CAT RP12000E 12000W Electric Start Portable Generator

SKU: 502-3699
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CAT RP12000E 12000W Electric Start Portable Generator Features:


CAT 12000E 12000W Portable Generator Features:

  • CAT RP12000E - EPA is a portable gas generator designed for heavy outdoor duty and home backup. It runs on a powerful Caterpillar 670cc OHV v-twin engine with a max 3600-RPM.
  • This 120V / 240V @ 60-Hz CAT generator produces 15000 Starting Watts and 12000 Running Watts. The runtime at 50% load is 11.7-hours. It runs quietly making it a neighborhood friendly option.
  • The 12kW generator has a pressurized lubrication system that increases maintenance intervals. Recommended oil is SAE30 or 10W-30. The engine shuts down to protect itself when the oil level is low.
  • The engine is housed in a heavy-duty roll cage to reduce vibration. Idle control saves fuel and reduces noise.
  • The extra-large metal fuel tank stores 13.2-gallons/ 50-liters of unleaded gasoline and has an easy to read fuel gauge.
  • Low harmonic distortion generator with all-copper windings supplies high-quality power with less than 5% THD.
  • The lead-acid battery charges itself when the generator is running.
  • It has a smart alternator with an automatic voltage regulator (AVR) that adjusts the engine speed to the load without dropping power to other appliances that can damage the product.
  • The control panel is located on one side for easy operation. Use the LED-display to check volts, hertz, running hours and total hours.
  • There are 6 Receptacles: 2x 5-20R GFCI Duplex, 1x L5-30R (Twist Lock), 1x L14-30R (Twist Lock), 1x 14-50R, 1x DC 12V 8.3A. The rubber outlet covers protect the generator from dust, debris, and moisture.
  • The generator is easy to move around with its padded, double-hinged handle and tires that never go flat. Compact design and foldable handles allow for easy mobility and storage.
  • This model is EPA, CARB, and CSA certified.
  • All CAT products are backed by a nationwide dealer network and multi-language call center.
  • Warranty: 2-year limited, extendable to 3-years when registered within 30 days. 

CAT RP12000E - EPA can be used for a wide variety of applications. Storms and hurricanes devastate life and destroy the daily routine when grid power fails. With a CAT RP12000E – EPA, you can continue with your day as usual. This portable powerhouse will run the air-conditioning or the furnace to keep your family comfortable indoors when the weather outside is bad. Watch TV or use the computer to occupy the time. Keep the foods fresh and beverages chilled in the refrigerator. 

This model produces ample electricity for the construction site and shops. It can power table saws, hammer drills, air compressors, furnaces, and smaller AC-units. This model generates electricity that is safe for use with sensitive electronics that have microcircuits such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops. The AVR offers advanced voltage regulation and gives a quick response to the changing load conditions. 

This easy to use and maintain portable generator can also be used for the RV due to its 30-amp receptacles. In the RV you can run the air conditioner, heating, microwave, music player, lights, fan, and so forth. It features idle control that lets you save fuel. The model is very safe to use with its recessed sockets and protected covers, heat shields, spark arrestor and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) that turn off power if there is a problem. Caterpillar builds products to last you a lifetime.

  • 5
    Built like a tank!

    Posted by Unknown on Apr 28, 2019

    Haven't had to use it yet but very impressed with it and very pleased this is the one I bought.

  • 4

    Posted by Unknown on Jan 31, 2019

    About the generator made in China wow. You think you buy American. Minor scratch on frame and handle bar. Poor designing on service excess to ad oil. Supplied funnel functioning but it is a joke. Generator over all built good, runs good, recommend to buy. What I do recommend is to buy this generator from AP Electric

  • 5
    Excellent Generator with Excellent Support from CAT

    Posted by Jonathan on Jan 15, 2019

    This generator is made using RATO Power Manufacturing’s generator platform, a Chinese company that also manufactures generators for WEN, DR and Harbor Freight. It uses a copy of the Honda GX670. RATO has apparent ties to Lifan, who is known for cloning Honda engines. It is most likely a clone from a separate factory and not a private label from Jialang - and that's probably a good thing. Jialing (the producers for Honda) also manufacture Pulsar, Ford, and Ducar generators - all of which are fraught with complaints of problems. RATO, on the other hand, has enjoyed a solid reputation over the past ten years, and that's who CAT has partnered with.

