After years of repeated pleas by industry experts–including the editors of this magazine–major tool manufacturers have approved voluntary test standards for measuring torque and horsepower.

The Power Tool Institute developed the torque standards that address corded and cordless power drills, drill/drivers, and screwdrivers. A second set of standards applies to all tools rated in horsepower.

Final revisions to both documents were published on the PTI Web site in January and went into effect immediately.

"The industry has been criticized for not having a common standard," PTI spokesperson Susan Young says. "Now, companies that need it will have a voluntary standard for testing. We don't think there will be any opposition. All of our members approved the documents."

Ken Hefley, vice president of marketing for Makita and a PTI board member, says that "from a research and development standpoint, I don't think there will be a big change in the way we develop tools." However, he says the standards offer a "potential consumer benefit because [they break] through the noise of marketing."

The PTI Web site lists 16 manufacturers as members, including such key players as Bosch, DeWalt, Makita, and others. The test specs are available for use by non-member manufacturers as well.

Free copies of both test standards can be downloaded at