Revit Alternatives and Competitors in 2024
Revit is a well-known competitor in the relatively new building information modeling (BIM) software industry. It is most suitable for various tasks in the field of architectural design, and it can be used to turn concepts, analytical information, and theoretical designs into actual projects ready for fabrication and subsequent construction.
Revit also offers many advantages because it is owned by well-known software giant Autodesk. For example, it allows collaboration in some ways with other Autodesk software applications, such as AutoCAD. Additionally, Revit provides the ability to access its designs from almost any device using the power of BIM Collaboration Pro – a cloud-based collaboration solution that is also owned by Autodesk.
It would also be fair to say that, while Revit is one of the most popular BIM software applications on the market, it is far from perfect in how it works and what it is capable of. For example, Revit’s overall interface is rather complicated to get used to. Additionally, there are multiple features that Revit simply does not have but which competitors have had for a while now.
There is also the issue that the isometric view is the default, and there are many other examples of how Revit is far from perfect, which is why it is important to consider the competition that Revit has in this market. There are plenty of different BIM solutions that can rival Revit in their feature sets, including both free and paid solutions. As such, we present a list of 10 different Revit competitors, split into two groups: those that have free versions and those that are premium software solutions with no free versions.
Paid Revit alternatives and competitors
Vectorworks Architect is a solution that strives to be as functional as it gets, making it one of Revit’s most prominent competitors. It is a full-fledged BIM software application that allows users to work with the entire BIM workflow in one place. Its 3D modeling engine is powered by SIEMENS Parasolid, allowing for the combination of precision and complexity in graphical design.
Vectorworks is compatible with various file formats, allowing for easier collaboration between different applications. It can also be linked directly to several other competitors in the field for improved collaboration, including Photoshop, SketchUp, Rhino, Cinema4D, and more. Vectorworks also strives to incorporate the newest features like photogrammetry, cloud service support, AR and VR support, etc.
- Vectorworks Architect’s combination of capabilities makes it one of the more compelling options for SMBs in the field of architecture.
- Vectorworks offers an impressive rendering engine that combines speed with accuracy for every single render.
- The software is not particularly difficult to work with, and most of its features can be used by people with practically zero special software skills.
- Vectorworks Architect runs great with average-sized project files, but large projects with a lot of details tend to cause unfortunate slowdowns.
- While the software can be considered a BIM solution, its actual BIM-centric capabilities are rather limited.
- Not all of the project files created by Vectorworks are backward-compatible due to the absence of the new features that are constantly introduced to the solution.
Pricing (at the time of writing):
- The price of Vectorworks Architect varies quite a lot depending on the geographic location of the potential customer.
- The solution uses a global network of distributors to distribute its product all over the planet.
- There is little to no pricing information about Vectorworks Architect on the official website.
My personal opinion on Vectorworks Architect:
Vectorworks Architect is a rather interesting option when it comes to looking for alternatives to Revit. First, Vectorworks attempts to cover as many bases as possible, offering plenty of BIM capabilities for different project phases. Not only is there a full-fledged 3D modeling suite, but there are also other tools and features that are used in later project phases. The solution is relatively simple and not very difficult to get into (an outlier in the realm of BIM solutions), and it can also be integrated with plenty of other solutions in the field, from Rhino and SketchUp to Photoshop, Cinema4D, and more. It can be difficult to work on complex project files with Vectorworks, and its actual BIM capabilities are somewhat basic, but it has great potential for use in the field of architecture.
Lumion, on the other hand, is software that is not capable of the entire BIM project cycle. What it does is present a comprehensive toolset for the most complicated task of the BIM process: 3D design rendering. Since visualization is a massive part of architecture, and since precision rendering and natural atmosphere generation play a large role in making designs attractive to clients, Lumion’s capabilities in these areas make it a valuable tool.
