock, new product announcements, and more as examples.
  • Both services also provide in-depth information and background knowledge about why they made their selections. This helps build user trust and gives you a reason to accept their recommendations.

Differences Between the Two Services

Naturally, both of these services have lots of differences as well.

  • As described above, the Motley Fool’s and Zacks’ investment styles are pretty different. Zacks chooses a wide selection of stocks based on technical data and some mathematical analyses. The Motley Fool chooses only two stocks that are almost guaranteed to be winners for in-depth reasons based on broader stock market knowledge and strategy
  • You only get two stock picks per month with the Motley Fool. Zacks may recommend dozens of stock picks every month and provides access to in-depth algorithms and analytical tools so you can perform your own investment research to some extent
  • Zacks has a slight leg up over the Motley Fool Stock Advisor since it includes a performance tracker for its titular Rank list. This proves the company’s been successful through its history
  • Lastly, the Motley Fool Stock Advisor offers a simplistic service, while Zacks requires you to dive in deep with its detailed interface and perform your own research to a limited extent

Investor Resources Available

Of the two, Zacks offers many more investor resources both in terms of analytical tools and stock options.

That’s partially why Zacks is a better pick for more hands-on investors who want to be a little more active in the market even though they’re still looking for long-term gains and to hold stocks over the long-term.

Motley Fool Stock Advisor vs Zacks Research: Which Service is Better for Investors?

Ultimately, both investment advisory services can be excellent choices. Both have impressive results to show for their histories.

However, the Motley Fool Stock Advisor is better if you want to grow your portfolio slowly with nearly guaranteed excellent options.

Zacks is a better pick if you want to do some more research and make potentially bigger gains through investing in a wider variety of stock options.

Related: Best Stock Analysis Websites

Bottom Line: Motley Fool Stock Advisor vs Zacks Investment Research

In the end, both the Motley Fool Stock Advisor and Zacks Investment Research are great investment advice services that new and experienced investors alike would do well to consider.

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Kim Pinnelli
Kim Pinnelli

Kim Pinnelli is a Senior Writer, Editor, & Product Analyst with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been a professional financial writer for over 15 years, and has appeared in a myriad of industry leading financial media outlets. Leveraging her personal experience, Kim is committed to helping people take charge of their personal finances and make simple financial decisions.