Difference Between Torque and Horsepower (Mark Roemer)

Difference between torque and horsepower
Difference between torque and horsepower


When researching for cars or other vehicles to purchase, people look at the specs of the vehicle, and torque and horsepower are two of the most important specifications in a car. According to Mark Roemer Oakland, it is crucial to understand what torque and horsepower really mean and their relationship to each other to determine which you need more in your vehicle. Here are the differences between torque and horsepower:

The Differences

1. Definitions

In simple terms, horsepower is the power produced by your car’s engine. Power basically means the rate of doing work in physics. In the case of a vehicle, horsepower means how fast you can go or how long it takes to reach the top speed.

Torque is an expression of a rotational or twisting force of the engine’s crankshaft. It can be viewed as the strength of a vehicle.

2. How they are measured

Horsepower is a man-made number and cannot be measured without measuring torque first. The torque of an engine is measured using a dynamometer.

1 horsepower is equal to the force required to move 33,000 pounds one foot in a minute or 550 pounds one foot in a second. The SI unit for horsepower is Watt (W) and 1 hp = 746 W.

On the other hand, torque is measured in Newton-meters (Nm) and pound-feet as it is a vector.

3. How are they related

It is a mistake to think of horsepower and torque as completely separate. Mathematically, Horsepower = Torque x RPM/5252, where RPM is rotations per minute (how fast the engine is spinning) and 5252 is a constant.

A greater horsepower produced by the engine results in higher torque potential. However, the torque potential translates to real-world applications by axle differentials and transmission. That’s why a truck and a sports car can have the same amount of horsepower but have variable torque.

4. Which is more important

Both torque and horsepower are equally important, but you may prefer one more depending on your usage scenario. Generally, people prefer more torque if they want to accelerate faster and more horsepower if they want a higher top speed. However, there are many other things to consider as they cannot exist without each other.

So, you should focus more on the engine instead of just torque or horsepower. A good engine would produce a good amount of torque at low enough rpm and sustain the amount of output to the redline.


Mark Roemer Oakland believes that you should prefer a car that strikes a good balance between torque and horsepower to enjoy a better driving experience. The relationship between these two cannot be separated or judged individually to determine the quality of an engine. Aside from these two specifications, it is also important to consider the type of vehicle and its purpose. For example, a race car uses its torque to achieve quick gear shifts which in turn allows it to achieve the top speed. Whereas a tractor uses its torque to haul heavy loads and has no requirement to reach high speeds.