The Cat RP7500E is a fantastic gas generator built by the same high standards that consumers have come to expect from Caterpillar products. Capable or running for 11 hours at 50% load, and powered by a 420cc engine, the Cat RP7500E is just one model from the Caterpillar RP series that we cover but this is the most powerful of the group with 7500 running watts and 9375 starting watts.
Read our review Cat RP7500E and learn all the details for the full line of RP Caterpillar Generators.
Back in the old days people would plug appliances into an outlet. If it wasn’t long enough to reach where you wanted it to go you would have an extension cord on hand. These days more and more people are turning to gas-powered generators because they offer a huge amount of benefits no matter what you need it for. In an ideal world, everyone would have a generator like the Cat RP7500E sitting around.
In this article we cover all of the caterpillar generators in the RP Series. Here are common features across all models:
- Easy to set up and operate
- Built tough with a heavy-duty frame, never-flat wheels and a hinged handle
- All-steel construction
- Engineered to run cool and quiet
- Enhanced safety features, including recessed sockets with waterproof covers
- Lithium Ion battery (RP6500E and RP7500E only)
- Electric/recoil start (RP6500E and RP7500E only)
- Automatically charges the battery when the set is running (RP6500E and RP7500E only)
5 Caterpillar generators in the RP Series:
- CAT RP12000E: Portable Caterpillar Generator (502-3699)
- Starting Watts : 15000W / Running Watts : 12000W
- CAT RP7500E : Portable Caterpillar Generator (490-6491)
- Starting Watts : 9375W / Running Watts : 7500W
- CAT RP6500E : Portable Caterpillar Generator (490-6490)
- Starting Watts : 8125W / Running Watts : 6500W
- CAT RP5500 : Portable Caterpillar Generator (490-6489)
- Starting Watts : 6875W / Running Watts : 5500W
- CAT RP3600 : Portable Caterpillar Generator (490-6488)
- Starting Watts : 4500W / Running Watts : 3600W
We’ll discuss these Cat generators in the second half of the article…
— Let’s first discuss who these Cat gas generators are for.
You can place generator ownership into four specific groups. There are more out there, but we’re only talking about the main ones. We’re going to discuss them in detail and it will include the main features you should be looking for in a generator. You should also keep in mind certain features will be helpful to everyone, but to make things easy to understand we’ll put it into the group that will benefit from it the most.
The Main Groups Likely To Own A Gas-Powered Generator:
- Homeowners Preparing For An Emergency
- Construction Workers On The Job
- Companies Throwing Outdoor Events
- People Going Camping For The Weekend
Please Note: Before we go through all the features, it’s important to remember you’ll never find a generator that ticks every box. The reason people opt for models like the Cat RP7500E is because the better generators tick more boxes than most.
Homeowners Preparing For An Emergency
Have you seen the natural disasters that have crippled towns across the country over the years? If you believe what they say about global warming is true it’s only going to get worse. Even if it doesn’t they’re bad enough at the moment to warrant owning a generator in case you’re one of the unlucky people to lose power. There is nothing wrong with preparing for the worst in case your lights suddenly go out in the future.
- It Should Have A Long Run-time
- There Should Be Safety Features
- A Large Number Of Outlets
- Voltage Regulators Are Crucial
- Dual Fuel Generators Are Helpful
It Should Have A Long Run-time
When you’re in the middle of an emergency you don’t want to run outside to refill your generator all the time. Depending on the weather conditions it might be dangerous to go outside, so you want a machine with a long run-time.
Models like the Cat RP7500E usually last longer than 10 hours, which is great because they will keep going throughout the night. The maximum run-time at a certain percentage of the load is based on things like the engine and fuel tank capacity.
There Should Be Safety Features
This applies in all kinds of situations, but you’ll be at your most vulnerable in emergencies when you’re asleep. Your generator will need safety features built into it so both you and the machine are always safe.
A lot of models will have a low oil shutdown feature, which means when the oil drops to a certain level it will automatically shut itself off. Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) also kill power to generators when a fault is detected.
