aqua vs testrail

What do you pick for Enterprise and SMB?

aqua and TestRail are modern test management solutions that target companies of various sizes. They have seemingly similar pricing, but do you also get the same value?

Key differences between aqua and TestRail

aqua offers free AI-powered testing

aqua is better for bug reporting

aqua is better for heavily regulated industries

AI

AI is a rapidly developing tech, so we will look at cutting-edge tech rather than the baseline. Here’s what you should expect from an AI-powered test management solution:

  • Analyse your workspace to get QA context
  • Create test cases, defects, and even requirements from a plain text description
  • Complete test case drafts
  • Prioritise tests
  • Remove duplicate tests and defects

Artificial intelligence in QA has usually been an underwhelming effort. The only exception would be UI testing tools that compare pixels — but is that your dream AI?

aqua adopted OpenAI’s GPT language model before it went mainstream to offer truly AI features. You can create tests just from a text description or ask the AI Copilot to complete drafts. Unlike ChatGPT, aqua knows the context of your software and iterates upon your test suite.

Testrail-logo
Auto-train AI Copilot with your tests
No AI capabilities
Generate entire tests with AI
No AI capabilities
Complete test drafts
No AI capabilities
Prioritise tests
No AI capabilities
Remove duplicates
No AI capabilities
Auto-train AI Copilot with your tests
Generate entire tests with AI
Complete test drafts
Prioritise tests
Remove duplicates
Testrail-logo
No AI capabilities
No AI capabilities
No AI capabilities
No AI capabilities
No AI capabilities

Verdict: aqua wins (TestRail has no AI testing)

Test management

Test management is the main reason we are looking at these two tools. You should consider various aspects of handling test cases as well as traceability-minded features. These include:

  • Create, execute, share, and manage test cases in the workspace
  • Group tests into test scenarios, segment them into folders, assign labels
  • Quickly navigate the test suite, apply filters, use individual and shared views
  • See the entire execution history for a test case
  • Store a full log of changes for compliance
  • Visualise requirements coverage and dependencies between requirements, test cases, and defects

aqua and TestRail both excel at their primary functionality. You can create and run tests, store execution history, quickly navigate your test suite, and share info with regulators if necessary. The biggest difference lies in pricing: TestRail provides compliance features only in their Enterprise plan even though a small company may need them too.

On a similar note, TestRail does not have native defect management. You will have to use third-party solutions that will cost you extra time and potentially money as well.

Testrail-logo
  • Test cases, test scenarios, bulk test edits, custom fields
  • Execution history
  • Quick navigation, filters, views
  • Timestamped item change history for compliance
Native defect management
Not out of the box: External defect management only
Test parameterisation
Enterprise only: test parameterisation
Test case approvals, test case version control, audit log
Enterprise only: test case approvals, test case version control, audit log
Testrail-logo
  • Test cases, test scenarios, bulk test edits, custom fields
  • Execution history
  • Quick navigation, filters, views
  • Timestamped item change history for compliance
Native defect management
Test parameterisation
Test case approvals, test case version control, audit log
Testrail-logo
Not out of the box: External defect management only
Enterprise only: test parameterisation
Enterprise only: test case approvals, test case version control, audit log
Verdict: aqua wins by defect management and value

Integrations

Most tools rely on automation via common third-party tools that QA specialists have been using for over a decade. The experience is much better when your test management solution has native integrations for industry-leading tools. REST API support is a must if you do not want to be at the vendor’s mercy for integrations.

  • First-party framework automation or third-party integrations with test automation tools
  • Native third-party integrations: Selenium, Jenkins, JMeter, SoapUI, Ranorex
  • Jira integration and/or Jira plugin
  • REST API support for integrating any tool

Both tools rely on third-party solutions for test automation. aqua, however, has a much bigger list of native QA integrations while TestRail makes you use REST API to connect tools. aqua also has a very powerful integration with Capture, a bug reporting tool that automatically records execution and stores system information.

Testrail-logo
  • Jira integration with real-time project sync
  • REST API
Selenium, Jenkins, UFT, JMeter, SoapUI, Ranorex, Database MSSQL, Database Oracle for test automation
Jenkins, Ranorex, Cypress, Functionize for test automation
Test recording tool Capture
No native test recording integration
Not Available
Other issue tracking software
Testrail-logo
  • Jira integration with real-time project sync
  • REST API
Selenium, Jenkins, UFT, JMeter, SoapUI, Ranorex, Database MSSQL, Database Oracle for test automation
Test recording tool Capture
Not Available
Testrail-logo
Jenkins, Ranorex, Cypress, Functionize for test automation
No native test recording integration
Other issue tracking software
Verdict: aqua wins by extra native QA integrations

Pricing flexibility

Tools differ in how much money they request upfront and what scaling looks like. Some criteria here are:

  • Monthly or annual billing
  • Free licences for browsing or even executing tests
  • High setup costs
  • Dependency on paying for other tools

aqua and TestRail both do not cost extra to set up, but that is where similarities end. TestRail offers monthly billing only in their regular plan, but it has a few glaring omissions including traceability. TestRail’s Enterprise plan is billed annually, and there are no free licences for some of your staff.

