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Cat RP12000 E Spec Review

The Cat RP12000 E is a powerful open frame generator with a rated wattage of 12000 W and a starting wattage of 15000 W.

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Cat RP12000 ECat RP12000 ECat RP12000 E
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Description

The best choice when the job calls for power. The Cat RP12000 E delivers 12kW of long-lasting power for heavy duty applications in a balanced, fuss-free design. The RP12000 E is perfect for the small contractor or homeowner with big power needs who also wants premium features and the flexibility of a portable generator. Built with a 670cc V-Twin OHV motor, Low Harmonic Distortion all copper generator and premium control panel, this generator delivers durable, quality power. (source: Cat (opens in a new tab))

Zoom on the Cat RP12000 E

In summary, the Cat RP12000 E is a powerful portable generator especially useful for professionals in need of safely powering high-intensity work or lighting equipment.

The following sections will present you in detail its power characteristics, the different outlets it offers, its overall portability, the extra features it benefits from, and any relevant emission compliance details.

Power & Run Time

The Cat RP12000 E in use

The Cat RP12000 E

The Cat RP12000 E's engine, 670 cc Rato OHV V-Twin, fueled by gasoline, can deliver 120/240V. It provides a running wattage of 12000W and reaches a peak wattage of 15000W.

The generator features a convenient and easy-to-use electric starter (battery included).

The fuel capacity of 13.2 gallons allows the RP12000 E to operate for around 11.7 hours at 50% load with a full tank (fuel consumption around 1.13 GPH).

The RP12000 E generates a clean sine wave: providing <5% Total Harmonic Disruption (THD), delicate electronics can be plugged in its AC outlets safely.

Outlets

The control panel features the following 8 AC outlets:

Two Duplexes 120V 20A (5-20R) GFCI
Two 120V 30A (L5-30R) receptacles
120/240V 30A (L14-30R) receptacle
120/240V 50A (14-50R) receptacle

It also sports 1 DC outlet: there's a 12V 8A (cigarette lighter style) receptacle allowing you to easily charge your batteries.

This Cat generator isn't quite RV Ready, but it features an L5-30R receptacle, allowing a simple RV connection through an L5-30P to TT-30R adaptor. Besides, due to the featured twist-lock L14-30R receptacle, the RP12000 E is transfer switch ready: you may connect it to a breaker box to power your household during a power outage.

Portability

The Cat RP12000 E has a conventional, open frame design, of the following dimensions: L35.7 x W32.7 x H35.8 in, which offers support and allows it to be raised above ground level. The featured design is ideal for the outdoors and all tough environments.

Although this generator is technically considered 'portable' (in the sense that it can be moved), its 350 lbs make it incredibly difficult to manually lift and transport. 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.

A lift hook located on the top of the frame offers an additional safety feature while facilitating the transport, loading and unloading of the generator.

Features

Panel of the Cat RP12000 E

The RP12000 E's control panel

The control panel of the RP12000 E includes a convenient meter showing you voltage, frequency and lifetime hours, helpful for the monitoring of its status and activity. To offer you even more control and easy operation during night time, the panel is LED-lit.

Thanks to a built-in fuel gauge, the generator allows you to quickly, conveniently and easily check the gas level at a glance.

From a security standpoint, the product offers an overload protection (circuit breaker) and an automatic low oil shut-off, allowing you to use it with a peace of mind.

With the basic documentation and an owner's manual (opens in a new tab), letting you start the generator quickly, the Cat RP12000 E also comes with several accessories, including: battery charger, funnel, oil and tool kit.

Emissions

The Cat RP12000 E is EPA-approved and CARB-compliant. It can therefore be sold and purchased in all 50 states, including California.

Moreover, it features a spark arrestor and therefore, can be used in forested areas.

Product Videos

The Cat RP12000 E versus other generators

The following charts are provided to give you an idea of how some of the key specs of the Cat RP12000 E compare to generators of similar power (between 10000 and 14000 W).

