Turbocharger or Supercharger: Which One is Better?

When it comes to boosting horsepower in a vehicle, there usually are two ways to go around it: superchargers and turbochargers. However, these two ways often leave people baffled about which one is better.

Turbocharger or Supercharger: Which One is Better?

Turbocharger or Supercharger: Which One is Better?

Have you also been wondering about which one to choose among these two options? If yes, then your search has come to an end. Here we’ll explain to you which one is better among these two types of chargers, and for what reasons. Let’s begin:

Turbocharger and Supercharger: What’s the difference?

Before we can help you determine which one is better among turbocharger and supercharger it’s important to understand the difference between both and how each of them works. Without going into technical details we’re going to tell you briefly how they work:

  • A turbocharger relies on the vehicle’s exhaust to work. The gasses emitting from the exhaust side of vehicle spool up a turbine, which in turn powers a compressor. The compressor then pulls in more air and feeds it into the engine to increase air pressure and horsepower.
  • A supercharger, on the other hand, relies on the engine itself to increase the horsepower. It can be driven by a belt attached to the engine or a gear, but ultimately it relies on the engine to work. When the crankshaft of supercharger spins it, more air is forced by it into the engine.

With that difference in the mind, now we can take a look at which one is better and for what reasons.

Benefits of turbocharger

Turbochargers are the favorites among car manufacturers. And there’re two reasons behind it:

  1. The number one benefit of a turbocharger is its efficiency – it turns something useless (exhaust gases) into something useful (the source of more horsepower). The supercharger doesn’t do that and requires engine power to work.
  2. The second reason is better fuel economy. Since a turbocharger doesn’t require any power from the engine but still increases the horsepower significantly, it allows car makers to use smaller engines in their cars. And a smaller engine, as you may imagine, requires less fuel.

With that in mind, now let’s take a look on benefits of superchargers.

Benefits of supercharger

So far the turbocharger seems pretty cool. It’s efficient, generates more power per boost and also provides better fuel economy. Then why would someone want a supercharger? Well, for following reasons:

  1. A supercharger is lag free. Since it doesn’t rely on exhaust gases to power itself and is powered by the engine directly, the boost in horsepower comes immediately.
  2. Superchargers can also be tuned by manufacturers to provide linear boost more easily across the RPM range of the engine.
  3. Superchargers also don’t require any sort of lubrication to work, while turbochargers do  (some superchargers require it, but the lubrication in them doesn’t break down as quickly as that of turbochargers because turbos get heated to extremes).

Verdict: Which One is Better?

Ultimately what’s better depends on what you want. If all you want is a boost in horsepower as soon as possible, superchargers are your thing. However, if you want the boost while keeping efficiency in mind, turbochargers are better. Make your choice wisely.

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