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The Differences Between Superchargers and Turbochargers

The Differences Between Superchargers and Turbochargers

If you are wanting to increase or boost the horsepower of your vehicle, there are two options available for you. Both superchargers and turbochargers are designed to make more power by using less fuel. These forced induction systems help put the same amount of air that a bigger engine would naturally hold into a small engine to allow for the vehicle to be more powerful. While both the supercharger and turbocharger have the same end game, they are also different.

It can be overwhelming and stressful when looking at the details of these two options – but it doesn’t have to be. Continue reading below to see the differences between superchargers and turbochargers so that you can make the best decision for you!

How Power Is Supplied and How Much

This element is extremely important considering the main job of these devices is to provide more power to the vehicle. The supercharger is an air compressor that increases the pressure or density of the air that enters the engine. When this is done it provides more oxygen to burn fuel. This device is gear, drive, or belt-driven, but it is ultimately powered by the engine and is directly connected to the engine. This means that the direct connection to the engine allows for the device to be more powerful, but at the same time makes it not be able to emit the smog. It is said that the supercharger can add a minimum of 46% horsepower to the vehicle.

On the other hand, the turbocharger is a turbine in the exhaust stream. It relies on the vehicle’s exhaust to move the turbine and power the compressor. When the compressor is powered, it then feeds more air into the engine. This device is not directly connected to the engine. Also, it is not as powerful as the supercharger; however, it is equipped with smog-altering elements that decrease the overall amount admitted during the process. The turbocharger can have an RPM speed that is about 30 times faster than the average vehicle engine, enhancing the vehicle by about 44% horsepower.

Price and Installation

Overall, the prices of both products are about the same – however, they will vary for both cases. When you really look at the numbers, superchargers might tend to be just a bit more expensive in the end because of how they are produced. This is because they can be specialized and are not mass-produced. The overall price will be more if the vehicle does not have this device already in their vehicle, and it must be specially made.

Turbochargers for sale normally start around $400 and continue to go up depending on the vehicle, on the device itself, and on how it must be installed. It will also depend on whether the turbocharger is already present in the vehicle, or if it needs to be completely installed. In addition to the turbocharger having to be installed, there are other components that might have to be installed to ensure that it runs smoothly and safely, and this could also add to the overall cost.

Altogether, there are many elements of both the supercharger and turbocharger than need to be taken into consideration when looking at the overall price of each product.

Pros and Cons

There are more definitely pros and cons when looking at the details between the turbocharger and supercharger. When looking at the overall efficiency of the products, the turbocharger most definitely has both advantages and disadvantages. This is because it takes the wasted exhausted and uses it, instead of letting it be wasted. A downfall to this device is that it requires engine lubrication, and oil will degrade quicker the more heat that the turbocharger creates. Another negative is that it takes some time for this device to work – it is not immediate, which is a downfall compared to its competitor.

While the supercharger does not use wasted material to operate, it does have other positives even if it is not the most efficient process. The supercharger acts more like a natural aspirated engine. Power comes out immediately, and this device can be easily tuned and cared for when needed. It is said that the engine will most likely need a lubricant for this device too. However, the temperature will never reach as high as the turbocharger.


It is important that you consider reliability when you look at these two products. The question is, how long and how often can you use these devices with them being safe and secure? The answers vary depending on the condition of the car and what the car is being used for. But to put it into perspective, superchargers are easy to install and maintain, resulting in their reliability. While turbochargers have their benefits, they are complex and difficult to take care of. This does not mean that the turbocharger is not a reliable device, though – it just means that it would be considered more reliable in comparison to the supercharger.

Popularity Amongst Mechanics

There are unique tradeoffs for both devices, and both forced induction systems have pros and cons. Therefore, the preference of many mechanics varies when it comes to these devices. It truly is whatever you prefer, meaning if you want a quieter device, then the turbocharger is the right choice for you. Whereas if you want one that is easier to maintain, you might pick the supercharger. It is all a mechanic’s preference – especially because it varies depending on the car it is being installed in.

When getting down the specific details regarding these two products, they both have elements and aspects that are positive and negative. The differences between superchargers and turbochargers are what different mechanics are attracted to and what allows them to make their decisions for their vehicles. Go over these details thoroughly when looking into the two forced induction systems to make the right choice.

If you decide to go in the direction of purchasing a turbocharger, reach out to us here at Turboturbos. Not only can we provide you with even more knowledge and assistance, but we can direct you to some of our best products to help you enhance and improve your vehicle.

The Differences Between Superchargers and Turbochargers

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