Manual Testing vs. Automation Testing: Which One Should You Choose?

Ensure product excellence with the right QA approach. Compare manual and automated testing to find the best fit for your business needs.
Maciej Zawadzki

Maciej Zawadzki

May 30, 2024 | 7 min read

Manual Testing vs. Automation Testing: Which One Should You Choose?

As a QA Specialist, I'm glad that all our projects at MasterBorn have a dedicated quality assurance team. When clients work with us, they always get the whole team — we don't hire out separate people just for coding. Our team offers business acumen and becomes their partner in delivering products that really work. Part of that is making sure that apps work as they're intended in the wild.

And they work well because of our amazing PPOs, coders, product designers, and QAs!

Sometimes, though, clients ask if software testing is actually necessary. Well, great question, is usability testing really that necessary?

After all, why can't developers test their own code?

Just like any great writer has a great editor behind them, software developers also have a team dedicated to quality control. It often takes a second pair of eyes — or a whole team of eyes — to notice omissions and catch errors. The software development process is complex so software testing can seem time-consuming. But it's well worth taking that time to make sure your product is the best it can be once you launch.

But ok, let's get to the point!

I decided to write this article because too many clients think that an automation tool could solve all their problems with quality and that automated testing can replace manual testing.

What is Manual Testing?

What is Manual Testing

Manual testing involves a quality assurance specialist creating and executing test scripts, which are designed to validate the software application's functionality and ensure that it meets the specified requirements.

Manual software testing requires skilled and experienced testers who can identify potential issues, human errors, and defects in the application.

Which tests are best conducted manually?

  • Exploratory testing — focus on exploring the application and checking potential end-user paths.

  • Acceptance testing — tests that verify whether the application meets customer expectations.

  • User interface testing — checks if the interface works correctly and whether it displays the same way on different browsers or mobile devices.

  • User experience testing — evaluates whether the use of the application is intuitive and easy for end-users. This can include accessibility testing.

What is Automation Testing?

What is Automation Testing

When it comes to manual testing vs automation testing, test automation is the process of using specialized software tools and scripts to execute pre-scripted tests on a software application or system. The main purpose of test automation is to increase the efficiency and accuracy of software testing by removing the need for manual human intervention used in running test cases.

Test automation typically involves the use of test frameworks and scripting languages, which help execute test cases. This allows for faster and repeatable testing and the ability to test larger and more complex flows.

Automated tests can also be integrated into the continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipeline, allowing for continuous, automated testing tools and feedback throughout the software development life cycle.

Which tests are best suited for automation?

  • Unit testing — tests individual code units, mainly written by developers.

  • Integration testing — aims to verify the integration of different components/features of the system.

  • Performance testing (including load testing and stress testing) — evaluates whether the application works efficiently, including checking the page load time or attempting to perform the same action multiple times simultaneously.

  • Regression testing — retests an application to ensure that any changes or updates made to it have not introduced new defects or caused existing ones to resurface

Manual Testing vs. Automation Testing

Manual Testing vs Automation Testing

Manual tests are human-centric. What does that mean? The majority of manual tests focus on exploratory testing, which aims to simulate end-user behavior and interactions with the application (happy paths) while also testing for unwanted actions that a user may perform that could be harmful to the software (negative paths). This type of testing is ideal for testing complex test scenarios and edge cases. I can't count the number of tests that were not the result of careful planning or analysis of test case designs and business requirements but sprang up while clicking through the app.

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Advantages of Manual Testing

Advantages of Manual Testing

Even before a developer creates the first line of code, a Quality Assurance Specialist can test a script and collaborate with Product Designers and Proxy Product Owners to anticipate main user flows or draw attention to certain paths that have not been covered by requirements or designs. Remember that the sooner we introduce testing into the application development process, the more beneficial it is. Writing test scripts and detecting errors in the early stages of development mean they're much easier to fix — and much cheaper. From my experience at MasterBorn, most projects benefited when testing began in parallel with development.

On the other hand, you can't talk about testing without stating a certain fact. They are sometimes repetitive. Repeating the same test cases before each release — regression testing — is time-consuming. Human error is also an additional problem to deal with. This is where automated testing becomes indispensable. Many of the classic reasons include the ability to test thousands of test scripts quickly, or the possibility of increasing test coverage of the application. All of this would be true, but I would like to focus on the benefits that automated tests have in MasterBorn projects.

Advantages of Automated Testing

Advantages of Automated Testing

First off, automation makes verifying code changes much faster. Working in the Agile methodology, we prioritize our flexibility and the ability to quickly respond to the needs of our clients. Two-week iterations cause very frequent changes not only in the code itself but also in business requirements. Thanks to automated tests, the team is able to detect problems quickly and correct them before releasing the next version of the MVP.

An additional advantage of automated testing is the improvement of long-term product quality. More frequent, accurate and faster verification of the product translates directly into higher-quality software development. It's also important to remember that when automated tests cover the designated paths, manual testers have more time to focus on tests that are likely not to be automated — such as repetitive tests such as user interface testing, or user experience testing.

On the other hand, it's important to remember that automated testing is not always the best choice for every project. Surprisingly, the main argument against them is time. Introducing, updating and maintaining automated tests requires a significant investment of time and money. In a situation where we're creating an MVP product and want to deliver it to the market relatively quickly, this can be a burden that won't bring tangible benefits. Choosing and purchasing the right framework, setting up the appropriate environment, and training the team on manual and automation testing are just some of the elements that can distract us from implementing automation.


In the argument between manual testing and automation testing, many claim that automated tests will replace manual testing and that the era of manual testing is over (especially with the development of tools like ChatGPT). However, we're still a long way until AI fully replaces human testers. The main difference that won't go away any time soon is the issue of testing versus checking. Automated testing tools will always excel in terms of checking software, but testing is much more about empathizing with end-users and making sure the products you create make sense in the real world.

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