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Horsepower vs Torque - A Simple Explanation

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What's The Difference Between Horsepower & Torque? Why Is Peak Acceleration At Peak Power? https://youtu.be/cb6rIZfCuHI Subscribe for new videos every Wednesday! - https://goo.gl/VZstk7 Awesome Car Products: https://www.amazon.com/shop/engineeringexplained Which is better, horsepower or torque? Two words that are often stated in the car community, but often misunderstood. This video seeks to clarify the difference between the two, without silly analogies like "horsepower is how fast you hit the wall, torque is how far you take it with you" (which, by the way, is highly inaccurate). Torque is a force acting at a radius, while horsepower simply incorporates time into the equation. This video will discuss the differences, how each applies to internal combustion engines, how they relate, what peak torque and peak horsepower actually mean, and how to analyze torque and horsepower curves. Finally, what's more important for acceleration, a car with lots of power, or lots of torque? Let's get technical. With the context of an engine: Power = Torque x Angular Velocity. In imperial units, this translates to Horsepower = Torque x RPM / 5252. Engineering Explained is a participant in the Amazon Influencer Program. Don't forget to check out my other pages below! Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/engineeringexplained Official Website: http://www.howdoesacarwork.com Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jasonfenske13 Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/engineeringexplained Car Throttle: https://www.carthrottle.com/user/engineeringexplained Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/shop/engineeringexplained EE Extra: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsrY4q8xGPJQbQ8HPQZn6iA NEW VIDEO EVERY WEDNESDAY!
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Text Comments (3498)
Suresh Babu (7 hours ago)
Nice video bro
Oscar Sevilla (11 hours ago)
All those tools and gadgets, but ya couldn't get 2 same model cars. Relatable haha
Dillon Jensen (12 hours ago)
What is a gear ratio?
copferthat (20 hours ago)
I started off confused but finished off baffled.
manxman (1 day ago)
Doesn't it vary for 2 and 4 strike, straight 4 and v8?
manxman (1 day ago)
differen torques - piston crank engine, gearbox to wheels?
Tharanga Rukshan (1 day ago)
Hi... what if I buy a SUV which is has Engine torque and less HP. it has 1000Cv hp turbo.. will that enough?
Pervez Nawaz (1 day ago)
Wish my teachers were like this. Excellent explanation
paringatai (1 day ago)
You obviously never saw Rod Millen thrashing all those mega powered v8 American pickups with his undersized underpowered v6 ....Rod proved over and over that bigger power is not faster than smaller power
ram venkatesh (1 day ago)
Nice explanation
Winterstick549 (1 day ago)
Nothing causes more arguing and dissension than Politics, Harley Davidsons and the definition of torque.
Koito rob (1 day ago)
Is it possible to lower an engine's peak torque lower down the rev range?Particularly on a Toyota V8 1uzfe engine.
RICKY SEKHON (1 day ago)
*_Very good explanation but my brain is loosing horsepower_*
Ken H (2 days ago)
Great video. I have lost count of the number of people I have had to try and explain the difference. From now on I will just refer them to this video. Thank you for making it.
David Wilder (2 days ago)
It's times like this when I wish my ability to concentrate was better or even existed lol. I'll re-watch it 'til I get it. Good job 👍
john chansa (2 days ago)
e james (2 days ago)
HP is measured on a dyno.......
F!@#Guilt (2 days ago)
So your'e saying, larger, beefier, thicker shafts mean lots of explosive power? :-)
Glenn Laycock (2 days ago)
I know torque makes for an "easier" transmission consideration .. when perfect gearing is impractical .. but Torque I always think of are raw "work" .. horsepower I think of as raw "output". So brute vs fast .. elephant vs hare? Horsepower that doesn't blow up the gearing is nice but Torques is almost a gearing in itself as you can manipulate it in a manner to have it "act as gearing" more easily. I know this because Dodge saved $$$ on the Neon by using a OLD 3 speed transmission from actually the Omni/Horizon cars (it was cheap but durable they said) .. they lowered the horsepower on the engine to boost the torque as they said the engine torque made up for the lack of gears. So explain how you can "loss horsepower" but gain torque .. how it is a trade off on grunt vs output. An interesting conversation as your excellent explanation was more about speed over distance being what it is all about .. so run at optimum rpm and get it to the ground without affecting the rpm.
jakobo maphike (2 days ago)
Awesome ! Well said . I have got no complain . can everybody watch this video please
W P (2 days ago)
Lost me half way through, quite baked but I tried to follow 🤪
Kurt Lester (2 days ago)
More torque produces higher HP with with lower amount of RPM. For example we can compare a motorcycle (Yamaha YZF R6 600CC) with 42ft-lb of torque will produce 8HP when idling at 1000RPM, if you rev the bike up to 2000RPM then it'll make 16HP. Compare this to a diesel truck motor with 1850 lb-ft torque, it'll make 352HP with the same amount of revs @ 1000RPM.
