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 22, 2021
Generator Pick is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Whether you need a generator to help you run your critical appliances during a power outage or need some extra power on-site at your workplace, Cat generators will handle any job for you. Big or small. You can rest assured you’re getting outstanding quality when investing in a Cat generator. Read on because the items on this list rank as some of the best Cat generators money can buy.
To help you make an informed decision when buying your generator, we’ve reviewed the top six Cat generators currently on the market. We made sure we only included products that have excellent performance, impressive runtimes and high power outputs. The Cat RP5500 outperformed its counterparts based on the powerful amps it produces as well as its engine capacity. It has long runtimes and has a substantial fuel tank for when you’re working at remote places & can’t refuel easily. It became the most obvious selection for our Editor’s choice.
We spent approximately 120 hours doing research on the different Cat generators looking at different customers’ reviews and feedback given on different platforms. For us to be thorough we matched features of related products from the manufacturers’ websites. We’ve also measured factors such as fuel tank capacity, runtime and maximum output. Based on this information, we’ve compiled a comparison table and detailed reviews of each product. Lastly, we’ve put together a buyer’s guide to help you pick the best Cat generator for home or work use.
"This model is powerful enough for basic commercial use or residential use, and despite the fact that it’s heavy, it’s still portable enough to transport anywhere, designed to make it easy to move around."
This conventional Cat generator is ideal for powering your home appliances during power outages. It’s also versatile enough to provide power for your essential equipment at work such as the security system or any power tools. You have up to 5500W of power at your disposal whenever you need it. Because it’s not too bulky you can conveniently cart it anywhere whether indoors or outdoors. To fire it up it’s fitted with a pull string that only needs light tugging to get it started. It has a running time of up to 15 hours that amounts to almost a full workday of uninterrupted power supply. There’ll be no more excuses for not getting work done. You’ll have all the backup power you’ll ever need.
It impressed us so much it became the obvious selection for Editor’s Choice. It carries the same durability and quality we’ve come to know & love from Caterpillar. Caterpillar builds products to last you a lifetime.
It weighs only 163lb which makes it portable to transport wherever you need it. The fuel tank capacity goes to 7.9 gallons maximum and requires unleaded gasoline which is luckily easily available.
The ergonomic design ensures there are two outlets conveniently placed on the side of the generator so you can power multiple items simultaneously. You’ll often find with conventional generators the vibrational noise can become excessive to a point of irritation. Because this Cat generator is built from solid steel with a decreased vibration framework it lowers the vibration noise from the generator. It has extra features such as an LED control panel that lights up and an automatic shut down if you’re running low on oil. It’s everything you need in a generator at an affordable price.
This is mega in the Caterpillar range of generators when it comes to power output. By far the most powerful Cat generator on our list with up to 15000W at starting time. It’s a piece of heavy-duty machinery that can handle any extensive job with ease. It’s fitted with extra features such as a sturdy steel frame and a padded handle. The operator station also lights up which makes it easy to use when you’re working in dim light. You’ll find a balanced machine in this generator that offers you portability and comfort of use. It’s a worthy addition to your tool collection.
Because generators come at high prices it’s always reassuring to know a warranty is included. It comes with a three-year warranty against any parts and defects on it. To make sure you get the maximum running time out of the generator it’s fitted with an idle control mechanism. It detects when you’re not using it and goes on idle mode to save you energy & fuel.
It’s important to minimize your carbon footprint in today’s environment where we face challenges such as climate change. Even though this generator is packed with sufficient power it generates clean power through the copper cabling to ensure low harmonic distortion. If you buy a Cat generator you have peace of mind that you’re getting a durable piece of equipment that is EPA compliant as well as eco-friendly. We all have to do our bit to keep the environment clean and this powerful Cat generator helps you do exactly that. This is power and sustainability packaged in one machine.
This is the first inverter type generator on our list and you’ll appreciate the outstanding features on it that make it user friendly. It’s rated as the best Cat inverter generator for good reason. Inverter generators are less noisy than conventional generators and produce cleaner power. It’s also fuel-efficient with a custom drip-free oil fill. It’s OSHA compliant with easy access to service it.
This inverter generator will give you up to 2250W of power and can run up to six hours maximum on half a load. If you need more power, then you can use the Cat INV2000 parallel with another INV2000 but you’ll have to purchase the parallel kit separately. It only takes about 1 gallon of fuel and can run smoothly on unleaded gasoline. The engine capacity is 79.7cc and works quietly in the background. This is ideal for indoor and outdoor use to power your electronic devices or sensitive tools. It’s fitted with two outlets and has a USB interface if you need to charge your laptop or SmartPhone.
