Predator 212 Hemi vs Non-Hemi: All-in-one Comparison

Predator 212 is an incredibly powerful engine, hence its recent popularity. But have you ever been confused between Hemi and Non-hemi types?

Our topic today is Predator 212 Hemi vs Non-Hemi; how they are different and which is better for your go-kart engines.

Your decision is important as the right predator engine is expected to enhance the performance and breathe new life into your old vehicles. However, the budget should also be under consideration.

This article will help!


Let’s begin with studying the history of the traditional non-Hemi predators and their 212 Hemi counterparts.

  • Non-Hemi predators

Harbor Freight introduced the first commercial predators in the U.S during the 1970s as clones of the pricey inverter generators of Honda. They consumed gas effectively and produced horsepower for engines such as automobiles, go-karts, log-splitter machines, lawnmowers, etc. At that time, most predators had a non-hemi shape.

  • Hemi predators

Hemi is a shortened version of the word hemispherical. It refers to things shaped like half a sphere – a ball or the Earth.

The shape inspired the development of the Chrysler Hemi head in 1951, claiming that the hemispherical combustion chamber reduced heat escapes and increased peak pressure. As a result, they could burn gasoline more effectively. With this idea in mind, hemi head has been applied to energy predators for a couple of decades to date.

However, hemi vs. non-Hemi predators: which is better, is still a question to resolve in this article.

Predator 212 Hemi vs Non-Hemi: What Are Differences?

212 Predator Hemi or Non-Hemi

Instant Visual Differences

At a look, three visible Predator 212 Hemi vs Non-Hemi differences are their valve cover, air filter housing, and chamber designs.

  • Non-Hemi predators

The valve cover of the non-Hemi engines often has an octagonal shape and a shiny finish. There is also an overhead valve (OHV) on the top. This label means the predators are for off-road vehicles and machines.

Next, look closely at the air filter housing of non-hemi 212cc predators; you will find it a little curved at the back and a bit taller than the housing of the hemi versions.

Regarding the combustion chamber, non-Hemi engines usually have a flathead piston along with a flat room.

  • Hemi predators

Unlike the non-Hemi models, Hemi predators feature a rectangular valve cover with a matt finish. The OHV label remains the same, though.

The air filter housing has squarish curvature at the back and in a smaller size. Power and compression strokes are connected to the housing to burn the mixture from the spark plug.

The chamber is hemispherical, of course, because it is where the Hemi model is named after. In addition, the piston is angled at the time of opening the valves.

Common Specifications

We will get insight into the two types of predators by comparing the specifications of specific models.

In general, they have almost similar specifications, except for the head shape we explained above, max power, and top speed.

Model Predator 212 Non-hemi head Predator 212 Hemi head
Weight 37.8 pounds 37.8 pounds
Dimension (DxWxH) 15.4 x 12.6 x 13.6 inches 15.4 x 12.6 x 13.6 inches
Stroke length 2.12 inches 2.12 inches
Shaft diameter ¾ inches ¾ inches
Shaft length 2.43 inches 2.43 inches
Bore 2.76 inches 2.76 inches
Displacement 212 cc 212 cc
Max power 6.5 HP 6.5 – 6.8 HP
Max torque 8.1 ft-lbs at 2500 RPM 8.1 ft-lbs @ 2500 RPM
Top speed 25 – 35 MPH 25 – 37 MPH
Sound 104 dB 104 dB
Mounting base pattern (DxWxH) 6.40 x 2.95 x 3.17 inches 6.40 x 2.95 x 3.17 inches

Power and RPM

  • Non-Hemi Predator

Although both predators can run at 2500 RPM at max, the non-Hemi model turns out to have a weaker power than the Hemi: 6.5 vs. 6.8 HP.

The top speed is also slightly less advantageous, usually 1-2 mph lower. However, such a difference might not be the case since practical racing is affected by other factors such as the vehicle’s weight, aerodynamics, tire, or gear ratio.

