Turbocharger vs Supercharger: What’s The Difference & Which Is Best?

Turbochargers and superchargers are two popular methods of boosting the performance of a car but do you know the differences between the two? Within this article, we discuss both performance upgrades in detail to help you decide which is best for you.

Tweet Pin It
YourCar is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Find out more.

When it comes to boosting performance and making your car faster, there are two main options, which are to either turbocharge or supercharge your car. Both a turbocharger and a supercharger increase the amount of air that enters the engine, which in turn allows for more fuel to be added and more power to be produced.

However, the big question is how these two methods differ and which one is better. Within this article, we take a closer look at the differences between turbochargers and superchargers as well as the pros and cons of each.

What’s The Difference?

A turbocharger is a type of forced induction system that uses exhaust gases to spin a turbine, which then compresses incoming air and forces it into the engine. This results in more oxygen being available for combustion.

A supercharger, on the other hand, is a type of mechanical compressor that’s driven directly by the engine’s crankshaft. This means that it doesn’t rely on exhaust gases to operate and it can compress air at a much higher rate.

One of the main differences between turbochargers and superchargers is the way in which they affect the engine’s power delivery.

For example, turbocharged engines tend to have a “lag” period where the turbocharger takes a moment to spool up and provide boost. Superchargers, on the other hand, provide instant power and don’t have this lag period.

As well as how they function, another defining difference is that a supercharger requires the engine’s power to run whereas a turbocharger runs off exhaust energy. Therefore, turbochargers are more efficient as they utilise waste (exhaust) energy that would’ve otherwise been lost in the combustion process.

Which Is Better?

Choosing between a turbocharger and a supercharger ultimately comes down to personal preference and the intended use of the vehicle. Both methods do a great job at increasing performance and they also come with their own pros and cons. To help you decide, below is a rundown of the benefits and drawbacks of each method.

Turbochargers are considered to be more efficient than superchargers because they use exhaust gases that would otherwise be wasted to compressed incoming air. This means that they don’t consume as much power from the engine, which can result in better performance and fuel economy. Turbocharged engines also tend to be more compact and lightweight, which can be an advantage in sports cars and other high-performance vehicles.

However, superchargers provide instant power and don’t have the lag period associated with turbocharged engines. This can make them a better choice for vehicles that are used for racing or other high-performance applications. Supercharged engines are also typically more reliable and have a longer lifespan than turbocharged engines too.

Therefore, it can be difficult to say which is the best because everyone’s preference to tuning is different.

turbocharger vs supercharger

How Much BHP Does Each Add?

The amount of horsepower that can be gained by adding a turbocharger or supercharger to an engine depends on several factors such as the size of the engine, compression ratio and type of turbo or supercharger used.

On average, a turbocharger can add up to 40 to 50% more horsepower to an engine, while a supercharger can add up to 20 to 30% more horsepower. However, it’s important to note that these figures can vary greatly depending on the engine as well as other supporting modifications.

If you’ve installed a supercharger or turbocharger to your car, read our guide on how you can find the horsepower of your car to reveal the increase in performance.

Why Does A Turbo Increase Performance More Than A Supercharger?

Turbocharging increases a car’s performance more than supercharging because it’s more efficient at pressurizing the air that enters the engine. Therefore, because a turbocharged engine doesn’t consume any of the engine’s energy, it doesn’t add any additional load, which means that it can produce more power and torque.

Another defining feature of a turbocharger that allows it to boost the performance more than a supercharger is the fact that it can generate far greater boost pressures. This means that it can compress more air into the engine, which also means more fuel can be added for additional performance gains.

Why Are Turbo Cars Are More Popular?

Turbocharged cars have always been more popular than supercharged cars because they are more fuel efficient. However, other reasons why turbochargers are more popular include the following:


To conclude, both turbochargers and superchargers have their own advantages and disadvantages. Deciding which is best is primarily down to your own personal preference and how you want the power to be delivered.

For example, if you want instant power at low RPM and without lag, supercharging is the better option. However, for a more significant power increase, turbocharging your car’s engine is definitely the better option.

Hopefully our guide on turbochargers vs superchargers has answered all your questions but if it hasn’t, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

Follow #YourCarUK

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved.