Computer-aided design software tools have supplanted manual drafting. They have a substantial market share in the software sector, which is expected to be worth $389.86 billion by 2020. As packaging machines get more complicated, more designers and mechanical engineers turn to 3D CAD software to help them design better and faster. Unlimited guide to Best CAD Software for Design and Engineering in 2023.

CAD software and 3D printing software complement each other because the two can be used to create almost anything. Contrary to popular belief, CAD software is different from graphic design software. This should be self-evident if you’ve worked with the computer-aided design before, but bear this in mind if you’re new to CAD.

Today, I’ll walk you through the most popular CAD software systems. I’ll go through which of these applications are best for what, what tools and features, and how much they cost.

Then, to help you make a good choice, I’ll briefly explain CAD, which stands for computer-aided design.

What is Computed-Aided Design (CAD)?

Computer-aided design, or CAD, is the process of creating, modifying, and optimizing designs using digital workstations and computers. CAD Software for Design and Engineering, or CAE software systems, make designers and engineers more productive by eliminating drawing problems by hand.

They provide many features, real-time collaboration tools, and other things to help you improve your design quality. You can better picture an original idea by making a more detailed graphic representation.

CAD Software can also assist you in speeding up the product development process by creating 3D models and designs. Because of this, it is now a well-known platform used in the automotive, aerospace, computer animation, and gaming industries.

13 Top CAD Software for 2023

1. Fusion 360 by Autodesk

Autodesk Fusion 360 is a cloud-based 3D modelling and manufacturing platform including CAD, CAE, PCB, and CAM. It lets you explore creativity and design effortlessly while making various design iterations.

You can test these ideas early in the development process to see how well they operate and if you find any problems. As a result, you can use its integrated CAD Software for Design and Engineering and CAM software applications to create and change current features and fittings.

Fusion 360 can also create 2D drawings from 3D models. This makes it easier to annotate, measure dimensions, and document precisely for industrial precision.


To assure manufacturability, you may reduce the design and engineering effects with Fusion 360’s generative design and simulation capabilities. Because of this, it is possible to design and make things look good and work well.

I’ll now go through some of the features that Autodesk Fusion 360 has to offer:

  • 2D sketches in a hurry
  • Flexibility for easy 3D modelling and design
  • CAD/CAM software that is integrated
  • PCB design software with all the bells and whistles
  • Data management software for a single product.
  • Collaboration with other designers in real-time.
  • Manufacturing and material constraints: the ability to set up


Fusion 360 can handle everything from generative design to cloud rendering. To get started, choose a suitable subscription plan. It gives a 30-day money-back guarantee on annual plans, so you don’t have to worry.

Here’s a quick rundown of the company’s payment options:

  • $60 monthly plan
  • Annual Plan for $495 ($42/month)
  • The three-year plan at $1,335 ($38/month)

2. AutoCAD by Autodesk

Architects, mechanical engineers, and construction experts trust Auto CAD Software for 2D and 3D printing. It uses mesh objects, surface modelling, and solid modelling to help annotate, create, and draft 2D and 3D models.

It also boosts productivity thanks to specialist mechanical, architectural, electrical, and MEP toolkits. They help make tasks like scheduling, counting, comparing drawings, and adding blocks easier to do automatically.


You can have a connected design experience with all of AutoCAD’s features and capabilities on any device. Get the AutoCAD app for your phone or go to its website on your computer.

Here are a few more features available in Autodesk AutoCAD Software for Design and Engineering:

  • Customization using add-on apps and API
  • It sends feedback directly to a DWG file.
  • Blocks are counted automatically.
  • Navigation and rendering in three dimensions
  • drafting, annotating, and drawing in two dimensions.


AutoCAD has subscription plans for businesses of all sizes. For an extra $300, you can upgrade to a yearly premium subscription. A ten percent discount is also available on a three-year regular or premium subscription.

The following is a list of its payment options:

  • Standard Plan costs $220 per month or $1,775 per year.
  • Premium Plan (for medium to large teams)
  • Enterprise Plan (for extra-large teams)
  • Education Plan (for eligible educators and students)

You can test out any of AutoCAD’s products for free for 30 days by downloading the free trial plan.

3. TinkerCAD

TinkerCAD is an online tool with an easy-to-use user interface that can assist new designers and engineers learn the fundamentals of creativity. It helps create blocks of creative ideas and translate them into reality in electronics, 3D design, or coding.

Simply place a pre-existing or custom form on the work plane to add or delete materials. By rotating or moving the work plane, you can experiment with different perspectives and views. TinkerCAD also allows you to mix and match forms to build unique and intricate 3D objects.


