What are the main differences between manual and automated testing methods?

Software testing is important for bug detection and necessary product improvements. Through this process, developers can test whether the expected results match the actual results. This process is usually conducted across SDLC to ensure that the organization is committed to delivering quality products to customers.

Initially, this process was done manually, but over time things have improved and automation testing has begun. Both processes are beneficial to SDLC, but there is a major difference between them. Before diving into the differences, let’s first understand each of them.

Automation testing

Automation testing is usually performed using automated testing equipment to run test case suits. The automated software enters the test data into the system as it passes the test. Expected results are then compared, and detailed test reports are generated for analysis purposes.

Adequate funds and resources are required to ensure that this process runs smoothly. Sometimes, test suits are recorded and replayed later if necessary. There are different types of automation testing including smoke testing, integration testing, functional testing and unit testing.

Smoke testing does not test the stability of the system. Complete integration testing evaluates compliance with specific operational requirements. Functional testing is used to see if the software meets the predefined requirements. Finally, unit testing is used to test whether individual units of the source code are appropriate.

Manual testing

It is a software testing method where test cases are run manually without automated tools. Manual testing is usually mandatory for each new advanced software before automation testing is performed. Experienced testers usually perform this, but that does not mean that the software is bug-free.

Here, test cases are executed according to the end-user perspective. Testers, people, check if the software is working as mentioned in the required documents. Test cases are designed and implemented throughout the process to make the software application 100% complete.

There are several types of manual testing that you can use for your software application. These include White Box Testing, Black Box Testing and Gray Box Testing. In White Box testing, developers check every line of code before forwarding the code to testers. Black box testing is usually performed by testers who evaluate the performance of an application. And finally, gray box testing is usually performed by testers who understand both coding and testing.

That said, let’s now focus on the significant differences between manual testing and automation testing.

Test accuracy

One of the significant differences between manual and automation tests is the accuracy of the expected results. There are a lot of human flaws in manual testing that put it behind the automation test in terms of performance. This means that automation testing produces more accurate results than the manual testing process. As a result, the reliability of test results in manual tests is very low.

Test coverage

Automation testing has increased test coverage, while manual testing does not provide adequate coverage. This means that automation tests can provide quality results. On the other hand, manual testing only covers the permutation of several devices and operating systems. In that case, you need to consider whether the test you have used is based on your priorities and risk analysis.

Human observation

Human observation is very important in the process of software testing. Otherwise, how do you feel about the customer experience? Manual testing allows for human observation, while automation testing does not include human observation. This means that automation testing cannot guarantee user-friendliness in products, while manual testing guarantees a positive customer experience.

Initial investment

The initial investment in automated testing is usually higher, while the initial investment in manual testing is relatively low. The initial investment is crucial when determining the method you will use to test your software.

In automation testing, you will bear the cost of the product and other maintenance costs, while in manual testing you will not have to bear the cost of purchase. However, the return on investment in automation testing is higher than in manual testing.

Parallel execution and batch testing

In automation testing, the testing process can be implemented on different platforms in parallel with less time. In contrast, the same process can be implemented in a manual process with increased resources. In the case of batch testing, you can batch different test scripts for overnight execution in automation testing, whereas you cannot batch test scripts in manual testing.

Test report visibility

In automation testing, all stakeholders can log in to the system and check all execution results, while in the manual testing process, the results are recorded in Word or Excel. And this means that in manual testing, the results are not readily available to all stakeholders.


The software used is being tested for compatibility. Initially, two testing methods were used to accomplish this process. That is automation testing and manual testing. Each SDLC plays an essential role in the process although significant differences exist in their functioning. This means that some processes rely on manual and others on automation testing. These differences range from test accuracy to test report visibility.

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