Skullcandy Rail ANC vs Skullcandy Rail – Which Earbuds are Better?

Skullcandy has been making waves in the audio industry with its impressive lineup of earbuds. Today, we are going to compare two of its earbuds from the Rail series. Skullcandy came up with the active noise cancellation in its latest Rail ANC earbuds. In this comparison, we will be comparing Skullcandy Rail ANC and Skullcandy Rail to understand whether it’s only an ANC upgrade or if they make some other improvements. While we compare these two earbuds, we will look at all the aspects like design, build quality, sound quality, and other features to understand which earbuds are better.

Skullcandy Rail ANCSkullcandy Rail
Skullcandy Rail ANCSkullcandy Rail
Active Noise Cancellation
Wireless charging
Larger 12mm drivers for richer sound
IPX4 water resistance
Tile tracking for earbuds
Skullcandy app integration
More affordable
Longer battery life
Smaller and lighter
IP55 water resistance
No need for wireless charging
Lower retail price
Higher retail price
Slightly shorter battery life
Heavier due to ANC components
No active noise cancellation
Smaller 6mm drivers
No wireless charging

Let’s start with an overview!

Skullcandy Rail ANC

The Skullcandy Rail ANC earbuds are a compelling addition to Skullcandy’s impressive lineup, bringing active noise cancellation (ANC) to the Rail series. These earbuds offer users an upgraded audio experience, with powerful 12mm drivers that deliver a fuller and richer sound. The active noise cancellation technology effectively reduces low-frequency ambient noise, such as air conditioner hums and fan buzz, making them suitable for public transit outdoor activities and providing peace at home. With up to 7 hours of playback time with ANC active and a maximum of 38 hours when you include the case, the Rail ANC earbuds ensure you can enjoy your music for extended periods. The case supports wireless charging, which is a convenient feature for those who prefer wireless charging options. The touch controls and customization options through the Skullcandy app make for an excellent user experience. At the same time, the adjustable transparency mode, or “Stay Aware” mode, allows you to stay connected to your surroundings. If you’re seeking top-tier sound quality and ANC performance, the Skullcandy Rail ANC is a worthwhile investment.

Skullcandy Rail ANC Key Features

  • Active Noise Cancellation (ANC): The Rail ANC earbuds feature active noise cancellation technology, reducing low-frequency ambient noise for a quieter listening experience.
  • Wireless Charging: The case supports wireless charging, offering users the convenience of charging their earbuds without plugging in a cable.
  • Longer Battery Life: With ANC on, these earbuds provide up to 7 hours of playback time and up to 38 hours when you include the case. Rapid charging is also available, giving you 2 hours of use with just 10 minutes of charging.
  • 12mm Drivers: These earbuds use larger 12mm drivers, resulting in a fuller and richer sound, especially in the bass frequencies.
  • Superior Water Resistance: The Rail ANC earbuds have an IPX4 water resistance rating, making them suitable for most workouts and outdoor activities.
  • Skullcandy App Integration: Customizable touch controls and the ability to adjust EQ settings are available through the Skullcandy app.
  • Tile Tracking: Users can track their earbuds using the Tile app for added security and peace of mind.
  • Call Quality: Both models perform similarly in call quality and clarity.

Skullcandy Rail

The Skullcandy Rail earbuds are an excellent choice for those looking for quality audio without the added cost of active noise cancellation. These earbuds have garnered praise for their sound quality, offering a well-rounded audio experience. With 6mm drivers, the Rail earbuds deliver good clarity in highs and mids while providing a balanced sound profile. They offer a comfortable and secure fit, making them suitable for long listening sessions and even light physical activities like walking and jogging. While they lack ANC, they feature an adjustable transparency mode, or “Stay Aware” mode, allowing you to remain aware of your surroundings. The case provides up to 10 hours of extra playback time, resulting in a total of approximately 42 hours of use. The touch controls and “Hey Skull Candy” feature enhance the overall user experience. If you don’t require active noise cancellation and are satisfied with excellent sound quality, the Skullcandy Rail earbuds are an attractive, budget-friendly option.

Skullcandy Rail Key Features

  • No Active Noise Cancellation: The Rail earbuds do not have ANC but offer an adjustable transparency mode, allowing you to stay aware of your surroundings.
  • Affordable: The Rail earbuds come at a more budget-friendly price point, retailing for $79.
  • Smaller Drivers: These earbuds feature 6mm drivers, which still provide good clarity in highs and mids, offering a balanced sound profile.
  • Slightly More Battery Life: These earbuds provide up to 10 hours of playback time, with an additional 42 hours from the case.
  • IP55 Water Resistance: The Rail earbuds have a stronger water resistance rating of IP55, making them more suitable for intense workouts and outdoor use.
  • Lower Cost: The Rail earbuds come at a lower retail price of $79.
  • Equally Good Call Quality: Call quality is similar between the Rail and Rail ANC earbuds.
  • No Wireless Charging: Unlike the Rail ANC, the standard Rail earbuds do not support wireless charging.

Design and Comfort

Skullcandy Rail ANC Design and Comfort
Skullcandy Rail ANC
Skullcandy Rail Design and Comfort
Skullcandy Rail

In terms of design, the two models share a similar aesthetic, with the Rail ANC earbuds being slightly larger. This size difference is not particularly noticeable when looking at the earbuds on a table, but you may feel it when wearing them. The Rail earbuds fit comfortably in the case, while the Rail ANC earbuds leave some extra space.

One significant visual difference is the presence of visible microphones on the Rail ANC earbuds, which are essential for their active noise cancellation feature. These microphones help the ANC technology work effectively by capturing external sounds and generating anti-noise to cancel them out. In contrast, the Rail earbuds lack this feature.

