I do have solar panels, but it's winter here for much of the year. And I live pretty far north. This means there are very few hours of direct sun, even if it's not snowing or cloudy that day. So for me, having a generator to recharge my batteries and back up my solar panels is essential. It usually ends up running somewhere between 4 and 10 hours a day depending on how cold it is and how much power I have used for other activities.
Above you can see my generator. At the bottom of the post is a link to the one I have. It is not a Honda and while those are generally agreed to be the best, the Champion's are a fraction of the cost and still had very good reviews. That is why I chose this model, and I am very happy with it. It does run a little louder than a Honda, but I don't object to that if I can save $600+. And I happen to live a long way from anyone else so I only have to worry about bothering my neighborhood of squirrels, moose, elk, etc.
It is just barely large enough for my needs, but that also means it is extremely fuel efficient. I can usually run it for 7 to 10 hours on one tank of gas. If you read other's reviews of this model, you will see a lot of discrepancy in run times. I am guessing that is because you can fill it and empty it well above and below the marks on the gauge. So if you only fill and empty the tank by the markings, you will get a very different amount of running hours than if you go from truly empty to truly full. I haven't measured it myself, but the tank is supposed to be 0.7 gallons and this seems pretty close. Getting up to ten hours of run time from that amount of gas is a pretty good deal for me. And it is able to run my charger which dumps up to 25 amps into my battery bank as well as a handful of other things in the house at the same time. If the charger is not using power, it is more than capable of running the whole house directly.
It's been very reliable other than the issues described below which have little to do with the generator it's self. The one thing that seems to be made poorly is the pull cord. Mine snapped after about a month of use and has been replaced. Something inside seems to be catching and chewing up the cord, but I don't know what. If they would have used a more sturdy pull cord, I would have not a single complaint about this generator.
Below you can see it sitting inside it's own tiny house. That came about after learning that covering it with a tarp didn't work real well. It could not be covered while it was running, so if it was snowing while it ran, that would melt and the water would run down into little crannies. I didn't become aware of the problems that would cause until the temps dropped into the -20 F range. Then what happened was some of that earlier snow melt iced up in the oil chamber, causing it to pressurize, then blow all the oil out, and then shut off, thanks to the low oil safety switch. It did not seem to damage the generator, but you don't want that happening.
So now it has a tiny house of it's own. If it is super cold, the generator runs just fine with the lid shut because there is plenty of ventilation out the open end. And this seems to have totally solved any problems with things icing up. If it's a bit warmer out, it seems best to prop the lid up so it does not overheat. That flap keeps snow from being able to drift inside even when the lid is propped up.
The other thing I have learned is that when it is well below zero, it is hard to start a generator. The solution for that seems to be sitting it in my house for a little to thaw it out, and then putting it back outside and starting it up.
It also seems a good idea to have a backup for something mechanical that I depend on this much. I am blessed to have access to this little Honda as well for the days were we've been figuring out the issues described above with my Champion. Little Red is a very nice piece of equipment as well and if you have the cash, I'd recommend getting one like that. But overall, I think my Champion has be a fantastic deal.
In case you are interested in a similar set up for your tiny house or RV, following are links to some of the items I use and describe in this post. If you buy them through my link, you will be helping me pay the bills here in my tiny house!