Announcing the Top Rated Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Software for 2019

Alan Cooke, Researcher at TrustRadius
Alan Cooke
July 31, 2019
Awards, IT & Development

Announcing the Top Rated Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Software for 2019

We are excited to announce the Top Rated Computer-Aided Design Software for 2019! Top Rated awards showcase today’s top-of-the-line CAD products based solely on user feedback and satisfaction scores. These awards make the voice of the market the primary decider into the industry’s best products.

Top Rated awards are the most trusted in the industry because they are never influenced by analyst opinion, the vendor’s size, popularity, or status as a TrustRadius customer.

Here are the winners:



SOLIDWORKS from Dassault Systemes is a solid modeling and CAD application suite popular among engineers at larger enterprises and also available with special licensing options for academic learning and entrepreneurial ventures. SOLIDWORKS is used commercially for mechanical and electrical design, quality management, and also technical publication. On TrustRadius SOLIDWORKS is mostly reviewed by users who work in engineering (66%) across many industries, and across companies of all sizes; a small majority of reviewers (57%) are working in midsize companies. Reviewers describe a smooth workflow for building even complex models with a clear, responsive graphical UI, solid performance while simulating, as well as its extensive library of tools, add-ons, and modules.

“Being the number one PC-based 3D solid modeling CAD package on the market, we use SOLIDWORKS, Simulation, Enterprise PDM (product data management), Inspection, and Composer to create, edit, manage, and document our engineering designs. We rely upon SOLIDWORKS’ ability to open other CAD formats in our relationships with vendors and customers alike… Generally speaking, SOLIDWORKS is still the number one desktop CAD tool.”

Christopher Schaefer | Product Development Engineer | Mechanical or Industrial Engineering

Autodesk Inventor

Autodesk Inventor TRScore |

Autodesk Inventor is a 3D CAD application designed to support engineering and product design, and provide means to create technical documentation, run product simulations, and otherwise build a wide variety of models useful in manufacturing product testing and development. On TrustRadius Autodesk Inventor is used frequently in commercial engineering, manufacturing, and prototyping. It is also used engineering instructors and their students in educational settings. While deployed in companies of all sizes, most reviews are currently from users describing their experience with Inventor from their time in mid-sized companies (64%). Users enjoy Autodesk Inventor’s short learning curve, powerful machine drawing capabilities, design automation (iLogic) and frame generation tools, and its ability to generate interpretable 3D models, in high-grain detail.

“I use Autodesk Inventor on a weekly basis as a simple 3D CAD software. I use it to model simple features and parts of our prototypes before they go to the 3D printer or physical prototyping… The program is very good at simplicity. Each of the buttons, menus, and options has an explanation of exactly what the feature does, and even a more advanced description if you desire to learn more about what each one does.”

Tyler Grudowski | Product Development Engineer | Medical Devices


DraftSight TRScore |

DraftSight from Dassault Systemes is used by engineers, architects and others as a 2D drafting solution and (at premium tier or higher) a 3D modeling and prototyping solution. DraftSight is designed to provide a familiar, easy, relatively low cost way to create and share 2D drafts and view, edit, and create DWG files. On TrustRadius DraftSight is reviewed by users from companies of all sizes and across many industries, though 50% are from small businesses. TrustRadius reviewers prefer DraftSight as their highly compatible and easy to use .dwg editor and 2D drafting tool of choice, and love its integratibility with SOLIDWORKS and AutoCAD while at the same time enjoying its relatively low cost and great value, with its easy to understand interface yet very flexible 2D drafting toolset.

“I use DraftSight extensively in designing the entire emission control system for customer manufacturing processes… The program is well suited to quickly creating detailed design drawings to scale. Because of its functionality, a smaller entity or individual designer can start with a clean slate and develop numerous arrangement and associated design drawings, export them to colleagues, receive revision requests, and implement revisions for additional review.”

Uday Singh | Consulting Chemical/Environmental Engineer | Environmental Services


SketchUp TRScore |

SketchUp from Trimble is a 3D web-based modeling application used for building design. SketchUp is available in a free edition, a G suite edition for primary and secondary school students and educators, and desktop versions as well on paid professional and higher ed plans. SketchUp features potentially unlimited cloud storage for projects, a mobile viewer, compatibility for importing .dwg and other files, and what is designed to be a teachable and intuitive graphical interface useful for working with building plans, furniture, and general architectural projects and systems. On TrustRadius is used by architecture and construction professionals as well as many others across companies of all sizes, with slightly more representation (44%) by reviewers from small companies. Users praise SketchUp as a low footprint and low cost,  easy-to-use tool for early stage construction modeling, and enjoy its model visualization capabilities for easy sharing of ideas with clients and others, as well as its easy export of designs and ideas into more advanced applications when the time for it arises.

