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4 and a Half stars

Review of the Westinghouse WGen12000 Open Frame Portable Generator

15000 Starting Watts, 12000 Running Watts on Gasoline

Electric Start: Yes

Weight: 352lbs

Noise: 74dB


Should You Buy It?

Weighing in at over 350lbs this is one heavy beast of a generator. It's also one of the most powerful portables on the market and comes with quite a hefty price tag to match.

While the power outputs are impressive, no portable generator is designed to run 24/7 like a dedicated standby unit, which can cost a lot more. But if you plan on keeping a good range of appliances powered up during an outage, then this could be the model you may want to consider as well as comparing it to the DurMax XP15000E as a possible alternative.

Key Points about the Westinghouse WGen12000

One of the most powerful portables
Push button electric start
Remote key fob starter
Digital Data Center
Fuel gauge
No-flat wheels
Very heavy
No low oil warning LED

Overview of the Generator


The Westinghouse WGen12000 is one of the most powerful portable generators. It is housed in a hardened-steel open frame for added strength and durability. The push-button electric start is complemented by a wireless key fob that allows for remote starting.

It's a pretty good solution for providing backup power for your home during blackouts and emergencies and is able to support some heavy-duty jobsite work. 

Controls and Features


Although the control panel is comprehensive, there are no LED lights to indicate overload, low oil or output ready.  There is however a low oil sensor which stops the engine on detecting the level is insufficient for safe operation. It has Yellow Touch Zones for guided access to its main components. 

The generator has automatic voltage regulation, Smart Idle control, and a digital Data Center/LED display that cycles through Volts, Frequency, Lifetime Run Hours, and current run time with a "Maintenance Required" reminder when needed.

In addition to the push button electric start/stop (powered by an included battery and battery charger), the WGen12000 also has a wireless key fob so you can easily start the generator remotely from up to 260 feet away. Both methods of starting are backed up by a manual pull recoil cord, which you can use, for example, if the battery is flat.

The receptacles include 2xGFCI 5-20R 120v 20 Amp household duplex outlets, 1x120v L5-30R, 1xTransfer Switch Ready L14-30R 120v/240v 30 Amp twist-lock, and 1x120v/240v 50 Amp 14-50R. All have rubber outlet covers to protect them from the environment. In addition, the panel includes 2x5v USB ports.

An innovative alternative to having a professional electrician install a transfer switch, Westinghouse offer an optional Smart Transfer Switch on this model which you can connect yourself to automatically switch the grid's supply to your portable generator's power.


A fuel gauge is located next to the fuel cap on the top of the generator allowing you to monitor fuel usage. Operating at 50% load, it can run for up to 11 hours from its 10.5-gallon (40 L) gasoline fuel tank.

With EPA Certification and CARB Compliance the WGen12000 can be used in all 50 states.

Like all of Westinghouse's generator product line, this is backed by a 3-year limited warranty (residential) and Lifetime Technical Support.

Here you can see the wGen12000 manual for this model.

Have a look at more information about the dangers of carbon monoxide.

Power Output

The WGen12000 is powered by an Ultra Duty 713cc OHV V-Twin Westinghouse engine in a cast iron sleeve for long-lasting durability. On gasoline, it produces an impressive 15000 starting watts and 12000 running watts.

As this model uses traditional technology the power output is subject to fluctuations, making it unsuitable for connecting sensitive electronics without the use of a line conditioner/UPS/surge protector.

The specified power outputs have been measured at around sea level. For those who live at higher altitudes the outputs diminish, so this should be taken into account when calculating needs. 


Set in an open frame made of hardened-steel with protective roll bars, a foam grip handle, and a lifting hook, the WGen12000 weighs an enormous 352lbs. Westinghouse include a kit of two solid never-flat wheels to make it easier for you to move it around. You may not want to move such a heavy unit often, so watch out for deformations in the never-flat wheels when the generator is left in one place for an extended period. Some owners have replaced the supplied wheels with alternatives, while others have found a way to prop the unit up, thereby taking the weight off the wheels.

Noise Level

With an open frame body, the noise level is high at 74dB. See out take on noise levels, what they mean, and how they can affect us, and a general discussion of noise in relation to portable generators.

What Most Buyers Like

The WGen12000 gets 4 and 5-star reviews. It's easy to set up with everything supplied (except fuel). One of its best features is the intelligent idle, which allows the generator to run more quietly when not under load. Owing to its weight, the generator is delivered on a pallet.

Big, noisy, and powerful, the generator is able to easily power a 1770 square foot home's lights, electronics, central A/C, refrigerator and freezer.

What Some Buyers Like Less

The dip stick is useless and it's not possible to put an oil pan beneath the drain plug to catch the oil, making the process of changing the oil potentially a messy business. 

There seems to be a design flaw in that the 14-50R 50 Amp outlet is directly above one of the wheels, which interferes with connecting a heavy cord with a right-angle plug.

It's inconvenient to have to remove the battery to connect the leads.

Running Watts12000
Starting Watts15000
Running Amps50A @ 240v 100A @120V
Starting Amps63A @ 240v 125A @120V
AC Voltage120/240v
AC Frequency60 Hz
Fuel Tank Capacity10.5 gal (40 L)
Fuel GaugeYes
Run Time @ 50%11 hrs.
Noise Level74 dBA
Total Harmonic Distortion<5%
Outlets2 Duplex 120v 5-20R GFCI
1 120v L5-30
1 120/240v L14-30R
1 120/240v 14-50R
2 USB ports
ST Switch
Display TypeVFT Meter
Voltage MeterYes
Frequency MeterYes
Lifetime Run HoursYes
Low Oil IndicatorNo
Overload IndicatorNo
Output Ready IndicatorNo
Covered OutletsYes
Overload ProtectionYes
RV ReadyYes
Transfer Switch ReadyYes
ST Switch ReadyYes
Battery IncludedYes
Grounding SystemBonded Neutral
Engine Displacement713cc
Engine TypeOHV V-Twin
Starter TypeElectric, Remote
Low Oil ShutdownYes
Oil Capacity51.2 oz. (1.6 qt)
Economy ModeNo
Smart IdleYes
Choke TypeAutomatic
Included AccessoriesOil Bottle (10w-30)
Battery Charger
Spark Plug + Assembly Wrench
Oil Funnel
Quick-Release Pins
Remote Key Fob
12v Battery Cable
Warranty (Residential)3 Year Limited
Warranty (Commercial)1 Year Limited
Product Dimensions34L x 31W x 35H in.
Packaging Dimensions35.4L x 24.4W x 33.5H in.
Dry Unit Weight352 lb. (160 kg)
Package Weight403.4 lb. (183 kg)