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Best Reference Books for Mechanical Engineers

written by: Senadheera Jayakody • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 2/18/2011

For checking and verification, and sometimes just a nudge for memory at the right time, a mechanical engineer needs top quality reference books.

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    Mechanical Engineering Books   Being a competitive professional in one of the most dynamic fields in the world is not an easy task. That's why a mechanical engineer always needs to have reliable and up to date references on their desk. Sometimes he may need to finalize a complex design that was taken an unexpected twist. Then a good handbook on mechanical engineering design could be a real time saver. Sometimes a machine under his supervision may fail without giving a clue. Then a standard book related to materials properties might be handy.

    Whatever the case, a mechanical engineer has to face and rectify the situation if he has the responsibility. In such scenarios an all-round collection of standard handbooks for mechanical engineers is invaluable to make accurate and quick decisions with confidence. We are going to round up some of the great books that a mechanical engineer may find useful to perform his functions. Whatever his sub-disciplines, being a mechanical engineer, most of these books can be excellent resources to develop his expertise to the next level.

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    1. Marks' Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers

    Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers   Simply Marks' Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers has been the mechanical engineer's bible for over 90 years and it requires little or no introduction. This comprehensive guide provides a quick access to all areas of mechanical engineering and this has been one of the standard handbooks for mechanical engineers. The book was written by Eugene A. Avallone, Theodore Baumeister, and Ali Sadegh.

    The eleventh edition of Marks' Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers allows you to clarify all the important mathematical and engineering principles in a clear and concise manner. This is one of the best references for a mechanical engineer to get answers to almost all their questions. The latest editions have covered high technology areas like nanotechnology, electronics, and biotechnology. It comes in the hardback format with 1800 pages of expert's knowledge. Marks' Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers is available at the McGraw Hill website for a price of $199.95.

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    2. Shigley's Mechanical Engineering Design

    Shigley's Mechanical Engineering Design   As a mechanical engineer you know how important it is to have a good handbook in designing. Shigley's Mechanical Engineering Design is the standard machine design handbook for mechanical engineers for over 40 years and it's probably the best for machine designing.

    As in the previous editions the eighth edition of Shigley's Mechanical Engineering Design covers basic concepts very clearly so that this has been repeatedly stated as the standard for mechanical engineering students in machine design. This is a great book to have in your book shelf if you are busy in designing. You can buy this 1088 page book from for $194.17

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    3. Machinery's Handbook

    Machinery's Handbook   Machinery's Handbook has been "The Bible of the Mechanical Industries" for nearly 100 years and it is a comprehensive resource for mechanical and manufacturing engineers, designers, draftsmen, toolmakers, and machinists. This is a great handbook that covers a broad area from the very basic to more advanced concepts. Machinery's Handbook is the best handbook for mechanical engineers to strengthen their knowledge in the areas including material properties, manufacturing processes, machine elements, and many more.

    The 28th edition of Machinery's Handbook is a 2704 page book and it is one of the best sellers in the mechanical engineering category on the Amazon website. The price of Machinery's Handbook is $88.66 at, and this is another useful book for mechanical engineers.

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    4. Fundamentals of Thermodynamics

    Fundamentals of Thermodynamics   Thermodynamics is one of the major branches in mechanical engineering. “Fundamentals of Thermodynamics" by Claus Borgnakke and Richard E. Sonntag is one of the popular books for students and professionals in the mechanical engineering field to strengthen their knowledge in thermodynamics. This is a comprehensive guide for classical thermodynamics and it is popular for its easily understandable text and illustrations. The seventh edition of this 1912 book costs $150.14 at

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    5. Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction

    Materials Science and Engineering   Being a mechanical engineer, the knowledge in material science is vital in many aspects. If you are a design engineer, good knowledge in material properties and their behavior is essential. Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction is a great handbook for mechanical engineers those who are looking to expand their knowledge in material science.

