GeneratorGrid.com is an independent review business. I am not affiliated with any manufacturers and do not accept paid reviews. When you buy through my links, I may earn a commission which helps me purchase more generators for testing. - Scott Krager
Last Updated on October 16, 2022 by Manager Access
There are many reasons that you may be in the market for a portable inverter generator. They are great for providing backup power during blackouts, they provide power for tools when electricity is unavailable, and they are perfect for powering up appliances while tailgating or camping.
The best thing about a portable inverter generator is that they come in all shapes and sizes with many different features. This allows you to find the perfect generator for your specific needs. You can choose from many top brands in the industry, including brands that are popular in other niches as well.
The CAT INV4000 E is a great example of high quality, mid-size electric start portable inverter generator manufactured by a well-known company. This generator provides enough power to be used for just about anything most non-commercial jobs will entail.
Let’s explore the features and specs of the CAT INV4000 generator and see how it stacks up against some of its closest competitors.
Functions and Ease of Use
At first glance, the CAT INV4000 E generator may seem a little bulky, but for its size, it certainly packs a punch. You will notice integrated handles and built-in wheels which is a dead giveaway that it is too heavy to lift with one person but will be easy to move around when wheeled. A cleverly hidden fold-down handle allows for easy, one-person moving.
When it comes to power, the INV4000 generator certainly doesn’t lack. You can enjoy up to 4000 starting watts and 3200 running watts with this generator. This is enough for mobile hospitality, emergency backup power, DIY projects, outdoor recreation, RV use, and camping.
As with most CAT generators, you are going to get an easy-to-use control center that allows you to easily find and use any outlet, switches, and indicator lights you may need.
Speaking of outlets, you are going to get a few different choices on the INV4000. Choose from (1) 5-20R GFCI Duplex outlet, (1) L5-30R (Twist Lock) outlet, (1) 5V 2.1A USB outlet, (1) 5V 1.0A USB outlet, (1) 12V DC 8.3A outlets to plug in a variety of different appliances or tools.
Weighing in at just over 100lbs, this generator is best pulled by the fold-down handle and wheels built into the generator. The integrated handles on top are perfect for having a friend help you load and unload the generator off a truck or trailer.
Other great features of the generator include: inverter voltage regulation, idle control, hour meter, GFCI, fuel gauge, automatic low oil shutdown, USB charging port(s), and an LED illuminated control panel.
Noise Level – Is It Quiet?
One of the most important aspects of any portable generator is going to be the noise level. While this may not be such a big factor in commercial applications or for those who live in rural areas, it is definitely something you will want to consider if you are using it in a residential area.
As an industry standard, generator noise levels are measured in decibels, and are noise readings are usually taken at 23 feet away from the generator. In most applications, generators of this size usually produce on average 73 dba.
For this specific generator, you are in luck as it produces a very quiet noise level. The CAT INV4000 generator has a noise level of 51-58 dBa. This makes it ideal for residential areas, camping trips, and tailgate events.
To put that into perspective, this generator is going to be a little bit quieter than a normal conversation.
Specs, Gas Consumption & Capacity
The CAT INV4000 generator is going to feature Engine Smart Control (ESC) which helps to automatically adjust power for your needs.
With a 2.1-gallon fuel tank, you can expect to get up to 8 hours of run time at 50% load. This is perfect for those looking for an all-day or all-night generator.
While this may seem like a low run time when compared to smaller generators that have the same run time, you must keep in mind that the larger engine demands more fuel. An 8-hour run time is on par with competing generators.
One cool little feature found on this generator that I have not seen on many other generators is a hidden tool compartment with foam cutouts. This allows you to keep the included tools in an easy-to-reach space without having to worry about them rolling around or getting damaged.
For optional accessories, you can purchase a CAT branded cover designed specifically for the INV4000 to keep your generator clean when stored.
Service, Manual & Warranty
CAT is widely known for producing some of the most rugged and high-quality equipment on the planet. They stand behind their products with industry-leading warranties to ensure each purchase is covered for an extended amount of time.
CAT offers a 2-year warranty from the date of purchase on every generator they sell. You can also register your generator on their site within 30 days to get an extra year of coverage absolutely free.
To keep your generator operating at its best, you will need to refer to the manual as it has a very detailed operating procedure and maintenance schedule for you to follow. Failure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions can result in damage to your generator and forfeiture of your warranty.
CAT INV4000 Portable Generator VS the Competition
Now that you know just about everything you need to know about the CAT INV4000 generator, it is time to see how it stacks up against the competition. I have handpicked two generators to compare it to so that you can see how it compares in three categories: power, noise, and outlet selection. These three features are some of the most important features that consumers look for in a generator.
CAT INV4000 E VS WEN 56380i
To start things off, I am going to put the CAT INV4000 generator up against another well-known brand WEN’s 5380i generator.
The WEN 56380i generator is going to produce 3800 starting watts and 3400 running watts making it a fierce competitor for the INV4000. Since the CAT generator does produce a few hundred more watts, the clear winner is going to be the INV4000.
Comparing the noise levels of each generator, it looks like there will most likely not be a noticeable difference between the two. The WEN generator is going to be rated at 57 dBa while the CAT generator is rated at 51-58 dBa.
While the CAT generator is going to offer a great selection of outlets, the WEN generator is going to outpace it by a mile. The WEN generator is going to come equipped with 2 12V AC outlets, a single 120V AC RV-ready outlet, a 12V cigarette lighter outlet, and a pair of 5V USB outlets.
CAT INV4000 VS Westinghouse WGen3600V
Next, we have the Westinghouse WGen3600V generator which is going to be a little more powerful than the CAT, but let’s see how the features stack up.
Power Ratings – The Westinghouse generator is going to be a clear winner here as it produces 4,650 peak watts and 3,600 running watts compared to the 4,000 peak watts and 3,200 running watts of the CAT generator.
Noise Levels – When it comes to noise levels, CAT is the clear winner. The WGen3600V produces 69 dBa which is about 19 more decibels than the INV4000.
Power Outlets – The CAT INV4000 generator is no competition to the WGen3600V. Westinghouse has outfitted this generator with a single 120V 30A RV-ready outlet, a twist outlet 120V AC outlet, and 1 120V 20A household outlet. On top of that, they are all covered which is a huge plus.
Online Reviews/Potential Problems
The CAT INV4000 generator currently does not have any online reviews or potential problems at this time. This generator is quite new, so it may take some time for this generator to pick up some reviews on various shopping sites. In the meantime, we can trust that CAT has built a quality product that they are famous for and in the event of a problem, their industry-leading warranty will have you covered.
Summary: Should You Buy it?
So the question still remains – should you buy it?
This is harder to answer than just a simple yes or no as the needs of a generator user is going to vary from person to person. You will have someone who needs to use it for home backup power and then someone who may need to use it on a job site.
Whatever the case may be, the CAT INV4000E is certainly not going to disappoint. It has all of the features you could ask for commercial or residential use.
I hope that this article has helped you get to know the CAT INV4000 a little more and gave you the information needed to make an informed purchasing decision.
The Cat INV4000 E can be hard to find on Amazon, the 2000 version may be in stock.
Scott Krager purchased generatorgrid.com in the summer of 2020 and quickly began to buy every generator under the sun! He currently has over a dozen generators and the number is growing quickly. He lives in Portland, OR near his family and friends.