Interestingly, changing some parts of the non-Hemi engine can fix the two above disadvantages. For instance, try employing larger rods (+0.40 inches), heavier valve springs, higher lifts, or a camshaft having a longer duration.

  • Hemi Predator

It is the flat surface area of the non-Hemi predator that causes quick heat loss, and the fuel near the head burns ineffectively.

Effective burning enhances energy generation in the end. While the Hemi surface is much smaller, so it takes out less heat. 

There is also more space for valves because they are located on opposing sides of the head, meaning more airflow can come across the engine. That’s why a hemi predator features a higher max power and top speed.

Modification & Part availability

Remember that your predators cannot last forever. There are chances you need to replace or upgrade some parts. It’s good to know about the part availability.

  • Non-Hemi Predator

Many consumers prefer a non-Hemi predator to a Hemi counterpart as the earlier allows modifications to increase power and speed. Not to mention, there are more non-Hemi versions in the market with more parts available.

  • Hemi Predator

Unfortunately, you can hardly modify a Hemi engine.

Replacing parts is also challenging without a machine’s support. It’s said that the springs of Hemi predators are way too small, and they even blind quickly.


There is a little difference in price as the difference mainly falls to the appearance, such as the chamber, valve cover, or small air filter.

Predator 212 Hemi vs Non-Hemi: Final Verdict

Here is a summary of the above-detailed comparison.

  • Price: A tie
  • Visual design: A tie
  • Power and RPM: Hemi predators win
  • Modifications & Availability: Non-Hemi predators beat.

Last verdict:

It is a tier competition between Predator 212 Hemi vs. Non-Hemi.

If you are looking for a powerful engine, go for the Hemi model but keep in mind that it is limited to upgrades in the future.

In case you want to change here and there in the engine, then you had better choose a non-Hemi predator. Just enhance other components of your vehicles to make up for the 1-2mph speed.


How Do I Know If My Predator 212 is Hemi or Non-Hemi?

You already know the answer, right?

Just scan for the shape of the combustion chamber, the color or corner of the valve cover, and the air filter housing. Here we bring the differences again:

  • Non-Hemi 212cc predators: Flat chamber, octagonal and shiny valve cover, and curved filter housing.
  • Hemi 212cc predators: Hemispherical combustion chamber, rectangular matt valve cover, and squarish filter housing.

Otherwise, you can look at the model’s specifications and check whether the max power is 6.8 HP or not.

What Does HEMI Stand For?

Hemi, a shortened version of the word “hemispherical” – The same concept is used in geography to refer to the Earth, which is divided into north and south hemispheres.

Related to the engine, HEMI refers to an engine type with a hemispherically shaped combustion chamber. It allows bigger valves to enhance air intake, exhaust flow, spark plug location, and power output by fostering complete combustion.

Is Hemi or non-Hemi predator better?

It depends, as we confirmed earlier.

Hemi has a good performance going with the difficulty of replacement and modifications.

Meanwhile, non-Hemi engines can reach the performance of the Hemi by updating some small parts. However, you must pay time and money for such upgrades.

What is your choice?

How Can I Make My Predator 212 Faster?

This question is frequently posed if you want to enjoy the most horsepower out of your small bike, go-kart, or other motors. Then, at least enhance fuel, air, or spark.

Here are some recommendations:

  • Use hemi predator 212 instead of your current non-Hemi model. The Hemi shapes allow more fuel and air into your machine.
  • Or, still use the non-Hemi 212 predators, but changing to a high flow header will significantly improve performance. It would help if you had an engineer examine a stock muffler’s interior to ensure you can add a larger flow header.

Final Words

We have done with today’s article: Predator 212 Hemi vs Non-Hemi comparison. All necessary information has been gathered in one palace and in an easy-to-understand way. Whether to choose which one all boils down to your demands and preferences, as they excel in different aspects with the same price range.

It is high time for you to make a decision. Your intention of upgrading the engine will be very critical!

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