7 Best Go-Kart Racing Engines and Motors

Go-karting is an amazing way to enjoy yourself. But if you want your go-kart to perform well, a working and reliable engine is indispensable. 

The engine is the heart of your vehicle. Without it, your kart will only be a piece of metal. So, if you want to enjoy driving your ride, choose the best go-kart engine. Sure there are many options to choose from, you need to have an idea about your specific needs to find the right one.

To make your decision-making process less stressful, we have compiled a list of the 7 best go-kart racing engines and motors. Each of the products we recommend is durable, powerful, and completely reliable for race-winning performance. Have a look! 

Our Top Picks For the Best Go-kart Engines

Product Features 
DuroMax XP7HPE 212cc 7HP Multi-Use Engine
(Best Overall) 
– Electric start engine 
– 212 cc displacement 
– Maximum output of 7 hp
– Gas-powered 
– Approved for use in multiple states 
– 1 gallon fuel tank 
– EPA and CARB approved 
– 4-stroke OHV engine 
BILT HARD 212cc 7HP Gas Powered Engine
(Best Budget) 
– 4 stroke OHV gas motor 
– 212 cc
– Outputs 7 hp at maximum
– 1 year limited warranty coverage 
– EPA compliant 
– Affordable 
– Durable cast iron construction 
– Horizontal installation 

Best Go-kart Engines: Reviewed

Now, let’s head on over to the detailed reviews of the best go-kart engines.

1. DuroMax XP7HPE 212cc 7HP Multi-Use Engine

If you are looking for a reliable and sturdy engine for your go-kart, the DuroMax XP7HPE 212cc 7HP Multi-Use Engine boasts it all. It is a well-constructed unit with amazing features like electric start, 212cc displacement, and a one-gallon fuel tank amongst others. 

This 4-stroke overhead valve engine boasts a maximum power output of 7 HP with speeds going as high as 3,600 RPM. If you want speed and performance from your go-kart, this DuroMax should be your choice. It is ideal for most driving conditions and can even withstand extreme racing conditions. Plus, it is both EPA and CARB compliant which means you can easily operate it in all 50 states. 

We also like it for its fuel efficiency. With its one-gallon fuel tank, it can run for about 4 hours at half load before needing a refill. Plus the electric start ignition makes it extremely easy to use. 

Pros 

  • High 7 HP output 
  • 212cc OHV engine 
  • One gallon fuel tank capacity 
  • EPA and CARB compliant 
  • Durable construction 

Cons

  • Instructions are lacking 
  • Hooking up the throttle cable is tricky 

2. BILT HARD 212cc 7HP Gas Powered Engine 

BILT HARD 212cc 7HP Gas Powered Engine is a good choice if you are looking for an engine with maximum facilities and performance but at an affordable price. It is one of the best go-kart engines because it is in full compliance with EPA standards. It delivers superior performance with cast-iron sleeves, pistons, automotive-grade rods, rings, valves, valve springs, and crankshafts. 

With this engine, you will be able to race your kart at high speeds given its 7 HP output and 3600 RPM at max. There is a 0.9-gallon fuel tank incorporated into its design that delivers a long runtime. Considering all these features, you might think that this will be a costly unit. But don’t you worry, this BILT HARD engine is one of the most affordable options you can buy. 

For quality assurance, this go-kart engine comes with a 90 days return and 1-year limited warranty. But you can trust their product to be free of faulty materials and craftsmanship. However, if you find any issues you can contact them for return or replacement. 

Pros 

  • Affordable 
  • Powerful and durable 
  • 0.9-gallon fuel tank 
  • EPA compliant 
  • Gas saving overhead valves 

Cons 

  • Engine oil not included 
  • Feels a bit oily 

3. Briggs & Stratton 31R907-0007-G1 500cc 17.5 Gross HP Engine 

The 31R907-0007-G1 engine from Briggs & Stratton is a sturdy and powerful engine for you to check out. It features a cast iron sleeve, electric start, float carburetor, and patented linear balance system for a standout performance. The dual-element air filter improves its life plus, being CARB compliant it is operable in most states. 

It is a perfect choice for heavy-duty go-kart applications. The 500 cc motor delivers up to 17.5 HP allowing you to race effortlessly at high speeds. It comes with a 2-year limited warranty for consumer use and 1 year limited warranty for commercial use. 

Pros

  • Powerful 17.5 HP output 
  • CARB compliant 
  • Starts easily 
  • Smooth operation 
  • Durable 

Cons 

  • Expensive
  • No electrical documentation 

4. AlphaWorks Gas Engine 7HP Motor 

This 4 stroke recoil start engine from AlphaWorks is another worthy contender. It has a maximum power output of 7 HP and 209 cc displacement. It can deliver speeds as high as 3,600 RPM. Plus, it is affordable and easy to install. 

