Software testing is the process of discovering an application's defects or bugs during development. It’s a key stage in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDL), understandably so because defects in software will interfere with performance, security, or user experience.
Comprehensive software testing, therefore, ensures high-quality apps that meet business and customer requirements. Today, the biggest trend in software testing is automation, as shown by a recent survey by Kobiton.
The study found that nearly 100% of software testers use automation, which improves app performance and productivity. In addition, 47% of testers said that automated tests cut development time significantly.
Where manual tests would take up to five days to run before release, automated testing takes a maximum of six hours instead.
This guide covers the best software testing tools to achieve these outcomes. But first, we look at the main types of software testing tools.
Also Read: Best Practices for User Acceptance Testing
Types of Software Testing Tools
Software testing tools come in numerous forms because of the variety of tests and use cases. However, these tools can be categorized as follows:
1. Automated tools
An automated software testing tool eliminates all manual testing steps, which saves time and improves accuracy.
It allows software developers to write test scripts in their preferred programming language. The tool then follows these scripts to run tests automatically.
2. Test management tools
A test management tool stores information about the software testing process, e.g., test scripts and reports. It enables programmers to plan testing activities according to their development phases.
3. Cross-browser tools
A cross-browser testing tool evaluates a web application's performance on different platforms. It tests how an application works on different devices, browsers, and operating systems.
Cross-browser testing tools basically ensure that applications work consistently regardless of how or where the consumer uses it.
4. Security testing tools
A security testing tool ensures that an application has no weaknesses or loopholes that may allow unauthorized users. It detects vulnerabilities during app development and safeguards against malicious attacks.
5. Graphical user interface (GUI) testing tools
GUI testing tools focus on an application's interface design. The goal is to ensure that an app attracts the eye, works intuitively, and responds as the end user expects it to.
Also Read: Types of Software Testing
The Top Software Testing Tools
The select software tools below are the best-in-class testing software based on our analysis. They include end-to-end testing tools for various development pipelines.
In coming up with this list, we look at various critical factors including the ability to offer the flexibility to run tests manually or automatically in a range of programming languages.
You will notice that some of these tools are open source while others offer free trials, subscriptions, and quotation-based licenses. The tools are popular song software testing companies, as well organizations and individual software developers.
1. Selenium IDE
Best Use Case: Great for record and playback testing
Selenium IDE is an open source testing tool that records and plays back tests for web browsers. This means it monitors how an end user interacts with an application, e.g., navigating to a contact page.
A developer then uses this interaction to test different parameters on a web application, e.g., clicking a call to action, logging into an account, etc.
Selenium is available as a browser extension for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. It does not require a subscription or separate installation to run.
2. Apache JMeter
Best Use Case: Great for Java testing
Apache JMeter is an open source desktop application used for testing web apps. It is a Java application and runs on any operating system.
Developers can use JMeter to test how an app performs and behaves, e.g., its speed, responsiveness, and stability. It also allows for load testing, which checks how far an end user can push the limits of the application.
3. Sauce Labs
Best Use Case: Great for enterprise-level testing
Sauce Labs is a cloud-based testing tool that automates tests for desktop and mobile apps. It is designed for enterprises with simultaneous continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) workflows.
Sauce Labs can test native, mobile, desktop, and hybrid apps early in development. Testers only need to set up Sauce Labs in the company's data center. It reduces testing time and allows developers to focus on app performance rather than infrastructure.
In terms of pricing, Sauce Labs requires a subscription for both manual and automated testing. Companies must determine how many parallel tests they may require before choosing a Sauce Labs package.
A parallel test means how many tests a developer can run simultaneously. For example, two parallel tests means that two developers can run one live test each, or one developer can test two applications at the same time.
Sauce Labs offers pricing options to choose from, in addition to afree trial.
Best Use Case: Great for seamless end-to-end testing
Opkey is a test automation tool which requires little to no coding skills to use. It can test web, mobile, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications.
This testing tool integrates seamlessly with over 15 applications including Salesforce, Oracle Cloud, and Workday. It also comes with pre-built testing components to save setup time.
The Opkey testing virtual machines can run tests up to 8 times faster than manual testing methods.
You can book a 15-minute demo or a 14-day free trial to get unlimited access to the software. Opkey pricing is quotation-based depending on context.
