SolidWorks vs Inventor

I need to make a decision for a new 3D package for our office and I’ve been
considering either SolidWorks or Inventor.
To provide some context, I work at a company that designs wheelchairs and posture support systems.

I read an article comparing the two packages, SW Premium 2010 & Inventor Professional 2011,
and they seemed to indicate that Inventor is the hands down winner of the two.
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However this was not always the case from other forums I’ve read through in the past, SW was on top.

I’ve seen that here on the forum most people are using either SolidWorks or Rhino.
I’ve been using Rhino for many years, but find that it is time consuming in the
product refinement stage. So I wouldn’t mind complimenting this with a more constrained
parametric package.

Any reason why the ID community uses SW over Inventor ?
What are your thoughts.


Hi Mate,

I dont think you would have an issue with either software, both are good.

I’ve heard great things about Solidworks in terms of good surfacing control for more organic shapes re. Industrial design. I use Inventor and I’m very happy but I suggest you take a trip to each reseller with some sketches and see the workflow of each software. Try to gauge the reseller’s strengths in modelling and support. Dont let them come to you. I’ve been in situations where I’ve had a customer deadline and for the life of me, couldnt get a surface job right…My reseller was able to work between me and Autodesk to solve the issue. Also if your business expands, you may want to send new staff away for training courses, what extra levels of support can the reseller offer?

Something else to consider, my package of Inventor came bundled with Alias design, 3d max, showcase, mudbox, fusion, Autocad and sketchbook included. Check out what the solidworks guys will throw in… Goodluck, let us know what you end up going with.

SW: powerful, single package, wide-spread industry use

Inventor: handles large assemblies better, opportunity for uber package deal

SW: doesn’t have all the autodesk gadgets, large complex assemblies are rough
Inventor: seems to need additional packages to accomplish certain shaping commands

Go for solidworks if you’re doing small assemblies and only looking for a single package. Inventor is only slightly behind SW in my mind but you may be able to swing a decent package with autodesk that will give you some nice goodies (sketchbook designer and showcase) which if it’s only 1-2k more and you can afford it, I would recommend it.

Hope that helps

Heres some google trends on that.

Inventor for Mac coming soon.

Love to see SW make the jump to Mac, too.

I wouldn’t pay too much attention to those comparison articles, I’m pretty confident to say both software will pretty much satisfy the needs they are targeted to solve. Now for industrial design specifically, perhaps SolidWorks has slightly more developed features for surfacing. I don’t know how useful Alias for Inventor would be for you, I think it’s more of a fancy tech demo at the moment.

Is SW still bad at large assemblies? I’ve been looking at whats-new demos for 3 years now, and it seems like that is what they focus on every new release…

Thanks to everyone for the input.

I decided to go with SW. It was really a no brainer in this instance.
The packages appear to be pretty much the same and would both serve
my application perfectly.
What made me choose SW over Inventor, well the after sales service
and the professionalism of the SW team. They were miles ahead of the
AutoDesk guys. Presentation and service is everything when you’re neck and neck.

SW also offered a key item in the package, you don’t have to
pay a subscription fee each year in order to continue using the package,
where as with Inventor you have to. Of course the accounts department
appreciated this a great deal.

Hope this feedback is of use to someone else in a similar situation.

One thing to point out with Solid works… You DO need to pay the subscription fees to get tech support and upgrades…