Creo vs. SolidWorks: Which is better?

What is Creo?

Creo is a computer-aided design (CAD) program that was initially released in 1987 as Pro/ENGINEER by the company Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC). It was one of the first major solid modelers to enter the CAD market and greatly impacted the industry. Creo is a “family of CAD apps” that aids in product design for all types of manufacturers. The program includes a variety of 3D CAD applications for 3D CAD parametric modeling. 3D direct modeling, finite element analysis, technical illustrations and visualizations. The 10 applications included in Creo are as follows: PTC Creo Parametric, PTC Creo Direct, PTC Creo Simulate, PTC Creo Illustrate, PTC Creo Schematics, PTC Creo View MCAD, PTC Creo View ECAD, PTC Creo Sketch, PTC Creo Layout and PTC Creo Options Modeler. Creo is used in a large range of industries across the world and is considered to be an industry standard for many. Creo allows for innovative companies and industrial designers to produce better products in less time.

What is SolidWorks?

SolidWorks is a computer-aided design (CAD) program that was initially released in 1995. As of 2013, SolidWorks reported that it had over two million engineers and designers at more than 165,000 companies using SolidWorks across the globe. SolidWorks has a long list of useful capabilities to assist in the design process, including large assembly performance, powerful modeling tools, 3D mesh modeling, 3D markup, defeature, visualize, advanced mold design and many more! SolidWorks has one of the largest online user communities in the CAD market and users say that the program has an easily accessible, user-friendly interface.

How do they compare?

When SolidWorks was first released, it claimed that it could do 80% of what Creo could do at a fraction of the price. This helped SolidWorks to initially infiltrate the CAD market, but as of today both Creo and SolidWorks are much closer in price. The biggest difference between Creo and SolidWorks would be their complexity for users. SolidWorks is a much less complex option and has a quicker learning curve for beginners. Creo is a much more complex program and is aimed at the higher-end CAD market. Because SolidWorks has a much more user-friendly interface, it is used in businesses of all sizes across the world. If you are looking to pursue a career in industrial design or something similar, SolidWorks would be the easiest option to find a job. However, SolidWorks does lack some of the capabilities that Creo offers to users. Some people believe that the fact that Creo is more advanced is a disadvantage to the platform, saying that Creo is full of all of these tools and capabilities that they have no need for.

Which should I choose for my next project?

Now that I have explained what each Creo and SolidWorks are and how they compare to one another, you might be wondering “which should I choose for my next project”. There are benefits to both and there is no right and wrong answer as to which you should use for your next project, but I am going to explain the different types of work that are primarily being done with each of the programs. If your project consists of ‘top down’ design such as an automotive company, you will most definitely want to use Creo. Creo is much more stable and far superior to SolidWorks when it comes to top down design. Creo would also be a better choice for any project consisting of large assemblies. SolidWorks is primarily used for smaller scale and simpler design projects. SolidWorks will be able to solve your problem within limits. SolidWorks does not have the capabilities to work with large assemblies or design high quality surfaces. SolidWorks is becoming more and more widespread in the industry due to its easy nature. For designing simpler projects there is no need to go through the hassle of learning all of these advanced methods and techniques in Creo, making SolidWorks a much more attractive option to those customers. Overall, choosing between Creo and SolidWorks for your next project comes down to one main factor: the complexity of the project. If you wish to design something extremely complex then Creo is definitely the choice for you. But, if you want to design more simpler objects, you might want to look into using SolidWorks for your next project.

No matter what CAD program you choose for your next project, we are always available for help. We offer a ton of classes in Creo and SolidWorks, as well as Rhino, Alias and more! So no matter what your design needs, Design Engine is here to help!

Check out our full list of course offerings here so we can help you on your next project!

Greg Cali
Business Development Intern at

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