It’s ultra-compact and weighs only 48.8lb so it’s easy to carry anywhere & store even if you have limited space available. If power in a compact design is what you’re after this inverter generator is worth considering.
This is another powerhouse that can weather any storm and will give you uninterrupted power supply for up to 12 hours. It’s the best Cat gas generator on our list. It’s powerful enough for basic commercial use or residential use. The six outlets make it convenient to use multiple appliances or tools simultaneously. Because it can reach up to 6500W of power at full running capacity you’ll never have to worry about your lights flickering or power shortages because of power overload.
This machinery can handle the load with ease and can hold up to 7.9 gallons of unleaded gasoline so you don’t have to fill up often. It’s a heavy piece of machinery at a hefty 202lb but it’s still portable enough to transport anywhere. Caterpillar designed it in such a way that the weight is balanced to make it easy to move around. It’s built from quality steel and decreases the vibration noise during running times with its steel frame. You can decide whether to start it manually or electrically as it’s fitted with both options. Caterpillar has mastered the fundamentals when it comes to generators. Their generators give you longer running times and cleaner power because of the copper design on the generators. If low maintenance and maximum output are what you desire then this generator is a good option to consider.
Mobility is an important requirement when it comes to a generator. Most people use it in remote places or at work where conditions aren’t always so comfortable. Making sure you can transport your generator anywhere is one of the key features you should look out for. This Cat generator doesn’t fail to deliver in that department. It’s the best Cat portable generator on our list because it’s flexible in its features and powerful enough to supply power wherever you need it.
As with all Cat generators, it’s fuel-efficient and has a running time of up to 11 hours at half a load. It’s a conventional type generator so you won’t have complete silence when it’s operational but the low vibration frame reduces the amount of noise. It’s designed with convenience in mind with a double padded handle so you can move it around easily. It’s light enough to pull with only one hand and has six outlets to plug in all your tools or home appliances. It produces up to 9375W of power at starting time and 7500W at full running time. It’s easy to use and doesn’t require high maintenance. You have the option of starting it manually or using the electric start switch. It comes standard with a three-year warranty against poor workmanship and any defects on the parts. If durability and flexibility are priorities for you, consider this portable generator as an investment.
This is our last conventional generator which also ranks as the most budget-friendly Cat generator on our list. Price sensitivity is expected when you’re buying premium equipment such as a Cat generator. You don’t want to skimp on quality to save a buck but if you can save some money, why not. The Cat RP3600 is our budget pick that’ll give you the quality output you expect from a Caterpillar machine at less of the price.
The running watts reach maximum capacity at 3600W which is a bit lower than the other Cat generators we’ve listed but it can run up to 13.5 hours at half a load. It’s also fitted with five outlets for convenient power supply to all your appliances. It only weighs 125lb which makes it portable enough to carry almost anywhere.
Safety is key with this user-friendly generator that has waterproof covers and recessed sockets. It comes standard with a three-year warranty against defects and you can contact the toll-free support line 24 hours a day. It can only hold 4.5 gallons of unleaded gasoline and doesn’t have an electrical start option. It has a rugged steel frame with padded handles for easy pulling. It’s priced attractively for first-time buyers or anyone simply looking for a Cat generator that can power the most critical appliances during a power outage. We think its excellent value for money.
What we liked:
Good value for money
Enhanced safety features
Extended running time
What could be better:
Lower running watts
No electric start option
Things to Consider
When you consider that Caterpillar is the leader in power equipment and machinery it becomes difficult to select which Cat generator will fit your specific requirements. We’ve reduced the burden of sifting through complicated technical information that can become ambiguous; we outlined the key features you need to look at before making your final purchase. It’s important to take the time to consider all options and make an educated & informed decision before you purchase a premium item such as this.
Features to consider while choosing a Cat generator
There are specific features you should look out for when considering investing in a Cat generator. Ascertain firstly whether you need the generator for residential or commercial use. The type of generator will determine the output you’ll receive. Inverter generators are different from conventional generators and don’t generate the same kind of power. Another important consideration to be aware of is the total running time and fuel capacity of the generator. You don’t want to be stuck without power when you need it the most.
We’ve briefly shown the difference between an inverter generator and a conventional generator in the above reviews. These are the two most common types of generators on the market and each comes with advantages & disadvantages. The most significant differences between the two types are inverter generators are more fuel-efficient and produce less noise, like Cat INV2000. Conventional generators generate more power and have longer running times, check, f. i., Cat RP7500E, which is also rated as one of the best 7,500-Watt generators.
