Best Job Site Radios of 2017 – Top Picks & Reviews

job siteBefore entering a job site, you make sure you are safe by wearing safety equipment, such as shoes, goggles, and gloves. I’m not saying that you should pay as much attention to the safety of your job site radio, but you definitely do need something nigh on unbreakable and well designed.

A job site radio must be durable and must be guarded against drops, bumps, and knocks. Otherwise, you’ll need to tip-toe around it. This draws your attention away from your work and reduces productivity. So, if you want a radio at your job site, it should be purpose built for the task.

MODELPRODUCT DIMENSIONSITEM WEIGHTUSER RATINGPRICE
Ridgid ZRR84084 X4
Ridgid ZRR84084 X4
14.1 x 11.4 x 7.9 inches
2.5 pounds
4.4/5

$
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Bosch PB360C Power Box
Bosch PB360C Power Box
14 x 15 x 46.4 inches
24 pounds
4.4/5
$$$$
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DEWALT DC012
DEWALT DC012
12.3 x 10.4 x 20.8 inches
15 pounds
4.4/5
$$$
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Bosch PB180
Bosch PB180
13 x 6.5 x 4.8 inches

3.9 pounds

4.1/5

$$
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But, with so many models and brands on the market, it’s difficult to find a product that lives up to your expectations. On one hand, you have products that deliver high-quality sound, but are expensive. On the other hand, you have products that are cheap, but produce mediocre sound. Then, there’s the question of durability.


The Best Job Site Radios of 2017

Juggling so many variables to find the right balance requires time and effort. The good news is that we’ve done the grunt work for you. Here, we have a list of job site radio reviews for the best product in terms of quality, value for money, and price. So, if you’re wondering what is the best job site radio, the answer is just a few minutes away.

#1 Bosch PB360C Power Box – The Best Sounding Job Site Radio

Bosch PB360C Power BoxThe Bosch PB360C Power Box is the product of choice for those seeking a high-quality sound system for their workplace. The first thing you will notice about the PB360C is its aluminum/rubber roll cage. You can tell from one look that this model is built for durability.

This robust sound system has four-way speakers and a subwoofer. Even at loud volumes, the PB360C produces crystal clear sound. Not only this, the speakers are aligned such that the sound carries beautifully across 360 degrees.

The big advantage for this radio set is Bluetooth connectivity. In addition to an aux input, you can pair a Bluetooth enabled audio device with the PBC360C. The system has both AM and FM radio, and you can store up to 20 FM presets and 10 AM presets. Alternatively, you can stream music from the internet or listen to music stored on your phone.

You can power this radio set using an 18 V Bosch Lithium-ion battery pack or you can plug the unit to a 120 V outlet. While the unit is plugged into a 120 V supply, you can use the four 120 V outlets on the PB360C to power additional devices of compatible power rating. Plugging in the unit also allows you to charge the battery. A fully charged 18 V battery provides up to 5 hours of playback.

Although you can move the PBC360C around if you want, portability is not its strong suit. It weighs 24 pounds and has large dimensions. Another downside is the cost. Yes, this is a premium product that gives you what you pay for. However, this is a product that you can’t buy on a whim. You’d probably have to plan before buying this unit. But, if you can wait a while to save money for this, you will be glad that you did.

Pros

  • Tough
  • Crystal clear audio
  • Four-way speakers and subwoofer
  • Carries sound 360°
  • USB charger

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy
  • Large
  • 1-year warranty

#2 DEWALT DC012 – The Best Seller

DEWALT DC012If you’re not big on Bluetooth connectivity, the DEWALT DC012 is another job site radio you must consider. The DC012 has all the features most people will ever need in a job site radio. You can tune into both FM and AM stations on this radio. Plus, you can commit up to 15 stations to the radio’s memory.

If the on-air stations have nothing interesting to offer, you can connect your phone, or any other audio player, to the DC012 using an aux cable. You must buy the cable separately though. The radio has two speakers that provide decent quality sound. But, the sound from the DC012 isn’t as loud and clear as the sound from the PB360C.

However, the DC012 has an edge over the PB360C when it comes to playback time. Thanks to the 1-hour charger, you can charge the 18 V battery on the DC012 in an hour or less. After you charge the radio to 100 percent, you can enjoy up to 8 hours of runtime.

Optionally, you can power the radio using a standard 120 V supply. Using the radio on this mode also lets you use the three 120 V power outlets on the DC012 to power additional devices of compatible power rating. Additionally, there’s a USB port that lets you recharge a device.

