Top 5 50 Amp Portable Generators
When it comes to wattage range, inverter generators are no match for conventional 50 amp generators. We think that if your main priority is to generate as much power as you can extract from a portable generator then your best choice is a conventional generator.
There is no shortage of choice when it comes to conventional 50 amp generators but one company seems to have an edge, particularly due to offering a slew of options in its value and midrange price categories.
Our 50 Amp Generator list features 3 units from DuroMax Power Systems, which is pretty commendable . The company has three competing 10kW generators in the DuroMax midrange series, each offering a unique value proposition as well as benefits. Clearly, one of these hard to be on top of our list and it was hard to zero in on a single unit.
50 Amp Generator Top pick: We chose the DuroMax XP10000E as the overall top 50A generator at this moment because it gives the best value for money, when all factors are considered. It’s also one of the most well-rounded gensets we reviewed for this list in terms of power generation, features, and usability.
Runner up: We chose the DuroMax XP12000EH as the runner up precisely because it gives the best bang for the buck operationally. It’s also the only hybrid dual fuel genset on this list. If you need a generator to use for long hours while keeping emission levels down, the XP12000EH is hard to beat.
50 Amp Generators List
The DuroMax XP10000E has been a midrange best seller for quite a while now and is still an excellent choice for many applications. The unit produces ridiculous amounts of electricity for its price and also comes with user-friendly built-in features, along with a fully loaded control panel.
The XP10000E is a true workhorse that comfortably meets your power needs for a range of applications. If you run a workshop in your backyard, this is the kind of generator you must have, either as a standby or as your main power source.
Engine Capacity & Power Generation
10000 watts is quite huge for any portable generator, so you’d expect a beast of an engine to be a 50 amp generator. This is the case with the XP10000E, which is powered by a 420cc 18 HP Overhead Valve engine that maxes out at 10000 watts and supplies 8000 running watts. At full tank capacity, you get 10 hours of runtime at ½ load.
The gas powered engine is equipped with steel bearings plus a cast iron cylinder for durability.
With up to 10000 watts at your disposal, this genset easily handles many high-draw tools and appliances in a home. It is perfect for job sites but many owners report using it to power their entire homes during emergencies. Whether or not you can use it as a standby for your home depends on how much electricity you need in an emergency but on paper, 8000 watts is sufficient during a blackout.
Duromax XP10000E Usability & Noise Level
The DuroMax XP10000E is a huge machine so it’s not going to run so quiet. That’s not to say that it is the loudest generator we’ve seen. Reported noise level is 72dB when fully loaded but the company claims that it comes down to a lowly 45dB when there’s no load and idle control is engaged.
Overall, most people can accommodate this noise so long as their power needs are being met sufficiently.
The control panel is nothing fancy but you get all the essential outlets for a comfortable operation, in addition to handy switches and meters. It is equipped with one 50A 120/240V heavy duty outlet for those high-draw tools and appliances. It also comes with two 20A 120V outlets, one 30A 120V twist lock outlet for RVs plus another 30A 120/240 twist lock outlet. The 10A 12V outlet is for quick battery charging whenever needed.
There’s a dedicated RV switch, electric start switch, and the engine shutoff switch. If the battery is fully charged, starting the engine is a matter of pressing the start switch. Otherwise the recoil cord will do the trick.
Size and Build
The XP10000E packs a punch in the power department and has an equally matching size. It measures 40 inches by 23 inches by 40 inches in length, width, and height. It also weighs a humongous 265 pounds but thank heavens it’s got a wheel kit that makes it simpler to move from place to place.
DuroMax XP10000E Summary
Excellent value for money
Can get noisy especially under load
Enormous amounts of power
Hard working & versatile generator
Inconvenient for mobile applications
Convenient electric start
Coming in at a respectable second place is the DuroMax XP12000EH generator, another excellent 50 Amp Generator from DuroMax Power Systems. The XP12000EH is engineered for versatility, allowing you to choose between propane and standard gasoline. Running the engine on propane gives you the longest runtime of up to 20 hours, making it perfect for extended power outages.
The 12000-watt peak output that this generator produces is sufficient for to power the average American home, so the XP12000EH can perfectly work as a home standby generator.
Note that the XP10000EH is exactly identical to the XP12000EH except for the amount of output each generates.
Engine and Power Generation
The XP12000EH generates 12000 watts at peak and 9500 watts at constant output. This power is courtesy of a 4-stroke single cylinder diesel-powered engine with excellent fuel consumption, thanks to its direct fuel injection system.
