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October 21, 2021

Professional Tool Reviews for Pros


Kershaw Cryo II Knife Review – Small, More Compact

Kershaw Cryo II knife
PTR Review
  • Pro Review 9.0

For a knife that started with a solid design and has only gotten better, Kershaw's Cryo II was a pleasure to carry around and review. Add to that it's excellent design and the small but seemingly personalized features, and you've got a killer combination. The price is also perfect, and it’s comfortable, fast, safe and excellent for everyday use. For what you get, it's hard to believe anybody could pass this one up.

Overall Score 9.0 (out of 10)

The story of this knife actually gets its start in 2012 when the original Kershaw Cryo won the Blade Show best buy of the year based on its price to quality ratio. The Cryo took the stage with its brilliant design and wallet-friendly cost ($25 online), but the knife community had one more request—the same Cryo design, with more size. Well, the Kershaw Cryo II Knife answers this request in spectacular fashion by introducing a younger and larger knife. It’s a very different knife from the Kershaw Dimension, but we love its simplistic styling and monotone color.


Kershaw Cryo II Knife Features

On my first take, I can see that the Kershaw Cryo II knife added size to the blade and overall length. The Cryo II added 5/8 inches to the blade, bringing it to a respectable 3-3/8 inches. They also added an inch and a quarter to the overall length of the blade, so it’s now 7-3/4 inches long. The result is a blade that is more practical and a knife that fills the hand, making this a much more comfortable knife (in my opinion) than the original.

Kershaw Cryo II Knife

So what makes the Kershaw Cryo II such a great knife? First, the Rick Hinderer design in both the original Cryo design and this model is cutting edge in terms of speed and build. Rick Hinderer, a former firefighter, and EMT, has a knack for practical EDCs due to his field experience and need for no-nonsense knives.

Speedsafe Flipper

Ever since Kershaw developed the flipper and Speedsafe technology, their knives have been a force to be reckoned with in the market. The flipper unleashes 3-3/8 inches of 8Cr13MoV cold, hard steel. The Speedsafe technology, which is the patented assisted opening system built into the knife, assures you that the blade will lock into place each time it is activated. I have never had any issues with Speedsafe. It is reliable and ahead of much of the competition in terms of blade-assisted folding knives. These features alone make this knife quick and easy to use.

Kershaw designed this blade so that you can open it using the dual thumb studs, but I don’t find this to be practical, so my recommendation is to stick with the flipper. Aside from how the knife opens, the Hinderer design also converts the flipper into a finger choil, which I always find useful. A good finger choil will give you the confidence you need to make any cut without the fear of sliding your hand across the blade.


Kershaw Cryo II Knife flipper

A Unique Frame

I also want to mention the structure of the Kershaw Cryo II knife, mostly because it’s so unique—and stunning. The frame is solid all the way around. When you grasp the knife, it feels like you are holding a single piece of steel in your hand. There is nothing cheap or weak about it. The handles are stainless steel coated with matte gray titanium carbo-nitride. Now, you might be asking yourself, “Why put such a high-performance material on a knife?” In my testing, I found that this coating functions as a shield against all sorts of scrapes, scratches, knocks, and dings. If you carry your knife with some frequency, you’re bound to drop it. One of the smaller but more impressive features of the Cryo II was that I banged it and dropped it repeatedly, but held its own against any major scratches.

IMG_8382

Comfortable in Hand

For all the talk of durability, the structure of this knife isn’t just strong, it is comfortable. The Kershaw Cryo II knife is thin, wasting no space between the blade and the handles. This is a key feature because the close fit means that the knife can retain a truly narrow profile. Plus, even though the handles are as strong as a tank, they are comfortable in the hand. Of course, all of the edges on the Cryo II are rounded and smooth, and that’s something that doesn’t negatively affect how it feels in your palm, either. I can’t tell you how important this is. Anyone who has done serious work with a knife can testify that they can have “hot spots” or places on the knife that dig in and cause uncomfortable pain.

In all my testing, I didn’t encounter a single one of these “hot spots” on the Cryo II. That deserves a shout-out to Rick Hinderer and his team of designers. This is not a minor blip on the radar screen; this is proof that the engineers at Kershaw put a lot of thought into the design of this knife.

Deep Carrying the Kershaw Cryo II Knife

Perhaps one of my favorite features on the Kershaw Cryo II knife is the pocket clip. You can see that the Kershaw Cryo II has a rather short clip. This serves two very beneficial purposes. First, it makes it simple to use—you don’t get hung up on anything. The second thing is that it doesn’t inhibit comfort. Because the Cryo II has a short clip, it doesn’t irritate the fingers but sits comfortably on the meaty part of the hand (when carrying right-handed). In your left hand, it’s just as good, and your index finger rests perfectly on the dip of the pocket clip. The design just works, and it makes sense as a great EDC (every day carry) feature.

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Is There Anything NOT to Like About This Knife?

Now that I’ve gone over the details of the knife and the features that jumped out to me, what are the cons? In my meticulous scrutiny, the only potential downside is that it’s made in China and it’s a tad heavy. However, I can hardly call this a negative because it doesn’t really compromise comfort or quality. The weight is really more preference. If you like extremely light knives, the Kershaw Cryo II knife may not be for you. But seriously, if that’s you, I’d encourage you to check it out anyway. Step out on faith. Live for once. Try something new…you can find it for anywhere between $32-75 depending upon finish and blade type.

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Matt

Only knock I’ve ever had on the Cryo 2 is the Made in China issue, but I think Kershaw has been able to over come that. The quality control on these Chinese made knives are not an issue from what I’ve seen.

Greg

My favourite knife Kershaw! Personally, I’m using 1990 folding model but I will try it this one soon

Buck

I just picked up this blade and it’s now my favorite EDC. Thanks for the info and great pictures. I’ll put up some pictures of mine here soon …. Kershaw Cryo II

James P

I’d never heard of this knife before, but it looks pretty awesome. Thanks for sharing!

Bill B

Thanks so much for the awesome write-up and the photo collage showing this knife in so many angles. Kudos to you my friend! I have yet to own a Kershaw but I think you just convinced me what my first one will be. Take care and great review.

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