- Roots blower — This is the familiar type of rotary blower seen atop classic AA Fuel dragster engines. A pair of rotating meshing lobes sweep air through a vaguely figure-8-shaped casing. This is called a "positive displacement" blower because each rotation delivers a geometrically fixed volume of air or mixture. Roots blowers are relatively simple but are inefficient because they do not compress air – they deliver it at atmospheric pressure.
- Vane blower — This too is a positive displacement machine, but in it, a radially slotted cylindrical rotor, offset inside a cylindrical housing, carries radial vanes in its slots. As the offset rotor turns, the vanes move in and out in their slots to keep their tips in contact with the inside of the housing. The volume between vanes varies as the rotor turns. By placing an intake where volume is increasing, and an outlet where volume is at a minimum, air or mixture can be drawn into the machine, compressed, and delivered to the engine.
Centrifugal blower — A fast-spinning disc carrying radial vanes on one or both of its faces is contained in a close-fitting housing. Air enters on the central axis of the disc, is accelerated and flung outward by its vanes, acquiring the velocity of the tips of the radial vanes. Surrounding the housing is a scroll-shaped diffuser, in which the fast-moving air (tip speeds of 1100 ft./sec. are typical) is decelerated to convert its kinetic energy into pressure. Centrifugal blowers can be highly efficient but their output rises steeply with impeller rpm. This is called a dynamic machine because its output pressure depends not on geometry but on velocity. Kawasaki's recent H2-R employs a gear-driven centrifugal supercharger.
Piston compressor — Once common but little-used today for supercharging is the piston compressor. The German DKW firm used piston compressors in some of its successful prewar racing two-strokes. Two-stroke engines of the 1975-2001 Grand Prix era used the undersides of their power pistons as scavenge pumps, delivering mixture compressed in their crankcases. Basically, picture most any air compressor you'd buy to drive your nail gun or impact wrench.
Axial flow compressor – air gains energy by passing through 7 – 12 alternating rows or stages of rotating and non-rotating circular arrays of vanes. Although commonly employed as the compressors on jet engines, axial flow machines have occasionally been used as superchargers.