Easy to Move Around | Cat RP7500E
A Large Number Of Outlets
It’s impossible to tell how long the power will disappear for once the lights go out. In emergencies it could be days or weeks. During the blackout you’ll want to power a large number of appliances, possibly at the same time.
The only way you’ll be able to use certain things is if you have enough outlets free. It’s also worth mentioning there might be things you want to run non-stop, so a larger number of outlets is always preferable.
Voltage Regulators Are Crucial
One of the biggest differences between inverter generators and gas-powered generators is the total harmonic distortion (THD). The power needs to be kept as smooth as possible because it won’t cause damage to sensitive electronics.
Inverter generators don’t have the ability to power your entire home in an emergency, but new gas-powered generators like the Cat RP7500E have built-in voltage regulators. This allows you to charge smartphones and laptops without worrying about them.
Dual Fuel Generators Are Helpful
Some people who are really into doomsday preparation like dual fuel generators. As you can probably tell from the name, they run on two different sources of fuel. The second source is liquid propane and can be kept in tanks at home.
There is a slim possibility your gasoline supply could be ruined in a big enough disaster. It might not have been looked after properly too. Your gas station won’t be of any use because it’s powerless, so you can turn to liquid propane instead.
Dual Fuel Portable Generator | DuroMax XP12000EH
Construction Workers On The Job
If you want to do your job properly you’ll need two things. The first thing you’ll need is your power tools, which will allow you to carry out hundreds of different jobs. You’ll only be able to do them if you have power. There is a limited number of outlets on a worksite. Sometimes you have none at all. The only solution is to own your own generator because if you can’t work you won’t be able to make any money.
- The Starting And Running Watts
- It Has To Be Extremely Durable
- Ergonomically Designed Handles
- The Receptacles Need Covers
- Handles A Variety Of Voltages
The Starting And Running Watts
The Running watts of any generator is a measure of how powerful it actually is. It tells you how many watts the generator will be able to handle at any one time. If your generator has a higher Running watts number it can run more power tools at the same time.
Some things need a little kickstart to get them going, and power tools usually fall into this category. The Starting watts of a generator is the extra kick it can handle for a few seconds before appliances drop back down to their Running watts.
12,000 Watts of Power | CAT RP12000E Emergency & Worksite Generator
It Has To Be Extremely Durable
If you work on a construction site you’ll know how crazy things can get. Vehicles can bump into generators and random objects can drop on them from the sky. They wouldn’t last more than a few days if they weren’t durable.
The good ones are built with a solid steel frame for added protection. Even the individual parts inside the generator should be durable enough to extend its life. If a generator isn’t rock solid it has no place in a work environment.
Cat RP6500E caterpillar generator | 8125W Starting / 6500W Running
Ergonomically Designed Handles
As we’ll touch on later, certain features will help you move a generator around easily. On worksites you still need padded handles, because when you’re moving it in harsh environments it’s going to bump around a lot.
Your hands are the most important tools you have on a worksite and both of them need to be operational at all times. If moving the generator hurts your hands it’s going to be risky holding dangerous tools or performing delicate work.
The Receptacles Need Covers
If there is one thing you’ll find more than anything else on worksites it’s workers standing around drinking coffee. Second on the list is definitely dust, dirt, and lots of other debris. That is why your receptacles need waterproof covers.
If they don’t have covers blocking the holes when they’re not in use it will eventually cause trouble. One day you’ll plug in a power tool and it won’t work because it will be impossible to make an electrical connection.
Handles A Variety Of Voltages
All appliances aren’t going to run on the same voltages. Many of them will run on 120V AC power. Some will run on 240V AC power. You’ll even have a handful of things you might need 12V DC power for depending on your tools.
Do you agree it’s always better to be prepared for anything? If so, you’ll ideally want a generator capable of handling 120/240V AC and 12V DC appliances. The latter is a bonus, but the first two are really crucial.
