Overview: Cedreo is a 3D home design platform that allows users to create a complete design project in under two hours. Designers gain access to a suite of intuitive tools — including 2D and 3D floor plans, photorealistic 3D renderings , a 3D catalog with thousands of surfaces, materials, and objects, and more.
Cedreo’s cloud-based platform makes it easy to put together sales presentations and proposals and instantly share them with stakeholders (as well as on their website and social accounts) – without leaving the platform. Altogether, the platform’s features help architects and designers shorten the sales cycle, win new business, and collaborate with clients in real-time.
Best of all, the platform is easy to learn. Meaning beginners and trained CAD pros alike can quickly start leveraging the benefits of Cedreo to lock down big wins for their business and bottom line.
- Generate 2D and 3D floor plans
- Create virtual presentations and proposals
- Collaborate with clients and colleagues directly from the app
- Save reusable design templates
- Access a comprehensive 3D library with 3500+ building materials, 3000+ objects, and pre-defined product packs
- 1:1 training sessions and phone support
Best for: Architects, remodelers, builders, contractors.
Overview: Archicad is among the best CAD software for Mac. It’s a 3D BIM solution designed to help architects generate high-quality designs, collaborate with clients, engineers, and other stakeholders, and embrace a more data-driven approach.
Inside, you’ll find a long list of design tools – 3D rendering, 2D floor plan design, 3D modeling, an impressive catalog of objects and materials, and so on.
Additionally, Archicad makes it easy to create accurate BIM documentation that complies with regulatory requirements and project specifications. Users can set up automated workflows, define version controls, and ensure real-time data syncing across all docs and connected apps.
That said, Archicad is an advanced piece of software that comes with a serious learning curve. It’s worth considering whether these features will help you on the job or prevent you from making the most of your investment.
- Freeform modeling
- 2D floor plans
- Photorealistic rendering
- 3D documentation
- Algorithm-based design
- Automated workflows
Price: You’ll need to reach out to the company for pricing, but Archicad is offered through a variety of licensing models. You can subscribe on a monthly basis, rent the software for a predefined period, or pay for a perpetual license. Additionally, users can sign up for a 30-day free trial license.
Best for: Architects, designers, and contractors.
Overview: AutoCAD is an architecture platform, designed by Autodesk. The platform provides a specialized suite of tools that aim to help architectural professionals work more efficiently – while maintaining the level of quality and precision the job demands.
AutoCAD boasts an impressive range of capabilities. Users can create realistic 3D models, compare different versions of a project, and automatically generate dimensions, markups, and centerlines.
The only real downsides of this platform are that it may be too expensive and/or advanced for many users, and that it requires a lot of computing power. AutoCAD was built for professional architects with existing CAD experience and top-tier tools – i.e. access to newer Macs and plenty of processing power, storage, and RAM.
- 3D modeling and visualization
- 2D drawing and drafting
- Collaboration tools
- 3D rendering
- Project insights
- Version control
- Integration with other CAD programs
Price: Users can choose from a few different pricing options. You can pay $185 per month, $1470 per year, $2940 for two years, or $4410 for three years.
4. Chief Architect
Best for: Home builders, remodelers, contractors, landscape designers, and architects.
Overview: Chief Architect is a popular home design platform, available on both PC and Mac. Users gain access to a powerful suite of features – including automated building tools, landscape design tools, and the ability to design floor plans and 360-degree panoramic renderings in one user-friendly interface.
The platform is explicitly designed for residential design and makes it easy to generate construction documents, floor plans, elevations, roofs, dimensions, and more.
While Chief Architect is designed to be “intuitive,” it’s important to understand that there’s still a significant learning curve, particularly for professionals with minimal technical experience. Some reviewers complained that certain tasks took more steps or clicks than necessary. Overall, people tend to like this platform, it’s just that it takes some getting used to. It’s worth taking the free trial for a spin before making any big commitments.
- Floor plan design
- Photorealistic 3D renderings
- CAD capabilities
- Built-in templates
- Virtual tours
- Landscape design tools
- Custom backdrops
Price: Chief Architect users can choose to purchase a lifetime license for $2965.50 or subscribe to the software for $195 per month.
Best for: Architects, engineers, manufacturers, construction professionals
Overview: CorelCAD is a CAD platform that comes loaded with 2D and 3D design and drafting tools, productivity features, annotation and collaboration tools, and more.
The platform is positioned as an affordable CAD solution, packed with industry-standard capabilities. Some reviewers mention that it’s a solid replacement for more expensive CAD platforms like AutoCAD and Archicad – as it comes with many overlapping features, but it’s offered at a much lower price point ($699 for a one-time license).
