Tech Tip: Turbos vs Roots vs Centrifugal

Superchargers and turbochargers are all the rage right now. Something about cramming as much air into your engine as possible just makes sense. Now, two things likely come to mind when people think of forced induction: turbos or roots style blowers. But what if we told you that centrifugal offers some serious benefits over the competition?

OK, a blower standing through the hood of your ride is just about the coolest thing in the world. It scares children and keeps red light warriors from messing around too much. But like anything else, nothing is perfect and there are some drawbacks to this type of setup. The first one to address is obviously the weight. They are big bad units, and big and bad translates to heavy. As mean looking as they are, a blower can be seen from miles away, so everyone knows you’ve got a lot of snot packed under the hood of your street machine—that’s not always a good thing. Third, and let’s be honest, they can be kind of hard to see around.

Another Viable Option

But there is another way, and it’s the choice of masterminds over at Vortech who have been perfecting their craft for nearly 30 years now. Centrifugal superchargers are perfect for guys looking to get boost without dealing with these major obstacles.

Vortech is no new-age brand. They’ve been in the industry since 1990, putting them on the front line of centrifugal supercharger development. Vortech’s include individual units and complete kits, which means you can pitch the line to an array of customers regardless of their project. Centrifugal superchargers share the same fundamentals as other forms of forced induction but with their own unique approach.

Why Centrifugal?

In the world of boost, there are a few reasons to go to a centrifugal supercharger over other forms of forced induction. To get a pro’s opinion on the matter, we spoke with Paul Luasiewicz, the owner and operator of Muscle Cars Unlimited based in Keyport NJ. Luasiewicz has been in the business for 20+ years, turning wrenches on some of the “baddest” and most spectacular cars to hit pavement.


“You could put a centrifugal supercharger in a car with little-to-no modification of the vehicle itself,” said Luasiewicz. He added that this is the case for most superchargers, but it holds particularly true when it comes to this type of centrifugal supercharger, which sits within the engine bay in line with the accessories. No holes or major overhauling is required to make for a good fit.

Another key benefit Luasiewicz highlighted is the ease of dialing the engine with one of these units installed. “You’re blowing the charge through the carb; it’s easier to tune and the key to making power is a good tune.” You can hear a distinct surge when listening to serious machines with roots style blowers sitting on top. This sound has its place. But when building a street car, it’s not exactly desirable. Instead Luasiewicz likes to set his street cars up with a nice, smooth idle. And centrifugal superchargers are the way to make this happen—it’s mean, but it ain’t lean. Luasiewicz prefers to keep the perfect formula of fuel and air running and when you’re talking forced induction, the blow-through style admittedly makes that much easier.

Turbo Boost

So, what about turbos, you ask? They share many of the same characteristics as a centrifugal supercharger but have no parasitic drag on the engine. “I like centrifugal because there’s no lag. You’re not waiting for the turbos to spool up to make power. It’s like pulling a cat’s tale,” he said. Not to mention, turbos require major modifications to the exhaust, thus driving up the expense. For a full turbos vs superchargers breakdown, visit here.

Add-On Sales

Let the educational breakdown above influence your sales pitch. Vortech does an awesome job at putting together complete kits for modern, classic, and even foreign applications, which sets any shop up for add-on sales. The centrifugal supercharger kit is a great opportunity to push other big-ticket items that will keep customers happy and ring the cash register.

The first and easiest add-on sale is for the classic street rod customer. These kits work to push air through the carburetor, which means a blow-through set up will be a must otherwise they’re going to have a few major issues. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to pick up a carb to work with the small block Chevy blower you’re throwing up on the shelf. Remember, a blow-through carb is for a centrifugal or turbocharger setup. With roots, you are pulling air through the carb and with these forced induction types, you’re forcing it through the carb. Either requires a special carb, but the designs may be a bit different.

Intercoolers and water-meth injection are the next logical step if a customer is looking to make big power. Keep that customer on the hook by acknowledging it’s a pricey upgrade but that the results are second-to-none. And if you’re interested in pushing this sale, don’t give up if it’s not made with the blower itself. Give it a few months and when your customer is itching for more power, they’ll take you up on that offer.

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