CAT RP5500 Review (Pros & Cons)

Last Updated on August 2, 2020 by Matt

CAT RP5500
For those who are looking for a generator that can power larger appliances or tools without missing a beat, the CAT RP5500 might be just right for you.

With a power range that is right in the middle of household use and large commercial use, you should be able to get everything you need to get done with this generator.

Let’s take a closer look at the CAT RP5500 and all of its available features.

Cat RP5500 5500 Running Watts and 6875 Starting Watts Gas powered Portable Generator 490-6489
  • 5500 Running Watts, 6875 Starting Watts
  • Powers You For Up To 15 Hours
  • 5 outlets, Including 120V 30A Twist-Lock Receptacle

Check Price on Amazon

Functions and Ease of Use

The CAT RP5500 isn’t a beauty pageant queen by any means, but it is easy to see that it is built to take on the roughest of conditions.

If you are familiar with the CAT brand, you understand how they manufacturer their machines and know that they are built to be used commercially.

The unmistakable black and yellow scheme highlights the durable frame that protects this generator.

The included toting handle installs easily and when paired with the never flat wheels, makes moving this 180lb generator much easier.

The fuel efficient 300cc engine will allow for 6,875 starting watts and 5,500 running watts.

The 7.9 gallon fuel tank will keep your generator running for up to 15 hours at half load to keep you from having to constantly refill your generator with fuel.

At the front of the generator you will notice the control panel that features all of the outlets and functions needed to run this generator.

Starting off with the outlets, you will receive 4 AC household style outlets and a single 30A 120/240 VAC L14-30R (Twist Lock) outlet to give you the option to run many different appliances or tools all at the same time.

Each outlet will be covered with snap fit rubber outlet cover protector to protect against moisture, dust, and debris.

A 4 in 1 digital display is used to display voltage, frequency, running hours, and total hours to allow you to keep an eye on all of your generator’s vitals.

This is also a great tool to help keep your maintenance on schedule.

One great feature of this generator’s control panel is that it has a small LED located on the control panel to give you a better look at your panel at night or in dark conditions.

Noise Level – Is It Quiet?

When choosing a generator for residential use or for when camping or tailgating, noise levels can be a deciding factor on generators.

After all, no gas powered generator is going to be completely quiet.

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.

Using this method, many generators operate at around 70-80 decibels, which is about as loud as a vacuum cleaner.

Unfortunately, CAT does not give a specification on the noise level of the CAT RP5500 generator.

This could be due to the generator being designed for use on job sites where noise levels are not as much of a concern when compared to residential use.

For the size of this generator, I would estimate that the generator lies somewhere in the 72-75 dba area, which is pretty standard on most generators of this size.

Specs, Gas Consumption & Capacity

  • AC Maximum Output Starting Watts: 5,500W
  • AC Rated Output Running Watts: 6,875W
  • Rated AC Voltage: 120/240 Single Phase
  • Frequency: 60 Hz
  • Run Time @ 50%: 15 Hours
  • Tank Size: 7.9 Gallons
  • Weight: 180lbs

With a run time of 15 hours at 50% load, this generator was built to run throughout the work day, no matter what type of shift you are on.

For those using it for camping or for backup power, this type of runtime will easily last throughout the day or night to keep you from having to constantly refill your generator.

This generator is an inverter.
A digital inverter module converts the raw power that is generated from DC to AC power. The inverter function means that you can use it to power sensitive appliances and electronics.

Service, Manual & Warranty

As a leading manufacturer or all types of different tools and machines, CAT stands proudly behind each and everyone of it’s products and its warranties support that.

With their portable generators, CAT offers a standard 2 year warranty and a 3 year limited warranty if the product is registered within the first 30 days.

The maintenance schedule on this generator should be followed as outlined in the user manual.

CAT has done a great job in making all of the maintenance access points very accessible for a quick and easy tune up when the time comes.

CAT RP5500 Portable Generator VS the Competition

Now that I have talked about the CAT RP5500 and the features that you can expect from it, let’s take a look at a few of its competitors and see how it stacks up against them.

CAT RP5500 VS Champion 5000 Watt

Champion, another great generator manufacturer, has a 5000 watt generator that is great competition for the CAT generator.

