Driver And Driving

[Infographic] Which Is Better Between Manual vs Automatic Transmission?

Mike Cross
Updated Feb 28, 2021
Manual vs Automatic Transmission
Which Is Better Between Manual vs Automatic Transmission
Which Is Better Between Manual vs Automatic Transmission?

One of the greatest debates, or mysteries, of driving a car has to do with transmission choice. There are two types of transmissions that cars are manufactured with - manual and automatic. The debate is often over which type is “better”. And for those who cannot drive a manual, it is a mystery.

This article will explain the differences between the two, explore their similarities and hopefully give you an idea of what transmission type will be best for you when selecting your car. Let’s jump right in to looking at the differences between a manual transmission and an automatic one.

What is a transmission?

Before we can look at different kinds of transmissions, it is a good idea to know what a transmission is and how it works with regards to vehicles.

Transmissions, which are designed to help control both the speed and the torque (rotational force) of a car.  As the speed of your car increases, the higher the gear it needs. A car with an automatic transmission can shift gears on its own, or automatically.

A car with a manual transmission will need the driver to shift gears with the stick shift. And as an interesting fact, there is also a third option available. It is a hybrid that is a dual-clutch transmission. This type of transmission seems to be automatic, but it has a manual gearbox that can be operated without using a clutch pedal.

Manual vs Automatic Transmission
Manual vs Automatic Transmission

What are some considerations to think about when deciding on a transmission type?

1.Fuel efficiency

When selecting your next car, it is helpful to know that manual transmission cars are generally more fuel efficient. Which can be a big factor for those interested in doing what they can to help the environment. Today, there is only a difference of a few miles per gallon between manual and automatic transmissions.


Manual transmission cars are generally less expensive because it is less expensive for car manufacturers to install this type of transmission. However, the price tag at the showroom may not be that big between an automatic and a manual.

The important price factor has to do with resale value. There are less drivers on the road today who know how to drive a stick shift, or manual transmission car.  If you get a driver interested in a sports car, the price might be less of an issue.


Some people feel that an automatic transmission is safer to drive than a manual. This is because a manual transmission requires the driver to take one hand off the wheel in order to shift and they also need to use their foot to engage the clutch. An automatic transmission does not need any of this and both hands remain on the wheel.

This is simply a case of how cautious a driver you are and how well you pay attention to the road. Drivers of both types of transmissions can be in an accident if they are not careful behind the wheel.


Today fewer cars are made with manual transmissions. Most cars are made with automatic transmissions.

Which Is Better Between Manual vs Automatic Transmission

Automatic transmissions

Cars with automatic transmissions have a lot of benefits to offer drivers. And it has 4 types, more detail here. And now we look at some of those benefits.

1.Easy to use

Driving an automatic transmission is easy. You simply start the car and you drive off. There is really no need to learn any additional technique when driving an automatic. Once you have completed your driver’s ed and passed the road test you are all set.


When you drive an automatic transmission, both hands are on the wheel at all times. For a younger or newer driver this is a safer option.

3.Better on hills

Manual transmissions are notorious for being difficult on hills. Not so with an automatic! An automatic transmission does the work for you no matter how hilly your road may be.

4.Less chance of stalling

Automatic transmission cars are a lot less likely to stall at stop signs or traffic lights.

5.Easy to use in heavy traffic

Heavy traffic can be difficult for manual transmission users. The stop and go flow of heavy traffic make it easier to stall. Automatic transmissions handle heavy traffic with ease.

Manual transmissions

So, what about a manual transmission? This type of transmission has its benefits as well.

1.Less expensive

Generally speaking, manual transmissions are less expensive to purchase than automatic transmissions. This is because it costs the manufacturer less to install them.

2.Cheaper to maintain

Over all, a manual transmission cost the owner less to maintain over the years. This is because there are less parts to a manual transmission compared to an automatic. The only caveat is the clutch. If the clutch goes, expect to pay big money for repairs.

3.Fuel efficiency

Manual transmission cars are designed to be less complex, they weigh less, and they have more gears. This makes them more fuel efficient than automatic transmissions.


As a driver, you have more control over your car when you use a manual transmission car. This is a nice feature when you do not know what type of weather or road conditions you may face.

What type of vehicle might have a manual transmission?

Today you will still find vehicles with a manual transmission, even though they are not as widely manufactured anymore. High performance sports cars will most likely have manual transmissions. This is helpful in reaching speeds and reaching top performance.

You will also see manual transmissions is certain types of pickup trucks and semis. The manual transmission gives them better fuel efficiency and helps them manage the road better with heavy loads.


Manual versus automatic transmission has been a debate among drivers for a long time. The fact is, both types of their advantages.

However, it is important to realize that it does not matter what type of transmission you drive if you do not practice safe driving and follow the rules of the road.

Mike Cross
Life is too short to drive with stock audio

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