I have always carried a pocketknife on me and I always will. You just never know when the situation will call for this handy little tool. Heck, I have even been known to carry a pocketknife while wearing my pajamas.
I have owned several blades by Kershaw blades over the years and I have been happy with all of them. I have never been disappointed with Kershaw’s quality, cool and unique designs, and of course their affordable price points.
However, one blade I had not tried was the Kershaw Cryo. Since it was named as 2012’s Best Buy of the year by Blade Magazine, I thought I would finally give it a try, even if it has been eight years. So let’s see if what the Cryo has to offer and if it is right for you.
Kershaw Cryo Specifications and Features
The drop point, plain edge knife is made from 8Cr13MoV steel, which is affordable steel that holds an edge well.
Note: 8Cr13MoV steel is not pure stainless steel (but it’s close). It’s a quality alternative that is ideal for outdoor knives.
The blade is 2.75 inches long and 0.118 inches thick.
The overall closed length of the knife is 3.75 inches and 6.5 inches when open.
The blade has a titanium Carbo-Nitride coating that increases blade hardness and a sharp cutting edge. This coating also provides the blade material with an overall layer of protection.
This knife has a stainless steel handle with a titanium carbo-nitride coating, and is 0.393 inches thick.
The Cryo weighs in at just 4.1 oz.
A fast one-handed flipper style opening along the spine of the handle provides fast deployment of the blade.
The locking system, two metal plates on both sides butt up against the blade, preventing premature closure.
An ambidextrous thumb stud on the back portion of the blade allows right or left-handed users to easily use this knife, and aids in assisted opening.
Versatile pocket clip allows for multiple carry options, a tip-up or tip-down carry position.
Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife – Hands On Experience
What I Like
Upon taking this knife out of the box I was surprised by how “industrial” it looked.
It has a gray, smooth matte finish with no grip marks to speak off. It kind of has the appearance that it was all stamped out of one piece of metal, which I oddly like.
The piece of metal sticking out of the handle spine has a nice steep angle to it, allowing an index finger to firmly press down to flip the blade open.
The pocket clip is extremely tight. Almost too tight, but I’m sure with use it will loosen up a bit. I am very confident that this knife will not be falling out of any pockets anytime soon, unlike some pocketknives and other blades.
Once the flipper has been engaged, the knife quickly snaps open with a satisfying “click” sound that indicates it is locked into place by the frame lock.
By pressing a part of the handle to the side, the blade becomes unlocked and closes. All of this is very easy to accomplish one-handed. The frame lock is very secure and thus far it has not failed me once.
Sharp FROM THE GET-GO
Right out of the box the Kershaw Cryo had a razor sharp edge. Sharp enough to dry shave an area of arm hairs away (I do not recommend this way to test sharpness).
For the people who like seeing this test, I did conduct the paper test. Here is a picture of the thin slices that were produced by sliding the knife through a piece of paper.
While this Kershaw knife has great edge retention, eventually every cutting edge needs a little attention.
I have had this knife for over a year now, and I have only had to use a sharpening stone once – but this is because I went a few months without doing anything it to it.
Generally, I use a diamond sharpening rod every so often to keep the cutting edge in shape. This method is easy with this knife steel and gives great results.
There are a few grooves on the back of the handle that extend out onto the spine of the blade that provides a comfortable resting position for your thumb.
These are also repeated on the underside of the handle just behind the finger guard. Both of these provide a bit of grip when I use the knife.
When the blade is open, the piece that was used to flip the knife open rotates around to become a small finger guard.
This helps to prevent your hand from slipping forward towards the blade when in use.
I also like the open style of the handle. When the blade is open, you will notice that you can see all of the way through the handle. This makes it lighter and easier to clean.
The last thing that I like is the small lanyard hole at the end of the handle. Using a lanyard is a great way of keeping tools close at hand and ensuring they do not become lost.
What I Don’t Like
When I first started using the flipper system for opening the knife, it was very tight and somewhat hard to press down with just my index finger.
But after opening and shutting it repeatedly, it got easier. I am not sure if this is because the mechanism loosened up slightly or I became more comfortable in its operation.
This knife is sleek and smooth which is pleasing to the eye, but there is minimal texture in which to provide any grip.
The only other thing that I do not care for is the length of the handle. It is shorter than I initially thought. When I place the knife into my hand, the end of the handle ends up sitting almost in the middle of my palm.
This leaves about an inch of space between the end of the handle and my hand. But this is a personal issue and will be a different experience depending on the user.
Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife Pros and Cons
- Great value, great quality
- One-handed opening
- Assisted opening
- Ambidextrous thumb studs
- Great edge retention, quality blade steel
- All around tight lock up
- Firm pocket clip
- Lanyard hole
- Easy to sharpen and clean, no fuss maintenance
- Very sleek and compact
- A sturdy knife
- Don’t have to worry about rust spots due to the titanium carbo nitride coating
- The handle is a bit short, but that is a personal issue
How do you change the position of the pocket clip on this knife?
Changing the location of the pocket clip is very easy. You will need a very small hex wrench to remove the two screws that secure the clip to the knife. Once they are out, you can move the clip to one of the other three positions on the handle, replace the screws.
Is the pocket clip durable?
I have come across some accounts saying their pocket clip broke within a short time. I have had this Kershaw knife for a few years now, use it daily, and the pocket clip is just as sturdy as the day I bought it. I have zero tolerance for low-quality clips on pocket knives.
The cases I have heard of it breaking, may have been a few bad ones that slipped through quality control. If you run into any problems with your knife that arise from normal use, I would encourage you to contact the manufacturer.
Can the thumb stud be removed?
Honestly, I do not know if the thumb studs on the Cryo can be removed because I have never attempted it. However, removing them would not allow you to open the knife one handed.
Where is the Cryo made?
The cryo is made in China.
Who designed this knife?
This model was designed by custom knifemaker Rick Hinderer, as can be seen by the stamp on the blade.
Verdict and Summary
I hope you found this Kershaw Cryo review helpful. In my opinion, this pocket knife is a winner!
I carry this knife as a part of my everyday carry and have done so for over a year now. It’s a nice knife that I have favored over other knives due to its reliability and durability.
The fact that it is an assisted opening knife is a big reason it has remained one of my everyday carry items. EDC knives are very important to me, so I would never recommend a poor EDC knife to you; I have zero tolerance towards poor quality blades.
This Kershaw folding knife deploys quickly and is just as quick to put away.
While I like the blade length, I didn’t initially care for the length of the handle. It has grown on me, and it hasn’t been as much of an issue as I had thought it would be.
It is affordable, easy to open, easy to close, sharp, sharp-looking, and comfortable when transferring between different types of handholds.
If you are looking for another pocketknife that would be great for everyday carry (EDC), work, carrying in a pack, in the glove box, on or off the trail, and won’t break the bank…I recommend this cool little knife by Kershaw.
Thanks for reading, and stay sharp!