Zoom on the Cat INV4000E
In a nutshell, the Cat INV4000E is a quiet and compact portable inverter generator mostly geared towards:
- RV travellers wishing to enhance their freedom and nomad lifestyle
- Occasional participants of outdoor events, competitions, concerts and festivals
- Handcrafting enthusiasts who wish to work on-the-go
- Homeowners who want to be able to use the most necessary devices in their household, even during a blackout
- Camping and tailgating hobbyists looking for a portable power source
- Professionals who want to be able to deliver results, even during a power failure
In the sections ahead, the power characteristics, availability of various outlets, the portability, and any additional features of the device shall be discussed, including its emission compliance information.
Power & Run Time
The Cat INV4000E is powered by a 212 cc OHV 4-stroke engine. It delivers 120V, runs on gasoline and offers a running wattage of 3200W as well as a peak wattage of 4000W. Moreover, since it is parallel capable (parallel kit not included), its power may be doubled if linked to a second compatible unit.
The inverter generator is rated for a noise of 51 dBA (just slightly more noisy than rainfall). Its starting mechanisms include a conventional pull-start mechanism and a convenient and easy-to-use electric starter (battery included).
The INV4000E can operate for around 8 hours at 50% load with a full tank (fuel consumption around 0.26 GPH), due to its fuel capacity of 2.1 gallons.
The INV4000E produces a clean sine wave: thanks to a <3% Total Harmonic Disruption (THD), your sensitive electronics can be safely plugged in the AC outlets.
The control panel features the upcoming 3 AC outlets:
Additionally, it features 3 DC outlets: there's a 12V 8A receptacle allowing you to easily charge your batteries and two 5V USB ports with which charging of electronics like mobile phones and tablets is made convenient.
This Cat generator features an L5-30R receptacle, enabling an easy RV connection via an L5-30P to TT-30R adaptor. However, it is still not quite RV ready.
Since the Cat INV4000E is an inverter generator, its closed design (L25.4 x W18.5 x H20.4 in) has an esthetical advantage over conventional, open frame devices. This type of design is the most modern and convenient way to recreationally generate power.
Since the generator weighs 103.6 lbs, it will be incredibly difficult to manually lift it and transport it, even though it is technically considered to 'be portable' (in the sense that it is movable). Nevertheless, thanks to its wheel kit and its folding handle (a decent solution to its lack of maneuverability), the generator can be easily moved, once placed the ground.
Monitoring of the INV4000E's status and activity is made possible by a digital data center, which provides information on the voltage, remaining run time, power output, fuel level and lifetime run hours and is one of the features of its control panel. To offer you even more control and easy operation during night time, the panel is LED-lit.
In addition to this info, the device’s light indicators will display if the generator is ready, the oil level is too low and the generator is on overload.
A built-in fuel gauge allows for a quick, easy and convenient check of the fuel level of the inverter generator.
Security-wise, this product benefits from an automatic low oil shut-off and an overload protection (circuit breaker), which gives you a complete peace of mind when using it.
The INV4000E also benefits from Cat’s CO DEFENSE™ carbon monoxide shutdown. This system monitors the accumulation of CO gas while the generator is running and will shut off the engine if the levels become dangerously high. It’s a welcomed additional security feature, but don’t forget to always take your generator outside (opens in a new tab).
Apart from the typical documentation and an owner's manual (opens in a new tab), which lets you start it right away, the Cat INV4000E also is packed along with the following accessories: oil, tool kit, battery charger, funnel and battery charging cables.
The Cat INV4000E is EPA-approved and CARB-compliant. Therefore, its sale and purchase are permitted in all of the 50 states, including California.
Moreover, it features a spark arrestor, so it is adequate for use in forested areas.
The Cat INV4000E versus other generators
The following charts are provided to give you an idea of how some of the key specs of the Cat INV4000E compare to generators of similar power (between 2500 and 3500 W).
- At a weight of 103.6 pounds, the Cat INV4000E places in the expected weight range of the generators in the 2500-3500 rated wattage range. If weight is your top priority, one of the champions in this power category is the WEN GN400i, weighing just 66.1 pounds.
- As its lowest possible noise is rated at 51 dBA, this inverter generator qualifies as one of the more quiet of the products of similar power. If noise emissions are one of your priorities, you may be interested in the Honda EU3000iS, one of the least noisy generators similarly powerful as this one, rated for 50 dBA.