Ron Becker (3 days ago)
HP = Torque x RPM ÷ 5252
Brian Almond (3 days ago)
Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Galatians 5:1-5 TODAY is the day of salvation!
Azr 98451 (3 days ago)
Excellent video
Luc Savard (3 days ago)
thanks finaly someone made it clear to me
Bad Andy (4 days ago)
Horsepower is how fast you hit the wall. Torque is how far you take the wall with you
Basant Sharma (4 days ago)
Sorry, but this was not a useful video at all. Didn't understand anything. I know the definitions of horsepower and torque, thanks!
ifix car (4 days ago)
Biggest pet peeve of mine; lb-ft is really pronounced "foot pounds". NOT POUND FEET. Dont understand how so many car enthusiast get this wrong. He lost a little credibility from me but still a great video 👍
Shantel Guetgen (4 days ago)
I've found great project for that on Avasva website.
I can now scratch the surface.
Peter Johnson (5 days ago)
The best way i got told was when undoing a nut, your arm is the power, the length of the spanner is the torque. The longer the spanner, the easier it is to move the nut with the same amount of power.
Ashley McCallum (5 days ago)
Could you do a video explaining why a sports car, like an RX-7, with lots of power is no good for towing?
Gurwinder singh (5 days ago)
Well explained..
JOHNS JOHNY (5 days ago)
Nice and easy...
Phu Vuong (5 days ago)
2018 Honda Accord Touring has 252HP and 273 lb- ft torque while 2018 Camry XSE has 301HP and 267 lb-ft torque so it means Camry is faster than Accord, isn't it ??? I kinda lost in middle of this video... CAN YOU HELP ME EXPLAIN THAT THEORY THROUGH MY EXAMPLE PLEASE?? I really appreciate
Bassam Mansour (5 days ago)
It's never gets any clearer...you style is just amazing and i mean it.. i just have a question here.. why the curve is getting down and how far it can keep on getting down??? What is causing that?
Stephen Britton (5 days ago)
Horsepower is how fast you hit the wall... Torque is how far you take the wall with you after impact...
Engineering Explained (5 days ago)
Nope: https://youtu.be/7eZyXp1i4GU
Soumyadeep Koley (6 days ago)
Superb explanation
H. Usui (6 days ago)
In the example of 200hp/100lb-ft car vs 100hp/200lb-ft car, what if the 100hp/200lb-ft car was given a transmission that produces more development with taller gears than the 200hp/100lb-ft car? Would that enable the car with lower hp to achieve a higher top speed with less shifting?
siddhant sharma (6 days ago)
Why does torque decreses with increase in horsepower . Does the force applied on piston head decreases with increase in rpm ?.
Catfish Cave (7 days ago)
The confusion comes from the inclusion of gears in the simplified equation. Look at tractors and their high torque and low hp engines. Look at why hot-rodders turbocharge their cars. Early HP doesn't necessarily translate into quicker acceleration, but early and consistent torque does. Work performed is such a simple statement. Using your long handled wrench as an example - you get more torque with it. Make one revolution every minute. Now every 30 seconds. Now every 10 seconds. Getting tired? Now every 1 second - generating the same torque but doing more work - hence higher horsepower. Now if you add gears, you can magnify your torque and your horsepower as you see fit, carefully trying to find the right balance with your human engine. If you add a 10 foot extension to your wrench, you'll get super high torque, but very little horsepower as its a lot of work to go one revolution. If you shorten it, it will be harder to get up to speed, but you can spin it much faster. This is why we have multiple gears; so we can have usable torque and HP. Now if Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson takes over for you and does the turning, he can generate more torque than you. He may not be able to spin it much faster, but when you factor in gears, his torque will spin a gear faster, doing more work and hence more horsepower. I hope I didn't mess up too bad with that explanation. And we haven't even got to engine torque vs torque at wheels....
Your Mom (7 days ago)
Idk man. It's very well explained but I don't think it explains it dead on. Like the part where he got the longer wrench, it increases torque right? So, according to that logic, if I wanna increase torque in my vehicle, all I gotta do is get longer connecting rods, right? Well, how come you can get higher torque (and hp) with some simple bolt ons? Aftermarket intake, exhaust, tuning, etc, without even touching the engine block. Then you got some small engines producing high hp and torque figures (i.e. motorcycles) compared to some car engines. Look at the older engines. You had some BIG 7.0 engines only producing like 200 hp and 240 ft-lbs torque. This is just something that's difficult to explain.
