Phil has been working as a technical engineer since his graduation, and has never thought of changing his profession. Also, he’s an avid fisherman and camper, so it’s not only work which makes him deal with generators.
Last updated: February 21, 2021
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A 12,000-watt generator is an excellent option for those who are looking for a model that performs multiple heavy-duty tasks with ease. They are ultra-powerful and can run for extended periods of time smoothly. Finding the best 12,000-watt portable generator for your specific needs can be tricky, but we have tried to make the process easier for you.
We did our research and narrowed down seven outstanding 12,000-watt generators. The Champion Power Equipment 100111 emerged as the ultimate winner. It produces a peak power of 15,000 watts and has an efficient engine. The 10.9-gallon fuel tank will provide you with a run time of 9 hours at 50% load. The electric switch makes it easy to use, and the generator makes very little noise while operating. The Intelligauge will track the power and allow you to have control over the specifics. Having said that, all the products on the list deserve your attention because they come with their own advantages for specific purposes.
We have taken certain important features into consideration when reviewing the generators. Generators can either have the dual-fuel feature or they run on gasoline. You should also check out the peak and rated watts provided by each model. A powerful and reliable engine will dictate the efficiency and runtime of the generator. The generator should also have multiple outlets to give you flexibility. We have included a table listing all the products followed by the in-depth reviews and a buying guide.
If you are looking for an ultra-powerful generator that will never fail you, then this model might be just what you are looking for. It offers 15,000 starting watts along with 12,000 running watts, and it will be sufficient both for emergency and recreation purposes. You will be able to enjoy a maximum of 9 hours run time at a half load when the tank is full of gasoline. We also were pleasantly surprised to know that this generator makes much lesser noise than expected at 78 dBA.
With this generator, you will have an electric start feature that is easy to use. You can trust the dependable 717cc V-Twin Champion engine that comes with the battery-included electric start. You will also have access to a toggle switch, and the built-in Cold Start Technology. The generator starts with ease, even in cold weather. Another advantage is that there are many covered outlets on it, including a 120/240V 50A receptacle and two 120V 20A GFCI-protected duplex outlets.
You will also find a Volt Guard built-in surge protector that will prevent overloads so that your appliances and your equipment are safe. The Intelligauge will measure the voltage, hertz and run-time hours, allowing you to keep an eye on the track maintenance intervals and monitor power output. All this makes this model one of the best quality 12000-watt portable generators on the market.
The generator comes with a lift-hook that can be used for safe and easy transportation and a 3-year warranty from Champion for the peace of mind.
What we liked:
Plenty of power
ETL listed and EPA certified
Intelligauge with a power meter monitors the performance of the generator easily
Comes with many outlets including GFCI-protected ones
Large fuel tank
Long run time
Easy to start
Quieter than other powerful generators in this price range
A good heavy-duty generator can be difficult to find, but this model has all the features that you might need. It will give you 12,000 watts of running and 15,000 watts of starting power. The engine is reliable, and it will not fall apart any time soon. In fact, the 670cc v-twin OHV engine is fuel-efficient and comes with an idle mode option so that the machine is protected at all times. The pressurized oil system will allow you to have better control over the generator.
With this model, you can expect a run time of 11.2 hours on one tank at 50% load. This makes the machine very flexible, and you will be able to use it for long stretches of time without any worry. It is a low harmonic distortion generator with AVR, which makes it better than many other models in this price range. The generator comes with a total of 9 outlets. You will have access to 20A, 30A and 50A receptacles.
The generator comes with a control panel on one side that makes operating the machine easy. This heavy-duty model is perfect for construction sites and even large houses when they experience power outages. Since it is portable, you will have no trouble shifting it from one place to another. With 12 kW of long-lasting power, you will be able to get all your work done.
The rugged steel frame makes the generator sturdy. The padded bar-style handle is comfortable to use and will give you a good grip. The weight-balanced design increases the mobility of the generator.
You will get a 3-year warranty with this product once you have it registered.