  • Considering its dry weight of 350 pounds, the Cat RP12000 E is one of the heavier generators producing between 10000 and 14000 running watts. If weight matters to you, one of the champions in this power range is the A-iPower SUA13000EFI with only 218 pounds.
  • Since the RP12000 E boasts with a run time of around 11.7 hours at 50% load, it can be safely judged as a device of a higher run time than most generators of a comparable output. Concerning the run times, one of the several devices with a comparable output, offering the highest autonomy, is the Powerhorse 13000ES, which is able to run for around 15 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 generator is not fuel efficient compared to devices of similar output: its estimated fuel consumption stands at 1.13 GPH at a 50% load. If you are concerned with gasoline efficiency, having a fuel consumption of just 0.78 GPH, the A-iPower SUA13000EFI is a device you should look out for.

Price comparison

As you can see from this interactive chart, when compared to other 10000-14000W generators, the Cat RP12000 E is on the expensive side of the price range.

While certainly not the cheapest of its kind, purchasing it would most likely also mean enjoying the reliability of a high-end product.

The bottom line

STRENGTHS:
  • Illuminated control panel
  • Several accessories included
  • GFCI Outlets
  • Electric start
  • Clean sine wave
  • High run time
WEAKNESSES:
  • On the expensive side
  • No recoil back-up
  • No remote start
  • On the heavy side (350 lbs)
  • Low fuel efficiency

Do you own the Cat RP12000 E and agree (or disagree) with these strengths and weaknesses?

Let us know and write your own review.

Features and Specifications

General
InverterNo
PortableYes
Parallel capableNo
RV readyNo
FuelGasoline
Engine670 cc Rato OHV V-Twin
Starting systemElectric
Power
VoltageAC: 120/240V 60 Hz, DC: 12V
Running watts12000 W
Starting watts15000 W
Running amps (@120/240V)100/50 amps
Peak amps (@120/240V)125/62.5 amps
Run time @50% load11.7 h
Run time @25% loadUnknown
Features
GFCI outletsYes
Covered outletsYes
Automatic Voltage RegulationYes
AC outlets
  • 2x Duplex 120V 20A (5-20R) GFCI
  • 2x 120V 30A (L5-30R)
  • 1x 120/240V 30A (L14-30R)
  • 1x 120/240V 50A (14-50R)
DC outlets1x 12V 8A (cigarette lighter style)
Data centerVFT
IndicatorsNo
Fuel tankMetal, 13.2 gal
Fuel gaugeYes
Misc
Weight350 lbs
Approx. dimensions (L x W x H)35.7 x 32.7 x 35.8 in
Noise (lower limit)Unknown
THD< 5%
EmissionsCARB, EPA
SecurityLow oil and overload protection
Spark arrestorYes
NeutralBonded to frame
Accessories includedOil, funnel, tool kit, battery charger, battery, and wheel kit
Warranty2 years
Other model numbers502-3700

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.

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About Cat

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. CAT portable generators are engineered and designed in Mossville, Illinois, and Belfast, Northern Ireland. However, their production is outsourced to China.

Warranty Information

The Cat RP12000 E is covered under a warranty for up to 2 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?
Examples of items that can be simultaneously powered.
The examples below are based on a maximum load of 80% and estimated wattages. For a more accurate estimation, use our generator size calculator.
ItemRunning WattsStarting Watts
At homeAC (10,000 BTU)15002200
Dish washer15003000
Electric fry pan15001500
Microwave (1000 watts)15001500
Sump pump (1/2 hp)10502150
Refrigerator (energy star)1921192
Electric range21002100
Satelite receiver250250
Total9592 W11092 W
For campingRV AC (11,000 BTU)10101600
RV refrigerator180600
Hair dryer18001900
Electric grill16501650
Microwave (1000 watts)15001500
Electric fry pan15001500
Radiant heater13001300
Rice cooker650650
Total9590 W10180 W
For workElectric welder90009000
Electric fence (25 miles)250250
Drain cleaner250250
Bug zapper8080
Total9580 W9580 W
What is the thd of this unit? (Asked April 28, 2020)

As indicated in the table above, the THD is <5%.

Who makes the cat rp12oooe engine (Asked January 30, 2021)

The engine is manufactured by Rato.

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