5 Rainforest QA Alternatives to Consider in 2023

This article dives deep into Rainforest QA and its five compelling alternatives, analyzing their capabilities, unique features, and pricing structures to help you make an informed choice for your visual testing needs.

Kasper Siig
Kasper Siig
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The constant evolution of technology along with the increasing complexity of online platforms poses a variety of challenges. And, the demand for cross-platform compatibility and speedy releases further introduces complexity to visual testing. In this article, we highlight Rainforest QA as an option for:

  • No-code testing
  • Automating visual testing
  • Continuous visual testing Then, we compare Rainforest QA to five popular alternatives which might make for a better fit in your toolset

Rainforest QA's Visual Testing Capabilities

Rainforest QA focuses on real-world testing scenarios based on an automated no-code solution. This enables users to write, run, and maintain tests without needing any coding knowledge. This allows Rainforest QA to implement what they refer to as “true UI testing”, referring to the ability of accurately replicating typical user behavior—e.g. clicking fields, entering text, and submitting forms.

This approach differs from many other visual testing platforms—visual testing tools often interact with the underlying code—which makes for a genuine representation of the user experience. Ultimately, this makes it easier to identify and mitigate any UI discrepancies that other testing methodologies might miss. Rainforest QA offers three pricing plans tailored to different needs:

  • The Essentials Plan is a free tier with up to five hours of automated testing each month.
  • The Startup Plan provides five free hours of automated testing every month, with every hour beyond that costing $5/hour. On-demand manual testing is available at $25/hour.
  • Unlimited Plan: With pricing starting at $30K annually this plan is aimed at larger enterprises or those with extensive testing needs.

When looking for alternatives it’s recommended to:

  • Scrutinize the unique advantages and limitations of each platform.
  • Understand the core testing capabilities of each tool.
  • Reflect on the cost implications and integration aspects. Although Rainforest QA is a strong contender, its cost structure might not be suitable for all. Hence, a comprehensive comparison of Rainforest QA against its competitors is essential.

Essential Features of Effective Visual Testing Tools

Using automated tools to identify visual differences—like changing the color of a button or adding a new text field—is a core feature of visual testing tools. Although such changes are often intentional, you may experience unwanted changes like the alignment of elements.

These kinds of changes—when not intended—heavily affect the user experience, which can ultimately lead to user churn. This is why organizations often look for tools to aid them in generating test cases, executing tests, and reporting results.

When researching testing tools it’s important to be aware of script-based vs traffic-based testing. The former is what most have used for decades, where engineers use scripts to replicate user behavior. However, it’s often difficult to replicate user behavior exactly—especially in visual testing—hence why the latter, traffic-based testing, has seen a rise in popularity. This approach replays recorded user interactions to ensure that all the fine details of a user’s behavior are captured.

Exploring Alternatives to Rainforest QA

Although script-based vs traffic-based testing is a major difference between tools, there are many factors that influence what the best option is for you.

Meticulous: An Integrated Visual Testing Solution for Developers

Meticulous website

Meticulous offers a suite of features to help ensure visual consistency and quality. This is in part accomplished by strong integration capability, allowing developers to run automatic visual regression tests on pull requests, ensuring that new code changes don't introduce visual discrepancies. However, more importantly, Meticulous eliminates the need to maintain tests, due to the reliance on recorded user behavior. Do note that this is different from other “no-code” tools, as any configured test needs maintenance. Do note that this is different from other “no-code” tools, since those still require maintenance of the tests whilst Meticulous automatically updates and maintains the test suite with no developer intervention.

Browsers are inherently non-deterministic, and so all tools come with an inherent risk of flakes due to factors like:

  • Animations
  • Changing dates and times
  • Random numbers
  • Timers
  • Libraries

Given that Meticulous reports visual inconsistencies by analyzing the pixel depth of screenshots, it’s crucial that these match the original recording exactly.

The solution to this is two-part: mocking any dependencies (e.g. databases or third-party APIs) and fully replicating the browser environment with augmentations to make it fully deterministic.

Moreover, because of the use of recordings and pixel depth, you will never need to maintain your visual tests again, whether in regards to new features being added or old features being removed. Simply use the new UI, have Meticulous’ script record it, and you’re all set.

