I went to technical school to be an engineer but what they don’t tell you is that a 2 year degree in the real world makes you a drafter. I spent many hours learning AutoCad and since I no longer work as a drafter I didn’t have access to any CAD software. Designing stuff is still fun for me so I spent hours trying to find the best CAD software that was most like AutoCad. Of course since I don’t make any money drafting I also wanted to buy the software cheap or free! Here is the list of CAD programs I checked out.

My Benchmark
  • AutoCAD (~$1320 annually) is now subscription based and not even something I would consider since it is a subscription.
  • AutoCAD LT ($360 annually) is probably exactly what I would have bought if it wasn’t a subscription.
My CAD Winners
  • SketchUp (Free version) this is pretty slick for a new user and if you are just learning a CAD type program I would recommend it. The Pro version is around $700 and a bit to high for me to justify the cost but if I was ever to use it for a side job I would buy it and make sure the job covered the cost. It is more of a 3D modeling program than 2D. While I really liked it it wasn’t that close to the feel of AutoCad which is what I was really after but it still made it into my toolbox.
  • DraftSight there is a free version which did everything I wanted. I went ahead and bought their pro version cause while it was a subscription it reverted back to the free version if I decided to not renew. The pro version is normally $300 but they have deals all the time and think I got it for $150. Renewal each year after is $99. Looking back I should have probably not bother with the pro version cause I simply haven’t messed with those added features yet but who knows.

This isn’t even close to all the programs out there but after all my research these are the ones I selected. Comment below if you have found others like AutoCAD.