    A Chinese Honda clone is about where the similarities with other generators stop. Caterpillar maintained the design in-house and put together a unique product. This is not a licensed knockoff; CAT owns the design, the support, and backs the product. It's a heavy duty, all steel generator with a solid steel roll cage built to endure harsh construction site and outdoor conditions. The 50 amp circuit comes with a beefy 46 amp breaker that, according to Caterpillar's techs, has a trip curve that allows it to safely cut just before the house breaker will, but also push the full 50 amps for a time. Depending on the change in temperature from the 70 F it was rated at, you might get more output in warmer climates, and less in colder. The exhaust and muffler are oversized and transform the noise well, resulting in less of the high pitch whiny sound most generators make and more of a low rumble instead; less likely to keep you up at night or annoy you, but definitely still noticeable. A central control panel with LED lights makes it easy to connect up and run in the dark. All of the controls are in one place including the choke and oil, so you can use it without all four sides being accessible. It’s a real high class setup with obvious attention to detail in design and overall quality. Tiny details matter to me: even the gas catch has a runoff so you don't end up with a bunch of spilled gas bouncing on your generator. The trickle charger is also very convenient in keeping the battery charged, as there is no recoil start on this beast.

    I was skeptical of the Chinese RATO engines (and yes, it is assembled in China), but they've been around for about a decade in the US and have proven themselves reliable. A lot of research suggests they give Briggs a run for their money, and have lab tested to last twice as long as the standard life for engines in its class. There's more to a generator than the motor, though, and while brands like DeWalt are taking heat for taking a Honda and then gluing in cheap Russian capacitors or other electrical parts to it, I've discovered no such cut corners on this unit.

    Support is excellent. The local CAT dealer services these units, so if I have a problem I can just drive it over to them, or pay them to do a service call. That alone is worth buying this generator over any of the others. CAT's support line gives you a human in under a minute, every time, and usually someone pretty knowledgeable. One of their front line people did research while I was on the phone asking about the breaker and gave me all of the information I needed about the trip curve. The local Caterpillar dealer also bent over backwards to answer questions, and even removed it from the palette for me at the warehouse so I could fit it into my wife’s Explorer. I don't have to play guesswork in finding someone to fix this unit under warranty. CAT does it all.

    Gasoline wise, this generator has gotten some complaints about its 50% load runtimes given its tank size, but what many fail to realize is that the half-load is much higher on this generator than most others - 6,000 watts. If you do the math, this generator is comparable to Champion, Generac, and others in terms of gallons of gas consumption per 1,000 watts per hour.

    I have this unit connected through a 50 amp interlock to our house where it runs hot water heater, lights, fridge, stove, microwave, a couple pinball machines, and anything else I need it to... without breaking a sweat or binding down. You could cook a full Christmas dinner with this thing.

    A few recommendations: Turn OFF the idle control until you’ve switched the circuit over completely, or you’ll temporarily go under voltage while it throttles up, resetting some breakers and GFI. Idle control really is more for the work site. The engine is also very sensitive to overfilling the oil. Ensure that you only add the recommended 1 1/2 qt, and not the entire 2qt included, otherwise it will begin to smoke under load until the oil burns off. It's very heavy, but easy to wheel around. I had to buy a small ramp to get it up into our shed, which is not super easy, but manageable. Don't expect to be able to lift it up a step or two, even with help.