TinkerCAD is a simple and quick-to-use program. That is, of course, why educators extensively use it to teach kids without restrictions.

I’ll now go over some of TinkerCAD’s features:

  • It offers 3D printing services.
  • Easy tutorial videos
  • can add light and movement to design with electric circuits.
  • supports drag and drop for code blocking.


Another appealing feature of TinkerCAD is that it is entirely free. As a result, it’s a popular choice among today’s designers and engineers. All you have to do now is sign up for a class.

4. FreeCAD

You may design real-life objects of any size using FreeCAD. Returning to the model history in the open-source parametric 3D modeler allows you to change your design. All you have to do now is adjust the parameters.

Components on the platform allow you to extract design features from 3D models and alter dimensions. You can also draw 2D forms to use as a foundation for creating other objects. As a result, you’ll be able to produce high-quality drawings that are ready for manufacturing.


FreeCAD is a multi-platform (Mac, Linux, and Windows) software that is flexible and extensible. It can read and write open file formats like DAE, STEP, DXF, SVG, and others, so you can easily add them to your workflow.

Here are some more features that FreeCAD has to offer:

  • supports Boundary Representation (BRep) objects.
  • Core functionality is written in C++
  • Add-on workbench
  • 2D CAD drafting.
  • Architectural or BIM modeling.
  • Model of a robot simulation


FreeCAD is a free CAD program with all the tools you’ll need for your engineering projects. Simply download it and run it on your preferred platform, whether Linux, Windows, or Max.

5. Solidworks

Solidworks is published by Dassault Systèmes, a computer-aided design program. Professional 3D designers and engineers mostly use it because it has various tools for validating mechanical designs and figuring out how they work.

The NURBS system creates more detailed curvatures in the product design software. It employs dimensional sketching to provide more precise scaling with minimal effort.


Solidworks provides some of the most effective tools for conceptualizing and translating new ideas into industry-standard product designs. This CAD software has everything you need to make fast and accurate designs, from 3D models to 2D sketches of complex pieces.

Here’s a rundown of everything Solidworks has to offer:

  • Tools for stress analysis and data management
  • CAD software that is cloud-based
  • Cost estimating tools are included.
  • Early understanding of product performance is aided.
  • You can work with other teams to share information with the marketing team about how the product is being made in real-time.


Students, hobbyists, and businesses of all sizes can benefit from Solidworks’ 3DExperience products. To obtain a quote, simply contact the sales or research sales teams.

The following is a list of the plans available through Solidworks:

  • Commercial: for all sizes of businesses
  • Academia is a one-stop-shop for learning 3D CAD and data management.
  • Research: a one-stop-shop for all of your research requirements.
  • to assist students in launching their careers in CAD.
  • Entrepreneurs And Startups provides free training and co-marketing resources to entrepreneurs and startups.

6. Creo

Creo is a leading CAD platform created by Parametric Technology Corporation more than a decade ago (PTC). It’s a complete bundle with all of the tools you’ll need to speed up product development.

The simple-to-learn and use program guides you through the design process from the beginning through the final stages of manufacture. As a result, you can produce higher-quality items with greater efficiency.


Creo’s tools, proven robust functionality, and cutting-edge technology work together to increase product quality and cut costs. These game-changing elements give you a competitive advantage and allow you to capture a significant market share.

I’ll now go over some of Creo’s features:

  • 3D parametric solid modeling
  • Diagrams for technical purposes
  • Extension of the creative design process for a high-quality, low-cost product
  • Simulation and Finite Element Analysis
  • The design and functionality of the schematic
  • Topology optimization technologies are available from this company.


The payment packages offered by Creo start at $2,480, but you’ll need to contact the company for further details. You’ll get premium assistance and the most up-to-date features with each package.

You can also start with the 30-day free trial and then upgrade to one of the following plans:

  • Design Essentials
  • Advanced Design
  • “Design Advanced Plus.”
  • Design Premium
  • “Design Premium Plus.”

7. Sketchup

More than a hundred professionally built extensions are available for Sketchup to assist in customizing a 3D workspace. With this super-smart 3D modeling software, you can imagine unique ideas and enjoy the delight of drawing by hand.

It also recognizes the significance of designing designs for clients to see. As a result, you can use it to make 3D models and 2D sketches. This increases team productivity and makes your work easier and faster.


Professionals from all disciplines can benefit from Sketchup’s top 3D modeling and printing solutions. Anyone, including designers, mechanical engineers, architects, and builders, can use it to make their ideas come to life.