Furthermore, its compatibility with CI/CD pipelines ensures that every build undergoes rigorous visual regression tests. Other integrations like Vercel are available, allowing you to deploy a live version of each pull request, which ensures that the new code being tested is as close to your production environment as possible.

Looking at testimonials from those who have tried Meticulous, it’s clear that the lack of need to write tests is a major feature of the tool.

Client feedback on Meticulous Meticulous offers a free starter plan for 20 pull requests and custom pricing for larger customers.

Test IO: A Crowdtesting Solution for Visual QA Teams

Test IO website

Test IO offers a unique approach called "crowdtesting" which leverages the insights and expertise of a diverse group of individuals to test digital products. In other words, the testers are real people who use the product in real-world scenarios. This can catch bugs that may otherwise go unnoticed with automated tools.

Test IO's crowdtesting model is both flexible and scalable, making it adaptable to organizations of any size or industry. Its platform is designed with the users in mind, with an intuitive dashboard that allows users to easily create, manage, and monitor tests.

Their pricing model is flexible with options for “startup”, “pro”, and “enterprise”, billed as a monthly subscription. However, to get the exact pricing, you’ll need to contact their sales team.

The actual cost of Test IO depends on the number of testers and test cycles required. The startup and pro options are well-suited for those wishing to execute baseline testing (exploratory testing, coverage, focused testing, etc.), mostly differing in how many tests you can run. However, the pro option does provide some unique additional options like:

  • Rapid testing
  • On-demand bug validation
  • On-demand bug reproduction

The enterprise package includes dedicated support, unlimited test cycles, and integration assistance, along with possible add-ons like:

  • Accessibility testing
  • Location testing
  • Real Payments Testing

Sauce Labs: Emulation-Based Device Testing

Sauce Labs website

Sauce Labs provides a blend of emulators, simulators, and real devices, ultimately ensuring great test coverage—without compromising on speed. The real-time feedback allows users to monitor tests as they run. Their pricing is based on usage, with options for both manual and automated testing.

Teams can streamline their testing process, track bugs, manage test cases, and share knowledge seamlessly with Sauce Labs' integrations with TestRail, Slack, Jira, GitHub, and Confluence.

Plan Price Details
Free $0 2,000 free credits per week. Run tests on up to 10 devices in parallel. Includes 2,000 free credits per week to run Automated and Live Tests. Credits expire weekly. Thousands of mobile devices, emulators/simulators, and browser/OS combinations. Unlimited users.
Monthly (Starter Plan) $50 per month (+ taxes and fees) 25,000 credits/month. Run tests on up to 25 devices in parallel. Includes 25,000 credits per month to run Automated and Live Tests. Credits expire monthly. Thousands of mobile devices, emulators/simulators, and browser/OS combinations. Unlimited users. Auto-refill credits.
Annual $600 per year (+ taxes and fees) 330,000 credits/year (30,000 bonus). Run tests on up to 50 devices in parallel. Includes 300,000 credits + 30,000 bonus credits per year to run Automated and Live Tests. Credits expire annually. Thousands of mobile devices, emulators/simulators, and browser/OS combinations. Unlimited users. Auto-refill credits.
Enterprise Custom Reliable & premium support for enterprise. Unlimited automated testing minutes. Private device cloud. Sauce Connect proxy local tunneling. Single sign-on (SSO). Team management. Premium support options. Enterprise-grade security.

Cypress: A Javascript-based Tool for Developers

Cypress testing

Cypress is one of the alternatives to Rainforest QA that offers a robust testing tool to address the challenges of non-deterministic tests. Flakiness due to dynamic content can be a common issue in visual testing, which is why Cypress has a built-in retry-ability. That being said, retries provide no guarantees of not producing flakes, it simply lowers the chance of them occurring in the test suite as a whole.

The focus on aiding developers is clear from the beginning, but especially when looking into features like explicit waits, mocking, and randomization. Cypress's ecosystem is enriched by a plethora of plugins and integrations, making it much like a swiss-army knife for visual testing; perfectly adequate for most use-cases, but rarely the most optimal solution.

Its interactive and real-time testing environment provides immediate feedback and allows developers to see exactly what happens during each test step. The Test Runner UI is particularly praised for its clarity, showing passed/failed tests in distinct colors.