Price-wise, the DC012 is in the same range as the PB360C. However, the DC012 comes with an amazing 3-year warranty, 1-year free service, and 90-day money back guarantee. So, buying the DC012 is a safe option.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Long runtime
  • Short charging time
  • USB charger
  • 3-year warranty
  • 1-year free service
  • 90-day money back guarantee

Cons

  • Battery not included
  • No Bluetooth
  • Moderately expensive

#3 Bosch PB180 – Most Affordable

Bosch PB180Now that we’ve covered the premium options, let’s discuss the best budget job site radio. The Bosch PB180 is the top product in the budget segment. Relative to other products in this price range, the PB180 provides the best-in-class sound and build.

The PB180 has two 5-Watt high-performance neodymium speakers that optimize sound clarity and quality. It has an advanced signal processing system that improves AM/FM reception. You can store 5 AM stations and 5 FM stations on the radio preset. To expand your options, you can also connect your audio device to the radio using an aux cable.

Although this is a budget product, Bosch didn’t cut any corners when it comes to robustness. A high-strength and shock absorbing housing and handles encase the radio set. So, you can take this radio to your workplace without obsessing over its safety.

Like the other models in this list, the PB180 also has two power options. You can plug the unit into a standard 120 V supply or you can run it on an 18 V battery. However, the PB180 does not charge the battery. You must buy the battery and charger separately.

Now, there’s one criterion where the PB180 blows its high-priced competitors out of the water.
Yes, I’m talking about the runtime. With a 4 mAh battery, the PB180 provides a 48-hour playback. If runtime is extremely important to you, then this is the product you must buy.

The PB180 comes with a 1-year warranty. But, consider this. The PB360C costs twice as much as the PB180. However, the warranty on both products is the same. So, the warranty offer in the PB180 is a fair deal.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Best-in-class sound
  • 48-hour runtime
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Does not charge battery
  • Battery not included
  • Charger not included

#4 Ridgid ZRR84084 X4 – Most Durable

Ridgid ZRR84084 X4If you got to buy a personal job site radio pronto, then the Ridgid ZRR84084 X4 is your best option. This low-cost job site radio trumps every other product in our list when it comes to price and portability.

Weighing just 1.65 pounds, you can carry this compact radio with your wherever you go. In addition to its compact size, the X4 is also known for its durability. This product can withstand bumps, knocks, and drops that would render most other radios useless.

This radio works in three modes – AM, FM, and aux. You can tune to your chosen radio station using the digital tuner, or you can connect your mobile device to the radio using an aux cable. The X4 has a convenient niche and strap to place your mobile phone securely.

One possible drawback is that the X4 has only one speaker. Also, it does not operate on stereo mode. Now, this product is about 3 times cheaper than our budget pick. If you want to take advantage of the price benefit, you must be willing to make some compromise regarding the sound quality.

Although the product is small in size, it’s big on warranty. The X4 come with a 3-year warranty and free service. This is an amazing offer for a low-cost product. In summary, if you’re looking for a quick-buy, the X4 is the best job site radio you can get.

Pros

  • Low-cost
  • Extremely portable
  • Durable build
  • 3-year warranty and free service

Cons

  • Mono sound system
  • Battery not included
  • Charger not included

Job Site Radio Buying Guide

The product review section covers the best job site radio for a variety of customers. However, everyone is unique so in the buying guide, we’ll come at this from a different angle. We’ll look at some questions that can help lead you the best job site radio that you need. We’ll also help you figure out which general category you fit into when making your choice.

The Bosch PB360C is the best premium job site radio, the DEWALT DC012 is the best job site radio in terms of value for money, the Bosch PB180 is the best budget job site radio, and the Ridgid X4 is the best low-cost job site radio.

Now, you must choose which radio or at least which type you want to go for. for. So, let’s go through some critical questions you must answer to identify the right class of job site radio for you. The first question, and perhaps the most important question, relates to your music preference.

I just listen to the radio at the job site. What kind of radio should I get?

If you only listen to the radio, buying a high-end model is unnecessary. Instead, go for a model like the Ridgid X4. Focus on the following factors:

  • Lightweight: In some cases, changing the location of your radio set helps improve reception. If you have a heavy radio set, changing locations becomes difficult. So, go for a radio that’s lightweight.
  • Compact: While you work, you want the radio close to you. If the unit takes too much space, it leaves less space for your tools. A compact unit can be kept close at hand on the job.
  • Medium Sound Quality: Audio signals broadcasted as radio waves lose some of its fidelity. So, the signals coming into your set aren’t that high-quality anyway. Having a high-end speaker wouldn’t help if the incoming signal is not high-quality.

However, if you’re looking to do more than just tune-in to your favorite radio station, a low-cost product may not be the best fit for you.

