Testing Single-File Components with Karma

An example project for this setup is available on GitHub.

Karma is a test runner that launches browsers, runs tests, and reports them back to us. We're going to use the Mocha framework to write the tests. We'll use the chai library for test assertions.

Setting up Mocha

We will assume you are starting with a setup that already has webpack, vue-loader and Babel properly configured - e.g. the webpack-simple template scaffolded by vue-cli.

The first thing to do is install the test dependencies:

npm install --save-dev @vue/test-utils karma karma-chrome-launcher karma-mocha karma-sourcemap-loader karma-spec-reporter karma-webpack mocha

Next we need to define a test script in our package.json.

// package.json
  "scripts": {
    "test": "karma start --single-run"
  • The --single-run flag tells Karma to run the test suite once.

Karma Configuration

Create a karma.conf.js file in the index of the project:

// karma.conf.js

var webpackConfig = require('./webpack.config.js')

module.exports = function(config) {
    frameworks: ['mocha'],

    files: ['test/**/*.spec.js'],

    preprocessors: {
      '**/*.spec.js': ['webpack', 'sourcemap']

    webpack: webpackConfig,

    reporters: ['spec'],

    browsers: ['Chrome']

This file is used to configure Karma.

We need to preprocess our files with webpack. to do that, we add webpack as a preprocessor, and include our webpack config. We can use the webpack config file in the base of the project without changing anything.

In our configuration, we run the tests in Chrome. To add extra browsers, see the Browsers section in the Karma docs.

Picking an Assertion Library

Chai is a popular assertion library that is commonly used alongside Mocha. You may also want to check out Sinon for creating spies and stubs.

We can install the karma-chai plugin to use chai in our tests.

npm install --save-dev karma-chai

Adding a test

Create a file in src named Counter.vue:

    {{ count }}
    <button @click="increment">Increment</button>

  export default {
    data() {
      return {
        count: 0

    methods: {
      increment() {

And create a test file named test/Counter.spec.js with the following code:

import { expect } from 'chai'
import { shallowMount } from '@vue/test-utils'
import Counter from '../src/Counter.vue'

describe('Counter.vue', () => {
  it('increments count when button is clicked', () => {
    const wrapper = shallowMount(Counter)

And now we can run the tests:

npm run test

Woohoo, we got our tests running!


To setup code coverage to Karma, we can use the karma-coverage plugin.

By default, karma-coverage won't use source maps to map the coverage reports. So we need to use babel-plugin-istanbul to make sure the coverage is mapped correctly.

Install karma-coverage, babel-plugin-istanbul, and cross-env:

npm install --save-dev karma-coverage cross-env

We're going to use cross-env to set a NODE_ENV environment variable. This way we can use babel-plugin-istanbul when we're compiling for our tests—we don't want to include babel-plugin-istanbul when we compile our production code:

npm install --save-dev babel-plugin-istanbul

Update your .babelrc file to use babel-plugin-istanbul when NODE_ENV is set to test:

  "presets": [["env", { "modules": false }], "stage-3"],
  "env": {
    "test": {
      "plugins": ["istanbul"]

Now update the karma.conf.js file to use coverage. Add coverage to the reporters array, and add a coverageReporter field:

// karma.conf.js

module.exports = function(config) {
    // ...

    reporters: ['spec', 'coverage'],

    coverageReporter: {
      dir: './coverage',
      reporters: [{ type: 'lcov', subdir: '.' }, { type: 'text-summary' }]

And update the test script to set the NODE_ENV:

// package.json
  "scripts": {
    "test": "cross-env NODE_ENV=test karma start --single-run"