5. Ranorex Studio
Best Use Case: Great for graphical user interface (GUI) testing
Ranorex is a GUI testing tool that works for web, desktop, and mobile applications. It is based on the .NET framework, so it uses C# and VB.NET as programming languages.
Ranorex supports a wide range of frameworks, including Java, HTML5, iOS, and Android testing. Testers can also generate test reports in XML format to export into any other application.
Execution reports also include screenshots that capture how end users interact with an application.
Ranorex offers a free trial, but businesses need to request a quote for license pricing options.
Best Use Case: Great for Ruby testing
Watir (pronounced «water») stands for Web Application Testing in Ruby. It is a free open source testing tool. It simplifies testing for Ruby developers and applications.
Though mainly suited for Ruby, Watir can still test applications regardless of their programming languages. It supports all browsers and has a powerful set of capabilities, including:
- Automatically locating web elements in a browser
- Taking screenshots of the testing as required
- Monitoring web page performance e.g., navigation, memory, timing, etc.
- Managing popup alerts for a website or user interface.
That said, the mobile testing features in Watir lag behind other platforms. Mobile app developers may need to supplement Watir with additional tools like Selenium IDE.
7. Opentext UFT One
Best Use Case: Great for automated functional testing
UFT stands for unified functional testing. This is a type of software that allows developers to test various aspects of their applications under one console. Opentext UFT One, also called Micro Focus UFT, is the best-known functional testing tool today.
This tool combines interface, code, and database testing in a user-friendly workspace. That means it tests frontend and backend functionality. However, it comes with recommended system requirements, such as:
- Intel Core i3 processor minimum
- 4GB RAM or more
- 1024x768 screen resolution or higher
- 20GB free disk space or more.
You can leverage UFT One for its AI-powered automation and machine learning features to simplify testing.
Important to note that this tool is ideal for enterprise architectures, so it may be expensive for small businesses.
There is a 30-day free trial available, which grants users complete access to the software during this period. Otherwise, the pricing is quotation-based.
8. Telerik Test Studio
Best Use Case: Great for codeless automated testing
Telerik Test Studio is the ideal user-friendly testing tool for entire business teams, not just developers. Testers don't need any code knowledge to use this tool, so it can boost productivity tremendously.
Developers, quality assurance leads, and other management team members can collaborate on testing applications.
A critical feature of Telerik is the ability to allow users to switch from manual to automated testing easily. It also has a built-in C# and VB code editor for experienced developers to test code with greater control.
These are perpetual licenses, meaning that you pay the one-time upfront fee and use Telerik indefinitely.
Best Use Case: Great for behavior driven development (BDD) testing
Behavior driven development is a software testing framework. It uses simple English text called Gherkin to create and run test cases.
Instead of programming languages that have their own syntax, Gherkin follows keywords words like «feature», «scenario», and «example» to describe how a user interacts with an application.
Cucumber supports Gherkin for software testing, meaning that technical and non-technical stakeholders can participate in development.
Cucumber also supports other languages including Python, Java, and PHP. Developers can use it alongside Selenium and Watir to improve software testing.
For pricing, Cucumber offers a 14-day free trial and two subscription options. For small teams with up to three projects, Cucumber costs $32 per user per month. Larger teams that need to test unlimited projects pay $37 per user per month. Cucumber bills annually, meaning you need a minimum commitment of 12 months to use the platform.
Also Read: Internet of Behavior
Best Use Case: Great for API testing
SoapUI is the leading testing tool for application programming interfaces (APIs). APIs connect applications to each other and exchange data. Developers use SoapUI to test for API errors and interoperability between connected applications such as:
- Smart devices (Internet of Things)
- Map and navigation features
- SaaS products like customer relationship management (CRM) tools
- Third-party payment integrations for e-commerce.
SoapUI is an open source tool that runs on most operating systems. However, it requires the latest Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and ample memory plus disk space for best results.
Also Read: Types of API Vulnerabilities
Best Use Case: Great for cross-browser testing
BrowserStack is a cloud-based browser testing tool for web and mobile applications. Developers can run manual or automated tests to ensure applications perform as expected regardless of end users.
