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SolidWorks Vs Inventor: Feature Based Comparison of Two Major 3D CAD Platforms

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SolidWorks Vs Inventor

SOLIDWORKS and Inventor are two of the leading 3D CAD modeling platforms utilized in most of the industries today. With each having its own differentiating factors, there is always a question on choosing the one that is best. While some prefer the user-friendliness of SOLIDWORKS, some find Inventor as a better alternative to suit specific requirements. Comparing the two however is like comparing apples Vs apples. Both are equally capable to help design engineers to model complex geometries with ease and have their own modules or features integrated to extend the design for other departments.

At Hi-Tech, we have been utilizing both these tools for our clients. Working on different projects including sheet metal, solid modeling, large assemblies, design automation and 3D rendering, we feel that there are certain important features that can certainly differentiate these two leading CAD modeling platforms. Here are some of them:

Sketch

Features

Assemblies

Drawings

While the comparison may not be exhaustive, it is clearly visible that SOLIDWORKS offers much more functionality with each feature to keep design process glitch-free. That being said, Inventor still has multiple features that come as standard compared to the basic SOLIDWORKS version.

Additionally, Inventor has significantly low cost of ownership. Both the platforms have design automation capability. While Inventor utilizes an in-built iLogic feature, SOLIDWORKS uses a 3rd Party solution called DriveWorksXpress which is free but has limited functionality. For a comprehensive engineering design automation and CAD customization solution, it is required to purchase Solo or Pro version of the DriveWorks.

Kashyap Vyas

About Author: is an Engineer at Hi-Tech and holds a Master’s degree in Thermal Engineering with several research papers to his credit. He covers CAD and CAE topics for the engineering industry. His contributions are primarily focused on encouraging manufacturers and suppliers to adopt virtual product development tools to build efficient products with reduced time-to-market.

  • Adam Stadelmann

    I see a few flaws with your SolidWork list. The first one being a way to end a sketch contour. If you are using click click for the points if you end it with a click and drag of the line it will end the contour and but allow you to stay in the line command. Also as far as avoiding drawing updates you can use a detached drawing for that so your drawing is not linked to the model and does not receive updates. Also inventor just changed to a subscription only service and wants to phase out all permanent licenses and is raising the cost of subscription for customers who have permanent licenses. With the new subscription only licenses you will never own them. If you stop paying subscription you lose all access to your files through inventor.

    • hitechcadd

      Hey Adam,

      Thank you for pointing out the flaw and adding more inputs to this article. The subscription model somehow has turned quite successful for Autodesk. Even PTC fo that matter is following the footsteps of discarding perpetual license model. In fact, the CAD industry is a little bit behind when it comes to adopting subscription based licensing model. Although, I personally do believe that this model is distressing as a user.

    • Kashyap Vyas

      Hey Adam,

      Thank you for pointing out the flaw and adding more inputs to this article. The subscription model somehow has turned quite successful for Autodesk. Even PTC fo that matter is following the footsteps of discarding perpetual license model. In fact, the CAD industry is a little bit behind when it comes to adopting subscription based licensing model. Although, I personally do believe that this model is distressing as a user.

  • Jon den Hartog

    As a long time SolidWorks user that’s now part of the Autodesk Inventor product team, I thought I should chime in. Even if my opinion is somewhat biased 😉

    As mentioned in the article, both are tremendously capable. They have strengths in different areas and, for many engineering firms, are some of the best value options on the market. The choice comes down to what specific engineering and design needs your business has.

    I understand this article doesn’t intend to be a full comparison, but it’s a small piece of the overall picture. Also, with frequent updates, the details are not going to remain 100% accurate either. If you are going to do a full evaluation, interoperability, automation, PDM, and simulation capabilities are often key factors when choosing a CAD/PLM solution. Each product will have strengths in these categories and the subcategories within them.

    And for now, yes there are differences in the access models too. Autodesk is moving forward with subscription and we expect others to follow. We know some prefer perpetual today, but over the past few years we’ve offered both options and saw more and more people picking subscription. The price of entry is quite low and you can use what you want, when you want. If you have temporary needs you can scale up and scale down in ways that are way easier than with perpetual. Shameless plug: the Autodesk online store has monthly and annual prices in your locale if you want to crunch numbers. More options available through sales partners.

    Bottom line is, with the needs of every company being so different, it’s best to define your own requirements based on what’s important for your business. They could be quite different and much more broad ranging from what’s in this table. In the end, both of these tools are exceptionally strong; it really comes down to figuring out which is the best fit.

    • Kashyap Vyas

      Thank you for your valuable comments. You are absolutely right on selecting the tool that best fits the business requirements. Both have equivalent capabilities and it really boils down to what exactly the organization wants out of the CAD system in order to choose the right platform.

  • Questos

    In SW you have exactly same control for all drawings “Allow auto-update when opening drawings”. See http://help.solidworks.com/2017/English/SolidWorks/sldworks/HIDD_OPTIONS_DRAWINGS_PERFORMANCE.htm

  • Scott Hoover

    I learned to design on a drafting board in the late 70s. Then moved to AutoCAD in the mid 80s. I have used either Solidworks or Inventor since 2000 or 2001. I guestimate over 50,000 CAD hours. Using Solidworks is like writing your name with a stick. I shutter every time I get a project with Solidworks. I compare Solidworks graphics to 640 x 480 RGB – I have Nvidia Quadro Cards. If you say Solidwork even comes close to Inventor you are prejudice or clueless.

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