Lumion is capable of working with a wide range of CAD software tools to provide 3D renderings of a project. Files can be imported either manually or automatically via the cloud. There is support for cloud synchronization with many popular design software tools, including Vectorworks, Revit, AutoCAD, and more. Lumion has a free student license for full-time students, while regular clients have to choose between one of two versions of Lumion with different price tags and slightly different feature sets.
- Lumion boasts impressive rendering quality, which is one of its most compelling advantages.
- It can also import and work with Revit files with ease, another notable advantage, considering the prevalence of Revit in the BIM sphere.
- Lumion’s software is structured in a very particular fashion that is somewhat reminiscent of gaming engines, making it easy to work with for those familiar with the Unreal Engine or Unity interface.
- While the rendering quality overall is astounding, it takes quite a lot of resources to run, and the software itself slows down considerably with larger and more detailed files.
- Lumion is also not a complete BIM solution: it is not a BIM solution at all, in fact. Lumion is often classified as a CAD software assistant.
- It lacks the “snapping” mechanism that AutoCAD and SketchUp offer to their users, making it more difficult to rotate objects with Lumion.
Pricing (at the time of writing):
- Lumion offers two different paid pricing plans:
- “Standard” – €54.08 per month, which offers limited rendering effects with about a third of the content library (along with the solution itself and every possible future update).
- “Pro” – €108.25 per month, the complete Lumion feature set with a boatload of rendering capabilities combined with the full content library and plenty of other features.
My personal opinion on Lumion:
Lumion is software that can replace only part of Revit’s capabilities, although it is fair to say that 3D rendering is a crucial part of a project. Lumion can integrate with plenty of CAD solutions and import their models, and its rendering capabilities are considered some of the best in the field. It is also structured in a way that may remind some users of game engines such as UE, making it a lot easier to work with for that customer group. At the same time, Lumion tends to struggle quite a lot with its own impressive renders if the model is both large and detailed, and there are also a few design choices here and there that make it more difficult to interact with 3D models when compared with software such as SketchUp.
While Revit is widely listed among the best BIM software options on the market, its user interface is not particularly simple. Revit is known for being difficult to work with, which is why there is a selection of BIM software options that focus on user-friendliness most of all. ArchiCAD is one such alternative, offering a variety of features for architectural design purposes combined with advanced collaboration capabilities.
ArchiCAD has clients in over a hundred countries and is available in 27 languages. There is also a free one-month trial version of the software, allowing users to test out all of the different features that ArchiCAD offers.
- Capterra – 4.5/5 stars based on 272 customer reviews
- TrustRadius – 8.8/10 stars based on 24 customer reviews
- G2 – 4.6/5 stars based on 245 customer reviews
- ArchiCAD is a comprehensive BIM solution that can view projects in both two and three dimensions.
- The software offers plenty of modeling tools in combination with a variety of BIM features.
- Most of the solution’s capabilities are relatively easy to work with and can be accessed in no time.
- While ArchiCAD can view models in 2D, its 2D drawing capabilities are extremely basic and do not offer much when compared with other solutions in the field.
- ArchiCAD’s detailing tool is rather rigid and offers very little in terms of customization.
- Some updates to the model may take a while to be implemented, such as the layout drawing updates.
Pricing (at the time of writing):
- ArchiCAD offers three different licensing options – a commercial subscription-based license, a one-year renewable free educational license, and a fully functional 30-day trial license. Both the educational and the trial license are rather self-explanatory, but the commercial license needs a bit of explanation.
- ArchiCAD’s commercial license can be purchased in three different forms:
- ArchiCAD – $225+ per month (before tax) – the basic version of ArchiCAD
- ArchiCAD Solo – $200+ per month (before tax) – a limited version of ArchiCAD with most of its sharing features turned off
- ArchiCAD Collaborate – $225+ per month (before tax) – a combination of ArchiCAD and BIMcloud
My personal opinion on ArchiCAD:
ArchiCAD was one of the first BIM solutions in the field. It was created by Graphisoft, a software developer from Hungary, back in 1982. ArchiCAD offers quite a lot when it comes to BIM features, including data modeling, automated documentation, easy collaboration, simple information management, and more. ArchiCAD is often used to make it easier for architects and engineers to interact within the realms of the same project, combining efforts for a better end result with fewer issues in the process. It does have a number of potentially problematic factors though, and it is recommended that potential users learn about them before purchasing the software.
