Drive With Confidence: The Top 10 Best Go-Kart Engines You Can Depend On!

Best go-kart engine

As exhilarating and fun-filled go-karting is, choosing the best engine cannot be overstated. Selecting the best go-kart engine increases your confidence while racing and promises an elating experience. 

Whether you drive professionally or like to get your hands on parts for a hobby, constructing your go-kart can be enjoyable. Many different engines can be used in a go-kart, and frequently, it can be challenging to decide what type of engine to choose.

So, how do you know what is the best go-kart engine?

The two main factors are deciding which type of go-kart engine you choose to involve your riding style and specific engines’ performance capabilities. You will likely want to find an engine that best fits your needs and desires, so choosing that engine can be quite a task.

Choosing an engine is overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Coming up, we’ll outline the right way to select an engine for your go-kart and hopefully make the process a little less stressful. Please keep reading our guide on choosing the best engine for your go-kart.

Related Article: Discover The 10 Best Off-Road Go-Karts For The Ultimate Adventure!

The Best Go-Kart Engine Review

What makes a go-kart engine great? Is it the power or the reliability? Or maybe, it’s a set of unique features and specifications that attracts you to a certain.

Whatever the reason, you must understand why some engines are more suitable for your go-kart than others, which may involve your riding style rather than performance ratios. So let’s summarize the best go-kart engines, in my opinion, and give you the necessary information to make an informed purchase decision.

Related Article: How Fast Can A Go-Kart Go? Top Speeds Of Different Go-Kart Types

1. Honda GX160 Gas Kart Engine

Honda GX160 Engine Specifications:

  • Engine Type: Air-cooled 4-stroke OHV engine with recoil start
  • Displacement: 196cc 
  • Power: 5.5 HP at 3600rpm, 9.1 ft/lb at 2500rpm
  • Dimensions: 18″ x 15.5″ x 17.5″
  • Weight: 35 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.1L (0.81 gallons)

Honda is known for its great engines and reliability; Honda GX200 is no exception. It offers smooth performance, high-output operations, and excellent fuel efficiency. It consumes about 0.27 gallons of unleaded 86 octanes (or higher) per hour at 3600rpm.

It has a great build and comes with lightweight materials that are easier to maintain. Although it has a heavy-duty recoil starting system, it is user-friendly. The engine’s lightweight and noise-reducing components are also oiled, making it run smoothly and almost silently.

One of this engine’s best features is that it is CARB and EPA-certified; it meets the world’s most stringent environmental legislation, making it highly eco-friendly.

2. DuroMax XP7HPE Gas Kart Engine

DuroMax XP7HPE Engine Specifications:

  • Engine Type: 4 Stroke OHV engine with electronic ignition
  • Displacement: 212cc 
  • Power: 7 HP at 3600rpm, 13.2 Nm / 9.7 ft/lb.
  • Dimensions: 17.3″ x 16.7″ x 17.1″
  • Weight: 46 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.78L (1 gallon)

DuroMax XP7HPE could be considered to be a perfect engine for your go-kart. It is powerful, fuel-efficient, and fully EPA and CARB-compliant; this allows it to be used in all 50 states.

This is a 4-stroke engine that comes with electronic ignition. It also has an E-Z pull recoil starter if you need to start it manually. It produces a maximum output of 7hp at 3600 rpm and 9.7 pounds-feet of torque or 13.2 Nm.

The overhead valve on an engine is designed for better fuel management. Its fuel consumption is about 0.25 gallons per hour at half load. It can run up to 4 hours before refueling with 87-octane gasoline. This makes it suitable for the endurance racing category.

3. Predator 6.5 HP Horizontal Shaft Gas Engine

Predator Engine Specifications:

  • Engine Type: 4 Stroke OHV engine with recoil start
  • Displacement: 212cc 
  • Power: 6.5 HP at 3600rpm, 8.1 ft/lb at 2500rpm
  • Dimensions: 15.4″ x 12.6″ x 13.6″
  • Weight: 37.5 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.4L (0.90 gallons)

Predator 6.5 HP is perfect for beginner and intermediate karts due to its user-friendly controls and operations. Its overhead valve system is designed to reduce fuel consumption, thus making it an efficient engine. This engine is made of cast iron cylinders, making it durable and suitable for all weather conditions.