Users can design in 2D and generate 3D models within a matter of clicks, create customizable dynamic blocks, and even print designs from a 3D printer. The platform also includes productivity and collaboration tools that make it easier to edit projects, share ideas with stakeholders, and document changes.
Ultimately, though, CorelCAD isn’t the most user-friendly platform and you’ll need some CAD experience under your belt to get the most out of the software. It’s best suited for architects, engineers, and industrial designers who need a solution for creating technical documentation and 3d-printed models.
- 2D drafting
- 3D design tools
- 3D printing
- Collaboration and sharing
- Automated workflows
- Native .DWG and .STL support
Price: The full version of CorelCAD is available for $699, upgrades are $199. Additionally, there’s a downloadable free trial for Mac and PC.
Best for: Architects, construction professionals, and engineers
Overview: DraftSight is a CAD platform for architects, construction professionals, designers, students, and engineers. Inside, you’ll find a range of tools spanning 2D and 3D design and editing, built-in automations, resource library, batch printing, an image tracing tool, and more.
Like CorelCAD, DraftSight is a more affordable alternative to platforms like AutoCAD. However, it does seem like there’s a notable drop in quality compared to the programs we just mentioned. Some reviewers noted that DraftSight seemed a bit outdated – it’s a bit clunky and the UI feels a bit old. Others mentioned issues with frequent crashing.
That said, it’s available as a cloud-based subscription and many users felt that, for a CAD platform, DraftSight was relatively easy to use – particularly for layout design.
- Drawing tools
- Layer preview
- Editing tools
- Built-in templates
Price: DraftSight is offered at a few different price points – each billed on an annual basis. The Standard plan is $99 per year, the Professional plan is $199 per year, the Premium plan is $499 per year, and Enterprise pricing is available upon request.
Best for: Architects, engineers, and designers
Overview: HighDesign is a CAD platform for Mac that provides a suite of drafting and design tools for professional architects, designers, and civil engineers. Inside you’ll find a number of pre-built building elements like walls, windows, pillars, and columns, as well as a set of features that make it easy to organize and refine designs. Users can also generate documentation and publish and share their work.
While HighDesign bills itself as a CAD platform, it’s not quite as robust as some of the other options on this list. It’s almost more of a hybrid between a 3D design platform and a CAD app – focused mostly on design and drafting, but with a few extra features.
- Precision drawing tools
- Smart organization
- Publishing & sharing
Price: HighDesign is $219 for a one-time license.
Best for: Architects, landscape designers, engineers, contractors
Overview: Revit is a BIM platform made by Autodesk to support “multi-disciplinary collaborative design.” Users can design buildings and infrastructure using the app’s built-in model-based process, which enables them to analyze and simulate various components, generate documentation, and create high-impact 3D visualizations.
The platform also includes a number of tools aimed at making it easier for all project stakeholders to collaborate – in context with their role. For example, engineers, electricians, architects, and project managers can all access and modify centrally-shared models.
Revit is a highly technical platform that comes with a steep learning curve. It’s a great tool for organizations that specialize in complex construction projects, but it requires a lot of previous CAD/BIM experience.
- 3D modeling
- Parametric components
- Architectural modeling
- 3D design visualization
- Worksharing/collaboration environment
Price: Revit is available for $285 per month. $2675 per year, or $7625 for three years. You can also download a free trial before you commit.
9. VectorWorks Architect
Best for: Professional architects, builders, and contractors.
Overview: VectorWorks is a comprehensive architecture platform for both Mac and PC. It’s positioned as the “architect’s BIM software” for its ability to marry design-centric features with the more technical aspects of architecture. For example, the platform aims to bring more “information” (aka the “I” in BIM) into the design process – allowing architects to run “what if” scenarios, calculate costs, and analyze things like the energy efficiency of their design.
VectorWorks boasts an impressive array of features and offers deep integration with other popular design, CAD, and architecture applications. Think – Photoshop, SketchUp, Rhino, and OpenBIM. The downside, however, is, it’s not cloud-based and for some, the cost may be prohibitive.
- 3D modeling
- 2D graphics and presentations
- Live data visualizations
- GIS improvements
- Scenario planning
- Structural grids
- Quick search
Price: VectorWorks charges a one–time licensing fee of $3045 for the software. You’ll need to pay extra for annual updates.
Which Mac Architect Software is Right for You?
Finding the right architect software for Mac isn’t exactly easy. Hopefully, this list gives you a clearer picture of what you’re looking for and how to approach your search. Start by considering your budget, CAD experience, and what you hope to achieve with your investment to find the best option for you.
You can sign up for a free account to take Cedreo for a test drive. It’s not a CAD-based platform, so it requires very little effort to learn. At the same time, ease of use doesn’t get in the way of quality. Users can generate professional-looking floor plans and renderings in minutes – then use their creations to collaborate with clients, win new business, and more.