Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 vs. Anker Soundcore Life Q30: Which should you buy?

Put together two pairs of headphones that come in at very different prices — and a few years apart — and you could easily conclude it's no contest. Yet it's not that simple when pitting the Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 and Anker Soundcore Life Q30 against each other, mainly because they each offer unique features and experiences that could make this a tougher call.

Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 vs. Anker Soundcore Life Q30: What do they offer?

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Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 and Anker Soundcore Life Q30 headphones side-to-side.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

Skullcandy and Anker have a fair bit in common. Neither is going to be confused with more recognizable and "elite" brands like Sony, Bose, or Sennheiser, yet they find ways to be appealing. The focus isn't on achieving the clearest sound or being better than the best out there. It's about getting real value every time you put them on your ears.

For Skullcandy, that's pumping up the bass more than anyone could possibly need, which is made audibly obvious with the Crusher ANC 2. For Anker, it's about providing surprisingly effective balance relative to the cost, which has been the consistent point behind the Soundcore Life Q30

Much of the deeper functionality comes courtesy of the excellent app support they have, respectively. The Skull-iQ app goes further with its wide variety of features, but you don't lose out on the key necessities when tapping into the Soundcore app, either. In both cases, you can rely on an EQ to tune the sound, active noise cancelation (ANC) controls, and other custom settings over and above the superb battery life.

Both pairs will surprise in their own ways.

Both pairs will surprise in their own ways. Few headphones will have a slider purely for bass, but the Crusher ANC 2 keep the trend going for Skullcandy. It's a pretty wild swing between the two extremes, yet everything in between is an open invitation to gauge just how deep these guys rumble. Being purely elective and customizable, you can ramp it up or tone it down on a whim depending on what you're listening to. No need to reach for a phone or repeatedly press a button.

Anker can't offer something with that much of a granular swing, though you're not entirely left behind in bass response when dabbling in the app's EQ. The Life Q30 are actually more surprising for the mere sonic balance they offer out of the box — only getting better when you tinker with the presets or bands. 

Physical button controls are standard for Skullcandy, while you get a touch/physical mix from Anker. Either pair will feel pretty reliable that way, though the Crusher ANC 2 have more substantial buttons that are easier to feel. 

Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 vs. Anker Soundcore Life Q30: How do they differ?

Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 and Anker Soundcore Life Q30 headphones stacked up.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

Skullcandy has the inherent advantage here because the Crusher ANC 2 essentially have a three-year head start over the Soundcore Life Q30. That kind of gap would usually render moot any head-to-head, but this is an interesting match for a few reasons. 

If the Life Q30 didn't sound so good for the price — and offer excellent features and support — there would be little to compare. Instead, we have over-ears that cost roughly one-third that of the Crusher ANC 2 still holding their own, which is impressive unto itself. Considering that you get decent ANC performance and some sleep tracking to go with that, the Life Q30 are a good bargain. Moreover, Anker still supports them with firmware updates. 

It's just that the extra money for the Crusher ANC 2 gets you extras you won't otherwise have in this head-to-head. From a personal hearing test to tune the sound to your ears, including tools to do similar things with the ANC and Stay Aware features. Almost everything is customizable, be it the controls, EQ, and even an onboard Skullcandy voice assistant. On top of Spotify Tap for quick access to the streaming service; you can even set the headphones up to take a photo from your phone.  

Wearing the Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 headphones.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

The sheer breadth of what's available doesn't even end there. Multipoint connections let you pair with two devices at once — something you can't do with the Life Q30. Tile integration also means you can track the Crusher ANC 2 in case you misplace or lose them using that extensive crowdsourced network. 

It would be unfair to expect that much from Anker in a pair of budget cans, especially when some of those features weren't even standard for most headphones back in 2020. Skullcandy packed in more than most other brands do anyway, making this comparison feel lopsided just going down the list of features.

Functionally, though, the Crusher ANC 2 sound better because they cover the ears a little better and offer deeper sound. You can close the gap with Anker's eight-band EQ (Skullcandy has five), but the Life Q30 won't quite match the boom of the Crushers. If you're into bass-heavy music, you won't go wrong with either pair, but if you can spend the money, you will definitely dig the custom bass Skullcandy offers.

Battery life is pretty close between them. You'll get, on average, 10 hours more with the Crusher ANC 2, but up to 40 hours (with ANC on) is amazing for budget-friendly over-ears like the Life Q30. Both also have fast-charging capabilities via their respective USB-C ports.

Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 vs. Anker Soundcore Life Q30: Which should you buy?

Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 headphones showing buttons.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

Looking at these two really comes down to budget first. The Soundcore Life Q30 are routinely in the conversation among the best cheap noise-canceling headphones, whereas the Crusher ANC 2 could outdo the bass on any of the best wireless headphones. A tighter budget has one option here, as does one with more disposable income. That's why the Crusher ANC 2 are in for a tougher match against the Soundcore Space Q45.

The good news is both brands stand behind their products, both in warranty coverage and with updates. That's a great way to build confidence that either pair will last, so your choice will largely come down to how much of everything you feel you need in a pair of over-ears.

Ted Kritsonis
Contributor, Audio Reviewer

Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar. Often times, that will be with a pair of headphones or earbuds playing tunes. When he's not testing something, he's working on the next episode of his podcast, Tednologic.

  • obarthelemy
    Any review of wireless headphones should list
    1- BT level supported
    2- codecs supported
    3- if at all possible, the chip that runs the show

    Those underlying tech characteristics will have a huge impact on the quality of the data the acoustics part gets to work with. An acoustics-only review is not enough for me, now i've got to go look up tech specs.