What is The Best Go-Kart Engine to Beat the Competition?

Best go-kart engine

Go-karting is fun, and having the best engine makes it even more exciting. Picking the right engine gives you confidence and a great experience, ensuring your go-kart performs optimally.

Building a go-kart can be a fun project for both professionals and hobbyists. With many engines to choose from, it might seem challenging to find the perfect one. However, you can make an informed decision by considering your riding style and the performance of different engines.

Best Overall
DuroMax XP7HPE 208cc Electric Start Gas Powered, 50 State Approved, Multi-Use Engine Blue
Best Premium Option
Briggs and Stratton 13R232-0001-F1 Engine,Black,14.5 x 12 x 13.5 inches
Best Affordable Option
Predator 6.5 HP 212cc OHV Horizontal Shaft Gas Engine - NOT Certified for California; Fuel Shut Off...
DuroMax XP7HPE 208cc Electric Start Gas Powered, 50 State Approved, Multi-Use Engine Blue
Briggs and Stratton 13R232-0001-F1 Engine,Black,14.5 x 12 x 13.5 inches
Predator 6.5 HP 212cc OHV Horizontal Shaft Gas Engine - NOT Certified for California; Fuel Shut Off...
Best Overall
DuroMax XP7HPE 208cc Electric Start Gas Powered, 50 State Approved, Multi-Use Engine Blue
DuroMax XP7HPE 208cc Electric Start Gas Powered, 50 State Approved, Multi-Use Engine Blue
Best Premium Option
Briggs and Stratton 13R232-0001-F1 Engine,Black,14.5 x 12 x 13.5 inches
Briggs and Stratton 13R232-0001-F1 Engine,Black,14.5 x 12 x 13.5 inches
Best Affordable Option
Predator 6.5 HP 212cc OHV Horizontal Shaft Gas Engine - NOT Certified for California; Fuel Shut Off...
Predator 6.5 HP 212cc OHV Horizontal Shaft Gas Engine - NOT Certified for California; Fuel Shut Off...

Don’t worry; choosing an engine doesn’t have to be hard. This guide will help simplify the process and show you how to pick the right engine for your go-kart. Keep reading to learn more about choosing the best go-kart engine.

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

The Best Go-Kart Racing 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 engines are renowned for reliability, and the GX200 is no exception. This powerful engine delivers smooth performance, high-output operations, and fuel efficiency. It consumes approximately 0.27 gallons of unleaded 86 octanes (or higher) fuel per hour at 3600rpm.

The GX200 boasts a robust build and lightweight materials that are easy to maintain. Despite its heavy-duty recoil starting system, the engine remains user-friendly. Its lightweight, noise-reducing components are also lubricated, ensuring smooth and near-silent operation.

One of the standout features of this motor is its CARB and EPA certification, meeting the world’s strictest environmental regulations and making it an eco-friendly choice for go-kart racers.

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)

The DuroMax XP7HPE could be the ideal engine for you. Boasting power, fuel efficiency, and full EPA and CARB compliance, this engine is suitable for use in all 50 states.

This 4-stroke motor features electronic ignition and an E-Z pull recoil starter for manual starting when needed. It delivers a maximum output of 7hp at 3600 rpm and generates 9.7 pounds-feet of torque or 13.2 Nm.

The engine’s overhead valve design enhances fuel management, consuming approximately 0.25 gallons per hour at half load. Capable of running up to 4 hours before needing to refuel with 87-octane gasoline, the DuroMax XP7HPE is well-suited for endurance racing.

3. Predator 6.5 HP 212cc 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)

This engine 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 with 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)

The TX200 is a dependable motor inspired by the Honda GX160/200 series engines and is arguably a top contender for the finest go-kart motor on this list.

Its advanced valve design minimizes air intake and allows more fuel into the 4-stroke cylinder. This increased air intake propels the 196cc 6.5 hp engine to produce up to 10.9 Nm of torque at 2500rpm, impressive numbers for a machine of its size.

Setting it apart from other motors, the Titan TX200 boasts additional features such as throttle cable readiness, a dual-element air cleaner, and a splash lubrication system. It is fully compatible with GTC torque converters.

