Pros and Cons of Superchargers and Turbochargers


Manufacturers and tuners opted to forced induction when pulling in atmospheric air pressure wasn’t producing enough power. There are two basic techniques for doing it: supercharging and turbocharging. It’s the best way to enhance power significantly with practically any engine.

A supercharger is an air compressor that is powered by an engine’s crankshaft and typically connected by a belt. A turbocharger is also just an air compressor that is powered by an exhaust gas turbine. The main distinction is that a turbocharger utilises waste energy produced by the engine, whereas a supercharger depends on engine power to operate.

Supercharger Benefits and Drawbacks
  • More horsepower: A supercharger can quickly increase the power of any engine. The primary benefit of a supercharger over a turbocharger is that it has no lag. Because the supercharger is driven by the engine’s crankshaft, power is delivered instantly.
  • Low RPM boost: Compared to turbochargers, this method produces good power at low RPM.
  • Cost-effective method of boosting horsepower.
  • Less efficient: Superchargers’ major drawback is that they drain engine power in order to generate engine power, making them far less effective than turbochargers.
  • Less reliable: The engine internals will be subjected to increased pressures and temperatures with all forced induction systems (including turbochargers), which will undoubtedly shorten the engine’s lifespan. It is preferable to construct the engine from the ground up in order to handle these pressures as opposed to depending solely on stock internals.
Turbocharger Advantages and Disadvantages
  • A notable boost in horsepower.
  • Power vs. size: Smaller engine displacements are able to provide significantly more power in comparison to their size.
  • Better fuel efficiency: Smaller engines have less rotational and reciprocating mass, which results in better fuel efficiency at idle.
  • Higher efficiency: Because exhaust gases, which are used by turbochargers, are often lost in naturally aspirated and supercharged engines, recovering this energy increases the engine’s overall efficiency.
  • Turbo lag: Large turbochargers, in particular, take a while to spool up and generate useful boost.
  • Boost threshold: Traditional turbochargers are frequently sized for a particular RPM range where the exhaust gas flow is sufficient to provide the engine more boost. They normally don’t cover as much of the RPM spectrum as superchargers.
  • Power surge: In some turbocharger applications, particularly with larger turbos, achieving the boost threshold can create an almost instantaneous spike in power, which may affect tyre traction or result in some instability of the vehicle.
  • Oil requirement: Turbochargers frequently draw from the engine’s oil supply due to their high temperature. This necessitates more plumbing and puts more strain on the engine oil. Superchargers normally don’t need to be lubricated with engine oil.

Superchargers frequently accompany large V8 engines, and they may undoubtedly generate significant power.
Simply said, turbochargers make more sense because they increase the engine’s efficiency in a variety of ways. Even though superchargers are capable of delivering useful boost at low RPM, they place an additional load on the engine.

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