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The Difference between Turbochargers and Superchargers

So, you want more speed and power? If so, then superchargers and turbocharger kits are indeed the best way to increase the power of your engine. But, aren’t these the same things? Well, no! Of course, both of these systems fall under the same “forced induction” umbrella, but the function they perform and how they work is completely different. That’s why in today’s article, we discuss about the difference between turbochargers and superchargers and the pros and cons of each.

 

Turbochargers

Turbocharger kits can fit on any engine type and generally use the engine’s exhaust gases to generate a boost that spins a turbine, which then spins an air pump. These kits are lightweight and don’t impact a car’s fuel economy at idle or low revs. This is because the exhaust gases need time to generate enough pressure and give your car a boost. This time taken is known as “Turbo Lag”, meaning the smaller the turbo, the faster boost response and the bigger the turbo, the longer the turbo lag. Here are a few pros and cons of buying a turbocharger kit.

 

Pros

  • Power vs. Size – One of the best things about turbochargers is that they allow even smaller engine displacements to produce more power relative to their size.
  • Better Fuel Economy – When compared to superchargers, turbochargers use less fuel to idle and have less reciprocating and rotational mass, thus improving fuel economy.
  • Huge Increase in Horsepower – The turbine spinning can be as much as 150,000 RPM, which is almost 30 times faster than an ordinary engine. Therefore, installing a turbocharger can give your car a huge increase in its horsepower.

 

Cons

  • Turbo Lag – As mentioned earlier, turbochargers particularly large ones, take significant time to create pressure provide useful boost.
  • Power Surge – Large turbochargers can provide an almost instantaneous surge in power, which could cause instability of a car, compromising tire traction.
  • Oil Requirement – For a turbocharger to perform efficiently, your car needs a lot of oil supply, as they tend to get very hot. Therefore, these systems are more engine oil demanding.

 

Superchargers

Supercharges use the same concept as turbochargers in the effect that they also compress air to generate boosts. However, the source of power in these kits is usually the belt connected directly to the engine. Therefore, there are no issues of turbo lag and can give your car an increase of 40% in horsepower and 50% in torque with the use of just a base kit. Here are a few of the pros and cons of installing supercharger kits:

 

Pros

  • Low RPM Boost – When compared to turbochargers, superchargers can give good power boosts even at low RPMs.
  • No Turbo Lag – Power delivery is immediate with superchargers. Therefore, these systems don’t have to worry about turbo lags.
  • Increased Horsepower – Installing a supercharger is an instant solution to gaining increased horsepower.

 

Cons

  • Reliability – Installing superchargers will expose the stock engine to higher temperatures and pressures, which in the long run could decrease the reliability of your vehicle.
  • Less Efficient – When compared to turbochargers, supercharges have the disadvantage for sucking the engines power to produce engine power. Therefore, these systems can greatly reduce the efficiency of your vehicle.

 

So, now that you are familiar with the difference and pros and cons of superchargers and turbochargers, determining the best option for your car won’t be a problem.

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