I get a lot of questions about RV's sometimes, but this one question seems to be a very common one and often eats up a lot time as the questioner goes back and forth and weighs the options.  It's become so common a question that I decided to lay out my thoughts in one page, to give a starting point for the conversation that is a little further down the line than the initial question usually asked:

"Which airplane do you prefer, the RV-10 or the RV-14?"
"Which airplane would you keep if you had to get rid of one?"
"Which airplane is easier to build, the RV-10 or RV-14?"

First of all, be aware that to me, this question is almost as tough on the mind as if you were to ask me "Which of your daughters would you choose if you could choose just one?"
The airplanes took a fair amount of my time, yes, but when someone dedicates that amount of time, energy, and dedication to a dream they have, it automatically becomes something that is a piece of you...something you would not want to give up.  And should that day come, it would be a sad day indeed.  My daughters are both awesome, and both very unique, who bring vastly different perspectives and gifts to my life, as do these airplanes.  I'm sure you are getting the point by now. :)

Let's push this really hard once.  I'm at Airventure... There's a tornado coming.  The field is closing in 5 minutes and I can fire just one up and taxi out. Which one would it be.  The hands-down answer for me will always be "The RV-10".  Despite all of the wonderful things that RV-14 is, the RV-10 has had the largest impact on my life, and has provided the most incredible adventurous lifestyle, and opportunity for myself and my family, and I would simply never want to be without the capabilities that the RV-10 brings.  There, I said it. While I can't have a favorite daughter, I indeed can choose between the 2 airplanes, as painful as it is.

Lets look at the airplanes a little closer once...

Cost to build:   The current price for the RV-10 from Van's is $47,730 for the RV-10, and $34,900 for the RV-14.  This doesn't tell the whole story at ALL, but believe me when I tell you that although this is approximately $13,000 difference, if you make your decision based on cost, you're just being plain dumb.  (Or is that Plane Dumb?)   Actual costs of building this plane are going to be much much higher than the price of the kit from Van's.  Engines will be in the low $30k's for the RV-14 to the high $40k's for the RV-10.  Yes, that could be more than $10K difference for the engine, but it's STILL an insignificant dollar figure.  You'll have similar propeller costs, similar paint costs, maybe a little more cost in fiberglass supplies with the RV-10, and a little more money spent on the interior of the RV-10.  Figure that you're probably going to spend NEARLY 3X the price of the kit from Van's by the time you're done. Maybe more, depending on what you decide to equip it with.  But in the end, building the WRONG plane for what you need makes your decision foolish if you just base it on the dollars.  Yes, I get it, a person can only afford so much.  But, if affording EITHER plane puts your financial future in serious jeopardy, you're foolish to even start one.  You can buy a great certified plane for far less than you can spend on these RV's, and you can build a lot of great experiences and flying hours in them.  FLYING is the most important part.  These airplanes should be looked at as luxury upgrades, when you are talking finances.  If you can afford them, awesome.  You'll love flying them more than the others, I'm sure.  My kids sure would have loved it though, if I would have saved some money for their college education, and lets just say my foolish dreams took that away from them.  The RV-14 I actually built with the idea that we get into a college bind, I could sell the plane and fix the problem.  But, that has turned itself into a last ditch option.  You get attached to these airplanes.  At any rate, you build the plane you WANT, because the cost difference in the end CAN be small enough if you make the right decisions on the build.

Time to build:  I seem to be a faster than normal builder for some reason.  Not sure why.  It took me 25 months to build the RV-10.  I even had a couple of months where I didn't even touch the kit, so call it 2 years.  The RV-14 took me 2.5 years, but I had many scattered months waiting for kit sections to become available.  I did have a quickbuild fuselage for the RV-10, which added an additional $5K or so to the cost, and cut maybe 300-400 hours off the build.  These days if you start building, you should be able to get all of the parts as fast as you can build them, so you won't have building delays.  But, when you compare my build speed on things like the wings, tail and things of that nature, both airplanes basically took nearly the SAME amount of time to build.  It will probably take you just a little longer to paint prep the RV-10, with the extra fiberglass.  But where the RV-14 needs a tilt canopy built, the RV-10 has a completed one-piece canopy top...and makes you build 2 doors.  Most things are comparable.  Just due to the extra size, you'll have a certain percentage of increase in rivet count, but I would doubt you're talking a whole lot more than 10%-15% extra time to build the RV-10 over the RV-14.  Again, insignificant when you look at the amount of work you're going to pour into the project.  And let me tell you this...if you're a praying man, as I am, when building EITHER kit you should be asking God for the perseverance and patience it takes, because it's extremely easy to lose motivation along the way.  The good thing is, the extra build time won't even come until you're working on the fuselage at least, so by that time your airplane starts taking shape and LOOKING like a plane, and THAT is when the motivation boost starts coming back.  So you really won't care about the slightly increased build time.  It's simply not a significant amount of difference.

