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Turbochargers vs Superchargers – Which Is Better?

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Turbochargers vs Superchargers – Which Is Better?



What’s the difference between a supercharger and a turbocharger?
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What’s better, a supercharger or a turbocharger? Well, while they both do a wonderful job of increasing and engine’s horsepower, they go about it in quite different ways. The turbocharger relies on exhaust gas pressure to spool up a turbine to deliver more air to the engine. A supercharger on the other hand is driven by an engine belt, which rotates a compressor feeding the engine fresh air.

While ultimately both will result in more power, there are advantages to each, such as throttle characteristics, efficiency, torque curve characteristics, engine reliability, and packaging. In this video we’ll discuss the pros and cons of running a supercharger or a turbocharger on your car.

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41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Engineering Explained

    February 4, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Hope everyone's having a wonderful day!! Many of you have asked about buying shirts/sweatshirts, and over the past 6.5 years of YouTubing I've only sold shirts maybe twice. That is to say, I enjoy learning and teaching far more than I enjoy thinking about merchandise, hence I put it off forever. Well, I finally have a store set up for anyone who's interested! https://teespring.com/stores/engineeringexplained And here's my personal guarantee, if you order in the month of February I'm going to make a promise that it gets to you by Christmas, because here at Engineering Explained we know timing matters. 😉 Thank you all!!

  2. Kimani Harris

    February 6, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Supercharging the s2k?🙏🙏😈😈

  3. Sean McNally

    February 6, 2018 at 7:04 am

    Have you tried driving a vehicle with a variable vane turbo (VVT) or a variable geometry turbo (VTG). THe reason I ask is because I have driven a vehicle with a regular turbo and the turbo lag is certainly there by contrast I have also driven a vehicle with a VVT which is considerably different (both applications were in Diesel engine equipped pickup truck. The VVT does have a little lag but is considerably less then a regular turbo. With the VVT the vanes can be readjusted to keep optimal boost throughout the RPM range. So my question is (since you have the ability to drive a supercharged equipped vehicle and a VVT equipped vehicle and have the engineering background and tools to test this, is a VVT and a supercharger comparable to each other in throttle response and power throughout the RPM range and what are your thoughts on the VVT? I look forward to hearing your take on the subject, thank you.

  4. Jeff Beasley

    February 6, 2018 at 7:27 am

    Another pretty huge plus for turbos is their performance at altitude compared to naturally aspirated or supercharged. Any kind of ecu-controlled wastegate allows the engine to increase its boost ratio to maintain its rated power even way up in the mountains where other cars can lose a huge amount of power…

  5. 00Resev

    February 6, 2018 at 8:01 am

    The VW TFSI engines have both a Supercharger and a Turbocharger.
    I don't know how common or uncommon this occurrence is in the wide spectrum of motoring offerings. I just thought i'd share something that is rather curious for me.

  6. Chad Thomas

    February 6, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Can you do a video on why manual imports seem to do so much better than manual domestics in the 1/4 mile? I am a fan of both. Just want to know why it seems that 4 cylinders and 6 cylinders seem to do so much better than v8s when both are in manual configuration.

  7. DaRockCRX

    February 6, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Jason nailed it! Its the quality of inputs that makes a car great.

  8. PetTech

    February 6, 2018 at 10:56 am

    VW 118TSI Twincharged 🙂

  9. Nicks 92 videos

    February 6, 2018 at 11:20 am

    I also myself prefer Superchargers way more and Turbos there more enjoyable to drive and the big power comes on instantly Turbocharged cars have to wait.

  10. The HRE XKR

    February 6, 2018 at 11:34 am

    He loves the Ftype…. I knew it….. ;). Time to get a Jaaaaaaaggg

  11. William Leslie

    February 6, 2018 at 11:41 am

    What do you think about the extra load that a turbo places on the engine during the exhaust stroke?

  12. general co

    February 6, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Turbos are also VERY complex to run. To avoid a LEAN* situation in your engine you need complicated 3D fuel maps and fuel delivery systems. With super-chargers you always know exactly how much boost you have at a given RPM regardless of load or throttle position.
    This is why adding a turbo to a non-turbo car is dangerous/expensive and complicated vs adding a super-charger to a non-super-charged car.

    I'm a big fan of turbos if they come from the factory that way. Otherwise, super-chargers are your best / most reliable option.
    * LEAN meaning not enough fuel for the air being pushed in = over heating and damage to engine internals

  13. Kasi karthik

    February 6, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Well said…. Clearly….. 😊

  14. Adrian Cooper

    February 6, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Your technical expertise is off the scale!! I've really come to appreciate how things work through your videos.
    So, what do you you think of the Volvo supercharged and turbocharged 4 cylinder engines that they are putting in their current vehicles? Volvo is certainly maximizing the use of that engine? Yes or No? And can you do a video on how that engine works?

