Taste mentioned in the same line as a couple of light beer tag lines? Crazy. But it gets the idea across. Between Scotty and RAM there are about a billion different combinations for mounting rod holders and other accessories to your fishing machine. The best option is the one that gets your job done. Consider:
Construction and Rod Holder Types
's always utilized a nylon composite materials, with limited need for marine grade hardware. It's (mostly) maintenance free, super durable and strong. RAM
got into the composite game only a few years back (good decision). Some of their most popular rod holder systems are still available in powder coated marine grade aluminum. Personally, I don't see an advantage.
Both companies offer a variety of cradle and rocket launcher style rod holders. The cradles are best for trolling or still fishing with a baitcaster or spinning rod angled low to the water. For tubes, until recently RAM had a large advantage. Scotty has caught up with several newer products like the 476 Rocket Launcher Rod Holder, but RAM offers more styles such as the midway gimbaled Rod Revolution Tube.
Mounting System / Adjustability
This is where the rubber meets the road. RAM and Scotty are known for fundamentally different mounting systems (well, sort of - more in a bit). Both are wizards for fitting rod holders and accessories such as sonar displays into tight spaces on small boats.
Scotty's go-to is a geared female base that mates with a correspondingly geared male... part. The bases come in a few varieties such as the Combination Side/Deck combo mount (kind of clunky) and the sleek Flush Mount.
There's plenty of adjustability - it just isn't infinite. As a plus, once set the connection is less likely to slip. When used in conjunction with a gimbaled rod holder, you usually get adjustment in two planes, horizontal and vertical. Locking models are available if you need more assurance.
RAM mounts get the nod for superior adjustability.
The company name is synonymous (or should be) with the ball and socket system. RAM balls come in two sizes, regular and small (1.5" and 1").
They don't take much space, but they do project above the deck. They adjust to just about any angle, but are a little more prone to slip if the socket isn't thoroughly tightened. There are flush mount options, but they are limited to RAM's other mount style: the Revolution ratchet/socket system. It bears a passing resemblance to Scotty's.
One more note. When it comes to turning a Hobie mast socket into a fishfinder or camera mount, there's only one good answer: RAM's Wedge. It comes with either ball mount.
Interoperability / Flexibility
You might want to change your kayak's load-out depending on the fishery or task at hand. For instance, I don't always want a light pole or a Scotty Trap-ease pulley arm - just when I'm lobster hooping at night. It's a huge plus if the mounting bases installed on your kayak pull double or triple duty. I occasionally use that same flush mount Scotty base that holds my Trap-ease for a gunwale mounted rod holder.
As long as you stick with one company (and in the case of RAM, one mount style), all of your mounted accessories can be multi-taskers.
The difference isn't huge unless you're counting pennies. Across the board, RAM's US-made products cost a little more scratch. Scotty operates out of Canada. Cost should be the last consideration. Deciding between Scotty and RAM comes down to which system works best for your particular needs.