Katalon vs Selenium - Full Comparison Updated 2024


Katalon vs Selenium: Open-Source or Vendor Solutions

When it comes to automation testing, both Katalon and Selenium are popular choices. The final decision to choose which one depends on whether your team wants to buy or build. When comparing Katalon vs. Selenium, we need to compare the pros and cons of buying a prebuilt automation testing solution from a vendor versus building a test framework from scratch.

Test Automation Strategy: Buy or Build?

At its core, automation testing is about utilizing tools or creating test scripts to execute tests automatically with no manual intervention. What was manually done repetitively, say filling usernames/passwords, can be turned into keywords and automation code to run on-demand.


A test framework gives testers the tool(s) to create, execute, debug and manage test scripts.


Testers have 2 options: either they shop around for a solution vendor for a software offering the test framework they need, or build an open-source test framework.


Why build an automation testing framework?

Libraries like Cucumber or Selenium isn’t an automated testing tool or framework. 


It’s a library to build one.


Developers, automation engineers or test architects must have strong proficiency in understanding the building blocks of framework development to build a reliable engine:

  • IDE: IntelliJ, Eclipse or whichever supports the coding language you’re using
  • Test libraries of functions: create utilities for writing, running, debugging and reporting automated tests with names like Selenium, JUnit, TestNG, Playwright, Appium, Rest Assured
  • Project and test artifact management structures: object repositories, helper utilities
  • Browser drivers
  • Test design patterns and automation approach  (e.g., Page Object Model, Screenplay, Fluent)
  • Coding standards (KISS, DRY, camelCasing)
  • Test reports and execution logs: plugin



Though this requires the initial investment in development time, there are still reasons why a self-built engine still makes sense.

  • Customization: organizations can tailor the test framework(s) to specific business requirements for software development, testing processes and infrastructure
  • Standardization and control: setup your testing center of excellence (TCOE) by reusing your custom framework or working in parallel with off-the-shelf vendor solutions
  • Integration: some organizations may have a huge interconnected techstack that may not be supported by external solutions. Building your own framework means having that flexibility to work with any existing or newly-added tools.



Building comes with maintenance and isn’t a one-off effort. You’ve seen all the components that make up a test framework. The following are the development and maintenance needed:

  • Test environment: updating Selenium, web drivers and testing libraries used by the framework when there are improvements released from the provider.
  • Architecture, components and feature sets: test architects need to be able to translate the requirements in a software project into a test framework design plan. The subsequent code reviews, debugging and functional testing (e.g., compatibility, integration, security testing) will take place and defer the testing of the application itself further back. 
  • Test reliability and flakiness: an unoptimized structure of a test architecture/framework can mess with how a test interact with the application under test, giving them more reasons to false feedback.


Why buy a functional automation testing solution?

Test automation tool and software quality management platform vendors don’t aim to replace building options. Instead, you now have choices. You either hyperfocus on test development and training for the entire software team on a single tool or re-prioritize framework development in a different sprint to kick-start test automation faster.   

Katalon is your solution to do just that. Here’s what you get when going with vendors in the market:

  • Design patterns: Write BDD, data-driven and keyword-driven tests. Store test objects and keywords in the Page Object Model design.
  • Underlying libraries: Selenium, Appium, JUnit, TestNG and Cucumber.
  • Integrations: No additional workaround needed to work with CI, test management and testing tools.
  • Technical support: Support from Katalon developers, automation engineers and +1M practitioners in the field.
  • Product roadmap: From autonomous test creation to production API mocking, you’ll have access to the latest software quality advancements without integrating with any other tool.

Download and write your first test or View a Demo   

Of course, buying an automation testing solution may involve subscribing to an on-going plan, and there is limited customization to fit business needs. The company also has to rely on the vendor for support, and if the company has large existing infrastructure, integrating with the new tool may take substantial time, and there can also be compatibility issues. 


The final decision to choose between buy or build -  Katalon or Selenium - rests upon the QA team’s available resources, expertise, as well as the complexity of infrastructure. They may choose a hybrid option: building a testing solution for sensitive, critical components while buying a solution for other testing needs.    




