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There are so many different product design tools that making a shortlist of the best can be tricky. You want to create detailed and realistic product models, simulate how they will function, and collaborate with others throughout the different stages - and you need the right tool for your team. I've got you covered! In this post, I use my personal experience managing dozens of products and using many different platforms with large teams to share my picks of the best product design software.

What is Product Design Software?

Product design software refers to a type of program used to create and develop digital designs for products. This software is typically used by product designers, engineers, and manufacturers to create 2D and 3D designs that can be used to prototype and manufacture physical products.

Product design software typically includes a range of tools and features, such as 3D modeling, prototyping, rendering, simulation, and collaboration tools, to support the design process and ensure the final product meets the desired specifications and requirements.

Overviews Of The 10 Best Product Design Software

Here’s a brief description of each product design solution to showcase each tool’s best use case and standout features.

Best for product design collaboration

  • Free plan available
  • From $15/editor/month
Visit Website
Rating: 4.7/5

Figma is a cloud-based collaborative design software you can use to wireframe websites, design mobile app interfaces, create social media posts, and create prototype designs.

Figma allows you to use plugins that can help streamline workflow by automating repetitive tasks. You can use Figma to design, present, and collaborate anywhere you are because all your designs are in cloud storage that you can access anytime and anywhere you have an internet connection.

Figma is best for handling projects with team members in different locations because users can build a channel to coordinate and collaborate with other members during the design process. Team members can co-design and critique each other in real-time to see how their design is evolving.

Figma’s “observation mode” allows you to shadow every move of the presenter, so you know how a design changes and how to replicate the said changes if needed.

Figma pricing starts at $12/user/month and they have a free-forever plan for 1-team projects.

Best for consumer packaged goods companies

  • Free demo available
  • Pricing upon request
Visit Website
Rating: 4/5

Nuxeo is a digital asset creation and management program you can use to curate 3D and 360° assets to ensure effective supply chain management. It allows you to automate simple administrative tasks so your creative team can focus on designing products for your company.

Nuxeo has an audit trail that allows the review, annotation, and approval of designs wherever you are. Nuxeo is best for consumer packaged goods because it allows designers to quickly implement product design changes to avoid delays of product launches.

Nuxeo has an intuitive search filtering system to sort products according to materials, colors, availability, and price. Nuxeo allows users to create workspaces where creative teams can collaborate, communicate and share files with other team members.

Nuxeo’s pricing is available upon request.

Best free open-source 3D creation suite

  • Free product
  • Free product

Blender is a free and open-source product design platform that supports modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, video editing, and 2D animation pipelines. It is used by studios and individual artists, professionals and hobbyists, scientists and students, VFX experts, and animators.

Being no-cost and open-source, Blender users need a DIY attitude when it comes to learning, training, and implementation. If you can handle the learning curve and more technical aspects of the software, it’s worth its weight in gold. IT experts have full access to the source code so customizations and integrations are virtually endless.

Newbies to product design beware, though—this tool is not for the faint of heart. Blender is free to download and use on Mac, Windows, or Linux.

Best web-to-print solution

  • 14-day free trial
  • From $19.99 /month
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Rating: 5/5

Inkybay is a product design software with personalization and design tools you can use to bring your customers’ visions to life. It has embedded multiple designer themes making it ideal for use in whatever line of business you specialize in.

Inkybay is best for businesses that offer web-to-print solutions because it allows you to receive production-ready files to print files sent by customers or other product designers readily. It has a live editing tool that customers can use to choose design elements and print colors they want for product personalization.

You can use Inkybay to customize a wide variety of products, including caps, apparel, shoes, business cards, phone cases, and other items.

Inkybay Pro has a one-time license fee of $2,499 and they offer a 14-day free trial.

Best mobile version

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $19.99/user/month

Adobe Creative Cloud is a collection of more than 20 design and production apps you can use to create and edit prototypes. You can use Adobe Creative Cloud to edit films and videos for advertisements, design wireframes, and build 3D product demos.

Adobe Creative Cloud includes 100GB of cloud storage you can use for saving and sharing files with other designers. Adobe Creative Cloud is best for designers who need a program they can use on the go because it has a mobile version compatible with Android and iOS devices.

It comes with 2GB of complimentary cloud storage, so you can access your files and designs on any device as long as you have an internet connection. Adobe Creative Cloud provides versatility since you can shoot pictures and videos using your mobile device and edit them immediately.

Adobe Creative Cloud pricing starts at $19.99/user/month and offers a 30-day free trial.

Best for workflow automation

  • Free version available
  • From $1,500/user/year

Onshape is a product development platform you can use to accelerate the release of new products by shortening the design process. It has data management capabilities ensuring that design teams are using the latest design data at all times. Its collaboration tools ensure that designers can work together with other team members and view changes in real-time.

Onshape is best for companies that want to increase productivity and minimize production errors through workflow automation. Onshape allows the approval and revision process automation to help promote accountability and ensure the management of all requests.

You can use Onshape to set up trigger points for notifications and emails, ensuring that you attend to critical concerns immediately.

Onshape Professional pricing starts at $2,100/user/year, and they offer a 14-day free trial.