Testrail-logo
  • Free setup
Free licences for manual testers
Full-price licences only
Extra security, SSO, individual rollbacks, and custom functionality in Enterprise plan
Extra security & SSO in Enterprise plan
Test parameterisation, test case approvals, test case version control, audit log in regular plan
Test parameterisation, test case approvals, test case version control, audit log in Enterprise plan only
Testrail-logo
  • Free setup
Free licences for manual testers
Extra security, SSO, individual rollbacks, and custom functionality in Enterprise plan
Test parameterisation, test case approvals, test case version control, audit log in regular plan
Testrail-logo
Full-price licences only
Extra security & SSO in Enterprise plan
Test parameterisation, test case approvals, test case version control, audit log in Enterprise plan only

Verdict: aqua wins by extra Enterprise flexibility and advanced Regular features

Deployment Models

On-Premise deployment is a must in many industries, yet vendors won’t explicitly say if they don’t offer it. Depending on your security policies and scale, deploying in a non-vendor Cloud is a beneficial option too.

  • Vendor Cloud
  • External Cloud: AWS, Azure, etc.
  • On-Premise

aqua and TestRail both maintain Cloud and On-Premise offerings. You can stay in the vendor’s cloud, pick a third-party cloud data centre, or deploy the test management solution on your server.

Testrail-logo
  • On-Premise
GDPR-compliant aqua-hosted German Cloud
TestRail-hosted US Cloud
Isolated Enterprise Custom Cloud (Any Azure data centre)
Custom Cloud
Testrail-logo
  • On-Premise
GDPR-compliant aqua-hosted German Cloud
Isolated Enterprise Custom Cloud (Any Azure data centre)
Testrail-logo
TestRail-hosted US Cloud
Custom Cloud
Verdict: Tie

Dashboards

QA dashboards serve two vital purposes. They help the QA team track their progress, but they also make other teams aware of potential bottlenecks. At a minimum, you should be able to include any data and share dashboards with the team.

  • Use all data of the workspace
  • Create private and shared dashboards
  • Choose between various types of graphs
  • Set up KPI/values alerts that arrive as email/app notifications

Both solutions provide visual dashboards to display and slice any custom data. There are enough features to make dashboards insightful for any team member. You can also set up KPI Alerts to be notified when a key metric went out of order. TestRail does not offer KPI Alerts, and external sharing of dashboards is lacking as well.

Testrail-logo
  • All data including custom fields
KPI Alerts
Does not offer KPI Alerts
External dashboard sharing
PNG/CSV exports only
Testrail-logo
  • All data including custom fields
KPI Alerts
External dashboard sharing
Testrail-logo
Does not offer KPI Alerts
PNG/CSV exports only
Verdict: aqua wins by KPI alerts and better sharing

Reporting

Reporting is important for both internal and external stakeholders. The goal here is to get what you need with as little or as much effort as possible. When a tool offers both a template library and rich customisation, that is a good start.

  • Access vendor-provided template library
  • Create custom layouts and save them
  • Use and transform any data
  • Apply text & image formatting
  • Add external data and imagery
  • Employ scripts and parametrisation to auto-update reports

aqua has a fully customisable reports wizard to leverage and organise any data. You can even add external images and texts, too. There is a lot of automation with self-updating diagrams and custom scripts to pull and transform data depending on conditions entered by your specialists.

On the other hand, Zephyr has template-based reporting only. They claim to have 26 templates, but they are essentially 26 tracked metrics rather than 26 combinations of any metric. If QA reporting is a major consideration, aqua is a much better choice. Note that QA will eventually become the key stage to optimise, and good reports help a lot.

Testrail-logo
  • Template library
  • Custom reports
  • Diagrams
  • Parametrisation
  • Text & image formatting
Visual Reporting wizard for customisation beyond templates
DIY plugins for customisation beyond templates
Any data (natively)
Any data (custom plugins only)
External data & imagery (natively)
External data & imagery (custom plugins only)
Custom layout (natively)
Custom layout (plugins only)
Drag-and-drop
Not Available
Pivot tables
Not Available
Scripts (natively)
Scripts (custom plugins only)
Testrail-logo
  • Template library
  • Custom reports
  • Diagrams
  • Parametrisation
  • Text & image formatting
Visual Reporting wizard for customisation beyond templates
Any data (natively)
External data & imagery (natively)
Custom layout (natively)
Drag-and-drop
Pivot tables
Scripts (natively)
Testrail-logo
DIY plugins for customisation beyond templates
Any data (custom plugins only)
External data & imagery (custom plugins only)
Custom layout (plugins only)
Not Available
Not Available
Scripts (custom plugins only)
Verdict: aqua wins by easier customisation

User management

Precise user management is essential when working on multiple projects and/or working with external specialists. It will also save you a lot of pain from running crowd testing in the same test management solution.

  • Set default roles
  • Create custom roles
  • Apply per-user permissions
  • Authenticate users via SSO

Granular user permissions are useful for working on multiple projects, conducting user acceptance testing, and working with freelancers. Basic roles functionality is usually fine, but you would hate to be in a situation where you need but can’t set individual permissions. aqua and TestRail both offer individual permissions, but TestRail locks them behind the Enterprise plan.