Installation and setup

Configure project with the necessary libraries and dependencies

  • Download test automation IDE (e.g., Katalon Studio)
  • Upload existing tests to try out test management functionalities (e.g., Katalon Platform)

Create tests

Script with a programming language and IDE of choice


  • Record-and-playback
  • Drag-and-drop from keyword library


  • Script in Java/Groovy

Run tests

Setup needed for web servers, databases, and test environment integrations (e.g., local, CI, cloud environments)

Little-to-no setup for local, CI, cloud or other external test environments.

No additional setup needed for parallel execution.

Test reporting & analytics

Configure with third-party plugins like Extent Reports and Allure

Built-in reporting:

  • Export results to HTML, CSV and JUnit reports locally
  • Integrations with Jira and other test management tools to sync execution results
  • Defect management with test traceability: Jira issue – Execution result – Test Case/Suite – Requirement 


Define test hierarchy with design patterns like Page Object Model and Data-Driven Testing

Already implemented popular patterns to ensure script and test code reusability:

  • Object Repositories (Page Object Model)
  • BDD (Cucumber) 
  • Data-driven testing
  • Keywords library by app type (Keyword-driven testing)

Extensibility & customization

Going with open source means getting to build whatever and however you want.

This means implementing features sets and integrations can be tailored to a team’s technical requirements.

Working with pre-built frameworks mean having to work with what’s provided vendors. 

In terms of adding more capabilities, your options vary on the plans you choose:

  • Free: forum and community support
  • Paid: Dedicated onboarding manager and customer support

Supported application types

Libraries are often dedicated for a single application type. This means having to learn and build multiple frameworks for web (Selenium), mobile (Appium), API (SoapUI) and desktop (Winappdriver).

Leading vendors have embedded an “all-in-one” mindset when developing test automation solutions. Say goodbye to lengthy learning processes and centralize all automation activities.

 To further compare Katalon vs Selenium, we will take a deep-dive into each solution, provide detailed review on their core capabilities, and highlight their differences based on the buy vs. build perspective.

Webinar Selenium and Katalon.png

What is Katalon? Katalon Review

Katalon logo

Katalon is a modern software quality management and UI-API test automation solution. Instead of having to allocate development time to implementing a test framework, Katalon fast-forward teams to automating functional tests right away.

Test Automation with Katalon Studio

Addressing the developer dependencies and need to train manual testers, Katalon provides software teams with a test automation IDE everyone can leverage.

  • Test creation: record-and-playback, keywords library and Java/Groovy scripting
  • Test execution: run tests on local, CI and Dockers
  • Libraries used: Selenium, Appium, JUnit, TestNG and Cucumber
  • Supported application-under-test: web, mobile, API and desktop
  • Supported test frameworks and design patterns: data-driven testing, BDD, page object model, keyword-driven testing

Below are Katalon test automation feature highlights.

1. Create test cases and artifacts 

Teams can script and debug automation tests, build their own keywords library or record test steps from UI interactions. With record-and-playback, Katalon allows testers to auto-capture test objects, properties, and locators for faster test authoring.


For those who have coding expertise and are looking for customization, Katalon has a full-code scripting interface in Java/Groovy. Code-support features, including syntax highlighting, code suggestion, and debugging are also available. 

2. Organize tests, objects and data files

Katalon vs Selenium Test Explorer Katalon

The content of a test case will be organized into different folders. 

  1. Object repository: Object Repository is a simple and centralized location for storing and managing your UI elements and properties such as buttons, text fields or drop-down lists. These elements can be captured with Object Spy or while recording a test. 
  2. Data files: from Excel files to external databases like MongoDB, this is where your different data sets are stored for data-driven testing. Easily associate and parse multiple data files into a test via global variables and dynamic test suites.
  3. Test Case, Test Suite, Test Suite Collection: Katalon organize test cases in tree form, giving testers an intuitive, hierarchical view over their test cases.

