Quality Assurance: Automated vs Manual Testing vs Unit Testing

Anton Mali
6 min read

What is better – automated testing or manual? Why is unit testing so important? We have answered the most common questions to help you choose your quality assurance method.

QA differences

TRIARE team is skilled in performance testing, security testing, DevOps testing—you name it. We can ensure your software product doesn’t have any bug or vulnerability that prevents it from delighting users. With expertise in both manual and automation testing, we will recommend what will work best for your particular project.

Software Testing

Software Testing is an essential part of any project. It means evaluating the application to ensure there are no bugs or unmet requirements. There are numerous types of software testing to choose from depending on your needs. We will discuss the most common ones.

What are the types of testing?

There are three categories of testing depending on the object:

  • Functional Testing (Unit, Smoke, Interoperability etc.);
  • Non-Functional Testing or Performance Testing (Usability, Load, Scalability etc.);
  • Maintenance (Regression, Maintenance).

There are also three strategies:

  • Unit testing: focusing on a given unit of software;
  • Integration testing: focusing on the construction and design of software;
  • System testing: focusing on software as a whole.

But most often, we come across the auto testing vs manual testing classification. What is the difference, and what does unit testing refer to? Let’s find out.

Manual Testing

When to use manual testing?

  • For UX testing
  • In the initial development stage
  • For short-term/short life cycle projects
  • For cases that cannot be automated
  • For newly designed test cases
  • Before the automation of application testing
  • When requirements change frequently
  • When UI changes frequently

How manual testing is done?

Manual testing is done by hand. Quality Assurance specialists click through the app or interact with the soft via tools. They go through the list of written test cases to find the defects and then provide the reports manually.

Why manual testing is needed?

Manual testing is needed for tasks that cannot be automated: usability testing, ad-hoc testing, exploratory testing. For example, it’s hard for a program to detect whether some button is visible enough. Or it may be just too expensive to automate some test cases, like a tap on an iPad.

Why manual testing is not preferred?

Manual testing can be too expensive and time-consuming for large amounts of work. Another reason why it might be not preferred is the possibility of human errors. However, when used wisely (for UX testing, in the initial development stage, etc.), manual testing is irreplaceable.

Will manual testing go away?

Automation and AI assistance will grow, but manual testing is not going away. Testing certain functionality will always require a human eye. Even if automation tools are perfected, manual testing can outperform them. Weirdly enough, many bugs are found accidentally. People can act unpredictably, while machines always follow a set path.

Example: UX/Usability testing

Usability testing is conducted to enhance user-friendliness and customer experience. It can check such things as whether controls are self-explanatory, whether colors and icons are esthetically pleasing, and information accurate. One of the main advantages of manual UX testing is that the QA team’s feedback will be close to what you’ll hear from customers.

Automated testing

When to use automated testing?

  • For the main testing flows
  • For the rarely changing cases
  • For UI testing, if lots of platforms or devices are supported
  • For non-functional testing like load and performance
  • For repetitive and time-consuming tasks
  • If your UI is stabilized
  • For parallel testing
  • To avoid human errors

What is the difference between automated testing and manual testing?

While manual testing is performed directly by humans, automated testing relies on programs. They execute pre-scripted tests comparing actual results with expected ones. Automated testing is great for repetitive tasks and evaluating the performance of applications.

Such tests vary in complexity and are more reliable than manual counterparts. However, they require expensive tools and can be too difficult to set up and maintain for short tasks. Despite being powerful and irreplaceable for the majority of projects, they have certain limitations and depend on the quality of written code.

Which types of tests can be automated?

  • Regression testing
  • Performance testing
  • Load testing
  • Highly repeatable test cases
  • Advanced GUI testing, API tests
  • Unit tests
  • Integration tests
  • System testing
  • Smoke tests
  • Acceptance testing

Frankly, you should automate every possible test. Automation is an integral part of building DevOps.

What tests cannot be automated?

There is a number of tasks that can only be performed manually: layout verification, installation testing, interaction with UI, etc. In short, exploratory tests, user interface tests, ad-hoc tests cannot be automated.

Is Automated Testing worth it?

Automated testing requires an upfront investment in tools and setting up the tests. But it is totally worth it if initiated at the right moment. When your product UI is stabilized, there is a growing number of repetitive tasks and a need for performance testing – you should consider automating tests.

Manual testing gets expensive when used projects grow. Apart from saving money, automation can yield numerous benefits: letting your team focus on important tasks, preventing bugs more effectively and much faster.

Can we do automation testing without manual testing?

The short answer is: no. Actually, automated testing can’t be set up without manual testing conducted first. A well-known rule says that 100% automation is impossible. But it doesn’t make it less important and irreplaceable in most cases.

Example: Performance testing

Performance testing is best suited for automation. It is conducted to test and achieve objectives like fast response time, low resource utilization, and high throughput. Performance tests simulate thousands of concurrent users to check the system under significant load. They may be difficult and costly to implement, but crucial to see what happens after new changes are introduced to your product.

Unit Testing

What is unit testing?

Unit testing is checking a relatively small piece of software called “unit” separately from the rest of the code. Unit is often an individual function or procedure, but it can also be an entire module. Unit testing is very useful in Agile MVP development because it makes adding changes a lot easier (you don’t have to test all the application all over again). It reduces costs, enhances the quality of code and crm design, and simplifies integration. Many of these benefits derive from the ability of unit testing to detect bugs early.

Need to test your app or site for bug-free?

Is unit testing manual or automated?

Unit tests are usually automated because it’s too costly, time-consuming and difficult to isolate units manually. The issue is that unit testing is a part of the web development/app development process. It is executed every time a new build is introduced to ensure the latest changes are safe and working. Therefore, it’s hard to perform this continuous process manually. That is why developers simplify their work with scripts, testing environments and custom code.

What is the difference between unit testing and automation testing?

Unit testing is a strategy of testing that focuses on separate parts of code. Automation testing includes any type of testing that can be automated, and apart from unit testing, there are many.

Automated unit testing is a pillar of Test-Driven Development (TDD), which means writing unit tests before the code itself.

Automated vs Manual Testing Pros and Cons Comparison

automated vs manual testing


Automated, manual, unit testing – all the types are widely used and can contribute to your success. The choice should derive from your individual needs and project requirements. If you need more context on how to test web applications (or mobile apps), contact us, we’ll do our best to help.


Need to test your app or site for bug-free?
Anton Mali