Testrail-logo
  • SSO
  • Default user roles
  • Custom roles
  • Individual permissions
Server and project level administrators
Server and project level administrators in Enterprise plan only
Testrail-logo
  • SSO
  • Default user roles
  • Custom roles
  • Individual permissions
Server and project level administrators
Testrail-logo
Server and project level administrators in Enterprise plan only
Verdict: aqua wins by value

ALM

This is not a hard requirement, but you may be interested in a test management solution that also handles the entire product lifecycle. This is a great money saver as you need licences from fewer vendors, and the synergy should save you some hours as well.

  • Test case management
  • Requirements management
  • Defect management
  • Project management

Both solutions specialise in quality assurance, but aqua does not limit itself to just testing. You can use it for the entire lifecycle of the product, while TestRail will cover QA only. This is a significant money saver, as aqua gives you 4 tools at the price it would cost you to get TestRail only.

Testrail-logo
  • Test case management
Requirements management
Not Available
Defect management
Not Available
Project management
Not Available
Testrail-logo
  • Test case management
Requirements management
Defect management
Project management
Testrail-logo
Not Available
Not Available
Not Available
Verdict: aqua wins by covering the entire lifecycle, not just testing

What people say

Here are a few things people like and dislike about both tools.

Testrail-logo
star star star star star

“I was surprised to find such a comprehensive and mature tool for test management in the German market without having taken it seriously beforehand.”

Jörg Großmann

Head of Development at Bank 11

star star star

“For day-to-day test management of my project — I am able to do a lot of things. Test cases are reusable and I can report on some of their data. The UI is a little clunky, the documentation is not super helpful, and the reports are not as customizable as I would like. I'd also like to be able to build out a tracking dashboard for one or more projects.”

A G2 reviewer

Broadcast Media (51-1000 emp.)

star star star star star

“The reporting is meaningful and provides a good basis for decisions. After the employees have used aqua, they recognize the added value very quickly.”

Thomas Haeske

Head of Organisation/IT at Berlin Hyp

star star star

“Not user friendly, it's confusing and not always helpful. The audit trail for each defect doesn't do a good job of recording past history and hence, data becomes hard to analyse.”

Suchismita Majhi

Associate IT Consultant (a > 1000 emp. Enterprise)

star star star star star

“Manual test cases are easily automated with aqua. Seamless integration with test automation tools helps here.”

Jörn-Hendrick Sörensen

Test Manager at KBA

star star star

“Sometimes bugs go unfixed for a long amount of time. There was one with uploading pictures that hindered us for a bit and now one with filtering. Reporting is also lacking a bit, I would like to see the ability to create my own reports. There is also no easy way to connect test reports with the browser stack that we use for our automated testing.“

Jessica W.

Computer Analyst (51-1000 emp.)

star star star star star

“I was surprised to find such a comprehensive and mature tool for test management in the German market without having taken it seriously beforehand.”

Jörg Großmann

Head of Development at Bank 11

star star star star star

“The reporting is meaningful and provides a good basis for decisions. After the employees have used aqua, they recognize the added value very quickly.”

Thomas Haeske

Head of Organisation/IT at Berlin Hyp

star star star star star

“Manual test cases are easily automated with aqua. Seamless integration with test automation tools helps here.”

Jörn-Hendrick Sörensen

Test Manager at KBA

Testrail-logo
star star star

“For day-to-day test management of my project — I am able to do a lot of things. Test cases are reusable and I can report on some of their data. The UI is a little clunky, the documentation is not super helpful, and the reports are not as customizable as I would like. I'd also like to be able to build out a tracking dashboard for one or more projects.”

A G2 reviewer

Broadcast Media (51-1000 emp.)

star star star

“Not user friendly, it's confusing and not always helpful. The audit trail for each defect doesn't do a good job of recording past history and hence, data becomes hard to analyse.”

Suchismita Majhi

Associate IT Consultant (a > 1000 emp. Enterprise)

star star star

“Sometimes bugs go unfixed for a long amount of time. There was one with uploading pictures that hindered us for a bit and now one with filtering. Reporting is also lacking a bit, I would like to see the ability to create my own reports. There is also no easy way to connect test reports with the browser stack that we use for our automated testing.“

Jessica W.

Computer Analyst (51-1000 emp.)

Final verdict

aqua is a proven and constantly evolving solution. It brings AI innovation, does not hide essential features behind Enterprise plan, and offers native defect tracking. TestRail works for test management only and still lacks in several areas, including test automation integrations. The extra traceability costs are arguably the biggest factor in the comparison of aqua and TestRail testing tools for heavily regulated industries.

Testrail-logo
Bleeding-edge AI testing functionality
Traditional QA only
ALM including defect management
Test case management only
10+ testing integrations & REST API
4 native testing integrations + REST API
Bleeding-edge AI testing functionality
ALM including defect management
10+ testing integrations & REST API
Testrail-logo
Traditional QA only
Test case management only
4 native testing integrations + REST API