If your not familiar with them, a jobsite radio is a radio that is used on a job site or in a shop (or at the beach, or boating, camping, parties etc) to listen to music.
They are generally made by the cordless tool companies and use the same batteries that the tools use.
It can handle inclement weather and dirt, sand, sawdust, etc. far better than a radio that is made for indoor use.
There’s nothing new about listening to the radio while on the job, it’s been done for decades. What is new is the capabilities of the newest jobsite radios.
Before this new brand of entertainment center came along, there was no effort at all put into making radios that would survive for long in a shop or construction environment.
It took tool manufacturers to see the need and respond with radios designed to be tough enough to stand this kind of abuse.
The other component that has made this new brand of jobsite radio so much better is the fantastic advancements in battery technology.
“The decision on which radio to buy usually coincides with the brand of battery operated tools that one already owns”
All of the units in these reviews can be operated with the same batteries that power the respective company’s cordless tools. Some units, when plugged in to 110v can also be used as a battery charger.
The number one enemy of the jobsite radio (or any electronic device) is dust infiltration. To combat dust, these units are sealed up much more effectively now with rubber gaskets, tighter fitting access doors, and rubber covers and plugs over ports and receptacles.
Those dust fighting safeguards also give these radios the ability to withstand moisture, which is also a big plus, especially for those of you who live and work in wetter climates.
While I wouldn’t leave my jobsite radio out in a heavy downpour it won’t take much of a cover (a piece of plywood with a brick set on top) to adequately protect your radio and avoid shortening its life span.
The third essential element that these construction radios have is rubber/plastic coated aluminum roll bars.
It would be pointless to have a weather and dust resistant radio if it had no protection from impacts from landing on hard surfaces or having building materials land on it.
Here is a list of features (and their benefits) that the perfect jobsite radio would have:
- Rugged rubber, aluminum and plastic roll cages – protection from bumps and impacts
- AC/DC versatility – Runs off cordless power tool batteries or mains (110v/220v) power
- Auxiliary inputs – input music from your mp3 or smartphone
- Weather Sealed Auxiliary Compartments – a safe place for your MP3 player or smartphone
- Built in battery charging systems – when plugged in be able to use the radio to charge batteries
- Auxiliary power outlets – Recharge your mp3 or smartphone batteries
- 110v/220v Power outlets – these can be used to run small tools or more battery charging units (must be plugged into a wall outlet)
- Weather resistant speakers – without these, your job site radio won’t be lasting for long
- Exclusive AM/FM Tuners with Digital Processors – delivers highest reception accuracy and signal clarity
- Customizable Equalizer and Station Presets – personalized sound and enhanced musical and vocal quality
Let’s take a closer look at each radio in closer detail below:
Ridgid Radio model #83084 – New Design With a Lifetime Warranty
With its ShockMount protective armor, the Ridgid radio will keep pumping out the tunes no matter what your jobsite can throw at it
and it will do so whether running on battery power or 110V.
The Ridgid radio will operate on any Ridgid 18 Volt lithium ion battery.
Many users have remarked that the Generation 2 model is a much improved radio over earlier versions of this offering from Ridgid.
- Probably the most mentioned feature is how much better its radio reception is over previous models.
- The fact that you can dock just about any ipod in a sealed compartment is another big plus. The ipod battery also charges when docked. You can even control the ipod from 25’ away by remote!
- A cable is included to connect to any other brand of mp3/music player as well.
- When you pick up the radio it doesn’t feel or look like it could hold the weight of a vehicle or survive a fall from height but as you can see from the video that this is one tough jobsite radio.
- The included remote will operate the radio tuner or the ipod from as far as 25’ away. It stores onboard or on a keychain in your pocket.
- The integrated power cord wraps around the base so it won’t be forgotten or lost.
- The antenna rotates and folds down to prevent accidental breakage.
Several reviewers were very pleased with how long the radio will operate on a single battery charge.
Like all the jobsite radios it has nice big, easy to manipulate dials and buttons that are easy to use when wearing gloves.
Along with the digital tuner it has a backlit screen, 15 radio pre-sets, a digital clock and a backup battery that keeps track of all your settings when the unit is turned off.
Perhaps best of all, the Ridgid radio carries the Ridgid tools lifetime warranty.
This means that they will repair or replace your radio if it fails due to workmanship or material defects.