Cypress test runner ui

Plan Cost Users Included Test Results Additional Test Results Features
Free $0/month 3 500/month Not applicable Parallelization, Load Balancing, Debugging, Analytics, Integrations
Team $67/month (Billed annually at $799) 10 120,000/year $6 per 1,000 test results Everything in the Free plan, Flake Detection, Flaky Test Analytics, Jira Integration, Email Support
Business $267/month (Billed annually at $3,199) 40 120,000/year $5 per 1,000 test results Everything in the Team plan, Smart Orchestration, GitHub & GitLab Enterprise, SSO
Enterprise Custom pricing based on needs Unlimited Custom Custom Everything in the Business plan, Premium Support, Custom Legal Terms

Browserstack: Real-World Device Testing

Browserstack website

Browserstack is a cloud-based platform that offers reliable, on-demand testing solutions for digital products. Its real device cloud is constantly updated, ensuring that testers get the most accurate results. Its cloud-based nature ensures consistent performance and accessibility from any location.

This is quite different from tools like Sauce Labs—as covered previously—that focuses on emulation. Although emulation is often more than enough, there may be cases where you need to verify on a real physical device, for instance, if you rely on a phone’s satellite antenna.

With its vast device and browser offerings, Browserstack provides a comprehensive solution for ensuring application quality across platforms. Its user-friendly interface allows users to quickly select devices, browsers, and operating systems from a comprehensive list and initiate tests with just a few clicks.

However, pricing is a consideration, as Browserstack offers a tiered pricing structure with separate plans for live testing, automation, and app testing. For larger organizations or those with specific requirements, Browserstack provides custom enterprise solutions with dedicated support and SLAs. The exact pricing varies a lot based on your specific needs, both in terms of your team size and feature set. To see what your exact cost will be, visit Browserstack’s pricing page.

A Comparative Analysis of Rainforest QA and Its Alternatives

  • Meticulous detects UI bugs without the need for writing or maintaining UI tests, offering immediate testing with minimal maintenance. They provide a free starter plan for 20 pull requests and custom pricing for larger needs.
  • Test IO provides real-world testers for visual testing. It encompasses exploratory, regression, and functional testing. Pricing isn’t public.
  • Sauce Labs focuses on emulation-based device testing. There’s a free option for you to get started, with additional packages available depending on your needs.
  • Cypress is a Javascript-based tool known for non-deterministic tests which can sometimes result in inconsistencies. It supports testing on real devices and emulators. While there's a free open-source version for smaller entities, there are also paid options available.
  • Browserstack specializes in real-world device testing, offering testing on actual devices and emulators across various platforms. However, its pricing might be on the steeper side for bigger clients, and requires careful calculations to determine exactly. When selecting a visual testing tool, it's essential to align with your business's specific needs. Each tool has distinct advantages and potential drawbacks. Factors like budget, testing requirements, and team size will influence the final decision.
Tool Primary Testing Types Pricing
Rainforest QA Functional, Regression, Load Custom pricing plans
Meticulous Functional, Visual Regression Free starter plan for 20 pull requests, custom pricing for larger customers
Test IO Exploratory, Regression, Functional Pay-per-bug pricing model
Sauce Labs Emulation-based device More flexible than Rainforest QA
Cypress Non-deterministic Free and open-source version, enterprise pricing can be expensive
Browserstack Real-world device Expensive for larger customers, tiered pricing structure


Meticulous is a tool for software engineers to catch visual regressions in web applications without writing or maintaining UI tests.

Inject the Meticulous snippet onto production or staging and dev environments. This snippet records user sessions by collecting clickstream and network data. When you post a pull request, Meticulous selects a subset of recorded sessions which are relevant and simulates these against the frontend of your application. Meticulous takes screenshots at key points and detects any visual differences. It posts those diffs in a comment for you to inspect in a few seconds. Meticulous automatically updates the baseline images after you merge your PR. This eliminates the setup and maintenance burden of UI testing.

Meticulous isolates the frontend code by mocking out all network calls, using the previously recorded network responses. This means Meticulous never causes side effects and you don’t need a staging environment.

Learn more here.

Authored by Kasper Siig

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Kasper Siig
Kasper Siig

Kasper is a seasoned technical professional with experience ranging from DevOps engineering to specialized content creation, currently leveraging his deep understanding of technology to lead Siig Marketing, a firm dedicated to crafting high-converting, developer-focused marketing content.

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