A detailed three-dimensional design is vital for successful project completion, but it would not be helpful without the integration of a proper issue tracking process into the overall workflow. This is the feature that Revizto focuses on, providing real-time clash detection and other subsequent features that are necessary for making the entire model into a reality.
As such, Revizto can be identified as a BIM collaboration platform capable of supporting both 2D and 3D workflows in a unified environment, providing its users with a wealth of communication methods. Revizto is used in over 150 countries, and the company always strives to implement newer features in the software, such as the ability to explore project models at a 1:1 scale using a VR headset.
- Revizto puts a lot of emphasis on collaboration and communication between project participants, and its centralized access to all project information makes it a lot easier for teams and individuals to cooperate.
- Revizto’s clash detection and issue tracking capabilities are rather extensive, offering the ability to assign a specific user or team to every single clash to improve workflow coordination.
- Revizto offers plenty of integrations with other BIM and CAD platforms, making it easier for teams with different software preferences to collaborate with one another.
- Large and highly-detailed project files may cause unexpected slowdowns in Revizto’s software.
- There is a potential learning curve when it comes to Revizto’s interface as a whole, since it is unlike anything else on the market.
- Revizto’s reporting capabilities are somewhat basic, limiting potential customization of reports in general.
Pricing (at time of writing):
- There is little to no pricing information about Revizto on the official website.
- There is, however, an option to request a personalized quotation or guided demo.
- Users that are potentially interested in the solution should use one of these options to contact Revizto directly.
My personal opinion on Revizto:
Revizto manages to successfully cover another important aspect of BIM solutions such as Revit: the “seamless collaboration” part. It is a marvelous issue tracking and clash detection solution with a strong emphasis on cooperation between project participants. It also offers a number of unusual features, as well, such as the ability to perform VR walkthroughs of 3D CAD models. There may be some bias involved here, but I do believe that Revizto is one of the best collaboration solutions on the market. Of course, it is not as versatile and feature-rich as something like Revit, but it has its own niche and manages to do its job at a level that is more than satisfactory.
Another rather popular name on the market is Bentley, a software provider offering products encompassing multiple industries, including architectural design software. This is the primary purpose of Microstation: to provide 3D CAD software that can operate both 2D and 3D models extremely efficiently. It also supports DGN files, one of the most popular file formats in this market.
DGN is a file format widely used by AEC firms, global transportation agencies, and many other design-related companies, and all of these companies can work with Microstation with little to no effort. This kind of standardization allows CAD software to avoid the errors that are fairly common when project drawings must be converted from another popular format (such as DWG) into the DGN format.
- Capterra – 4.3/5 stars based on 170 customer reviews
- TrustRadius – 9.2/10 stars based on 22 customer reviews
- G2 – 4.0/5 stars based on 294 customer reviews
- MicroStation is first and foremost a 3D CAD solution, meaning that it can work with quite a few different file formats for these 3D project models.
- Although it is a 3D CAD solution, its minimum hardware requirements are surprisingly low, all things considered.
- The very structure of MicroStation makes it relatively easy to combine existing components and new ones in a single package when necessary.
- As with practically any CAD/BIM solution, MicroStation often encounters slowdowns when handling large and complex project models.
- MicroStation does have its own rendering capabilities, but the render quality is nothing impressive, and it is worse than the market average.
Pricing (at the time of writing):
- Bentley MicroStation offers a single pricing model.
- It is a 12-month subscription license for €2,702 with different modeling capabilities, data type integrations, plenty of design options, collaboration on designs, centralized access to many deliverables, and 3 redeemable “keys” (training credits from Virtuosity).
