Best Computer-Aided Design (CAD) SoftwareCAD Software (computer-aided design) software is used by architects, engineers, and others to create precision drawings or technical illustrations. This category of software can increase productivity, and improve quality. It also aids communication between designers by creating documentation and creates a database for manufacturing. CAD can be used to create two-dimensional (2-D) drawings or three-dimensional (3-D) models, and is frequently used in the design of electronic circuit boards in electronic devices.DraftSight1 Inventor6 PLM Software7 3608 Solid Edge10 Creo11 Instruments LabVIEW13 Mathcad16 Fundamentals17 3D18 Workbench20 Designer21 Landmark22 COMPRESS23 Civil 3D24 Inspire25

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Software

Best Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Software

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Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Software Overview

What is Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Software?

Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of a computer to help create or optimize a design. Therefore, CAD software allows engineers, architects, designers and others to create precision drawings or technical illustrations in 2D or 3D. This category of software can increase productivity, improve quality and maximize organization by creating a documentation database for manufacturing.

CAD software has a host of applications, including the design of manufacturing parts, electronic circuit boards, prototypes for 3D printers, and buildings. Typically, this software uses either traditional vector-based graphics or raster graphics which show how finished objects would actually look.

CAD software can also facilitate the flow from the design process to the manufacturing process. This software can simulate the movement of a part through the manufacturing process in three dimensions. As this software becomes ever better at simulating the manufacturing process, specialized software for designing the manufacturing process and controlling machine tools called Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) has become integrated with CAD as a single platform.

Features & Capabilities

Professional level software packages usually have the following features:

  • 2D/3D Design

  • Electrical design

  • CAM integration

  • Simulation and analysis, such as simulating real world use of an item to identify areas with a propensity for thermal stress and buckling

  • Augmented reality

  • Data management

  • Additive manufacturing

Pricing Information

On average, you will pay around $2,000 for professional level software, but you can find a solution in the range of $200 to $5000. If you don’t need the data management and manufacturing integration, a home/student version can be obtained from $0 to $100.

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Products

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Top Rated
270 Ratings

DraftSight is a feature-rich 2D and 3D CAD solution for architects, engineers and construction service providers, as well as professional CAD users, designers, educators and hobbyists. DraftSight lets users create, edit, view, and markup any kind of 2D and 3D DWG file with greater ease, speed, and e…


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Top Rated
239 Ratings

AutoCAD is a CAD product from Autodesk. It allows designers to work in 2D and 3D, and has extensive online collaboration tools.


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Top Rated
103 Ratings

SketchUp is 3D modeling software with an emphasis on usability. SketchUp is a Trimble product.


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Top Rated
106 Ratings

Dassault Systemes offers SOLIDWORKS, a computer-aided design (CAD) system for education and manufacturing supporting 2D or 3D design, electrical design, simulations, and product development with collaboration tools.

27 Ratings

Onshape is a next-generation cloud design platform that aims to speed up product development. It’s an all-in-one system that combines CAD, release management, workflow, real-time collaboration tools, and an API with more than 50 engineering applications. Onshape's goal is to help extended design tea…

Autodesk Inventor

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Top Rated
40 Ratings

Autodesk Inventor 3D CAD software offers professional-grade 3D mechanical design, documentation, and product simulation tools.

Siemens PLM (formerly UGS), a division of Siemens AG, offers Solid Edge. Solid Edge is a 2D/3D CAD modeling, simulation, CAM, and 3D printing suite offered free to students, hobbyists, and learners or at relatively low cost to mid-tier companies. It's capabilities are limited relative to Siemens PLM…

17 Ratings

PTC offers Creo, the company's line of computer-aided design (CAD) products that support the product lifecycle management (PLM) process with 2D and 3D design kits (Creo Elements and Creo Direct), an augmented reality module, Creo Illustrate for technical illustrations, Creo Sketch, Creo Schematics a…

5 Ratings

PTC offers Mathcad, the company's engineering analytics engine including Mathcad Prime, for managing complex mathematical calculations inherent in solving engineering problems. Additionally the software includes Area Protection and Locking, which limits access to information based on role so that wo…

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Altair Inspire, developed by SolidThinking which was acquired by Altair, is software for Generative Design/Topology Optimization, and rapid simulation solution for design engineers. It is designed to enhance the concept development process by enabling simulation-driven design to increase a product’s…

TrustRadius Top Rated for 2019

2019 Top Rated Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Software

There are plenty of options out there, but here's our shortlist of the best Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Software. These products won a Top Rated award for having excellent customer satisfaction ratings. The list is based purely on reviews; there is no paid placement, and analyst opinions do not influence the rankings. To qualify, a product must have 10 or more recent reviews and a trScore of 7.5 or higher, indicating above-average satisfaction for business technology. The products with the highest trScores appear first on the list. Read more about the Top Rated criteria.


106 ratings


103 ratings


239 ratings