Supercharger Vs. Turbocharger: Difference Explained In Details

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A supercharger is an air compressor that increases the pressure or density of air supplied to an internal combustion chamber of the engine. It gives each intake cycle of the engine more oxygen, allowing it burn more fuel and do more work, thus increasing power.

The power for the supercharger can be provided mechanically by means of a belt, gear, shaft or chain connected to the engine’s crankshaft.

A Turbocharger popularly referred to as Turbo, is a turbine-driven forced induction device that increases an internal combustion, engine’s efficiency and power output by forcing extra compressed air into the combustion chamber.

The main difference between a supercharger and a conventional turbocharger is that a supercharger is mechanically driven by engine, often through a belt connected to the crankshaft while a turbocharger is powered by a turbine driven by the engine’s exhaust gas. Below are more differences between the two.

The Difference

  1. Superchargers are normally compressors whereas Turbochargers are devices consisting of both turbine and a compressor mounted on the shaft.
  2. Supercharger is connected to the intake manifold of the vehicle whereas since Turbocharger has a combination of turbine and a compressor, the turbine is connected to the exhaust pipe while the compressor to the intake.
  3. Superchargers are in most cases suitable for engines with smaller displacements whereas Turbochargers are usually suitable for engines with higher displacements.
  4. Supercharger does not have a wastegate, therefore, the smog emits from the supercharger. On the other hand, Turbocharger has smog regulating equipment which helps in reducing the carbon emission.
  5. Superchargers start operating as soon as the engine begins running whereas Turbochargers only starts operating when there is production of sufficient amount of exhaust gases.
  6. Supercharger is less efficient because it requires extra power. On the other hand, Turbocharger is more efficient because it draws its power from the exhaust gases.
  7. The compressed air in the supercharger has less temperature when compared to the compressed air in the Turbocharger.
  8. Supercharger has a minimal lag problem because of the continuous supply of energy by crankshaft. On the other hand, turbocharger has a huge lag problem due to discontinuous supply of energy.
  9. The supercharger compressor is rotated by the engine crankshaft through a belt whereas the turbocharger compressor is rotated by turbine.
  10. Supercharger is easy to maintain when compared to turbocharger, because turbocharger generates lots of heat and needs frequent lubrication.
  11. Supercharger spins with a speed of up to 50000 rpm whereas turbocharger spins with a speed of up to 150000 rpm.
  12.  Supercharger is less costly when compared to turbocharger.
  13. Supercharger is more reliable than the turbocharger.

ALSO READ: Difference Between 2 stroke and 4 stroke Engine

Supercharger Vs. Turbocharger In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON   SUPERCHARGER TURBOCHARGER
Description Superchargers are normally compressors.   Turbochargers are devices consisting of both turbine and a compressor mounted on the shaft.  
Connection It is connected to the intake manifold of the vehicle.   Since It has a combination of turbine and a compressor, the turbine is connected to the exhaust pipe while the compressor to the intake.  
Suitability They are in most cases suitable for engines with smaller displacements.   They are usually suitable for engines with higher displacements.  
Smog Regulation It does not have a wastegate, therefore, the smog emits from the supercharger. It has smog regulating equipment which helps in reducing the carbon emission.  
Operation Start operating as soon as the engine begins running.   Begin operating when there is production of sufficient amount of exhaust gases.  
Efficiency It is less efficient because it requires extra power. It is more efficient because it draws its power from the exhaust gases.  
Temperature Of Compressed Air The compressed air in the supercharger has less temperature when compared to the compressed air in the Turbocharger.   The compressed air in the Turbocharger has more temperature when compared to the compressed air in the Supercharger.  
Lag Problem It has a minimal lag problem because of the continuous supply of energy by crankshaft.   It has a huge lag problem due to discontinuous supply of energy.
Compressor Rotation Its compressor is rotated by the engine crankshaft through a belt.   Its compressor is rotated by turbine.  
Maintenance Easy to maintain when compared to turbocharger, because turbocharger generates lots of heat and needs frequent lubrication.   It is tedious to maintain when compared to supercharger, because supercharger generates less heat and does not require frequent lubrication.  
Speed It spins with a speed of up to 50000 rpm.   It spins with a speed of up to 150000 rpm.  
Cost Supercharger is less costly when compared to turbocharger.   Turbocharger is more costly when compared to supercharger.  
Reliability Supercharger is more reliable than the turbocharger.   Turbocharger is less reliable than the supercharger.