Of all the various stock indicators you have at your disposal, swing trading candlestick patterns offer profound insights that can help you spot bearish/bullish patterns and execute your trading strategy accordingly.

But, just as with choosing the best EMA for swing trading, you need to choose the best candlestick patterns for swing trading to make the most of your analysis and feel confident executing your trades. That’s why we’ve compiled the top choices to add to your arsenal.

We’ll guide you through the most valuable candlestick patterns for swing traders with tips on how to use each of them. But, you’ll also discover a simpler, more reliable approach to picking stocks for swing trading and timing your entry/exit: the VectorVest stock analysis software

VectorVest handles all the heavy lifting to save you time and stress while empowering you to win more trades. It’s the best platform for swing trading. Before we get into all that, though, let’s start with a brief overview of the role these candlestick patterns play in a beginners swing trader’s arsenal.

What are Swing Trading Candlestick Patterns?

So, what is a swing trade candlestick pattern? These are pivotal stock trading tools that offer visual cues about market sentiment and potential price movements. 

These swing trade patterns, each with its distinct formation and implication, serve as a roadmap through the market’s twists and turns, aiding traders in identifying lucrative entry and exit points. Here are just a few examples of how you can use these candlestick patterns to inform your decision-making:

  • Bullish and Bearish Reversals: Patterns like the ascending triangle indicate bullish reversals, signaling upward price movements. Conversely, formations like the descending triangle and three black crows hint at bearish trends, suggesting potential downward price actions​​​​.
  • Trend Reversal Indicators: The head and shoulders, and its inverse, the inverted head and shoulders, are reliable indicators of trend reversals. These formations alert traders to significant shifts in market dynamics, allowing them to adjust their strategies accordingly​​​​.
  • Indications of Market Stability or Volatility: Patterns like the spinning top or doji reflect indecision in the market, while the three white soldiers or three black crows indicate strong bullish or bearish trends, respectively.
  • Range Consolidation Patterns: These patterns are key during periods of low volatility, signaling potential breakouts. They help traders anticipate significant moves and position their trades effectively

As with all swing trading indicators, using candlestick patterns requires skill and dedication. It’s not just about recognizing the patterns – it’s about interpreting them correctly in the context of prevailing market conditions and executing trades at optimal times. 

However, even the most seasoned traders can find it challenging to constantly monitor and analyze these patterns for profitable opportunities​​. 

That’s why if you’re serious about swing trading for a living, you are better off investing in our stock advisory. More on that later – it’s time to unveil the best candlestick patterns for swing trading!

The Best Candlestick Patterns for Swing Trading Explained

Swing trading focuses on capturing gains in a stock within a short to medium time frame, which is why spotting reversals/breakouts early is so important. 

So, what are the best candlestick patterns for swing traders? We’ll share the most essential bearish and bullish patterns to have in your arsenal, as these will empower you to predict market trends before they take hold.


The hammer is a bullish reversal pattern that appears during a downtrend. It signals the possibility of a market turnaround, as the buyers start to gain ground against the sellers. The pattern forms when a stock opens, drops significantly, but then is pushed back up to close near the opening price. 

The candlestick resembles a hammer, with a short body and a long lower shadow, indicating that the sellers initially took control but were overcome by buyers by the end of the trading session. This pattern can be a sign that the selling pressure is diminishing, and a bullish reversal is on the horizon​​.


Engulfing patterns signify a clear shift in market control from sellers to buyers (bullish engulfing) or vice versa (bearish engulfing). A bullish engulfing pattern occurs when a small bearish candle is followed by a large bullish candle that completely ‘engulfs’ the body of the first candle, signaling that buyers are taking control. 

Conversely, a bearish engulfing pattern features a small bullish candle followed by a large bearish one, indicating growing selling pressure. These patterns are crucial as they show a definitive shift in market sentiment, often leading to a reversal in the current trend​​​​.


The Piercing pattern is a two-candle bullish reversal pattern occurring in downtrends. The first candle in this pattern is bearish, followed by a bullish candle that opens lower but closes at least halfway into the body of the previous day’s candle. 

This pattern indicates a shift in momentum from sellers to buyers, with the second day’s strong close suggesting a potential reversal of the downtrend. It’s a signal for swing traders that the bearish momentum may be waning, and a bullish trend could be beginning​​.


The Harami pattern is a notable tool for identifying potential trend reversals. Characterized by a two-candlestick formation, where the first candle is large and the second smaller, the Harami (meaning ‘pregnant’ in Japanese) appears as if the second candle is nestled inside the first. 

