How superchargers differ from turbochargers

Is supercharger the upgraded version of turbocharger? Find out the answer in this article.

1. Supercharger vs Turbocharger – the main difference

Currently, there are two devices that can be used to increase the power of the engine, the turbocharger and the supercharger. Basically, their functions are the same, as they both provide a thrust to the engine, which helps decrease the acceleration time and/or increase the overall speed. There are some minor differences between them, which we will explain below.

The main thing that set them apart is differences in their energy source. The supercharger runs by using the force from the engine, transferred by the crankshaft. The turbocharger, on the other hand, uses the flow of exhaust fumes to run an internal turbine to spin the motor. Now is the tricky part. Generally speaking, if you want your car to run faster, you should burn more fuel, but more fuel doesn’t automatically translate to more horsepower, as the real “fuel” that get burn is the fine mixture between air and fuel. In other words, if you want to get a better result, adding more fuel to the chamber is not the best way to do that. You need something that also regulates the amount of air to match the surplus amount of fuel so that the 1:14 ratio between fuel and air is maintained.

a supercharger

The supercharger lets more air inside, which in turn allows more fuel-air to be burnt

2. This is a supercharger

What a supercharger does is compressing and sucking compressed air into the engine chamber. When there’s more air getting in, the system detects that and thus release the mechanism that allows more fuel to be pumped out. It is reported that superchargers add forty percent more horsepower to your vehicle.

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a supercharger

It steals some energy from the engine, but returns with a double interest rate

But there’s a catch. In order to be able to boost the car and push it forward, it has to steal some energy from the engine (because it’s attached to the crankshaft, pretty ironic). This is driven by the cambelt which covers a small part that connects to a gear that spin the rotor and that rotor run the compressor that compresses the air. Back to the “special” way supercharger operates. It could steal up to 20 percent of the engine’s power, but it produces forty percent more force so it cancels out the negative effect.


In general, we use 3 kinds of superchargers: the centrifugal, the roots and the twin-screw. The differences are hard to put into words but they differ mainly from the way they suck in the air. There is still a question mark over the efficiency of all these devices on our vehicles, it depends largely on the type of the vehicle we drive, so make sure you consult your mechanic before making any adjustment to your beloved engine.