The horizontal cylinder configuration combined with the 4 strokes OHV makes it suitable for go-karting. The forced air cooling system keeps it cool, while the automatic shutoff feature prevents damage when the oil level is low. 

Pros 

  • Affordable 
  • Durable 
  • Easy to install 
  • EPA and CARB compliant 
  • 0.7-gallon fuel tank 

Cons 

  • Throttle hook up is difficult 
  • Gas line lacks quality 

5. Predator 212cc OHV 6.5 HP Gas Engine with Horizontal Shaft

Here is a fuel-efficient model for you to check out. The Predator 212cc OHV 6.5 HP Gas Engine with Horizontal Shaft incorporates an overhead valve in its design that makes it extremely fuel-efficient. It is very durable, delivers smooth performance, and exhibits good tolerance against tough conditions. 

The manufacturer has designed it with a cast-iron cylinder for durable and long-lasting performance. It is wear-resistant and comes with an automatic shutoff that protects it from damage when the oil level is low. Plus, it is extremely user-friendly with easy startup and uncomplicated controls. 

Pros 

  • Heavy-duty construction 
  • Can withstand extreme conditions 
  • Smooth and cool performance 
  • Automatic shutoff safety feature 
  • Fuel efficient 

Cons 

  • Not operable in California 
  • Fuel tank can rust

6. XtremepowerUS 7HP 4-Stroke Gas Engine

If you want a dependable source of power for your go-kart, the XtremepowerUS 7HP 4-Stroke Gas Engine delivers industrial-grade strength. It boasts an extremely quiet yet smooth performance outputting up to 7 HP. The overhead-valve design makes it fuel-efficient while the low oil shutoff ensures it does not encounter failure or any other serious damage. 

The reason behind its extremely smooth performance is the horizontal keyway shaft and tapered output shaft. This feature increases its overall strength allowing it to perform well even in adverse conditions. It may be marketed as an entry-level unit, it truly packs a punch when it comes to performance. 

This XtremepowerUS engine is made using industrial-grade materials that prevent wear and tear allowing it to remain functional for a long time. The cast-iron cylinder increases its durability and the low oil shutoff also helps if you don’t have an oil gauge on your go-kart. 

Pros 

  • Affordable 
  • Low maintenance 
  • Sturdy and reliable 
  • Industrial-grade construction 
  • Powerful and smooth performance 

Cons 

  • Can develop air filter and spring issues 
  • Not certified for use in California 

7. Briggs and Stratton 13R232-0001-F1 Engine

The Briggs and Stratton 13R232-0001-F1 Engine is another great option for go-karts mainly because of its excellent build quality and efficient performance. Like the other engines on this list, this model also boats an overhead valve design that contributes to its compactness and makes it extremely fuel-efficient. Using this technology, the engine operates more smoothly without heating up. 

The single-cylinder 4 stroke design meets the compliance requirements of all fifty states, hence you can use it anywhere without violation. There is a pleated paper filter with a foam pre-cleaner that prevents road contaminants from making their way inside the engine. This feature along with sturdy cast iron construction protects the engine from wear and tear ensuring long-lasting performance. 

Pros 

  • Clean and smooth performance 
  • Compliant to regulations in all 50 states 
  • Durable cast iron construction 
  • Easy operation 
  • Reliable and long-lasting 

Cons

  • Some faulty units were shipped 
  • May require some adjustments to fit a go-kart 

Buying Guide for Go-Kart Racing Engines and Motors

We have curated a buying guide for go-kart racing engines to help you quickly go through and select the best one for your use.

How to Choose a Go-Kart Engine?

The products we recommend above are great options for most go-karts. However, you need to factor in the type of go-kart you have before deciding the best engine model for you. Plus, there are many more aspects to consider so that you can make an informed purchase. We have rounded them up below. 

Horsepower 

The power of any functional equipment is measured in some units. For engines, we use horsepower or HP to indicate their strength. The higher the HP rating, the more powerful the engine and the faster your go-kart will go. 

A 5 HP engine is suitable for most kid karts. Engines with 7 HP are considered medium-powered and are suitable for light go-karting applications. And if you plan to use your go-kart for racing purposes, look into getting a powerful engine going about 10 to 16 HP. 

Speed 

Knowing how fast you want your go-kart to go also helps you identify the right engine for your application. For example, if you are replacing the engine of children’s go-kart, you wouldn’t want it to go too fast. So an engine with 2,000 to 2,500 RPM is suitable enough. But if you are getting the new engine for a racing go-kart, you’ll want something fast. For this purpose, an engine with 3,500+ RPM is a better choice. 