Companies Throwing Outdoor Events
When you’re throwing events indoors you’ll always have access to power outlets. The same thing can’t be said if you are throwing events outdoors. If you’re working at a wedding, festival, sports tournament, or tons of other outdoor events you won’t be guaranteed access to the power you need. The only way you’ll always have it is by bringing your own, which is why every company throwing outdoor events needs to own a generator.
- The Decibel Level Should Be Low
- It Should Be Easy To Store Away
- Starts With One Touch Of A Button
- It Shouldn’t Vibrate Too Much
- You’ll Want A Long Warranty
The Decibel Level Should Be Low
If someone is getting married the last thing they need to hear is the sound of your generator keeping the beer fridge cold. When you buy a generator you want it to be as quiet as possible, although you’ll sometimes have to compromise.
Inverter generators are usually about as loud as normal conversations, but the decibel level of gas-powered generators is always higher. Luckily models like the Cat RP7500E have been engineered to stay relatively quiet.
It Should Be Easy To Store Away
Emergencies and camping trips don’t come around too often. You can always keep your generator on the worksite before it’s time to move to the next job. When you’re throwing outdoor events you’ll need to move your generator around more frequently.
It should be designed so it can fit into your vehicle as hassle-free as possible. Not only should the dimensions be friendly, but it helps if it’s light too. The shape of the frame will also determine how easy it is to pick up.
Starts With One Touch Of A Button
There is always one way you can start a gas-powered generator, but it’s old and outdated. It involves pulling a cord and starting it manually. These days the recoil start should only be used as a backup method.
You ideally want your generator to start with one touch of a button. Respectable machines like the Cat RP7500E have a lithium-ion battery built into them, so they’ll be able to start electronically when you hit the button.
It Shouldn’t Vibrate Too Much
Fighter jets are built in an interesting way. The bolts have to be fastened with locking-wire, because when they’re ducking and diving in the sky there will be a tremendous amount of vibration capable of loosening them.
Any time a machine vibrates it’s a problem because the same type of thing will happen. Unnecessary strain will shorten the life of your generator too. You can limit the damage by choosing one with a low vibration frame.
You’ll Want A Long Warranty
We touched on something similar earlier, but you won’t use a generator often if it’s only for emergencies and camping. You’ll still use it every day on a worksite, but there are backups available if required.
When you throw outdoor events you’ll definitely want a good warranty because you’ll be in deep trouble if your generator breaks. Thankfully most of the bigger brands offer you a warranty good enough to give you peace of mind.
People Going Camping For The Weekend
Long gone are the days when you would need to build a fire before you could cook a hearty meal in the middle of nowhere. You have access to a huge amount of appliances today, but they all require power to work and outlets in the forest are hard to find. If you put a generator in the trunk of your car before you head off for the weekend a whole world of opportunities open up to you. It’s now hard for most people to imagine going camping without one.
- Needs To Be Easy To Move
- You Can Start It Remotely
- Has An LED Control Panel
- It Has Integrated Charging
- A CARB Compliant Generator
Needs To Be Easy To Move
On the worksite a padded handle might be king, but when you go camping it’s a different story. The double hinged handle you’ll get on your generator will only work well if the center of gravity helps you pull a 100-plus pound machine around.
Ultra-Portable | Briggs & Stratton P3000 (30545)
The wheels are just as important when you’re pulling your generator from your vehicle to the tent. You want them to be on the large side, plus they should be the kind that will never go flat no matter what they rolled across.
You Can Start It Remotely
Sometimes a company goes one step further than letting you start the generator with the touch of a button. In some cases, you’ll also be able to start and stop the machine remotely when you’re nowhere near it.
This feature will allow you to enjoy the peace and quiet when you are out in nature. You’ll also be able to switch everything off at night without getting out of your tent when it’s too chilly to step outside.
Has An LED Control Panel
The control panel on a generator is where all the magic happens. It will be able to tell you things like how much fuel you have left and how many watts the machine is using, which will only help if you can actually see the information.