The following is a list of features available in Sketchup:

  • 2D documentation of 3D designs.
  • A user interface that is both intuitive and engaging.
  • Both pros and beginners will find it helpful.
  • Collaboration between departments by teams
  • A fully immersive VR experience is available for design simulation.


Sketchup has subscription subscriptions for a wide range of uses. Simply select one of the options below based on your computer-aided design (CAD) requirements.

1. For Individual Use

  • Ten GB of cloud storage is included in the free plan.
  • Shop Plan at $119/year with unlimited access to pre-built 3D models.
  • The Pro Plan costs $299 per year and includes XR headset viewing.

2. For Business Use

  • Shop Plan for $119 per year
  • Pro Plan for $299 per year
  • Studio Plan at $699/year (Windows only).

Higher Education:

  • Sketchup Studio for students and educators at $55/year
  • Tiered pricing is available for universities.

4. Primary and Secondary

  • Sketchup for schools (free with G Suite or Microsoft education account)
  • Sketchup Pro (free with state grant)

8. Catia.

When it comes to multi-platform product design and experience, Catia is a market leader. It can handle all of your automotive and aerospace industries’ needs, whether CAM, CAD, or CAE.

The software has the unique capacity to model commonplace products based on their behavior in real-time. It also gives system engineers, designers, experienced users, and people who like to play with 3D a natural feeling.

Its simulation and 3D modeling capabilities maximize each user’s efficiency. Its robust dashboards can also drive real-time collaboration, contemporary design, and business intelligence across all skateboards.


Catia includes 3D modeling, simulation, social, collaborative, and information intelligence applications. It has also gained a lot of traction as a multi-platform suite.

I’ll now go through some of Catia’s key features:

  • Online collaboration for 3D modeling and design
  • manages data efficiently during product development.
  • It offers a toolset to meet the needs of different companies.
  • tracks the 3D model changes.


With Catia’s free trial package, you get a free sample. You can also browse the company’s web portfolio to purchase roles and get started. However, you must have its sales team contact you with a free quote to fulfill your needs.

The sales representatives will also talk about your requirements and answer any queries you might have.

9. Firm Edge

Solid Edge is a comprehensive software bundle of product development tools with a user-friendly interface. It has all the capabilities beginners need to build a 3D or 2D design, whether technical publications, electrical and mechanical methods, simulation, or data management.

Furthermore, the platform blends direct 3D modeling’s simplicity and speed with parametric design’s control and flexibility. This is made feasible by the technology’s synchronization.

Solid Edge also has cloud-based features, allowing for quick access from various devices. You get a fast CAD environment setting based on your preferences and the flexibility to share data across design resources.


The synchronous technology of Solid Edge empowers designers, students, hobbyists, engineers, and others to innovate designs without boundaries. You get to design more intelligently and efficiently without the constraints of traditional 3D modeling.

Take a quick look at the features Solid Edge has on offer:

  • optimizes designs with the flow and structural simulation integration.
  • produces high-quality illustrations efficiently.
  • An AI-powered user interface
  • Lightening-fast reverse engineering
  • Cloud-based collaboration
  • 2D layout of industrial control panels
  • Searchable Postprocessor Database


You can try out the features of Solid Edge for free by signing up for its trial plan. And if you wish to upgrade, you can opt for any of their paid subscription plans.

Here is a quick breakdown of the same:

  • At Solid Edge Design and Drafting at $75 per month,
  • Solid Edge Foundation at $185 per month.
  • Solid Edge Classic is available for $230 per month.
  • Solid Edge Premium is priced at $329 per month.

10. OnShape.

OnShape is one of the only Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms that combines built-in data management, business analytics, CAD, and real-time collaboration tools to develop products. That’s why the big names in the industry, such as Synapse, Trek, and Kichler, trust its credibility.

After all, it helps modernize the product design process by allowing you to make the required configurations, customize drawings, and import and export file formats. It also comes with innovative tools that support simultaneous editing and real-time design review.

Additionally, OnShape allows you to check the design history and change the log. This can be released in reports to help you understand the product design.


As said by Mike White, the CTO of Fusion Biotech, OnShape is like the “Google doc file for CAD.” It is easy to use and explore for design and collaboration through live chats and comments. The secure cloud platform also comes with security and audit controls.

I’ll now highlight the features OnShape offers:

  • Business and engineering integrations
  • can control and monitor data access for design.
  • Notifications and alerts for workflow:
  • Auditable and revertible change logs and history.
  • Sheet metal tools that work together
  • Simultaneous editing with secure sharing


OnShape is next-generation cloud-based software that can speed up the product development process. Simply choose any of the following subscription plans to get started.

