Predator 212 Hemi vs Non-Hemi: What’s the Difference?

The Predator 212 engine is arguably one of the most popular go-kart engines available on the market and is also used to power many other types of recreational vehicles, tools and equipment. Although not many people are aware of it, there are different versions of this Predator engine: a hemi and non-hemi. 

The main differences between the Predator 212 hemi vs non-hemi, is that the hemi version features a hemispherical chamber and piston head design that slightly increases the output and the top speed of the engine by about 2 – 3%. However, the non-hemi model offers better part compatibility and modding options.

In this review and guide, I’ll be showing you an in-depth comparison between both of these Predator 212 variants. We’ll go through some of the important similarities and differences so that you’ll be able to find out which version (hemi vs non-hemi) is the right one for you!

Predator 212 Hemi

Predator 212 Hemi Specifications:

  • Chamber Design: Hemi
  • Output: 6.5 hp
  • Displacement: 212cc
  • Torque: 8.1 ft-lb (@ 2,500 rpm)
  • Shaft Diameter: 3/4″
  • Weight: 37.5 lbs (17 kg)

Predator 212 Non-Hemi

Predator 212 Non-Hemi Specifications:

  • Chamber Design: Hemi
  • Output: 6.5 – 6.8 hp
  • Displacement: 212cc
  • Torque: 8.1 ft-lb (@ 2,500 rpm)
  • Shaft Diameter: 3/4″
  • Weight: 37.5 lbs (17 kg)

Both the Predator 212 hemi and non-hemi engines are one of the most popular go-kart engines around and are known to have a great cost-to-performance ratio. 

The first important thing to note is that there are three different types of Predator 212 engines, the hemi, non-hemi and non-hemi EPA. Click here for a list of all the Predator 212 model numbers for reference.

All of these Predator variants (Hemi vs Non-Hemi) have a displacement of 212cc that delivers a torque of 8.1 ft-lb @ 2,500 rpm. While both the hemi and non-hemi models have a rated output of 6.5 hp, the hemi seems to have a slightly higher actual output of up to about 0.3 hp.

Both the hemi and the non-hemi Predator 212 engines are great for go-karts, as they feature a horizontal crankshaft, offer great value (good cost-to-performance ratio) and are compatible with various parts, mods and upgrades.

Similarities & Differences Between the Predator 212 Hemi vs Non-Hemi

In this section we’ll go through some of the similarities and differences between the Predator 212 hemi model and the Predator 212 non-hemi model. Specifically, we’ll discuss how they compare in terms of appearance, chamber design, specifications, performance, top speed, size, weight, availability, modifications and price.

Model Number

The first noticeable difference is the model number of the engine, which is indicated on the front of the recoil starter under the “212cc” badge as “Item”. Here is a list of the different model numbers. 

  • Predator 212 Hemi Number: 60363
  • Predator 212 Non-Hemi Number: 69730 
  • Predator 212 Non-Hemi EPA Number: 69727 (for use in California)
predator 212 part item number

So, if you have a Predator 212 engine (hemi version), then you’ll see the item number 60363. Conversely, the Predator 212 engine (non-hemi version), would have the item number 69730. 

There is also a model with the item number 6972, which is an EPA version that is fit for use in the state of California. 

Appearance

Although the hemi and non-hemi models may look the same, there are several distinctive visual differences between the two. Let’s explore them in more detail. 

Valve Cover

The first visual difference between both of these engines is the valve cover. The hemi and the non-hemi models have a different valve cover that is easily distinguishable. 

predator 212 hemi cover
Predator 212 Hemi Valve Cover
predator 212 non-hemi cover
Predator 212 Non-Hemi Valve Cover

As you can see from the images above, the Predator 212 hemi engine has a valve cover that is matt in finish and rectangular design. On the other hand, the non-hemi engine model features a valve cover that is octagonal in shape and has a glossy finish. Both engines have the overhead valve (OHV) abbreviation embossed on the valve cover. 

Air Filter Housing

Another visible difference is the air filter housing. Below you’ll see a snapshot of both engines. 

Predator 212 Hemi air filter housing
Predator 212 Hemi Air Filter Housing
Predator 212 non-Hemi air filter housing
Predator 212 Non-Hemi Air Filter Housing

As you can see, the air filter housing of the non-hemi Predator 212 engine is curved at the back and is slightly taller. On the other hand, the hemi version features an air filter housing that is more squarish in design with less of a curvature at the back.  

Chamber Design

On the left side, you’ll see the Predator 212 non-hemi engine that shows a flathead piston design and a flat chamber. On the right side of the illustration you’ll be able to see the Predator 212 hemi model.

predator 212 chamber design
A comparison of the chamber and piston head design between both engines

What’s immediately noticeable is the difference between the chamber and the piston of both engines. This is also where the hemi model get’s its name from – it features a hemispherical chamber, whereby the piston is angled instead of flat. 

