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A Detailed Comparison of Playwright vs Cypress Testing Frameworks

    Playwright vs Cypress Testing Frameworks 2024 -

    Automated testing is essential for delivering high-quality software quickly. Two popular frameworks for end-to-end testing of web applications are Playwright and Cypress. Both tools make it easy to write and run automated UI tests.

    This in-depth guide compares Playwright and Cypress across key factors like features, usage, performance, and more. Read on to learn the similarities, differences, pros, and cons of each framework to decide which is better for your needs.

    What is Playwright?

    Playwright is an open-source end-to-end testing framework by Microsoft for automating web browsers like Chromium, Firefox and WebKit. It allows writing consistent and reliable browser tests in languages like JavaScript, Python, C#, and Java for web applications.

    Playwright provides capabilities to:

    • Automate actions and assertions for web apps across browsers.
    • Generate scripts by recording user interactions.
    • Take screenshots and videos of test executions.
    • Intercept network requests and mock responses.
    • Emulate mobile devices, geolocations, languages etc.
    • Parallel test execution across browsers.
    • Debug tests and analyze results.

    The key advantages of Playwright are:

    • Cross-browser testing – Tests run consistently across Chromium, Firefox and WebKit without modifications.
    • Reliable locators – Element selectors are resilient to markup changes. Playwright auto-generates locators using accessibility roles, tags, texts, etc.
    • Fast and stable – Playwright directly controls the browsers for fast test execution without flaky timeouts.
    • Easy inspection – Interactive REPL environment to visually inspect elements, generate locators etc.
    • Tracing and root cause analysis – Detailed timeline traces, screenshots, and videos to debug test failures efficiently.
    • Multi-language support – APIs available for JavaScript, Python, C#, and Java.

    Playwright enables reliable end-to-end testing for web apps with minimal effort. The capabilities like cross-browser support, automatic waiting, reliable locators, and debugging tools make Playwright a popular choice for testing web apps.

    What is Cypress?

    Cypress is an open-source end-to-end testing framework built specifically for the web. It allows you to write, run, and debug automated UI tests for the web applications in JavaScript.

    Key features of Cypress include:

    • Familiar syntax – The API is Promise-based and uses Mocha and Chai for writing test cases in BDD/TDD format.
    • Time travel – Cypress takes snapshots as tests run for debugging. You can traverse back and forth within test execution.
    • Spies, stubs and clocks – Override functions, make assertions on calls, and control time in tests.
    • Automatic waiting – Cypress automatically waits for commands and assertions with no async issues.
    • Screenshots and videos – Every run is recorded, with screenshots taken automatically for test failures.
    • Real-time reloads – Code changes are reflected during test runs for faster development.
    • Network traffic control – Inspect and stub network requests within test cases.
    • Console log spying – Log or inspect the console.logs within your application code.
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    Cypress enables confident end-to-end testing by removing flakiness and giving you complete control over test runs. The familiarity of the API and powerful debugging features make Cypress a popular choice for web testing.

    Key Differences Between Playwright and Cypress

    Comparison of Playwright vs Cypress Testing Frameworks

    While Playwright and Cypress have similar capabilities, there are some notable differences between the two frameworks:

    Browser Support

    • Playwright supports Chromium, Firefox and WebKit browsers. Tests run identically across browsers without modifications.
    • Cypress only supports the Chromium browser currently. Firefox support is in alpha.


    • Playwright APIs are available for JavaScript, Python, C#, and Java.
    • Cypress is JavaScript based currently.

    Test Runner

    • Playwright has its own test runner with CLI and options for CI/CD.
    • Cypress has an interactive browser-based test runner with a dashboard and video recording.


    • Playwright auto-generates resilient locators and provides query selectors.
    • Cypress needs explicit locators tied to application implementation.

    Mobile Emulation

    • Playwright can emulate mobile viewports, user agents, and geolocations.
    • Cypress lacks native mobile emulation support.


    • Playwright handles auth transparently with context isolation.
    • Cypress requires custom commands for login and managing session state.

    Parallel Testing

    • Playwright supports parallel test execution across browsers.
    • Cypress runs tests serially within a single browser. Parallel runs are planned for the future.


    • Playwright is completely open source and free.
    • Cypress offers additional paid dashboard features for teams under Cypress Dashboard.

    So, in summary, Playwright provides wider language, browser, and device support, while Cypress offers richer debugging capabilities through its interactive interface. Both facilitate end-to-end testing, but Playwright’s robust cross-browser support and Cypress’s singular focus on web testing are key differences.

    Playwright vs Cypress: Key Features Compared

    Playwright vs Cypress Testing Frameworks -

    Let’s dive deeper to compare some of the key capabilities of Playwright and Cypress for end-to-end testing:

    Cross-browser testing

    Playwright allows running tests across Chromium, Firefox, and WebKit without any modifications. The syntax, locators, and results are consistent across browsers thanks to its browser instrumentation and multi-browser architecture.

    Cypress currently supports Chromium browser only. Firefox is still experimental. You cannot run the same tests seamlessly across multiple browsers like Playwright.