Complexity to build:  This one I can keep pretty darn short.  There really is almost zero difference in complexity of building either kit. The RV-10 wing ribs and MANY RV-10 parts are used on the RV-14.  There really is nothing significantly different about the 2 planes at all, except for the fiberglass top and doors, and you're going to need at least SOME fiberglass skills to do both.  So you're going to learn the same stuff either way.  If you can build one, you can build the other.  And, if you can build anything, you can probably build an RV.   I'll warn you right now...the way to make me lose a little respect is to ask the questions about building a plane and then say "I don't know if I have the time..." or "I don't know if I have the skill...", and then jump right into saying "So do you know what I should do if I want to BUY a completed RV-10/RV-14?"   That statement just ticks me off to no end.  *I* had zero airplane building skill when I started.  I learned it ALL either online in discussions with other builders, or by going to help another builder who was ahead of me for a few hours.  So if you REALLY don't have the skill, contact the local EAA chapter and ask for help, or better yet, shadow someone and ask if you can watch or assist for a couple hours. You will find the help you need.  But if you're going to start talking garbage like "...Buy a completed RV-10/RV-14", then please, don't waste my time.  I *firmly* believe a few things:   First, the FAA's regulations and spirit of the laws are correct.  You should be doing this for "Education and Recreation".  This isn't a "build to sell" sort of endeavor, and that whole thing irks me too.  Next, I absolutely believe that if you are going to be a long-term owner of this plane, you NEED to pay your dues and learn the build process.  I see it every day on the forums...some bozo buys a completed plane, then there is a service bulletin, and he has no idea how to complete the service bulletin or fix the issue.  The same people even lack the motivation to dig up the plans and find out what to do.  It's pitiful.  There's a thread on the forum right now by a guy who has an issue with cabin heating in his RV-10, and he has no idea where to look for the solution.  Why?  Because he didn't participate in the online forums along the way, and wasn't there to see how the heating system was built, and doesn't take the time to sit down and learn everything from the heating system to the door fit, and cabin construction to even know where the cold air may be coming from.  If you build your own plane, these things will be obvious to you.  So man-up (or woman-up) and if you want an RV, be willing to either pick up the tools and build one, or heavily invest in obtaining the knowledge it takes.   And another place I really firmly believe you find benefit is in the SAFETY of flight, if you build your own plane.  First of all, you intimately know the plane, and how it went together and that it was done properly.  You TRAINED yourself to be a good inspector along the way.  But even from a flying skills perspective, you will gain a LOT by participating in the forums, and I personally feel that if you have invested the time in the build process, you are MUCH more likely to also respect your first many hours in FLYING the RV.  You will have communicated more with others to learn the flying qualities, you will be more likely to be receptive to Transition Training, and you will be more cautious in that you are flying something that you poured yourself into for years, that means an awful lot to you, that you would not want to see destroyed.   So as far as I'm concerned, the build complexity is the same, and you end up with MORE safety and security and long-term proper maintenance if you build one...either one.  Looks like I couldn't keep that one as short as I thought. :)

Ok, so far I've basically told you that there's really no significant difference in buying and building either the RV-10 or RV-14.  But, where there ARE differences, are in the flying you can do, and the capacity they can carry.  Lets go thru a few things...

Short/Tall People:  Surprisingly, as a nearly 6'2" pilot with plenty of belly, who also flies with "Little People" of 5'3" and small size, I can say that the RV-10 is hands down the most "adjustable" plane for you.  The seat moves a lot in either direction, whereas the RV-14 is much less adjustable. That's not to say that neither can be made to fit. I think as long as you're under 6'3" either plane will work fine, but if you have to fix both extremes, the RV-10 can handle much more than 6'3" tall, and yet be good for people maybe even down to 5'0".  The RV-14 would have a hard time making that swing.  The RV-10 is also more comfortable to sit in for long long trips.  The RV-10 also allows you to recline your seat a LOT more, which your husband/wife co-pilot will REALLY appreciate on long trips.  Also, you can put the same 6'2"+ people in the back seat and they fit fine there too.  Also, when it comes to cabin width, the RV-10 is DEFINITELY wider.  It also has concave areas on the doors for your elbows, which makes it feel even roomier.  If you are width excessive, or broad shouldered, just do the RV-10...you lose at least 2" of cabin with in the RV-14 and the side canopy support rail impinges on your arm more than the RV-10's concave door cavity gains you...so it's a double good on the RV-10 in this aspect.