    I would have liked to see CAT use a genuine Honda engine, rather than a copy, but the generator would have also cost around $3400, instead of its more reasonable $2399 list price from CAT. I'd still have paid it, but even with Honda's stellar reputation, there are still forums full of people having problems with their Honda motors. The GX engines we get in the US are built just an hour away in Honda's China plant (Jialing) or Thailand, so it wouldn't have made much difference. That romanticized notion of a piece of high-performance Japanese technology no longer exists. Partnering with RATO was a reasonable compromise for a generic copy from a reputable Chinese manufacturer to meet a certain price point. Nevertheless, considering the horrible design, experience and support DeWalt owners are reporting, I think I'd rather have this. For right now, CAT has a much better design, better features, and top notch support, putting it well above all the others, in spite of its generic motor.

    There are a few cheap parts on this generator, but only a few. The fuel shutoff knob is plastic and has had reports of breaking. The motor shrouding is also plastic with a really stupid looking chain link sticker on it. Hopefully future versions of this model will improve on this. These are minor, though. Just be careful with the fuel shutoff. Other things I don't like are the lack of recoil start. That's not very conducive to an emergency situation. If you maintain the battery properly, and replace it every couple of years, it likely won't be an issue. I had to dig through the manual to find the oil capacity. Others have just dumped in both quarts included, and as a result had a number of issues. They should just put it in the quick start guide or on one of the tags attached to the unit out of the box. One other improvement it needs is to activate the LED lights as soon as you flip the switch on, rather than after you've started it, so you can see the controls to get it going in the dark.

    This is overall a great generator. It's not perfect, but still best in class. I’ve owned several brands throughout my entire life as I’ve lived in small New England towns that brave blizzards and prolonged outages. The quality, performance, and fit-and-finish surpasses that of Briggs in my opinion, and that’s saying a lot. I'm glad Briggs stopped making bigger gasoline generators or I wouldn't have found this one. The CAT name isn’t just a big box gimmick like the others; they own the product from start to finish. You get CAT's experienced sales, support, engineering expertise, and service at many of their dealer locations. Compare that to Ford, who licensed their generators through Pulsar: they'll laugh at you if you bring it into a Ford dealership - but you can take your CAT generator into a CAT dealership if they service power equipment. These guys are used to building and supporting massive construction equipment that has to last forever. This is absolutely a product that deserves to have their name on it.

  • 5
    Machine matches description

    Posted by Unknown on Aug 04, 2018

    Great machine & good pricing.
    Ran 220v welder with ease.
    Only disappointment was shipping/tracking notifications, as in none!
    Trucking company was courteous and punctual.

  • 5
    Superior Service from AP Electric

    Posted by Unknown on Mar 23, 2018

    Purchasing this product was fast and easy. There was a slight mix up (spelling error) in the delivery address but customer service handled that in a fast & professional manner. The generator was delivered quickly and in great shape.
    While I have not used this product as of yet, Cat has a wonderful reputation for solid and dependable equipment. Looking forward to using this generator.
    I cannot say enough nice things about AP Electric.
    Great purchasing experience!

  • 5

    Posted by Greg Boyer on Feb 21, 2018

    We use our Cat RP12000E on the job site. Very powerful we are always amazed at how much we can plug into it and it never bogs down or trips out. Great working with AP Electric and Generators as well.

  • 5
    heavy duty

    Posted by TJ K. on Feb 07, 2018

    I decided to write a review because this generator just performs. It is a great generator for my general contracting business. It gets used most days and I have owned it for almost a year now without one issue.

  • 5
    CAT RP12000E 12000W Electric Start Portable Generator

    Posted by M. Casa on Jan 25, 2018

    Fast shipping. the said to expect it in 3 to 4 days. It arrived in 2. These guys rock.

  • 5
    No Comparison

    Posted by Bob A on Jan 25, 2018

    Plain and simple you can't beat Caterpillar engineering. They have been in the engine game for a long time. I am in the road building business. This generator gets used every day. We actually track the usage of our equipment. Over 1500 hours on this unit and works the same as hour 1. Also AP Electric was easy to work with and the generator shipped and arrived the day the said it would. Strongly recommend the Caterpillar RP1200E