Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Supercharger and Turbocharger

Photo credit : Panoha

Photo credit : Panoha

Supercharger vs Turbocharger

Superchargers and turbochargers are two devices that are meant to boost the performance of an engine. They do this by compressing the air that enters the engine in order to increase the amount of oxygen for the combustion. More oxygen equates to a bigger blast which results to more power. The difference between a supercharger and a turbocharger is in how they are powered. A supercharger is powered directly by the crankshaft of the engine that is coupled via belts. On the other hand, a turbocharger is powered by a turbine that is placed on the exhaust of the engine. When the driver pushes down on the accelerator pedal, the engine expels more air that spins the turbine faster, forcing the compressor to push more air to the engine.

Due to the way they are designed, superchargers are more inefficient compared to turbochargers. Since it is coupled to the engine of the car, it would need to exert more effort in order to power both the wheels and the supercharger at the same time. This is not the case with turbochargers as it derives energy from the power of the exhaust, which would otherwise have been wasted.

The negative side of having a turbocharger instead of a supercharger is in the time difference between the moment you put your foot down and the time the boost takes effect, this is referred to as lag time. This is because it takes some time before the amount of gas in the exhaust rises after you accelerate. This can be pretty confusing to those who are not used yet and can lead to nasty surprises as you would need to estimate how much the boost would be. This problem does not happen with superchargers as the boost happens almost instantaneously.

Superchargers are best for racing cars and other vehicles where efficiency takes a backseat to power and response. It consumes a lot more fuel but it gives you instant power whenever you need it. Turbochargers are good for people who want a little bit more extra from their rides without wasting a ton of money on fuel.

1. A supercharger is usually driven by the engine while a turbocharger is driven by the exhaust of the engine
2. A supercharger takes a fraction of the engine’s power and is less efficient than a turbocharger
3. A turbocharger suffers from lag which a supercharger does not suffer from

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