8 Best 12,000-watt Portable Generators: In-Detail Reviews (Fall 2022)

What a 12,000-watt generator can power

You can rely on a 12,000-watt generator to power all the basic appliances in your house at the same time in case of a power cut. It will be able to keep the pump, refrigerator, freezer, and furnace going easily. It will also power all the lights and fans along with appliances like a TV or a microwave oven. You can also rely on these generators to power central air conditioning systems for limited periods of time. They will be able to support appliances like electric hot water heaters, and well pumps simultaneously. If the model has a transfer switch, it can be used for better power distribution. 12 kW generators are commonly used in construction sites.

Important features to consider before you buy a 12,000-watt generator

When you are buying a 12,000-watt generator, you are actually making an investment for the coming years. You cannot take it lightly. Unless you do your research well, you might yourself stuck with a model that you do not like for many years. It is important to keep an eye on certain important features when you are choosing the perfect 12,000-watt generator.

Starting and running watts

When judging a generator and understanding the amount of power it can produce, you will have to consider two important factors called running watts and starting watts. You should not make the mistake of thinking they are the same because each plays a specific role in determining the output of the generator. Running watts represent the continuous power required by the generator in order to keep all the appliances running. On the other hand, starting watts refer to the extra watts required by the machine for two to three seconds when starting motor-driven products like refrigerators. Starting watts represent the maximum wattage that can be produced by a generator. For example, the Champion Power Equipment 100111 produces 15,000 peak watts and 12,000 running watts.

Fuel options: gasoline, propane, or both

The fuel is an important consideration when choosing a 12,000-watt generator. You should choose the fuel that you can easily access so that it does not become a problem to refill the fuel tank once it is empty.

While many heavy-duty generators run on gasoline, there are some models that have the dual-fuel feature.

This means that they can be powered by both gasoline and propane. If you feel that you might not have a consistent supply of gasoline, then you can choose a dual-fuel model like the DuroMax XP12000EH that works equally well on both fuels. You can switch between the two fuels depending on your convenience. Generators like the CAT RP12000E can run only on gasoline.

Reliable engine

The engine forms the core of a generator. If your machine does not have a reliable engine, then it will not be able to keep up a consistent supply of power. You need to opt for a heavy-duty engine that will keep going even when you use the generator for extended periods of time. The generator should come with safety features that will protect the engine from excessive wear and tear.

If the generator is not efficient, then you might not be able to make complete use of the 12000 watts.

Read about the engine specifications before making your decision. The CAT RP12000E, for example, uses the 670cc V-Twin OHV engine which is highly durable. The DuroMax XP12000EH uses the 18HP 457cc OHV DuroMax engine that is compatible with both propane and gas.

Fuel tank capacity

The fuel capacity of the generator will dictate the run time of the machine. If you feel that you will be using the generator for long stretches of time, then you need a generator with a big fuel tank so that it can store enough fuel to last for as long as you need it to. On the other hand, if you think that you will not use the generator often at a stretch, then you can settle for a model that has a smaller fuel tank. The Champion Power Equipment 100111 has a huge fuel tank of 10.9 gallons, while the Westinghouse WGen9500 has a fuel tank that measures just 6.6 gallons. You need to pick your fuel tank capacity depending on the tasks you will use the generator for.

Run time and efficiency

When you are planning to buy a 12 kW generator, it is obvious that you want to use it for heavy-duty work that cannot be carried out by smaller generators. One of the best things about these generators is that they can provide consistent power in massive quantities. For proper distribution of the power, the generator needs to run for a decent amount of time at a stretch.

If you do not want the hassle of refilling the tank every hour when you are using the generator, then you should opt for a generator that offers a long run time.

For example, the Westinghouse WGen9500 provides a run time of 12 hours at 50% load and 17.5 hours at 25% load. On the other hand, the Pulsar PG12000B gives a run time of 6 hours on gas and 9 hours on LPG.

Control panel and outlets

8 Best 12,000-watt Portable Generators for Those with Higher Power Demands (Fall 2022)

Modern generators come equipped with many features, and you should not compromise. They should be efficient and easy to use so that nobody faces a problem trying to operate the generator. The control panel should be navigable and lucid. Ideally, it should be placed at an easily accessible location.

Many 12,000-watt generators come with the electric start feature, which means that they can be switched on with the help of just one button. Both the Champion Power Equipment 100111 and the CAT RP12000E, as well as other generators on our list, come with the easy to use electric start feature. Some generators, like the Westinghouse WGen9500, come with a remote control feature, which makes starting the engine even easier.

The generator should come with a variety of outlets to make it flexible. Having GFCI-approved outlets is also useful, as well as rubber covers, making them safe to use.

Noise level

If you do not have any intention of being disturbed by your 12,000-watt generator, then you will have to choose a model that comes with noise reduction technologies. Heavy-duty generators are prone to making a lot of noise because the engine works harder, and they tend to be bigger in size.

Most 12 kW generators produce noise between 70 and 80 decibels.

While that is not very quiet, it will keep you from being bothered by the sound. These generators cannot be expected to make lesser noise than that. Noise-reduction features have already cut down the noise significantly. For example, the Champion Power Equipment 100111 produces 78 dBA because it comes with an integrated muffler. On the other hand, the DuroMax XP12000EH creates just 74 dB of noise.

Size and weight

8 Best 12,000-watt Portable Generators for Those with Higher Power Demands (Fall 2022)

If portability is an important consideration for you, then you must take the size and weight of the generator into consideration. It becomes difficult to carry a massive generator around, especially if it does not come with any portability features. Thankfully, most manufacturers equip 12,000-watt generators with mobility features to balance the massive size. The A-iPower SUA12000E comes with big 9.5-inch never-flat wheels that can be used to carry the machine over rough terrain. Generators also come with comfortable handles that make it easy to carry them manually. The Pulsar PG12000B has comfortable drop-down handles. The size and weight of the generator will also determine your method of storage, so make sure that your house has enough space to accommodate the machine.


The warranty period that comes alongside a generator is an indication of how much the brand trusts its product. You should not settle for a generator that provides an unsatisfactory warranty because you never know when you might run into a problem. The All Power America APGG12000 comes with a 2-year limited warranty while the DuroMax XP12000EH comes with a 3-year limited warranty.


You will find that 12,000-watt generators tend to be on the pricier side, but that is not surprising when you consider the massive amount of power they provide. The price range can vary anywhere between $1000 to $3000. You can get your hands on the CAT RP12000E for 2,800 dollars, while the Westinghouse WGen9500 is a cheaper option at around 1200 dollars.

Tips and tricks

    • Using the generator indoors can lead to toxic emissions.
    • Ensure that your portable generator is always kept in a dry environment. Exposing the generator to water can cause the machine to break down completely.
    • You should never back-feed a 12,000-watt generator. It can prove to be dangerous.
    • Make sure that you can distinguish between rated/continuous rating and starting/maximum rating so that you do not end up misusing the generator.
    • You should check the filter at least once a week so that there is no accumulation.
    • Ideally, you should change the oil every 100 hours so that the machine can run smoothly.
    • You should never try to refuel your generator while it is still hot. If you want to refill your generator, then you should wait for it to cool down. It is risky to refuel while the machine is still hot. Take your time and avoid spillage.
    • Make sure that you are always stocked up on high-quality fuel. Using stale fuel can cause numerous problems in your generator and destroy the engine.
    • Do not violate any local codes and gain the proper permits before installing the generator.
    • Run periodic tests every three months to ensure that the generator is working properly.
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