What is Torque: Conversion Chart and Calculator Included

What is Torque

In this resource guide I will be discussing what torque is, and what does the torque rating really mean?, and what torque settings are in power tools and how to use them. In this resource guide I also created a conversion chart and linked to an online torque conversion chart to help you convert measurements. 

What is Torque?

Torque, also known as moment of force, is a measurement that is used to describe the application of a force at a radial distance that typically generates rotation. Because of this you may also hear torque being referred to as “rotational force”.

Torque represents the force that is applied to a lever multiplied by its distance from the lever’s fulcrum. The Greek letter tau (τ) is used as the symbol for torque. Torque can be measured using a variety of different units. These include the gram-force centimeter (gf·cm), the kilogram-force meter (kgf·m), and the Newton meter (N·m). In the US, torque is measured using ounce-force inches (ozf·in), pound-force inches (lbf·in), and pound-force foot (lbf·ft).

What Does Torque Rating in Power Tools Really Mean?

Cordless tools are now made with newer technology that allows cordless tools to perform as good or almost as well as corded options. The key to drill performance is being able to deliver the required amount of torque at the highest speed. 

One thing I feel like I should clarify is torque is the amount of force the drill makes to turn an object, not how fast the object will turn. In the past couple of years, torque ratings in power tools have been increasing to levels that are not actually needed to complete most jobs. A new way to measure the performance of a drill is with Power. This combines speed and torque.

What Are Torque Settings & How Do I Use Them?

The best comparison I can come up with is to think of torque settings like a clutch in a car. When the clutch pedal is pressed all the way down the wheels on the car lose power and speed. When the clutch pedal is released the power is returned to the car and the wheels spin faster. The trigger on a drill is like an accelerator pedal in a car. The harder you push the trigger in the faster the drill spins.

You might be wondering ‘Is there ever an instance where I would want my power tool to be less powerful?’

The answer to that question is yes. There are a number of occasions where you might want this. By turning down the torque you give yourself more control. Customizable torque settings make your drill more versatile and allow you to get a wider variety of jobs done. 

A Quick Guide for Torque Settings

When driving screws into material that’s on the harder side the lower the speed and the more torque you’ll need. I want to stress that it’s important that you get these settings right so you can have the most control over the depth possible so you don’t cause any damage. Additionally, when you’re drilling holes in harder material you want a higher speed to get the best result.

Torque Settings

The more settings you have to choose from the more control you’ll have while working.

Newton Metres (Nm) on drills:

4 to 15Nm is good for smaller screwdriver tasks, like DIY projects around the home.

15 to 35Nm is a great option overall for hole drilling and driving medium size screws.

35Nm upward will tackle all of the more serious projects that require larger screws and holes.

Conversion Chart

ThreadTensile Stress AreaSAE Grade 2SAE Grade 5 SAE Grade 8
SizeTSA75% Yield Strength (PSI) – 4300075% Yield Strength (PSI) – 6900075% Yield Strength (PSI) – 98000
PlainZinc PlatedWaxedPlainZinc PlatedWaxedPlainZinc PlatedWaxed
Square InchesA. lb.Ft.Lb.Ft.Lb.Ft.Lb.Ft.Lb.Ft.Lb.Ft.Lb.Ft.Lb.Ft.Lb.

Torque Conversion Calculator

Another option for torque conversion is an online torque conversion calculator. This option is great for those who find it’s too time-consuming to use the chart. This is also the option that I recommend. You can find the online calculator here.

You can use the free torque conversion calculator to easily and quickly convert torque measurement units including pound-force inches, newton meters, kilogram-force centimeters, ounce-force inches, kilogram-force meters, among others.

There is What is Torque: Conversion Chart and Calculator Included! There can be quite a lot of confusion around torque, including how to change measurements from one to the other. We hope this resource helped you get a better understanding of torque overall. Please come back to this guide as many times as you need to reference back to the chart and calculator. If you have any other questions please feel free to leave a comment, we would love to hear from you!

Check out our other resource guides Bite-Size Guide: Best Drill Bit Size ChartUS Screw SizesMetric vs. Imperial – Conversion Charts Included, and How to Use a Drill and Tap Chart

About Brandon Potters

Hi, I’m Brandon and I can’t express how excited I am that you chose The Saw Guy as your resource for project ideas, tool reviews, and all-around guide to the world of DIY. I spent years in the construction industry refining my knowledge of various trades and even spent a few years working at a major hardware store. ​If there is anyone who can help you make a well-informed, unbiased, budget-conscious decision, it’s me and my team.

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