The Best Free / Paid CAD Drawing Software for 2024

2024 May 21
The Best Free / Paid CAD Drawing Software for 2024

When it comes to creating a CAD Detail / Block for your next project there are many great choices. So which one is best? Sorry, but ... it depends. Factors like cost, web / software, and ease of use are arguably the most important to mull over.

We will break down the most popular on cost, ease of use and whether you need to install it. And, if you plan on using the 3D results, we will note '3D'. Creating 2D CAD details from the 3D model is an effient way to work if you need both 2D and 3D.

What is the best free CAD software?

  • FreeCAD - Parametric 3D and 2D drafting with a moderate learning curve. I know a mechanical engineer that swares by it.

  • SketchUp - When it comes to great UI, brilliant UX and ease of use, tough to beat SketchUp. You model in 3D and create 2D details from there. You can use the web version for free and there are paid versions with more functionality.

  • QCAD - Fairly easy to use and focused on 2D. A solid, cabable choise.

  • nanoCAD - Has a ton of advanced functionality and an API that will enable you to do some crazy, innovatiive designs.

  • LibreCAD - An open source capable CAD tool.

  • TinkerCAD - Also a 3D modeler used by engineers and 3D print pros. Easy of use and broad community that shares models and knowledge.

What are the best paid CAD software out there?

  • AutoCAD - Tought to talk about CAD and not mention AutoCAD from AutoDesk. Always a solid choice.

  • BricsCAD - The designers of BricsCAD have 30+ years experience in construction software. They excel in functionality and user experience.

  • TurboCAD - Has many tiers for different kinds of users from the small firm to the large.

  • SolidWorks - Another mature, well supported option that also has XR and VR functionality if that is something you need.

One More Thought

Yes, there are many more options out there and if you have one you love, let us know about it and why it is your go-to.

If you ask me what the most important feature is the ability to extend the software for your own needs. Most software allows you to do that using a fairly simple language. If you have an interest in coding and leveling up, explore what options you have. SketchUp is the best, if you ask this kid. :)

And, once you pick, learn and start using your CAD software, you'll need DWGs for your projects. Arcat is a great source for consturctions CAD details and CAD blocks. Good luck !