Aerobatics: Here's another simple one.  The RV-10 is not designed for aerobatics, and doesn't have the same G-ratings as the RV-14.  If aerobatics is a MUST have, then your decision is made up.  I *really* like aerobatics, and will find them hard to give up, but I'm sure some day I will have to.  The roll rate of both planes isn't too bad, but the RV-14 roll rate is maybe 25% quicker.

Cross-Country Capability:  This one falls to the RV-10.  The IO-540 seems to have an easier time being smooth with it's 6-cylinder engine, going Lean-of-Peak, and you end up with really not all that much difference in fuel flow on long trips.  Probably within 2 gph and often maybe only 1gph different.  Combine that with the fact that you can put 4 people in it and you really have an efficient machine.  The 60 gallon tanks will take you at least as far if not further than the 50 in the RV-14.  And, as I said above, you'll do it in far more comfort.  Also, don't discount the benefits of the sun-shading cabin top.  The RV-14 can be a hot plane in the sun.  You ABSOLUTELY will need a sun shade on sunny days in the RV-14, but even with that, you won't NEARLY be as comfortable as in the RV-10.  The added shade is priceless. The added weight of the RV-10 makes it a little more comfortable in turbulence as well.  Really, if you want the best cross-country plane, you want the RV-10.

Flying Ease:  This one is nearly a dead-even comparison.  These planes fly almost exactly the same.  If you can fly one, you can fly the other. There are only minor quirks that differentiate them.  The RV-14 being a little lighter MAY be slightly more squirrely, but really they are simply so close that there is no real difference.

Flying Fun:  Here I thought I had it all when all I had was an RV-10.  The RV-10 was extremely fun to fly.  But, when I got the RV-14 done, I realized that indeed the RV-14 is MORE fun to fly.  It's really an awesome plane, and when you pair the super visibility of the bubble canopy with the better roll rate and the higher G-rating, you end up with a plane that absolutely LOVES to pull up and bank into high wingovers...so high that you can look UP thru the clear canopy to see the ground below you.  If you don't have any aerobatic intentions, the difference is fairly minimal, but the RV-14 to me is just more fun. 

Visibility:  Again, I'd always been impressed with the great visibility you get in the RV-10.  It's a super plane for sight seeing.  That said, the bubble canopy on the RV-14 is even better.  There is nothing like flying the RV-14 on a starry night, or with a full moon.  It's also pretty cool to fly IFR in the grey clouds, with a bubble canopy.  I don't see this difference as significant in choosing a plane, unless you need aerobatics, but it is something you will like about the RV-14....nearly as much as you'll hate the sunburn you get from NOT having the solid canopy top. :)  There are trade-offs everwhere.

Kit Mods:  There are going to be little tweaks you want to do here and there. For me a BIG one was the throttle quadrant.  It's INSANE that Van's didn't offer that as an option on the RV-14. Luckily for me it's super easy to add one.  But if you want to do things like have a NOT centered radio stack, it's a lot more work for the RV-14 where they did TOO MUCH decision making for you.  You're actually better off and I would have saved time, if some of those pieces would not have been pre-cut.  Same thing with wiring.  The RV-14 can be easy, if you do things exactly as they did, but if you have any variation, you can quickly lose more time in tweaking things than their work saved you.