On a slightly less powerful side, as compared with our top two generators, comes this model. With the Westinghouse WGen9500, you will get 9,500 running watts and 12,500 peak watts to work with. The machine comes with a remote start option, which means that you can use the key fob, along with the electric and recoil start, to switch on the machine comfortably. It provides up to 17.5 hours of run time when the 6.6-gallon fuel tank is full. You can use the fuel gauge to keep an eye on the level of fuel in the tank.
The generator comes with one transfer switch ready 120V outlet, two GFCI 120V standard household receptacles, and even an RV Ready 120/240V outletю You will be pleased to find that all the outlets come with rubber covers so that you always remain safe. The generator is powered by a 457cc Westinghouse 4-stroke OHV engine that is perfect for heavy-duty purposes. The model also features a long-lasting cast-iron sleeve. Features like the Digital Hour Meter allow you to have superior control over the machine, and the Automatic Low Oil Shutdown adds to safety.
The generator is EPA and CARB compliant, which means that it has been tested properly. You can get a maximum of 17.5 hours of run time using this generator, which will suffice if you want to power major appliances simultaneously. You will soon fall in love with the convenience of being able to use the WGen9500 with the push of a single button. The onboard battery charger port will allow you to extend the battery life if you need to.
If you want the convenience of a generator that can run on two different kinds of fuel, then this is the model that you need. The DuroMax XP12000EH has been specially designed to perform equally well on both propane and gas. It comes with a powerful engine that will not break down easily. The XP12000EH has the DuroMax 18HP, 457cc OHV engine that will run smoothly under all circumstances. The dual-fuel technology is helpful because you might be running low on a particular fuel when you need a refill. You can easily substitute that and continue using the generator.
You do not have to worry about whether the generator will work properly on both fuels. It can use both propane and gasoline without any hiccups even when you are doing heavy-duty tasks. You will learn to appreciate this freedom and flexibility the longer you use the generator.
With this model, you can expect 12,000 starting watts and 9,500 running watts of power on gas. This will be sufficient if you want to power more than one major appliance at a time. On liquid propane, the generator offers slightly less, but still decent power output – 11,400 surge and 9,025 continuous watts. The unit has been crafted to tackle heavy loads such as refrigerators, air conditioners, lights, and even high amperage power tools.
The machine comes with the DuroMax MX2 technology that will allow you to extract the maximum power possible from each of the 120V receptacles. You can choose to operate the generator at either 120 or 240 volts. The XP12000EH is EPA and CARB approved.
The A-iPower SUA12000E is a powerful generator that you can rely on at all times, offering you 12,000 starting watts and 9,000 running watts of power. It comes with the electric start feature that is easy to use, with a recoil backup available. You will be able to switch on the machine in a matter of seconds. The keyless one-touch push-button will give you the effortless start. This mechanism works well in all seasons.
The generator comes with a 7.0-gallon fuel tank which will last for a fairly long amount of time. The large heavy-duty fuel tank is constructed with steel and is very sturdy. You can expect up to 9 hours of run time when the machine is set at a 50% load. Even though the size of the generator is on the bigger side, you will be able to move it effortlessly. It is equipped with large 9.5-inch never-flat wheels that are reliable and well-designed. They will be able to tackle heavy-duty loads and provide improved traction. The enhanced mobility will allow you to carry the generator over rough terrain. This will prove to be especially helpful if you are planning to carry it to your job site.
The generator comes with GFCI-protected outlets that give you added protection and ensure that you are safe even under damp conditions. The built-in DC adapter plug can be used to charge the battery, or you can use it in conjunction with your USB adapter. The DC charging cables come with the generator. There is a cord protective cover that conceals all the wires making the machine easy and safe to use.
If you want a technologically advanced generator that will be perfect for all heavy-duty tasks, then this model is the one you should be looking at. It is equipped with the electric start feature, which means that you will be able to switch on the machine without any difficulty. Pulsar’s PG12000B was specially designed to keep you prepared for all emergencies. It has the dual fuel feature, which means that it will run efficiently on both gasoline and propane. This makes it more flexible, and you will not have to suffer in case you are out of a particular fuel.