3. Maintain, handle failures and optimize automation test code

Maintaining test code is an ongoing effort as the application and regression testing frequency scales over time. This includes updating:

  • Locators
  • Assertions
  • Data sets

If the application under test undergoes changes, Katalon has already separated objects into individual pages and folders for you to update to the latest properties once.

Katalon vs Selenium Object Repository   
In terms of increasing test reliability and decreasing false negatives, Katalon self-healing goes by several element locator strategies/methods: XPath, Attribute, CSS and Image.


Katalon Studio fails to find an object with the default locator, it will automatically attempt to locate the object using other pre-configured locators. Self-healing works best when UI elements aren’t too dynamic or has undergone massive changes to the initial design patterns.

4. Cross-Environment and Remote Test Execution

Aside from your local machine’s OS, you’re just a command-line away from running Katalon tests in parallel with other automated test suites on: 

  • Web and mobile browsers: the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge/IE mode
  • Mobile devices: the latest version of Android & iOS
  • CI pipelines: Jenkins, CircleCI, Bitbucket, AWS CodePipeline, etc.
  • Docker containers

5. Reporting and Debugging


Execution results can be viewed and stored in the following ways:

  • Export to HTML, PDF, CSV or JUnit test reports on your local machine for one-time view
  • Attached with Jira issues along with screenshots and recordings
  • Uploaded to Katalon defect management platform for end-to-end traceability from Requirements, Test Suite, Test Case to Defect (Jira issues)   

Katalon and Jira integration helps users report, track, and manage defects easily. Testers can filter tickets, find root causes with linked requirements, and view defect trends to streamline the tracking process and improve day-to-day jobs.

Katalon Reporting Katalon vs Selenium

Katalon offers a debugging mode that allows users to dissect a specific step and re-run until it works. Pause the execution at any point using breakpoints for a closer look on variables and objects.


Software Quality Management with Katalon Platform

Though technical software platforms are best for engineers, there are still business representatives and tech leads who need to closely monitor software quality. 


To zoom out from a granular view on a single test and its execution logs, Katalon Platform syncs all data from its test automation IDE onto a dashboard with other integrated test management, CI, containers and frameworks into a bigger picture:

  • Test Activities
  • Release Readiness
  • Productivity
  • Test Quality & Reliability
  • Platform Coverage
  • Requirement Coverage
  • Local Test Environment

Katalon Platform Dashboard Katalon vs Selenium

Start Testing With Katalon Now

What is Selenium? Selenium Review

Unlike Katalon, Selenium is an open-source automation testing library used to automate web applications.

Selenium as a good framework for cross-browser testing


Selenium is favored by developers for its versatility in web app testing. It is compatible with all major browsers, including Chrome, Safari and Firefox, and can be operated on any of the three major operating systems, namely Macintosh, Windows or Linux.


Selenium reduces the time and effort associated with manual testing and provides an easy to use interface for creating automated tests. The Selenium framework allows testers to use a scripting language, such as Java, C#, Ruby, and Python, to interact with the web application under test. Selenium comes with a rich set of testing functions specifically geared towards web testing needs, with the most notable being:   

  • Selenium Grid: Selenium Grid is a distributed test execution platform that enables test execution on multiple machines in parallel, reducing the time taken to execute the tests. Selenium Grid consists of a hub and nodes. The hub acts as a central point for test execution and is responsible for distributing the tests among the nodes, while the nodes are the machines that run the tests. They can be of different operating systems and browsers, and are connected to the hub.   
  • Selenium IDE: Selenium IDE is an open-source record and playback automation testing tool used to develop and execute test cases for web applications. It is a Firefox plugin and can be used to record, edit and debug tests. Selenium IDE also allows users to export their tests as JUnit, C#, Java and other formats, making it easy to integrate with other test frameworks.   
  • Selenium WebDriver: Selenium WebDriver is part of the Selenium suite of tools. It is used to control the behavior of web browsers, allowing tests to simulate user actions such as clicking links, entering data into forms, and uploading files.   

