Supercharger v/s Turbocharger

Today’s world of  “Need for Speed” require automobiles to be much quicker, faster & at the same time, be more efficient.

Although a bigger engine with high torque will certainly give your vehicle the ability to gain quick acceleration & run at high speeds, it will also suck more fuel from your tank. Hence, “the bigger the engine, the better” is not always a suitable option.

Superchargers & Turbochargers enable a engine to produce high torque & horsepower as compared to other engines in its class. Although the objective of  Superchargers & Turbochargers is the same i.e, to give the additional  acceleration, the methods in which they operate are completely different. Thus, they both have their own advantages & shortcomings.

1.) The Turbo Charger:

Invented by Swiss engineer Alfred Büchi & patented in 1905, the Turbo Charger concept was first introduced to the world when a compressor was fitted into an internal combustion engine, the compressor was driven by a turbine which ran on the exhaust gases. The compressor forced air into the engine, thus increasing the power output.The Turbochargers first saw large scale use in the diesel engines on ships, locomotives & then aircraft from 1920s.

Initially, mass scale usage of Turbochargers in cars & commercial vehicles was restricted as turbochargers required engines to be made from advanced high-temperature metals in the turbine.

Today, Turbochargers are commonly used in car and commercial vehicles as they allow smaller-capacity engines to have improved fuel economy, reduced emissions, higher power and considerably higher torque. One added advantage of turbocharges is that the energy lost in form of exhaust gases is reused to drive the compressor for generating more energy thus making the vehicle more energy efficient.

Turbochargers on other hand, do tend to consume more oil & get hot very quickly. Common shortcomings are that Turbochargers run efficiently only in pre-set RPM ranges, a lag is observed as the compressor takes time to pump in the air into the engine & in cases where the turbocharger is big, a sudden output of power can be felt which can cause loss of traction or sudden acceleration of the vehicle.


1.) The Super Charger:

Dugald Clerk made the world’s first functional engine supercharger fitted on a two-stroke engine in 1878. In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler received a German patent for supercharging an internal combustion engine. The ability of supercharger to provide increased power output & enable automobiles to achieve higher speeds was first observed when a race car built by Lee Chadwick of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, reportedly reached a speed of 100 mph (160 km/h) in 1908. Superchargers enable engines to attain higher output by inputting compressed air in the engine.The compressor is driven by a belt which is connected to the engine. Similar in a way in which the alternator is driven by the engine.

Being driven by the engine’s crankshaft, no lag is observed. The power output is noticed almost instantaneously. As the compressor is in operation at all engine RPMs, the supercharger is able to provide enhance power output at all levels. This proves to be beneficial during real-time driving conditions. The superchargers are also easy to install & major engine re-work is not required. However, superchargers are expensive to purchase as compared to the turbochargers. Also, superchargers tend to be less energy efficient as the valuable energy from the engine is used to drive compressor as compared to the turbochargers, where waster energy (exhaust gases) is used to drive the compressor.

Due to constant power output as compared to sudden power outputs in Turbochargers, Supercharged cars are more convenient & driver friendly.

In cases of both, the superchargers & turbochargers, the combustion engines are subject to higher pressure & temperatures. This can affect the engine’s life. Hence, it is always a good idea to build the engine from bottom up keeping the chargers & their effect in mind rather than relying on after-market installation of chargers.

So, which one do you think is suitable for your vehicle engine. The Supercharger or the Turbocharger? Write your comments below & don’t miss to check out the cool ads on our website.