Supercharger & turbocharger: the difference between these two engine types


The supercharger and turbocharger are two car engine types. Read this article to know more about how they work!

Automobiles are actually complex technology. One could say it is ‘rocket science’. Hence, it is not surprising to come across terminologies that seem confusing.

If you are an automobile fanatic, you definitely must have come across the terms supercharger and turbocharger. But, there is a difference between hearing about them and knowing exactly how they work, their possible advantages and disadvantages.

If you are a prospective car buyer, knowing about the differences between both supercharger and turbocharger car engines will help you make the right choice. Let’s review some of the differences between the two, collected by!

1. Superchargers

They are devices that boost pressure and supplies air at a high pressure to the engine component of a car. They are driven by the car engines and have their power conveyed through a friction belt to the compressor. The compressor then utilizes this power to compress the high-pressure air supplied by the supercharger and then releases it to the engine through intake manifold.

Superchargers have variants whose applications depend on the available space for installation and the pressure requirements. Examples of these types of supercharger include the root type, centrifugal type and the vane type.

2019-Chevrolet-CamaroYenko- fitted-with-a-746kW-supercharged-kit

2019 Chevrolet CamaroYenko is fitted with a 746kW supercharged kit

2. Turbochargers

Turbochargers function in the similar way as the superchargers except they are not powered by the car engine rather, they draw their power from exhaust gases. The engine as we already know produces large amount of exhaust gases. This exhaust gases possess heat energy. Normally, these exhaust gases would be released into the atmosphere not only wasting the heat energy but also causing air pollution.

Turbochargers combat this by passing the exhaust gases through turbine and utilizing the heat energy! The turbine is the component that generates the work, which pushes the compressor. The compressor in turn compresses the air and gets it delivered to the engine at a high pressure.


Most Sedans are fitted with small-displacement turbo engines with the aim of more fuel economy

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3. Differences between the supercharger and the turbocharger

  Differences between supercharger & turbocharger
Superchargers Turbochargers
 The components are basically made up of compressors  They are devices that consist of both a turbine and a compressor which are both mounted on the same shaft.
It needs additional power to be supplied to it. It does not need additional power.
To generate energy for it, it is connected to the crankshaft of the automobile engine. It utilizes exhaust gases to generate its energy.
It is directly connected to the engine through the friction belt. It is not directly connected to the engine.
They suit engines with smaller displacements better. It is the better choice for engines with higher displacements.
Once the automobile engine starts functioning, superchargers will start operating. Until sufficient amount of exhaust gases are generated, turbochargers won’t start functioning.
They demand extra power hence; they are less efficient. Since their source of power is from the exhaust gases, they are more efficient.
They have connection with the intake manifold of the automobile. The turbine component is connected to the exhaust pipe while its compressor component is connected to the intake manifold.
They are cost effective. They are more expensive than the superchargers.
With superchargers, the vehicle can attain greater acceleration. With the turbochargers, higher speed would be attained with the vehicle.
They have no available waste gate thus, smog gets emitted from them. They come with an equipment that alters smog thus reducing emission of carbon.
They deliver their boost at a lower rpm and can revolve at a speed of only about 50,000 rpm. They deliver at a higher rpm and can revolve with a speed of up to 150,000 rpm.
They are less complex. They are more complex
They are more easy to maintain Since large amounts of heat are produced, they tend to be more difficult to maintain. They also need frequent lubrication.
They are more noisy but more reliable. They are quieter and less reliable.
Both the superchargers and the turbochargers deal with power and are also known as forced induction systems. Both are used in high-luxury sports cars although the turbocharger has made a name for itself in the more specialized automobile market. From every indication, the superchargers would be better off in a regular car as they are easy to install. It is still left for the prospective car buyers to know which to go for based on the type of car they want and the sole purpose it is meant to serve.

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Okenwa Emeka