I listen to music from my phone/mp3 player/CD player. What’s the right product for me?

If you listen to music from your audio player while you’re at work, a low-cost radio set will not do justice to the sound quality. For instance, if you download a 320-kbps stereo track to your phone, the mono speaker on the X4 cannot render the sound to its full quality. So, here’s what you should look for in a job site radio if you listen mostly from your audio player.

  • High Sound Quality: Like I said, the speakers on your radio must be capable of reproducing the sound track at its best quality. So, go for stereo speakers that have an RMS wattage of at least 5 Watts.
  • Aux Input: This is a very important feature as it is required to easily connect your audio player to the radio set. So, make sure the radio has a 3.5 mm aux in. Also, check whether the radio comes with a male-male 3.5 mm aux cable. If it doesn’t, don’t forget to buy one.
  • Charging Port: Your audio device will lose charge as you use it. The ability to charge your device while you listen to it, is a handy feature to have. However, this feature is available only on high-end products. It’s not a deal breaker but it is nice to have.
  • Built-in Battery Charger: If you listen to a lot of music while at work, you must buy a model that has a built-in battery charger. A built-in charger will charge your radio when you plug it into a standard 120 V supply. If the radio does not have a built-in charger, you’ll have to take the battery out and charge it externally. This is tedious. So, for convenience sake, buy a model with a built-in charger.
  • Bluetooth Connectivity: If you’re okay using an aux cable, Bluetooth connectivity isn’t important. But, if your radio is not close to you, changing tracks and switching stations can be a hassle. However, if your set has Bluetooth connectivity, you can control everything from where you stand.
  • Runtime: The runtime is the amount of time you can play music on a single charge. If you power the radio from a 120 V supply, this doesn’t apply obviously. Make sure the radio gives you at least 5 hours of run time. Otherwise, your radio might die on you before your work day ends.

Remember, the more features the radio has, the more it’s going to cost. So, look for the right balance of features to price when shopping for a radio set that you want to use with your audio player.

You mentioned RMS wattage. What is that?

Speakers are rated in Watts. But, the rating may be in RMS wattage or peak wattage. Between these two ratings, you should focus on RMS wattage. Before I tell you the reason for this, let’s understand the difference between these two values.

The peak wattage tells you how much power the speaker can draw without blowing up. The RMS wattage tells you the power at which the speaker produces the best sound quality. For instance, consider two speakers. One has a peak wattage of 5 Watts and the other has an RMS wattage of 5 Watts. The second speaker will sound much better on high volume than the first one.

Next, you should consider how much wattage is enough. You can use the decibel scale to help you figure that out. On the decibel scale, a value of 60 decibels represents ordinary conversation and a value of 90 decibels would be more like shouting. So, if you can have a normal conversation at your job site without shouting, a 2 Watt speaker is enough. However, if you must speak loudly at your job site, you may need a 10 Watt speaker.

Also, consider the distance your radio will be from your workplace. If it’s within a meter, a 2 Watt speaker is enough for a quiet workplace. However, if you place the speakers 3 m away, you’ll need an 18 Watt speaker because the loudness varies inversely with the square of the distance. Sorry! That’s pretty technical! If you’re not interested in the math, then you can go by this rule of thumb. Buy a 5 to 10 Watt speaker for a quiet workplace and a 15 to 30 Watt speaker for a loud workplace.

Great, I think I know enough to buy a job site radio. So, what are my options?

The easiest thing would be to choose from the products reviewed in the previous section. However, if you want to look at more choices, you can look at products from Milwaukee, Porter Cable, and Makita. Remember, Bosch and DEWALT have other job site radios as well. So, be sure to check them out too.


Conclusion

You’ve had a lot to process. So, let me summarize what we’ve learned so far. First, the Bosch PB360C is best job site radio on the market. If you have the budget for it, buy the PB360C. However, if this radio is just out your price range, consider buying the DEWALT DC012. On the other hand, if you’re on a tight budget, then spending your money on the Bosch PB180 is the best option. Lastly, if you’re looking for a low-cost radio that is super portable, buy the Ridgid X4.

Since there are so many products out there, it’s easy to fall into traps. You might pay for features you will never use. Or worse, your product may miss features that you really need. But, with the right information and guidance, you can find the right product for you without any pitfalls.

The quality of jobsite radios has increased a lot during the recent years. Now, the product is at a very high quality. Not only that, every price bracket has high-quality products within them. At the same time, each price range also has products that are of mediocre or inferior quality. Hopefully, I’ve made it easier for you to navigate through this ocean of products to find the right one.