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A big storm can knock out power to your home at any time of year. With a large battery PORTABLE GENERATORS, it might take a few hours, a few days, or even a few weeks for electrical service to be restored.
When a severe storm strikes, you can rest easy knowing that you have a portable generator available. Until power returns, you will be able to keep appliances running and water flowing in your home.
There is also a fun side to portable generators. If you bring a portable generator to your favorite team’s Sunday game, you’ll be the talk of the party.
Cooking will be possible while running a big-screen TV with fans blowing on a hot day or heaters running on a cold day.
If you’re so comfortable, you won’t even need to go into the stadium!
Upon pressing a button, electric-start generators begin running. Many people prefer this starting method over a pull cord. Some generators have both options.
Here at EasyProductReviews, we’ve compiled a shopping guide to help you find the right Caterpillar portable generator for you.
As a trusted name in power equipment, Caterpillar is near the top of the portable power generator market.
For more insight into Caterpillar generators, please see our product list above and the shopping guide below.
- 1 Starting Watts Gas Powered Portable Generator 502-3699
- 2 Powered Portable Generator 502-3684
- 3 Gas powered Portable Generator 490-6489
- 4 Electric Start Gas Powered Portable Generator 490-6490
- 5 PORTABLE GENERATORS – HOW THEY WORK
- 6 PORTABLE GENERATORS: KEY FEATURES
- 7 The type of fuel
- 8 Running time
- 9 The wattage of the running machine
- 10 The size
- 11 Method for starting
- 12 Wattage when starting
- 13 Size of the tank
- 14 Weighing
- 15 The wheels
- 16 DETERMINING WATTAGE NEEDS
- 17 Q&A
Starting Watts Gas Powered Portable Generator 502-3699
When Caterpillar builds a machine, we build it to work and to last. Every aspect of the Cat RP Series was carefully thought out by our engineers with the customer in mind, from performance to safety to ease of use and durability.
Of course, we mastered the basics – like long run times and power quality from the all-copper generators. But we also considered the details like a well-balanced, ergonomic design that can be pushed and pulled wherever you need to go and a convenient single-side operator station on every model. Throw in the long list of premium extras like LED lights on the control panel, integrated charging on E models, and a padded, double-hinged handle and we’re pretty sure you won’t find another generator like it in its class.
Just like you, we stand by our work. All Cat portable generators are backed by a 3-year limited warranty that covers parts and service for the full term. Does your generator have that? Check Price
Powered Portable Generator 502-3684
The small but sturdy 502-3684 Rp3600 Cat portable generator includes the Cat 212 cc, OHV engine that has been designed for power, durability & quiet operation; it comes with heavy-duty all-steel construction, never-flat rubber wheels & a double folding handle.
All Cat generators are easy to set up & operate with simple, intuitive controls & an led-lit control panel which makes it easy to operate even in the dark. This 502-3684 portable generator comes with a 36-month limited warranty when the product is registered within 30 days & a 24/7/365 Toll-free & online support from a caterpillar.
The Cat 502-3684 generator includes enhanced safety features such as recessed sockets with waterproof covers. This compact, affordable 502-3684 Cat generator will generate 3600 running / 4500 starting which is enough power to keep the critical items you need running. Check Price
Gas powered Portable Generator 490-6489
The Cat RP5500 is built with a fuel-efficient engine and high-capacity gasoline tank so you can run for up to 15 hours without stopping to refuel. That’s more time working, living, and playing and less time fussing with your generator. And you can do it with peace of mind, thanks to the safety extras like GFCI protected outlets, custom heat shields and auto tip-over fuel shut off. Additional premium features like the rugged steel frame, lighted operators station, and a stable, padded handle make this generator comfortable, fuss-free and the value you expect from Caterpillar.
You can rest easy (or work hard) knowing that your Cat portable generator is backed by a best-in-class 3-year warranty for parts and service. Check Price
Electric Start Gas Powered Portable Generator 490-6490
Power up your home, worksite, or outdoor events with the Cat RP6500 E. This portable generator is a workhorse with the comforts and quality you expect from a Cat product.
Built with a fuel-efficient OHV engine and a high-capacity gas tank, this generator will let your run for a full workday (12 hours) without stopping to refuel.
Additional premium features like the lighted operators’ station, best-in-class number of outlets, Li-On electric start, a padded bar-style handle you can pull with one hand, and a 3-year warranty set this generator apart from the pack. Check Price
PORTABLE GENERATORS – HOW THEY WORK
You are familiar with how combustion engines work if you have used portable generators. The combustion engine of a portable generator is powered by diesel, propane, or gasoline.
An alternator is part of the portable generator, and it turns the engine. Electricity is created by the alternator, which is then converted by the generator into something that can be used with standard outlets and extension cords.
Connect the extension cords to the outlets on the side of the generator once it is running, and you will be able to use it. Fuel must remain in the unit to keep it running. You must run your generator outdoors because the engine emits poisonous carbon monoxide.
PORTABLE GENERATORS: KEY FEATURES
In comparing portable generators, you should pay attention to a few features in particular. With these features, you can operate the generator as easily as possible while meeting your needs.
The type of fuel
Diesel generators, gasoline generators, and propane generators are portable. Typically, Caterpillar generators run on gas. Gas generators are the most common and easiest to run. However, if you plan to use your generator often, propane will be cheaper, and diesel fuel will be fresher for longer.
A given generator’s manufacturer estimates how long it can run on a tank of fuel. Potential buyers should be aware that the estimated run time is based on a 50% load measurement. In other words, if you run closer to the maximum wattage, the run time will be shorter than expected.
The wattage of the running machine
Running wattage refers to the amount of power a generator provides while it is operating. A higher number means more power to run more appliances. Larger generators usually offer more wattage. Generators from Caterpillar have running wattages between 3,500W and 15,000W.
Generators that are portable resemble boxes. Metal frames surround and protect the engine parts. The frame also provides a handle for lifting and carrying the generator. Generators from Caterpillar range in size from 2 to 3.5 feet in length, 1.5 to 3 feet in height, and 1.5 to 3 feet wide.
Method for starting
A portable generator is either started by pulling a starter rope (called a recoil) or by pressing a starter button. In addition to starter buttons, the newest generators on the market have starter ropes as well that is very easy to use.
Wattage when starting
Starting wattage refers to the amount of power a generator will provide for a short period after it has been started. The starting wattage is higher than the generator’s running wattage. You can use it to start appliances that require a surge of power. The running wattage of a portable generator can give you a good sense of its long-term performance.
Size of the tank
Generators with large fuel tanks require less frequent fueling. You will appreciate this feature when running the generator during bad weather conditions. However, units with large tank sizes also weigh more, making them more difficult to move.
These units are portable. However, they still carry a lot of weight. Portable generators from Caterpillar typically weigh between 125 and 400 pounds. As a result, you would need assistance in lifting your generator into and out of a car or truck.
Portable generators, such as Caterpillar units, have two sturdy wheels on one end. The wheels allow you to roll the unit by lifting the other end. The wheels also help you handle the heavyweight of the machine.
DETERMINING WATTAGE NEEDS
Choosing the right Caterpillar generator for your needs also involves determining your wattage requirements.
The “running wattage” of a generator represents its wattage output.
Determine what appliances you’ll need to run during a power outage – or what you’ll need to run at a tailgate – and plan accordingly.
The following table lists the wattage requirements of common generators.
- Electric clothes dryer: 4,000 to 6,000 watts
- Electric coffee maker: 700 to 1,200 watts
- Personal computer: 100 to 300 watts
- A dishwasher uses 1,200 to 2,000 watts
- A freezer uses 500 to 800 watts
- An electric grill uses 1,500 to 2,000 watts
- of power and a light bulb that uses 10 to 60 watts
- of power and a laptop charger that uses 40 to 100 watts
- of power and a microwave oven that uses 625 to 1,000 watts
- A portable air conditioner uses between 750 and 1,500 watts
- A portable electric heater uses 1,000 to 2,000 watts
- A refrigerator uses 500 to 800 watts
- Charging a smartphone uses between 10 and 25 watts
- Stove (Electric): 1,500 to 2,500 watts
- Tablet Charging: 10 to 25 watts
- TV: 100 to 400 watts
- Washing Machine: 750 to 1,500 watts
- 3,000 to 5,000 watts for electric water heaters
To determine the exact wattage requirements of your appliances, do some research. You may not run all of these items at once. Therefore, we recommend getting a generator that can handle your maximum wattage needs plus another 25 percent. You would likely be covered if you added appliances to your home after purchasing the generator.
Why is my portable generator running so loudly and roughly?
A portable generator could make noise if it is placed on uneven ground. Make sure you are using fresh fuel in the generator. Inspect the unit’s fluid levels. Check the air intake if you believe the fuel and fluid levels are correct. Sometimes, an air filter needs to be replaced on a generator running rough.
However, it is important to note that most generators produce noise when they run. There is a possibility that the noise you hear is a normal part of its operation.
Is it necessary to ground portable generators?
For safe operation, most portable generators must be grounded. Make sure you read the generator’s instructions for specific recommendations on grounding the unit. Your portable generator may need to be grounded properly by an electrician.
What are some of the maintenance tasks I need to perform on my generator?
As with most gas-powered engines, regular maintenance extends their lifespan. Oil filters, fuel filters, and air filters should be changed regularly on generators, usually after a certain number of hours of operation. Generators operate slightly differently, so check your unit’s instruction manual for specific recommendations on maintenance.
What is the best place to place my portable generator?
Because portable generators produce exhaust when they are run, they must be operated outside. This allows for plenty of airflows to clear the exhaust. Some people run a generator in a garage with the door open (never closed!) to allow fresh air to circulate. Another option is to construct an enclosure on a patio that protects the generator from the elements while allowing airflow.