Best ADX Indicator Settings

Best ADX Indicator Settings
Best ADX Indicator Settings

What is Average Directional Index (ADX) Indicator?

The Average Directional Index (ADX) is a technical indicator used in the field of forex trading to assess the strength and potential trend of a currency pair. Developed by J. Welles Wilder, the ADX is part of a broader set of indicators known as the Directional Movement Index (DMI). The primary objective of the ADX is to try helping traders identify whether a currency pair is trending or consolidating.

The ADX is depicted as a single line on the forex chart, ranging from 0 to 100. A higher ADX value indicates a stronger trend, while a lower value suggests a weaker trend or a sideways market. Traders often use the ADX with the Plus Directional Indicator (+DI) and Minus Directional Indicator (-DI), which may try to help differentiate between upward and downward price movements.

Average Directional Movement Index (ADX)
Average Directional Movement Index (ADX)

Calculation of ADX

  • The ADX is derived from two other indicators, namely the Plus Directional Indicator (+DI) and the Minus Directional Indicator (-DI).
  • The +DI and -DI are calculated based on the comparison of two consecutive price bars: the current high and low, and the previous high and low.
  • The Directional Movement (DM) is determined by finding the positive and negative price movements.
  • The Average True Range (ATR) is used to normalize the values, providing a more accurate representation of price movements.
  • The ADX itself is calculated by smoothing the average of the absolute values of (+DI – (-DI)) divided by (+DI + (-DI)) over a specific period.

Interpreting ADX Values

  • The ADX values range from 0 to 100, with higher values indicating a stronger trend and lower values suggesting a weaker or non-existent trend.
  • A reading below 20 typically suggests a weak or absent trend, signaling a potential ranging or sideways market.
  • ADX values between 20 and 40 indicate a developing trend, while readings above 40 suggest a strong and established trend.

Components of the ADX

  • ADX Line: The primary line represents the strength of the overall trend. Traders often use the 25 level as a threshold to differentiate between trending and non-trending conditions.
  • +DI and -DI Lines: These lines try to help to identify the direction of the trend. When +DI is above -DI, it suggests an uptrend, and vice versa for a downtrend.

Trading Strategies with ADX

Best ADX Indicator Settings

Average Directional Movement Index (ADX) - Parameters
Average Directional Movement Index (ADX) – Parameters

The choice of the best Average Directional Index (ADX) settings in forex depends on the trader’s specific trading strategy, time frame, and risk tolerance. The ADX indicator is customizable, allowing traders to adjust its parameters to suit their preferences. Here’s a detailed note on selecting ADX settings for forex:

Default Settings

  • The standard default setting for ADX is often a 14-period calculation. This means that the ADX is based on the average price movements over the past 14 bars or periods.
  • Traders using daily charts might find the default setting suitable for capturing medium-term trends.

Shorter Periods for Day Trading

  • For day traders or those focusing on shorter time frames, reducing the period for ADX calculation, such as using a 10 or 7-period setting, may be more appropriate.
  • Shorter periods make the ADX more responsive to recent price movements, allowing traders to capture shorter-term trends.

Longer Periods for Trend Confirmation

  • Traders looking for confirmation of longer-term trends may opt for longer ADX periods, such as 20 or 25.
  • Longer periods smooth out short-term price fluctuations, providing a more stable measure of trend strength.

Adaptive Settings

  • Some traders prefer adaptive ADX settings that automatically adjust to market conditions. Adaptive indicators try to aim to be more responsive during volatile periods and less sensitive during calmer markets.
  • Adaptive settings might involve incorporating volatility measures into the ADX calculation, trying to ensure that the indicator adapts to changing market conditions.

Experimentation and Backtesting

  • There is no one-size-fits-all setting for the ADX, and traders are encouraged to experiment with different periods and combinations to find what works best for their trading style.
  • Backtesting various settings on historical data can try to help traders assess the effectiveness of different ADX configurations in different market conditions.

Consideration of Market Conditions

Traders should consider the prevailing market conditions when choosing ADX settings. For example, during a trending market, a longer ADX period might be suitable, whereas in a ranging market, a shorter period may try to provide more accurate signals.

Personalized Strategy

Ultimately, the best ADX settings depend on a trader’s individual preferences and their overall trading strategy. Factors such as risk tolerance, time commitment, and trading goals play a crucial role in determining the optimal ADX configuration.

Best ADX Indicator Settings Pros & Cons


  • Flexibility for Different Trading Styles: Customizable ADX settings allow traders to adapt the indicator to different trading styles and time frames. Shorter periods may be suitable for day trading, while longer periods can provide insights into more extended trends for swing or position traders.
  • Responsive to Market Conditions: Shorter ADX periods try to make the indicator more responsive to recent price movements. This responsiveness can be advantageous during periods of high volatility, helping traders capture short-term trends.
  • Smoothing for Trend Confirmation: Longer ADX periods smooth out short-term fluctuations, providing a more stable measure of trend strength. This can be beneficial for traders trying to seek confirmation of longer-term trends.
  • Adaptability with Adaptive Settings: Adaptive ADX settings that automatically adjust to market conditions can try to enhance the indicator’s effectiveness. Adaptive settings aim to be more responsive during volatile periods and less sensitive during calmer markets.


  • Subjectivity in Choosing Settings: The abundance of possible ADX settings may lead to subjectivity in choosing the “best” configuration. Traders might struggle to determine which setting is optimal for their specific strategy and market conditions.
  • Risk of Over-Optimization: Traders who continually adjust settings based on historical data (curve-fitting) risk over-optimizing their strategy, making it less likely to perform well in real-time market conditions.
  • False Signals in Choppy Markets: ADX may generate false signals, especially when markets are ranging or consolidating. During such conditions, ADX might produce low values, indicating a lack of trend even when there’s significant price movement.
  • No Directional Information: ADX does not provide information about the direction of the trend, only its strength.
  • Market Condition Sensitivity: The optimal ADX setting can vary based on market conditions. What works well in a trending market might not be as effective in a ranging or choppy market, requiring ongoing adjustments.


In conclusion, the quest for the optimal Average Directional Index (ADX) indicator settings is a multifaceted journey that demands a careful balance between customization and pragmatism. The adaptability of ADX settings to diverse trading styles, coupled with their responsiveness to market nuances, tries to underscore their significance in the trader’s toolkit. However, the landscape is nuanced, marked by subjectivity in setting selection, the inherent risk of over-optimization, and the challenge of navigating false signals during market fluctuations.

However, acknowledging the limitations of ADX, such as its inability to provide directional cues and sensitivity to market conditions, is important for traders trying to seek a judicious integration of this indicator into their strategies. While the customization of ADX settings tries to offer flexibility, it also necessitates a cautious approach to avoid succumbing to the pitfalls of historical curve-fitting. The absence of a one-size-fits-all solution underscores the importance of ongoing experimentation, backtesting, and adaptability to changing market dynamics.

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