Kershaw CRYO Folding Pocket Knife Review
“Pure Mechanical Efficiency”
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The Kershaw CRYO is a machine… Cold. Unfeeling. Efficient. This knife is mechanical in every sense of the word, and it’s probably the closest thing I have seen to being the Terminator of folding knives.
Being so minimalistic in nature, compact in size and brutally efficient as can be, this modernized folder has become one of my personal favorite tactical pocket knives.
The CRYO is a small but powerful tactical style EDC folder. It sports an all steel construction and an 8Cr13Mov blade. Overall, this knife is affordable, capable and efficient. It’s a very solid knife for a competitive price.
WHO IT’S FOR?
If you’re looking for a small, solid assisted-opening EDC knife that maxes out on performance for its low price point, as well as a knife that can potentially serve as a tool of self-defense, this knife is definitely worth looking at.
It’s also for the knife heads that prefer a no-frills, straight shooter type of knife. There’s nothing “extra” about this barebones folder, and I think that’s one of the things that makes it so brilliant…
That being said, barebones isn’t for everyone. If you’re looking for complexity, style and personality, this is definitely not gonna be the knife for you. If, however, you like your knives to efficiently serve a strictly utilitarian purpose, keep reading.
Hands down, this knife is one of my favorite EDC’s to carry on a daily basis. It’s one of my most highly recommended choices- either for anyone looking to get into knives, or even for seasoned knife heads alike.
All things considered, this knife isn’t perfect, and I doubt I’ll ever find one that is, BUT… the Cryo is inexpensive, minimalistic, ergonomically efficient, powerful and well constructed.
In terms of bang for your buck, this knife is at the absolute top of its game.
The entire knife is covered in a titanium carbo-nitride coating that gives it a matte gunmetal grey color. Personally, I dig the monochromatic paint job. I think it’s an accurate representation of this knife’s simple nature.
Like I said, this blade looks like a machine. It’s dead simple. So if you’re looking for a flashy knife, this probably isn’t for you.
The knife is 6.5″ long overall with a handle length of 3.75″ and a blade length of 2.75″. It is small and portable, but don’t let its size fool you- he’s a heavy little guy.
At 4.1 ounces, this knife is anything but featherweight. Its all-steel construction makes it feel quite dense in your hand. While some may see this as negative, I personally like it.
It makes you actually feel like you’re wielding something with some punch in it. I am aware, however, that this will be a turnoff for some knife people out there. Heavy knives aren’t for everyone.
Blade Length: 2.75 in. (7 cm)
Blade Edge: Plain
Blade Steel: 8Cr13MoV
Locking Mechanism: Frame lock
Deployment Method: Flipper and Thumbstud
Closed Length: 3.75 in. (9.5 cm)
Overall Length: 6.5 in. (16.5 cm)
Weight: 4.1 oz (116.2 g)
Handle: 410 Stainless Steel
The Kershaw Cryo has a drop point blade with a high hollow grind. If you couldn’t already tell, it has that famous Hinderer blade shape.
There’s plenty of “belly” to increase slicing ability when performing EDC tasks. It even has a strong thick tip that makes is practical as a tactical EDC.
Another tactical characteristic of the blade is that long swedge up the spine of the blade. As I’m sure you know, swedges allow the blade to penetrate more effectively.
The blade is made of 8Cr13Mov steel, which is a decent budget steel.
For the overall value 8Cr provides, it is very cost-effective steel. In terms of performance, it is extremely comparable to AUS-8.
Both steels lack the edge retention of more premium steels, but can take an edge very quickly and easily. When it comes to budget EDC knives, 8Cr13Mov is very hard to beat.
The overall handle construction is solid- literally. It’s an all-steel handle. The nice thing about stainless steel knife handles is that they’re extremely impervious to corrosion and impacts.
At the end of the day, stainless steel is kind of like leather- it’s super durable and will likely last for a long time.
On the negative side, stainless steel can be slippery because it’s so sleek. This isn’t the kind of knife you want to use in wet conditions. Ya feel me?
Another potential downfall with this kind of handle is that it can become especially cold in winter. If you’re using this knife in Canada in February, your hands are gonna suffer. It’s just one of the few drawbacks of steel handles.
As I said previously, the thing I love about this design is how stupidly simple and bare-boned it is. All the details are clear as day and nothing is hidden from plain sight.
The handle has a flow-through construction with 3 small standoffs. The open-back construction prevents dirt and lint from building up inside the handle, so it doesn’t have to cleaned nearly as much.
It’s a minor detail, but one of the standoffs is the lanyard hole. I always think that’s just a cool little detail. Good job, Kershaw.
