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What's the Difference between a Turbocharger and a Supercharger?

If you're looking for a vehicle that has both power and speed, then you might've considered one that's been outfitted with a supercharger or turbocharger. These additions to vehicles essentially force-feed your engine more air, allowing them to produce more power. The way this works is very simple. Internal-combustion engines need air flow to function, as fire requires oxygen to burn. Turbochargers and superchargers both feed your engine more air, thus allowing more power to be generated. But which one is better? Is there a clear favorite between the two? Let's dive into this a little bit and see what we can find out.

Turbochargers

The way turbochargers work is pretty simple. When your car produces vehicle exhaust, it sends out a piping hot stream of gases. This stream can be utilized and its energy converted into something that serves more of a purpose. In this case, that purpose is powering up a vehicle to make it more powerful and more efficient.

Turbochargers use the heat energy from a car's exhaust to power a small turbine that powers a compressor, which in turn feeds an engine more air. The more air an engine has, the more power under the hood.

Superchargers

Superchargers produce the same result of turbochargers, but in a different way. Instead of harvesting the power of a car's exhaust, they are mechanically connected to a car's crankshaft and harvest power from the running engine. They might also be powered by an electric motor, but in other words, they're less self-sufficient than turbochargers.

They're also less efficient in general. Turbochargers use an engine's power to feed more air into the engine, but this siphons power from the engine directly. In other words, there's much less of a gain in power.

So Which is Better?

Superchargers do have one advantage over turbochargers, and that's their response time - turbochargers do need a second to wind up and get to work. However, considering the higher power output that you get with turbochargers, we'd definitely give the edge to turbochargers.

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