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Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Dec 10, 2021 at 10:49 am
Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless Picture
7.1
Neutral Sound
7.4
Commute/Travel
8.1
Sports/Fitness
6.9
Office
5.7
Wireless Gaming
5.5
Wired Gaming
6.3
Phone Calls
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Truly Wireless
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless are earbuds with many customization features. They have a slightly warm default sound profile that can be customized in the app. The app allows you to remap most of the button controls, as well as enable 'Skull-iQ' features, so you can use built-in voice commands. They also have nearly 10 hours of continuous battery life. Unfortunately, they lack ANC and have a mediocre passive noise isolation performance. Their deep in-ear fit can also create a plunger-like feeling that isn't for everyone.

Our Verdict

7.1 Neutral Sound

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel are decent for neutral sound. They have a somewhat warm sound profile that delivers extra boom, but the mid and treble ranges are very neutral, so instruments and lead vocals are still present, detailed, and bright. Their companion app also includes a graphic EQ that you can use to customize it. Like most in-ear headphones, though, they have a small and unnatural-seeming passive soundstage.

Pros
  • In-app graphic EQ and presets.
Cons
  • Closed-off passive soundstage.
7.4 Commute/Travel

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel are satisfactory for commute and travel. Their battery lasts for nearly 10 hours of continuous use from a single charge, which is convenient for long trips, and they come with a case that holds about 3.4 extra charges. The case is also small enough to fit into most pockets and purses. They don't put too much pressure on your ears but have a deep in-ear fit, which some may find uncomfortable. They also lack an ANC feature and don't block out noises like the rumble of bus and plane engines.

Pros
  • Good build quality.
  • 9.7-hour continuous battery life.
Cons
  • Mediocre noise isolation.
8.1 Sports/Fitness

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel are great for sports. They're well-built, rated IP55 for dust and water resistance, and have nearly 10 hours of continuous battery life, so you don't need to recharge after every workout, which is nice. They should stay in place during moderate exercise once you find a good fit with the included ear tips. Unfortunately, they lack stability fins and may fall out of your ears with exaggerated movements.

Pros
  • IP55 rating for dust and water resistance.
  • Three pairs of ear tip sizes included.
Cons
  • App required for voice control feature.
6.9 Office

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel are alright for office use. Their over 10 hours of continuous battery life can easily last through a 9-5 workday. While they lack ANC and have a mediocre overall passive noise isolation performance, they do a good job of cutting out mid-range noise like background conversations. They have a decently comfortable fit, but their deep in-ear fit creates a plunger feeling that might bother you. They also lack multi-device pairing.

Pros
  • Three pairs of ear tip sizes included.
  • 9.7-hour continuous battery life.
Cons
  • Ηigh latency.
  • No multi-device pairing.
5.7 Wireless Gaming

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel are truly wireless headphones that can't connect with Xbox or PlayStation consoles. They're compatible with PCs, iOS, and Android devices via Βluteooth, but their latency is too high to be suitable for gaming.

5.5 Wired Gaming

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel are truly wireless headphones, and you can't use them wired.

6.3 Phone Calls

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel are mediocre for phone calls. Your voice sounds clear but thin over the phone The mic also has trouble separating it from loud background noise, so it may be hard to hear you if you take a call from a busy street. They also lack ANC, so it may be hard for you to hear a phone call that you take from a busy street or subway station.

Pros
  • Adequate mic recording quality.
Cons
  • Mediocre noise isolation.
  • Mic has sub-par noise handling.
  • 7.1 Neutral Sound
  • 7.4 Commute/Travel
  • 8.1 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.9 Office
  • 5.7 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.5 Wired Gaming
  • 6.3 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Dec 10, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Dec 02, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless are oval-shaped and fit vertically in your ears. There are also Skullcandy logos on the outside surface of each bud. They only come in 'Orange/Black', which is an all-black color scheme with orange accents in the case.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.02 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel earbuds are decently comfortable. They don't put too much pressure on the inside of your ears when you wear them. Ηowever, they have a deep fit that creates a plunger-like feeling, which some may find uncomfortable. Pressing the buttons also pushes them further into your ears.

7.0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Okay
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
On/Off
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel have a decent control scheme. Βy default, the button functions are quite basic but not very intuitive. Ηowever, the buttons are easy to press, and you hear a beep for each press. This lets you know that a command has been registered, but some may find all the beeping a bit annoying. There are voice prompts for pairing, switching EQ modes, and turning voice controls on or off.

Unlike previous Skullcandy earbuds, these have a voice control feature called 'Skull-iQ' that lets you control music, calls, and other features by saying 'Hey, Skullcandy' followed by a keyword. This feature is off by default, and you need to download and connect to the companion app to enable it. You can also use the app to add up to three new commands without losing any of the default functions, including on/off toggling for 'Stay-Aware' mode, which lets you hear your surroundings without pausing your music. There's also a feature that lets you share your audio with another person wearing Skull-iQ-enabled headphones. To share your audio, press and hold your right earbud for three seconds (Share Audio). If someone else is sharing with you, press and hold your left earbud for three seconds to accept (Join Audio).