The hemi-head design enables it to experience less heat and energy loss during its combustion cycle, which ultimately gives it slightly more power and output.

Specifications

Below you’ll find a list of the specifications, comparing the hemi and non-hemi engine. In this comparison, you’ll see that they pretty much have the same specification, apart from some of the performance related measurements, which we’ll get into a little later. 

 Predator 212 (Non-Hemi)Predator 212 (Hemi)Difference
Combustion ChamberNon-HemisphericalHemisphericalHemispherical Chamber and Piston Head Design
Output6.5 hp6.5 - 6.8 hp+0 - 0.3 hp
Top Speed25 - 35 mph25 - 37 mph+ 2-3%
Cycle4-Stroke4-Stroke-
Displacement212cc212cc-
Torque8.1 ft-lb
(@ 2,500 rpm)
8.1 ft-lb
(@ 2,500 rpm)
-
Mounting Pattern
(LxW)
6.40" x 2.95" to 3.17
(162mm x 75.5mm to 80.5mm)
6.40" x 2.95" to 3.17
(162mm x 75.5mm to 80.5mm)
-
Sound Rating104 dB104 dB-
Dimensions
(LxWxH)
15.4" x 12.6" x 13.6"15.4" x 12.6" x 13.6"-
Weight37.5 lbs (17 kg)37.5 lbs (17 kg)-
Shaft Diameter3/4" (19.05 mm)3/4" (19.05 mm)-
Shaft Length2.43" (61.7 mm)2.43" (61.7 mm)-
Stroke Length55 mm (2.12")55 mm (2.12")-
Bore70 mm (2.76")70 mm (2.76")-

Performance

As having previously alluded to, a hemispherical chamber design with angled pistons typically allows for lower heat dissipation inside the combustion chamber making the combustion cycle more effective. 

Although, it must be said that there is only a limited performance gain from the Predator 212 hemi model out of the box. Having tested both of these engines the hemi version did provide a slightly increased output of up to about 0.3 hp more than the non-hemi version. 

Top Speed

As the increased output of the Predator 212 hemi is slightly higher than the non-hemi, it also gives it a small advantage when it comes to top speed. Having mounted both types of engines on a go-kart, I’ve encountered the following results:

  • Predator 212 Non-Hemi Top Speed: 25 – 35 mph 
  • Predator 212 Hemi Top Speed: 25 – 37 mph 

It turns out that the hemi version may have an almost negligible increase in top speed that amounts to about 1 – 2 mph more than the non-hemi version. Take note that the actual top speed depends on various other factors such as go-kart weight, tire dimensions, gear ratio, aerodynamics and more. 

Size & Weight

Although both types of Predator 212 engines may have differences in terms of external characteristics and performance (even though only minimal), they are identical in terms of size and weight. 

Both engines have the same mounting pattern dimensions, which are 6.40″ x 2.95″ to 3.17 (162 mm x 75.5 mm to 80.5 mm) and overall engine dimensions, which are 15.4″ x 12.6″ x 13.6″. They also weigh the same: 37.5 lbs (17 kg).

Availability

While all of the Predator 212 engine variants are available for purchase, it seems that the most common model is the non-hemi version. They seem to be much easier to find, so there’s no wonder why they also seem to be more popular. 

Also take note that if you’re planning to buy a Predator 212 engine and are located in the state of California, you’ll need to ensure that it’s a non-hemi EPA certified model (Item: 69727). 

Modifications

When it comes to engine modifications, the Predator 212 non-hemi model is the clear winner, as it has way more modifications and upgrades available for it. While the hemi engine also has several mod kits and upgrades available they are slightly harder to find. 

Another important aspect is the type of modifications. For example Predator hemi engines have the following valve spring upgrades: 18lbs, 22 lbs and 26 lbs. The non-hemi has all of those including the 36 lbs valve spring. 

This also goes for several other types of internal and external components, as well as modifications. In that sense, the mod potential for the non-hemi predator engine is much better. Feel free to check out my guide on Predator 212 engine mods for more information. 

Price

Both the Predator hemi and non-hemi models are about the same price, as the differences are mainly the chamber and piston head design, as well as other small component differences (air filter).  

Verdict

So, it all comes down to this question. In the battle between the Predator 212 hemi vs non-hemi engine, which one is the better one? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. Here’s why!

If you’re looking for a faster engine out of the box, then you may get a slight advantage out of the Predator hemi engine. On the other hand, if you’re looking for better part compatibility and mod potential, then the Predator 212 non-hemi would be the better model for you. 

However, you should know that both engines are great and are one of the best engines for go-karts. Find out what aspects of this comparison are most important to you and you’ll know which one is the most suitable engine variant for you. 

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