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Turbocharger VS Supercharger: How Do They Differ and Which Is Better?



Getting a vehicle, horsepower is key. It keeps your car moving. It’s important to get the right induction system to give the kind of speed you need for your car. By design, both turbochargers and superchargers help you increase horsepower dramatically so they give you an enormous boost literally. A boost is a pressure that’s added from the device whether it’s a supercharger or a turbocharger to your horsepower.

The Differences Between a Turbocharger and a Supercharger

The turbochargers and superchargers may be both efficient methods in increasing the power of your engine but there’s a thin line difference between the two. The turbocharger uses your exhaust to spin its turbine fast enough to power a compressor which pulls in air to feed more air to your engine. This is in contrast with the supercharger which is dependent on the engine to rotate it. So, whether it’s gear-driven or belt-driven, ultimately the engine is what powers it.

Advantage of Turbocharger

Having a turbocharger in your car has its advantages. It gives you more power, it is more practical when it comes to fuel economy and it the turbo, in general, is regarded as quieter compared to a supercharger.

Manufacturers are often taking advantage of turbochargers as they downsize their engines so they can still make high levels of horsepower but then it allows them to use a small engine. So, the biggest advantage of a turbocharger is that it adds power and it does so efficiently.

So why might you want to go with a supercharger option?

Advantage of Supercharger

The good thing about using a supercharger is that it has zero lag. It is not dependent on exhaust gases to provide a boost for the engine. Instead, it is purely dependent on the engine’s RPM. So as a result, when you put your foot down with a supercharged car, you get that power immediately rather than waiting for it as you do in a turbocharged application.

Superchargers is also cost-effective since it increases power without increasing fuel consumption.

Disadvantage of a Turbocharger

There is a lag in using a turbocharger. It takes a certain amount of time to pull in that air, have it passed through and go through the intercooler into the engine from spooling up that exhaust. So, there is a lag associated with it. So, when you put your foot down, the power is not immediate like it is with a supercharger, you have to wait for it.

Another disadvantage when you use a turbocharger is the throttle control. So, you ask for a certain amount of power and you wait a bit and so you’ve asked for a certain amount of power, you may assume that’s what you’ve gotten and then later on more comes with it. So, your foot hasn’t changed its position but the amount of power that you’re receiving has. So, the communication through the throttle pedal is a bit different from a turbo-charged car than with a supercharged car.

Finally, turbochargers require engine oil lubrication at a minimum. And so, you’ve got that engine oil and that’s an extra demand which you know is going to be used to lubricate that turbine shaft as well as the bearings within the turbo, so that’s an extra demand on your engine oil. That’s going to get very hot from the turbocharger and its high temperatures.

Disadvantage of a Supercharger

The biggest disadvantage using a supercharger is the mere fact that they suck energy from your engine unlike in turbocharger, they get energy from the exhaust resulting to losing horsepower. This results the engine internals to be exposed to extreme pressure and higher temperatures. In the long run, it will affect the longevity of the engine.

Which is better: Turbocharger vs Supercharger

Turbochargers are more efficient than superchargers because turbos give more power however its instant surge of power can immensely affect the stability of your engine.

Superchargers are far more enjoyable because there’s zero lag. So, when you put your foot down, you get exactly what you asked for. Superchargers have a throttle pedal that does exactly what you ask it to do. Your pedal does exactly what you’re asking of it in real-time.

With the turbocharged car, you could take that pedal to mash it in really quick and nothing’s going to happen at all because it doesn’t have enough time to spool up that throttle pedal. So, you mash it in, you wait and the amount of torque that you get doesn’t correlate perfectly with where you’ve positioned it concerning time which is the big difference.

However, it is also possible to use both turbochargers and superchargers simultaneously. Twin-charging helps the lagging issues and the shortcomings of either the two.

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