Turbochargers vs. Superchargers

When designing an engine to pull in more than atmospheric pressure, tuners often turn to forced induction. This is one of the fastest ways to add significant power to almost any engine. Turbocharging and supercharging are the two ways to achieve this. We will discuss the differences of turbochargers vs. superchargers.

Turbochargers vs. Superchargers

Turbochargers Use the Exhaust Stream

A turbocharger utilizes the exhaust stream for its energy. The exhaust will run through a turbine that will itself spin the compressor. The turbine spinning can reach up to 150,000 RPM (Rotations Per Minute). Simply put, turbochargers can reach an RPM speed that can be almost 30 times faster than an ordinary automobile engine.

It takes a little time for the turbine to produce the boost. Therefore, this can result in the car lunging forward when the turbocharger kicks into action. The turbocharger size can impact power with a smaller one producing more boost faster. A turbocharger is especially effective at high altitudes where other engines experience difficult. The air is less dense so a normal engine gets a smaller amount of air. The turbocharger is more capable of pumping thinner air because turbocharged engines don’t suffer a drastic reduction in power.

Superchargers Compress Air of the Atmospheric Pressure

The source of the power for the supercharger is in a belt connected directly to the engine. A supercharger will compress air of the atmospheric pressure, which creates the boost by forcing air into the engine.

Because of the increase air, the supercharger can add as much as 46% more horsepower. This will allow for the addition of more fuel to the combustion charge. Similar to the turbocharger, a supercharger will do well in high-altitude.

Superchargers Take Power from the Crankshaft

Compared to the turbocharger that draws power from exhaust gases resulting in combustion, the supercharger will take its power from the crankshaft. Superchargers will spin with speeds up to 50,000 RPM, while turbochargers don’t connect to the engine and can spin much faster. However, both will produce significant amounts of power.

Superchargers don’t have a waste gate, which means that smog will emit from a supercharger. Conversely, turbochargers have smog altering equipment to lower the carbon emission of discharges. Also, turbochargers will run extremely hot and require insulation.

Superchargers are Easier to Maintain

Ultimately, the decision of turbochargers vs. superchargers will depend on the vehicle itself. Turbochargers are common in Europe because the engines are small and four cylinders are standard.

Superchargers can deliver their boost at lower RPMs and are more reliable than turbochargers. In addition, Superchargers are easier to maintain than the complex turbocharger. However, turbochargers work best at high engine speeds and are quieter.


The debate of turbochargers vs. superchargers depends on the vehicle. Our mechanics here at Asher Automotive can install both turbochargers and superchargers. Contact us with the link below to schedule your service today!

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