The unit is equipped with a 457cc 18HP OHV engine that gives 10 hours of runtime on a full tank of gasoline (8.3 gallons). Alternatively, you could extract 20 long hours of runtime on propane.
Clearly, due to its long runtimes while running on propane, the XP12000EH is best suited to applications that require steady power supply over many hours.
Duromax XP12000EH Usability and Noise Level
The XP12000EH is easy to use, just like many DuroMax gensets. The control panel is full features and may appear crammed when you’re looking at it for the first time.
On the panel there is one 120V 30A twist lock outlet, another 120/240V 30A twist lock outlet, one 120/240V 50 A heavy duty outlet, and two 120V 20A outlets for basic home appliances. A built-in circuit breaker helps keep your appliances safe from power surges. The unit also self-protects from surges via the surge arrestor.
In terms of noise, the spec sheet puts the rating at 72dB when generator is loaded. This is loud but expected of generators of a 12000-watt generator.
The noise level rating for the 755371i is 58 dBA. This is an acceptable level for a 3000-watt generator but remember the noise may increase with load.
Size and Build
The XP12000EH weighs 340 lbs and that’s pretty heavy. It’s obviously not the type of generator you’re going to be carrying around often. It measures 30 x 28 x 40 inches in length, width, and height and features an all-metal construction that allows the generator to handle even the roughest construction sites.
DuroMax XP12000EH Summary
Hybrid dual-fuel capability
Massive power potential
Inconsistent/intermittent running (on/off), based on several owner reviews
Generous 3 year warranty (residential)
Takes some work to get it running smoothly on propane
The CAT RP12000E is the type of machine that’s specially built for demanding job sites although it is also more than capable in a home or camp settings.
The RP12000E is backed by Caterpillar’s long standing reputation as a leading heavy equipment manufacturer. CAT tools are built to work and last and the RP12000E is no exception.
The company claims that the CAT RP series was built with the customer in mind, focusing on core areas of performance, usability, and durability. Basics such as power quality and long run times are also key focus areas of CAT tools.
We also liked the fact that Caterpillar offers stellar customer service in all areas and many owner reviews we read support this fact. The company provides comprehensive documentation that’s easily accessible online.
Engine & Power Generation
The CAT RP12000E is a real powerhouse when it comes to portable power generation. The unit comes in two trims – the EPA and CARB models and the CSA model. The former generates 12000 running watts while the latter produces 11000 running watts. Both models generate 15000 starting watts.
All this massive portable power is courtesy of a 670cc V-Twin OHV engine enclosed in a heavy-duty all-copper frame for durability.
The motor’s covered wiring and automatic tip-over shut off feature ensure safety for the unit as well as users.
A pressurized oil system guarantees smooth running over long hours and helps to maintain engine in pristine condition.
At 50% load, the RP12000E puts in 11.7 hours of runtime on 13.2 gallons of gas. This means that you will have up to 5500 usable watts for over 11 hours. If it’s an emergency, this is sufficient time and power to keep your essentials running.
Usability & Noise Level
We thoroughly loved the control panel on this unit. It’s one of the most intuitively designed we’ve seen on units of this size. It also has more outlets than any 12kW generator we’ve reviewed so far.
The top row on the panel features a series of buttons and controls, each one clearly marked for easy accessibility.
At the extreme left of the panel you find the start/stop choke button and fuel shut off controls. Then you have the electric start switch and right next to it is the idle control button.
You then have the 12V DC outlet for batteries followed by a digital display screen for voltage, frequency, running, and total hours.
The bottom row features all the other essential outlets with full covers to protect from dust and moisture. They include four 120V 20A duplex outlets, two 120V 30A twist lock outlets, one 120/240V 30A twist lock outlet, and one 120/240V 50A outlet.
You don't have to worry about accessing the panel in the dark as it’s well lit by double LED lights.
Size & Build
When compared to other 50 Amp Generators in its class, the CAT 12000E is actually a compact unit. The all-steel construction is sturdy and dependable. It is built to handle any type of terrain.
The unit’s dimensions are 35.7 by 32.8 by 35.7 inches in length, width, and height. At 350 lbs, the Caterpillar isn't a machine you can easily throw around but it’s equipped with a double-hinged handle system for easier movement and the never-flat wheel kit makes it even easier to get the generator from one point to another.
