The Kershaw Cryo is an inexpensive ($36), assist-opening EDC knife designed by a renowned knife maker.
When the original Cryo was first shown at the SHOT show in 2012, it was a huge deal. At the time Rick Hinderer was a blistering hot knife maker, his XM-18 selling for three or four times its retail price. He had just released a pair of uber expensive collabs under KAI USA’s ZT label, but if you wanted a knife he designed for under $300 you were out of luck.
When the Cryo debuted everyone could finally afford a Hinderer-designed blade, and the knife was awarded as the show’s “Best Buy Of the Year.”
Unfortunately, the original release with its slick steel handles was a heavy boat anchor of a knife, even though it had a sub three-inch blade. The flipping action was only okay and powered by an assist. It was, according to KAI, the brand’s best seller of the year and one of the best selling knives they had ever made, but this speaks more to its placement in Walmart and other Big Box stores than it does to the knife’s quality.
The next year Kershaw released the G10 version of the Cryo. It was significantly lighter, with a stonewashed blade, and thanks to texturing on the G10, it was actually quite grippy.
The G10 version is the knife everyone thought we were getting when the Cryo debuted, and it’s a great EDC knife.
The G10 Cryo delivers on its promise as a budget Hinderer design and, is, in fact, my second favorite Hinderer design ever, following closely behind the three inch XM-18.
Kershaw’s Capable EDC Knife
It’s easy to see why the Cryo was so hyped in the first place — it had a great stout blade, a nice compact size, but was sturdy enough to handle anything you could throw at it in an EDC role. The excellent over the top pocket clip also made it a very capable everyday carry knife.
The blade steel, 8Cr13MoV, is not the best in the world, and I detest assist-opening (to each their own). But aside from those two factors, the Cryo hits a Goldilocks point in terms of design — beefy enough to take a thumping but thin enough to actually slice things. Hitting this sweet spot, the G10 Cryo is a fundamentally excellent design and a marked improvement over the original all stainless steel Cryo.
It should be at the top of the list of affordable EDC knife choices.
- Price: $36.95
- Steel: 8Cr13MoV
- Blade Length: 2 3/4 inches
- Overall Length: 6.5 inches
- Weight: 3.7 ounces