Close announcement
Back to blog

Functional Testing Tools: Automation Testing Guide

functional testing tools

Functional testing is a type of testing that evaluates the functionality of a software application to ensure it behaves according to the specified requirements. In other words, functional testing focuses on verifying if the software performs its intended functions correctly. Let's explore the best test automation tools for functional testing.

Why is the Automation of Functional Testing Important?

The automation of functional testing, crucial in software development, enhances efficiency, accuracy, and coverage while ensuring consistency of the testing process.

Automated testing tools, including open-source options, support comprehensive testing across web applications, mobile, and desktop platforms, facilitating tasks like UI test, API, and cross-browser tests. This approach integrates seamlessly with agile methodologies, providing rapid feedback and aiding in continuous development and deployment.

Moreover, automated tests, particularly effective in regression and complex data-driven testing scenarios, offer significant long-term cost benefits and adaptability to varied testing needs. The availability of free trials in many tools allows teams to assess their suitability before full integration, making automation an indispensable asset in the software testing landscape.

Types of Functional Testing

There are several sub-types or methods of functional testing, including:

  • Smoke Testing: Conducted to ensure the new build of an application is stable enough for further testing.
  • Sanity Testing: A narrow and deep approach to testing, usually conducted to ascertain the functionality of a particular component after bug fixes.
  • Integration Testing: Ensures different integrated software modules or components work correctly when combined.
  • Regression Testing: Ensures that previously developed and tested software still operates after changes.
  • User Acceptance Testing (UAT): Performed by the client or end-users to ascertain whether the software meets their requirements and is fit for production.
  • Boundary Value Testing: Testing the software's behavior at boundary values.
  • Usability Testing: Ensures the software is user-friendly and intuitive.

What Are Functional Testing Tools?

Functional testing tools are software applications that assist testers and developers in ensuring that a system or application performs its intended functions correctly. These tools often provide features for designing, implementing, and executing tests, as well as reporting on the outcomes.

Open-source tools are community-driven, free, and customizable solutions for specific testing tasks. Single-point commercial tools are proprietary solutions focused on automation testing with official support. Software quality management platforms offer an all-encompassing solution for various QA activities, from test creation to defect tracking and reporting.

How to Choose the Right Functional Testing Tool?

Choosing the right automation testing tool is paramount for software quality assurance. Here's how to make an informed decision:

  • Define Your Needs: Before diving into the list of top functional testing tools, clarify your testing goals. Do you need a tool mainly for mobile testing, testing of web applications, or both?
  • User-Friendly Interface: The right functional testing tool should be easy to use, enabling teams to run functional tests without steep learning curves.
  • Integration and Extensibility: Top functional testing tools and frameworks seamlessly integrate with test automation frameworks such as Selenium. They should also offer extensibility to fit unique testing scenarios.
  • Platform Compatibility: Whether you're focused on testing of desktop applications or mobile apps, ensure the tool supports cross-browser testing and allows functional tests on real devices.
  • Open Source vs. Commercial Tool: While an open-source tools offer flexibility and community support, a commercial functional testing tool might provide more comprehensive features out-of-the-box.
  • Scalability: As your testing efforts grow, the tool should scale. This is especially crucial if you foresee adding more functional UI tests or expanding to user acceptance testing.
  • Reporting Features: The best functional testing solution will offer robust reporting to aid in defect identification and resolution.
  • Cost and Support: While the allure of open source tools is tempting, consider the long-term support and features offered by commercial tools. Sometimes, investing in a commercial tool can be cost-effective in the long run.
  • Community and Vendor Support: A strong community can provide insights, plugins, and best practices. Meanwhile, vendor support is crucial for troubleshooting and updates.
  • Tools Comparison: Before settling, compare the top 10 functional testing tools. Consider factors like ease of use, features offered (performance testing capabilities, no-code solutions etc.), and integration capabilities.
  • Automation Capabilities: Given the need for faster feedback, choose a tool that supports both automated functional testing and automated regression testing.
  • Flexibility: Tools like Selenium allow for both automated and manual testing. Ensure the platform for functional testing offers this versatility.
  • Specialized Features: Some tools specialize in areas like GUI test automation, business process testing, or regression testing. Choose the best tool that aligns with your specific needs.
  • Demo or Trial: Experience the tool firsthand. Many top functional testing tools offer trials, enabling testing teams to gauge their efficiency and fit.

Functional testing tools are used in many different scenarios and situations, while there's no one-size-fits-all, understanding your specific requirements, coupled with a thorough functional testing tools comparison, will guide you to the right functional testing tool for your organization.

Best Functional Testing Tools


BugBug is an end-to-end test automation platform for web application testing. It stands out from the competition with its user-friendly interface, a codeless approach to testing within a web browser, and features like functional and regression testing, API testing, Real-Time Recording, and more.