RazorSharpTek (7 days ago)
Is this why "stroking" an engine raises torque much more than horsepower(usually) ?
timeWaster76 (7 days ago)
So electric motor will e way etter.
- Ivan Husqaberg (7 days ago)
Weight of piston, connecting rod, crank etc must have a affect on torque values right?
Readme .txt (7 days ago)
Too complicated.
Am Sweetooth (7 days ago)
Forza master
Jack Belt (8 days ago)
My dad said in the 60's Oldsmobile were big on torque. Their motto was Horsepower sells cars but Torque wins races
FarFromEquilibrium (8 days ago)
Need to explain cross and dot products for torque vs work.
Luke Barnsley (8 days ago)
torque wins races not power my cars been tuned to have more torque then power (just under 1100Nm)
Alien On a Bike (8 days ago)
Good video, thanks. How about a video comparing torque and power of internal combustion and electric powered vehicles? To keep it simple, eg. a bicycle with a bolt-on two-stroke engine and a bicycle with an electric motor.
Suresh Peshawaria (8 days ago)
Will be honest.... didn't quite get it....!!!!
IngEyn (9 days ago)
Very good explaination.
Captain SandNigger (9 days ago)
KennyS brother
Christopher Hylton (9 days ago)
Thanks for explaining bro. I see it now
tubelesso (9 days ago)
You’re really good, but this isn’t easy to understand for me....damn...😣
Toyotatony91 (9 days ago)
I need to get out of the medical field, I dislike it very much. I used to be a mechanic, but it's hard to find good paying jobs. Is engineering a good career? Do you think i will have job satisfaction. I don't mind working long hours. I'd like to be a auto mechanic as a dream job but it doesn't pay.
4ffff2ee (10 days ago)
I still understand nothing.
Thomas Gadsby (10 days ago)
I have a all torgue enging...gas gmc 366...old dump truck motor.
makeu2happy (10 days ago)
Good video, but one wish... Use kW and Nm only... I don't understand those other units...
99rsk (10 days ago)
In the past I drove rallies with a 1981 Opel Ascona 2.0E. At 1st I used the original engine bottom block. To keep the car in the 2.0 class we used the original crankshaft and used BMW piston rods, which are 7 mm longer and Opel Omega pistons.(The pistonpen is 7mm(0.276 of an inch) higher in the piston. This also gives more torque in the lower rpm's without changing the stroke.
Adam De Larozza (10 days ago)
Reminds me of my Tracker 4 X 4. It only has a 2.0 L engine but it's geared to maximize every foot/lb of torque. Cool stuff.
Lawrence Yelkin (10 days ago)
John Smith (10 days ago)
Try using the horribly complex term: "lever arm." Torque = F x lever arm. Did everyone not graduate from HS?
Luki Fox (10 days ago)
Great explanation
C Marz (10 days ago)
How does a Flux capacitor fit into this equation ?
joe lober (10 days ago)
Horsepower is how fast you hit the wall, and torque is how far you take the wall with you.
DDS029 (8 days ago)
Ha! Said that already . . . 👍😄
mikerjuk (11 days ago)
No matter how obvious the difference between power and torque is, no matter how basic and simple the explanation, most people will still have no idea whatsoever and continue to come out with BS cliches about how fast you hit a wall and how far you push it.
DDS029 (8 days ago)
As silly as it sounds it's true. Like in tractor pulls. Torque is how far you pull the sled. Horsepower is how fast you got it there. One of the foremost crank maker-engine builder (RIP Gilley) used the wall analogy. If it was good enough for him, it's good enough for me. You just need to lighten up, instead of being so full of yourself. 😡
keith w (11 days ago)
must eat a lot of watermelons......
UMSLdragon (11 days ago)
If that's the simple explanation I'd hate to see the complicated one haha
odhiambo peter (11 days ago)
Yea he is torquing the talk, maybe the other way round
Stelios Posantzis (11 days ago)
I don't know if anyone has brought this up but I think it would aid the explanation to imagine a fictitious car where the wheels are attached directly on the crankshaft and the  wheel radius is exactly the same as the distance between the centre of the crankshaft axis and the centre of the crank pin axis. Then, it follows naturally that distance and force in the Torque = distance*force and Power = distance*force*rpm equations are the same in both equations. I think that would help bridge the mental leap required by the viewer.