However, the power of Selenium is proportional to the testers’ level of coding expertise. The better they can code, the more they can get out of this framework. This means that inexperienced QA teams may not be able to completely utilize Selenium

Katalon vs Selenium - Which is better?




Initial setup and prerequisites

  • Manual testing
  • Entry-level knowledge to Java/Groovy for debugging
  • Automation can be done by manual testers and developers/automation engineers
  • Manual testing
  • Advanced coding knowledge for the framework setup and write test scripts
  • Automation can only be done by a experienced developers/automation engineers

License Type



Supported application types

Web, mobile, API and desktop


What to maintain 

Test scripts

  • Framework and libraries
  • Test script
  • Environments 
  • Integrations 

Language Support


Java, Ruby, C#, PHP, JavaScript, Python, Perl, Objective-C etc.,


Free Forever with Free Trial versions and Premium with advanced features


Knowledge Base & Community Support

  • Forum and community
  • Tickets
  • Dedicated onboarding manager (paid)

Community support


As can be seen from the table above, there are visible differences between Katalon vs Selenium. While Selenium gives testers unmatched capabilities to automate virtually any kind of actions they want on applications, they have to create it from scratch. A high level of skill is needed to best utilize Selenium power. On the other hand, Katalon Platform gives testers every feature they need, so that they don’t have to hard code everything from scratch. 


See full comparison: Katalon vs Selenium: Which is better?

Katalon vs Selenium Review In-depth

To reach the final decision whether you should opt for Katalon Studio vs Selenium, we will need to take into consideration several important factors. 

1. What To Learn

Katalon has pre-defined sets of commonly used keywords or actions, so users will find them more than enough to start implementing most test cases. If users have more advanced or specific needs, they still have a way to create custom keywords for their projects. The tricky part is how to translate business requirements into test cases leveraging this feature. 


Testers may also need to learn how to integrate Katalon with other tools and platforms, such as JIRA, Git, Jenkins, and further automate their entire testing process, achieving continuous testing.


Meanwhile, with Selenium, users have to learn basic programming concepts, test design principles, testing framework development, and a wide range of Selenium integrations before starting to design test cases.


2. Test Creation Mode

Katalon’s low-code test creation mode is ideal for testers who just want to drag-drop or have limited programming skills. All they have to do is capture test objects using the Object Spy feature or use built-in keywords to create test cases, then configure test data and settings. For users who want more advanced and customized test creation, Katalon provides an IDE for scripting with full syntax highlighting, code suggestion, and debugger.


On the other hand, Selenium test creation as a library is a code-based approach where testers write test scripts using programming languages such as Java, Python, or C#. This approach requires more technical expertise and knowledge of programming concepts and syntax. Testers need to write code to locate web elements and perform actions on them.


3. Technology Type

Katalon is built on top of Selenium and Appium. It uses a modular architecture and provides an integrated development environment (IDE) that supports multiple programming languages, including Groovy, Java, and JavaScript. 


On the other hand, Selenium is only a library that can be used to create test frameworks. Essentially, Selenium provides more flexibility and extensibility than Katalon, but to fully leverage its power, testers need to have strong coding skills, while Katalon brings a simple, user-friendly experience with its pre-built features and integrations.


4. Pricing

Selenium is open-source and is therefore free to use, while Katalon offers flexible pricing, both a free and paid version. The free version provides most of the basic features required for test automation, while the paid version, Katalon Premium & Ultimate, offers additional features such as test analytics, team collaboration, AI visual testing, and priority support.


5. Customer Support

The Katalon team actively supports Katalon users more regularly than the Selenium communities via its website and forum. Selenium is open source, and users may find online help somewhere from other users or the Selenium group but nothing is guaranteed that they will get help quickly.


6. Integration

Katalon can integrate with several test management systems and bug tracking systems including Jenkins, JIRA  or Test to submit bugs, defects, test logs and test results. It provides native plugins to connect with CI/CD applications like CircleCI, Azure DevOps, and Bamboo. For those who perform testing on the cloud or virtual machines, Katalon can integrate with SauceLabs, BrowserStack or Kobiton, a cloud-based mobile lab for cloud-based mobile testing.