If this pattern occurs after a downtrend, it can signal a bullish reversal, while after an uptrend, it may suggest a bearish reversal. The key here is the stark contrast in the candle sizes, indicating a possible shift in market momentum and sentiment​​.

Shooting Star

A Shooting Star candlestick is a bearish reversal pattern that emerges after an uptrend. Its appearance, featuring a long upper wick, a small real body near the day’s low, and little or no lower shadow, indicates that the buying pressure is starting to wane. 

This pattern is particularly significant as it suggests that buyers are losing control, with sellers poised to take over. The Shooting Star warns traders of potential downward movement, making it a critical pattern for swing traders to recognize​​​​.

Evening Star

The Evening Star pattern is another bearish reversal indicator, typically forming at the peak of an uptrend. 

This three-candle pattern starts with a long bullish candle, showcasing strong buying momentum. The middle candle, or the ‘star,’ opens at a higher level but closes near its open, reflecting market indecision. Finally, a bearish third candle completes the pattern, closing below the midpoint of the first candle. 

This sequence indicates a shift from bullish to bearish sentiment, often signaling a downward price movement​​​​.

Dark Cloud Cover

Dark Cloud Cover is a two-candlestick pattern signaling a potential bearish reversal. It starts with a bullish candle, followed by a bearish candle that opens above the high of the first but closes below its midpoint. 

This pattern points to a weakening bullish momentum and a possible change in trend direction. Traders often view the Dark Cloud Cover as an early warning sign, prompting them to either avoid buying or to consider short positions, especially in overbought market conditions​​.


The Kicker pattern is a powerful candlestick formation used to identify trend reversals. It comes in two types – bullish and bearish.

A bullish kicker occurs during a downtrend and is a signal that an asset may start a new uptrend. It forms when a long bearish candle is followed by a long bullish candle, separated by a gap. This gap indicates a significant shift in market sentiment from bearish to bullish​​.


A bearish kicker forms during an uptrend and signals the start of a bearish trend. A bearish reversal is followed by a long bearish candlestick, often triggered by negative events like poor financial results or regulatory disapprovals. The pattern is a strong indicator of declining market confidence in the asset​​.

Three White Soldiers

The Three White Soldiers is a bullish candlestick pattern typically signaling a shift from a bear market to a bull market. It consists of three long, upward-trending candlesticks that open above the previous day’s open, ideally in the middle price range of that day. 

Each candlestick closes at a new near-term high, forming a pattern resembling a staircase. This pattern is a robust confirmation of a shift in market sentiment and is considered very bullish, often indicating the end of a bearish trend​​.

Hanging Man

The Hanging Man is a single-candle bearish reversal pattern that is particularly relevant in technical analysis. 

It features a long lower wick and a small body at the top of the candlestick, with little or no upper wick. The lower wick, being at least twice the size of the body, represents a tested intraday low. The small real body suggests minimal difference between the open and close prices. 

This pattern is most significant after a sustained uptrend, indicating potential exhaustion in buying pressure. Higher trading volumes during its formation add credence to the bearish signal​​.

Three Black Crows

Three Black Crows is a bearish reversal pattern consisting of three consecutive long bearish candlesticks trending downward. It typically appears after an extended uptrend, signaling a potential reversal. 

The candles of this pattern are long-bodied and bearish, each opening and closing lower than the previous one, often with little to no shadows​​​​​​​​​​. This pattern indicates that a downward trend may be starting, effectively ending the prior uptrend.

Spinning Top

This is a candlestick pattern characterized by a small-to-medium range candle with a small body and relatively longer wicks, indicating market indecision. This pattern suggests uncertainty among buyers and sellers, with neither side gaining a clear advantage. 

Spinning tops can be found in both uptrends and downtrends and are considered a neutral pattern, though they often precede reversals​​​​​​​​​​. They signal a pause or indecision in the market, with the opening and closing prices being equal or close to each other.


Rising Three/Falling Three

The Rising Three and Falling Three methods are five-candle continuation patterns. The Rising Three method appears in uptrends, signaling a bullish market mood and indicating the trend is likely to continue. It comprises two long green (bullish) candles sandwiching three short red (bearish) candles​​​​​​​​. 

Conversely, the Falling Three method appears in downtrends and is recognized by a similar formation but in a bearish context​​. These patterns represent a price correction or profit-taking phase before the price resumes in the direction of the existing trend.