- The INV4000E’s autonomy is somewhat low end compared to devices of its power range, as it reaches only around 8 hours at 50% load on a full tank. Furthermore, considering the run times, one of the generators which have a roughly same power output, with the highest autonomy, is the Honda EB4000X, as it provides around 16 hours.
- Autonomy holds its importance, however, it is largely dependent on the generator’s fuel capacity and so, it is nonsensible to discuss it without mentioning fuel efficiency as well. This inverter generator, with an estimated fuel consumption of just 0.26 GPH (gallon per hour) at 50% load, is one of the more fuel efficient generators, for the previously mentioned wattage range. If you are concerned with gasoline efficiency, having a fuel consumption of just 0.17 GPH, the Westinghouse iGen4200 is a device you should look out for.
As you can see from this interactive chart, when compared to other 2500-3500W generators, the Cat INV4000E is on the average side of the price range.
Therefore, this generator nicely fits in the expected budget for this kind of product.
The bottom line
- In the expected price range
- CO DEFENSE™ technology
- Several accessories included
- GFCI Outlets
- Electric start
- Parallel capable
- Quiet for its power (51 dBA)
- Fuel efficient
- Decent weight (103.6 lbs)
- No remote start
- Relatively low run time
Features and Specifications
|Parallel capable||Yes, cable not included|
|Engine||212 cc OHV 4-stroke|
|Starting system||Recoil, Electric|
|Voltage||AC: 120V 60 Hz, DC: 12V|
|Running watts||3200 W|
|Starting watts||4000 W|
|Running amps||26.7 amps|
|Peaks amps||33.3 amps|
|Run time @50% load||8 h|
|Run time @25% load||N/A|
|Automatic Voltage Regulation||Inverter|
|AC outlets|| |
|DC outlets||1x 12V 8A receptacle |
2x 5V USB port
|Data center||Power output, fuel level, lifetime run hours, remaining run time and voltage|
|Indicators||Low oil, overload and output ready|
|Fuel tank||Plastic, 2.1 gal|
|Approx. dimensions (L x W x H)||25.4 x 18.5 x 20.4 in|
|Noise (lower limit)||51 dBA|
|Security||Low oil and overload protection|
|Neutral||Bonded to frame|
|Accessories included||Oil, funnel, tool kit, battery charger, battery charging cables and battery|
|Other model numbers||501-5454|
Unlike many websites, we did our best to research each of the specs above. That being said, we are not immune to making the occasional mistake or omission. Should you notice any missing or incorrect values, don't hesitate to suggest improvements so we can address the issue.
Caterpillar Inc., often abbreviated as simply CAT, is an American engineering corporation, whose product range includes machinery, engines, financial products, mobile phones and of course, power generators. The company, founded in 1925, is one of the backbones of the US Dow Jones index and is placed among the Fortune 500 list. While CAT mainly focuses on industrial scale generators, it also provides a wide range of portable and household-scaled devices. A majority of the industrial-scale CAT products is made in the USA. However, the production of many of their household products is reported to be outsourced overseas.
The Cat INV4000E is covered under a warranty for up to 3 years. This warranty may be limited and may not cover all parts of the generator.
For more information about the warranty of Cat generators, please consult Cat's warranty policies (opens in a new tab). Alternatively, you can also contact their Customer Support: 1-844-PWR-ME-UP (844-797-6387).
Questions & Answers
What can it power?
|Item||Running Watts||Starting Watts|
|At home||AC (10,000 BTU)||1500||2200|
|Refrigerator (energy star)||192||1192|
|Set of 5 LED light bulbs||55||55|
|Total||2557 W||3557 W|
|For camping||RV AC (11,000 BTU)||1010||1600|
|Set of 5 LED light bulbs||55||55|
|Total||2545 W||3135 W|
|Total||2550 W||3800 W|
What does relatively low run time mean in the negative column? (Asked May 02, 2020)
Exactly what it's supposed to mean. It refers to its comparison with other generators of similar power (the section further up, that you apparently chose not to read). When compared to other generators of similar power, this unit as a relatively low run time.
How does this generator compare with Cat 4000inv E CO, in terms of durability and specs? (Asked June 23, 2020)
This model is the INV4000E with CO DEFENSE.
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