This 12,000-watt dual fuel portable generator is powered by a 457cc single-cylinder 4-stroke OHV engine that is designed to last. It will provide you with 12,000 peak and 9,500 running watts when the machine is running on gasoline. On the other hand, you will get 10,800 peak and 8,550 running watts when the generator is running on LPG. Since the model comes with extended run time and output, it is the perfect model for you if you want to store back up power for large appliances in case of a power cut. This generator can also be used to power multiple electronic devices at the same time.
The generator also comes with the Switch & Go technology that sets it apart from its competitors. It gives you the freedom to transition between fuel sources seamlessly while the machine is still in use.
The generator comes with a durable steel frame, and it will not fall apart easily. The 10-inch never-flat wheels make it portable. You will find that the drop-down handles are comfortable and convenient to use and make storing or maneuvering the generator a breeze.
Whether you want a generator for residential or commercial purposes, this model will do the job for you. The Rockpals R12000ED has the dual-fuel feature, which means that you will be able to run the generator on both gasoline and propane. The model provides 12,000 watts of starting power and is 9,000-watt rated when it is running on gas. On the other hand, when it is running on LPG, it will give you 10,800 starting and 8,100 rated watts. The model is EPA III and CARB compliant, which means that it’s safe to use wherever you are.
The generator is equipped with the switch-on-demand technology that will allow you to switch between fuels seamlessly, even when the generator is running. You will not have to turn off the machine and restart it, unlike many other models in the price range. You can rely on the powerful 459CC V-OHV engine to provide you with the smooth power supply you need. The advanced square-shaped alternator even increases the power output by 5% to 8% as compared to other models. The generator has weather-proof covered outlets so you can use the machine in all seasons without any worry. It comes with an excellent noise insulation system and an oversized muffler. Together, they cut down the noise produced by the generator. You can expect a run time of 8.5 hours at a half load on gasoline from the 6.6-gallon fuel tank and 20 hours of run time on propane.
What we liked:
Supports the dual-fuel feature
Electric start with recoil backup
Comes with an hour meter
Equipped with a variety of outlets including a GFCI-protected 12V DC outlet
What could be better:
Run time is shorter than its competitors on the market
Power output drops when the machine is running on propane
Things to Consider
Portable heavy-duty generators might seem like an oxymoron, but you can actually find excellent models on the market that provide you with both features. If you are on the hunt for a generator that provides you with 12,000 watts of power, then the above list will help you narrow down your choices. However, it is a different ball game when you want to find that one perfect model for yourself. We have created this buying guide so that you know what to expect from a good 12,000-watt generator. You can consult the guide and decide your preferences to find the one for you.
What a 12,000-watt generator can power
You can rely on a 12,000-watt generator to power all the basic appliances in your house at the same time in case of a power cut. It will be able to keep the pump, refrigerator, freezer, and furnace going easily. It will also power all the lights and fans along with appliances like a TV or a microwave oven. You can also rely on these generators to power central air conditioning systems for limited periods of time. They will be able to support appliances like electric hot water heaters, and well pumps simultaneously. If the model has a transfer switch, it can be used for better power distribution. 12 kW generators are commonly used in construction sites.
Important features to consider before you buy a 12,000-watt generator
When you are buying a 12,000-watt generator, you are actually making an investment for the coming years. You cannot take it lightly. Unless you do your research well, you might yourself stuck with a model that you do not like for many years. It is important to keep an eye on certain important features when you are choosing the perfect 12,000-watt generator.
Starting and running watts
When judging a generator and understanding the amount of power it can produce, you will have to consider two important factors called running watts and starting watts. You should not make the mistake of thinking they are the same because each plays a specific role in determining the output of the generator. Running watts represent the continuous power required by the generator in order to keep all the appliances running. On the other hand, starting watts refer to the extra watts required by the machine for two to three seconds when starting motor-driven products like refrigerators. Starting watts represent the maximum wattage that can be produced by a generator. For example, the Champion Power Equipment 100111 produces 15,000 peak watts and 12,000 running watts.
Fuel options: gasoline, propane, or both
The fuel is an important consideration when choosing a 12,000-watt generator. You should choose the fuel that you can easily access so that it does not become a problem to refill the fuel tank once it is empty.