What makes this engine exceptional is its incredible versatility. You can upgrade it to an astounding 26 horsepower, catering to various racing needs.

5. Briggs and Stratton CR950 208cc Engine

B&S 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 

B&S 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

Another engine on this list is the Briggs and Stratton 550 Series. It is the perfect 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 searching for a motor that can give you the performance and reliability you need for go-kart racing, then the B&S 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 Motor

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 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 ride, look no further than the XtremepowerUS 7HP 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 4-Stroke Kart Engine

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 a strong and powerful choice for go-karts. It’s a 4-stroke engine with 7 hp, 8.1 ft-lbs of torque at 2500 RPM, and is EPA certified, meaning it’s good for the environment and doesn’t pollute much. It runs at 3,600 rpm and uses little fuel, making it a fuel-saving option.

This engine is built to last, with lightweight materials, well-lubricated parts for less noise, strong cast-iron sleeves, a fuel shut-off system, strong rods, and an easy-to-use recoil starting system. However, it doesn’t have an electric starter.

The BILT HARD 212cc engine is perfect for go-karts. It’s light, fuel-efficient, eco-friendly, and has everything you need for a fun ride. With 7 hp, it will make your go-kart powerful and dependable.

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 motor, the AlphaWorks 7 HP is a great choice.

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How To Choose The Best Go-Kart Engine

Before purchasing, you must consider the engine that explicitly accommodates your needs, whether planning a fun-filled event for your family or wanting 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 motor 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 plays a significant role in determining the type of go-kart motor to acquire. While new engines can be expensive, balancing cost with quality is essential. Fortunately, affordable options still offer powerful performance within your budget.

We recommend purchasing a new engine to minimize maintenance costs and maximize the efficiency of a go-kart engine. The price range for a karting motor depends on its features and the experience level it accommodates.

Understanding Basic Engine Specifications

Go-karts provide an enjoyable and thrilling experience, but selecting the ideal engine for your vehicle can be challenging. Grasping engine specifications is vital for making the right choice. The two most crucial specs to examine are the RPM and torque.


RPM stands for rotations per minute and measures the speed at which an engine’s shaft spins. This factor is essential because the quicker the crankshaft rotates, the faster your go-kart will go. Generally, go-kart engines have a maximum of 3600 RPM. Modifying the motor to increase this number can boost top speed but may void the warranty and cause structural damage to the engine.


Torque, the rotational force of the engine, is another critical specification. The more torque an engine produces, the better the acceleration is essential for off-road go-kart adventures or uphill climbs. An engine’s power is the product of RPM and torque; a higher power output means accomplishing more work in less time.


Consider its RPM, torque, and power when replacing an existing engine. Tillotson, Predator, and Honda clone engines are excellent choices for modifications, but be sure to read the warranty and understand potential damages to the engine. You can find the perfect motor for your vehicle with thorough research and a grasp of engine specifications.

Engine Protection and Maintenance

To ensure the longevity of your go-kart engine, it’s important to pay attention to features that protect it from wear and tear. For instance, a 4-stroke overhead valve engine offers better durability and performance. Additionally, look for an engine shut-off sensor that prevents damage in case of oil pressure issues or overheating.


As evident, there are numerous factors to consider when purchasing go-kart racing engines, such as the type of go-kart you have and the engines used in go-karts of similar configurations. Options range from specific styles and personal preferences to overall quality. Remember that adhering to your preferences and any league requirements is crucial when choosing the right go-kart racing engine. Reviews and reputation can also be helpful.

This article aims to simplify what can often be a stressful process for fellow go-kart enthusiasts. Go-karting is an exhilarating hobby, and learning about all the components involved can be just as enjoyable. However, understanding how to choose those parts, like selecting the best engine for a racing go-kart, is 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 an 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 made 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, an experienced go-kart racer, fuels GoKartLife.com with his passion and expertise. He offers valuable insights and tips for fellow enthusiasts, fostering the growth of the go-kart community. Join Goran at GoKartLife.com and immerse yourself in this exhilarating sport.

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