Turbocharger vs Supercharger

by IndianAuto Team | 21/09/2018
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We all know that they help increase the power of vehicles, however, how to distinguish superchargers from turbochargers? Let’s take a look at this article to find out.

Turbochargers and superchargers are called forced induction systems, which compressed the air and send it through engine cylinders. This compressed air allows a double amount of fuel to go into the cylinder for burning, which makes the engine work more effectively. Turbochargers and superchargers are installed under the hood to increase the power of vehicles. They have the same functions, so many people find it hard to distinguish one from the other. In this article, we will help you to differentiate a turbocharger from a supercharger.


A turbocharger and a supercharger black background

Despite the similar function, a turbocharger and a supercharger do have differences in certain aspects


First and foremost, we need to understand the definition of turbochargers and superchargers, then, we will go into details about their dissimilarities.

1. What is a turbocharger?

The turbocharger is a system that uses exhaust fumes to spin a turbine. When this turbine rotates, it brings the air from outside into the cylinder. The compacted air is full of oxygen so double fuel goes into the cylinder. The turbocharged car now has double fuel to burn and double power to run. That’s the reason why it can work more efficiently than those which do not have any turbocharger. The turbocharger isn't linked directly to the motor and works more effectively on vehicles with high-speed. Its turbine can rotate upto 150,000 rpm. However, the turbocharger may be lagged if it is not supplied energy continuously by the exhaust.

Diagram showing the operation of a turbocharger

This is how a turbocharger works in an auto


2. What is a Supercharger?

Like the turbocharger, the supercharger is a system which compacts the air and brings it to the motor cylinder. It is often installed on the highest point of the engine and linked to the crankshaft of the engine. The engine can also gain double power with this. However, the supercharger is designed more simple and easier to install than the turbocharger. It runs smoothly at low rpm and can rotate upto 50,000 rpm. It is more dependable and has little lag.


Diagram showing the operation of a supercharger

This is how a supercharger works in an auto


3. Turbocharger vs Supercharger


turbocharger vs supercharger diagram

Differences between a turbocharger and a supercharger can be witnessed in certain aspects

 Turbocharger Supercharger 
 A turbocharger is a device including a turbine and a compressor attached to the same shaft.  A supercharger is a compressor.
 The compressor is spun by a turbine.  The compressor is spun by an engine crankshaft through a belt.
 It does not require extra power.  It requires extra power.
 It is powered by the engine's exhaust fumes.  It is powered by the engine.
 The turbine is linked with the exhaust pipe and the compressor is connected to the intake pipe.  The compressor is connected to the intake manifold of the car.
 It can spin up to 150000 rpm.  It can spin up to 50000 rpm.
 It is suited for motors with high conversion.  It is suited for motors with small conversion.
 It will not operate until an adequate amount of exhaust fumes is produced.  It will start working as soon as the engine is turned on.
 It is more effective because it is powered by the exhaust fumes.  It is less effective because it requires extra power of the engine.
 It is more expensive.  It is cheaper.
 It requires more care as it gets hot when operating and frequent lubrication is needed.  It is easy to maintain.
 There is a lag since it takes time to spin up to a required speed.  There is no lag and power is delivered immediately.
 It delivers boost better at high rpm.  It can deliver boost at lower rpm.
 It is much quieter.  It is a bit nosier.
 The compressed air is hotter.  The compressed air has less temperature.
 An intercooler is a must to lower the temperature of its compressed air.  It may or may not need an intercooler.
 Its design is more complicated.  Its design is less complicated.


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