At Prodigy Performance the most common question we get asked is how our Turbocharger Kit differs from Supercharger Kits. In order to maintain some level of balance in answering this question, we turn to an article from Redline 360 to see what they have to say…
Turbo vs Supercharger
The ultimate question in forced induction. People ask us all the time if it’s better to go supercharged or better to go with a custom turbo kit or an off the shelf turbo kit. Both are different in terms of how they work, performance and cost. We’re not going to get into the technical details of each one, but hopefully this information will show you the difference between the two so you can decide which route you are more interested in going on your car or truck.
Essentially, a turbo sits off of your exhaust manifold, and the exhaust gasses spin one end of the turbo (the exhaust side), which makes your compressor side spin also and force air into the intake system, therefore creating air pressure. A supercharger doesn’t work off the exhaust gas, it is attached to your engine and spins with the crankshaft. When the crankshaft spins the supercharger, it forces air into the motor. The turbo is more efficient as it doesn’t require engine power to spin it, so it makes more power per boost. A supercharger also does not create full boost until red line, which is when the engine is spinning the supercharger as fast as possible.
What is forced induction?
Both a turbo and supercharger are forced induction systems. They are designed to literally force air into your engine. The more air [and fuel] you can get into your engine, the more power your car will make.
What is a supercharger?
A supercharger is a unit that bolts to your engine and connects with a belt between your crankshaft and the supercharger unit. As the engine spins, it spins the supercharger and makes the supercharger force air into the engine. The size of the pulley that spins the supercharger determines how much boost you will make. A smaller pulley means the supercharger will spin faster so it will make more boost. The supercharger is limited by it’s efficiency, so if you overboost the supercharger, it will blow hot air into your engine and you will not make as much power (amongst a myriad of other problems). Since the engine needs to literally spin the supercharger, it is not as efficient as you need to use horsepower to make horsepower.
What is a turbo?
A turbo is similar to a supercharger, except it has an exhaust housing instead of a pulley and runs off of your exhaust gasses. As your car produces exhaust, the exhaust gas spins the turbine which causes the compressor to force air into the engine. A turbo is more efficient than a supercharger since your engine does not need to work harder to power the turbo. Because a turbo is not connected directly to the engine, it can spin much faster than a supercharger.
The Winner is…
Auto manufacturers have decided: the turbocharger wins by a wide margin. It’s not so much about power but rather fuel efficiency. Federal requirements for ever-improving fuel economy, strict greenhouse-gas emissions standards, and customers’ desire for good fuel mileage have driven carmakers to use turbos rather than superchargers.
The turbocharger has enabled automakers to replace a lot of V-6s with more efficient turbocharged inline-fours that provide at least equivalent power and often more tire-spinning torque, while turbo-sixes have replaced many V-8s in higher-performance sport and luxury vehicles. Global information company IHS Markit counts some 220 2018 models offering at least one turbocharged engine versus just 30 available with a supercharged engine.
So it’s official… Turbo’s are better than Superchargers… Need more proof? Check out the dyno numbers comparing our Turbo product to that of other Superchargers and a naturally aspirated Jeep Wrangler JK.