I’m a fan of the pocket clip on this knife. It’s slightly on the tighter side, but not enough to make it difficult to slide on or off of your pocket.
A lot of people will be happy to know the pocket clip is a quad carry. It can be carried right handed, left handed, tip up or tip down. That’s always a nice feature.
I can’t over-convey how irritating it is when knife you love has only a single position clip that isn’t YOUR preferred position.
The Kershaw Cryo uses Kershaw’s speedsafe assisted opening system, and the speed is impressive. I have plenty of knives that use Kershaw’s speedsafe system, and I can honestly say I’ve never been disappointed with it.
I would definitely describe the action of this knife as fast, but it’s not lightning fast like some of the more expensive spring assists. It is, however, a very solid and smooth deployment that opens with authority.
It’s snappy enough to give your hand a little recoil jolt when it opens, and that’s something I personally LOVE and definitely look for in my spring assisted knives.
The Cryo has two deployment mechanisms- the dual thumbstuds and the flipper.
In truth, the thumbstuds on this knife are completely worthless. I don’t even bother with them… Not only are they hard to open with, but you risk cutting your thumb as well.
They look good, but other than that, I would recommend you stay the hell away from them!!
The way this knife should be opened is using the flipper… Unlike those good for nothing thumbstuds which offer no real value or serve any practical purpose, the flipper is an excellent deployment mechanism.
The flipper makes the blade shoot open with vigor, and the speed at which it deploys makes this knife worthy of serving a tactical purpose (at least in my book).
The locking mechanism on this knife is a simple yet effective framelock.
It’s a solid lock that holds the blade in place with no play in any direction. That’s impressive considering the low price point of this knife.
Some much much more expensive knives have blades that wiggle, and this one puts those to shame.
The lockup is at about 60%, which is a little late for my taste. I prefer my lockups to be in the 30-40% lockup range, but it’s not a huge deal.
The lock is moderately easy to disengage. There is the slightest amount of resistance when moving the lockbar over with your thumb, but it isn’t much.
It’s not as easy as I would like, but by no means is it laborious either. One of my biggest peeves is when a lockbar is so hard to move over that it hurts your thumb. Luckily this knife is not like that.
For light-medium everyday tasks, the ergonomics of this knife are perfectly sufficient. Under heavier use however, some hotspots do start to appear.
When carving wood, the jimping on top of the handle dug into my thumb a little. Granted, I used this knife for 30 minutes straight, but still, this knife isn’t as comfortable under heavy cutting as you would like it do be.
I can’t say this is a knife I’d use for heavy cutting tasks for any prolonged period of time.
It is comfortable for a while, but over-use of this knife is gonna start to bug your hand. Fortunately, it’s a small tactical EDC and not a heavy duty carving knife anyway. Like I said, for standard EDC tasks, the ergos are perfectly fine.
I’ve carried the Kershaw Cryo in my EDC rotation for a long time, and I can confidently say it’s a very solid performer for its price point.
I’ve used the Cryo for everything from carving and whittling wood to cutting cardboard and slicing paper. What conclusion have I come to…?
This is not an exceptional, awe-inspiring performer like some of my really expensive folders, but it definitely isn’t a joke either.
It will easily handle any EDC tasks you throw at it, and it will also competently handle cutting things like rope, nylon, paracord and rubber. All things considered, the 8Cr13Mov blade steel is a winner for its price.
Four-Position Pocket Clip
Strong and Sturdy All-Steel Construction
Snappy Speedsafe Flipper Deployment
Extremely Cost Effective
LEAST FAVORITE FEATURES
Thumbstuds on this knife are worthless, stick to using flipper
Heavy at 4.1 oz.
Everything considered, this thing is pretty much a beast of a knife. It has a surprising amount of impressive features that are hard to find in pocket knives of its price bracket.
While it’s not the perfect knife, its bold and unique design does make it a great addition to the Kershaw family.
It’s fast, brutally efficient, simple and compact. It’s a minimalistic EDC that gives back much more in practicality than its worth in money.
Like I said in the beginning, the Kershaw Cryo is a freaking machine…
Whether you want a small tactical knife that can serve to protect you in a serious situation, or just a handy and reliable EDC folder that’s good with utility tasks, this knife definitely won’t disappoint.
It’s certainly no wonder that it has sold thousands and thousands and been so popular within the knife world.
Ultimately, I would recommend the Cryo for everyday carry due to its well-balanced features, good performance and reliability. However, if you’re looking for a knife with a longer blade and a lighter weight, you might be barking up the wrong tree.
On the other hand, if you’ve been searching for that gentleman’s knife that’s tough enough to be used on the job-site yet compact and discreet enough to wear in a pair or khakis, the Cryo could be exactly what you’re looking for.
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