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    Locator strategies

    Playwright auto-generates resilient locators using accessibility roles, test IDs, placeholder text and other attributes. It also provides CSS, XPath, text, and regex-based selectors. Locators adapt to markup changes.

    Cypress requires you to use explicit locators with cy.get(), coupled to the application DOM structure. Fragile locators prone to breaking with UI changes. Workarounds needed for locating elements.

    Mobile and geo testing

    Playwright can simulate mobile devices, geolocations and languages to write mobile-specific tests and validate localization.

    Cypress lacks native support for mobile viewports, touch interactions and geo/language simulation as of now.


    Playwright isolates state and cookies across contexts, so you can log in once and execute tests concurrently across authenticated contexts.

    Cypress runs all tests within a single browser session. You have to log in separately before each test and manage the session state explicitly.

    Test parallelization

    Playwright allows running tests in parallel to reduce test time significantly. Tests can run across browsers and across machines using its own test runner or test frameworks.

    Cypress supports serial test execution within the same browser. Parallel runs across machines will be supported in the future but are not yet available.

    Visual testing

    Playwright provides APIs for screenshot testing and pixel-level image comparison across test runs.

    Cypress lacks built-in visual regression testing currently. Need external tools or custom setup.


    Playwright offers native reporters, HTML report,s and plugins for popular reporting tools like JUnit, Allure etc.

    Cypress provides comprehensive graphical reports and videos out of the box in its Dashboard service with additional paid plans.


    Playwright is completely free and open-source. Can be used without restrictions.

    Cypress offers additional collaboration features like test recording, parallelization, dashboard reporting etc. under commercial plans.

    So in summary, Playwright provides stronger cross-browser support, automatic resilient locators, native mobile emulation and parallel runs. Cypress offers richer interactive debugging and video recording capabilities within the browser.

    Should You Use Playwright or Cypress?

    Should You Use Playwright or Cypress -

    When to use Playwright

    Playwright is the better choice when:

    • You need to test across multiple browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
    • Reliable locators are needed that adapt to DOM changes.
    • Native mobile viewports and touch and geo-testing features are required.
    • Parallel test execution across browsers is desired.
    • A free and open-source framework is preferred.
    • You want to use test runners like Jest, Mocha, or popular CI/CD tools.
    • Reporting integrations like Allure, JUnit, or custom tools are needed.

    When to use Cypress

    Cypress is more suitable when:

    • Your app targets only the Chromium/Chrome browser.
    • You want interactive debugging capabilities like time traveling.
    • The familiar BDD/TDD APIs are preferred for writing tests.
    • Built-in dashboards, videos, and reporting appeal to you.
    • Commercial features like test recording, retries, and parallel runs are useful.
    • Your team is already using Cypress successfully.
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    For web apps targeting multiple browsers, Playwright is the better end-to-end testing framework. Cypress is ideal if Chrome-only testing and interactive debugging are key priorities.

    Migrating from Cypress to Playwright

    For teams looking to switch from Cypress to Playwright, here are some tips for migration:

    • Add Playwright project dependencies and configure tests for multiple browsers.
    • Port existing tests using Playwright APIs – the majority of syntax is similar.
    • Replace explicit locators with Playwright auto-generated locators using element handles.
    • Extract reusable login logic into a utility instead of custom commands.
    • Adapt authentication and state management logic for multiple contexts.
    • Parallelize tests across browsers and machines.
    • Configure CI/CD pipelines to run Playwright tests.
    • Set up Playwright reporting and traces for debugging.

    A phased migration works best. You can run Playwright tests for Chromium and validate them against Cypress before switching over to other browsers. With Playwright’s concise APIs and comprehensive documentation, most teams are able to migrate successfully within a short timeframe.

    Installation and Configuration

    Both Playwright and Cypress are straightforward to install and configure for your project.

    Install Playwright

    Playwright can be installed in your Node.js or JavaScript project via npm:

    npm install -D @playwright/test

    The Playwright’s test runner and configuration options can be initialized using:

    npx playwright install

    For other languages like Python, .NET, and Java check the Playwright installation docs.

    Install Cypress

    Cypress can be installed by just adding one dev dependency in your Node project:

    npm install -D cypress

    Cypress can then be opened using:

    npx cypress open

    Refer to Cypress installation guide for more details.


    Both Playwright and Cypress allow configuring browsers, headless mode, screenshots, videos, reporters, etc.

    Playwright uses playwright.config.js Whereas Cypress is configured via cypress.json. Check their respective documentation for configuration options.


    Playwright and Cypress are both excellent end-to-end testing tools for web applications. While they have comparable features, Playwright’s cross-browser support, automatic locators, mobile emulation, and parallel testing make it preferable for testing across environments. Cypress offers unparalleled interactive debugging within the Chromium browser.

    For web apps targeting multiple browsers and devices, Playwright is the recommended end-to-end testing framework. The API is concise, capabilities are robust, and tests require minimal maintenance across browsers. If your target environment is limited to Chromium, Cypress offers faster test development through its browser-based interface.

    Overall, Playwright streamlines end-to-end testing across browsers and devices. With its open-source nature, you can use Playwright freely across projects and scale test automation confidently.