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Ontario vs. Essee

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by sell33, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. sell33


    Jan 15, 2012
    Well, I'm new here and have been looking over tons of information. I ordered a RAT 3, but haven't received it yet. Now my curiosity has been sparked. Are the Esee knives really that much better than the Ontarios? It seems they basically have identical specs for the similar models. Also I believe they are both 1095.

    So, I guess I am wondering, is Esee really worth the extra dough, or am I just as well of with the Ontarios? Well one Ontario for now, but I am sure I will be ordering another Rat/Esee or two in the future.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  2. MassMatt


    Apr 2, 2006
    You are new so you couldn't be expected to know, but there was a HUGE firestorm about 2 years back, involving who has the rights to use the RAT name and designs between the 2 companies.

    Ontario is continuing to make the knives w/ the original designs, there is much debate about whether 1) it is ethical for them to do so, and 2) whether they are making w/ the same materials and attention to detail (heat treat etc) as ESEE does.

    One big thing about ESEE is their warranty, they stand behind their products to a degree that you don't see too often, I don't think the warranty is the same w/ Ontario.

    As far as reputation in the industry goes you will find much respect for ESEE, whether all this means you are willing to pay however much more for their knife than Ontario's is another matter.

    I own 1 ESEE, the Izula, and it's awesome, I own no no Ontarios so I can't compare quality firsthand.
  3. EK20


    Jul 19, 2010
    The RAT-3 has a half an inch smaller handle then the RC/ESEE-3, and the ESEE has arguably better fit and finish.
  4. sell33


    Jan 15, 2012
    Gotcha. I kinda read on the whole split between the two companies, but know no details. Warranties can definitely be worth a little extra cash, I will definitely keep that in mind before I order anymore knives. of course I will wait and see how i like my RAT 3 first.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  5. TwinStick


    Jan 21, 2011
    ESSE is the better of the 2, to be sure. That being said, what makes a knife stand out from others is the attention to the details. Details like fit & finish, ergonomics, sheath, heat treats, edge of the steel (not just the cutting edge either). I have many Ontario Spec-Plus series knives. LOVE em. But i certainly would not expect a new one if i broke it batoning ( i have batoned MANY times with them with no issues), or be as mad if it failed vs an expensive one. You pay for the details because the details are what makes it stand out from all the others. Just my humble opinion.
  6. sell33


    Jan 15, 2012
    Valid point. Sounds to me like comparing a Savage rifle to say a Sako. Both will shoot the lights out, and function great, but one isn't quite as pretty as the other. Although there is something to be said for a lifetime warranty that is actually backed up by a company.

    Thanks for the replies. I will judge myself if my RAT 3 ever arrives! Actually its only been like a week I am just very impatient haha..hopefully tomorrow!
  7. EK20


    Jul 19, 2010
    It's been a week and it still hasn't arrived? Where did you buy it from to take so long to get to you? :D
  8. Flexxx

    Flexxx Banned BANNED

    Dec 11, 2010
    Hands down ESEE.

    better heat treatment, better warranty and the owners are awesome....

    This thread needs pics






  9. sell33


    Jan 15, 2012
    Damnit. I haven't even got my RAT and you guys are making me want to order an Esee terribly. I have to at least resist the temptation until I get to use my RAT a little.

    Then the next debate will be, another Ontario, an Esee, or a Becker....decisions decisions. Someone had ratmandos for sale on here the other day too.

    Or of course any one of the beautiful custom knives for sale here everyday. I could literally look for hours. Its terrible. There are just too many choices in the knife world. And I thought guns were bad.
  10. Reasoned1


    Oct 11, 2011
    I've purchased three ESEE 3s, three ESEE 4s, three ESEE 6s, two Izula 2s, and an ESEE 5. I made the mistake of spending three quarters as much on two Ontario RAT-3s instead of sticking with ESEE (I gave one away). Don't get me wrong, Ontario makes a good knife but ESEE makes a GREAT knife. I do have a couple OKC-3s' that are terrific but, again, fit and finish is sub-ESEE.
  11. RockFuzz


    Jan 20, 2012
    My buddy and I go back and forth on which is better. He is an Esee guy. I am a fence sitter. I got a RAT3 about 4 months ago and have beat the heck out of it. I personally love th knife. Even my buddy was impressed when he held it. Again though, ESEE3 has the better finish and th handle is an inch longer. For the dinero though, the RAT3 is a great buy. Got mine for 60 bucks. If you going to get a RAT5 or ESEE5, I wouldn't get either. Instead, spend 138 bucks on a Swamp Rat Ratmandu. You can customize it, it has a better finish than ESEE and ONT RAT and it is stronger with SR101 steel. Hope that helps...
  12. Sulaco

    Sulaco Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 15, 2003
    If you've just "discovered" these sorts of knives, don't let the Internet determine what you think you need. Your Ontario knife will serve you well for as long as you want to use it. When you've decided it's time to move on, find a use for it, give it to a friend, shove it in the trunk of your car, whatever, and then remember what we told you and don't buy Ontario the next time, buy ESEE. ;)
  13. Mike-The-Knife


    Dec 6, 2011
    The only Ontario knife I have is a TAK-1 in D2 . It's an older knife from the days that Ontario and Randels Adventure & Training where working together . It's a good kinfe and what I really like is the handle . It happens to be just the right size for my hands . That said I do believe that ESEE has the better warrantee and finish . Because of ESEE's higher price though , you can get some "made to take abuse" Busse kin knives by Scrap Yard for the same price as the ESEE .

  14. PropThePolecat


    Jan 31, 2009

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