Comparing CAD Software Solutions

Comparing CAD Software

Here at Perception Engineering, we work with to various companies across many industries in the West Michigan area. Among these companies, many different CAD softwares are utilized. Although SolidWorks is the most widely used, we have assisted customers using other softwares such as Inventor and Fusion 360. With so many different CAD options out there, it may be difficult to decide what is the right fit for you or your company. Whether you’re a well-established company or an Inventor simply trying to dream up a design, selecting a 3D modeling software is an important decision that requires much research and examination. This blog will break down a broad range of popular softwares and briefly list some pros and cons as well as their researched costs. It is important to note that many CAD programs fall within specific tiers based on how they are utilized and needed in industry (low-middle-high). The softwares covered in this blog are listed based on the tier they fall in and the pros and cons were best developed and researched relative to their tier.


Fusion 360

-Company: Autodesk

-License Type/Cost: Perpetual, $40/month, $300/year

-Pros: Cost, cloud file storage, collaboration inside software, built in rendering, free form modeling, integration with CAM

-Cons: Handling assemblies, hybrid modeler (not parametric), sheet metal, kludgy work flow



- Company: OnShape

-License Type/Cost: Perpetual, $1500/year Standard or $2,100/year Pro

-Pros: Cloud software and file storage, no need for extensive hardware, collaboration inside software, customizable 3rd party applications, continually expanding and updating

-Cons: No weldments, no built in BOMs, Cut Lists, Etc., no 3D Sketches, limited export file types, no exploded views, sheet metal capabilities



-Company: Dassault Systems

-License Type/Cost: Subscription, Seat cost $4,000 Standard and $5,500 Pro plus $1,295 annual subscription

-Pros: Easy to use interface and workflow, good add-ons such as FEA and CAM, excellent resources, continual updates and improvement, dominates mid-tier market

-Cons: Huge assemblies, assembly Constraints, cost



-Company: PTC

-License Type/Cost: Perpetual, $2,200/year

-Pros: Good modeling capabilities, robust macro creation, integration with Windchill PLM system, assembly interface and creation, data analytics and animation software

-Cons: Steep learning process



-Company: Siemens

-License Type/Cost: Subscription, Seats $5,900-$26,300 depending on module plus $1,600-4,900 annual subscription

-Pros: Powerful modeling capabilities, complex geometry, integration with PLM system, superior data translation and integration with manufacturing, large assemblies, streamlined customization

-Cons: Steep learning process, cost



-Company: Dassault Systems

-License Type/Cost: Subscription, Seats $9,000 - $65,000 depending on module, $1620-11,700 annual subscription

-Pros: Superior surfacing and modeling capabilities, integration with PLM system, superior Convergence Geometric Modeler (CGM) kernel, large assemblies, complex design functions

-Cons: Steep learning process, cost

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me. Be sure to sign up for our weekly email list. 

Written By:


Marcus Prigge

Project Engineer at Perception Engineering

Marcus Prigge1, Software