The Predator 6.5 HP engine produces 6.5 horsepower at 3600 rpm. It has a compression ratio of 8.5:1. It uses 87 or higher octane gas and has an outstanding auto-shutdown sensor feature to protect your kart during transport. It is also EPA and CARB-compliant in 49 states (CA is an exception).

The ball-bearing support shaft is an excellent substitute for most standard engine setups. With its gas-saving feature, purchasing this engine helps you save more.

4. Titan TX200 Powersport Engine

Titan TX200 Engine Specifications:

  • Engine Type: 4 Stroke inline single-stroke engine with a recoil start
  • Displacement: 196cc
  • Power: 6.5 HP at 3600rpm, 10.9 Nm 2500rpm
  • Dimensions: 12.6″ x 14.8″ x 13.6″
  • Weight: 37 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.6L (0.95 gallons)

Titan TX200 is a reliable engine designed based on HondaGX160/200 series engines and is arguably a top contender for the best go-kart engine on this list.

The superior valve design helps reduce air intake and allows more fuel into the 4-stroke cylinder. That extra air intake gives this 196cc 6.5 hp engine up to 10.9 Nm of torque at 2500rpm. These numbers are awe-inspiring for a machine of that size.

Unlike some other engines, Titan TX200 has additional features such as a throttle cable ready, a dual-element air cleaner, and a splash lubrication system. It is fully compatible with GTC torque converters.

What is so great about this engine is that it is incredibly versatile. You can upgrade it up to an insane 26 horsepower.

5. Briggs and Stratton CR950 208cc Engine

Briggs and Stratton CR950 Engine Specifications:

  • Engine Type: 4 Stroke B&S CR Series with magnetron electronic ignition
  • Displacement: 208cc
  • Power: 9.5 HP at 3600rpm, 9.5 ft/lb
  • Dimensions: 12.6″ x 14.8″ x 13.6″
  • Weight: 33 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3L (0.8 gallons)

The Briggs and Stratton CR950 9.5 GT horizontal shaft engine’s design offers dependable power to work through any weather condition. It produces up to 208cc in displacement with a maximum output of 9.5 HP.

The cast-iron cylinder sleeve gives the engine an extended life and protects it from wear, tear, and harsh conditions. Its premium Dual Clean air filtration system and a foam pre-cleaner that prevents dust and dirt from getting trapped in the engine guarantee maintenance-free magnetron electronic ignition.

The controls are user-friendly, ensuring a smooth operation. The overhead valves are durable due to their unique design, which allows for cooler operation. With the excellent features installed into the CR950, you get better value for your money.

6. Lifan LF 168F-2BDQ Gas Kart Engine

Lifan LF 168F-2BDQ Engine Specifications:

  • Engine Type: Industrial grade 4 Stroke OHV single-cylinder with Non-transistorized ignition (TCI)
  • Displacement: 196cc
  • Power: 6.5 HP at 3600rpm, 11 Nm 2500rpm
  • Dimensions: 17″ x 16″ x 17″
  • Weight: 33 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.6L (0.95 gallons)

They are reliable and quiet, and they also have an excellent build. The engine has cast iron sleeves that extend its life. Lifan LF 168F-2BDQ is a better replacement for Honda, Briggs, and Kohler engines, including many other brands. 

It meets the EPA requirement and does not have a degrading environmental impact. The Lifan engine features an electric ignition, which makes it easier to start the kart. It has a maximum output of about 6.5 HP and a displacement of 196cc while producing up to 11 pounds-feet of torque at 2500rpm.

7. Briggs and Stratton 127cc 550 Series Kart Engine 

Briggs and Stratton 550 Specifications:

  • Engine Type: 4 Stroke OHV
  • Displacement: 127cc
  • Power: 3.5 hp
  • Dimensions: 10.3″ x 13.7″ x 12.9″
  • Weight: 28.7 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 0.42 gallons

The Briggs and Stratton 550 Series is the perfect go-kart racing engine for anyone who wants to get the most performance out of their go-kart. This high-efficiency engine features overhead valve technology, allowing for a more compact design and better fuel efficiency. The single-cylinder 4-stroke engine meets the compliance requirements to operate in all 50 states, and its DuraLube™ Splash Lubrication System and Dura-Bore™ cast iron cylinder sleeve keep it running smoothly safely for a long time.

The 550 Series is also great for go-kart racing because of its size-to-performance ratio. Despite its compact size, this engine still delivers a powerful 3.5 hp and has a fuel capacity of 0.42 gallons. The Magnetron electronic ignition system makes starting easy with just a button push.

