Types of Superchargers and Supercharger Manufacturers
The major differences between supercharger manufacturers are the type of superchargers that they produce. There are basically two types of superchargers on the market today, Centrifugal and Twin screw or Roots/rotor style. Manufacturers such as ProCharger and Vortech primarily focus on the centrifugal superchargers, where as Edelbrock, Magnuson and Whipple mainly produce Roots style superchargers. This is not a strict rule. Some of these manufacturers produce multiple types and all make superchargers of many power levels.
There are advantages and drawbacks to both centrifugal and twin screw superchargers, and with manufacturers focusing on their respective choice in supercharger style, it is difficult to find an unbiased and scientific opinion on which configuration and method is best. Please visit the manufacturers’ websites for their specific claims and further explanations of their brand’s particular benefits, and then form your own opinions on types and what that supercharger type’s benefits are for your setup.
External differences in supercharger types
Most roots style or twin screw blowers are considered direct drive as they derive power directly from the engine’s crankshaft via a belt and pulley system. Most often these supercharger kits will replace the factory intake manifold and directly bolt on to the top of the engine. Centrifugal superchargers are also belt driven but are driven via the engine’s serpentine belt system. These are usually front-mounted on the engine bay and work in conjunction with the engine’s current intake manifold setup.
Internal differences in supercharger types
Roots style blowers use their twin screws to directly mechanically compress a fixed volume of air per screw revolution at all speeds. This lessens their effect on the engine at higher rpm’s but increases this blower style’s effectiveness at lower rpm’s. Centrifugal blowers are sometimes referred to as a dynamic superchargers and function by accelerating the air to a high speed. This velocity is then exchanged for pressure when the high speed air mixture builds up in the intake manifold and intake ports of the cylinder heads. The drawback of this style may be felt if manifold pressure builds unevenly. This uneven pressure is sometimes called “supercharger surge” and is felt as the engine accelerates through the power band. Sometime with this type of supercharging a condition similar to “Turbo Lag” is experienced. This can best be described as hitting the gas then getting power vs. helical rotor or roots style blowers that provide power as the pedal is pushed.