I'm wondering what kitchen design software program you would recommend to purchase? Based on ease of use, quality output and price.
Thanks for the question. This is a very common question and it's one of the toughest for me to answer. Of course, it all depends on what you really want the software to do for you. Let me start off by saying that I personally use Auto Cad LT and wouldn't change for anything. This is not a "Kitchen Design" program but rather, a drafting program. Basically I'm "Hand drafting", but I'm doing it on a computer which means that I don't have to erase or use a scale.
I have blocks saved for all of the doorstyles, fixtures and applicances that I use and once you have those set up, it goes pretty fast. Most major appliance companies have Auto Cad blocks that they will give you and you can import them into your design. The great thing about Auto Cad is that it is virtually unlimited as to what I can design and how I can draw it. The down side to Auto Cad is that you have to draw everything out. I have to draw the floor plan, then draw the elevations and I never do perspectives. I know that a lot of customers expect to see the perspectives and renderings these days but most of the high end showrooms that I deal with, use auto cad and don't feel the need to show perspectives. Auto Cad LT (light) is probably cheaper than any Kitchen design software out there and it is even available for Mac! I think it's about $1,200.00 for the 2011 edition. There are also a lot of training classes available to teach you the basics.
That being said, If you are looking for a design program that will use catalogs from your specific cabinet lines, will give you elevations, perspectives and renderings automatically form your floor plan, and will give you a cabinet list and pricing, I would look at one of these three. 20/20 technologies, Autokitchen or Prokitchen. Every showroom I work with uses either auto cad or 20/20 but that is here in Southern California. I believe that Prokitchen and Autokitchen have better rendering capabilities than 20/20 and some of them really look life-like. 20/20 however probably has the largest selection of cabinet manufacturers' catalogs to choose from.There are some great deals to be had out there since the competition is pretty fierce. Prokitchen and Autokitchen both have great websites where you can see the program in action, get pricing and also see which manufacturers' catalogs they support. 20/20 has a website, but I think you have to contact them to get all of that information.
I hope this helps!