BugBug Testing Tool Features

  • Chrome Extension: Test within a real Chrome tab, supplemented by the BugBug action panel.
  • Real-time Recording: Capture actions on dynamic web pages, including hovers, cursor movements, clicks, and typing.
  • Flexible Test Management: Resume recording at any test step, duplicate tests without starting from scratch, and manually edit steps after recording.
  • Input Actions: Handles text typing, file uploads, and more.
  • Advanced Browser Operations: Manage tabs, execute custom JavaScript, and handle browser alerts.
  • Variable Support: Both global and local variables, capturing text values from tested web pages.
  • Operational Features: Local and cloud test runs, scheduled testing, and parallel test execution via suites.
  • Integration & Collaboration: API support for test runs, integrations with platforms like Slack, GitHub, and Jira, and built-in email testing with a randomly generated email agent.
  • Debugging Mode: Utilize native Chrome features for thorough inspections.
  • Runs History Tab: Review past tests, access reports, and spot errors.
  • User-Centric Features: Smart waiting for elements, visible cursor during test execution, and auto-retry for flaky tests.
  • Accessibility & Scalability: Offers unlimited users, test suites, test runs, and projects.
  • Pricing: Free tier available, with a Pro plan at $59 per month (or $49/month on an annual plan). See more detials on our pricing page.



Selenium is an open-source GUI test automation tool primarily designed for automating web browsers. It provides a way to script and execute user interactions on web applications, enabling the simulation of real-user scenarios.

When it comes to regression testing, Selenium plays a pivotal role by allowing teams to automatically rerun test suites to ensure that previously developed and tested software functions correctly after new changes.

  • Cross-Browser Testing: Supports multiple browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.
  • Language Support: Supports multiple programming languages including Java, Python, C#, Ruby, etc.
  • Grid Feature: Enables simultaneous test execution across different browsers and environments using Selenium Grid.
  • Open Source: It's a free tool with a large community and extensive support.



Cypress is an automated functional testing tool tailored for web applications. It operates directly within the browser for consistent results and offers features like real-time reloading, step-wise snapshots, and an in-built dashboard.

  • Real-Time Reloading: Automatically reloads tests when changes are made.
  • Time-Travel: Takes snapshots at every test step, allowing testers to hover over steps to see the state of the DOM at that time.
  • Automatic Waiting: Waits for elements to become available, reducing flaky tests.
  • In-Built Dashboard: Provides a detailed log and visual representation of every step.

Karate DSL

karate dsl .png

Karate DSL is a tool specifically designed for API test-automation, combining test-automation, mocks, and performance-testing into one framework. With a focus on simplicity, it enables testers to write complex API tests using a readable BDD approach. Its native support for parallel execution and robust JSON capabilities make it highly effective for modern web services.

  • API Testing: Designed for creating complex API testing scenarios without the need for Java knowledge.
  • BDD (Behavior Driven Development): Allows writing tests in a way that's easily readable.
  • Parallel Execution: Provides native support for test execution in parallel.
  • JSON Support: Strong capabilities for JSON format assertions and manipulations.

Tricentis Tosca

tricentis tosca

Tricentis Tosca is a continuous testing platform that emphasizes agility and automation to align with DevOps practices. It employs a scriptless, model-based approach to minimize test maintenance and provides risk-based testing to prioritize critical test cases. With the ability to test across various platforms, it's a comprehensive solution for diverse testing needs.

  • Model-Based Approach: Uses a scriptless, model-based approach to reduce maintenance.
  • Risk-Based Testing: Highlights the riskiest areas of your application.
  • Continuous Testing: Integrates with CI/CD pipelines.
  • Supports Multiple Platforms: Can test UI, mobile, API, and more.

Test Complete

testcomplete screenshot

TestComplete is an automated UI testing tool that supports various applications including web, mobile, and desktop. With features like object recognition and an intuitive visual recorder, it facilitates creating, managing, and executing complex end-to-end tests.

  • Object Recognition: Uses AI to identify and update UI elements, ensuring stable tests.
  • Visual Recorder: Records user actions and generates scripts.
  • Cross-Platform Testing: Tests web, mobile, and desktop applications.
  • Data-Driven Testing: Uses data sets to run tests with multiple inputs.



Playwright is an open-source end-to-end testing framework that's primarily designed for modern web applications. It supports multiple browsers (Chromium, Firefox, and Safari) and offers robust tools for browser automation.

  • Cross-Browser Testing: Supports Chromium, Firefox, and Safari.
  • Automates Web Capabilities: Automates scenarios related to geolocation, offline support, and more.
  • Single API: Offers a single consistent API across browsers.
  • Fast and Reliable: Provides automatic waiting and is optimized for modern single-page apps.



Puppeteer is a Node library that offers a high-level API over the Chrome or Chromium browser. It's predominantly used for headless browsing but can be operated in full (non-headless) mode as well. It's instrumental in generating screenshots, crawling websites, and automating web app testing.

