Manual Testing vs. Automated Testing: Key Differences

Manual Testing vs. Automated Testing

In today’s fast-paced technological world, software testing is essential to the development process. It ensures that the software product is functional, reliable, and meets user requirements. When it comes to testing software, there are two key approaches; manual and automation testing. While both methods are crucial in assuring the quality of a product, they differ in their approach, scope, and benefits. 

Manual testing entangles the manual execution of test cases by a human tester. On the other hand, automated testing involves using specialized software tools to execute test cases automatically. Both manual testing and automated testing, including the use of specialized tools for BDD test cases, are of paramount importance in delivering quality software. However, choosing the right testing approach depends on various factors, including project requirements, budget, and timeline.

This blog will explore the key differences between manual and automated testing. We will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of each method and highlight scenarios where one approach may be more suitable than the other. 

Read on to clearly understand the differences between manual and automated testing and which one to choose based on your project needs.

What Is Manual Testing?

Manual testing is a process of testing software applications manually, without the aid of automation tools or scripts. It entangles a tester executing predefined test cases and scenarios to identify software defects, errors, and other issues. Manual testing aims to ensure that the software meets the desired quality standards and specifications before it is released to the end users. The process entangles understanding the requirements of the software, designing test cases, executing them, and reporting the results to the development team. 

Manual testing is a noteworthy part of the software development life cycle and allows us to ensure that the software is reliable, secure, and performs as expected. Manual testing is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process, but it is essential to identify the defects that automation tools cannot detect. It requires skilled testers who deeply understand the application, its requirements, and the testing methodology. Manual testing is often used with automated testing to ensure comprehensive test coverage and provide a more accurate assessment of the application’s quality.

When To Use Manual Testing?

Manual testing is a feasible option when it comes to testing software applications. It is notably beneficial in scenarios where the application is in its initial stages of development, and the codebase is rapidly changing. Manual testing enables testers to identify and fix issues quickly and to provide immediate feedback to the development team. It is also useful when testing user interface components, as it allows for a more precise and detailed evaluation of the application’s usability. 

Additionally, manual testing is an appropriate choice when automated testing is not feasible. For instance, when testing complex workflows or when the application requires human interaction, manual testing is the suitable option. Eventually, the decision to use manual testing should be based on the specific needs of the project and the nature of the application being tested.

Manual testing persists when cognitive and behavioral abilities are needed to test the software. It predominantly works well for testing:

  • User Interface (UI).
  • Functionalities.
  • Features.
  • User Experience (UX).
  • User Acceptance.
  • Website and App Behavior.

Application Of Manual Testing

Manual testing is predominantly utilized for functional, usability, exploratory, and acceptance testing. It is adequate when testing is done for a small set of data or to check the application’s compatibility with different devices and browsers. Manual testing is also ideal for checking a user interface as it facilitates testers to have a more holistic view of the application. It best suits the situation where it involves testing functionalities and organization usability, such as

Exploratory Testing: A type of testing that is done to gain a better understanding of the system and unveil any further issues. It is done without any script or instructions. Manual testing requires a tester to manually execute the test cases and analyze the results. Automated testing, on the other hand, uses automated tools and scripts to perform tests and analyze results.

Usability Testing: Usability testing focuses on the product’s user-friendliness. This type of testing is done to determine if the product is intuitive for the user to use and if any features need to be added or changed to improve usability. Manual testing is usually used for usability testing, requiring in-depth knowledge of the product and the users’ preferences. 

Performing manual testing in a cloud-based platform like LambdaTest offers various benefits for usability and other application of manual testing. LambdaTest provides an efficient and user-friendly way to perform manual testing. It gives access to a vast farm of 3000+ real browsers and devices. Thus, you can test your application on multiple platforms and configurations. 

AdHoc Testing: This is a technique where tests are conducted without following formal test design methods. This type of testing is often used to find bugs that occur in the program, but it can also be used to validate the quality of the product. Manual testing is often more time-consuming and expensive, but it is more accurate and can produce more detailed results. 

What Is Automation Testing?

