What is the real difference between Autodesk Revit and Autodesk Revit LT? This is a question I get asked almost every week. So I'm going to chime in with my opinion and its only my opinion so please look at it that way. To me Revit is an authoring tool and Revit LT is primarily an editing tool. Now you can absolutely start a project in Revit LT and get it fairly well set up. But there are some important limitations to be aware of. First look at Autodesk's site as it does list the differences between the two products (Revit vs. Revit LT feature comparison). This list will show you what is and is not included, but what it doesn't do is really explain what the impact is of these omissions.
A Deeper Dive into the Key Differences:
So there are some key tools that are missing (I'm not mentioning all that is missing, but just what I consider the key limitations):
- First of course is that Revit LT is targeted for the Architectural community: Revit LT does not contain much for Structural Design and nothing for MEP Design (although it can open and do some "editing" of Revit Models with content from both of those disciplines).
- The Conceptual massing & adaptive components tools are not present: Now these tools you can generally live without, unless you do a lot of conceptual design work as these tools can easily replace sketch-up if needed. Also these tools can also be used to create final production level model components, that the base family engine cannot create which is where I have found this tool to be very useful for.
- Rendering can only be done in the cloud: Also with this one, it's not too big of an issue as the cloud rendering tools are pretty capable. But this is a paid service so after you have consumed the first 100 free credits, future renderings will cost you between $5.00 and $16.00 per rendering (although the process is so fast the time you save is well worth it)
- There are no analysis tools: So if LEED credits and building energy performance are not important to you then this too can easily be lived without.
- Linking or other Revit Models into Revit LT Models: Now I would like to clarify this a bit, you can still link in other Revit models into yours. So you can absolutely collaborate with other MEP and structural engineers. What you cannot do is control visibility of those models separately from your views. In the full version of Revit, visibility of linked models can be controlled separately from the view they are linked into if needed.
- Point clouds, cannot be used in Revit LT: So if you do work with reality capture you will need the full version of Revit.
- There is no API or what is known as a Application Programming Interface: So no customization of the software is allowed and third party applications cannot be used with Revit LT, even those from Autodesk.
- "In-place" Families are limited to walls only: In my opinion one of Revit LT's most significant omission is the fact that you cannot create in place Families (Other than custom profile walls). Without this tool adding all the little unique objects such as Casework, residential Trim objects, Complex stairs etc. becomes very difficult. You would have to create these items as separate component families and without having the in-place graphics in the model as a reference. This can triple the time it takes to model certain objects and makes it harder to change them on the fly.
- Collaboration: By far though, this is the most significant of the the missing features in Revit LT. There are no "Worksharing" tools at all so only one person at a time can be working on a Revit LT model. Also, although you can work on a Workshared model, if you open a Workshared project everyone else is locked out of the model until you are done editing the file which can be problematic in a firm.
So in summary, Revit LT may be a good fit for your firm as long as you understand and can live with the omissions in functionality. I see Revit LT as a good tool for project managers, that way you don't have to dedicate a more expensive license to a part time user (as long as they understand how to work with the users using Worksharing). Its also good for a firm just doing a little space planning or if you just need to edit Revit models that are already completed. So now you have the information to help you make an informed decision on which tool will be the best fit for your firm.