In the sphere of 3D CAD software, SolidWorks is among the biggest names. Its parametric, feature-based approach to design made it an instant standout upon its release in 1995. Today, its popularity remains undiminished, with over 2.3 million active users. Those looking to join the growing community, however, may find it hard to come across accurate SolidWorks pricing.
It’s for this reason that we here at Scan2CAD set about to get to the bottom of how much SolidWorks costs. So, read on for information about the SolidWorks pricing structure, and to find out more about the purchasing options available.
How to buy SolidWorks
If you’re looking into SolidWorks for business or personal use, you’ve probably checked out the Dassault Systèmes website. You will have noticed, however, that it’s rather light on specifics when it comes to SolidWorks pricing. Dassault Systèmes would undoubtedly like you to invest in their software—so, why are they so cagey when it comes to telling you how much it costs?
The reason is actually quite simple: you can’t buy SolidWorks direct from Dassault Systèmes. As the company themselves explained in a 2012 blog post:
When you express an interest in SolidWorks, we want to make sure you talk to someone who can discuss your business with you personally and recommend the ideal solution. That’s where your local reseller comes in.
This means that you’ll have to find a reseller covering your area if you want to purchase a SolidWorks license. You can either search for a commercial reseller at the SolidWorks website, or by getting in touch with Dassault Systèmes, who’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.
Buying SolidWorks from a reseller
Since it’s not possible to purchase SolidWorks directly, we decided to check out a few resellers for ourselves to see what they had on offer. One common thread was this: for accurate pricing, you need to get a quote.
The reason for this is that—as we’ve explored in our brief history of SolidWorks—the software suite caters for a range of different disciplines. This means that there is not just one SolidWorks, but many.
With so many packages available, resellers will gauge which one is right for you by taking into account factors such as your industry, your budget and what you intend to do with SolidWorks. Additionally, you’ll also have to choose between purchasing a license outright or opting to subscribe. All of this makes it difficult to define a single “SolidWorks price”.
It’s also worth noting that resellers will often offer subscription contracts that include extras. This may encompass, for example, dedicated customer support, in addition to automatic software updates. You may even have access to additional hints and tips from your reseller of choice.
SolidWorks pricing: MSRP
By now, you’ll realise that your exact SolidWorks price will vary depending on the factors listed above. Prices may also vary from reseller to reseller, with some offering discounts on specific packages or products. However, there has to be a starting point from which all resellers work to define their SolidWorks pricing. And indeed there is: the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or MSRP.
In contrast to AutoCAD pricing, which now includes only subscription options, SolidWorks offers both subscription and perpetual licensing. Which is the right choice for your business will depend on whether you prefer to stick with a single version of SolidWorks, or would find it useful to have access to updates as they are released.
You can check out the MSRP for a wide variety of SolidWorks packages in the table below. This pricing comes directly from Dassault Systèmes, with the intention of applying to sales in the U.S. and Canada. Please note that pricing may vary by territory and by reseller.
|Product||Permanent license||Annual subscription|
|SolidWorks Electrical Schematic Professional||$5,995||$1,695|
|SolidWorks Electrical 3D||$5,995||$1,695|
|SolidWorks Electrical Professional||$9,995||$2,750|
|SolidWorks Simulation Premium||$11,595||$3,675|
|SolidWorks Simulation Professional||$4,177||$2,375|
|SolidWorks Simulation Standard||$3,995||$1,000|
|SolidWorks Flow Simulation||$13,995||$3,919|
|SolidWorks Plastics Premium||$22,495||$5,624|
|SolidWorks Plastics Professional||$14,995||$3,794|
|SolidWorks Plastics Standard||$4,995||$1,499|
|SolidWorks PDM Professional CAD Editor||$1,895||$495|
|SolidWorks PDM Professional Contributor||$1,350||$395|
|SolidWorks PDM Professional Viewer||$2,995||$995|
|SolidWorks Inspection Professional||$3,995||$999|
|SolidWorks Inspection Standard||$2,295||$599|
|SolidWorks MBD Standard||$1,995||$499|
What are the differences between the SolidWorks pricing tiers?
Not quite sure what the differences are between the Standard, Professional and Premium versions of SolidWorks? We’ll break it down for you.
- SolidWorks Standard is the cheaper of the three options, and includes a vast array of 3D design features. In fact, when it comes to design, modeling, and parts and assembly, Standard offers the exact same features as the other three tiers. Standard also offers sheet metal and mold design tools, as well as 3D animations and some basic rendering.
- SolidWorks Professional augments these tools with functionality for costing, visualization and design checking. Photo-realistic rendering is available with this tier, which also features a useful Toolbox that makes it easy to access prebuilt models. You can also reverse engineer a part from a scan using this tier.
- SolidWorks Premium, the most expensive tier, includes the full gamut of possible features. This is a great option for users who need to make extensive use of simulation tools, including time-based motion and linear stress analysis. It also includes routing functionality, including pipe and tube routing, electrical, cable and wiring routing, and rectangular routing.
What if I want to combine SolidWorks with other Dassault Systèmes software?
If you’re familiar with Dassault Systèmes as a company, you’re sure to have come across the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. This combines aspects from different software (such as SolidWorks, CATIA and DraftSight) into unique software suites. Each suite has a specific job role in mind—for example, Boeing certifies its airplanes using the License to Fly suite. Check out the 3DEXPERIENCE website for information on the available packages.
What discounts are available on the standard SolidWorks pricing?
Although any company that really needs SolidWorks will likely be able to justify investing large sums in it, it’s still always nice to get a little more for your money. So, what possibilities are there to save money on your SolidWorks license?
- Though far from a given, reseller discounts may occasionally be available. With only a limited number of resellers licensed to serve each territory, however, the likelihood of competition driving down prices is somewhat low. Nonetheless, be sure to keep an eye out for any bargains.
- Students can get the first-class functionality of SolidWorks all while paying bargain-bin prices. That’s because the student version of SolidWorks has a MSRP of just $150, with discounts making this as cheap as $86 at some resellers. Though this doesn’t quite match up to the free CAD software for students that other manufacturers offer, it’s still a steal for those in education. It may also be worth getting in touch with your institution, as they may even be able to offer you SolidWorks for free.
- Volume discounts, however, do not appear to be common with SolidWorks. Rather than offer multi-user licensing, as Autodesk does for AutoCAD, Dassault Systèmes offer standalone and floating licenses. The former are specific to a single machine; the latter is usable by multiple machines, but only by one user at a time.
- You’ll also be able to download a free trial of SolidWorks to test the waters. As is the case with regular purchases, trial downloads are only available via resellers.
Should I consider a cheaper alternative to SolidWorks?
Though SolidWorks offers outstanding 3D CAD capabilities, using it involves quite a sizeable outlay. If you’re wincing at the prospect of shelling out thousands for a package, then you may wish to explore some alternative options.
While you can only be sure of the true SolidWorks experience by buying the real thing, the list below offers some low-cost programs with fantastic 3D CAD features.
- Autodesk Inventor, whose parametric and freeform modeling tools make it a powerful competitor to SolidWorks—while costing half the price
- Onshape, a cloud-based CAD option which aims to push the boundaries of what CAD can do, and has also garnered rave reviews
- Solid Edge, a more basic software that nonetheless offers fantastic PLM capabilities
To learn more about each of these, as well as checking out some more alternative programs, visit our guide to the top 5 affordable SolidWorks alternatives.