While many heavy-duty generators run on gasoline, there are some models that have the dual-fuel feature.
This means that they can be powered by both gasoline and propane. If you feel that you might not have a consistent supply of gasoline, then you can choose a dual-fuel model like the DuroMax XP12000EH that works equally well on both fuels. You can switch between the two fuels depending on your convenience. Generators like the CAT RP12000E can run only on gasoline.
The engine forms the core of a generator. If your machine does not have a reliable engine, then it will not be able to keep up a consistent supply of power. You need to opt for a heavy-duty engine that will keep going even when you use the generator for extended periods of time. The generator should come with safety features that will protect the engine from excessive wear and tear.
If the generator is not efficient, then you might not be able to make complete use of the 12000 watts.
Read about the engine specifications before making your decision. The CAT RP12000E, for example, uses the 670cc V-Twin OHV engine which is highly durable. The DuroMax XP12000EH uses the 18HP 457cc OHV DuroMax engine that is compatible with both propane and gas.
Fuel tank capacity
The fuel capacity of the generator will dictate the run time of the machine. If you feel that you will be using the generator for long stretches of time, then you need a generator with a big fuel tank so that it can store enough fuel to last for as long as you need it to. On the other hand, if you think that you will not use the generator often at a stretch, then you can settle for a model that has a smaller fuel tank. The Champion Power Equipment 100111 has a huge fuel tank of 10.9 gallons, while the Westinghouse WGen9500 has a fuel tank that measures just 6.6 gallons. You need to pick your fuel tank capacity depending on the tasks you will use the generator for.
Run time and efficiency
When you are planning to buy a 12 kW generator, it is obvious that you want to use it for heavy-duty work that cannot be carried out by smaller generators. One of the best things about these generators is that they can provide consistent power in massive quantities. For proper distribution of the power, the generator needs to run for a decent amount of time at a stretch.
If you do not want the hassle of refilling the tank every hour when you are using the generator, then you should opt for a generator that offers a long run time.
For example, the Westinghouse WGen9500 provides a run time of 12 hours at 50% load and 17.5 hours at 25% load. On the other hand, the Pulsar PG12000B gives a run time of 6 hours on gas and 9 hours on LPG.
Control panel and outlets
Modern generators come equipped with many features, and you should not compromise. They should be efficient and easy to use so that nobody faces a problem trying to operate the generator. The control panel should be navigable and lucid. Ideally, it should be placed at an easily accessible location.
Many 12,000-watt generators come with the electric start feature, which means that they can be switched on with the help of just one button. Both the Champion Power Equipment 100111 and the CAT RP12000E, as well as other generators on our list, come with the easy to use electric start feature. Some generators, like the Westinghouse WGen9500, come with a remote control feature, which makes starting the engine even easier.
The generator should come with a variety of outlets to make it flexible. Having GFCI-approved outlets is also useful, as well as rubber covers, making them safe to use.
If you do not have any intention of being disturbed by your 12,000-watt generator, then you will have to choose a model that comes with noise reduction technologies. Heavy-duty generators are prone to making a lot of noise because the engine works harder, and they tend to be bigger in size.
Most 12 kW generators produce noise between 70 and 80 decibels.
While that is not very quiet, it will keep you from being bothered by the sound. These generators cannot be expected to make lesser noise than that. Noise-reduction features have already cut down the noise significantly. For example, the Champion Power Equipment 100111 produces 78 dBA because it comes with an integrated muffler. On the other hand, the DuroMax XP12000EH creates just 74 dB of noise.
Size and weight
If portability is an important consideration for you, then you must take the size and weight of the generator into consideration. It becomes difficult to carry a massive generator around, especially if it does not come with any portability features. Thankfully, most manufacturers equip 12,000-watt generators with mobility features to balance the massive size. The A-iPower SUA12000E comes with big 9.5-inch never-flat wheels that can be used to carry the machine over rough terrain. Generators also come with comfortable handles that make it easy to carry them manually. The Pulsar PG12000B has comfortable drop-down handles. The size and weight of the generator will also determine your method of storage, so make sure that your house has enough space to accommodate the machine.
