Efficiency Means Power

All Vortech superchargers are equipped with a true high-efficiency compressor stage. This gives you the highest power gain possible at any boost pressure you choose. (View)

At Vortech, we don't just make up numbers. We test each supercharger for efficiency in our SAE J-1723 compliant test cell. (View)

Advanced modeling tools such as CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) allow each Vortech supercharger to be designed for maximum possible performance before being tested for further optimization. (View)

This compressor map shows data we obtained from a test on an actual SCi-Trim supercharger - not made-up numbers. (View)

The YSi-Trim compressor map shows exactly why this supercharger can't be beat by any other compact blower. It has an industry-leading peak efficiency of 78%. (View)

The Si-Trim impeller allows for a peak efficiency of 78% on most Vortech street-legal supercharging systems. This provides power output of 600+HP at only 7.5-8.5 PSI (safe boost) on a stock 2011 Mustang GT. (View)

The Vortech V-28 123A-Trim (81% peak efficiency) allows racers such as Chris Alston Jr. to make more horsepower and run faster ET's than competitors who are using even more boost. Recent accomplishments include a 6.719 @ 212.66 MPH pass in PSCA Outlaw 10.5. (View)

The Most Efficient Supercharger is the Best Supercharger

Have you ever wondered why some superchargers make more horsepower than others? Have you spent countless hours looking at dyno sheets, trying to figure out which type of supercharger you need in order to reach the power levels you want?

With all the hype out there, it can be hard to tell what really matters. How can you tell which blower will give you better numbers? What is it that makes the difference?

The answer is actually quite simple: efficiency. When you are comparing one supercharger to another, look for the model that gives you the highest efficiency at the boost pressure and flowrate that you want. This is the supercharger that will give you the most power.

Of course, there are many factors that can affect overall power ouput of a supercharged engine (charge cooling, ducting, tuning, additional modifications), which sometimes makes it difficult to compare apples to apples. The key is to make sure that you are using the best supercharger - the one with the highest compressor efficiency. It will always be more efficient than any other blower out there, no matter what else you have under your hood.

If you're thinking of going with another brand because you saw somebody's car make a lot of horsepower with more aggressive tuning and some engine mods, keep in mind that you could do the same thing with a Vortech supercharger and make even more power.

Don't Waste Your Horsepower

A supercharger adds power to an engine, of course, but it also takes some power away (it has to do that in order to make boost). And some superchargers take away a lot more than others, even at the same boost pressure.

Higher efficiency means a supercharger takes less power away from your engine, while lower efficiency means that it takes more power away. Vortech superchargers have always been known for their exceptionally low parasitic power drag - their ability to make a lot of boost without consuming as much power as other types of superchargers. And guess what? It's the high efficiency that allows a Vortech supercharger to do its job without taking away all of that extra power.

It all comes down to getting what you pay for. When you pay for a supercharger, you pay a lot. Not just out of your wallet, but off of your drive shaft as well. If you're not using a Vortech supercharger, you aren't getting all of the horsepower that you paid for - you're losing some of it due to low efficiency.

Higher Efficiency, Less Heat, More HP

When you want to maximize horsepower, you need the coolest possible discharge temperature that you can get out of your supercharger. The hotter the air you put into your engine, the less horsepower it puts out. This is where efficiency really comes into play.

Whenever a supercharger makes boost, it also makes heat. For example, if a certain supercharger is 65% efficient at a given pressure/flow point, you could say that it loses the other 35% as heat at that point. This temperature rise is a normal part of the compression process (no supercharger is 100% efficient).

As another example, let's say that you need your supercharger to make about 9.5 PSI at 1100 CFM on your engine. A Vortech V-7 YSi-Trim supercharger does this at 78% efficiency (as shown on the compressor map), meaning that only 22% is going to turn to heat if you're using this model. That's going to give you a major advantage over the guy in the other lane.

Now, let's say you're using another brand of supercharger, one that operates at 58% efficiency at the same operating point - 42% is going to turn to heat with this supercharger - that's almost double the temperature rise. And that's being generous - a lot of superchargers out there will only give you 50% efficiency or less.

It's this type of efficiency advantage that gives Vortech-powered cars the ability to consistently outperform others on the dragstrip. Other blowers simply generate too much heat. That's why they can't compete in classes like NMRA EFI/Renegade, where a charge cooler can't be used to compensate for the temperature rise. In fact, the winner in this class (along with the majority of the other racers) is almost always powered by a Vortech YSi-Trim supercharger.

Real Power

These days, there are a lot of options out there when you're looking for boost. We want you to know what real power feels like. Maybe you've already installed another blower, one that gives you a few pounds of boost when you want to make some smoke at a stoplight. Sure, you may be able to break loose the tires with just throttle, but most of the vehicles we're talking about can already do that - even without a supercharger.

What we're talking about is real power - the kind that pulls like a banshee after your tires hook up, where you want your engine to really pull. So, does what you have now feel disappointing? It should.

Yea, we're talking about all those Roots-based kits out there. Those are the ones that seem to "lay down" or go flaccid when it really counts. Right when you're expecting greatness, you get squat.

