Stock screeners are an essential tool for all investors looking for new ideas. While many websites offer stock screeners, most are only available to brokerage clients or subscribers. Among free stock screeners, the quality varies greatly. The best free stock screeners provide versatility, depth, and functionality to make the enterprising investor's life a little easier. Read on for the best free stock screeners.

Computer screen showing financial terms overlaid with stock market graph.

Image source: Getty Images.

No. 1 Zacks Stock Screener

Zacks' stock screener is the best free stock screener on the web for U.S. stocks. The screener has the most breadth, with well over 100 fundamental metrics as well as analyst rating data, earnings estimate data, and earnings surprise data. The screener is also the most versatile as you can enter in whatever values you want instead of selecting from a dropdown menu.

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Source: Zacks.com

Zacks' stock screener is also, in my opinion, the easiest to use and crucially allows you to export the results of your stock screen into a spreadsheet.

The two downsides of Zacks' stock screener is that it only includes U.S. stocks, and you cannot screen using any technical metrics. For U.S. investors, neither of those detract much from what is a great free stock screener.

No. 2 Finviz Stock Screener

Finviz's stock screener comes in as the second-best stock screener on the web as you can screen U.S. stocks using over 60 fundamental and technical metrics. Fundamental investors may find the stock screen lacking in comparison to Zacks', but if your process uses both fundamental and technical analysis then Finviz is a good resource.

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Source: Finviz.com

While the site only allows you to use dropdowns for metric values, each has enough categories to allow you to make fairly specific filters. You can also export the results of your screen into a spreadsheet for more analysis. None of the other free stock screeners have the ability to combine technical and fundamental metrics, which is what puts Finviz second.

No. 3 Google Finance Stock Screener

Google Finance's stock screener is the third-best free stock screener on the web. In terms of breadth, Google Finance is tops in that it allows you to screen across 37 different countries based on 56 fundamental metrics. For U.S.-centric investors, Zacks' stock screener is still a better choice.

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Source: Google Finance

In terms of ease of use, the Google Finance screener updates in real time and has the interesting capability of sliders that show you the distribution of companies across a particular metric. Google Finance's big weakness is that you cannot export data into a spreadsheet. If your screen ends up with more than 30 results you are stuck with needing to copy and paste multiple pages into a spreadsheet. Only one other free screener enables you to screen countries besides the U.S., so this is still a useful tool for your investing toolkit.

No. 4 Motley Fool Stock Screener

Motley Fool's stock screener only has 30 fundamental metrics, but it has an additional set of metrics that all the others lack, Motley Fool's CAPS ratings for stocks. If you are unfamiliar, CAPS is the Fool's free investing community that  aggregates the intelligence of investors to rate stocks from one to five. Players on Motley Fool CAPS make predictions on whether stocks will outperform or underperform the market and The Motley Fool merit-weights the opinions to compile star rankings.

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Source: The Motley Fool

The Motley Fool's stock screener also allows you to export results to a spreadsheet for extra analysis. The downside of the Fool's screener, however, is that you can only screen with a limited set of metrics. Regardless, the data from CAPS makes this a great tool for your investing toolkit.

No. 5 Uncle Stock Stock Screener

The Uncle Stock stock screener is the fifth-best stock screener on the web. It is by far the most versatile of the free stock screeners, with well over 200 different metrics you can screen by. It also has a large amount of depth in that you can screen across 13 different countries.

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Source: Uncle Stock

Where the Uncle Stock stock screener comes up short is in ease of use. To run your own screen you have to press the "search stocks" button in the middle of the menu bar, which is not obvious. Second and more importantly, the screener only gives you results in sets of 8, you have to select "more stocks" to see more stocks that fit your parameters. Thankfully, you can export your results to a spreadsheet, but you only see the stocks your search has been expanded to include. While by far the most powerful of the screeners, the Uncle Stock stock screener's usability limitations put it fifth in my book.

Honorable mention

For preset screens, one promising new free stock screener is the Old School Value stock screener. The screener offers 15 different predefined screens, each of which has been researched and back-tested for performance. You can even see how each screen performed every year for the past 15 years.

Dan Dzombak can be found on Twitter @DanDzombak, on his Facebook page DanDzombak, or on his blog where he writes about investing, happiness, the secret to success in life, and how to be successful in life.Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.