The warranty period that comes alongside a generator is an indication of how much the brand trusts its product. You should not settle for a generator that provides an unsatisfactory warranty because you never know when you might run into a problem. The Rockpals R12000ED comes with a 2-year limited warranty while the DuroMax XP12000EH comes with a 3-year limited warranty.
You will find that 12,000-watt generators tend to be on the pricier side, but that is not surprising when you consider the massive amount of power they provide. The price range can vary anywhere between $1000 to $3000. You can get your hands on the CAT RP12000E for 2,800 dollars, while the Westinghouse WGen9500 is a cheaper option at around 1200 dollars.
Tips and tricks
Using the generator indoors can lead to toxic emissions.
Ensure that your portable generator is always kept in a dry environment. Exposing the generator to water can cause the machine to break down completely.
You should never back-feed a 12,000-watt generator. It can prove to be dangerous.
Make sure that you can distinguish between rated/continuous rating and starting/maximum rating so that you do not end up misusing the generator.
You should check the filter at least once a week so that there is no accumulation.
Ideally, you should change the oil every 100 hours so that the machine can run smoothly.
You should never try to refuel your generator while it is still hot. If you want to refill your generator, then you should wait for it to cool down. It is risky to refuel while the machine is still hot. Take your time and avoid spillage.
Make sure that you are always stocked up on high-quality fuel. Using stale fuel can cause numerous problems in your generator and destroy the engine.
Do not violate any local codes and gain the proper permits before installing the generator.
Run periodic tests every three months to ensure that the generator is working properly.
You have to understand that a 12,000-watt generator produces a massive amount of power and so it is only natural that its engine works extra hard. These generators are bigger in size as well. Usually, you can expect such a large generator to make 70–80 decibels of noise depending on the type of mufflers that come integrated with the machines. If you compare this value to smaller generators, you will find that modern 12,000-watt generators actually make a lot lesser noise than they are supposed because they are equipped with advanced noise reduction technologies that cut down on the noise.
Most generators will not allow you to use the 120V and 240V outlets at the same time when they are running. You will find certain exceptions, but that is not the norm. Using both the outlets on the same circuit can lead to overload and cause the system to crash. Unless you are sure that the manufacturer recommends using the two outlets at the same time, you should not go ahead. Read the instructions carefully before you try to execute the experiment.
A 12,000-watt generator is designed to power multiple appliances at the same time. There are no strict restrictions that you need to follow as long as you do not aim for too much. These generators can be used to power all the basic appliances at home simultaneously without any fear of overload. You will be able to use basic necessities like lights and fans along with appliances like the refrigerator and the furnace. You can also use this generator to watch television, and power the microwave oven without disturbing any of the other appliances. These generators can also run central air conditioning systems smoothly at the same time.
LPG has emerged as one of the best fuels to use in recent times. It is easy to transport and convenient to use. It has a higher heating value as a result of which you will be able to save a significant amount of money. It does not contain sulphur and hence gives you access to clean energy. LPG is also known to burn more consistently. It is more reliable than most other forms of energy. LPG is the best option for people who do not have access to natural gas deposits. Most importantly, LPG is environment-friendly and releases lesser carbon dioxide as compared to oil.
We love all the products that we have mentioned above, but we do have favorites that we would like to tell you about.
The Champion Power Equipment 100111 emerged as the best 12,000-watt generator that you can buy. It runs on gasoline and is powered by a 717cc 4-stroke V-Twin Champion engine. The massive tank of 10.9 gallons can store enough fuel to give you a run time of 9 hours at 50% load. You can use the electric start to power the machine. It produces just 78 dBA of noise so you can remain undisturbed. It comes with the Intelligauge that allows you to keep track of its performance.
The CAT RP12000E runs on gasoline and has a fuel tank of 13.2 gallons. It will give you a run time of 11.7 hours at 50% load. The machine comes with a variety of outlets and a heavy-duty frame.
The Westinghouse WGen9500 is powered by gasoline and can provide 12,500 Watts of peak power. While the fuel tank measures 6.6 gallons, it will give you run time of 12 hours and 17.5 hours at 50% load and 25% load, respectively.