Amazingly, this tool supports 750 configurations, so an app can be tested on various versions of the same browser. It can also test the same app on various versions of every operating system. This feature is particularly helpful for mobile app testing. Developers can run test cases for every iOS and Android version and devices using BrowserStack.
While BrowserStack is open source and grants lifetime access for project testing, it also offers a range of subscription options, such as:
- Desktop-only plans
- Desktop and mobile plans
- Single and multiple user plans
- Customizable plans for teams and enterprises.
12. Tricentis Tosca
Best Use Case: Great for CI/CD testing
The term Tosca stands for topology and orchestration specification for cloud applications. This is a type of testing framework that enables various functional tests under one workspace, e.g., API tests, GUI tests, and browser tests.
Tricentis Tosca is one of the most reliable tools for this type of testing environment. It is ideal for enterprises that need large-scale app testing. It is essentially a one-stop shop that integrates easily into CI/CD pipelines.
Pricing-wise, Tricentis Tosca offers a free 14-day free trial, but companies must request a quote to get the right pricing for their use cases.
13. IBM Engineering Test Management
Best Use Case: Great for test planning
IBM Engineering Test Management helps large DevOps teams to manage their various roles and test cases on one platform.
Teams can assign roles like test manager, test lead, or test architect within the company. The tool also allows for user roles outside an organization when collaborating with outsourced teams.
Why is test planning important? Test planning helps organizations or software development companies to accurately plan software releases. It helps developers visualize what each test requires in terms of individual testers, iterations, and quality goals.
One of the best features of IBM Engineering Test Management is the gap analysis function. It helps with quantifying the IT resources available for testing. This way, you can incorporate testing into development budgets and timelines.
The tool comes either as a cloud-based solution or an on-premise software. You can request a quote based on the number of testers.
Best Use Case: Great for quality assurance (QA) testing
Tuskr is the ideal quality assurance tool for visualizing the testing process. It has a clean and simple interface that uses dashboards and charts to track testing progress. It also simplifies test case creation, so developers can copy-paste images, use tables, or create custom fields for each test.
QA testers can generate PDF reports to share their progress with clients and stakeholders. Tuskr also has a workload chart that monitors each tester's engagement.
Pricing: The platform offers a free plan that supports five projects and 1,000 test cases. This is a generous option for small businesses or beginners in QA testing. There is also afree 30-day trial that comes with sample data to experiment with the platform. Tuskr paid plans are also affordable, e.g.,the Team plan at the current price of $9 per user per month and the Business plan for $15 per user per month. The Enterprise plan costs $29 per user per month and supports up to 250 projects.
Best Use Case: Great for live cloud-based testing
LambdaTest enables developers to run live cross-browser testing for websites and web-based apps. It can run simultaneous tests across a range of OS/browser configurations. It also supports over 3,000 real mobile and desktop browsers.
Developers can run live on-cloud interactive tests, leveraging AI to automate tests and capture each change in the application's code. The HyperExecute feature offers faster test execution than desktop or on-premise testing software. LambdaTest also supports smart TV testing for applications that run on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku TV.
Pricing: Businesses can book a free demo or opt for the free LambdaTest plan, which is free for life. However, it limits users to three testing sessions per month on the LambdaTest Live Testing machines. Paid plans currently begin at $15 per month depending on how many simultaneous tests a company needs. Anything over 25 tests per month is considered enterprise level and requires a personalized quote.
Also Read: Penetration Testing Tools
With all these software testing tools available, it’s not surprising that many developers and businesses often find it challenging to find the right fit for a business — especially if it's your first time to test.
Always consider these key factors when selecting a software testing tool:
- Budget: Go beyond pricing plans and licenses and consider the return on investment (ROI) for each software. For example, a testing tool can end up costing more if it is underutilized or does not meet the expected go-to-market deadline. That is why free trials and demos play an essential role in choosing the right tools.
- Team skills: A good testing tool should match the testers' expertise and knowledge to reduce learning curves.
- Comprehensive reporting: While all software testing tools include bug and issue reports, these are only a starting point. Developers need more thorough reporting features to spot issues and resolve them swiftly.
- Tech support: A robust and responsive tech support team helps developers to resolve issues during testing without slowing down the pipeline. The best testing tools offer 24/7 support regardless of the license type.
Before you leave, please take a moment to understand application lifecycle management and why it’s important.