Automated vs. Manual Quality Assurance Testing

Software testing is a crucial part of any successful project. It is definitely one of the vital factors of software development that allows to maintain quality of products at a high level. When it comes to quality assurance testing, it can be categorized into two types: automated and manual testing. Each type can be more effective than the other in a given testing situation, depending on suitability, expertise, timeline, budget, or project requirements. Keeping these aspects in mind allows you to determine the best possible method to achieve quality output within your timeline and budget. In this posting, we will discuss the difference between automated and manual testing, and summarize the advantages and disadvantages of each of these two testing approaches. 


Both automated and manual testing approaches have their pros and cons. Understanding the difference between them provides the ability to know exactly when to use each one in order to get the best outcome.

What is Automated Testing?

In automated testing, test cases are performed with the assistance of specialized software. Using appropriate automation tools, QA engineers prepare scripts to validate the software.This approach entirely relies on the pre-scripted tests that run automatically to determine whether or not an app works as expected by comparing the expected results with actual results. With automated testing, just as its name suggests, all processes are performed automatically without intervention of a manual tester (excluding efforts required to develop testing scripts). Test automation helps the tester to execute regression testing, continuous testing, and continuous delivery, allowing to complete the testing process in less time.

Advantages of Automated Testing:

  • It allows to increase testing coverage as testing tools check all code sections, including even the smallest ones;
  • Automated testing is supported by numerous tools;
  • When compared to a human tester, automated testing allows to discover more bugs, while increasing accuracy and productivity of testing;
  • Unlike manual testing, this approach does not involve a human element, which means it works more stable; 
  • The ability to record the automated testing process allows to recreate the same testing operations;
  • This makes the test execution relatively faster.

Disadvantages of Automated Testing:

  • It is costly to run and maintain the testing;
  • It can be problematic to debug the test script;
  • Any automation software has limitations that can reduce the scope of testing;
  • The absence of the human element makes it not easy to get insight into numerous aspects of UI design, like button size, font, colors, etc.;
  • For the same reason, automated testing cannot guarantee the positive customer experience


What is Manual Testing?

This is undoubtedly the classical way of testing. In manual testing, all tests are performed by a human specialist. He or she executes the test cases, checks all the essential features to find bugs, and creates the report without using any testing software. That is why only an experienced QA engineer should conduct the software testing process.

Advantages of Manual Testing:

  • A tester could do his or her job manually on the fly, especially while testing a small feature;
  • Sometimes nothing beats classic human intuition and judgment; 
  • No need to spend money for specialized automation tools. This makes manual testing more cost-effective;
  • With manual testing, you can get accurate and fast visual feedback.

Disadvantages of Manual Testing:

  • Certain tasks are simply impossible/difficult to be completed by humans;
  • Manual testing is a more time-consuming approach as it takes up human resources
  • It is difficult to record the manual testing process, which makes it difficult to accurately recreate or reuse it
  • Manual testing is always prone to errors due to the presence of human element. This puts the reliability of this method into question.

Automated Testing Vs. Manual Testing: When to Use?

Automated testing works best in the following scenarios:

  1. Performance testing. For example, it can be used to test the website’s performance during moderate, heavy and peak demand;
  2. Repeated execution. It is best to automate this kind of testing;
  3. Load testing. This approach is the only way to execute this kind of testing effectively;
  4. Regression testing. Automation allows to run the regressions on a timely basis and taking into account changes in code.

Manual testing is the best solution in the following scenarios:

  1. Ad-hoc testing. Although there is no optimal method for this scenario. Thus, this choice is up to the tester.
  2. Usability testing. In this case, you need to evaluate how convenient, efficient, and user-friendly your product is for users. So this method is undoubtedly preferable;
  3. Exploratory testing. In order to execute the testing process, human intuition and creativity are required.


Key Takeaways

Software testing is a big domain. This vast landscape consists of many subcategories. Some of them can achieve needed results with manual testing, while others work better with automated testing. In order to ensure the overall performance of your product in terms of its cross-platform acceptance, usability, UI design, UX design, load-bearing, and functionality, it is crucial that you choose the right testing approach that is able to address each of these aspects effectively. As always, please do not forget to contact us if you need any assistance.