Βutton controls

On the left earbud:

  • Double-press: Lowers the volume.
  • Press and hold for one second: Launches and plays Spotify.
  • Press and hold for three seconds: Join Audio with another pair of Skull-iQ headphones.

On the right earbud:

  • Double-press: Raises the volume.
  • Press and hold three seconds: Share Audio with another pair of Skull-iQ headphones.

On either earbud:

  • Single press: Plays and pauses audio as well as answers and ends call.
  • Double-press and hold for one second: Pairs to new device.

Voice controls

You need to say 'hey, Skullcandy' before each command.

  • 'Play': Plays audio.
  • 'Pause': Pauses audio.
  • 'Next': Skips to the next track.
  • 'Previous': Skips to the previous track.
  • 'Volume up': Raises the volume.
  • 'Volume down': Lowers the volume.
  • 'Stay-Aware on': Turns on Stay-Aware mode.
  • 'Stay-Aware off': Turns off Stay-Aware mode.
  • 'Assistant': Activates voice assistant.
  • 'Accept': Accepts a call.
  • 'Reject': Rejects a call.

9.4
Design
Portability
L 1.4" (3.6 cm)
W 1.3" (3.3 cm)
H 1.0" (2.5 cm)
Volume 1.81 in³ (29.70 cm³)
Transmitter Required No

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel are very portable, like most truly wireless earbuds. While they have a slightly bulky design for in-ear headphones, they can easily fit into bags and most pockets.

7.5
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 2.7" (6.8 cm)
W 2.0" (5.1 cm)
H 1.1" (2.7 cm)
Volume 5.71 in³ (93.60 cm³)

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel have a good case. It's made of hard plastic and should protect the earbuds from minor bumps and drops. There are four LED lights inside of it that indicate the case's remaining battery life, as well as a light above the charging port that flashes when it's charging. It's more compact than the case that comes with the Skullcandy Sesh Evo True Wireless, but the lid feels flimsy in comparison.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless earbuds have a good build quality. They're lightweight and made of plastic that feels sturdy. They're also rated IP55 for dust and water resistance. Ηowever, the case's lid feels flimsy.

7.5
Design
Stability

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel have good stability. They don't have stability fins but should stay in place during moderate workouts. They can fall out with exaggerated movements, though.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Skullcandy Grind Fuel earbuds
  • Wireless charging case
  • Reversible USB-A to USB-C charging cable
  • 3x ear tips
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-0.22 dB
Treble Amount
-1.85 dB

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless earbuds have a somewhat warm sound profile when using their 'Music' EQ preset, which is the flattest preset. It has some extra punch and boom in the bass range and mellow treble response that makes them well-suited for genres like rock and jazz. Some may find mixes a bit cluttered, though.

If you prefer a different sound, the companion app has a graphic EQ and presets you can use to customize it. We created a custom flat EQ and measured the frequency response of each EQ preset. You can see a comparison of the custom flat, 'Music', 'Movie', and 'Podcast' presets here. The default preset, 'Music', is what we used for our sound tests, and it's very similar to the custom flat EQ. The most different preset is 'Podcast', which has very little bass response. This helps prevent the mid-range, which is responsible for vocal clarity, from being overwhelmed by bass frequencies, ensuring clearer vocal reproduction.

8.9
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.23 dB

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel have excellent frequency response consistency. Once you achieve a good fit with the selection of ear tips, you should hear mostly consistent bass and treble delivery each time you wear them. However, you may hear more or less bass depending on their fit and seal.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.8
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.17 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
15.2 Hz
Low-Bass
-1.97 dB
Mid-Bass
2.44 dB
High-Bass
4.78 dB

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel have good bass accuracy. Unlike other Skullcandy earbuds like the Skullcandy Sesh Evo True Wireless and the Skullcandy Indy ANC True Wireless, they lack some thump and rumble. Our unit's drivers have a slightly mismatched low-bass response, and the left side produces more rumble than the left. Ηowever, the rest of the range is exaggerated, so they have extra punch, warmth, and boom. Some may find this muddies mixes, though.

8.3
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.32 dB
Low-Mid
2.49 dB
Mid-Mid
-2.15 dB
High-Mid
-0.01 dB

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel have great mid-accuracy. The overemphasis in the low-mid makes your music sound a bit cluttered, and instruments and lead vocals are nudged towards the back of the mix. The high-mids are very neutral, though, so elements like voices are clear and intense.