Being Greatest (12 days ago)
First part I could guess but ur curve etc r not through my head 😂😂😂bdw awesome video 👌👌👍
strmridr1959 (12 days ago)
You really like Tuscan Style Cantaloupes
Lukmanul hakkim (12 days ago)
Why torque is important to get up hill
TAMIL CUTS (12 days ago)
Thank u man got little bit clear aft long search...can I ask doubt to get more clear
zanick2 (13 days ago)
faster is not greater HP as you showed in your example . HP can be defined as the rate of Change of KE if the KE doesnt change, no hp is required..... Hp is only required to keep the speed constant. (aero drag and friction are the factors). Now, its not the longer lever of the higher HP car, (to use your analogy) its the greater force that a higher hp engine will make . in fact, its quite the opposite. the higher reving, lower hp cars use the longer "levers". but if the levers are the same, and the only change is the HP, then all that means is that the force is greater at the same speed. (or RPM)
rafael lima (13 days ago)
I'm a mechanical engineer student. I live this video cause it made me understand better the difference. Will you mind explaining to me why when you are going up to a great hill people say you should go on "reverse" because apparently it's the strongest torque. Thanks and keep the good work up.
DDS029 (8 days ago)
For a RWD, it's the weight distribution, and trans. gearing.
Nson C (13 days ago)
It wasn't simple...
Prabhat Mahato (13 days ago)
Force x Displacement, not distance, when at 90 degrees as in this case.
GD 02 (13 days ago)
So you can have an engine with 200hp 200torque. Or the same engine with more torque? Why would anyone build one with less torque?
DDS029 (8 days ago)
Oval track example: In long sweeping turns, the car isn't going to lose many RPMs, it doesn't need the torque to pull it out of the turns. It needs the HP to maintain speed and some acceleration to make up for a slight RPM drop. On a track with tight turns, with a big RPM drop, you need a lot of torque to pull it up off the turns. Then hit max HP at max RPMs just as you are ready to let off for the next turn. In other words keeping the engine in it's torque range while at racing speed. The camshaft and the other parts of the valve train are most responsible for where the torque range is for the engine.
WhyteLis21 (14 days ago)
HP = Quickest to specific distance. Torque = What your going feel going forward. Quickest vs feel. Got it. 😊
very good explanations :-)
GC brah (15 days ago)
What about if u buy overnight parts from Japan?
Patrick Ryan (15 days ago)
And if u could modify the engines then the engine making 200ft lbs will have much more room for improvement.
OhMostBobulousOne (15 days ago)
I'm glad you understood all that.
Mohammed Shahjahan (16 days ago)
to get better acceleration..what do I need most? HP or TORQUE
Engineering Explained (15 days ago)
Your entire torque curve to be higher. But they’re linked, so this means your entire HP curve will be higher as well.
Kevin Colichio (16 days ago)
HP is how fast you hit the wall and Torque is how far you bring the wall with you
Christoph K (16 days ago)
Wow, there is a unit like pound-foot. Thanks Wikipedia for the conversionindex. I have a dream, that one Day the whole world adopt the metric system.
Christoph K (8 days ago)
DDS029 don't stop believin 🤣 Maybe the future will cure this special-snowflake-syndrom.
DDS029 (8 days ago)
Keep dreaming. Not trying to sound like a jerk. I just don't see the next couple of generations here in the US being open minded enough. Especially with our version of Castro running the place.
richard jones (16 days ago)
Patrick Casanova (16 days ago)
dean g. Moxon (16 days ago)
Horse power equals torque over time
lessevdoolbretsim (16 days ago)
Horsepower = Torque x RPMs. I did not know that.
lessevdoolbretsim (16 days ago)
Torque = turning leverage. I did not know that.
PatrioticLobster (16 days ago)
Dude this was super helpful, thank you.
Steve-in-Toronto (16 days ago)
Yeah, not so simple.
Lucas Broomfield (16 days ago)
I’m so good at school that I got lost 5 mins in
Neil Macaskill (16 days ago)
Internal combustion engines can only supply torque once they have reached a certain rpm: a steam engine can apply maximum torque at zero rpm - and so can an electric engine - hence why diesel locomotives use electric transmission.
DDS029 (8 days ago)
electric motor
707SonomaComa (17 days ago)
I am looking for a new crate engine for my 1970 GMC C2500. I see 350's and 383's with about the same horse power but the 383 has way more torque. What one would be good for a daily driver?
DDS029 (8 days ago)
If you really use your truck like a truck, you'd want torque. That would get you up to highway speed faster if pulling a load.

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