One of the most common questions from our users is “What is the difference between the three SolidWorks packages (Standard, Professional, Premium)?” This is often followed by "When does it make sense to upgrade from Standard to Professional or Premium?" The answer really depends on many factors, and we have a complex matrix to outline every feature in each package, but the matrix is…well…complicated, so I wanted to share a brief description of the three packages, as well as two easy ways to figure out which is best for you.
- What main functionality differences do I need?
- Will upgrading to SolidWorks Professional or Premium streamline my design process?
These two questions may be best answered in a video (below), but I wanted to take a stab at answering them in this post first.
1. What are the main functionality differences in the packages?
The main functionality differences are as follows:
- SolidWorks Standard: For parts & assembly, modeling and design, all three solutions function exactly the same.The Standard suite is fully functional, and has some FEA capability to perform static & stress analysis on parts (only). Solidworks Standard even includes animation.
- The Professional suite adds photo-realistic rendering capability and eDrawings Professional (which allows you to send SW files to a client or customer who does not have SolidWorks and gives them the ability to open and read the file, extract dimensions and mark it up, etc.). Professional also includes a standard parts library, which provides quick access to nuts, bolts, connectors, etc. that you can drag right into an existing design. SolidWorks Costing is also included in Professional, which is a huge time-saver for estimating costs.
- The Premium suite has broader FEA capability, allowing you to do static, stress and motion analysis on assemblies, as well as parts. Solidworks Premium also has a routing feature for tooling and harnessing; CircuitWorks to create enclosures for circuit boards; Tol Analyst to determine sizing allowances; and an easy interface with eCAD if you also do electrical design, point cloud import, or PC board design.
Remember, this is not the full list, but should give you an idea of basic functionality differences.
2. Will upgrading to SolidWorks Professional or Premium streamline my design process?
This answer also depends on what you are working on, but SolidWorks Professional was built to help improve efficiency, increase productivity, ensure accuracy, and help you communicate design information more effectively. SolidWorks Premium will really streamline your design process using the advanced simulation capabilities. Most users are surprised how easy it is to analyze their products, with real-life results. Sounds great, but I think these videos may do a better job of answering the second question.
I believe the fastest and easiest way to answer complex questions is with video…Mark Schneider developed three videos to clearly answer these two questions, and to simplify the answer to the “which is the best package for me?” question. Mark created these videos to better explain the differences in the packages (easier than reading a matrix). These videos also explain how your design process can be improved using a higher level package. There is so much functionality in SolidWorks, that it was difficult to fit into our usual 3 minute video, so they are a bit longer than most of our videos, but still under 7 minutes each, and full of information that you may not be aware of.
So, does this help answer the question "which SolidWorks Package is best for me?"