When you’re in the forest once the sun goes down it’s going to be too dark to see an ordinary control panel. It will help save you a bit of trouble if your one uses LED lights to brighten the panel up.
Dual-Fuel Inverter | Champion 100263 | Great for Camping
It Has Integrated Charging
Everything we’ve mentioned about the lithium-ion batteries that let you start your generator easily sounds great so far. But what happens when you’re out camping and your battery goes flat? You’ll have to resort to the recoil start.
There is one way you can stop that from happening. Pick up a generator like the Cat RP7500E with integrated charging built into it. This means the battery will always recharge when the generator is operating.
A CARB Compliant Generator
CARB stands for California Air Resources Board. If your generator is CARB compliant it means you’ll be able to use it in the state of California. Any non-CARB compliant generators won’t even be posted to a Californian address.
It might seem like this would only apply to people who live in the state, but it actually applies to anyone who plans to go camping there too. There are lots of amazing camping spots you’ll not be able to experience with the wrong generator.
Read our our Camping Generator Buying Guide to learn more.
Cat RP Series Portable Generators
Everyone in the country is familiar with Caterpillar. In fact, it’s already been acknowledged as one of the most admired brands in the world this year. The company deals with some of the most monstrous construction machines you’ll ever see, but they also engineer excellent smaller products too. The Cat RP Series portable generators is the perfect example.
Although each model in the series is slightly different they have a lot of things in common. It’s for that reason we’re going to focus on their flagship Cat RP7500E model today. Afterwards we’ll touch on the main differences between each one you’ll want to know about. Let’s look at all the features you’ll get with the RP7500E first.
Cat RP7500E | Caterpillar Generator
Also available — ✓ CARB Compliant Model : Cat RP7500E (502-3690)
- 7500 Running Watts, 9375 Starting Watts
- Runs for 13 Hrs. On One Tank @ 50% Load
- 6 Outlets, Including 120v and 240v 30a Twist-Lock Receptacles
- Assembly Tools, Engine Oil and Funnel Included – Just Add Gas
- Electric Start and LED-Lit Control Panel
- Padded Double Hinged Handle and Solid Rubber Wheels
- 3-Year Limited Warranty for Parts and Service for Full Term
- Higher running wattage for light industrial usage
- Keeps your jobsite equipment running at peak performance
- Controls all on one side for simple operation
- Weight Balanced, Easy To Move Design
- Solid Steel, Low Vibration Frame
- Automatic Low Oil Shut Down and AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulation)
- Manual Fuel Shut Off and Auto Tip-Over Fuel Shut Off Protection
- Easy-Access, Low- Maintenance Design
- EPA Compliant
Documents for the Cat RP7500E generator:
- View or download the MANUAL for the Cat RP7500E
- View or download the QUICK START GUIDE for the Cat RP7500E
- View or download the SPEC SHEET for the Cat RP7500E
- View or download the MODEL COMPARISON for all of the Cat RP Series generators.
- View or download the Caterpillar generator WARRANTY.
Impressive Warranty by Caterpillar:
- 3 Year Warranty (Only if you register within 30 days)
- 24/7 Call Center Support
- Multi-language Support
- Authorized Sales & Service Center Support
Overview | Cat RP7500E
Very High Running And Starting Watts
The 420cc OHV engine on the Cat RP7500E is powerful, so it has very high Running and Starting watts. The Running watts is 7,500, which is more than enough for lots of big appliances to run at the same time.
If they do need a kick to get started the machine will be able to reach up to 9,375 Starting watts. It’s worth pointing out the engine was designed to stay cool and quiet while operational too.
11 Hours Of Run-time At 50 Percent Load
The fuel tank on the generator is huge and can fit 7.9 gallons of gas inside. When combined with the fuel efficient OHV engine you’ll hit up to 11 hours of runtime before the tank will need to be refueled.
You’ll be able to read the fuel gauge to see exactly how much runtime you have left. Unless you’re using the generator for an extended period of time a full tank of fuel should be enough to last you all day.
