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Cat RP5500 Spec Review

The Cat RP5500 is an open frame portable generator with a rated wattage of 5500 W and a starting wattage of 6875 W.

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Description

THE PERFECT MULTI-USE GENERATOR. This handy generator brings all of the power you need to take care of both play and home needs. Versatile enough to run your motorhome's microwave, fridge, fans, and TV or keep your home's fridge, freezer, washing machine, security system, and water heater working. We've designed our portable generators with your safety in mind. Recessed sockets and water protected covers keep vital connections between your valuable devices and the generator dry. We've also installed ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) that shut off the power if it detects an issue in order to keep you safe. All the vital information you need to operate your portable generator in a single display: voltage in use, frequency (Hz), current runtime in hours and total hours ran. (source: Cat (opens in a new tab))

Zoom on the Cat RP5500

In a nutshell, the Cat RP5500 is a portable generator mostly geared towards:

  • RV travellers looking for even more independence
  • People occasionally participating in sporting competitions, open-air performances and outdoor festivals
  • Food truck owners who do not wish to see their business interrupted under any circumstances
  • Homeowners who want to be able to use the most necessary devices in their household, even during a blackout
  • Professionals in need of safely powering high-intensity work or lighting equipment

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 RP5500 in use

The Cat RP5500

The Cat RP5500's core is the 300 cc OHV 4-stroke engine, which runs on gasoline. With an output of 120/240V, it provides a running wattage of 5500W and a peak wattage of 6875W.

This generator is started via a conventional pull-start mechanism.

With a full tank, the RP5500 can operate for around 15 hours at 50% load (fuel consumption around 0.53 GPH), thanks to its fuel capacity of 7.9 gallons.

Outlets

The control panel provides the upcoming 5 AC outlets:

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

Because the RP5500 is equipped with a twist-lock L14-30R receptacle, it is transfer switch ready: it can power your home during a power outage, as it can be easily connected to your breaker box to power your household.

Portability

The dimensions of the Cat RP5500, which are L32.9 x W27.4 x H24.7 in, and its typical, open frame design provides stability and enables the generator to be raised above ground level. The generator is designed for ideal use outdoors and in rough 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 178 lbs. However, its challenging mobility is solved by its wheel kit and its folding handle, which will ease its displacement, once it is on the floor.

Features

Panel of the Cat RP5500

The RP5500's control panel

The RP5500 and its control panel include a convenient meter showing you 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 fuel level of the generator can be determined quickly, easily, and conveniently with the help of its built-in fuel gauge.

As for its security measures, the device features an overload protection (circuit breaker) and an automatic low oil shut-off, letting you use it with a peace of mind.

Apart from the typical documentation and an owner's manual (opens in a new tab), which lets you start it right away, the Cat RP5500 also is packed along with the following accessories: tool kit, funnel and oil.

Emissions

The Cat RP5500 is EPA-approved and CARB-compliant. Thus, selling and purchasing this generator is allowed in each of the 50 states, including California.

Moreover, it features a spark arrestor and thus, may be used in forested areas.

Product Videos

The Cat RP5500 versus other generators

The following charts are provided to give you an idea of how some of the key specs of the Cat RP5500 compare to generators of similar power (between 5000 and 6000 W).

  • Since the generator weighs in at a dry weight of 178 lbs, the Cat RP5500 belongs in the expected weight range for devices which can produce between 5000 and 6000 rated watts. If weight matters to you, one of the champions in this power range is the Westinghouse WGen5300v with only 107 pounds.
  • Since the RP5500 boasts with a run time of around 15 hours at 50% load, it can be safely judged as one of the devices with the highest run time among those of a comparable output.
  • 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. As this generator uses an estimated 0.53 GPH (gallon per hour) at a 50% load, it finds itself in the average gasoline consumption range of similar products. If you wish to further improve in the area of fuel efficiency, the Westinghouse WGen5300v, which boasts with a gas consumption of only 0.35 GPH, may be the right generator for you.

Price comparison

As you can see from this interactive chart, when compared to other 5000-6000W generators, the Cat RP5500 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
  • High run time
AVERAGE SPECS:
  • Decent weight (178 lbs)
  • Decent fuel efficiency
WEAKNESSES:
  • No electric start

Do you own the Cat RP5500 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
Engine300 cc OHV 4-stroke
Starting systemRecoil
Power
VoltageAC: 120/240V 60 Hz
Running watts5500 W
Starting watts6875 W
Running amps (@120/240V)45.8/22.9 amps
Peaks amps (@120/240V)57.3/28.6 amps
Run time @50% load15 h
Run time @25% loadN/A
Features
GFCI outletsYes
Covered outletsYes
Automatic Voltage RegulationYes
AC outlets
  • 2x Duplex 120V 20A (5-20R) GFCI
  • 1x 120/240V 30A (L14-30R)
DC outletsNo
Data centerVFT
IndicatorsNo
Fuel tankMetal, 7.9 gal
Fuel gaugeYes
Misc
Weight178 lbs
Approx. dimensions (L x W x H)32.9 x 27.4 x 24.7 in
Noise (lower limit)Unknown
THDUnknown
EmissionsCARB, EPA
SecurityLow oil and overload protection
Spark arrestorYes
NeutralBonded to frame
Accessories includedOil, funnel and tool kit
Warranty2 years
Other model numbers502-3686

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 RP5500 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 wattage calculator.
ItemRunning WattsStarting Watts
At homeSump pump (1/2 hp)10502150
Furnace fan (1/2 hp)8752350
Refrigerator (energy star)1921192
Electric range21002100
Security system180180
Total4397 W5872 W
For campingRadiant heater13001300
RV refrigerator180600
Hair dryer18001900
RV AC (11,000 BTU)10101600
Radio100100
Total4390 W4980 W
For workTable saw18004500
Grinder14002500
Reciprocating saw730960
Bug zapper8080
Total4010 W6710 W
What are the red brackets mounted from the engine to the frame for? Why does it say to take off and discard? Can I keep them to reinstall during transport? If I leave them on for normal operation will it mess up generator, void warranty. Please note, I have not started the generator with red brackets still on engine. (Asked October 11, 2020)

These brackets are for additional stabilization during shipping/transport. They should be removed as indicated, as continuously running your unit with them still on could, according to CAT, cause damage to the unit.

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