Previously, we covered the difference between a turbo and a supercharger, but we didn’t get into lag between the two as one of our readers pointed out. We decided to create a new post about this, because turbo lag and what causes it can be a whole discussion in itself. However, there is a misconception that only turbo setups have “lag”, and that a supercharger does not have any lag. We’ll explain here a bit further.
What is turbo lag?
Turbo lag is simply the amount of time required for the turbo to spool up and hit max boost. During a race, when both cars hit the gas at the same time, the one with a turbo will require a second or more until their engine produces maximum power from the turbo boost.
How can you reduce turbo lag?
There’s no real way to reduce turbo lag except to properly size your turbo to your engine. There are some small ways you can reduce turbo lag, but if you put a big turbo on a small engine, there’s no way to avoid it easily. This is one of the reason that factory turbos are generally so small. The smaller turbo spools up quicker, and has more power available than a bigger turbo, but has much less top end power than said big turbo.
If a turbo has lag, a supercharger doesn’t, right?
The thought is that people want to go with a supercharger because it doesn’t have any of the lag associated with having a turbo. However, this is actually not true. Superchargers still require to be at a certain rotational speed until they are able to produce maximum boost. Until you hit that max boost, there is still that dreaded lag.
We could keep talking about turbo lag and supercharger lag forever, and there are many cases where you can use a dual turbo/supercharger setup, or nitrous/turbo setup to reduce lag, but in the end, there is still that lag that you have to overcome. However, with that said, we still love our boost!
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