All-Steel Construction With Heavy-Duty Frame
When they made the Cat RP Series they definitely wanted it to last. It has an all-steel construction to help it survive during an emergency or any worksite. The engine even has a cast iron sleeve.
The main body of the generator is wrapped up in a heavy-duty frame, which gives it an extra layer of protection in case something hits it. The frame has also been designed to help minimize any vibrations.
6 Protected Outlets Covering Various Voltages
The Cat RP7500E control panel comes with 6 different outlets you’ll be able to use. You will get 4x 20A 120V AC outlets, a 30A 120V AC L5-30 outlet, and a 30A 120/240V AC L14-30 outlet to use at the same time.
They’re also completely covered unless you are using them, so no debris is going to find its way inside. They come with recessed sockets to guarantee no water is going to cause damage even in the harshest weather conditions.
Ergonomic Design To Help Move It Around
In terms of ergonomic design, the Cat RP7500E basically has everything you’ll ever need. Even though it’s a touch over 190 pounds you’ll have no problem moving it around because it’s well-balanced.
When you’re pulling or pushing the double hinged padded handle the center of gravity will make it feel light. It’s only roughly 23 x 27 x 33 inches in size. Lastly, it comes with large and indestructible wheels.
It Has An Automatic Voltage Regulator
Earlier on we talked about gas-powered generators being unable to compete with the total harmonic distortion of inverter generators. This generator will be more than capable of keeping the voltage smooth.
It’s got an automatic voltage regulator built into it to deal with any problems that arise. You’ll be able to plug in the most sensitive of electronics without worrying they will end up ruined.
Comes With Various Different Safety Features
Multiple safety features can be found inside the Cat RP7500E. Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) have been installed to keep you safe when touching the generator, because it will switch off when it detects a fault.
There are also a variety of safety features included to keep the machine safe from itself when you’re not around. If the oil and fuel get too low or the generator is somehow tipped over, it will automatically switch off.
An Electric Start Switch Makes Things Easy
You won’t have the pleasure of being able to start the generator remotely, but the lithium-ion battery does mean it has an electric start switch. Flick it into position and it will be up and running straight away.
This particular Cat RP model also has integrated charging, so the battery will always charge up when your generator is switched on. It’s unlikely you’ll find it fails on you because li-ion batteries can hold their charge.
It Has LED Panel Lighting For Night Operation
The generator will turn into a beacon of light in the dark and you’ll be able to use the control panel effortlessly at night. That doesn’t mean it’s been designed to let you use power tools when the sun goes down.
There is a 4-in-1 digital display that will be illuminated when it’s dark too. This is where you’ll be able to find the figures for the voltage in use, frequency (Hz), running hours, and total hours.
An Extremely Long 3-Year Limited Warranty
Cat is one of the biggest brands in the world, so you would expect them to have a good warranty. The 3-year limited warranty they offer you is very generous. You should register your new generator within 30 days of buying it.
Obviously the limited warranty doesn’t cover everything, although it’s not something you should worry about. It only won’t apply to things like basic wear and tear, but you should read the warranty statement for the full details.
Other Models In The Cat RP Series
Most of the other models in the Cat RP Series do have all of the fantastic features we’ve talked about, but there are a few noticeable differences between each one. Here are the other models we’ll look at:
View or download the MODEL COMPARISON for all of the Cat RP Series generators.
