Top Best CAD Software for All Levels

by Trevor Rocious

Before the advent of technology, architects and engineers would make use of papers and rulers in making their drawings. Drawings for road construction and houses had to be designed manually. This kind of drawing required a certain level of accuracy. Also, it was time-consuming and physically draining. With progress being made in the technological world over the years, drawing and designing can now be done with relative ease. Using the computer, you can draw whatever you want and also edit your drawings. But the computer on its own cannot draw or make designs for you. There are software's needed in the computer that allows you to draw and carry out your designs. An example of such software is the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software.

CAD software is an essential tool used by professional architects, graphic designers, engineers, animators, and anyone who intends to bring his or her designs to life. It offers designers a variety of options when it comes to creating industry templates of high standard. CAD software opens up designs to 2D and 3D views. Using CAD software, architects and engineers in the construction industry can now engage in 3D printing.

Benefits and Features of CAD Software

During the time of manual designs, engineers and architects takes ages to complete a single design. Making modifications to these designs was also time-consuming. But with the introduction of CAD software, designers are now able to create 2D and 3D drawings. This has helped in greater productivity and accuracy of drawings. So, one of the benefits of CAD software is that it enhances productivity and greater accuracy of drawings. Other benefits of CAD software are:

  • It is easy to use.
  • CAD software gives you flexibility for additional information. What this means is that you can easily incorporate multiple layers of the design into one easy to use design.
  • CAD software allows you to zoom in on designs, adjust the resolution of the drawings and even rotate the drawing for view from multiple angles.
  • CAD software allows you to import and export designs through multiple file extensions.

The features of CAD software include:

  • It supports 2D and 3D designs
  • Access to all tools you need in an intuitive dashboard.
  • CAD software allows you to incorporate various industry standards into your template. This helps prevent the need to start a drawing from scratch.
  • CAD designs can easily be saved and modified.
  • CAD software allows designers to group items that are similar together through a system of classifications and coding.

Now you have an understanding of what CAD software is, let's now consider the best CAD software for all levels.

Summary of Top Best CAD Software for All Levels

Summary of Top Best CAD Software for All Levels
Summary of Top Best CAD Software for All Levels
CAD Software User Level Required Price
CreoIntermediate£2,190 after 30-day free trial
  1. Student Version: Free
  2. Commercial Use: $210/Month or $1,521/Year
Fusion 360Professional
  1. Students, Educators & Academic Institution: Free
  2. Commercial Use: $60/Month or $495/Year
  1. Standard License: $3,995
  2. Professional License: $5490
  3. Premium License: $7955
CATIAProfessionalStarting around $10,000
RhinoProfessionalCommercial €995

Top Best CAD Software for All Levels

The following is a list of the top 10 CAD software from beginner to professional level.

TinkerCAD - CAD Software


TinkerCAD is a browser-based 3D design app. It is designed for beginners coming from Autodesk. It allows you to develop models from a collection of basic shapes, using a block-building concept. Tinkercard is more than just a simple 3D modeling tool. It possesses features which help to bring electronics and coding into the fold. Some of the features and benefits of Tinker Cad include:

  • TinkerCad has a direct interaction with third-party printing services.
  • It features a codeblock editor which makes it easy for users to create 3D objects by defining a set of instructions.
  • Circuit editor which helps users to better understand electronic circuitry.
  • TinkerCard can be used for laser cutting

Level: Beginner

Price: Free

FreeCAD - CAD Software


FreeCAD is a completely free parametric 3D modeler that is made primarily to allow users design real-life objects of any size. It uses parametric modeling to allow users modify their design with ease by going back into the model history and making changes to parameters. FreeCAD is open-source, scriptable, extensible, and highly-customizable. It is a full graphical user interface (GUI) application and comes with a 3D viewer that makes for fast rendering of 3D and very accessible scenes. Features and benefits of FreeCAD include:

  • It allows users design real-life objects of any size
  • It allows users to easily modify their design
  • It allows user modify their designs by going back into the model history and altering its parameters.
  • It offers a Sketcher with a constraint-solver that allows users to sketch 2D shapes.
  • It offers a robot simulation that helps to study robot movements
  • It offers a Path module that is dedicated to mechanical machining like milling (CAM)
  • FreeCAD can adjust, output, and display G-Code for 3D printing.

Level: Beginner

Price: Free

BlocksCAD - CAD Software


BlocksCAD's 3D software was created specifically for educational purposes. It was developed as learning software for anyone who intends to later use OpenSCAD, which is more professional. The commands denoting transformations, objects, and more are represented by colorful blocks, stacked together like the well-known construction toys, LEGO bricks. Features and benefits of BlocksCAD include:

  • It is compatible with OpenSCAD. This means that you can complete your model in OpenSCAD, after starting out with BlocksCAD.
  • The finished design can be saved in an STL or OpenSCAD format
  • It is an educative 3D modeling software and has a YouTube channel that contains different tutorials for anyone who wants to learn 3D modeling.

