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Cat RP5500 Spec Review

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

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Cat RP5500Cat RP5500Cat RP5500Cat RP5500

Get this unit while stocks last, because Caterpillar discontinued its production.

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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 outdoor fairs, festivals or events
  • Food van owners who know that just a short power outage could lose them hundreds of dollars
  • Homeowners who want to be able to use the most necessary devices in their household, even during a blackout
  • 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 RP5500 in use

The Cat RP5500

The Cat RP5500 is powered by a 300 cc OHV 4-stroke engine. It delivers 120/240V, runs on gasoline and offers a running wattage of 5500W as well as a peak wattage of 6875W.

This generator is started via a simple traditional pull-start mechanism.

With a fuel capacity of 7.9 gallons, the RP5500 may run for around 15 hours at 50% load with a full tank (fuel consumption around 0.53 GPH).

Outlets

The control panel features the upcoming 5 AC outlets:

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

Since the RP5500 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

With its dimensions of L32.9 x W27.4 x H24.7 in, the conventional, open frame design of the Cat RP5500 offers stability and allows the generator to be raised above ground level. The device has been designed for tough environments and demanding outdoor use.

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. 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.

Features

Panel of the Cat RP5500

The RP5500's control panel

The RP5500's control center features a convenient meter showing you voltage, frequency and lifetime hours to aid you with the monitoring of 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 far as security is concerned, the generator can be used with a peace of mind, as it features an overload protection (circuit breaker) and an automatic low oil shut-off.

With the basic documentation and an owner's manual (opens in a new tab), letting you start the generator quickly, the Cat RP5500 also comes with several accessories, including: funnel, tool kit and oil. An official storage cover is also available, as a separate purchase.

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, making it usable 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).

  • At a weight of 178 pounds, the Cat RP5500 places in the expected weight range of the generators in the 5000-6000 rated wattage range. Regarding dry weight, one of the champions in the same power range is the WEN GN6000, with a dry weight of only 119 lbs.
  • Thanks to an impressive running time of around 15 hours at 50% load, the RP5500 benefits from one of the highest run times among generators of a similar output
  • Even though run times are undoubtedly important, they are dependent on the fuel capacity to a large extent. For a more wholesome picture, we must take into consideration the fuel consumption of the generator. This generator has an estimated fuel consumption of roughly 0.53 GPH (gallon per hour) at a 50% load, rendering it somewhat average compared to devices of a similar output. If fuel consumption is your top priority, we suggest to check out the Westinghouse WGen5300DFv, which has a fuel consumption of only 0.35 GPH and thus, is one of the most efficient devices in our database.

Price comparison

As you can see from this interactive chart, when compared to other 5000-6000W generators, the Cat RP5500 is on the cheap side of the price range.

It can therefore be a really good buy if you're looking to acquire a budget generator.

The bottom line

STRENGTHS:
  • Inexpensive
  • Illuminated control panel
  • 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
Peak amps (@120/240V)57.3/28.6 amps
Run time @50% load15 h
Run time @25% loadUnknown
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, tool kit, and wheel 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.

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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 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.

Is my cat rp 5500 water proof? If it gets wet with rain in the outside will it get damaged? (Asked June 11, 2021)

The unit is not waterproof and should not be operated in the rain. We recommend reading our articles on generator operation in bad weather and generator safety.

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