How Free Is SketchUp for Woodworking?

SketchUp is a powerful 3D modeling software that has gained popularity among woodworkers due to its user-friendly interface and extensive library of tools and resources. But how free is SketchUp for woodworking? Let’s dive into the details and explore its features and limitations.

The Free Version

If you’re just starting out or have a limited budget, SketchUp offers a free version called SketchUp Free. This version provides access to many basic features that can be useful for woodworking projects. With SketchUp Free, you can create 3D models, draw accurate measurements, and apply textures to your designs.

However, it’s important to note that the free version has some limitations compared to the paid versions. For instance, you can only save files on your local device or in the Trimble Connect cloud storage. The integration with other platforms like Dropbox or Google Drive is not available in the free version.

Working Offline

If you prefer working offline without an internet connection, SketchUp Free might not be suitable for you as it requires an internet connection to work. This limitation can be problematic if you’re working in a location with unreliable or no internet access.

Paid Versions – More Features

SketchUp offers two paid versions: SketchUp Pro and SketchUp Shop. These versions provide additional features specifically designed for professionals, including woodworkers.

SketchUp Pro is the most feature-rich version and includes all the functionality of SketchUp Free along with advanced tools such as LayOut (for creating 2D presentations), Style Builder (for creating custom styles), and more export options (such as DWG, DXF, PDF).

On the other hand, SketchUp Shop offers a middle ground between the free version and SketchUp Pro. It includes features like DWG/DXF import and export, unlimited cloud storage, and access to the SketchUp mobile viewer.

Extensions and Plugins

SketchUp’s true power lies in its vast library of extensions and plugins. These additional tools can greatly enhance your woodworking experience by adding specialized features and functionalities.

While SketchUp Free allows you to use extensions from the Extension Warehouse, some of the more advanced extensions may only be available for SketchUp Pro or SketchUp Shop. These extensions can help you with tasks such as generating cut lists, creating complex joinery, or simulating realistic wood textures.


In conclusion, while SketchUp Free is a great starting point for woodworking enthusiasts on a budget, it does have limitations compared to the paid versions. SketchUp Pro and SketchUp Shop offer more advanced features, offline capabilities, and access to a wider range of extensions.

Ultimately, the choice between the free version and the paid versions depends on your specific needs as a woodworker. Consider your budget, desired features, and long-term goals before deciding which version of SketchUp is right for you.