Predator 212 Hemi Vs Non-Hemi: Which One Is Better

The Predator 212cc engine is arguably the most popular 4-stroke engine for go-karts and mini-bikes. Since Harbor Freight Tools thought it was important to make two versions of it, there has to be a meaningful difference between them. If not, why bother, right?

So, Predator 212 Hemi vs. Non-Hemi; what makes them different?

The main difference between the two popular predator engines is the shape of the combustion chamber. One is Hemispherical, and the other is non-Hemispherical. Hence, the name they have.

But the more important difference is that the Hemi engine gives more top speed than the non-Hemi, whereas the non-Hemi gives you a lot more customizability.

In this write-up, the goal is to find out what makes either one suitable to a user, namely you. Hopefully, at the end of the article, you’ll know which one to get.

Predator 212 Hemi vs. Non-Hemi: Physical Differences

Imagine you see a pair of Predator 212 engines, and you don’t know which one is which. Do you have a Hemi or non-Hemi Predator 212? Can you identify them just by seeing the exterior?

Yes, you can. There are a few physical features that help to differentiate the two. Here are they:

  • Valve Cover

The very first thing you should look at when identifying a Hemi from a non-Hemi is their valve cover. A predator 212 non-Hemi valve cover has an octagonal shape and will have a shiny finish.

On the other hand, the Hemi engine will have more of a rectangular chamfered valve cover and a dull finish.

  • Chamber and Flathead Design

If you open up both engines, you will find that Hemi has a Hemispherical chamber, and the piston head is also shaped accordingly.

On the other hand, the chamber of the non-Hemi is rectangular, and the piston head is flat.

This is how both the engines got their names.

  • Mufflers

The second thing to look at is the engine mufflers. If you observe the non-Hemi engine, you’ll notice that it has a screen guard on it.

In contrast, the Hemi engine has a spark arrestor. This muffler comes in handy when you’re working in the woods, for example, in the forestry service. Forestry service regulations state that an engine without a spark arrestor is not allowed to operate.

  • Air filters

If you look at the air filters of both engines, you’ll find that the Hemi has an air filter with a two-layer air filter with pleats covered by a piece of foam.

On the other hand, the non-Hemi air filter does not have anything except a piece of foam to prevent dust from getting inside.

  • Air Filter Housing

The difference isn’t only in the air filtration technique. You can also tell them apart by the shape of the air filter housing. The Hemi has a box shape housing, and the non-Hemi has a curved top housing.

  • Part Number

Here’s another way to tell the engines apart. It’s the part number. The predator 212 Hemi part number is 60363. And the part number of a non-Hemi predator 212 is 69730.

There is another non-Hemi engine that has a special seal of approval from the EPA government agency. It has a distinct part number of 69727.

Predator 212 Hemi vs. Non-Hemi: Technical and Performance Differences

While the physical differences are important for easy identification, those are unimportant for making a purchase. What you need to know about them is their technical differences and the advantages you’ll get from either one.

Working Principle and Efficiency

What does a Hemi engine mean? Does this work differently than a non-Hemi?

Yes, apart from the physical differences you read about earlier, they are also different in terms of the internal mechanism.

  • How Does a Hemi engine work?

A Hemi engine has dome-shaped cylinders and angled intake and exhaust valves. This means there is less surface area between the piston surface and the valves. So, the engine uses most of the fuel and converts them to energy.

  • How does a non-hemi engine work?

On the other hand, the non-Hemi engine has a flat head and a flat piston. The valves come down in perpendicular motion, which means there is a lot of surface area. And it can’t maintain the same efficiency.

In short, the Hemi loses less heat, maintains higher pressure, and allows more fuel combustion than a non-Hemi.

Modification Options

In terms of out-of-the-box performance, there is a very slight difference between the two. But if you bring modification into the equation, everything changes.

The non-Hemi is a clear winner when it comes to engine customization. Yes, the Hemi also has a few upgradability and aftermarket kits. But the non-Hemi edges it out.

Parts Availability for customization

You will find that the non-Hemi has more options for a specific part than a Hemi.

  • Valve spring options

For example, the Hemi engine’s valve springs have 3 upgrade options: 18lbs, 22lbs, and 26lbs. And the non-Hemi engine has all of these and one extra 36lbs spring valve upgrade.

The same applies to many other Predator 212 Hemi parts.

  • Flywheel

The Hemi doesn’t have a lot of options when it comes to aftermarket flywheel replacements. It is restricted to using 1.2 ratio billet flywheels.

If you have a non-Hemi, you can use a variety of flywheels, and they will work just the same as the stock one or better. And you can get flywheels for it with a 1.3 ratio.

One extra point to note is that you will have a tough time finding parts for the Hemi engine. It’s because the demand for aftermarket parts is very small. And the opposite is true for the non-Hemi predator 212.

Power Output

Both the Hemi and the non-Hemi engines have a rating of 6.5hp. However, the Hemi can give you an extra 0.3hp if and when you need it.

But a modified non-Hemi engine can give you a lot more output. For example, the Red beard’s garage built a 22hp Predator 212 non-Hemi engine. They used a stage 4 upgrade kit.

Top Speed

A Hemi engine gives you a slight advantage regarding top speed. Out of the box, the Hemi engine will maintain a top speed range of 25-37mph. But the non-Hemi engine has a smaller speed range of 25-35mph.

Summary of Hemi vs. Non-Hemi Predator Engines

Here’s a summary of our discussion presented in a table.

Features Non-Hemi Predator 212 Hemi Predator 212
Cylinder Shape Non-Hemi Head Hemi Head
Displacement 212 cc 212 cc
Max Power : 6.5hp ~6.8hp (~0.3 more than Non-Hemi)
Maximum Torque 8.1 ft-lbs, 2500 RPM 8.1 ft-lbs, 2500 RPM
Weight 37.8 pounds 37.8 pounds
Dimensions 15.4″ L x 12.6″ W x 13.6″ H 15.4″ L x 12.6″ W x 13.6″ H
Mounting base pattern 6.40″ L x 2.95″ W – 3.17″ W 6.40″ L x 2.95″ W – 3.17″ W

Note: Again, this is a comparison of out-of-the-box engines. The whole picture changes if you modify them with upgrade kits.

Where Can You Buy Them?

There’s a difference even in purchase options when it comes to these two engines. On the one hand, you have the non-Hemi, which is very easy to come by. You can buy it locally or have it delivered to you.

And then you have the predator 212cc Hemi engine, which has a lot of regulations slapped onto it by different organizations. And that makes it hard to find and even get it delivered. You won’t even find this engine in some states, such as Minnesota.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Hemi engines better?

It completely depends on who you ask. One person will prefer the out-of-the-box marginally better performance of the 212cc predator Hemi engine. And another person will prefer the customizability of the non-Hemi engine.

Does a Hemi use more gas?

No, a Hemi uses the same amount of fuel as a non-Hemi. But it gives you better mileage without

Is Predator Ghost 212 a Hemi?

The predator ghost is a high-performance engine with a Hemi head but uses a non-Hemi crank. This combination allows it to get a better performance than a base-level Hemi engine.

Final Words

So, predator 212 Hemi vs non-Hemi, which are you going to choose? My conclusion is that neither is necessarily better than the other. So, get the Hemi engine if you want a better out-of-the-box performance. But if you want to go through the trouble of modification for much better performance, the non-Hemi is the way to go. It’s also easier to procure from the local market.

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