My personal opinion on MicroStation:
MicroStation is a 3D CAD solution created and distributed by Bentley, a company with a rather well-known name, although it has nothing to do with the vehicle manufacturer. MicroStation itself is a rather competent CAD software that supports plenty of project file formats and boasts an impressive range of features for modeling. Its hardware requirements are surprisingly modest, although the software tends to struggle quite a lot with larger and more complex project files. There is also the problem that the rendering MicroStation offers is of sub-par quality, so it is highly recommended that potential customers educate themselves on the matter beforehand.
Free Revit alternatives and competitors
It is worth mentioning that not all of these examples are entirely free – some are offered using the “freemium” model, where there is a free basic version of the software with a limited feature set, with the ability to acquire more features with a paid subscription. Other examples may also have free limited-time trials that are transformed into paid subscriptions afterwards.
When it comes to completely free CAD software, it is hard to imagine a solution as popular as FreeCAD, free and open-source CAD software mostly centered around mechanical engineering but also offering a wealth of other features in other industries, including architecture, product design, and so on. It uses a lot of different open-source libraries, including Python, Coin3D, Qt, and more.
FreeCAD also supports many platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Linux, with absolutely zero differences between platforms. FreeCAD is also capable of working with many 2D components for 2D production drawings, even though direct 2D drawings are not considered the prime function of the software, and the same goes for organic shapes, animation, and other functionality.
- Capterra – 4.3/5 stars based on 138 customer reviews
- TrustRadius – 7.7/10 stars based on 10 customer reviews
- G2 – 4.2/5 stars based on 57 customer reviews
- FreeCAD is surprisingly versatile for a free solution, and it may be useful in some capacity to plenty of different professionals, including designers, architects, constructors, engineers, etc.
- It supports Linux, Windows, and Mac devices with absolute feature parity across the different versions.
- FreeCAD’s price is a massive selling point, considering how expensive CAD software is on average.
- The issue of handling large CAD files is not absent from the free software, either, and FreeCAD struggles quite a lot with bigger and more sophisticated project files, causing system slowdowns or even crashes.
- The unfortunate reality of free solutions is that they tend to be built for users who already have some grasp of the technical side of the market, which is why FreeCAD’s interface is rather unintuitive.
- Additionally, the same argument applies to FreeCAD in terms of the learning curve – there may be plenty of information about the software available all over the Internet, but the lack of a centralized source and the abundance of technical wording may be a rather high barrier to overcome for less experienced users.
Pricing (at the time of writing):
- FreeCAD is a free and open-source solution with no purchase necessary for the entire feature set.
My personal opinion on FreeCAD:
FreeCAD is the first completely free solution on this list. It is an open-source CAD software application that offers plenty of different options for users that are willing to overcome its high entry barrier and unintuitive interface. FreeCAD supports plenty of different CAD model formats, it can be used for both 2D and 3D modeling operations, and there is even an option to contribute to the software’s development for those who are experienced enough with feature implementation or bug fixing. It is not the most convenient solution on the market, and definitely not the most flexible, but the complete lack of a price tag is a massive advantage that is very difficult to overlook.
Another popular application that is a direct Revit competitor is Blender. This comprehensive design software can perform 3D modeling, animation, compositing, rigging, simulation, and more. Blender is widely used for several purposes, such as motion tracking, 2D animation, video editing, etc. Another great point is that it is completely free and open-source.
Blender also has a variety of use cases that are entirely different from its original purpose, such as game creation or Python scripting. It is an excellent option for small studios and other groups of clients who cannot afford enterprise-class CAD software such as Revit or its alternatives.
- Capterra – 4.7/5 stars based on 917 customer reviews
- TrustRadius – 9.1/10 stars based on 82 customer reviews
- G2 – 4.6/5 stars based on 285 customer reviews
- Blender’s open-source nature and non-existent price tag are massive advantages on their own.
- There are plenty of tutorials and other information about Blender on the Internet, so it would be fair to say that the active community is a big advantage for the solution.