Tips on Using Swing Trading Candlestick Patterns to Find Opportunities and Execute Trades

These are the best candlestick patterns for swing trading, but how do you actually go about using them? Here are a few tips to help you feel confident using swing trading candlestick patterns:

  • Understand the Context: Candlestick patterns do not exist in a vacuum. It’s crucial to understand the broader market context in which these patterns appear. For instance, a Hammer pattern during a downtrend might signal a potential reversal, but it’s more reliable when it aligns with other bullish signals or market conditions.
  • Use Volume as a Confirmation Tool: The volume of trades can serve as a powerful confirmation tool. For example, a high volume during the formation of a Bullish Engulfing pattern can indicate strong buying interest, reinforcing the likelihood of a bullish reversal.
  • Combine Patterns with Technical Indicators: Enhance the reliability of candlestick patterns by using them in conjunction with technical indicators like moving averages, RSI (Relative Strength Index), or MACD (Moving Average Convergence Divergence). This multi-faceted approach can help in filtering false signals and identifying stronger trade setups.
  • Look for Confluence of Factors: A single pattern shouldn’t be the sole reason for a trade. Look for confluence – situations where multiple patterns and indicators point to the same conclusion. For instance, if a Piercing pattern occurs at a significant support level, it could strengthen the case for a bullish reversal.
  • Pay Attention to Pattern Size and Shape: The size and shape of the candlestick can provide additional insights. A long lower shadow in a Hammer or Hanging Man indicates significant rejection of lower prices, which might suggest a stronger potential reversal.
  • Be Mindful of Market Trends: Always consider the prevailing market trend. Patterns like the Rising Three/Falling Three are continuation patterns, meaning they are more reliable when they follow the existing trend.
  • Practice Risk Management: Even the most reliable patterns can fail. Always use stop-loss orders to manage your risk, and never invest more than you can afford to lose. Determine your exit strategy, both for taking profits and cutting losses, before entering the trade.
  • Stay Patient and Disciplined: Not every pattern will lead to a successful trade. Patience is key. Wait for patterns to fully form and confirm before entering a trade. Avoid impulsive decisions based on incomplete patterns.

Is There a Simpler, More Efficient Approach to Stock Analysis?

Now – before we wrap up this conversation on the best candlestick patterns for swing trading, let’s talk about some of the challenges you may face as you incorporate them into your strategy. Then, we’ll introduce you to a better approach to uncovering opportunities and executing trades.

The Challenges of Using Candlestick Patterns for Swing Trading

One of the primary challenges with candlestick patterns is their subjective interpretation. Different traders might interpret the same pattern in various ways, leading to conflicting decisions. 

For instance, what one trader sees as a ‘Hammer’ pattern, another might dismiss as insignificant market noise. This subjectivity can lead to uncertainty and inconsistent trading decisions.

These patterns can also lead you astray in some cases. Candlestick patterns, while indicative, are not always reliable. They can often produce false signals, misleading traders into making unprofitable trades. 

For example, a pattern that appears to signal a trend reversal might be just a minor correction in a larger trend. Distinguishing between genuine signals and false alarms requires experience and a deep understanding of market dynamics.

The effectiveness of candlestick patterns is heavily dependent on the market context in which they appear. A pattern that forms in a high-volume trading environment may have a different implication than one forming in a low-volume scenario. 

Moreover, external factors like economic news, market sentiment, and geopolitical events can significantly influence the effectiveness of these patterns.

Understanding and effectively utilizing candlestick patterns requires a significant investment of time and effort as well. The learning curve can be steep, demanding dedication to study and practice. Misinterpretation of patterns due to inexperience can lead to poor trading decisions.

Swing trading, especially when using candlestick patterns, can be emotionally taxing. The uncertainty and the need for quick decision-making can lead to stress and emotional trading, which often results in poor decisions. The good news, though, is that there is a better way to spot trends and act accordingly…

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Rather than relying on complex technical indicators like candlestick patterns, you can gain all the insights you need in 3 simple ratings to spot trends and execute accordingly. These are relative value (RV), relative safety (RS), and relative timing (RT).

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Closing Thoughts on the Best Candlestick Patterns for Swing Trading

We hope this conversation on the best candlestick patterns for swing trading has provided you with not just clarity on the role these can play in your investment strategy, but confidence in actually using them. After all, your success as a swing trader is contingent on your ability to consistently spot trends before they fully form so you can execute trades accordingly.

You can learn more about the swing trading basics in our blog, including how to pick a stock to invest in, how to swing trade options, day trading vs swing trading, timing the market vs time in the market, combining fundamental and technical analysis, investing in a down market, when to cut losses, the best time to buy stocks, how to time the market, and more.

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