  15. Bruce Lee

    February 6, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    driven both of em and couldn't agree more..me subscribed

  16. sbn025

    February 6, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    that blue mercedez is so sexy!!!!

  17. Toto Geenen

    February 6, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    Twincharge 😀

  18. Kyle Wechsler

    February 6, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Can you do a video on the theoretical limit of hp/liter in NA cars. I thought this would be relevant given the new Porsche GT3 RS just bumped its hp from 500-520. Giving it 130hp/liter. The 458 speciale had 132.7. I am curious if there is a limit.

  19. 3point8 Garage

    February 6, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    Am I crazy, or did you already post this (or a very similar) video a week or two ago?

  20. Johan Skåuning

    February 6, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    you have forgotten that turbos also steal power, backpressure robs power(and efficiency) too! and the ammount of power a turbo steals is highest during spool and you can let supershargers freeblow during cruising then they are very effective without the turbolag and all this wihtout hindering the exhaust from scavenging freely out the cylinder

  21. Casper Due

    February 6, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Is it possible to have both a turbocharger and a supercharger at the same time?

  22. TheFlacker99 (Flak)

    February 6, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    N/A > turbo > supercharged > chemically supercharged.

  23. Edward Wessel

    February 6, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    Back in the 1990's a lot of manufacturers were putting turbos on their cars, but later they seemed to go back to naturally aspirated engines.

  24. jhrsmail

    February 6, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    What's the difference between Honda/Acura J35a5 vs J35a8? Can I put Type S heads on my J35a8 to make more HP? Acura MDX 2006.. thanks!

  25. Deftones Dsm

    February 6, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    PLEASE do a video on the new opposed piston gas and diesel engine. Its in proven prototype phase. Atlas (or something with an A is the company)Amazingly interesting. Based on ww2 german bomber engines. So piston faces piston, no head, no valves, and can run gas and diesel.

  26. Dario Pinolini

    February 6, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Lancia 037 was using both, supercharger at low rpm and turbo at higher rpm

  27. mike fernandz

    February 6, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    Jason the answer is twincharge

  28. 2WhiteAndNerdy

    February 6, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    And then there's Volvo, who said, "Why not both?!"

  29. Daver G

    February 7, 2018 at 12:04 am

    For street use, screw superchargers are the best. For racing,turbos are.

  30. Tyler S

    February 7, 2018 at 12:04 am

    I think it would be interesting if you looked into the new Ram 1500 with the electric motor/generator which is mounted to the engine via serpentine belt. they claimed it can do regenerative braking but that seems weird. Normally it seems the torque converter would be unlocked as you slow for a stop sign but it seems that it would need to be locked up in order to have any meaningful braking. also looking into the new claims from GM with up to 7 cylinder deactivation it seems that it would shake like crazy with 1 piston and also the frictional losses from 8 cylinders and other things like alternator, etc would require more than 1 cylinder to run. they claim to have start/stop for periods where you would be sationary which seems like would be the only time you could get by with 1 of 8 cylinders combusting.

  31. Cris Galicinao

    February 7, 2018 at 12:57 am

    Hi Jason/Engineering Explained, if I do not change my driving habit (mainly on street @40-80kph, <2500 rpm), which will be more fuel efficient between turbo vs supercharger? Thanks man!

  32. 신우석

    February 7, 2018 at 1:36 am

    Nah I'll just get naturally aspired

  33. Hongxi Chen

    February 7, 2018 at 2:30 am

    please do a video about what is cold start

  34. shakeel smith

    February 7, 2018 at 4:23 am

    How to install superchager in a kia rio 2013 hatchback please thanks

  35. G.S.R

    February 7, 2018 at 6:46 am

    I may have missed this point but with a turbo vehicle after spirited driving you should let the turbo run a little before turning the vehicle off do you need to do anything like this for a supercharger? Although it does not need oil to lubricate the bearings?

  36. Undefined Islander

    February 7, 2018 at 6:56 am

    Hey Jason, I watched pretty much all your videos and I had a question. I have a 2008 wrx stage 2+ protuned w/ stock air box w/ k&n panel filter. I was thinking about getting a short ram intake w/heatshield along with a pro tune for the intake. Will that extra induction benefit me over stock airbox?

    By the way, I drive daily and tend to drive spiritedly more than half the drive, thanks Jason!

  37. scalways

    February 7, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Literally one of the best automotive channels out there!!!

  38. Foxtrot Fon

    February 7, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    hey bro, can u do a video on why inline 6 cycline engines have less vibrations than inline 4 like for example BMWs?

  39. Prince Lawson

    February 7, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    What are your thoughts on Hellion Twin Turbochargers? I was thinking of putting one on my 15’ GT.

  40. tommyboy1two

    February 7, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    NA itbs>supercharger>turbochargers

  41. Ghost o1

    February 7, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    twin scrool

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