Best for industrial design

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $245/user/month

Autodesk’s Product Design and Manufacturing collection provide users with extended capabilities to AutoCAD and Inventor to run simulations and production layouts to ensure the functionality of a manufacturing system. It connects to Fusion 360, so you can produce high-quality renderings of 3D models.

Autodesk allows virtual prototyping so you can review designs without using up local resources. Autodesk is best for designing complex products, equipment, and systems because it has a tolerance analysis feature to help ensure that systems can handle operational stress. It allows industrial designers to create manufacturing documentation, ensuring that systems comply with the quality standards.

Autodesk provides users with a central storage system to view all data in the product development process ensuring collaboration between different departments.

Autodesk pricing costs $2,855/year/license and offers a free trial for 30 days.

Best for automotive designs

  • Free demo available
  • Pricing upon request

Catia is a design and styling software you can use to create 3D designs or 2D sketches from scratch. It has defect detection capabilities allowing you to immediately improve your design before moving into production. It has a color and trim designer function so you can create product elements around colors, materials, finishes, and grains.

Catia is best for automotive designers because it allows users to evaluate human posture to create safe and comfortable vehicle designs. Its modeling tool lets you create computer-aided designs useful in technical reviews by mechanical engineers.

It has a style modeler feature you can use to create, edit, and analyze ergonomic shapes so you can come up with Class-A surface quality on your products.

Catia pricing is available upon request.

Best for modelling sustainable buildings

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $119 /year

SketchUp is a comprehensive 3D design software that caters to a wide range of industries including architecture, commercial interiors, construction, and 3D printing. It offers a suite of products and features such as SketchUp for Web, iPad, and Schools, SketchUp Viewer, 3D Warehouse, LayOut, and Sefaira, all aimed at enabling users to visualize their ideas through smart 3D modelling.

The platform is not only equipped with resources for learning and assistance but also supports collaboration, making it an ideal tool for designing sustainable buildings and customizing 3D workspaces. SketchUp offers 2D drawing, 3D design and modelling, 3D imaging, API, access controls/permissions, animation, annotations, and an architectural symbol library. These features provide a robust platform for product design, making it a versatile tool in the industry.

What sets SketchUp apart is its user-friendly interface and detailed modelling capabilities. Also the fact that you can quickly train new people using free learning resources from their website, flattening the software's learning curve. It simplifies complex tasks, making it accessible for beginners while still offering advanced features for professionals.

As for integrations, the official website does not provide specific information about the most important integrations provided by SketchUp.

Best for 3D sculpting

  • Free trial available
  • Pricing upon request

SOLIDWORKS is a 3D CAD software you can use to create, review, and evaluate 3D designs. It allows you to create custom dashboards so other design members can review and share crucial data.

SOLIDWORKS is a cloud-based platform allowing users to access, annotate, manage, and share designs wherever they are.

SOLIDWORKS is best for 3D sculpting because it makes the design process easier through intuitive push-pull interaction. It allows industrial and mechanical engineers to collaborate on the same product model to speed up the design process. This modeling tool also helps eliminate errors by immediately updating your 3D Sculptor files as you work so other team members are aware of design changes.

SOLIDWORKS pricing is available upon request.

The Best Product Design Software Comparison Chart

Here is a table where you can compare all the tools we just covered in the overviews.

Tools Price
Figma From $15/editor/month
Nuxeo Platform Pricing upon request
Blender 3D Computer Graphics Software Free product
Inkybay From $19.99 /month
Adobe Creative Cloud From $19.99/user/month
Onshape From $1,500/user/year
Autodesk Suite From $245/user/month
CATIA Pricing upon request
SketchUp From $119 /year
SOLIDWORKS Pricing upon request
Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

Compare Software Specs Side by Side

Use our comparison chart to review and evaluate software specs side-by-side.

Compare Software

Other Product Design Options

Here are a few more that didn’t make the top list but are worth your consideration.


    Best for app & website design

  2. FreeCAD

    Free, open source 3D product design software for SMBs & startups

  3. Rhinoceros

    Rhino is a free-form 3D modeling tool to create illustrations, renders, NURBS, and animations

  4. Ansys

    Product design tools for design, simulation, and additive manufacturing

  5. Houdini

    Advanced 3D modeling software for film, TV, and game dev

  6. Mastercam

    CAM product design software with direct modeling, file import functionality, and model prep toolset

  7. KeyShot

    3D product design software for high-end visualization & animations

  8. Tinkercad

    Free 3D product design software for 3D design, electronics, and coding

  9. Affinity Designer

    Vector and raster design tools for concept art, UI, and mockups optimized for Mac, Windows and iPad

  10. OpenSCAD

    Free product design software with a bit of a learning curve for new users

  11. Siemens Solid Edge

    Portfolio of affordable, easy-to-use product design software, 3D modeling, manufacturing, and simulation tools

  12. Creo

    3D CAD/CAM/CAE software for product design and development

  13. ZBrush

    Digital sculpting tool that combines 3D modeling, painting, and texturing in one program

How I Picked the Best Product Design Software

First of all, I started with product design software that has high user review and satisfaction ratings. Then, using my experience in product management, I discerned what key criteria were most important for product design software and compared how each of them stacked up against the rest.

I empathize with how much time it takes to source the right software for a job. I do this work so that you don't have to. I've been using and reviewing product design software for years so you can trust me to do the heavy lifting and compile all the facts you need to make your final decision.

Selection Criteria

After careful consideration, I've determined that these are the most important criteria when selecting the best product design software. Here's a brief list outlining the whats and whys of my selection.

User Interface (UI)

Product designers or managers may use different devices during the design process. I’m looking for something compatible with various devices, such as 3D printers, digital drawing boards, smartphones, etc. 


I’m looking for product design software that is easy to teach and learn, perhaps with online tutorials, dedicated training, self-help resources, and a robust customer support service. 


I’m looking for a product design tool that will work with other essential programs and apps that most designers use like product development tools, diagramming tools, and roadmapping tools


I’m looking for product design software with a wide array of tools but won’t hurt most people’s budgets. Pricing should be scalable, fair for the features offered, and transparent.

Product Design Software FAQs

Find answers to common questions other people ask about this topic.

What is product design?

Product design is a process in which you visually design a customer-centric experience that takes into account the company’s strategy and product vision. Using a value proposition canvas, the design team can find out more about the customer’s needs, pains, habits, and wants. Then, using that information, they can design a product that satisfies customers and place the outcome in a user journey map. Finally, the journey map can be iterated on to polish the experience.

Find more about the topic in our product design 101 article.

What are the benefits of product design software?

  1. Improved Efficiency: Product design software can help streamline the design process by providing tools for creating and modifying designs quickly and easily. This can save time and reduce errors, allowing designers to create more products in less time.
  2. Enhanced Creativity: With product design software, designers can experiment with different design concepts, colors, materials, and textures, and visualize them in 3D. This can inspire creativity and help designers come up with more innovative and visually appealing designs.
  3. Better Collaboration: Product design software allows designers, engineers, and other stakeholders to collaborate and share design files and feedback in real-time. This can facilitate communication and ensure that everyone is on the same page, leading to better design outcomes.
  4. Cost Savings: By simulating and testing designs in a virtual environment, product design software can help identify and resolve potential issues before physical prototypes are created. This can save time and money on expensive prototypes and prevent costly mistakes.
  5. Improved Product Quality: By providing tools for simulation and analysis, product design software can help ensure that the final product meets the desired specifications and requirements, resulting in higher quality products that meet customer needs and expectations.

What are the key features of product design software?

The key features of the best product design software can vary depending on the specific needs and requirements of the user, but some of the most important features include:

  1. 2D and 3D Modeling: The software should allow for the creation of both 2D and 3D designs to accurately represent the product being designed.
  2. Simulation and Analysis: The software should include simulation and analysis tools to test and verify the design, such as stress testing, fluid dynamics, and thermal analysis.
  3. Collaboration and Sharing: The software should allow for easy collaboration and sharing of designs with team members, clients, and suppliers.
  4. Version Control: The software should include version control capabilities to keep track of changes made to the design and allow for easy access to previous versions.
  5. Compatibility and Integration: The software should be compatible with other tools and software commonly used in the industry, such as CAD software and 3D printing software.
  6. Customization: The software should allow for customization and configuration to meet the unique needs of the user and their specific project requirements.
  7. Component library: The software should have a wide range of embedded crucial components, like buttons and accordions, to make design easier.
  8. Asset management/document management: The software should be able to store, track, and share product assets and documents.
  9. Modeling Versatility: Software that works well with different 3D modeling methods like direct modeling or parametric modeling.

What are the three types of 3D modeling?

If you are using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) for your products, you can use three types of modelling: wireframe, surface, and solid.

  • Wireframe: This type of CAD modelling is used when your product has more curved edges. In this kind of modelling, you use lines, circles, arcs, and other shapes to define your objects. unlike 2D versions of a product that you can wireframe using a wireframe tool or your notebook, CAD lets you build 3D versions where you can see your product from all angles.
  • Surface: Among these three methods, surface modelling is the most advanced. It operates by using guiding lines to delineate the contours and curvature of a component. Subsequently, the software computes a seamless surface that links these guiding lines. Some of the tools on this list will have this as a feature called Loft.
  • Solid: Think of this one as playing an advanced version of tetris where you put three dimensional shapes together as building blocks. And if you need to make a hole in your design, you can also use some of the shapes to remove (subtract) material from it.

What's Next?

The right design tool can shorten the product build lifecycle through visualization and helps prevent costly errors from reaching the production stage. However, you should learn the difference between prototyping and wireframing and 17 survey questions you can use to gain useful product feedback.

Related tool lists:

If you want to learn more about other product management or product design software that you can use to improve how your company works, subscribe to The Product Manager newsletter today.

By Hannah Clark

Hannah Clark is the Editor of The Product Manager. Following six years of experience in the tech industry, she pivoted into the content space where she's had the pleasure of working with some of the most brilliant voices in the product world. Driven by insatiable curiosity and a love of bringing people together, her mission is to foster a fun, vibrant, and inspiring community of product people.