- Blender also has its own documentation for 3D modeling and some other tasks, and this documentation alone is enough to teach an average user plenty of Blender’s capabilities.
- Complex projects such as animations or detailed models require plenty of time and hardware resources for the rendering process.
- The software can seem very complicated and unintuitive at times, which may be overwhelming for new users.
- Blender’s overall learning curve is extremely high, especially for users that have zero prior experience with modeling/sketching programs.
Pricing (at the time of writing):
- Blender is a completely free and open-source project licensed under the GNU GPL.
My personal opinion on Blender:
Blender is software that is quite popular among architectural clientele. It is often one of the first solutions a person learns to use to create some form of a 3D model, whether for personal or commercial use. The fact that it is free makes it even more attractive for newcomers. At the same time, this solution is not without flaws: it can be extremely difficult to get into, the interface as a whole looks like a frightening amalgamation of features to the untrained eye, and the rendering process may take a long time even on very expensive hardware. And yet, these faults are not enough to keep millions of users from working with Blender on a regular basis, making it a rather interesting, if unconventional, Revit alternative.
Sweet Home 3D is another alternative to Revit, even if it is somewhat specific in its purpose. Sweet Home 3D is free architectural design software that focuses on creating house plans. It allows the creation of house plans in two dimensions with the ability to preview entire projects in 3D. It also has an abundance of furniture and other appliances that can be used to create even more detailed home plans for the client.
Sweet Home 3D is straightforward to use, but it is also far less in-depth than most of its competitors because it is a solution that favors personal use. It also exclusively targets interior design, meaning there are very few exterior design tools available. At the same time, this solution still offers several features that can be claimed as alternatives to Revit, such as architectural design and project previews.
- Sweet Home 3D has a respectable library of 3D objects that every user can add to their own projects for free.
- The software itself offers plenty of floor planning capabilities and a surprising amount of versatility for a solution with no price tag.
- All floor plans created by Sweet Home 3D can be viewed in both two and three dimensions at any point in time.
- There is a choice between a web version and a desktop version, but the former does not receive updates at the same frequency as the latter.
- It can be a bit difficult to navigate 3D models with Sweet Home 3D’s interface.
- There is an overall steep learning curve for users who want to achieve complete competency with the software.
Pricing (at the time of writing):
- Sweet Home 3D is another example of an open-source solution that is also completely free.
My personal opinion on Sweet Home 3D:
Sweet Home 3D is not exactly a CAD solution, and it is not a BIM solution, either. Its main purpose is to create floor plans in two dimensions with the ability to view them in 3D afterward. Sweet Home 3D’s toolset is rather impressive on its own, offering plenty of design capabilities and a built-in library of 3D models for easier decoration. It is also a completely free solution, as well, which is a massive advantage. The software does have a rather small number of use cases, since it is mostly made for floor plan creation, but architects and designers should find it more than satisfactory for these purposes.
Another well-known name in the field of 3D design is SketchUp. Created by Trimble Inc, it is a comprehensive workspace that allows its users to design any and all kinds of architecture projects, both big and small. It also has a lot of features aimed at making the overall 3D design process that much better, with smart visualization, time-based changes in the design, and a lot of different presentation methods for the project.
SketchUp is a solution that is on the border between free and paid software, since it has a free version with a limited feature set and it also has several other paid versions. This approach puts SketchUp in the “freemium” category when it comes to monetization – offering a free basic version with the option to pay for more advanced features.
- Capterra – 4.5/5 stars based on 1,005 customer reviews
- TrustRadius – 8.6/10 stars based on 182 customer reviews
- G2 – 4.5/5 stars based on 1,104 customer reviews
- SketchUp offers the ability to choose between multiple rendering styles, providing impressive versatility and freedom of choice for users.
- The overall popularity of SketchUp means there is a massive amount of pre-modeled content available for the solution to work with when necessary.
- Most of the software’s features are easy to work with, including both modeling and drafting.