The batteries are included in the warranty; if at anytime they fail to hold a charge, bring them in for replacement!
Please note that like all jobsite radios, a battery and battery charger is not included with your radio purchase.
This warranty is truly an outstanding feature. I know of no other tool company who offer such piece of mind
protection, and to include batteries in the warranty is unheard of!
Chances are you will never need to take advantage of the warranty on the tools, but I can guarantee you that the batteries will eventually wear out.
To have the batteries replaced for free makes this Ridgid radio a very worthy candidate if you are in the market for a tough, portable radio.
Keep in mind that these radios are perfect for the beach, the boat, and anywhere else that you need a portable entertainment center!
You can check for up to date pricing on the Ridgid R84083 at the Home Depot and Amazon.
Bosch Radio PB360c – Awesome Sound with Bluetooth Control
The most significant thing you’ll notice about the Bosch radio PB360c will become apparent when you lift it out of the box. At 25 pounds it’s a beast. Compared to some of the other jobsite radios, the price is a bit of a beast too.
“Far and away, the best audio quality of any of the jobsite radios”
Is it worth the extra? Fine Homebuilding magazine considers it to have, “far and away, the best audio quality of any of the jobsite radios”. So assuming that you bought this Bosch radio because you wanted a durable high quality sound system that would stand up to the rigors of outdoor use, then yes it is good value.
Aside from the 30 preset AM and FM radio stations you can input your tunes through the two Aux inputs from your phone, mp3 player, CD players, tape decks or whatever else you can come up with.
One of these Aux inputs is also an output so that you can run a feed to additional speakers if so desired.
There is also a DC outlet enabling you to operate or charge any low amperage 12v stuff like cell phones and the like. All three of these inputs/outlets are on the outside of the radio and have flip up covers to keep dust and moisture out when not in use.
On one side of the Bosch radio there is weather and dust proof media bay which houses a SD card slot and a powered USB slot for flash drives and devices that charge via USB. There is also a cradle with an adjustable strap to securely hold a cell phone or mp3 device. There is also a third AUX input inside.
You can toggle through all of these input choices with the large source button on the front of the radio for instant flexibility.
When using a flash drive or SD card as a music source you can control them (play, pause, fast forward, stop, skip) from the front control panel as well.
One thing to note though, if you are using an mp3 player it can only be controlled from its own interface.
At the opposite end from the media bay is the battery bay.
A single 14.4 – 18v battery can be plugged in here to run the radio or, if the radio is plugged in to 110v and the battery is below full charge,the battery charger will kick in and bring the battery up to full charge.
The Bosch PB360c delivers its impressive 360 degree sound through four speakers mounted on top and a 5” subwoofer on the bottom of the unit. As you can see from the video, they are shock proof and well protected by the roll bar.
The PB360c operates on 110v, three prong AC power (6 foot cord) or any of the 14.4 – 18v Bosch lithium ion batteries used to power their extensive line of cordless tools. There are no batteries included.
One of the most asked questions is how long the Bosch radio will run on a single fully charged 18v battery. This can vary from about 2 ½ hours with the volume set to near maximum to 6 or 7 hours indoors with the volume at about 1/3.
Overall the Bosch PB360c is a rugged, well designed jobsite radio with awesome sound quality.
How Tough is the Bosch Radio?
The Bosch PowerBox PB360c has a rubber coated aluminum roll bar for protection and is resistant to dust and rain.
So do the roll bars and shock proofing give adequate protection? I would say yes, they do….
Posted in Jobsite Radio Reviews Tags: jobsite radio, jobsite radios, Bosch Radio
The Dewalt Radio DC012 is a Complete Media Center With a Built In Battery Charger!
The Dewalt radio, the DC012, is a mid size, dust proof, weather resistant jobsite radio and judging by its Amazon 4 star rating, has many happy users.
This radio is one of the few jobsite radios that has a battery charging feature built in. In other words, when plugged into 110v household power this radio will also charge any of the Dewalt cordless tool battery packs (NiCad or Lithium ion), from the early 7.2V to the present day 18V offerings.
It does so with a three-stage charging system that provides maximum run time and extends the overall life of the battery.In fact the charging system was developed and patented by the Black & Decker / Dewalt family of tools.
Of course the DC012 also runs on any of the above mentioned battery packs from Dewalt.
When not in use the power cord winds up and is stored underneath the radio.
