Do you know the most popular unit testing frameworks for .NET Core applications?
  v2.0 Posted at 2/06/2020 1:01 PM by Jason Taylor
There are three main frameworks to add unit testing. The good news is that they are all acceptable choices:
  • They all have test runner packages for running tests directly from Visual Studio
  • They all have console-based runners that can runs tests as part of a CI/CD pipeline
  • They differ slightly in syntax and feature set


The NUnit project deserves recognition for being the first powerful and open source unit test framework for the .NET universe – and it’s still a solid choice today. Because NUnit has an open-source .NET UI control for running tests, NUnit is still SSW’s preferred choice for embedding unit tests and a runner UI inside a windows application.

xUnit.net – (Recommended)​​

xUnit.net is a newer framework – written by the original creator of NUnit v2 to create a more opinionated and restrictive framework to encourage TDD best practice. For example, when running xUnit tests, the class containing the test methods is instantiated separately for each test so that tests cannot share data and​​​ can run in parallel.

xUnit.net is currently the most popular framework - and is ​​even used by the .NET Core team. 

xUnit.net is the default choice for .NET Core web applications and APIs at SSW.


MSTest ​is Microsoft's testing framework. In the past this was a poor choice as although this was the easiest framework to run from Visual Studio, it was extremely difficult to automate these tests from CI/CD build servers. These problems have been completely solved with .NET Core but for most C# developers this is “too little, too late” and the other unit testing frameworks are now more popular.

Related rules

    Do you feel this rule needs an update?

    If you want to be notified when this rule is updated, please enter your email address: