Last Updated on October 16, 2022 by Manager Access
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.
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 manufacture 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 a 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 of all types of different tools and machines, CAT stands proudly behind each and every one of its 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 to 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!
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.
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