It also has three 110V plug-ins built in to further extend its usefulness. These outlets make an excellent place to power up additional battery chargers.
The AM/FM digital radio tuner has 15 presets to lock in your favorite stations, it has a built in clock, all displayed on a bright LCD display.
The high efficiency weather resistant speakers with dual bass ports deliver good bass and dynamic range.
A few users have complained about the lackluster sound quality and volume. Others mention how great the sound is. I guess it depends on what you are comparing it to.
An auxiliary port allows connection to CD Players, MP3 Players, and portable satellite receivers with an audio cable making it easy to play your own music. This is a real plus when you’re out of radio range.
There is no dust free storage area for these auxiliary devices. This is unfortunate because leaving your $800 smartphone out in the dust and weather seems to defeat the purpose of having a radio that can stand up to these environments.
This Dewalt radio is the 3rd generation in the DC line of Dewalt radios and they continue to add improvements (based on customer feedback) with each upgrade.
It’s nice to see a company listening to its customers.
So if you’re already set up with the Dewalt line of tools and batteries this would be a natural selection for you.
If you haven’t bought into any line of cordless tools yet, this Dewalt radio would be an excellent reason to start.
The Milwaukee 2790-20 and 2890-20
When it comes to jobsite radios, the Milwaukee Radio, model 2790-20 (and now the 2890-20), features great AM/FM reception and sound clarity, thanks to a fine digital processor.
The 2790-20 is built tough with shock-absorbing ABS polymer.
The 2890-20 has dropped the steel wrap around bars making the radio more “stackable”, as Milwaukee puts it. Hand grips are built into the polymer end wraps making it easy to pick up and carry.
On top of the unit is a weather-sealed storage compartment which houses the batteries and mp3 player (or smartphone). Without this, your device wouldn’t last long in an outdoor and/or dusty environment.
On the 2890-20 the batteries click into a receptacle on the underside of the radio. The weather sealed compartment has room for your smartphone or mp3 player as well as the 3.5mm auxiliary jack and the USB charging port.
While neither unit has Bluetooth built in, a Bluetooth receiver (click here to check them out) can be added. This would enable you to control the songs you are playing while keeping the phone or player in your pocket.
The six foot AC power cord gets wrapped and secured on the bottom of the unit. There is also a 12V power outlet on the bottom for charging your ipods, cellphones and the like.
The 2890-20 has a 2.1A USB charging port inside the weather-sealed auxiliary compartment.
The 2790 can be powered by all Milwaukee 12V – 28V tool batteries including the M series, V series and Ni-Cads. It boasts the most accurate reception and sound quality in this class of rough and tumble job site radios.
The 2890-20 uses only M18 series batteries. A 5ah M18 battery will power the radio for 12 hours with power to spare!
The Milwaukee 2790-20 achieves this great sound by using a well thought out collection of components that are matched to each other.
The awesome sound is the result of a digital tuner (10 presets), an adjustable equalizer, 4 high quality speakers all matched to a 40 amp booster.
This power is a really great feature because it means you don’t have to crank the volume to the max for tunes to be heard over a large jobsite or shop.
The Milwaukee radio delivers the highest reception accuracy and signal clarity in its class
Like all of these jobsite radios (actually all sound devices), the goal of the Milwaukee engineers was to strike a balance between sound volume and sound quality.
Ideally the sound will be rich and clear all the way up the volume scale and not give way to distortion until it gets to maximum.
It’s a rather tricky balancing act between the digital tuner/processor, the equalizer, the amplifier and speakers because if you decide to change one component it affects all the others. This usually results in either the size, or weight, and or the cost of the unit is going to increase.
Once you listen to the 2790-20 you will realize that they have done an awesome job of getting this balance just right.
Both the 2790 and the 2890 can be powered by standard 110V AC current as well as the battery power. It does not, unfortunately charge your battery packs when plugged in (Update! Check this out, the Milwaukee 2792-20).
With superior radio reception and its well laid out interface and sound quality certainly makes this Milwaukee radio a pleasure to use.
With its rugged construction and the great sound, all delivered at a great price, you will not be disappointed when you fire up the either Milwaukee radio on your jobsite.
Although discontinued, it is still possible to find the Milwaukee 2790-20 on Amazon and Ebay. The updated Milwaukee 2890-20 is in stores now (and it costs less than the 2790-20!).
