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TurboCharger Versus SuperCharger
Both devices "charge" the air in the intake by compressing it, and so force more air into the cylinders, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. The difference is what powers each device. With a supercharger, the compression pump is connected directly to the engine . This means that you get reliable compression, and you don't have to wait for it to "spin up", since it spins as quickly as the engine does. The downside to this is that if your engine is turning slowly (i.e. at low RPM's) you don't have as much compression, and as such, less power. You don't get maximum power until you reach the highest RPMs (the redline)

In a turbocharger, the compression pump is powered by exhaust gases. Air pressure from the exhaust pushes on a mini-turbine that spins the compressor. This has the advantage of not directly taking power from the engine (it doesn't directly slow down the crankshaft like a supercharger does), but at low RPM's the exhaust doesn't have enough force or pressure to turn the turbine. When the RPM's rise high enough to generate enough pressure on the turbine, the turbine can take a second or two to fully spin up to a speed where it generates significant compression. This second or two of spin up time is known as "turbo lag". However, turbochargers can reach maximum compression at a much earlier point in the RPM range, and so you can have maximum power from a turbo through more of the RPM range than in a supercharger."

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  • Significant increase in horsepower.

  • Power vs size: allows for smaller engine displacements to produce much more power relative to their size.

  • Better fuel economy: smaller engines use less fuel to idle, and have less rotational and reciprocating mass, which improves fuel economy.

  • Higher efficiency: turbochargers run off energy that is typically lost in naturally-aspirated and supercharged engines (exhaust gases), thus the recovery of this energy improves the overall efficiency of the engine.
  • Turbo lag: turbochargers, especially large turbochargers, take time to spool up and provide useful boost.

  • Boost threshold: for traditional turbochargers, they are often sized for a certain RPM range where the exhaust gas flow is adequate to provide additional boost for the engine. They typically do not operate across as wide an RPM range as superchargers.

  • Power surge: in some turbocharger applications, especially with larger turbos, reaching the boost threshold can provide an almost instantaneous surge in power, which could compromise tyre traction or cause some instability of the car.

  • Oil requirement: turbochargers get very hot and often tap into the engine’s oil supply. This calls for additional plumbing, and is more demanding on the engine oil. Superchargers typically do not require engine oil lubrication.
    • Pros:
      • Increased horsepower: adding a supercharger to any engine is a quick solution to boosting power.

      • No lag: the supercharger’s biggest advantage over a turbocharger is that it does not have any lag. Power delivery is immediate because the supercharger is driven by the engine’s crankshaft.

      • Low RPM boost: good power at low RPM in comparison with turbochargers.

      • Price: cost effective way of increasing horsepower.
    • Cons:
      • Less efficient: the biggest disadvantage of superchargers is that they suck engine power simply to produce engine power. They’re run off an engine belt connected to the crankshaft, so you’re essentially powering an air pump with another air pump. Because of this, superchargers are significantly less efficient than turbochargers.

      • Reliability: with all forced induction systems (including turbochargers), the engine internals will be exposed to higher pressures and temperatures, which will of course affect the longevity of the engine. It’s best to build the engine from the bottom up to handle these pressures, rather than relying on stock internals.
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