At nearly half the price, the Champion is easily a more budget friendly option, but I am going to see how it measures up in a few different categories.

Cat RP5500 5500 Running Watts and 6875 Starting Watts Gas powered Portable Generator 490-6489
Champion 5000-Watt Portable Generator with Wheel Kit
Power Rating
5500 Running Watts; 6875 Starting Watts
6250 Starting Watts; 5000 Running Watts
Noise Level
-
74 dB
Covered Outlets
5
1x 120/240V 30A locking outlet and 4x 120V 20A GFCI outlets
Cat RP5500 5500 Running Watts and 6875 Starting Watts Gas powered Portable Generator 490-6489
Power Rating
5500 Running Watts; 6875 Starting Watts
Noise Level
-
Covered Outlets
5
Champion 5000-Watt Portable Generator with Wheel Kit
Power Rating
6250 Starting Watts; 5000 Running Watts
Noise Level
74 dB
Covered Outlets
1x 120/240V 30A locking outlet and 4x 120V 20A GFCI outlets

Power Ratings

The CAT RP5500 is going to take the cake in the power category as it makes 6,875 starting watts and 5,500 running watts whereas the Champion only makes 6,250 starting watts and 5000 running watts.

Run Times

The 15 hour run time of the CAT generator is almost an impossible feat to beat. The Champion generator only supports up to 9 hours of run time at 50% load from its 5.7 gallon tank.

While the CAT generator has a longer run time, the Champion generator is more fuel efficient.

Power Outlets

The thing I love most about both of these generators is that they both come with covered outlets which is huge for job site and climates with a lot of moisture in the air.

You will get 4 household outlets on each generator which is perfect for home backup use or light duty appliance and tool use.

The big difference is in the larger plugs.

The Champion will include an RV ready 50A plug whereas the CAT generator will only have a 30A twist lock plug.

This will come down to personal preference on what you will be needing from an outlet standpoint.

CAT RP5500 VS Westinghouse WGen5500

While Westinghouse isn’t as big of a brand as CAT, they have made a great name for themselves in the generator industry for providing high quality generators.

Today, I am going to put their WGen5500 generator up against the RP5500.

Power Ratings

In one of the closest comparisons that I could make the only thing separating these two generators is a mere 25 starting watts. Will this be enough to sway someone’s decision?

Most likely not, but it is worth mentioning that on paper, the CAT generator outperforms.

Run Times

While the 15 hour run time from the CAT generator is hard to beat, it is not impossible.

The Westinghouse generator is highly efficient and produces up to 20 hours of runtime at 25% load. The CAT’s 15 hour run time is measured at 50% load, so depending on how loaded down your generator is, you can expect some pretty long run times from both.

Power Outlets

Both of these generators have the same outlet selection and will both be equipped with protective outlet covers.

Online Reviews and Scores

With only a few reviews for this generator on Amazon at the time of this review, the CAT RP5500 did still manage a 4 out of 5 star rating.

Many of the great reviews were from consumers who used this generator through large hurricanes with great results.

Potential Problems / Known Issues

While CAT has not acknowledged any known issues, the two negative reviews revolved around the generator not living up to its maximum running wattage claims.

While CAT has not responded to these reviews, I am eager to see if this is a larger problem than just the two reviews I have seen.

My Opinion: Should you Buy it?

This CAT generator is going to be for those with larger budgets who need a top notch generator that is built to last in job site climates.

The higher price will scare most people off from residential use, but for companies looking for a generator that is going to outperform on the job site, this generator will be a perfect fit.

Designed to take on the most rugged of conditions, I would not hesitate to suggest this generator for anyone who needs a generator in this power range and isn’t afraid to splurge on quality.

I hope this was helpful. You can also read my larger article comparing the cat generators on the market today.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments in the section below!

CAT RP5500

8.9

Noise

7.5/10

Reliability

10.0/10

Easy of Use

10.0/10

Value for Money

8.0/10

Last update on 2020-09-30 Affiliate links & images from Amazon Product Advertising API

One comment

  1. I own two of these, The first one has about 40 hours on it and the receptacles will not produce electricity any longer. The nearest dealer to look at this as an hour and a half away the local shops will not handle it and cats will not assist me and fix It.

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