Stock screeners help investors find ideas on stocks to buy that can become the next big performers in their investment portfolios. There are plenty of stock screeners you can use, but many of them are hidden behind paywalls or available only to those who have brokerage or other financial relationships with the companies that provide them. There are still a few stock screeners that are free, but some lack enough quality to count on the results they provide.

The best free stock screeners combine ease of use, depth of analysis, and breadth of coverage to give investors everything they want. Here are the three best free stock screeners.

Person sitting at a desk with four monitors showing charts and graphs, in front of a cityscape.

Image source: Getty Images.

No. 1: Finviz Stock Screener

Finviz is my personal choice when it comes to free stock screeners, and it has stayed largely unchanged over the years, making it simple to keep using without having to make changes to favorite screens. You can screen using a wide variety of fundamental, technical, and descriptive metrics. The screener will also provide charts, quotes, and other useful information once you've drilled down and come up with results that are worth further exploration.

Finviz stock screener.

Image source: Finviz.

Finviz's screener has some downsides. You're constrained to use drop-down menus with prespecified metrics or ranges rather than being able to choose whatever values you want to screen for. More importantly, Finviz doesn't allow you to export results without signing up for its Elite service. But many investors simply want to be able to have a starting point before going to other sources to get more information about the stocks that make the grade. Finviz is especially useful for those who want to take technical analysis into account in making stock-picking decisions.

No. 2: Zacks Stock Screener

Zacks is well-known for its rating system, and its free screener offers a surprising amount of functionality, with more metrics than Finviz offers. One of its best features is that you're able to specify the exact figure that you want to use for screening, rather than accepting predetermined values that the screener provides. You can screen stocks using any of dozens of fundamental business and investing metrics, and there's a surprising breadth of coverage that includes earnings surprises, valuation-based measures, dividends, and analyst views on stocks. The ability to save screens and export results to a spreadsheet is especially valuable.

Zacks stock screener.

Image source: Zacks.

One of the Zacks screener's drawbacks is that not all of the information that's available for screening is usable without a subscription. For instance, if you want access to the proprietary ratings information that Zacks has on stocks, you have to have a premium subscription. There are also special premium predetermined screens that aren't available to free users. Even if you decide not to pony up for a subscription, though, you can still do a lot with the Zacks screener.

No. 3: Motley Fool CAPS Stock Screener

As a contributor, it makes sense that I use The Motley Fool's own free stock screener on a regular basis. As part of Motley Fool CAPS, the screener not only lets you search on common financial and fundamental metrics, but also lets you tap into the collective knowledge of the CAPS community, including the star ratings on each stock that are determined by the individual picks of thousands of Motley Fool members who use the system.

Motley Fool CAPS screener.

Image source: Motley Fool CAPS.

The number of metrics available on the Motley Fool CAPS stock screener is smaller than what you'll find with Zacks or Finviz. But the sentiment readings that the CAPS star ratings provide can be invaluable in helping you figure out whether other investors have tapped into the same things you're looking at, or whether you've truly uncovered a little-known diamond in the rough.

Get the information you need

Stock screeners are useful, and you don't have to pay for solid screening tools. Free stock screeners from Finviz, Zacks, and The Motley Fool can help you find the stocks you want to invest in easily and efficiently.

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.