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Jeep JK Turbo vs. Supercharger

jeep jk turbo vs supercharger

Having a Jeep JK in your garage can be a unique and fulfilling experience. But, if you are a real gearhead, it is normal for you to want more in terms of the power and speed of the vehicle. There are many ways to increase the engine output of your Jeep JK, but the two most popular are turbochargers and superchargers. These two engine-boosting methods come with different benefits and drawbacks but are sure to add more power to your Jeep JK’s engine.

But what is the difference between Jeep JK Turbo vs. Supercharger? What are the upsides and drawbacks of the two? Which is better for your Jeep JK? All of these questions will be answered as we discussed the difference between turbochargers and superchargers in relation to boosting it in a Jeep JK.

Turbochargers vs. Superchargers: Two technologies with one purpose

The amount of power that an internal combustion engine in a Jeep JK can produce will largely depend on the amount of fuel it can burn. In addition, how efficient and quick the engine converts the heat into a mechanical force can also influence the power it produces. However, fuel will need air to combust, which means the Jeep JK’s engine output will rely on how much air it can take to burn more fuel.

Also, vehicles such as the Jeep JK are purposely designed to supply less air than the maximum amount of air that an engine can handle. This action will result in engine performance that is lower than expected. Hence, the idea of force-feeding an engine with more air than the norm to burn fuel and ultimately produce more power was realized. And this added air intake to the engine can be supplied by either the turbocharger or the supercharger. The two works relatively with the same purpose but vary in terms of operation and performance.

What’s the difference?

The turbocharger uses the heat energy and the velocity of the exhaust gases coming out of the engine’s cylinder. These gases will be used in spinning a turbine that drives a small compressor or an impeller which interns put more are back into the engine. Meanwhile, a supercharger will also pump added air into the engine, but it is done mechanically by using the engine using a belt that runs off by an electric motor or a crankshaft.

Also, while the supercharger requires engine power to run, the turbocharger is running with energy coming from the exhaust created by the engine itself. Meaning, the overall turbochargers offer excellent efficiency by using exhaust energy that cannot be found in supercharged engines.

In addition, turbochargers will provide increase horsepower to engines by letting smaller engines produce more power in relation to their size while offering better fuel efficiency. Meanwhile, superchargers will also help increase the engine’s power but through the crankshaft by providing excellent power at low engine RPM without any lag.

turbochargers vs superchargers

Turbochargers: Better Fuel Efficiency

Turbochargers use a turbine which is moved by the exhaust system. With this design, it allows the compressor to work while forcing more oxygen into the cylinder. The result will be an engine with 30% to 40 % more engine power than the standard engine of a Jeep JK. In addition to increasing the engine’s power, turbochargers will fully utilize all the exhaust gases coming from the engine. These gases are considered wasted energy but are being used to reduce the engine’s workload to breathe fresh air, thus increasing its fuel efficiency.

But, as good as the turbocharger is, there are also drawbacks to using them. One is the lag time which means that a turbocharger can only operate in the amount of gas that flows through the exhaust manifold. Meaning, there is an unfortunate lag time in the response when you start hitting the accelerator. But, once it starts taking effect, the driving of your Jeep JK can be so much fun.

Another downside of turbochargers is the knocking sound it produces. Turbochargers, unfortunately, have the potential to create an amount of pressure within the cylinder that can cause the air mixture and the fuel to detonate before the plug starts. The result will be a knocking sound which is the usual complaint of Jeep owners using this booster for engines.

Superchargers: No Lag Time

In contrast with the turbocharger, the supercharger has no lag when being used with your Jeep JK. The reason behind it is its air pump is being connected directly to the crankshaft of the engine. Meaning it is constantly spinning and is actually responsive. You will immediately feel the engine response and that additional power it provides since it directly measures how far you press the accelerator.

Also, if a supercharger is linked to the engine, the additional power will be felt immediately while providing tremendous boosts to low RPM’s engine. Superchargers are also reliable and inexpensive due to their general construction. It also requires little maintenance since it does not require engine oil.

If the turbochargers have a problem with lag time and the knocking sound, the supercharger’s drawback is the lack of fuel efficiency. Since it uses the engine’s own power in spinning itself, it uses power more and more of it as the engine revolution climbs. This will result in superchargers being less fuel-efficient.


When it comes to boosting your engine, comparing Jeep JK turbo vs. Supercharger can be an excellent topic. For auto manufacturers, turbochargers are their preference because of their fuel-efficient nature. It is more of having fuel efficiency rather than having too much power in your Jeep JK. If you are seeking more on fuel efficiency, then turbochargers should be in your Jeep JK.

However, the best option will always depend on your preference. As vehicle technology evolves quickly, the demand for both the manufacturer and Jeep owners for better power and fuel efficiency will continue. Of course, the manufacturer will look for ways to meet this demand and expectations coming from their customers.

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