- There are limitations to SketchUp’s native capabilities – for example, it has no parametric or data-driven capabilities.
- Although SketchUp boasts a rather impressive library of extensions, plenty of its features are straight-up unavailable for non-desktop versions of the software, since only the desktop version supports extensions in the first place.
- There is plenty of information about SketchUp on the Internet, but the solution itself does not have even the most basic of tutorials to explain common and simple features.
Pricing (at the time of writing):
- SketchUp “Go” is the main pricing offer from the company, $119 per year per person, providing a basic set of features that includes a basic modeling/design functionality, a library of pre-built 3D models, and unlimited cloud storage.
- There are two more pricing plans applicable only to the desktop version of SketchUp:
- “Pro” – $299 per year per device, offering 2D design documentation, quick insights for design research, a library of plugins to expand upon the desktop application’s functionality, and more
- “Studio” – $699 per year per device, an advanced package of SketchUp features such as animation and 360-degree panorama exporting, Revit file importing, real-time visualizations, and so on
My personal opinion on SketchUp:
SketchUp is considered one of the most important sketching/drawing tools in the industry, and it is immensely popular in multiple different fields. It has a dedicated built-in object library, as well as plenty of design/modeling features to work with. The software has both desktop and smartphone/tablet versions, offering impressive mobility with overwhelming functionality. There are some problematic areas here and there, such as the lack of built-in basic tutorials and the lack of extension support in the tablet/mobile apps, but the software itself still occupies an extremely high position in the eyes of practically any designer out there.
As for smaller BIM solutions, bimspot.io is a web-based BIM platform that offers multiple features for comprehensive project management in the architecture industry. These features include element permissions, discipline checks, quantity takeoffs, model viewing capabilities, coordination checks, KPI dashboards, and more.
As a BIM platform, bimspot.io offers four different solutions, with each solution targeting a specific goal or purpose. Planner is focused on project coordination and model quality improvements. BIM Manager uses BIM data from different sources and enables model check automation. Project Manager is all about collaboration and team management, and BIM Software Developer is about scaling the solution by adding multiple features through API integration.
- It is a relatively young BIM software provider with plenty of capabilities under its belt.
- It offers a wealth of comprehensive training resources such as demonstrations and tutorials.
- It has plenty of BIM features to work with, including multi-model integration, improved collaboration, model check automation, impressive scalability, and more.
- The platform claims to be useful not only for BIM project managers, but also for BIM software developers, offering API integration, low maintenance costs, and plenty of other case-specific capabilities.
Pricing (at the time of writing):
- Bimspot offers three different pricing plans and a dedicated two-week-long free trial.
- The pricing plans are:
- “Single”starts at €59 per month. It is restricted to a single user and five projects but offers the entire feature set of the bimspot platform.
- “Team” costs €199 per month, with a restriction to 5 users and 1 shared project, but it also offers all features of the platform.
- “Project” scales from €299 per month and can be adjusted according to each company’s needs and requirements. It has no user limitations and provides a dedicated customer success manager and more.
My personal opinion on bimspot.io:
bimspot is another interesting option on this list, with the platform itself being an aggregation of multiple tools that were created for very specific purposes – Planner, Manager, Developer, etc. The software itself was first presented back in 2017, and it has managed to gain some popularity in a relatively short time frame. bimspot.io is a web-based solution with impressive versatility that may not be able to offer a comprehensive 3D CAD solution, but it can work wonders with CAD/BIM models imported from a wide range of other solutions in the field.
There is no shortage of BIM solutions similar to what Revit does in the field of BIM. Choosing a specific solution might be a rather arduous process, with some people not being able to afford Revit in the first place and others struggling to find a suitable replacement. This article is intended to help by presenting multiple different Revit alternatives to make the choice of potential clients much easier.
Additionally, this list is intentionally split into two parts, highlighting the paid and free alternatives to Revit that are available in today’s architectural design market and covering all the potential use cases when it comes to customers looking for a Revit alternative.