Whether you’re heading out for a hunting trip, setting up camp or just going about your day-to-day, having a dependable knife on your belt will ensure you can tackle whatever life throws at you!
Especially if it’s going to be an everyday carry, having a great foldable also makes life that little bit easier and luckily there are many great foldable knives on the market.
Today, we’re looking at two of the best in the RAT-1 and the RAT-2. Both knives come from Ontario, a well respected and trusted American knife brand.
Haven’t got time for a full review? Here’s the short version:
- If you have larger hands and therefore prefer a slightly larger knife, go for the RAT-1.
- If you have average sized hands, the smaller profile of the RAT-2 will likely make it the better folding knife for you!
Now, let’s get started with the full review.
Ontario RAT-1 vs RAT-2 – Key Comparisons
On the face of it these two knives are very similar. Both have many fans worldwide with those fans advocating for one over the other. But when it comes down to it, there’s only really one key difference between them both, and that’s the size!
At its maximum overall length of 8.5″, the RAT-1 is a foldable knife that rivals, and in fact beats, many of its fixed blade competitors. It’s 3.5″ long and 0.12″ thick blade is perfect for fine cutting, with it’s construction of AUS8 steel perfectly capable at this price point.
Reviewers say the 5″ Nylon 6 handle feels great to use and is especially good for those with larger hands. At an overall weight of 4.8oz, it’s also fairly light so will not bring fatigue after a long day of use.
It also incorporates handy features such as a thumb stud for one handed opening and can be purchased in a number of different colours aside from the standard black satin fninish.
In many ways you can view the RAT-2 as the little brother of the RAT-1, with it being fundamentally the same knife, but just a little bit smaller.
The overall length drops down to 7″ and the weight down to an even smaller 2.75oz. At this size and weight, it opens itself up nicely to those who firstly have smaller hands, but also to those who want a knife that’s in no way a burden to carry or use.
The balde itself utilises the same AUS8 steel, is half an inch shorter at 3″ and even thinner than the RAT-1 at 0.095″. It has the same Nylon 6 handle with a satin finish, this time at a size of just 4.1″.
Key Comparison – Verdict
Both the RAT-1 and RAT-2 are great foldable knives and offer high quality performance in a relatively small package.
The real difference between the two is purely going to come down to size, especially given the fact the rest of the specs are pretty much identical. If you have larger hands, or just prefer larger knives, the added size of the RAT-1 will be perfect for you. If you’re the opposite, the 1.5″ reduction overall in the RAT-2 will fit your ideal knife profile much better.
That’s the high level, but let’s break each knife down in a bit more detail!
Side-By-Side Specs – RAT-1 vs RAT-2
|Ontario Knife Company 8848 Rat I Folding Knife||Ontario Knife OKC Rat Ii Sp-Black Folding Knife|
|Closed Length (“)||4.5||4.1|
|Overall Length (“)||8.5||7|
|Blade Thickness (“)||0.120||0.095|
|Best For||Gret all rounder, slightly larger size||Great all rounder, best for smaller hands|
|Manufactured||Made in the Taiwan||Made in the Taiwan|
The RAT-1 is known for being one of the best foldable knives for the money at this price point. It’s a true classic and is a foundation piece in the long line of models in the RAT range.
At an overall length of 8.5″, it’s a fairly large folder capable of taking on practically any task that’s thrown at it. Of that 8.5 inches, 3.5″ is dedicated to an AUS8 blade which at a thickness of just 0.12″ is great for fine slicing and chopping.
The overall size of the knife, means the knife also incorporates a large handle, which those with big hands will appreciate. At 5″ long and made of satin finished Nylon 6, the RAT-1’s handle feels great too, especially over long periods.
These knives don’t come complete with a sheath given their folding mechanism and whilst they are made in Taiwan rather than the US, they have really top notch build quality to ensure you’re cutting for longer!
Finally the price – At just over $30, the RAT-1 represents fantastic value. A top quality foldable knife from a well respected brand at a bargain price – what’s not to like?
The RAT-1 is one of the most popular knives for a reason! If you’re looking for a large foldable with a great blade and a handle that’s perfect for larger hands, the RAT-1 might just be the knife for you.
The RAT-2 and the RAT-1 are incredibly similar. In fact, they’re practically identical. Many view the RAT-2 as the ‘little brother’ of the RAT-1 given the similarities in all round specification apart from the size.
The RAT-2’s overall length of just 7″ makes it better for those who prefer something smaller. The key difference in size will mainly be found in the handle, where a reduction to 4.1″ makes the knife perfect for those with smaller hands.
Combine this with a weight reduction down to 2.75oz and a AUS8 blade thickness of just 0.095″ and you get a knife that’s not only effortless in the hand, but has the dexterity and accuracy for the more precision tasks.
Like the RAT-1, this knife is also made in Taiwan and doesn’t come with a sheath out of the box. Price wise, the RAT-2 comes in just slightly more expensive than the RAT-1 at $35, which is still a bargain price for a knife of this quality!
So if you like the look of the RAT-1 but think the overall length or the handle will be just too big for you, the smaller and lighter RAT-2 will be the perfect foldable knife for you!
Still Can’t Decide? Here’s an Alternative – Spyderco Tenacious Folding Knife
If you’re stuck between the RAT-1 and RAT-2, here’s a completely different alternative. Spyderco specialise in foldable knives and it’s the original knife from their leading range, the Tenacious, we’re looking at now.
At an overall length of 7.7″ it comes in directly in between the two RAT models offering a good size without being just that bit too long. The blade also comes in dead in the middle at 3.3″ with the thickness a little bigger at 0.12″.
Spyderco are known for their innovation. A great example of this is the nifty ‘Spydiehole’ found on the blade itself, making it super easy to open the knife with one hand. The handle also comprises of some high quality G10, a premium material not often seen in foldable knives at this price point.
If you’re looking for something a little more premium, the Tenacious from Spyderco could be the knife for you. But that extra spec does comes at an extra cost, with this knife retailing around the $45 mark. That’s still an absolute bargain though, especially for a knife of this quality!
Summary – RAT-1 vs RAT-2
Both the RAT-1 and RAT-2 are iconic knives when it comes to foldables, with both of them being two of the most popular Ontario knives on the market.
When it comes to chosing between them, it’s really going to come down to size and weight given that the rest of the specs, namely blade steel and handle material, are the same.
If you like a knife that feels big in the hand and gives you slightly larger blade real estate, the RAT-1 will be the knife for you. If instead you think 8.5″ overall is just too much, the smaller and lighter RAT-2 will fit your hand much better and be the perfect companion for you day-to-day.
We’ll finish up with a quote from a knife fan on a popular forum when asked to coompare the RAT-1 and RAT-2:
“The RAT-2 fits perfectly in my hand and is a great EDC. The RAT-1 is just too big for my taste. But, some of my buddies at the yard find it fits them better. Really, it comes down to hand size.”