Level: Beginner

Price: Free

Creo - CAD Software


Creo's 3D CAD software is among the market leaders in product designed. It was developed more than 30 years ago by Parametric Technology Corporation. Creo software integrates much functionality such as thermal, motion, structural, parametric, and freestyle surface generation. It also includes direct modeling. Features and benefits of Creo include:

  • Creo is a complete tool and is ideal for additive manufacturing. It allows you to perform your dimensioning calculations while modeling your final idea.
  • Real-time simulation
  • Multibody design
  • Generative design

Level: Intermediate

Price: Creo Design Packages start at £2,190. But you can also enjoy a 30-day free trial version.

AutoCAD - CAD Software


Autodesk AutoCAD software is one of the foremost CAD software in the market. Released in 1982, it is well-established across various industries. However, the popularity of AutoCAD in the 3D printing community has decreased in the past few years. The reason for this decline is mainly because AutoCAD is not so easy to use when it comes to 3D modeling. It is better suited for 2D drafting. Features and benefits of AutoCAD include:

  • 3D models can easily be converted to STL files for 3D printing.
  • AutoCAD can be used to create 2D drawings and 3D models.
  • AutoCAD allows you to find weak areas in designs.
  • It offers impressive photorealistic rendering capabilities.

Level: Intermediate

Price: AutoCAD has a free and fully functional version available for students and faculties to download. But for commercial use, it costs $210/month or $1,521/year

Fusion 360 - CAD Software

Fusion 360

Fusion 360is a cloud-based professional 3D CAD software by Autodesk. It is unique in the sense that it utilizes the power of the cloud to bring together design teams to join forces on complex projects. Fusion 360 has numerous design options. These options include solid, freeform, and mesh modeling. Features and benefits of Fusion 360 are:

  • Generative design
  • It is relatively easy to use, compared with other professional solid-body 3D modeling software.
  • Fusion 360 stores the entire model history, including all the changes.
  • Fusion 360 developers regularly update its features, making it better as new installments come along.
  • It runs on multiple platforms, allowing users access their information wherever they want.
  • Fusion 360 supports the import/export of common CAD file types.

Level: Professional

Price: Fusion 360 is free for students, educators, and academic institutions. But for commercial use, it costs $60/month or $495/year.

Solidworks - CAD Software


Solidworks is a parametric featured-based modeling software. It was published by Dassault Systèmes and is often used by professional 3D designers. It tends to be used mostly for industrial objects. Solidworks is quite practical and detailed. It includes a wide range of features which include design validation tools and reverse engineering. Other features and benefits of Solidworks include:

  • It uses a system of non-uniform rational basis spline (NURBS).
  • It uses dimensional sketching instead of polygonal modeling. This makes resizing far less of a hassle.
  • It allows users work with PDFs and various raster image files. This gives users more flexibility when working on designs.

Level: Professional

Price: Standard license costs $3,995, professional license costs $5,490 and premium license costs $7,955.

CATIA - CAD Software


CATIA CAD solution is powered by Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE platform. It is more than just a CAD software. It is a multi-platform software suite for CAD, CAE (Computer-Aided Engineering), CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing), and more. CATIA software is useful for industrial and creative designers, system architects, and mechanical engineers. Features and benefits of CATIA software include:

  • CATIA provides a 3D design environment that makes it easy for online people and stakeholders to collaborate on product modeling and to share product designs.
  • CATIA gives users creative freedom with its design options.
  • It allows users edit specific sections of their creations.

Level: Professional

Price: Starting price around $10,000

OpenSCAD - CAD Software


OpenSCAD is an open-source CAD software that is aimed at making solid 3D models. For experienced users who need a platform for elaborated projects, OpenSCAD is a good option. It is also an intuitive software for coders/programmers as it centered on the extrusion of 2D outlines and constructive solid geometry (CSG). Other features and benefits of OpenSCAD include:

  • OpenSCAD is a 3D compiler that is based on a textual description language. It exhibits no characteristics of an interactive modeler.
  • It is a free CAD software for die-hard modeling enthusiasts.

Level: Professional

Price: Free

Rhino - CAD Software


Rhino is a 3D modeler used to create, analyze, edit, animate, document, render, and translate NURBS. It allows users manipulate points, meshes, solids, curves, and more in all sorts of ways using a precise mathematical model known as NURB. Features and benefits of Rhino include:

  • It offers a wide range of design features.
  • It offers great versatility in creating complex 3D models.
  • Rhino is compatible with all other design, drafting, CAM, engineering, rendering, analysis, animation, and illustration software.

Level: Professional

Price: Rhino offers different bundles. The commercial bundle for Rhino 6 is priced at 995€ for Windows and Mac.


So, there you have it, the best CAD software for different levels. Most of the software above can be gotten for free. Those that are not free offer free trial periods. So, you can explore the different CAD software and find one that suits you best.

About Trevor Rocious

Trevor Rocious is a prominent science blogger known for his engaging and informative content in the field of scientific exploration and discovery. With a passion for unraveling the mysteries of the universe, Trevor has captivated a wide audience with his ability to communicate complex scientific concepts in a relatable and accessible manner.

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