    The book covers all major materials including metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites. Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction is already in its eight edition and comes with 992 pages. This is also another Amazon best seller in the engineering category and it costs $137.60 at

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    Being a mechanical engineer it is necessary to have reputed mechanical engineer’s handbooks in your desk. There are some of the best books like “Marks' Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers" and “Shigley's Mechanical Engineering Design." Sometimes you may find it is difficult to understand what “that" means. In such cases a good mechanical engineering dictionary may help you. In different scenarios you need to have a collection of good books to face any situation as an engineer. That’s why you should have a collection of mechanical engineer’s handbook.
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    6. Vector Mechanics for Engineers: Statics and Dynamics

    Vector Mechanics for Engineer   Vector Mechanics for Engineers: Statics and Dynamics is a useful guide that covers one of the major study areas in mechanical engineering. This is also one of the popular reference book for students those who are studying Statics and Dynamics. Vector Mechanics for Engineers: Statics and Dynamics is a well written book that thoroughly covers the subject with 300 algorithmic questions and 2600 static questions. Eighth edition consists of 1360 pages and the price at is $172.60. This is another must use mechanical engineer’s handbook.

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    7. Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics

    Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics   “Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics" is one of the respected references for the subject by professors and students alike. Being an important part of mechanical engineering, many professionals may find that this handbook deserves a place in their book shelf. The book is a comprehensive guide for students to gradually gain the confidence of the subject by carefully following this 776 page book. “Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics" is also a best seller in the respective category in Amazon website and you may buy the sixth edition of the book for $153.98 at

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    8. Manufacturing Engineering & Technology

    Manufacturing Engineering & Technology   Manufacturing engineering is becoming one of the essential disciplines in the modem industrial world. Being a mechanical engineer, it is very advantageous to be knowledgeable in this area. Manufacturing Engineering & Technology is great handbook for mechanical engineers to enhance their scope on the subject. It provides comprehensive details of both modern and traditional topics related to manufacturing engineering. Sixth edition of Manufacturing Engineering & Technology is a 1200 page book and it costs $150.36 at

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    9. Modeling, Analysis, and Control of Dynamic Systems

    Control of Dynamic Systems   With the development of electrical mechanical devices, control systems have been an important part of many industries. As a mechanical engineer you need to have a better understanding about modeling, and analysis of these systems. Therefore Modeling, Analysis, and Control of Dynamic Systems of William J. Palm is a must use handbook as a mechanical engineer in the modern world. Simply this 864 page book covers all the major components you need to know about the subject. Case studies, and design examples make it easier to easily understand everything. This is a good handbook for mechanical engineers and those who have to deal with control systems. This book costs $164.78 at

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    10. Technical Drawing

    Technical Drawing 13th Edition   It is necessary to have a good book for technical drawings to make things easier. "Technical Drawing" provides comprehensive introduction to create 2D drawings for engineers or designers and has been the dominant text on the market for over 60 years. The 13th edition consists of 912 pages of excellent descriptions and illustrations to easily grasp what you need. Mechanical engineers who are engaged in designing will find this book one of the essential handbooks for them. Technical Drawing (13th Edition) is available at for a price of $109.99.

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    Dictionary of Mechanical Engineering

    Dictionary of Mechanical Engineering   Here is an additional book to add to your professional book shelf. Having a good dictionary can be very useful for mechanical engineers although it’s not as important as rest of the books mentioned here. Dictionary of Mechanical Engineering is a well written book that comes with definitions for over 4500 terms in its fourth edition. This is a very good reference especially for professional examinations related to mechanical engineering. The author of Dictionary of Mechanical Engineering is G.H.F. Nayler and this 462 page book is available at Amazon website for $33.95.

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    What References do YOU Consider Essential?

    Most of these mechanical engineering books are well established and renowned handbooks in the field. There’s no doubt about their importance for the professionals. However, you might have even better books that you already use. It’s time to write in with what you have to say about the best mechanical engineer’s handbooks. (Comments are moderated and can take a little time to appear.)

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