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

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Software testing is critical to detecting bugs and making necessary improvements to the product. This process allows developers to verify that the expected results match the actual results. This process is typically performed across the SDLC to ensure the organization’s commitment to delivering quality products to the customers.

Initially, this process was done manually, but over time things have improved and automation tests have been introduced. Both processes are beneficial in the SDLC, but they have a major difference. Before we dive into the differences, let’s understand each of them first.

Test automation

Automation testing is usually performed using automated testing tools to run the test case suite. The automated software enters the test data into the system that is about to undergo the test. The expected results are then compared and detailed test reports are generated for analysis purposes.

This process requires sufficient money and resources to ensure that it runs smoothly. Sometimes the test suite is recorded and played back later if needed. There are different types of automation testing, including smoke testing, integration testing, functional testing, and unit testing.

Smoke tests verify system stability or incomplete integration tests evaluate compliance with specific functional requirements. Functional testing is used to check whether the software meets predetermined requirements. Finally, unit testing is used to test whether individual units of source code fit.

Manual testing

This is the software testing method where test cases are run manually without any automated tools. Manual testing is usually mandatory for any newly developed software before any automation testing is performed. Experienced testers usually run it, but this does not mean that the software is bug-free.

Here the test cases are performed from the end user’s perspective. The testers, people, check whether or not the software works as stated in the required document. In all processes, test cases are planned and implemented to complete the software application 100%.

There are several types of manual tests that you can use for your software application. They include White Box Testing, Black Box Testing and Gray Box Testing. In White Box Testing, the developers check every line of code before sending the code to the testers. Black Box Testing is usually performed by the testers who assess the functionality 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 automated testing.

Test Accuracy

One of the significant differences between manual and automated tests lies in the accuracy of the expected results. There are a lot of human errors in manual testing, which makes it behind automation testing in terms of performance. That means automatic testing produces more accurate results than the manual testing process. As a result, the reliability of the test results in manual testing is very low.

Test Coverage

Automation testing has increased test coverage, while manual testing provides insufficient coverage. That means automation testing can deliver quality results. On the other hand, manual testing only involves different devices and operating system permutations. Then you should ask yourself whether the assessment you use is based on your priorities and the risk analysis.

Human perception

Human observation is very important in the software testing process. How else do you feel the impact on the customer experience? Manual testing allows human observations while automation testing does not involve human observation. This means that automation testing cannot guarantee the user-friendliness of the product, while manual testing guarantees a positive customer experience.

Initial investment

The initial investment in automation testing is usually higher, while the initial investment in manual testing is relatively lower. The initial investment is crucial in determining the method by which you will test your software.

With automation testing, you incur the cost of the product and other maintenance costs, while with manual testing, you don’t have to incur any purchase costs. However, the return on investment in automation testing is higher than in manual testing.

Parallel execution and batch testing

Automation testing allows the testing process to run in parallel on different platforms in less time. In contrast, the same process can be performed in a manual process with more resources. When it comes to batch testing, you can batch several test scripts for nighttime execution in automation testing, while you cannot batch batch test scripts in manual testing.

Visibility test report

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


Testing checks for consistency in the operation of the software used. Primarily, two test methods are used to accomplish this process. That is automated testing and manual testing. Each plays an essential role in the SDLC process, although significant differences exist in their activities. That means some processes rely on manual testing and others on automation testing. These differences range from test accuracy to test report visibility.

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