If you are looking for an engine that can give you the performance and reliability you need for go-kart racing, then the Briggs and Stratton 550 Series is perfect. With its high efficiency, compact design, and reliable components, this engine will surely get you to the finish line quickly.

8. XtremepowerUS 7HP Gas Kart Engine

XtremepowerUS 7HP Specifications:

  • Engine Type: Industrial grade OHV gasoline engine with E-Z Pull Recoil Starter
  • Displacement: 212cc
  • Power: 7 HP at 3600rpm
  • Dimensions: 12.5″ x 15″ x 14.25″
  • Weight: 44 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.6L (0.95 gallons)

The XtremepowerUS 7HP gas engine is a great choice for anyone looking to get into go-karting. This engine features a horizontal keyway shaft and tapered output shaft that provides a smooth running environment and allows it to perform well in all weather conditions. Its cast-iron cylinder frame and low-oil shutdown functionality are incredibly durable and reliable.

The engine is designed to be low-maintenance and fuel efficient. It runs on 87 octanes or higher quality gasoline and has a fuel capacity of one gallon. Not only is it powerful and efficient, but it’s also lightweight at only 38 lbs. Best of all, it’s an affordable entry-level engine that still packs a punch!

If you’re looking for an engine to power your go-kart, look no further than the XtremepowerUS 7HP gas engine. Its durable design, reliability, and power won’t disappoint you. It’s the perfect engine for any beginner or experienced go-kart enthusiast.

9. BILT HARD 212cc

BILT HARD 212cc Specifications:

  • Engine Type: Industrial grade OHV gasoline engine with E-Z Pull Recoil Starter
  • Displacement: 212cc
  • Power: 7 HP at 3600rpm
  • Dimensions: 12.5″ x 15″ x 14.25″
  • Weight: 44 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 0.9 gal

The BILT HARD 212cc engine is an impressive powerhouse that packs a punch. This 4-stroke gas engine has an output of 7 hp, a maximum torque of 8.1 ft-lbs @ 2500 RPM, and is EPA certified, making it eco-friendly and less polluting. It runs at 3,600 rpm and consumes minimal fuel per hour, making it a fuel-efficient choice for go-karts.

 This engine has a range of features that make it reliable and durable. It features lightweight materials, highly lubricated parts for quieter operation, cast-iron sleeves, a fuel shut-off system, automotive grade rods, and an ergonomic, heavy-duty recoil starting system. Unfortunately, this engine does not have an electric starter for added convenience.

 The BILT HARD 212cc engine is a great choice for powering go-karts. It is lightweight, fuel-efficient, eco-friendly, and has all the features you need to take it for a spin. With its impressive 7 hp output, it is sure to give your go-kart a powerful and reliable ride.

10. AlphaWorks 7 HP

AlphaWorks 7 HP Specifications:

  • Engine Type: 4-Stroke OHV
  • Displacement: 209cc
  • Power: 7 hp, 4.3kW/3600RPMs & 8.85Ft-Lbs/12.4Nm of Torque @2500RPMs
  • Dimensions: Universal 4 Bolt Mounting Pattern: 6.38″/162m x 3.17″/80.5mm
  • Weight: 26 Pounds
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 2.6 gallons

The AlphaWorks 7 HP is a great engine for go-kart racing. It’s a mid-range engine with a horizontal cylinder configuration and a 4-stroke OHV. It has a maximum output of 7 hp and a displacement of 209 cc, which makes it perfect for off-road and racing go-karts. It’s also CARB and EPA certified, which is a great bonus.

The engine has a Transistorized Magneto Ignition (TCI) and a forced air-cooled system. This ensures that the engine runs at its optimal temperature for go-kart racing. In addition, the engine has a torque rating of 8.85 ft/lb or 12.4 Nm at 2,500 rpm. It’s also recommended to use 87+ unleaded fuel with a higher than 10% amount of ethanol for optimal performance.

To top it off, the AlphaWorks 7 HP also has an automated engine shut-off sensor to protect the engine in case of low oil levels. All in all, it’s a great engine for go-kart racing, and it has all the features you’d want in a mid-range engine. If you’re looking for a great engine for your go-kart, then the AlphaWorks 7 HP is a great choice.

Read Complete Review

How To Choose The Best Go-Kart Engine

Before making a purchase, you must consider the engine that specifically accommodates your needs, whether you are planning a fun-filled event for your family or want to transition into the professional world. Here are the factors to consider when selecting your engine.

