Automation Testing vs Manual Testing – Key Differences

Proper testing is crucial to every software development project. It ensures that the software performs as expected. This mitigates the risk of introducing bugs or errors in your application.

You can perform testing manually or through automated tools. This depends on which approach is most suitable for your project’s needs. Each has its benefits and drawbacks. So, it’s essential to understand their differences.

This article looks at the differences between automated and manual testing. You’ll learn how they apply to different project management approaches.

Differences Between Manual Testing and Automated Testing – Which Approach is the Best?

Software testing is categorized into two areas; automated testing and manual testing. As the name suggests, there’s a wide gap between the two. In modern project management approaches businesses usually give their preference to automated testing.

By automating the testing process, developers can save time and resources while ensuring that their software is of the highest quality. The choice of the right test automation approach can make a big difference in the success of a project and will take into account the specific needs of the project and the team, and will be able to adapt as the project changes.

A test automation approach that is flexible and scalable will be able to meet the ever-changing needs of modern software development. However, there are projects that are still preferred to be tested manually. This is why it is pertinent that you understand the differences between the two, in order to choose the one that is best suited for your preferred project management approach.

Let’s explore some critical differences between automated and manual testing:

Processing Time

Automated testing is faster than manual testing. Human testers can only test many scenarios simultaneously. But an automated testing tool can run thousands of tests in the same timeframe. This difference significantly impacts how each approach is used in project management.

Exploratory Testing

Automated testing is limited to the tests that the developer has defined. So, automated testing cannot be used to explore new scenarios. It can’t find bugs that are not explicitly defined by the test cases. Manual testers can do this. They’re not constrained by the specific tasks and scenarios that have been automated.

Initial Investment

Automated testing is more expensive to implement than manual testing. It requires additional software and hardware. You’ll also train the developers who will write the scripts. Manual testers are cheaper to hire. They don’t need specific technical skills or equipment that can be costly.


Reliability is the ability to perform a task without errors or failures. Automated testing is more reliable than manual testing. A human tester is less likely to make mistakes when following a script. This makes automated testing especially important in industries such as aviation. Here, human error can have disastrous consequences.

UI Changes

Manual testers are less likely to notice UI changes than automated testing suites. This helps prevent issues from slipping through the cracks. When testers only test one application feature at a time, other software parts can change without their knowledge. And those changes could create new bugs that need fixing before release.


Automated testing suites often require a framework to work properly. This can be time-consuming. This is especially true if the framework is difficult to install. Manual testing doesn’t require special tools or frameworks. So, testers can start immediately.


Manual testing is cost-effective for small projects that don’t require extensive testing. It can also be a suitable solution for companies with limited budgets or resources. It doesn’t require special tools or frameworks.

However, automated testing may be better if you must test multiple software features. This is especially true if you want to reduce manual labor costs.

Test Report Visibility

Test reporting is a crucial part of any testing strategy. It helps you determine whether your app or website is ready for release. It can help you identify areas where users are likely to experience problems.

Automated testing gives you a detailed report outlining each test’s status. You can also use this data to run additional tests to confirm that your app is ready for release. Manual testing doesn’t provide the same visibility into how your software works.


Automated testing also provides you with comprehensive documentation about your app. You can use this data to identify any issues that need to be addressed. This helps you fix them before releasing your app or website. Manual testing doesn’t provide the same level of documentation. This means there may be areas where users experience problems that aren’t obvious.

Performance Testing

Performance testing is an integral part of the app testing process. It helps ensure your app works well on various platforms and devices. The app should work for low-end smartphones to high-end gaming consoles.

Manual testing is often too time-consuming for developers to perform before releasing software. So, there’s a greater chance that performance issues will go undetected until after it’s out in the wild.

Parallel Execution

Automated and manual testing are different here. Automated testing can be run in parallel, while manual testing cannot. This means running automated tests on multiple devices simultaneously is possible. This is helpful if you have a small team or don’t want to spend much money buying every type of device.

Batch Testing

You can often run automated testing in batches. You can set up your tests to run multiple times with different inputs. Each time, you can check for a different outcome. This allows you to check for bugs and performance issues. If one input causes the app to crash, then it should be caught by this type of testing before release.

Agile and Waterfall Methodologies

In agile testing, you perform tests as you develop. You have a developer and a tester. The team creates an automated test for each requirement. They then run it against the app’s current version. If everything works, then they move to the next step. If there is a bug or other issue, they fix it before moving on.

But in waterfall methodologies, testing is done at the end of the process. You have a separate team that includes testers who find bugs in your app before deployment. This helps ensure that there aren’t any problems with your finished product. But you also have to wait longer before releasing it.

Automated testing is better for agile and waterfall methodologies. It allows your team to move faster. You don’t have to wait for testers to find and correct bugs before moving on with development. Instead, you can use automated testing tools to catch any issues.


We’ve outlined the differences between automated and manual testing. We’ve also explained why you should use both. You must have a mix of both types of testing in your development process. This way, you don’t miss any bugs, especially if you want to deliver high-quality products.

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