As a SOLIDWORKS user, it can be difficult to know the difference between the three SOLIDWORKS packages (Standard, Professional, and Premium). Although SOLIDWORKS offers detailed comparisons of its 3D CAD software, deciding which package is right for you — or whether you should upgrade from Standard – can be hard to figure out.
To help, we’ve broken down the main differences between the packages and different factors to consider when making your choice.
What factors should be considered when choosing between SOLIDWORKS Standard, Professional, and Premium?
The SOLIDWORKS software package you choose will ultimately depend on the capabilities you need to get the job done. Cliff Medling from SOLIDWORKS suggests asking yourself what main functionality differences you need, and if upgrading to SOLIDWORKS Professional or Premium will streamline the design process.
We also suggest considering your future software needs and whether the package you choose will meet those needs. Investing in a higher tier product now may save you money and time as your company grows and demand shifts.
What are the main functionality differences between SOLIDWORKS Standard, Professional, and Premium?
SOLIDWORKS Standard: According to Medling, all three solutions function exactly the same when it comes to parts and assembly, modeling, and design. SOLIDWORKS Standard, in particular, includes wizards to automate designs, animation, and even some FEA capability. Its ease of use and robust functionalities make it a popular choice for companies of all sizes.
SOLIDWORKS Professional: SOLIDWORKS Professional builds on the power of SOLIDWORKS Standard with additional capabilities that increase efficiency and ensure accuracy. Ideal for designers looking for advanced functions (but who don’t want or need all the bells and whistles), SOLIDWORKS Professional delivers a more comprehensive 3D solution for more complex modeling and prototyping needs. Functionality differences include:
- SOLIDWORKS Toolbox, to easily access prebuilt 3D CAD models and drag-and-drop parts
- eDrawings Professional, for email ready formats that can be viewed, measured and marked up by designers and clients (whether they have SOLIDWORKS or not)
- SOLIDWORKS Costing, to easily monitor and estimate costs
- SOLIDWORKS Visualize, for photo-realistic rendering
SOLIDWORKS Premium: The flagship 3D solution in the SOLIDWORKS software family, SOLIDWORKS Premium builds on SOLIDWORKS Professional for a powerful 3D design solution. Users looking for extended toolsets and rich simulation capabilities should take advantage of SOLIDWORKS Premium, which offers advanced functionalities like:
- SOLIDWORKS Simulation for broader FEA capability, including time-based motion analysis and linear stress analysis
- A wide range of tools for routing, including electrical cable and pipe and tube routing
- Ability to work with 3D scan data
Find the full list of functionality differences for all SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD products here.
Will upgrading streamline the process?
As we mentioned before, the main deciding factor when choosing a software package should be whether or not that package has the capabilities you need to get the job done. From there, you can decide whether you would take advantage of the features in SOLIDWORKS Professional or Premium. For example, SOLIDWORKS Professional also contains SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard to improve your data management process, which in addition to the other added features can make upgrading to this package worth the investment. Mismanaged data issues eat into profitability, so PDM capabilities alone may provide an immediate return on investment should you choose to update to SOLIDWORKS Professional. The advanced simulation capabilities in SOLIDWORKS premium can help you reduce costs and delays associated with physical prototyping, so this package can be a valuable upgrade to improving your design testing and optimizing processes, again, making the upgrade an investment that will provide a return on your investment.
Still not sure which SOLIDWORKS package is right for you?
Users who are unsure of which package to buy are welcome to request a demo to see the capabilities of the SOLIDWORKS software at work or contact one of our sales reps for more information.
About the Author
Christa Prokos is a marketing manager at Fisher Unitech. She researches and writes about the latest business trends and technologies impacting manufacturers, including 3D printing, SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD design and product data management tools, product lifecycle management, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things. Christa has worked as a high tech marketing and communications professional since 2000. You can follow her on Twitter: @ChristaProkos.