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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 summary, the Cat RP12000 E is a powerful portable generator especially useful for professionals who want to be able to deliver results, even during a power failure.

In the following paragraphs, we shall explore the power characteristics, available outlets, portability, and any additional features of the device, along with its emission compliance information.

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.

Its starting mechanism is based on a simple and elegant electric starter (battery included).

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

Delicate electronics can be plugged in an AC outlets safely, as the RP12000 E generates a clean sine wave, reaching a <5% Total Harmonic Disruption (THD).

Outlets

The control panel features 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

Furthermore, it has 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, as the RP12000 E holds a twist-lock L14-30R receptacle, it is transfer switch ready: you'll easily be able to connect it to your breaker box to power your home during 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 featured design is ideal for the outdoors and all tough environments.

While the generator is considered to be technically 'portable' (in the sense that you can move it), manually lifting and transporting it may be challenging, due to its high weight of 350 lbs. Nevertheless, it can still be moved quite conveniently with the help of its wheel kit and its folding handle, once it is placed on the ground.

The generator comes with an additional safety feature, a lift hook on the top of its frame, which is helpful during its transport, loading and unloading.

Features

Panel of the Cat RP12000 E

The RP12000 E's control panel

The RP12000 E and its control panel include a convenient meter, which displays voltage, frequency and lifetime hours. This feature comes handy when monitoring its status and activity. To offer you even more control and easy operation during night time, the panel is LED-lit.

The generator includes a built-in fuel gauge, a quick, easy and convenient method of checking the device’s gas level.

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.

Along the basic documentation and an owner's manual (opens in a new tab), useful for starting the generator right away, the Cat RP12000 E's package also includes these accessories: battery charger, funnel, tool kit and oil.

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, so it is adequate for use 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).

  • With its weight of 350 lbs, the Cat RP12000 E is one of the heavier generators in the 10000-14000 rated wattage category. If weight matters to you, one of the champions in this power range is the A-iPower SUA13000EFI with only 218 pounds.
  • With a run time of around 11.7 hours at 50% load, the RP12000 E has one of the higher run times, compared to its similarly powerful peers. 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.
  • Run times are important, yet thanks to their dependence on the fuel capacity, they should be judged along with the fuel consumption of the device. 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 not satisfied with the afore-mentioned fuel consumption, you may wish to check out the A-iPower SUA13000EFI. With a fuel consumption of as little as 0.78 GPH, it is one of the most efficient generators currently on the market.

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% loadN/A
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)N/A
THD< 5%
EmissionsCARB, EPA
SecurityLow oil and overload protection
Spark arrestorYes
NeutralBonded to frame
Accessories includedOil, funnel, tool kit, battery charger and battery
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.

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 sizer.
ItemRunning WattsStarting Watts
At homeElectric fry pan15001500
Dish washer15003000
Microwave (1000 watts)15001500
AC (10,000 BTU)15002200
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
Electric fry pan15001500
Microwave (1000 watts)15001500
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%.

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