Selenium, on the other hand, has no native integration, and users have to build the integration capabilities themselves.


7. CI Integration

Katalon provides a command line interface, allowing CI Systems to call and trigger test execution, while with Selenium users have to create and configure execution jobs (Ant tasks, maven goals, etc.) to trigger test execution.


8. Performance

Katalon uses Groovy, a language built on top of Java, and has to load many libraries for parsing test data, test objects, logging. So, it may be a bit slower as compared to Java for long test cases with hundreds of steps.


9. Target Audience

Katalon and Selenium were not made for the same target audience. Katalon was made for organizations who would rather buy a solution from a vendor, while Selenium is for those wanting to build a solution for themselves.


Even testers with limited coding experience and knowledge can get started immediately with Katalon. The faster they can validate the quality of their software product, the shorter the release cycle is, which in turn improves competitiveness on the market.


Selenium, on the other hand, may require a certain level of programming skills, which can be quite a roadblock for teams who don’t have the subject matter expertise. 

Download and Experience The Power of Katalon

Katalon Studio FAQs

1. I want to learn more about how to use the Katalon Platform, especially Katalon Studio. Is there a place to learn about it?

Yes. You can head to the Getting Started page. This is where you can learn literally everything you need to “get started” with Katalon. We have listed plenty of useful resources for you to familiarize with the Platform.


Additionally, you can always check Katalon Docs for more technical information and Katalon Academy for more guided information on learning the tool.

2. How do I install Katalon and what are the available pricing plans?

Katalon Studio can be installed on Windows, Mac, and Linux. To install, download the latest version of Katalon Studio from the official website. Once the installation file is downloaded, run the executable and follow the instructions to install.


There is a Free Forever plan for Katalon. You can experiment with the Platform for however long you want. For more advanced features, you can go with the 30-day Free Trial and then upgrade to the Premium plan to support your testing needs.

3. Does Katalon support cross-browser testing?

Yes, Katalon Studio supports cross-browser testing. Katalon Studio allows you to create and execute tests on multiple browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.

4. What is the difference between Katalon Studio, Katalon TestOps, and Katalon TestCloud?

Katalon Studio, Katalon TestOps, and Katalon TestCloud all belong to the Katalon Platform, but there are many differences among them:


Katalon Studio is an automation testing solution that provides users with a comprehensive set of features for testing web, mobile, and API applications. It supports automated testing of functional and visual testing. 


Katalon TestOps is a collaboration platform that allows teams to manage and monitor their test automation projects. It provides features such as test result analytics, collaboration tools, and a centralized repository for test scripts and data.    

Katalon TestCloud is a cloud-based platform for running automated tests on real devices and browsers. It allows users to create and run tests on hundreds of real devices and browsers in parallel with the help of the cloud.

Katalon Tutorial

Have a look at Katalon in action:


Selenium Tutorial

Selenium has been around for a long time, so you can find Selenium tutorials on the web relatively easy. A tutorial we recommend that you have a look at is that of Javapoint, which includes basic Selenium guides, Selenium Python tutorial, Selenium WebDriver & Selenium IDE tutorials, and so much more.

Which is better - Katalon vs Selenium?

It is indeed tricky to decide which is better between Katalon vs Selenium. Both Katalon and Selenium are popular automated testing tools. The choice between the two depends on the user's needs, budget, and scope of the project.    


Katalon is a comprehensive test automation solution that can be used for both web and mobile applications with a comprehensive set of built-in features that you’ll need and love such as test recording, smart object identification, low-code script authoring, on-cloud test execution, visual testing, and smart test reporting. 


Selenium, on the other hand, is an open-source library, supporting primarily web application testing. Testers can freely create automation test scripts in multiple programming languages such as Java, Python, and Ruby. Selenium is a good choice for advanced users who want a great degree of customization, but they need to invest a lot of time and resources to create what Katalon has already built.


Check out Katalon review on G2

Check out Selenium review on G2