“We are a small company that relies heavily on the documentation of others (architects, engineers, trades) to complete quality, custom projects for both Residential and Commercial clients. As the sole Designer, I use SketchUp to supplement these documents or create entire sets, with information that clearly communicates design intent. While I’m the only employee using Trimble programs, the documentation and drawings that result are used daily on projects by our estimators, project managers, and trade partners/installers. SketchUp has allowed our company to offer a cost-effective way to ensure details of the design are being considered early and often, even when the original plans are less than complete.”

Verified User | Manager | Construction Company


AutoCAD TRScore |

AutoCAD from Autodesk is one of the longest existing and most established CAD products on the market. It is used by architects, engineers, construction professionals, and educators, and is used to draft 2D geometry and 3D models of almost anything. AutoCAD deployments may be augmented with industry-specific intelligent objects (e.g. pipes, floors, ductwork, circuitry, etc.); it’s specialized toolsets support any kind of engineering as well as mapping with geospatial data, and AutoCAD can be bundled with Revit, Autodesk Inventor, and Civil 3D to provide a solution for BIM, prototyping, and civil infrastructure. On TrustRadius, AutoCAD is reviewed by users from a very wide variety of industries, working in companies of all sizes. AutoCAD’s reviewers remark that AutoCAD for drafts and proposals is an industry standard, and enjoy the ease with which they can create 2D drawings for nearly any purpose, as well as the large and helpful AutoCAD community and online help. 

“AutoCAD is our default or go-to drafting program for all things architecture, interiors, and sometimes even graphic design/signage wayfinding. We use it in all of our studios as our primary drafting or CAD solution for creating design, presentation, and construction drawings. It is the most universally used program by designers throughout our company… From my experience, AutoCAD is the premier software for CAD services. If you are required to use BIM products in combination with CAD it is easily interfaced with Revit where some of the other software companies do not offer both CAS and BIM.”

Verified User | Professional | Design Company

Congratulations to the winners of the Top Rated Computer-Aided Design Software Award!

What is CAD Software?

Computer-aided design (CAD) software is used primarily in engineering, architecture, as well as in the development of some software products, to produce illustrations, prototypes, or technical documentation for sharing, describing and explaining designs. CAD software may be used to produce 2D illustrations (e.g. for technical drawings), 3D models (e.g. a machine prototype), as well as animations and working simulations. CAD application suites are often highly modular, and may gain needed functionality by integrating with various applications, like simulation engines, to provide needed functionality. Leading vendors also provide industry-specific toolkits to meet the needs of various verticals and project types such as home or floor space design, construction, energy (e.g. oil and gas), and utilities. Because design is integral to early stages of product development, vendors that excel in CAD software may also excel in whole product lifecycle management (PLM) suites and applications.

While licenses providing access to extensive CAD suites can be costly, many vendors provide more affordable or even free options for learners and hobbyists. Computer-aided design is an area dominated by just a few vendors, and becoming familiar with the dominant products in the space is part of engineering curricula and research in higher ed.

Top Rated Criteria

Products included in the 2019 Top Rated Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Software list must have been in the top tier of their category TrustMap as of July 1st, 2019. To qualify for the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Software Top Rated Award, products must have at least 10 reviews written within the past year, a TRScore of at least 7.5 out of 10, and must receive at least 1.5% of the traffic in their category.  Every reviewer is verified and every review is vetted before publication. Products are plotted on the TrustMap based on end-user data, including users’ likelihood to recommend scores as well as buyer research patterns. To learn more about TrustMaps and Top Rated methodology, check out this page.

About the Author

Alan Cooke, Researcher at TrustRadius
Alan Cooke
Alan attended the University College Dublin where he received his BA and MA in English Literature and Philosophy and he received his MBA from HEC Paris. He has held many roles at various companies including Director of Product Management at HP, Dazel, Inquisite, and Convio. His research interests both at work and outside of work include complex, technical topics (ironically).

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