OK, it's not really squat, it's heat, and lots of it. Some Roots-type blowers (we can't call 'em compressors because they're not) do as good a job as a heater as they do as a supercharger. At higher pressures they can have an adiabatic efficiency below 50% which means that half of the drive power is making heat rather than pressure. Some units are an improvement, but still can't compare with a good twin screw, let alone a proper centrifugal supercharger.

Did we say good or proper? Oh, that's because when you're designing and developing turbomachinery you are going to need some really good tools and some real talent to achieve the performance and efficiency that you'll find in a Vortech compressor.

Better Engineering, Better Superchargers

How can a Vortech supercharger reach 78% efficiency where others only make it to 50%? At Vortech, we actually have real Engineers - people who know how to properly design, develop and test a centrifugal compressor. We have all the modeling tools, including CFD (computational fluid dynamics) software. This allows us to design to a reasonably high degree of accuracy before even going into the test cell.

But what really matters is the actual testing. We have real test equipment, most importantly a compressor test stand that allows us to accurately measure and record the performance characteristics of each supercharger design.

Real Testing

At Vortech, we didn't just wake up one day and decide to start calling our blowers efficient. We've been testing for it all along.

Here's how we do it: By measuring the temperature rise that our superchargers produce at a series of pressure/flow points, we are able to calculate efficiency to a high degree of accuracy throughout the full operating range of a compressor. This allows us to choose the best possible design out of numerous iterations, resulting in an end product that is optimized to provide the highest possible performance for a given operating range.

This translates to maximum efficiency and maximum horsepower on your engine, at your boost pressure.

At Vortech, only the absolute best designs end up making it through to production. Most blower manufacturers aren't able to test their products anywhere near as well as we do. They can only shoot from the hip. They'll just pick an impeller design that sort-of works, throw it into a blower, and ship it to their customers, hoping that nobody will be able to tell the difference.

Real Numbers

So, by now you should know to look for efficiency when you look for a supercharger. That's a good start, but there is more you need to know.

There are some other supercharger companies who have caught on to this whole "efficiency" thing, and they like the way it sounds. It sounds so good that they've decided to say their products are efficient, too. Some even go the whole nine yards and say that their blowers are more efficient than anything else, even ours.

How can there be fifteen different types of blowers on the market, each being more efficient than all of the others? If we're talking about peak efficiency, or efficiency at a given operating point, that's impossible. Only one compressor can be the most efficient at a given pressure/flow combination.

So let's get real. What's the best way to tell how efficient a supercharger really is? By looking at the compressor map. If you look closely at the YSi-Trim compressor map, you will see the number 78ηc (meaning 78% efficiency) marked in an "efficiency island" in the middle of the map, along with other areas marked 77ηc, 75ηc, 70ηc and so on, indicating the efficiency of the compressor at various operating points. These numbers came from real, actual test data, obtained in our test cell and corrected to SAE standard J-1723. It would be hard to fake something like this - that's why most of our competitors can't give you a compressor map on their superchargers.

We have lots of compressor maps for you to look at. Efficiency ratings are also published on our supercharger comparison chart.

Why does the test standard matter? Because that's how you know the numbers are real. If somebody gives you data that doesn't comply with a standard, you don't know what it means. What type of test equipment was used? How was it calibrated? Did they test the blower in a garage where the temperature was 120 degrees? Or was it 50 degrees? Was it humid or dry? Was it tested in Denver, at a mile of elevation, or at sea level? Different conditions and equipment will yield different numbers. The J-1723 standard defines how a test is to be performed and how the observed efficiency is to be corrected to standard conditions. Read our White Paper (PDF) On the Subject of Supercharger Testing and Compressor Efficiency for more details.

Real Performance

In the real world, real efficiency is what gives you real power and real performance. When we say the real world, we mean anywhere in the actual, physically real world. Whether it's in a test cell, on a dyno, on the street, or on the dragstrip, it's all the same. Efficiency is what matters.

On the dragstrip, this translates to non-stop record-setting 1/4-mile passes, repeat season championships, and domination in 5 classes with 4 different supercharger models at a single event.

On the street and on the dyno it means insane horsepower at moderate boost levels - numbers you could only get with a Vortech supercharger.

Now that you know what efficiency is all about, you should know what to look for the next time you see a supercharger being hyped as the greatest thing ever. Ask somebody what the efficiency is. Ask if the numbers came from an actual test. Ask if they used a test standard. See if they can give you a compressor map (not just a dyno sheet).

In reality, all the hype in the world can't stand up to a legitimate, well-designed, high-efficiency supercharger that has been rigorously tested and proven. Anybody can make up a number and use it to try to sell you a supercharger, but they'll have a hard time proving it to you as long as you know what a real compressor map looks like.

The kind of efficiency, power and performance to believe in is the kind that you know is real. You'll know you've made the right choice the next time you look in your rear view mirror and see one of those poor guys who bought into all the hype, wondering why his blower always gives up when it really counts.