Load Capacity:  This one you would THINK would be pretty even.  After all, the baggage areas are very similar in size between the 2 planes.  Given that the RV-14 is a 2 seater, that means for just 2 people you may feel less crowded.  Turns out that's not really how it works so much. The cabin width, discussed above, is much better in the RV-10. The seat room is also much better for length.  So you will feel much more space in the RV-10.  The CG range is a little more sensitive too, so although you can likely pile everything you want in the RV-14, the RV-10 makes a FANTASTIC heavy trip 2 seat airplane.  I can't tell you how many times I've traveled with our family of 4, jam packed into the RV-10 with tons of luggage, and it worked out, BUT, the friends on the trip with their RV-10 who did NOT have kids had it FAR better than we did.  We flew to the Bahamas with no space or capacity for life rafts....they could easily store 6 life rafts in their back seat. So if you were to want to go on a mega adventure, like Alaska, or the Cayman Islands, or Bahamas, or Mexico, or backpacking in Colorado/Utah/Idaho/Washington/Oregon, you will much prefer the RV-10.  Want to carry bikes? Probably MUCH easier to do in the RV-10.  You can even pull the rear seats out and basically have an SUV.  Want to bring the dog? The RV-10 for 2 or 3 plus dog would be awesome. We even did 4+dog.  I don't think I could even bring the dog with any luggage, in the RV-14.  We've taken him in there with no luggage, but that's only for day trips.  So, hands down for the RV-10 here.

2 or 4 seats?: The common thing people say is "I rarely need to fill more than 2 seats."   Well, I guess I would say for me that this is generally true too, if you look at my last year or two of flying.  That said, when you DO want to fill more than 2 seats, do you really want to rent the lame 1973 Cessna 172 from the FBO?  What fun would that be?  If you have access to an RV-10, then sure, maybe an RV-14 is for you.  But if your alternative is some piece of junk Cherokee 140, you'll be much happier with your RV-10.  So personally I feel that unless you NEVER want more than 2 seats filled and you almost ALWAYS fly alone, then you should strongly consider the RV-10.  In fact, if you have kids, or plan to have kids, don't even consider the RV-14.  The adventures we had with our kids in the RV-10 were PRICELESS.  Not having that plane would have really changed things for the worse. We finished it at EXACTLY the right time for our family.  Had I delayed it, we would have only lost many more fun opportunities.  So, if you're looking for family adventures, don't procrastinate...save hard, work hard, build hard and enjoy.  Let me tell you from personal experience...you'll have an awesome time filling 4 seats with kids aged 5-12, but by the time they're 14 and into all sorts of school activities, you've lost many of your chances. By the time they're in High School you may as well start looking at that RV-14....cuz your opportunities are shrinking fast.  That said, my wife and I are looking forward to many cool trips with the RV-10 where we can finally haul whatever gear we want.  So again, the RV-10 hands down is the winner here.

IFR: Both of these airplanes make great IFR flying airplanes.  I'd say the RV-10 is still the better of the 2, with it's slightly better stability, but you will have no issue flying either one of them in IMC.  Equip them properly and they are just as, if not more capable, than most anything you can rent or buy.

Misc:  You won't find any very significant fuel economy, speed, or range differences between these planes, although in most categories the RV-10 will win. You will possibly find one benefit in insurance for the 2 seater.  First of all, figure that to own/fly either of these, you're best off having 200 hours or more.  In fact, many RV-10 insurers either require or used to require 250 hours + instrument rating, or 300 hours total time, before insuring you.  The RV-14 should be a little easier than that.  And, the lower the hull value the lower the rate.  That said, if you HAVE a good amount of experience, like I do today, you are only looking at a few hundreds for difference in premium, even with lots of hull value difference.  I'm under $2000 alone on the RV-10 by a good margin, and I'm maybe $1000-1300 give or take on the RV-14.  I don't even honestly know anymore because after adding my wife and daughter my rates are WELL over that.  But if you are an inexperienced pilot with under 200 or ESPECIALLY under 100 hours, I'd strongly recommend you actually just renting and flying other planes often before you finish your RV, because you not only NEED the experience, but your insurability will go up if you get the hours.  Hangar space wise, the RV-14 is a little smaller but they aren't THAT far apart.  Maintenance wise they may as well be identical, because you won't find a significant ongoing cost difference between them.  The RV-10 will cost a little more at engine overhaul time, but that's probably over 10 years down the road from when you finish it, unless you fly it a huge amount.

So hopefully that points out some of the benefits of one over the other.  Basically it does come down to mission.  And you have to really take time to think of what your mission will be.  I think that someone who has not build a plane may not even be AWARE of what their mission may become, over time.  I certainly WANTED to do aerobatics, but never really knew I would be doing them.  I absolutely KNEW that I wanted to take long x/c trips with the family.  You need to look at what you KNOW you would not want to give up.  I know that me, as a family man, would NEVER compromise my ability to take the family.  And I suppose that will extend to grandkids some day as well.  So the RV-10 is my one and only 100% necessary airplane.  But, pulling that RV-14 out of my hands will be like pulling teeth, or stealing my dog.