Cat RP6500E : Portable Caterpillar Generator (490-6490)
- Starting Watts : 8125W / Running Watts : 6500W
- Also available — ✓ CARB Compliant Model : (502-3688)
Documents for the Cat RP6500E generator:
- View or download the MANUAL for the Cat RP6500E
- View or download the SPEC SHEET for the Cat RP6500E
- View or download the QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE for the Cat RP6500E
Cat RP5500 : Portable Caterpillar Generator (490-6489)
- Starting Watts : 6875W / Running Watts : 5500W
- Also available — ✓ CARB Compliant Model : (502-3686)
Documents for the Cat RP5500 generator:
- View or download the MANUAL for the Cat RP5500E
- View or download the SPEC SHEET for the Cat RP5500
- View or download the QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE for the Cat RP5500
Cat RP3600 : Portable Caterpillar Generator (490-6488)
- Starting Watts : 4500W / Running Watts : 3600W
- Also available — ✓ CARB Compliant Model : (502-3684)
- View or download the MANUAL for the Cat RP3600
- View or download the SPEC SHEET for the Cat RP3600
- View or download the QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE for the Cat RP3600
CAT RP12000E | Cat Generator (502-3699)
Starting Watts : 15000W / Running Watts : 12000W
- Powerful 670cc V-Twin OHV motor with pressurized oil system
- Removable lifting eye and ergonomic design for easy maneuverability
- Large fuel tank and idle control for extra-long run times
- Class leading number of outlets powers more tools at one time
- All copper generator produces clean power (total harmonic distortion (<5%)
- EPA Compliant
- Low Harmonic Distortion all copper generator (THD<5%)
- Easy to set up and operate
- Built tough with a heavy-duty frame, never-flat wheels and a
double hinged handle
- All-steel construction
- Idle control
- Pressurized oil system
- Enhanced safety features like auto tip-over shut-off and
- Electric start
- Automatically charges battery when running
- Removable lifting eye
- Battery charger included
✓ View or download the SPEC SHEET for the Cat RP12000E
— Major differences of each model side by side:
- Cat RP7500E – 7,500/9,375 watts
- Cat RP6500E – 6,500/8,125 watts
- Cat RP5500 – 5,500/6,875 watts
- Cat RP3600 – 3,600/4,500 watts
- Cat RP7500E – 420cc
- Cat RP6500E – 420cc
- Cat RP5500 – 300cc
- Cat RP3600 – 212cc
Run-time At 50 Percent Load
- Cat RP7500E – 11 hours
- Cat RP6500E – 12 hours
- Cat RP5500 – 15 hours
- Cat RP3600 – 13.5 hours
Fuel Tank Capacity
- Cat RP7500E – 7.9 gallons
- Cat RP6500E – 7.9 gallons
- Cat RP5500 – 7.9 gallons
- Cat RP3600 – 4.5 gallons
Number Of Outlets
- Cat RP7500E – 6
- Cat RP6500E – 6
- Cat RP5500 – 5
- Cat RP3600 – 5
- Cat RP7500E – 120/240V
- Cat RP6500E – 120/240V
- Cat RP5500 – 120/240V
- Cat RP3600 – 120V
- Cat RP7500E – Yes
- Cat RP6500E – Yes
- Cat RP5500 – No (recoil only)
- Cat RP3600 – No (recoil only)
- Cat RP7500E – Yes
- Cat RP6500E – Yes
- Cat RP5500 – No
- Cat RP3600 – No
- Cat RP7500E – 192.5 pounds
- Cat RP6500E – 187 pounds
- Cat RP5500 – 163 pounds
- Cat RP3600 – 112.2 pounds
Please Note: All generators in the Cat RP Series come with CARB compliant and non-CARB compliant models. The CARB compliant models will be a little more expensive, so it will be up to you whether or not they’ll be worth it. Only those buyers residing in California won’t have a choice.
Does the Cat RP7500E Caterpillar Generator Have Everything You Need?
Before we looked at the Cat RP7500E gas-powered portable generator, we focused on twenty of the most important features you should be looking for in any machine you like. You probably noticed the RP7500E had almost all of them, which makes it a fantastic choice no matter what purpose you need it for. There are also smaller models that still might be good enough depending on your specific needs.
It’s always a good idea to pick the biggest model you can afford, but you still have a choice to make. The easiest way to reach a final decision is by reading the unbiased opinions of other people who use their Cat generator on a regular basis. In order to do that, click on one of the generator links and head over to Amazon so you can read all of the reviews they’ve left for you.
Learn more about Caterpillar generators on their site.