The best jobsite radio is probably the one that fits the batteries that you already have…..
If you already own a particular brand of cordless tools then the question “which is the best jobsite radio” is probably a moot point. The first thing you’ll do is head to your brand (Milwaukee, Bosch, Ridgid, Makita, Sangean, Dewalt, Ion and Porter Cable) and see what they have to offer.
By doing this and taking one that is not on the “best” list really isn’t a big no no because they’re all well made and they all sound good.
You will find that every jobsite radio has good reviews and bad reviews but overall the positives are always in the majority.
The tool companies all produce the occasional lemon that needs to be returned and the retailers all have shipping issues from time to time.
Ranting on and on about how awful a particular brand or store is seems a little silly unless you are treated poorly when trying to resolve issues after you’ve bought (I’m talking to you, Nissan).
The one question that gets asked the most is, “Does the radio charge the batteries when plugged into 110v”. Only 3 of the 10 radio choices out there are capable of charging batteries.
This I have read is due to the fact that the radio/charger combination patents are owned by the Black and Decker/Dewalt family of tools.
So if a company wants to include the battery charging feature in their jobsite radio than they have to cough up licensing money to Mr Dewalt and this is a cost that has to be passed on to the consumer.
The lack of battery charging ability isn’t deal breaker for me as I usually have the radio plugged into a heavy duty multi end extension cord (like this or this) so plugging in a charger isn’t a problem. Even better would be a radio with a 110v outlet built in (Bosch, Dewalt and Ion).
The Ion radio is an interesting bird in itself.
Instead of using tool batteries it has a built in battery that is charging whenever it is plugged in. It has bluetooth and 2 110v outlets. So for $150. you get a 15″ cube that is an am fm radio, has an AUX in for mp3/smartphones and lasts for up to 50 hours on a single charge. Lots of 5 star reviews too.
But what if you want charging and bluetooth? Nix the Dewalt. It has neither bluetooth nor a sealed compartment to store the phone in when creating a wired connection.
Most of the others have sealed storage places for your phone and they’re great. If your phone fits. Make sure you check before buying. Personally, I use an mp3 player (a small one) at the radio and keep my phone on my person.
Bluetooth isn’t all that big a deal for me. In my experience it cuts in and out depending where I am in relation to the radio. Sometimes there seems to be no rhyme or reason to when it loses the signal.
As you can see, picking the best jobsite radio is (like a lot of things in life) a matter of priorities and compromises.
So without further adieu, here are the best jobsite radios of 2017 based solely on performance, price, features and portability: