You save time, you keep errors to a minimum, you free up mental real estate that you could then invest in other crucial tasks included in your app's development lifecycle, you... There's no point insisting on the benefits: automating your testing process is a life-changer. But how do you know what automation testing tools for web applications to evaluate first?

Where to start? Which are the most effective ones? 

Those that are conveniently feature-rich and easy to use, as well? That ship as bundles of powerful features and are so straightforward, helping you create test cases in no time?

Well, we've done our research and identified 5 automated software testing tools that meet most of your criteria:

  • to be open source
  • to run in a variety of operating systems and browsers
  • to be feature-rich
  • to be easy to use 

But First: Determine What Test Cases You Should Automate

To put together an effective test automation strategy for web applications you need to be really strategic.

Strategic about what parts of the process you should put on auto-pilot and where it would be best to test them, as well:

  • don't rush in to test everything in the GUI (like record and reply, for instance); GUI testing tools do come with some significant test maintenance costs, you know
  • whenever possible, opt for unit testing instead of GUI testing
  • load testing, repetitive tasks, tasks that run on multiple platforms and configurations, tests that need to be “fueled' with multiple data sets... these are just some of the cases that you should automate

1. Selenium, One of the Top Automation Testing Tools for Web Applications

Selenium is the... “Swiss knife” type of automated web testing tool. It comes as a heavy package of libraries and tools.

Moreover, you get to run it in pretty much any:

  • operating system
  • browser
  • automation testing framework
  • programming language

In short: it's one of the most versatile automated software testing tools that you can get your hands on. The “de facto” standard in terms of open-source test automation tools, with a large community that you can rely on.

Top 5 Automation Testing Tools for Web Applications in 2020- Selenium


And with versatility comes power, since Selenium empowers you to come up with particularly complex browser-centered test scripts.

You get to use them for:

  • regression testing
  • exploratory testing
  • quick reproduction of bugs

Cons of Using Selenium

For there are also some drawbacks to using this automation testing tool on your web apps to keep in mind:

  • a certain maintenance overhead (maintaining your tests in Selenium is more expensive compared to unit testing, for instance)
  • building libraries and frameworks to meet specific testing needs does call for above-the-average programming skills (time and effort, as well) 

2. Watir

A powerful tool for automating tests. A Ruby library in fact, that mimics the behavior of a user interacting with your web app.

Why would you choose Watir over other free automation testing tools for web applications?


  • it enables you to create tests that are easy to read and to maintain
  • you can run it on your web app, irrespective of the languages that it is written on
  • it supports data-driven testing
  • from buttons to links, to forms and their responses, it's built to test all the elements of your web application
  • you can leverage its powerful API handling to extend its capabilities
  • you get to connect it to databases, turn your code into reusable libraries, read data files, export XML
  • you get to combine manual browsing with Ruby commands 
  • it supports cross-browser testing 
  • it integrates with business-driven development tools: Cucumber, RSpec, Test/Unit

To sum up: Watir taps into the advantages of Ruby — reputed for its clear syntax — which makes it such a flexible testing tool to add to your... toolkit.

Top 5 Automation Testing Tools for Web Applications in 2020- Watir


Cons of Using Watir

  • a relatively small community supporting it (when you compare it to Selenium)

  • you need to pair it with other tools to use it to its full potential

3. TestComplete

If a powerful, feature-rich automated web testing system is what you need, then TestComplete checks off all the “must-haves” on your list:

From cross-browser to regression, to parallel testing, it provides you with all the capabilities that you expect from a robust automation system.

1500 +real test environments... That's the type of scalability that you get if you opt for this automated software testing.

It's one of those automation testing tools for web applications that you get to use on your mobile and desktop apps, as well. For pretty much any type of automation task that you can think of...

Top 5 Automation Testing Tools for Web Applications in 2020- TestComplete


Cons of Using TestComplete

Some users have reported errors with object recognition during playback. So, you might want to keep that in mind.

4. Katalon Studio

Easy to use and robust. 

Top 5 Automation Testing Tools for Web Applications in 2020- Katalon Studio


What more could you ask from an automated UI testing tool than:

  • to be conveniently accessible to any type of tester, those with no programming background here included
  • to ship with a whole set of powerful features

And speaking of those, here are just some of the capabilities that you can turbocharge your testing process with:

  • customizable execution workflow
  • support for image-based testing
  • smooth integration with a variety of tools (e.g. TeamCity and Jenkins)
  • built-in support for generating test scripts, creating test cases, reporting results, recording actions
  • built-in object repository, object re-identification, Xpath
  • built-in support for Groovy/Java scripting languages
  • visual representation of each step in the test (it's one of the most beginner tester-friendly tools out there)

Moreover, Katalon Studio is one of those automation testing tools for web applications that you can use for API and mobile testing as well.

5. Cucumber

Here's another open-source automated software testing tool to consider putting on your shortlist.

A collaborative tool based on behavior-driven development that you can use to:

  • write acceptance tests for your web apps
  • perform those tests by running the most representative examples for your app

Now, one of the biggest strengths of this tool is the up-to-date document that it'll provide you with. One incorporating both the test documentation and the specification.

Top 5 Automation Testing Tools for Web Applications in 2020- Cucumber


Anyone in your team (non-testers) can go through it since it's written in a highly accessible format (plain English).

Now, if we were to sum up its “power” features:

  • it enables you to reuse code in your tests
  • it supports lots of different languages Groovy, Python, Perl, PHP, .NET, Scala
  • it grants you great support, since it's a highly popular automated app testing tool, with a large community 
  • it enables you to use code along with Watir, Selenium, Capybara
  • it's a cross-platform tool
  • quick set up
  • it enables you to generate detailed reports
  • it integrates with GIT and Jenkins

Cons of Using Cucumber 

  • you might find the default organization a bit... overwhelming
  • you depend on external plugins for generating reports, so do expect some integration challenges

Top 5 Automation Testing Tools for Web Applications in 2020: Main Features

The END!

These are the top 5 automation testing tools for web applications that you should check first when getting your 2020 toolbox ready.

Have you used any of them? If so, what's been your experience with it/them?

And what other automated web testing tools would you have added to this selection? Let us know in the comments down below:

Image by testbytes from Pixabay  


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