Tank Capacity 

The tank size determines how many kilometers you can go before needing a refill. Typically, the best go-karts are fitted with one-gallon tanks that enable them to run continuously for at least 3 or 4 hours. 

A smaller tank means lower runtime and you’ll need to refill it frequently to continue with the fun. So if you want to avoid the hassle, choose an engine with a high tank capacity. 

Battery life 

This feature applies to electric go-karts. The longer the battery life, the longer you’ll be able to ride the kart. Most recreational electric-powered go-karts have battery life ranging from 30 minutes to an hour. While the go-karts for competitive races are fitted with more powerful batteries allowing them to run for at least a couple of hours. Think about your application and choose your motor wisely. 

Efficiency

The efficiency of a go-kart engine is important because it has a direct impact on the total runtime of the kart. Whether you choose a gas-power engine or an electric motor, it should be efficient at fuel consumption to provide you with longer runtimes without needing frequent refills or recharges. 

Cleaning and Maintenance of Go-Kart engines

Go-karts operate in all sorts of conditions. That’s why they are prone to becoming dirty very quickly. If your engine has stained or is covered in mud, oil, or grease, here are some general cleaning and maintenance advice to keep your go-kart engine in optimum position:

Remove the Dirt

If there is dirt over the engine, first take a water hose and run down the mud with water. 

Degreasing

Take a high-quality degreaser and let the engine soak for some time. Now take a moist towel and wipe off the soft grease and the degreaser. Take a clean towel and wipe the engine again to remove the residue. Let it air dry or use a dry towel to wipe it dry 

Air Filter 

The air filter is there to prevent dirt and debris from making their way inside your engine. Because of its important role, the air filter is too prone to becoming dirty and clogged which has a negative impact on the engine’s performance. Check the air filter. If it is dirty, remove it and replace it with a new one. 

Oil Replacement 

Go-kart engines need oil replacement every 20 hours of riding time or once every year. If you have been driving the go-kart for 20 hours or so, you should also replace its oil. Using fully synthetic oil ensures better heat and engine protection. We mention our top recommendations for engine oils in this article.

Storage 

Most go-kart engines work with regular unleaded fuel containing 10% ethanol. If you leave the fuel inside the kart when storing it, the gas will turn into varnish and that will clog the fuel delivery system. When planning to store the kart for months, either use a fuel stabilizer or drain the gasoline out to preserve the engine’s performance. 

FAQs 

What is a good size engine for a go-kart? 

Go-kart engines sit around anywhere from 5 to 13 HP for a gasoline engine and 4 to 10 kW for an electric motor. The engines with low HP are more suitable for kid riders and recreational activities, while the ones with 9 HP or more are suitable for competitive go-karting. 

What kind of engine do I need for a go-kart?

Go-karts typically have two-stroke or four-stroke engines that are capable of producing 3.5 to 20 HP according to the type of go-kart they are installed in. They also boast an air cooling system, horizontal or vertical shaft, an overhead valve, and many other useful features. 

What does cc mean in go-karts?

cc stands for cubic centimeters. In go-kart engines, it refers to the size of the cylinder where the combustion process takes place. The term is not unique to go-kart engines alone, you must have heard of it in relation to cars, generators, and motorcycles too. Essentially, the bigger the cc measurement the more powerful the engine is. 

How do electric motors on go-karts work? 

Instead of internal combustion systems, the electric go-karts rely on motors to move. These motors are powered by rechargeable batteries for faster acceleration. Riders control speed and torque with an acceleration pedal and a controller for better performance. 

Are electric motors better than gasoline engines? 

Electric motors are faster than gasoline engines. They reach their top speed much more quickly. Whereas the gas engines accelerate slowly before hitting their top rotation per minute or RPM. Despite being expensive, electric-powered go-karts are more eco-friendly because of their lack of emissions and fumes. However, their runtimes are smaller, lasting about 30 minutes to an hour before needing a recharge. With gas-powered engines, this is not an issue. Even if you run out of gas, there is no waiting time as you can have it refilled and ready to go in no time. 

Conclusion

The go-kart engine or motor is the foundation on which its performance relies. The more powerful the engine, the faster your go-kart will go. 

There are tons of engines and motors that are suitable for go-karts. After carefully assessing the different units we believe DuroMax XP7HPE 212cc 7HP Multi-Use Engine to be the best one. It is a powerful 212cc engine capable of producing 7 HP which is enough for most go-karting scenarios. It is easy to maintain plus boasts a durable and long-lasting build.

But if you are after a more affordable model, look into getting the BILT HARD 212cc 7HP Gas Powered Engine. It also delivers similar performance yet at a significantly lower cost. Plus, it comes with a 90 days return and a 1-year limited warranty for your peace of mind. 

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