How to Choose an Exploratory Testing Tool

Software testing 101

How to Choose an Exploratory Testing Tool

Sure, you could plan and track your exploratory testing with Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, and manual screen captures. But why would you, now that you can take advantage of technologies that make exploratory testing planning, documentation, and reporting a breeze? 

If you’re looking to adopt or scale exploratory testing, here’s a comprehensive comparison of the top exploratory testing tools that you might be considering. In this guide, we’ve broken down the comparison criteria into categories and defined each of the comparison criteria.

When it comes to comparing exploratory testing tools, there are four main categories you want to consider: planning, execution, reporting, and compatibility.


For exploratory testing to be scalable as an Agile team testing activity, it needs to be planned. This is often done by creating a testing charter for session-based exploratory testing activities, giving a tester a target, goals, and boundaries within which to perform their testing. That means that tools that offer built-in ways to plan and communicate testing and session charters, manage and invite testers, assign objectives, define user stories, etc. give you a definite advantage over tools that don’t. 


Ask any exploratory tester and they will tell you that execution – or, more specifically, test step documentation – is the most time-consuming part of the job. A good exploratory testing tool will give you a wide range of documentation options; including the ability to automatically record test steps via screenshots, video, and audio recording across any program you are testing, edit and annotate screenshots with notes, link test sessions to raised issues in the charter, flag test steps for review, and more.


Once you have successfully documented your report, the next challenge is communicating your findings with development or other members of your team. Look for exploratory testing tools that offer you a way to neatly package your documentation into user-friendly reports. Options could include monitoring sessions, being able to link back documentation to specific raised issues, auto-generated test summaries, and playback of test actions. The more easily you can share your findings, the faster defects can be fixed. 


Last but not least is compatibility, which indicates the types of user system your exploratory tool 1.) can be installed on, and 2.) is capable of recording during test execution. It goes without saying that the wider the range of your exploratory test tool’s compatibility, the more likely it is that the tool will work in your test environment. 

To see how the top exploratory testing tools on the market rank within these categories, check out our ultimate comparison guide to exploratory testing tools. 

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