Automation testing is a software testing technique that uses specialised tools and scripts to execute test cases and automatically verify an application’s functionality. This type of testing requires little or no human intervention and is often used to streamline the testing process and downsize the time and effort that ought to test software. Automation testing involves the use of programming languages, test frameworks, and testing tools to create test cases that can be executed repeatedly. 

Among various tools available for automation testing, it is sometimes difficult to leverage the test process in the local environment. Therefore, it is preferred to perform automation testing in cloud-based platforms like LambdaTest. 

 LambdaTest is based on Selenium Automation Grid that allows running end-to-end automation tests on a secure, robust, and scalable Selenium infrastructure. You can run automation tests in both real devices and real-time with various integrated automation tools like Cypress, Playwright, and Selenium. Its scalability and integration capabilities make it an excellent choice for businesses looking to streamline their automated testing processes.

Automation testing is generally used when there are large and complex applications that require a significant amount of testing or where many tests need to be run repeatedly. This type of testing can also help reduce the risk of human error and provide more accurate and reliable results than manual testing. Overall, automation testing is an essential part of the software development process and is widely used by organizations around the world to improve the quality and reliability of their software products.

When To Use Automation Testing?

Automation testing is used when there is a need to repeatedly execute the same test cases. Automated testing can save time and effort by running tests solitary and reducing the risk of human error. Additionally, automation testing can be beneficial when there is a need for regression testing, which can be time-consuming to perform manually. 

Automation testing is also valuable in cases where many test cases ought to be executed, as it can be more efficient than manual testing. However, it is significant to note that automation testing may not be suitable for all testing scenarios. Manual testing should still be utilized in certain situations, such as exploratory testing. Eventually, the decision to use automation testing should be based on the specific requirements and objectives of the testing project. The automation testing framework is integrated with various components, such as

  • Function libraries.
  • Object details.
  • Test data sources.
  • Other reusable modules.

Application Of Automated Testing

Automated testing is used especially for regression, performance, functional, smoke, and load testing. It is also utilized when user interface testing or GUI (Graphical user interface) testing is required. Automated testing requires a one-time effort to set up the test environment and write the test scripts. After that, the same tests can be run repeatedly with the remotest effort. Automated tests can also check the application’s compatibility with different hardware, software, operating systems, and browsers. A few benefits of automated testing are:

  • Test the application in parallel across multiple browsers and operating systems to ensure comprehensive validation.
  • Test the application at a user count of 100,000.
  • Conduct a thorough comparison of two comprehensive spreadsheets containing an extensive array of data, comprising numerous rows and columns.
  • Conduct a comprehensive pixel-by-pixel analysis of two images.

Manual Testing Vs. Automated Testing: Key Differences

CriteriaManual TestingAutomation Testing
AccuracyManual testing exhibits lower accuracy due to the higher chances of human errors. Automation testing illustrates a higher accuracy rate due to computer-based testing, eradicating the chances of errors.
Cost EfficiencyManual testing is expensive as it entangles the hiring of professionals to perform testing. Automation testing is cost-efficient, as once the software infrastructure is incorporated, it works for a long time.
Areas of SpecializationManual testing is used to perform Usability Testing, Exploratory Testing, and Ad-hoc Testing to show the best results.Automation testing is used to perform load, performance, and Regression Testing for best results.
User ExperienceManual testing assures high-end user experience to the end user, as it needs human observation and cognitive abilities.Automation testing can’t assure a good user experience because it lacks human observation cognitive abilities.
User SkillsEnd users must be able to build test objectives to cover all the scenarios.End users must be highly proficient at programming and scripting to build test cases and automate them.


In conclusion, while manual testing may seem like a cheaper and quicker option initially, it can lead to overlooked issues and longer testing timelines in the long run.

On the other hand, automated testing provides a faster and more reliable way to test software applications with the added benefit of increased accuracy and repeatability. However, it is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to testing; manual and automated testing have advantages and disadvantages. The testing approach will depend on the specific requirements of the project and the resources available. Ultimately, the combination of both manual and automated testing is often the most effective strategy to ensure high-quality software.

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