Both the Rail ANC and the Rail earbuds offer comfortable wear for extended periods. Users have reported wearing either pair for up to five to six hours without experiencing ear fatigue or discomfort. They also perform reasonably well during physical activities like walking and jogging. However, when you start sweating or engage in more vigorous activities like jumping rope, they may start to slide around a bit due to the absence of ear hooks or wings.

Water Resistance

For those concerned about water resistance, the Rail earbuds come with an IP55 rating, which offers a higher level of protection against dust and water compared to the Rail ANC’s IPX4 rating. While both pairs should withstand sweat and light rain, the Rail earbuds are better equipped for activities that may expose them to more moisture.


Skullcandy Rail ANC Connectivity
Skullcandy Rail ANC
Skullcandy Rail Connectivity
Skullcandy Rail

Both the Skullcandy Rail ANC and Rail earbuds are equipped with Bluetooth 5.2, which provides a stable and reliable connection. They also support multi-point connectivity, allowing you to connect to multiple devices simultaneously, which is a handy feature for those who frequently switch between different gadgets. Another advantage is the ability to use one earbud while leaving the other in the case, providing flexibility in your listening experience.

It’s important to note that neither pair includes a built-in low-latency mode. Therefore, if you’re a mobile gamer looking for earbuds with minimal audio delay, you should explore other options. However, for everyday use, such as watching videos and making calls, both models perform well without noticeable lag.

Call Quality

In terms of call quality, both the Rail ANC and Rail earbuds offer clear and functional performance. At the same time, There may not be a significant difference in clarity between the two. The Rail earbuds and Rail ANC earbuds both provide respectable call quality, ensuring that you can communicate effectively without major issues.

Controls and Features

Skullcandy Rail ANC Controls and Features
Skullcandy Rail ANC
Skullcandy Rail Controls and Features
Skullcandy Rail

Both pairs of earbuds feature touch controls, which have been reported to be accurate and responsive. What’s great is that you can customize these controls through the Skullcandy app, allowing you to tailor the earbuds to your preferences, from single-tap actions to one-second holds. Both models also include the “Hey Skull Candy” feature, enabling you to execute various functions with voice commands. This feature has improved significantly compared to previous models.

One of the unique features of both earbuds is the adjustable transparency mode, called “Stay Aware” mode. It’s worth noting that there isn’t a significant difference in the performance of this mode between the Rail ANC and the Rail earbuds. In both cases, the transparency mode allows you to be aware of your surroundings within a reasonable radius.

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)

The standout feature of the Skullcandy Rail ANC is, of course, its active noise cancellation. The ANC technology in these earbuds is capable of effectively reducing low-frequency ambient noise, such as the hum of an air conditioner or the buzz of a fan. While the ANC isn’t on par with top-tier competitors, it performs above average and is suitable for use on public transit, while doing yard work, or when you want a moment of peace in a noisy environment.

On the other hand, the Rail earbuds do not feature ANC, but they do have the adjustable transparency mode, which works well to keep you connected to your surroundings.

Sound Quality

Skullcandy Rail ANC Sound Quality
Skullcandy Rail ANC
Skullcandy Rail Sound Quality
Skullcandy Rail

One of the most significant differences between these two models lies in sound quality. The Skullcandy Rail ANC earbuds boast 12mm drivers, larger than the 6mm drivers found in the Rail earbuds. The larger drivers, combined with the ANC technology, significantly enhance the sound quality of the Rail ANC earbuds.

The Rail ANC earbuds deliver a fuller, richer sound with more pronounced bass, making your music come to life. The clarity of the highs and mids is also excellent, allowing you to hear background instruments and vocals with precision. The bass response on the Rail ANC is punchy and delivers a satisfying thump.

While the Rail earbuds already offer good sound quality, the Rail ANC takes it to another level. These earbuds are likely the best-sounding Skullcandy earbuds available, and the difference in audio quality is quite noticeable. It’s important to mention that both pairs are highly responsive to EQ settings, so it’s advisable not to max out all settings to avoid introducing distortion. By adjusting the EQ settings to a reasonable level, you can enjoy an exceptional listening experience.

Furthermore, the Rail ANC provides more output at maximum volume compared to the Rail earbuds, although both can get plenty loud for most users.

Battery Life

When it comes to battery life, the Skullcandy Rail ANC offers up to 7 hours on a single charge with ANC activated, extending to 10 hours with ANC turned off. This is comparable to the Rail earbuds, which also provide approximately 10 hours of playtime. Both models offer rapid charging, allowing for up to 2 hours of playback with just 10 minutes of charging. The Rail earbuds, including the case, provide a total of around 42 hours of use, while the Rail ANC offers up to 38 hours. These numbers are quite impressive and should meet the needs of most users.


In conclusion, if you’re looking for the best that Skullcandy currently offers in the earbud market, the Skullcandy Rail ANC is the way to go. These earbuds provide good active noise cancellation, excellent battery life, reliable call quality, wireless charging, and, most importantly, exceptional sound quality. The extra $20 for the Rail ANC is well worth the investment for those seeking a top-tier audio experience.

However, if you don’t prioritize features like ANC and wireless charging and are satisfied with the sound quality of the Rail earbuds, they are still an excellent choice. The Rail earbuds offer a more budget-friendly option without sacrificing audio quality or essential features.

Both pairs of earbuds offer unique advantages, and the choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. Whether you go for the Skullcandy Rail ANC or the Rail earbuds, you’re getting a solid audio product that provides great value for your money.

James Smith has always been intrigued by electronic products since his childhood. After his post graduation in electronics from a popular university, he decided to pursue a career in the electronics sector. But his calling for writing about these marvellous pieces of work got the better of him. That is how UBG was started. With a writing career spanning more than 12 years, James has worked on several hundred product reviews. During his free time, he like to spend time with his pet dog and relax in the swimming pool.