  • Engine Performance
  • Shaft Orientation
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Fuel Capacity
  • Engine Features
  • Price

What is important is that you find a mix of advantages – and possible inevitable disadvantages – that will form your specific choice for an engine.

No matter your reason for utilizing your new go-kart engine, the following information will help you hone in on specific things to know before buying. Some characteristics will significantly improve the performance of your go-kart and its engine. 

Other times, additions will help in a particular field while preventing maximum performance in another.

Related Article: Go-Kart Horsepower – How Much Horsepower Is Enough

Engine’s Performance

The engine’s performance should always be among the most important considerations when choosing an engine. Several factors influence the performance of an engine. These include:

Displacement – The cylinder’s size determines the airflow amount per revolution. A larger cylinder provides more airflow, allowing it to produce more horsepower.

Horsepower – The number of revolutions per second an engine turns over. The bigger the cylinder, the more horsepower it produces.

Torque – The force that drives the pistons back and forth. Higher torque allows the engine to spin up quickly.

Running Speed – How fast the engine runs. The faster the engine spins, the quicker it accelerates.

In addition to these factors, some general rules apply to engines. For example, engines with higher displacements tend to run slower, while smaller cylinders usually provide more horsepower.

Shaft Orientation

You don’t want to buy a kart with the wrong shaft orientation. It could mean trouble down the road. If you’re replacing an old engine with a new one, match the shaft orientation of both engines. Otherwise, you’ll end up having problems later on.

If you’re building a kart from scratch, there are no rules about shaft orientation. You can choose whatever works best for you. But keep in mind that horizontal and vertically oriented engines are different shapes. Horizontal shaft engines tend to be broader and shorter, while vertical shaft engines are narrower and more prolonged.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency directly affects the performance of your go-kart. This is especially important if you’re racing competitively. But it might not be on your list if you use your go-kart for recreation. 

Ideally, an efficient engine could have a fuel consumption rate of 0.25 gallons per hour at half load —generally, the lower the engine’s fuel consumption rate, the greater its efficiency.

Most go-kart engines run on a two-stroke or four-stroke engine. Both engines work better for different circumstances.

  • A two-stroke engine is lightweight and packs a punch over a short amount of time. It uses its fuel for high-speed, short-length runs.
  • A four-stroke engine is typically more massive and more fuel-efficient. It uses its fuel more sparingly but for a more extended amount of time. This is ideal for long, competitive go-kart races.
  • Electric engines are also in the go-kart industry; they are not as popular as you might see in cars and the like.

2-stroke engine

  • Lower efficiency.
  • Due to the pressure on its parts, it is more likely to wear out faster.
  • It provides more power due to quicker combustion.
  • It is lightweight
  • It is easier to maintain and fix.
  • Since the fuel is premixed with oil, burnt oil is released into the atmosphere after combustion.

4-stroke engine

  • Lesser fuel consumption, hence higher efficiency.
  • It is more durable.
  • It combusts less frequently, therefore, does not offer much power.
  • It is heavier due to the additional parts.
  • The presence of the additional components makes it difficult to maintain.
  • More eco-friendly as it does not require premixing.

Fuel Capacity

Again, this is more of a factor for those that race go-karts. Or for anyone that likes taking their go-kart on longer adventures.

  • If competing in a longer race, you will want to find an engine with a larger fuel tank.
  • However, remember that a larger fuel tank – while holding more gasoline – will also weigh your go-kart down more, which you may not want. 
  • Every addition to a go-kart often has an equal but opposite disadvantage. Sometimes you will have to give up one advantage to increase the effects of another.

Engine Features

New engines often have all the components intact: the cylinder, shaft, fuel tank, oil tank, etc. However, some kart engines have extra details and features that improve your karting experience. 

You might also consider some of these excellent features when scouting for a quality engine.

  • EPA & CARB certification (ensure the engine meets the emission standards, hence promoting a much more sustainable environment)
  • Optimal fuel efficiency (save you from having to refuel frequently)
  • Overhead valve design (also helps with gas-saving and a more relaxed run)
  • Throttle-ready
  • Automatic shutdown sensor (alert you of a drop in oil level)
  • Electric starter (make it easier to start your kart)

Although these additional features are not compulsory, they improve your karting experience.


Your budget is crucial in determining the kind of kart engine to purchase. New engines are quite pricey, so you have to be realistic when deciding to get one. However, a few inexpensive brands can align you with the best engines for your budget.

