What is a Limit Order?

A limit order is a command to buy or sell an asset at a specific price — or better if possible. A buy limit order is transacted at the limit price or lower, while a sell limit order is executed at the limit price or higher. However, limit orders are not guaranteed to execute. A limit order will only be filled if the market price of the asset reaches the limit price. Although limit orders don’t guarantee that your order will be fulfilled, they are useful because they can ensure that you do not pay more or receive less than a specific set price.

Limit orders also are useful if you’re not in a rush or are not actively trading. For example, you can specify that you want to buy 100 shares of a particular company’s stock when its price falls to $10 USD. Or, you can place an order to sell 100 coins of a particular cryptocurrency when its price climbs higher than $10 in order to lock in profit — also called a take profit order — after having purchased that cryptocurrency for a lesser price.

In addition to regular buy-and-sell limit orders, there are also buy-and-sell stop-limit orders, which are more conditional as well as more sophisticated: