Turbochargers vs. Superchargers: What Is the Difference?

Turbochargers vs. Superchargers: What Is the Difference?

There is quite a bit of technical terminology used in the automotive world, making it easy for the average person to get confused. One of the most common examples of this is in the difference between “superchargers” and “turbochargers.” While many people in the auto industry and car aficionados mention these components almost in the same breath due to their classification as forced induction systems, in reality, these components are actually quite different and have varying purposes.

Both Are Forced Induction Systems

First, their similarities must be addressed. Both turbochargers and superchargers are forced induction systems which work to boost the power of a vehicle by compressing and forcing air into its engine. Forced induction systems can add as much as 50% more power to a vehicle’s engine, allowing sports cars and luxury vehicles to roar on the roads when their owners are tired of the engine purring like a kitten. The main difference between these two systems lies in their power supply.

Turbochargers use the vehicle’s exhaust stream for its energy. The exhaust runs through a turbine which can spin the compressor up to 150,000 rotations per minute (RPM), a speed roughly 30 times faster than an ordinary engine. While a turbocharger may take a little bit to kick in and cause a car to lunge forward, smaller turbochargers can produce this boost quicker and are more effective at higher altitudes.

Superchargers, on the other hand, are powered by a crankshaft tied directly by a belt to the engine which compresses air of the atmospheric pressure, forcing air into the engine. Superchargers increase a vehicle’s horsepower by allowing more fuel to be added to the combustion charge, though they do not have a waste gate to capture smog.

Which is Better?

Determining which system is better will largely depend upon the vehicle in question and what the owner is looking to accomplish. Superchargers can deliver their performance boost at lower RPMs, whereas turbochargers put out considerable power at higher engine rotations. Likewise, while turbochargers are quieter, superchargers are easier to maintain and are more reliable.

If you are looking to increase your vehicle’s power through turbocharging or supercharging, look no further than HP Motorsports. With more than 20 years of automotive expertise, our crew of Houston & Katy auto performance specialists can guide you towards a solution that is right for your vehicle and help you unleash its full potential.

Call (281) 231-9950 or contact us online today to request your free estimate!


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