3D Learning Hub

Sketchup vs AutoCAD: What are the differences? (2024 update)


There is plenty to choose from when it comes to 3D software, but which one is the best for your project? To help you decide we make our battles of software series to compare different 3D software. We already covered SketchUp and Blender, but how does this 3D modeling software compare to AutoCAD?

Firstly let’s talk about each software separately. That should give you a clear vision of the software’s capabilities. Then, we will move on to comparing both. Knowing your project, you should also understand what tools you require for it. Do you need a blueprint or an amazing render? Get to know SketchUp and AutoCAD and choose the best one for you!

3D modeling software: Sketchup

SketchUp is a 3D design software with a wide range of options. It is well known in the industry for being user-friendly and very easy to operate. This 3D modeling software allows for designing products, architectural models, and high-quality renders, but also stands out for the ability to create animations and simulations.

SketchUp is used a lot for architecture applications, it is a great architecture software. Designers can create models very easily, but at the same time precisely. They can be rendered, and adjusted, for example, for shadows depending on the time of the day. Thanks to the accuracy of the software, it can also be used for product design.

A free version of SketchUp is available to be used online. In the latest software update, the SketchUp team released new subscription plans, which are more customized for their clients.

CAD software: AutoCAD

AutoCAD is a Computer Aided Design software from Autodesk. This 3D software is reliable and very popular among architects, engineers and construction professionals. What makes AutoCAD so well known in those industries?

This 3D software is based on 2D drafting to create 3D models. AutoCAD is very precise and accurate, the drawings will always be based on mathematical measurements. Its main application is to create blueprints and floor plans. Autodesk offers specialized tool packages for different industries such as architecture, engineering, construction, and mechanical or electrical engineering.

What are the differences between SketchUp and AutoCAD?


Sketchup is well-known by hobbyists, allowing them to develop their own 3D modeling projects. But this 3D program is also perfectly adequate for architecture, interior design. You can also check out Sketchup alternatives.

AutoCAD offers great options for architectural projects. As the tools and the whole software is more advanced and target experienced users, it can be used for more specific industries such as mechanical, electrical, and plumbing for example.



With add-ons and plugins, Sketchup is opening possibilities. Adding to that the 2D drawing options and the big advantage offered by the 3D warehouse, a place where anyone can add Sketchup models. This is a great feature for people developing interior designs for example.

Keep in mince that the free version of Sketchup will offer fewer tools and features for your projects.

AutoCAD is offering advanced toolsets for 2D and 3D modeling, tools for easier collaboration as well. Also, switching between 2D and 3D is more fluid and easier than SketchUpThis program can be used for mesh, solid, and surface modeling and also offer a nice 3D rendering option.


Sketchup appears to be easier to learn and more intuitive, which naturally offers a better learning curve. AutoCAD is more complex and you will need some 3D modeling knowledge to use it. If you’re a beginner with CAD software then the number of features could be overwhelming with this program, while Sketchup is way more straightforward.


  • Sketchup

Private use

Standard version: Free

Shop: 109 € / year

Pro: 274 € / year

Professional use:

Shop: 109 € / year

Pro: 274 € / year

Studio: 639 € / year

  • AutoCAD

Standard License: $220 monthly, $1,775 annually and $4,795 triennially

Network Licenses: Pricing may vary 

For students and educators: Free 

SketchUp vs AutoCAD: which one should you choose?

Both AutoCAD and SketchUp can be used in architecture and for product design. Both are also based on precise 2D drawings and have a great set of tools to make blueprints. What are the differences then?

AutoCAD is professional software that companies invest in. It is very useful for architects, engineers, mechanical and construction engineers, and electricians. It is not cheap but comes with a great set of personalized tools giving you a great number of options to choose from to create your projects.

SketchUp is known for being user-friendly and easy to learn. It will also manage architectural projects well. However, other 3D modeling creations are also possible with this software. This 3D modeling software is capable of beautiful renders and animations which will highly improve your portfolio and project.

The decision might not be easy but should be based on the aim of your project. If you would like to start a big construction project, designing accurate blueprints will be easier in AutoCAD, however, for amazing renders to visualize the building or its interiors, you might choose SketchUp instead of AutoCAD.

The choice is yours, but let us remind you that both software will be great to design for 3D printing. Get inspired with a story of one of our customers and their 3D printed models for an architectural contest!

Do you have a 3D printing project? It is just one step from a 3D model to 3D print: upload your file! With online 3D printing service like Sculpteo, you can easily make your virtual models a reality. Get an instant quote right now, or contact us for more information.

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