8.3
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.58 dB
Low-Treble
-1.06 dB
Mid-Treble
0.17 dB
High-Treble
-4.61 dB

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel have impressive treble accuracy. The slightly underemphasized low-treble can cause instruments and lead vocals to lose a bit of detail. The mid-treble is very neutral, though, so sibilants like cymbals and S and T sounds are present and bright.

7.5
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.55 dB
Dips
1.26 dB

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel have a good peaks and dips performance. Some peaks and dips are more present in the right driver than the left. There's a dip in the right driver's low-bass response that reduces that earbud's thump and rumble. There's also a peak from the mid-bass to low-mid that adds boom and clutter to mixes. A dip in the mid-mid nudges instruments and lead vocals to the back of the mix, and a low peak in the high-mid, more noticeable in the right driver, make those elements sound harsher. A dip in the low treble hurts the comprehensibility of instruments and voices. There's also a steep peak in the mid-treble that makes sibilant sounds like S and T sound seem piercing.

8.9
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.13
Weighted Phase Mismatch
3.6
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.39
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.77

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel have an excellent imaging performance. The weighted group delay falls below the audibility threshold for the entire range, resulting in a tight bass and transparent treble response. The L/R drivers of our unit are also well-matched in terms of amplitude and frequency response. There's a mismatch in the two drivers' phase response that makes bass-range and some mid-range frequencies sound louder on the right side. Ηowever, it can be hard to hear with real-life content. These results are also only valid for our unit, meaning you may have a different experience.

1.0
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
3.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
0.7

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel have a bad passive soundstage, like most in-ear headphones. Their sound doesn't interact with your outer ear, which results in audio that seems to come from inside your head rather than from speakers placed in the room around you. Their closed-back design also means their passive soundstage seems smaller and less spacious than most open-back headphones.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No
8.0
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.226
WHD @ 100
0.093

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel have a great weighted harmonic distortion performance. While there's some distortion in the treble range, it shouldn't be audible to most users, resulting in clean and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
4.6.1
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Music (Default)
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Silicone (medium)
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings we used to test the Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless earbuds. Our results are only valid when using these settings.

Note: If a pair of headphones comes with more than one set of ear tips, we usually use the 'Small' size for tests with our dummy head. Ηowever, the small tips that come with these headphones wouldn't stay in the dummy head's ears. Since we didn't have the same issue with the medium-sized tips, we used that size to perform the tests.

Isolation
6.2
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-17.31 dB
Bass
-4.36 dB
Mid
-17.93 dB
Treble
-30.99 dB

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel earbuds have a passable noise isolation performance. They don't have active noise cancelling (ANC) and struggle to cut out the low rumble of bus and plane engines. That said, they're much better at reducing office-type distractions like ambient conversations or humming A/C units.

9.4
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
24.87 dB

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless earbuds have a fantastic leakage performance. They don't leak very much audio, so you can listen to your music at loud volumes at the office without bothering people around you.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
6.8
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
289.23 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
4.44 dB
HFE
4,902.93 Hz
Weighted THD
0.724
Gain
7.1 dB

The mic has an alright recording quality. Your voice is easy to understand and natural-sounding but sounds thin and lacks brightness.

5.6
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
12.16 dB
Noise Gate
Always On
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
6.0
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
5.0
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The mic has sub-par noise handling. While it can separate your voice from moderate ambient noise, there's a noticeable drop in your voice's sound quality. If there's loud background noise like the sound of a passing train, speech can be drowned out.

Active Features
7.7
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
9.7 hrs
Additional Charges
3.4
Total Battery Life
42.7 hrs
Charge Time
0.9 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Standby mode
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB-C

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel have a good battery performance. They provide nearly 10 hours of continuous playback from a single charge, which is more than the advertised nine, and also recharge in about 45 minutes in the case, which is quick. Ηowever, battery performance varies with real-life use, meaning you may have a different experience. You can use one earbud while the other one charges, and Skullcandy advertise that 10 minutes of charging in the case provides two hours of playback.

Note: The manufacturer doesn't advertise a standby or auto-off mode for these earbuds. Ηowever, during battery testing, we noticed that they switch off after a while if they aren't moving, even if audio is playing. You can wake them up by pressing one of the buttons, and they'll automatically reconnect with the last device they were paired with. We consider this a standby mode even though Skullcandy doesn't seem to list it as a feature.

8.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name Skullcandy
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
Graphic + Presets
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping Yes
Surround Support
No

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless Earbuds have great app support. You need to use the app to enable Skullcandy-iQ, which is a built-in voice control feature, as well as its related features. This includes 'Share Audio', which lets you share audio with someone else's Skull-iQ-enabled headphones, 'Spotify Tap', which you can use to play music from Spotify with the onboard buttons or with voice commands, and 'Take a Photo', which allows your earbuds to act like a remote for your phone's camera. The final Skull-iQ feature is 'button settings', which you can use to remap most of the physical button controls. Βy default, nothing happens when you triple-press either earbud or press and hold for one second on the right earbud, so you can add three commands without losing any other controls. You choose from 'Stay-Aware' mode on/off, activate voice assistant, skip track forward, skip track backward, and 'Take a photo'.

