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Cat RP12000 E Spec Review

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

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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 a nutshell, the Cat RP12000 E is a powerful portable generator mostly geared towards professionals who want to be able to deliver results, even during a power failure.

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 core is the 670 cc OHV V-Twin engine, which runs on gasoline. With an output of 120/240V, it provides a running wattage of 12000W and a peak wattage of 15000W.

This generator gets running thanks to a convenient and easy-to-use electric starter (battery included).

With a full tank, the RP12000 E can operate for around 11.7 hours at 50% load (fuel consumption around 1.13 GPH), thanks to its fuel capacity of 13.2 gallons.

The RP12000 E produces a clean sine wave: thanks to a <5% Total Harmonic Disruption (THD), your sensitive electronics can be safely plugged in the AC outlets.

Outlets

The control panel provides the upcoming 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 with which you may charge your batteries with ease.

Even if this Cat generator isn't quite RV Ready, it still allows for an easy RV connection via an L5-30P to TT-30R adaptor, thanks to its L5-30R receptacle. Besides, since the RP12000 E bears a twist-lock L14-30R receptacle, it is transfer switch ready: it is easily connectible to a breaker box and can power your home in case of a power outage.

Portability

The Cat RP12000 E has the following dimensions: L35.7 x W32.7 x H35.8 in. In combination with its conventional, open frame design, they provide support and allow the generator to be raised above ground level. The design is ideal for rough environments and demanding outdoor use.

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. Still, once it is on the ground, its wheel kit and its folding handle can easily solve the issue of low mobility and allow for easy relocation of the device.

In addition, the device is equipped with a lift hook on the top of its frame, which provides extra safety during the loading, unloading and transport of the generator.

Features

Panel of the Cat RP12000 E

The RP12000 E's control panel

The RP12000 E's status and activity may be monitored conveniently via the control panel, as it features a convenient meter, which displays voltage, frequency and lifetime hours. 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.

Security-wise, this product benefits from an overload protection (circuit breaker) and an automatic low oil shut-off, which gives you a complete peace of mind when using it.

Besides the classic documentation and an owner's manual (opens in a new tab) to get you promptly started, the Cat RP12000 E also comes with some accessories: battery charger, tool kit, oil and funnel are included.

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. Regarding dry weight, one of the champions in the same power range is the A-iPower SUA13000EFI, with a dry weight of only 218 lbs.
  • Thanks to an impressive running time of around 11.7 hours at 50% load, the RP12000 E benefits from a higher run time than many generators of a similar output. If you consider autonomy on a single full tank as one of the deciding factors, one of the generators in the same power range that offers the highest run time is the Powerhorse 13000ES, with around 15 hours.
  • The run time is important, but also hugely depends on the capacity of the fuel tank and doesn't mean much if we don't talk about fuel consumption as well. Compared to its peers, this generator is not exactly fuel efficient, compared to similarly powerful devices, with an estimated fuel consumption of 1.13 GPH at a 50% load. If you wish to acquire one of the most gasoline efficient products of this power range, the A-iPower SUA13000EFI, with a fuel consumption of 0.78 GPH could be in your good books.

Price comparison

As you can see from this interactive chart, when compared to other 10000-14000W generators, the Cat RP12000 E 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

STRENGTHS:
  • In the expected price range
  • Several accessories included
  • GFCI Outlets
  • Electric start
  • Clean sine wave
  • High run time
WEAKNESSES:
  • 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 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
Peaks 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. 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.

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 sizing calculator.
ItemRunning WattsStarting Watts
At homeSump pump (1/2 hp)10502150
Furnace fan (1/2 hp)8752350
Refrigerator (energy star)1921192
Clothes dryer54006750
Hair dryer18001900
Slow cooker270270
Total9587 W11062 W
For campingRadiant heater13001300
RV refrigerator180600
Hair dryer18001900
Electric grill16501650
Microwave (1000 watts)15001500
Electric fry pan15001500
RV AC (11,000 BTU)10101600
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%.

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