Overall, the CAT 12000E is a very solid unit that could easily take top spot on this list (for performance and build quality) if it were not for its high price.
CAT RP12000E Summary
High performance generator from a trusted brand. Excellent build quality
Very expensive. Costs more than double the price of a comparable DuroMax model
Massive power potential
A tad heavy although the hinged handle system and wheel kit come in handy when moving the unit
A slew of safety features protects engine and users
Only electric start included. No backup optio
Very intuitive panel for good usability
Expensive parts. Not cheap to maintain
Dewalt PD123MHB008 Portable Generator
The Dewalt PD123MHB008 is a professional grade generator fit for demanding job sites and commercial applications. It is powered by a Honda engine so you can count on proven reliability and guaranteed top performance.
Dewalt PD123MHB008 Engine & Power Generation
The Dewalt 50 amp Generator is powered by a 688cc Honda made engine that generates 14000 surge watts and 11700 running watts. This is obviously a great deal of power that is sufficient for an entire home although a lot of Dewalt owners use the unit for commercial grade applications.
The GX630 Honda engine features an electric start and has very low harmonic distortion thanks to its premium alternator.
The Dewalt puts in 8 running hours on a 10 gallon tank of gas. This is a bit of a disappointment though when compared to competing units.
Usability & Noise Level
The spec sheet puts this unit’s noise level at 83 dB measured at 7 yards from the generator, which is the loudest on this list. There’s a good chance that it can get louder than that under full load but then this is a commercial grade generator so you’d expect it to be loud.
In terms of usability, the Dewalt comes with most of the bells and whistles that you’d expect to find on high end units. The start method is wholly electric with no option for a manual recoil cord.
The control panel features a slew of outlets including one 120/240V 30A twist locking outlet, one 120V 30A twist locking outlet, and two 120V GFCI twist locking receptacles.
Size & Build
The Dewalt has a weight of 344 lbs and measures 31.6 by 33.3 by 36.4 inches in length, width, and height. In terms of weight and size, it’s comparable to most units on this list and given its output, we think that this weight is justified. Based on its size and weight, moving this generator isn’t easy but chances are you won’t need to move it frequently.
Dewalt PD123MHB008 Summary
Powerful and reliable engine
Huge power potential
Relatively short running hours compared to rivals
Generac XG10000E 5802
Generac offers a selection of units in the XG series. We chose the XG10000E as the model to include on this 50 Amp Generator list because it provides the ideal balance between price and features, based on the selection criterion we used.
The XG10000E offers plenty of power and feature-rich performance, thanks to the solid Generac engine and top quality features that this unit comes equipped with.
50 Amp Generator Engine & Performance
The XG10000E is powered by a 530cc OHV Generac engine that outputs 12500 surge watts and 10000 running watts. On a full tank of gas (10 gallons), you get up to 10 hours of runtime.
The engine features full pressure lubrication for durability. Along with its automotive style spin on the oil filter, the Generac engine’s wear is significantly slowed down, at least on paper.
Usability & Noise Level
The official spec sheet doesn’t indicate the noise level but we’d estimate it is in the 70-80 dB range when you consider the output and size. While anything above 70 dB is loud, many owners don't consider noise level a deal breaker when purchasing a 10kW generator.
The XG10000E has a full featured control panel that’s easy to use, with covers on the outlets to protect from dust and the environment.
On the extreme left of the panel is the 12V DC battery charger input and right below it is the fuel shutoff switch. The hour meter display and the power bar follow to the immediate right.
You then have the 120/240v 50a outlet and right next to it is the 30A circuit breaker. Right below the breaker is the 120/240v 30a L14-30r twist lock outlet and the 20A push-to-reset circuit breakers are sandwiched between the two 120v 20A GFCI 5-20r duplex outlets and the 120v 20A GFCI 5-20r duplex outlets. Finally you have the 120/240v 30A L5-30r twist lock outlet.
Size & Build
The Generac measures 30 by 29.5 by 31 inches and weighs 300 lbs. The build comprises a heavy duty steel cradle with a folding locking handle on the side to ease movement of the unit.
300 lbs is quite heavy but you’re not likely to be shifting this generator from place to place and in any case when you do, the 10-inch semi-solid wheel kit comes in handy.
Generac XG10000E 5802 Summary
Top performance & solid build
Not CARB compliant
Versatile. Use for home, work, or anything
Maintenance may be expensive