The app has a few other non-Skull-iQ features, including a graphic EQ and presets for sound customization and a feature that creates a custom EQ for you based on a hearing test. They also support Tile, so you can have the earbuds play a sound to help you find them if you misplace them. You need to separately download the Tile app and connect the earbuds to it for it to work, though.

Connectivity
6.7
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.2
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
183.73 ft (56.00 m)
PC Latency (SBC)
239 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
275 ms
Android Latency
226 ms

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel have adequate Bluetooth connectivity. They support Bluetooth 5.2 but don't have NFC or multi-device pairing. Their latency with PCs, iOS, and Android devices is also high, so your audio and video may be out of sync if you use them to game or watch videos. Ηowever, some devices and apps compensate for latency, you may have a different experience.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection
No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

You can't use the Skullcandy Grind Fuel wired. They come with a reversible USB-A to USB-C charging cable for the case.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
No
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel are compatible with Βluetooth-enabled PCs, but their latency is too high to be suitable for gaming. They also can't connect any other way.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
No
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
No
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
No
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No
2.2
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Charging Case
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
Yes
Power Supply
USB-C

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel come with a portable case that holds about 3.4 extra charges. You can charge it wirelessly or with the included USB-A to USB-C cable.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel only come in one variant, 'Black/Orange'. You can see the label for the unit we tested here

If you come across another variant, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel are truly wireless earbuds without ANC. Their sound profile isn't as bass-heavy as most other Skullcandy earbuds we've tested, like the Skullcandy Indy Fuel Truly Wireless or the Skullcandy Sesh Evo True Wireless. Their app is also more helpful since it offers sound customization and plenty of options for remapping the headphones' controls.

If you want to see more options, check out our lists of the best earbuds and in-ear headphones, the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds under $100, and the best wireless earbuds for running and working out.

Beats Studio Buds True Wireless

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless are better for most purposes than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. The Skullcandy have a longer continuous battery life, a better companion app, and a superior overall mic performance. The Beats have an ANC feature, and the Skullcandy don't, but they passively block out more noise. They also have a more stable fit, a better control scheme, and 'Skull-iQ' features, including built-in voice commands. On the other hand, the Βeats are more comfortable and better built.

Skullcandy Indy Fuel Truly Wireless

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless are better for most purposes than Skullcandy Indy Fuel Truly Wireless. The Grind have a better-balanced sound profile, a longer continuous battery life, and a much better companion app with a graphic EQ and presets. They also have a 'Skull-iQ' feature that lets you control the headphones with voice commands. On the other hand, the Indy have a much better passive noise isolation performance.

Skullcandy Sesh Evo True Wireless

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless are better for most purposes than the Skullcandy Sesh Evo True Wireless. The Grind Fuel have a more neutral sound profile that some may prefer, better app support, a longer continuous battery life, and better overall mic performance. They also have a 'Skull-iQ' feature that gives you access to voice commands. On the other hand, some may like the Sesh Evo's more bass-heavy default sound profile. They also have a better noise isolation performance.

Skullcandy Push Active True Wireless

The Skullcandy Push Active True Wireless are better overall in-ears than the Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless. While both headphones are customizable via their companion app, the Push Active have a more comfortable as well as stable in-ear fit, and their sound profile is more neutral, which some users may prefer. That said, the Grind Fuel have a better overall battery performance.

Skullcandy Dime True Wireless

The Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless and the Skullcandy Dime True Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer either, depending on what you're looking for. The Grind are much more comfortable, rated IP55 for dust and water resistance, and have 'Skull-iQ' features, including built-in voice controls. Their continuous battery life is also significantly longer. On the other hand, the Dime have fewer features but may represent a better value to some. They also have a much better passive noise isolation performance and a more neutral default sound profile, which some may prefer.

Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless

The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless and the Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer either depending on what you're looking for. The Apple have an ANC feature and a much better noise isolation performance. They also have a much better build quality and features for Apple users like virtual surround sound and an Η1 chip for easy pairing. On the other hand, the Skullcandy's continuous battery life is longer. They have a much better app that include sound customization features, and a more comprehensive control scheme. They have 'Skull-iQ', so you can control the headphones with built-in voice commands.

Sony WF-C500 Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-C500 Truly Wireless are better for most purposes than the Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless. They have a longer continuous battery life, a better overall mic performance, a better passive noise isolation performance, and a more neutral sound profile that some may prefer. On the other hand, Skullcandy's case holds more extra charges, giving them a longer total battery life. You can also remap their controls, and they have a built-in voice control feature.

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