The Makita XRM04B and XRM02W – Lightweight, Bluetooth, Great Sound – Great Price
The first thing you will notice and like about the Makita radio is the compact size and weight. Coming in at around 10 pounds it’s an easy one handed carry from truck to work site with its large comfortable, grippy flip up, rotating handle.
I should also mention that the main difference between the two models is that the XRM04B has bluetooth and a USB charge port. The XRM02W has no bluetooth and 2 AUX ports. The 04B is about $45. more expensive.
These Makita radios have wrap around bumpers for durability and are weather resistant to keep dust and light precipitation out. The XRM04B is IP64 rated for maximum weather and water resistance.
Both are designed to run on a plethora of Makita cluster and slide batteries from 7.2 – 18 volt. The run time should be 6 hours using the smallest batteries up to 16 hours on the LXT lithium ion (although like all the other cordless jobsite radios, no batteries are included).
Two AA are also required (included) in order to save the presets (5 AM and 5 FM stations and time). It will also run on the included 110v power cord.
The vast majority of reviewers were very pleased with the sound quality from the 3.25 inch speakers that delivered in either stereo or mono. There is no tone control so the bass/treble is factory set.
“I still can’t believe how great the sound is on such a small jobsite radio.”
“…the Makita radio lasts many hours on battery power, very good bass sound”
The radio is MP3 compatible, although a few complained about the lack of volume when using the unit with an ipod or similar device.
The power cord was really the only other common complaint in the reviews. Being detachable it is easy to lose and would probably be better received if it was firmly attached and stored on the unit.
Overall the Makita radio is a rugged, lightweight, well designed jobsite radio with excellent sound quality.
“I’ve used the Bosch, Milwaukee, and seen the new Ridgid jobsite radio’s. They are all large, bulky, heavy, loaded with unnecessary features and parts break off of them. I am enjoying this Makita radio very much and highly recommend it.”
The video below shows you how to protect your ipod (or other mp3 player) from dust and weather when playing tunes on your Makita radio.
Sangean Radio LB-100 Review
Note: The Sangean LB-100 is an am/fm radio only. For mp3 inputs (so that you can plug an mp3 player or smartphone in), you’ll want to look at the Sangean TB-100.
Weighing a little over 6 pounds, Sangean’s compact utility worksite radio, the LB-100 one of the most popular portable jobsite radios available.
It includes a superlative AM/FM tuner, and resists dust, rain, and impacts from above or below.
The Sangean radio has a huge backlit LCD screen for clear visibility and a portable design (11 x 9 x 7 inches) that makes it a number one choice for an outdoor radio.
Just about every reviewer was immensely satisfied with the distortion-free reception that the Sangean radio tuner offers.
There is memory space for a total of 12 preset AM and FM stations that can be set using simple controls. It will also keep track of five “favorite” stations.
The makers provide a heavy-duty power cord (that is extra long) that can be plugged into any AC power source.
It will also run on 4 C batteries but if you’re going to run the radio on batteries it would be best to invest in some rechargeable Nimh cells or be prepared to spend a lot of money on alkalines.
Durable plastic construction. Another great reason for the Sangean radio tuner is a favorite is that it is highly resistant to heat, water, dust, crash and chemicals is thanks to the excellent ABS plastic construction.
The plastic used is not only stiff and durable but also lightweight which makes the device comfortably portable and rugged enough for rough use.
The LB-100 has one five inch, water resistant speaker.
“For a plain, simple radio the number of 5 star reviews is astounding”
Excellent AM/FM sensitivity: The digital tuner sensitivity in the Sangean Radio makes for clear sound and great reception.
One owner felt that a rotating FM antenna would make it possible to bring in weaker stations. He felt it wasn’t a big issue though as the “FM sensitivity is so good that such adjusting is rarely necessary” (all the jobsite radios use this type of screw in antenna) .
Preset Equalizer Settings: The Sangean LB-100 has six equalizer settings: flat, pop, news, rock, indoor, outdoor and all are available with available Dynamic Bass Boost (DBB).
Some owners have complained of the radio gets boomy and distorted at higher volumes but others say by turning down the bass and upping the treble this is minimized.
I haven’t actually used the Sangean radio and to be honest was surprised to see so many 5 star reviews.
It’s not the prettiest jobsite radio out there but just about everyone was impressed with its simple design, rugged functionality and low price.