Hydraulic Torque Wrench or Pneumatic Torque Wrench: Which is Right for You?

The short answer is that it depends on the application. Like our children, both tools have positive and
negative characteristics so it’s important to look at the specific attributes of each.


Pneumatic torque wrenches win the race. A typical one-inch drive pneumatic torque wrench runs
around 10 RPM, vs. a hydraulic wrench that is operated via a pump, meaning the RPM is less than 1.


Hydraulic Tools have the leg up for accuracy. Pneumatic tools are 5 percent accurate with 2 percent repeatability while hydraulic tools are typically plus or minus 3 percent accuracy with 1 percent repeatable torque.

Compared to old school hammer wrenches, both offer excellent precision.

Size and Weight

This one is a bit trickier. Hydraulic wrenches in the 4,000-foot pound range weigh just nine pounds,
compared to the beefier 25-pound pneumatic wrench The hydraulic torque wrenches can be a mere
few inches in height making the twelve-inch high pneumatic gun appear statuesque.

However, keep in mind that the hydraulic wrench needs a pump to operate and pumps, like too much barbecue, can add an additional 65 pounds more.


Pneumatic tools have the edge here because, unlike their hydraulic wrench cousin, they do not require a
pump to operate. Pneumatic torque equipment is approximately 30 to 50 percent less costly than hydraulic torque equipment.

User Friendly

Hydraulic tools certainly have their advantages but in ease of use, the pneumatic torque wrenches
clearly win out. Operators find pneumatic torque wrenches much less complicated and easier to
operate than hydraulic torque wrenches, creating less down time and error while maximizing cost

Bottom Line

Both hydraulic tools and pneumatic tools can save companies time and money as they are both safe,
efficient, and fast. No matter what tool you choose, it’s critical to make sure the wrench you’ve selected has an ISO 17025 calibration certification before you use it.

Southern Industrial Tool is the largest high-capacity torque equipment dealer in the South and will ensure that every tool we calibrate is tested in our accredited lab. We are here to help our customers obtain the right torque equipment for every application. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your next project.