1. The Standard Plan costs $1,500 per user per year.

  • For single-seat users requiring modern CAD tools,
  • Associative drawings
  • Direct technical support.
  • It supports mobile editing on Android and iOS.

2. Professional Plan, which costs $2,100 per user per year.

  • For small and medium-sized consulting businesses,
  • This includes standard plan features.
  • Standardized workflow approvals
  • Guided onboarding

3. Business Plan (with full and limited user provisions)

  • For large companies requiring the best product development tools,
  • It includes professional plan features.
  • Advanced centralized IP control
  • Priority direct assistance

11. BlocksCAD.

BlocksCAD is a block-based CAD program with an easy-to-use interface. It’s designed to help students and educators get started with 3D modeling without having to spend too much time learning the basics.

The platform is a practical, engaging, and graphical way to teach students coding. As a result, it helps improve computer science and math skills.

Additionally, BlocksCAD comes with an all-new dashboard for teachers to start with standard-aligned lesson plans. And the YouTube page provides tutorials to impart more knowledge on the field.


The cloud-based 3D modeling software package encourages students to learn coding and computational thinking through visualization. They can convert these innovative ideas and visuals into models, then 3D printed.

Here are a few more features BlocksCAD has to offer:

  • Colored blocks represent commands.
  • OpenScad code compatibility.
  • YouTube channels provide great tutorial videos.
  • Simple user interface


BlocksCAD is a free tool, meaning you don’t have to subscribe to a paid plan.

12. 3D Studio Max

3DS Max is another flexible 3D CAD software program from AutoDesk, offering a wide range of powerful plugins. You can easily customize your drawings while the CAS design platform changes and grows with you.

The modeling and rendering program is a trusted choice for games and animation. After all, it comes with many tools that give artists the freedom to make high-quality designs and architectural renderings.

You can create models of complex objects and interiors. Accordingly, it helps bring features and characters to life with VFX and animation.


3DS Max comes with intuitive controls to provide an artist-friendly user experience. You get to work faster and save time even while handling complex scenes, characters, and effects.

I’ll now list a few features of 3DS Max:

  • Accessible API to extend built-in workflows
  • Texture, color, and material editors
  • Mesh repair
  • Animation effects like motion path, 3DS Max fluids, particle flow effects, etc.
  • Improved pipeline tools
  • Rendering functionality


You may download the free trial plan to start with the animation and rendering features of 3DS Max. And if you need to upgrade, buy one of its payment plans.

Here is a quick breakdown of its subscription plans:

  • $215 Monthly Payment Plan
  • A Yearly Payment Plan at $1,700
  • The three-yearly payment plan at $4,590 (best value)

It also offers a 30-day money-back policy to invest without hesitation.

13. Rhino 7th

Rhino 7 is a 3D CAD software that works on Mac, Windows, and iOS, making it ideal for iPad use. You can use this powerful modeller to create curved lines and other organic shapes, including meshes, solids, and points, for a more graphical representation of the 3D model.

It also comes with better presentation tools to streamline the workflow. You can use it for animation, rendering, reverse engineering, CFD, etc.

And with SubD (a new geometry type), it can create shapes more accurately with the provision for editing. So, you can expect the desired final product design results.


Rhino 7 offers a range of design tools and features to aid graphic designers. Users can also utilize the history recording feature to edit and update the curves and products.

Here is a brief list of a few more features Rhino 7 offers:

  • can add dimensions from the point of view
  • It imports files from various sources, including SketchUp, STL, AutoCad, etc.
  • It displays the control points of the 3D model.
  • Workflow documentation
  • API refinement


Rhino 7 is a complete package for graphic designers. You just have to opt for a payment plan based on your use case and requirements.

Here is a list of subscription plans Rhino 7 offers for Windows and Mac:

  • $995 for commercial use
  • $195 for student or faculty use.
  • $975 for school use


3D CAD design software is a powerful tool for creating technical drawings, models, and 3D animations. Many different CAD software programs on the market can be used to assist in this process, but the capabilities and user-friendliness vary greatly.

Some of these software options have been around for a while, some for decades, while other new ones have only been developed in recent years. Newer versions of CAD applications often have more advanced capabilities such as parametric modeling, three-dimensional modeling, simulation, sculpting, and many more features that were not available in outdated versions.

Some applications are focused on specific tasks, whereas others are more general with a wide variety of functions.