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What are the Main Differences Between Manual and Automated Testing Methods?

Software testing is critical for bugs detection and necessary improvements to the product. Through this process, developers can check whether the expected results match the actual results. This process is usually carried out throughout the SDLC to ensure that the organization is committed to providing quality products to the customers.

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

Automation Testing

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

This process requires adequate money and resources to ensure running smoothly. Sometimes, the test suite is recorded and replayed later when needed. There are various types of automation testing, including smoke testing, integration testing, functional testing, and unit testing.

Smoke testing checks the stability of the system or not whole integration testing evaluates the compliance with the particular functional requirements. Functional testing is used to check whether the software is following predetermined requirements. Lastly, unit testing is used to test whether individual units of source code are fit.

Manual Testing

This is the software testing method where test cases are executed manually without automated tools. Manual testing is usually compulsory for each newly developed software before automation testing is performed. Experienced testers usually perform it, but this doesn’t mean that the software is bug-free.

Here, the test cases are executed as per the end user’s perspective. The testers, humans, check if the software is working or not working as mentioned in the requirement document. Test cases are planned and implemented in all processes to complete the software application 100%.

There are various types of manual testing 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 each line of code before forwarding the code to the testers. Black Box Testing is usually performed by the testers who assess the functionality of an application. And lastly, 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 testing lies in the accuracy of the expected results. There are a lot of human errors in manual testing that puts it behind automation testing in terms of performance. That means that automation tasting 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 does not provide enough coverage. That means that automation testing can deliver quality results. On the other end, manual testing only covers several devices and operating system permutations. In that case, you have to consider whether the testing you have used is based on your priorities and the risk analysis.

Human Observation

Human observation is very vital in the software testing process. Otherwise, how will you feel the impact on the customer experience? Manual testing allows for human observations, while automation testing does not entail human observation. That means automation testing cannot guarantee user-friendliness on 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 comparatively lower. The initial investment is crucial when determining the method, you will use to test your software.

In automation testing, you will incur the cost of the product and other maintenance costs, while you don’t have to incur purchase expenses in manual testing. However, the return on investment in automation testing is high than in manual testing.

Parallel Execution and Batch Testing

In automation testing, the testing process can be executed on different platforms in parallel with less time. In contrast, the same process can be executed in a manual process with increased resources. When it comes to batch testing, you can batch various Test Scripts for overnight execution in automation testing, while you can’t batch Test Scripts in manual testing.

Test Report Visibility

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


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