Testing React components with Jest and Enzyme

Some people say that testing React components is useless and in many cases it is, but there are a few cases when I think it’s useful:

  • component libraries,
  • open source projects,
  • integration with third-party components,
  • bugs, to prevent regressions.

I’ve tried many tools and finally have found a combination that I like enough to suggest to other developers:

  • Jest, a test runner;
  • Enzyme, a testing utility for React;
  • enzyme-to-json to convert Enzyme wrappers for Jest snapshot matcher.

For the most of my tests I use shallow rendering with Jest snapshots.

Shallow rendering

Shallow rendering renders only component itself without its children. So if you change something in a child component it won’t change shallow output of your component. Or a bug, introduced to a child component, won’t break your component’s test. It also doesn’t require DOM.

For example this component:

const ButtonWithIcon = ({icon, children}) => (
  <button><Icon icon={icon} />{children}</button>

Will be rendered by React like this:

  <i class="icon icon_coffee"></i>
  Hello Jest!

But like this with shallow rendering:

  <Icon icon="coffee" />
  Hello Jest!

Note that the Icon component was not rendered.

Snapshot testing

Jest snapshots are like those old text UIs with windows and buttons made of text characters: it’s a rendered output of your component stored in a text file.

You tell Jest that you want to be sure that output of this component should never change accidentally and Jest saves it to a file that looks like this:

exports[`test should render a label 1`] = `
  Hello Jest!

exports[`test should render a small label 1`] = `
  className="isBlock isSmall">
  Hello Jest!

Every time you change your markup Jest will show you a diff and ask you to update a snapshot if the change was intended.

Jest stores snapshots besides your tests in files like __snapshots__/Label.spec.js.snap and you need to commit them with your code.

Why Jest

  • Very fast.
  • Snapshot testing.
  • Awesome interactive watch mode that reruns only tests that are relevant to your changes.
  • Helpful fail messages.
  • Simple configuration.
  • Mocks and spies.
  • Coverage report with a single command line switch.
  • Active development.
  • Impossible to write silently wrong asserts like expect(foo).to.be.a.function instead of expect(foo).to.be.a('function') in Chai because it’s the only natural thing to write after (correct) expect(foo).to.be.true.

Why Enzyme

  • Convenient utilities to work with shallow rendering, static rendered markup or DOM rendering.
  • jQuery-like API to find elements, read props, etc.

Setting up

I use Babel and CSS Modules so you’ll see them in the examples below but both are optional.

First install all the dependencies including peer dependencies:

npm install --save-dev jest babel-jest react-addons-test-utils enzyme enzyme-to-json

Update your package.json:

"scripts": {
  "test": "jest",
  "test:watch": "jest --watch",
  "test:coverage": "jest --coverage"
"jest": {
  "setupFiles": ["./test/jestsetup.js"],
  "snapshotSerializers": [

snapshotSerializers allows you to pass Enzyme wrappers directly to Jest’s snapshot matcher, without converting them manually by calling enzyme-to-json’s toJson function.

Create a jestsetup.js file to customize Jest environment (see setupFiles above):

// Make Enzyme functions available in all test files without importing
import { shallow, render, mount } from 'enzyme';
global.shallow = shallow;
global.render = render;
global.mount = mount;

// Fail tests on any warning
console.error = message => {
   throw new Error(message);

For CSS Modules also add to jest section in your package.json:

"jest": {
  "moduleNameMapper": {
    "^.+\\.(css|scss)$": "identity-obj-proxy"

And run npm istall --save-dev identity-obj-proxy.

Note that identity-obj-proxy requires node --harmony-proxies flag for Node 4 and 5.

Writing tests

Testing basic component rendering

That’s enough for most non-interactive components:

it('should render a label', () => {
  const wrapper = shallow(
    <Label>Hello Jest!</Label>

it('should render a small label', () => {
  const wrapper = shallow(
    <Label small>Hello Jest!</Label>

it('should render a grayish label', () => {
  const wrapper = shallow(
    <Label light>Hello Jest!</Label>

Testing props

Sometimes you want to be more explicit and see real values in tests. In that case use Enzyme API with regular Jest assertions:

it('should render a document title', () => {
  const wrapper = shallow(
    <DocumentTitle title="Events" />

it('should render a document title and a parent title', () => {
  const wrapper = shallow(
    <DocumentTitle title="Events" parent="Event Radar" />
  expect(wrapper.prop('title')).toEqual('Events — Event Radar');

In some cases you just can’t use snapshots. For example if you have random IDs or something like that:

it('should render a popover with a random ID', () => {
  const wrapper = shallow(
    <Popover>Hello Jest!</Popover>

Testing events

You can simulate an event like click or change and then compare component to a snapshot:

it('should render Markdown in preview mode', () => {
  const wrapper = shallow(
    <MarkdownEditor value="*Hello* Jest!" />




Sometimes you want to interact with an element in a child component to test effect in your component. For that you need a proper DOM rendering with Enzyme’s mount method:

it('should open a code editor', () => {
  const wrapper = mount(
    <Playground code={code} />




Testing event handlers

Similar to events testing but instead of testing component’s rendered output with a snapshot use Jest’s mock function to test an event handler itself:

it('should pass a selected value to the onChange handler', () => {
  const value = '2';
  const onChange = jest.fn();
  const wrapper = shallow(
    <Select items={ITEMS} onChange={onChange} />


  wrapper.find('select').simulate('change', {
    target: { value },


Not only JSX

Jest snapshots work with JSON so you can test any function that returns JSON the same way you test your components:

it('should accept custom properties', () => {
  const wrapper = shallow(

Debugging and troubleshooting

Use Enzyme’s debug method to print shallow renderer’s output:

const wrapper = shallow(/*~*/);

When your tests fail with --coverage flag with diff like this:


Try to replace arrow function component with regular function:

- export default const Button = ({ children }) => {
+ export default function Button({ children }) {


Thanks to Chris Pojer, Max Stoiber and Anna Gerus for proofreading and comments.

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About me

I’m a frontend developer living in Berlin, Germany. I work at Here, and in my spare time I love making photos, writing, hanging out with my dogs and drinking lots of coffee.

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