Abstract Surface and curve skeletons are important shape descriptors with applications in shape matching, simplification, retrieval, and animation. In recent years, many surface and curve skeletonization methods for 3D shapes have been proposed. However, practical comparisons of such methods against each other and against given quality criteria are quite limited in the literature. In this paper, we compare 4 surface and 6 recent curve skeletonization methods that operate on voxel shapes. We first compare the selected methods from a global perspective, using the quality criteria established by a reference paper in the field. Next, we propose a detailed comparison that refines the gained insights by highlighting small-scale differences between skeletons obtained by different methods.