Kershaw Knives is one of the best known knife manufacturers around the world. The company began in 1974 and has since been known for their quality knives and innovation. They produce a wide variety of knives – from tactical knives to everyday kitchen knives. One of my first pocket knives was a Kershaw and I am proud to say that it remains one of my favorites to this day! That is why I was so excited to receive the Kershaw Cryo for review. It certainly looks the part, but let’s find out if it meets the high standards I have come to expect from this company.
Important Specifications and Features
Overall length: 6.5 inches (16.5 cm)
Closed length: 3.75 inches (9.5 cm)
Blade length: 2.75 inches (7 cm)
Blade material: 8Cr13MoV stainless steel
Weight: 4.2 ounces (119 g)
Approximate Price: Under $40
My Impressions and Review
The Kershaw Cryo took out Blade Magazine’s Best Buy of the Year award in 2012 so I was super excited to put this knife through its paces. However, I started reading more reviews while I was waiting for it to arrive and noticed quite a few negative reviews from users. This left me puzzled and I just had to test it out for myself.
The Cryo is designed to be an all purpose EDC knife and at about $40 it is really targeting the low end of the market. Although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing I have had some bad experiences with “cheap” knives in the past. The Cryo looks like a much more expensive knife, but it doesn’t take long to start to spot some of the short cuts that allow this knife to be priced in the lower end of the market. Firstly, the 8Cr13MoV steel used in the blade is a Chinese all round budget steel. The blade holds a decent edge, but is a little soft for my taste. This does make sharpening easier, but you will need to resharpen this knife more often as well. This knife does suffer from some blade play, but it isn’t enough to make it a deal breaker. All of that being said, this blade is very decent when you take the price tag into consideration!
The design of this knife is what most people will be attracted to. The size makes it a great EDC knife and it will be suitable for many general applications. The weight of this knife was surprisingly heavy for the size, but you must remember that it is made entirely out of stainless steel. Another nice design feature is that the Cryo has an open design to allow water to flow through the body. This makes cleaning the knife a breeze.
The spring assisted deployment mechanism is fantastic for a knife in this price point. The blade opens fast and without resistance. For some reason Kershaw have included thumb studs and a flipper arm, but most will choose the flipper arm because it works so well. The blade locks into place with a framelock mechanism and it does feel very secure indeed.
The handle is solid and is constructed of titanium coated stainless steel. It gives the knife a great look, but it isn’t quite as nice to use. I happen to be a sweaty individual and I found that the knife didn’t quite feel right when my hands were wet. I am going to try and use this knife in the rain to see how it feels (I’ll keep you updated). The handle is easy to grip, despite being a small knife, and I would imagine that only those with the largest of hands will have any negative issues. I may have some personal complaints, but you cannot argue that this is one of the sturdiest handles in the low end of the market. The pocket clip can be mounted on either side and this is a nice feature for a budget knife.
There is no escaping that this knife is affordable at just under $40. Unfortunately, the knife suffers from the efforts to reduce the cost, but it would still make a perfect first pocket knife, budget EDC knife or spare knife. If you are on a budget this is one knife that should be on your short list.
Conclusion and Rating
The Good: Affordable, small, great looking design, good construction (for the price), good size for EDC.
The Bad: “budget” blade, weight, blade play, stainless handle.
Wrap up: A very decent “budget” knife with a few deficiencies. It deserves a close look if you have a tight budget, but if you have a little more to spend there are better options.
Update: Kershaw are planning on releasing an updated model of the Cryo (called the Cryo II). I am looking forward to reviewing this model and finding out if they can improve on the original.