Both mechanisms have one main purpose; to increase the overall power of your vehicle by significantly adding horsepower. However each product functions in complete diverse ways.
What a turbocharger does is that it simply takes in the air and compresses it prior to it being injected into the engine. What this does is that it forces more air into the engine, which means that it would automatically inject more fuel, which in return would increase the power. Turbocharger works off the exhaust emitted from your vehicle. The turbocharger is mounted onto the exhaust manifold, and is driven by the exhaust itself. The way it functions is that on one side of the turbocharger, the exhaust is being rushed through a tube which has in place a turbine inside. As the turbine spins, the air coming in through the air-intake is being compressed and thrust into the engine. Now sometimes, depending on your turbocharger, the air can be compressed to a point where the air travelling into the engine will be going in hot. This will cause the engine to “knock” which can result in internal damage to your motor. To avoid this problem, you can install an, Intercooler, which is a cooling system that is installed between the way OUT of the turbocharger and the way IN the motor (I will provide more information about intercoolers in future posts).
A supercharger does the exact same thing, yet it is operated in a different way. A supercharger is also an add-on to your engine but that is installed differently. A supercharger will usually be installed on top of your engine if possible or to the side. Contrary to the turbocharger, the supercharger is driven by a belt that is coupled to the engine. The good thing about this is that you will get power right away from your supercharger. But on the downside, you do not get all the power promised by the manufacturer. The reason behind this is that it actually takes power from your engine in order to operate the supercharger. Suppose you have 200 horsepower in your stock engine, and you want to add a supercharger that will add 50 horsepower to your engine. You will have to use up an estimated 10 HP in order to drive the supercharger. So theoretically your vehicle will only gain 40 HP.