  • Headless Chrome: Automates Chrome and Chromium in headless mode.
  • Web Automation: Handles form submissions, UI testing, keyboard input, etc.
  • Screenshots and PDFs: Generates screenshots and PDFs of web pages.
  • Performance Analysis: Analyzes runtime performance and uses tracing to diagnose issues.



Appium is an open-source automation tool for running scripts and testing native applications, mobile-web applications, and hybrid applications on Android or iOS using a webdriver.

  • Cross-Platform: Allows tests to run on multiple platforms using the same API.
  • Supports Multiple Languages: Writes tests in Java, Python, Ruby, and more.
  • No SDK Required: Doesn't require app code modifications.
  • Integration: Integrates with popular CI/CD tools.


soap ui

SoapUI is a tool designed for web service testing. It supports both SOAP and REST services. While the open-source version offers comprehensive features, there's a pro version that provides even more capabilities.

  • Web Service Testing: Supports both SOAP and REST services.
  • Data Driven Testing: Runs tests with multiple data sets.
  • Security Testing: Offers penetration and security tests.
  • Load Testing: Evaluates performance under load.


rest assured

REST Assured is a Java library for validating REST web services. It integrates with the Serenity automation framework and offers a BDD-like domain-specific language to simplify writing tests.

  • DSL for Writing Tests: Provides a BDD-like DSL for writing tests.
  • Java Library: Easily integrates with existing Java projects.
  • Supports Multiple Auth: Can handle OAuth1, OAuth2, Form, and Basic Auth.
  • Validation: Validates and verifies responses with ease.

Each of these tools has its own strengths and fits best in particular contexts. It's essential to understand your testing needs and then choose the tool that aligns most closely with those requirements.

How to Perform Functional Testing Using Automation Tools?

Functional testing ensures that the software system is working in accordance with the defined specifications and requirements.

Many tools are available for functional testing, from open-source to commercial solutions. Let's discuss how functional testing is typically done using tools:

  • Requirement Analysis: Review and understand the software requirements.
  • Test Planning: Decide the scope, test objectives, and resources required.
  • Test Design: Create test cases based on requirements.
  • Environment Setup: Ensure the testing environment is prepared.
  • Test Execution: Execute the designed test cases.
  • Result Analysis: Analyze test results, identify defects, and report.
  • Defect Reporting: If defects are found, report them for fixing.
  • Retesting: Once defects are fixed, retest to ensure correctness.

Functional tests can be manual or automated. Automation, while initially resource-intensive, offers significant benefits in terms of repeatability, scalability, and efficiency, especially in the context of regression testing. Choosing the right tool is paramount for effective functional test automation.


Q: What is automation testing?

A: Automation testing is the process of using automated tools and scripts to execute test cases and verify the expected behavior of a software application.

Q: Why should I use automation testing?

A: Automation testing offers numerous benefits, including improved efficiency, faster test execution, repeatability, coverage of complex scenarios, and the ability to run tests overnight or in parallel.

A: Some popular functional testing tools include BugBug, Selenium, Appium, JUnit, TestNG, Cucumber, HP Unified Functional Testing.

Q: What is Selenium?

A: Selenium is an open-source automation testing tool that is widely used for testing web applications. It supports various programming languages and integrates with different browsers.

Q: What is Appium?

A: Appium is an open-source tool used for automating mobile applications. It allows you to test iOS and Android apps using the same API, making it a popular choice for mobile app testing.

Q: What is JUnit?

A: JUnit is a popular framework for writing and running unit tests in Java. It provides annotations, assertions, and test runners to simplify the process of testing Java applications.

Q: What is TestNG?

A: TestNG is a testing framework for Java that provides more advanced features compared to JUnit. It supports parameterization, parallel testing, test dependency management, and various reporting options.

Q: What is Cucumber?

A: Cucumber is a tool for behavior-driven development (BDD) that allows you to write tests in a human-readable format. It uses a Gherkin syntax and supports multiple programming languages.

Q: What is HP Unified Functional Testing (UFT)?

A: HP Unified Functional Testing, formerly known as HP QTP (QuickTest Professional), is a commercial automation testing tool for web, desktop, and mobile applications. It supports various scripting languages and offers advanced features for functional testing.

Q: How can I choose the right functional testing tool for my project?

A: When choosing a functional testing tool, consider factors such as your project requirements, the technology stack you're using, the level of technical expertise available, the tool's compatibility and support for the application across different platforms, and the tool's ease of use and integration with other testing and development tools.

Q: How can I compare different functional testing tools?

A: To compare different functional testing tools, you can consider which tools support testing needs of your business: the tool's features, supported platforms and technologies, ease of use, flexibility, community support, licensing model, cost, and user reviews and ratings.

Happy (automated) testing!

Speed up the entire testing process now

Automate web app testing easier than ever. Without excessive costs. Faster than coding. Free forever.

Dominik Szahidewicz

Software Developer

Application Consultant working as a Tech Writer

Don't miss any updates
Get more tips and product related content. Zero spam.