In the current study, the effects of tungsten (W) addition on the microstructure, hardness, and room/low [223 K and 173 K (-50 C and -100 C)] temperature tensile properties of microalloyed forging steels were systematically investigated. Four kinds of steel specimens were produced by varying the W additions (0, 0.1, 0.5, and 1 wt pct). The microstructure showed that the addition of W does not have any noticeable effect on the amount of precipitates. The precipitates in W-containing steels were all rich in W, and the W concentration in the precipitates increased with the increasing W content. The mean sizes of both austenite grains and precipitates decreased with the increasing W content. When the W content was equal to or less than 0.5 pct, the addition of W favored the formation of allotriomorphic ferrite, which subsequently promoted the development of acicular ferrite in the microalloyed forging steels. The results of mechanical tests indicated that W plays an important role in increasing the hardness and tensile strength. When the testing temperature was decreased, the tensile strength showed an increasing trend. Both the yield strength and the ultimate tensile strength obeyed an Arrhenius type of relation with respect to temperature. When the temperature was decreased from 223 K to 173 K (from -50 C to -100 C), a ductile-to-brittle transition (DBT) of the specimen with 1 pct W occurred. The addition of W favored a higher DBT temperature. From the microstructural and mechanical test results, it is demonstrated that the addition of 0.5 pct W results in the best combination of excellent room/low-temperature tensile strength and ductility. © 2013 The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society and ASM International.