You’re considering buying a Cat generator because of the power it can supply during power outages or when you’re stranded at a remote place with no electricity, right? So power matters a lot. The Cat generators we’ve listed are all powerhouses in their own right. The most powerful Cat generator is the Cat RP12000E that can produce up to 15000W of power at starting time. It decreases to 12000W at the running time but that’s still superior power at any rate. Most of the Cat generators we’ve listed can power multiple appliances and sensitive tools simultaneously with the multiple outlets fitted on the generators.
What is the preferred fuel type for Cat generators? All the generators we’ve listed require unleaded gasoline with 10% ethanol or a bit less. Unleaded is affordable and stretches your fuel efficiency significantly.
Each Cat generator has a different engine capacity. If we look at the Editor’s choice which is the CATRP5500 you’ll find 300cc OHV engine power. The most powerful generator is the Cat RP12000E which is fitted with a 670cc OHV engine that spits out 15000W of starting power. Engine capacity is an important feature as it’s the heart of your generator. The stronger the engine the higher the power output. Most Cat generators are fitted with an automatic low oil shut down mechanism that protects your engine if your generator is running low on oil. Good engine care is essential to keep your generator in tip-top condition.
Fuel tank capacity and runtime
Why is running time so important? It’s important because you need to know how long your generator will be able to run and therefore how much backup power you’ll have available for work or home use. It helps you plan ahead. Most of the Cat generators we’ve listed have an average running time of between 11 to 15 hours. It’s only the inverted Cat generator that has a low running time of six hours but that’s because of its small fuel tank. The fuel tank determines the total running time on the generator. The biggest fuel tank on our list can be found in the Cat RP12000E with a fuel tank capacity of 13.3 gallons. Make sure to pick a Cat generator that can give you maximum running time with a satisfactory fuel tank capacity that fits your requirements.
We’re very excited about multiple outlets. Why? Because having several outlets fitted on the generator allows you to plug in a variety of appliances and tools at once. Imagine being at a camping site or stuck without power during a power outage. The first response from everyone in the family will be to plug in their most vital devices such as SmartPhones, laptops and perhaps your TV. If a generator doesn’t make provision for sufficient outlets some family members will still be left worse off as if there is no backup power source to use. All the Cat generators we’ve listed have multiple outlets that allow you to power several appliances and tools simultaneously. It’s important to take note of the maximum power output a generator can produce so you don’t overload it. And please take a note that Cat RP12000E has the largest number of the outlets among Cat generators.
Dimensions and weight
Portability and flexibility rank as two of the key requirements for any generator. The bigger the size of the generator the more it will weigh and extend in dimensions. One of the biggest Cat generators we’ve listed is the Cat RP12000E which is ideal if you’re working outside and have ample space to store it. If you have limited space than the Cat INV2000 is a better option as it’s portable enough to use in small spaces and doesn’t require a lot of storage space.
All Cat generators carry a three-year warranty against defects on the parts and poor workmanship. The brand also offers a toll-free support line that is operational 24/7. A warranty gives you peace of mind knowing you can get the necessary support or replacement if needed.
Some of the most impressive additional features Caterpillar have included in their generators are the LED control panels that light up. This makes it convenient to use during dim light. Some models also have durable steel frames that reduce vibrational noise and a padded steel handle will provide extra comfort and easy mobility. The automatic shutdown mechanism shuts the generator off when it detects you’re running low on oil. All these extra features are good value for money which makes a Cat generator a good investment.
Conventional Cat generators usually emit some noise in terms of vibrations when operational. It depends on the distance between you and the generator to determine the exact noise levels. Usually, sound levels are released at a distance of up to seven meters from where the generator is placed. The sound pressure levels can reach up to 93.0 dBA if placed at seven meters from where you’re working. Inverted generators don’t fall in this category as they work quietly in the background.
Some Cat generators are used for light commercial applications and some for complete commercial use depending on the power output. Caterpillar specifies the capacity of each generator to help you ascertain if that specific generator can carry the load you need. There is a specific range of Cat generators dedicated to industrial and commercial use only.
And there you have it. All the important information you need to make a decision and go & get your best Cat generators today. If you’re a first-time buyer than consider the CAT RP5500 which we’ve selected as our Editor’s choice because of its impressive running time and compact design.
If you’re looking for something more powerful but bulkier in design than the CAT RP12000E is a worthy contender. It’s the most powerful Cat generator on our list with unsurpassed power of 12000W at running time.
For something quieter and smaller in design the Cat INV2000 inverter generator will serve you well. It provides up to six hours of running time and is fuel-efficient. You’ll never have to worry about noise in the background with this inverter generator.
Whatever you base your final decision on we know an investment in any Cat generator will last you a lifetime. Leave us a comment below on what makes a Cat generator better than any other generator in its class.