We advise purchasing a new engine to avoid overspending on maintenance and get the best out of an existing engine. The price range for a karting engine is determined by its features and the experience level it handles.

Understanding Basic Engine Specifications

Go-karts are a fun and exhilarating way to get around, but choosing the right engine for your go-kart can be tricky. Understanding the specifications of an engine is key to selecting the right one. The two most important specs to look at are the RPM and torque.


RPM stands for rotations per minute and measures how fast an engine’s shaft spins. This is important because the faster the crankshaft spins, the faster your go-kart will move. Generally, go-kart engines are set to a maximum of 3600 RPM. Modifying the engine to increase this number can improve the top speed, void your warranty, and damage the engine.


Another important specification to consider is torque. Torque is the rotational force of the engine, and the more torque it produces, the greater the acceleration. This is especially important if you plan to drive your go-kart on off-road tracks or up hills. The power of an engine is simply the RPM multiplied by the torque. A higher power output means more work can be done in less time.


When choosing an engine for your go-kart, consider the engine’s RPM, torque, and power. Tillotson and Predator engines are great choices for any modifications, but read the warranty and be aware of any possible damages to the engine. You can find the perfect engine for your go-kart with some research and an understanding of engine specifications.


As you can see, there are several things to consider before and during buying go-kart racing engines. Many options exist, from specific styles to personal preferences to overall quality. 

Remember that sticking to your preferences and any league requirements are the best things to remember when choosing your go-kart racing engine name. Reviews and reputation can also be beneficial. Hopefully, this article simplified what can frequently be a stressful process for fellow go-karters.

Go-karting is an exciting venture to immerse yourself in, and familiarizing yourself with all the parts involved can be just as fun. However, how to choose those parts is also equally important.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a good go-kart engine?

A good engine should balance power, speed, and fuel efficiency. It should also be reliable and durable, with features such as cast iron cylinder sleeves and splash lubrication systems. Lifan LF 168F 2BDQ is an example of a good engine that provides power and fuel efficiency.

What are the top recommended go-kart engines?

Briggs and Stratton, Predator engines, and Duromax XP7HPE are among the powerful and top-recommended go-kart engines for their high speed and performance.

What should I look for in a go-kart engine?

When choosing a go-kart engine, consider power and speed requirements, fuel efficiency, durability and reliability, ease of use and maintenance, and cost-to-performance ratio. Other important features include air cooling systems, throttle cable readiness, and electric ignition.

How much horsepower should a go-kart engine have?

The horsepower needed depends on weight, terrain, and desired speed. Generally, a go-kart engine should have at least 6.5 horsepower for a standard kart.

What is the difference between a vertical shaft and a horizontal shaft engine for go-karts?

Vertical shaft engines are designed to work with equipment that uses a vertical output shaft, while horizontal shaft engines are designed for equipment with a horizontal output shaft. When choosing an engine for your go-kart, consider the shaft orientation of your existing motor to ensure compatibility.

What are some fuel-efficient go-kart engines?

Lifan LF 168F 2BDQ is a fuel-efficient go-kart engine that can save on fuel consumption rates. Other fuel-efficient options include engines with dual-element air cleaners and forced air-cooled systems.

What are the benefits of having an electric start ignition in a go-kart engine?

An electric start ignition in a go-kart engine provides ease of use and convenience, eliminating the need for manual starting. This feature can be especially beneficial for beginners.

Should I choose a go-kart engine with a cast iron cylinder sleeve or a lightweight material?

Engines with cast iron cylinder sleeves are generally more durable and can withstand harsh conditions, while engines with lightweight materials can provide increased speed and performance. Consider your needs and priorities when choosing between the two.

How important is the air cooling system in a go-kart engine?

The cooling system prevents the engine from overheating and improves overall performance. Forced air-cooled and intake systems can help improve the system’s efficiency.

Are there any EPA-certified go-kart engines available?

Yes, several EPA-certified go-kart engines are available that meet emission standards and regulations. Tillotson engines are a good example of go-kart racing engines that are EPA certified.


Goran, a seasoned go-kart racer and enthusiast, is the driving force behind Through his writing, he seeks to share his passion for go-karts and provide valuable insights, tips, and information to others who share his love for this thrilling hobby. He is dedicated to helping the go-kart community grow and is grateful for the support he has received. By visiting, you can join Goran on his go-karting journey and learn more about this exciting sport.

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