Re: Which winch...?
Well, I'm not gonna bash Ramsey. They make a fine winch. As others have said, their worm gear winches are slow. However worm gear winches are very durable and are very suitable as industrial winches. Ramsey makes planetary gear winches also, they are just a little bit more expensive than the worm gear models.
However, I deal in Warn so I know more about Warn than I do about the Ramsey's. Hopefully someone can post some info for you comparing their line to the Warn line. I do know that the Ramsey Platinum 9500 is very comparable in price, quality, and features to the Warn HS9500i that I sell.
The only reasonable arguement I have heard when choosing top of the line Ramsey vs top of the line Warn is that the remote leads are not interchangable. Seems like a pretty silly point, until you are on the trail and have forgotten your remote lead at home (seen it happen), or have gotten it tangled and torn up in the cable (seen it happen), or the remote just doesn't work (heard of it happening). In this case if you have a Ramsey and everyone else has a Warn, you can't borrow a remote and your winch is out of action. I don't think this should be too much of a deciding factor, just something to consider.
What you want to look for when comparing winches is:
Type of motor - series wound is best, permanent magnet is cheaper. Permanent magnet motors loose power over time. Ramsey makes both, Warn only sells series wound in the recreational market.
Gear type - worm gear, planetary, spur gear (Warn 8274 only). All have proven themselves very reliable in the self recovery market. Worm gear is slowest, planetary and spur gear are faster. All Warn winches except the 8274 are planetary.
Speed and amp draw at load are also important considerations between comparable models.
In the 8000 lb market I would take the Warn XD8000i or the Warn M8000 over the Warn 8274. The 8274 is faster in the no load to 2000 lb load range, but is much more expensive. The 8274 is also very bulky. The 8274 does have more cable(150') than the XD(100') or the M(80'). 8274 winches have almost a cult type following (no offense). The guys that love the 8274 wouldn't have anything else. It would most likely be discontinued by now except for this. In my opinion the XD or the M are better choices. Between the XD8000i and the M8000, the XD has 20' more cable and the soleniods are integrated into the housing for a slightly more reliable design. The M is still a good winch, and a little(not much) cheaper. In my opinion the XD8000i is the better choice in the 8000 lb range. You can pay a LOT more($350 more) for the 8274 for not much gain in my opinion, or you can save very little($25 less) and get the M8000. For the small price difference between the XD and the M, I believe the added features of the XD8000i are worth it.
In the 9000-9500 lb category warn has 4 winches. There are the 9000 lb XD9000 and the XD9000i and the 9500 lb HS9500 and HS9500i. The i models have the integrated solenoid design and have 25' more cable (125' vs 100'), again I feel the added features are worth the very small difference in price between the "i" models and the standard models. The HS9500 models are obviously rated for an additional 500 lbs, but the biggest difference is in speed and amp draw. The no load - 2000 lb load speed of the HS model is quite a bit faster, after that the speed is pretty much comparable. The amp draw of the HS models however is lower across all load ranges. The HS models are a bit more expensive, but I feel they are the better winch. The price difference between the standard model XD9000 and the "top of the line" HS9500i is only around $75. So for that $75 you get 500 lbs more pull, lower amp draw, 25' more cable, and the integrated solenoid design.
For all the reasons above, I have decided to stock only the HS9500i. I can get any of Warn's winches, but the demand for them given the difference in price makes me hesitant to stock them.
September 11, 2001- We will not forget! We will not forgive!