Last Updated on August 28, 2020
Some days, the work seems to stretch on and on and on. The endless hum of running machines and power tools doesn’t do much to distract you from counting the minutes. But some energy-inducing music from a high-quality jobsite radio might do the trick!
We know how important music is for some people’s productivity, and you’ll often find a radio pumping out the tunes on worksites. But which ones produce enough volume to be heard over the power tools? Don’t forget about connectivity. Bluetooth, auxiliary, a radio tuner—you need some way to get the music to the speakers.
What about other useful features like being able to charge your cordless batteries while the music plays? We’ve done the hard work of testing out as many jobsite radios as we could find to determine which ones had the most useful features to make your workday more bearable. The following reviews will compare 10 of our favorites, but the first three are the best performers that we recommend.
|Best Overall||DEWALT DCR018||
|Best Value||Sangean Ultra Rugged||
|Premium Choice||Milwaukee Electric||
|Bosch Bluetooth Power Box||
Robust and durable, the DCR018 Jobsite Radio lives up to the precedent set by the DEWALT 20V MAX lineup. It’s surrounded by a heavy-duty roll cage that protects against impacts and other damage it’s likely to sustain on a job site. There’s a USB port that will charge a phone or other device while plugged in, and an auxiliary input lets you play music right from your device. We would like to see Bluetooth capability, but for the low price, we can’t complain that it’s missing.
This radio can be powered by almost any DEWALT battery, including 12V MAX, 18V, and 20V MAX batteries. It can also be plugged directly into a wall outlet with the included cord. We preferred to plug it in because the battery life was pretty dismal. Compared to our DEWALT drills, this radio drains the batteries very quickly. It also doesn’t charge batteries, which is a feature that we like to see on any cordless radio. In the end, solid sound quality, a robust build, and an affordable price combined to earn the DEWALT Jobsite Radio our highest recommendation.
When you need a cost-effective radio for the long hours spent on a job site, the Sangean LB-100 is one we suggest you take a look at. It’s affordably priced, yet packed with features that make it the best job site radio for the money in our eyes. For instance, it’s rain-resistant, dust-resistant, and even shock-resistant. This is aided by the robust roll cage that surrounds the whole radio and provides a nice carrying handle on top. Even the speaker is water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry if it starts to sprinkle a bit while you’re working.
It’s not part of any cordless lineup, so you can’t power it with the rechargeable batteries that you’re likely to have. But it can still be powered by four C-batteries for cordless convenience. If you don’t have batteries or prefer not to deal with them, there is also a 9-foot power cord attached to the back so you can plug it in. Once we turned it on, we were impressed with the sound quality, another trait making it the best worksite radio. It’s got plenty of bass for music, but too much for talk radio or other speaking programs.
Our premium choice recommendation comes with a very premium price tag, but we think the Milwaukee Electric Jobsite Radio has some incredible features that warrant the high expense. For instance, the 40-watt amplifier pumps enough sound to the speakers to be heard over power tools and engines on a jobsite. However, the volume knob moves by clicks, so it’s hard to get just the right volume. This radio is also Bluetooth compatible with an impressive connectivity range of 100 feet, so your entertainment won’t cut out while you work.
More than just a music player, the Milwaukee jobsite radio also doubles as a battery charger for M18 batteries, making it much more useful than other radios. It’s also got a weather-sealed compartment that’s perfect for storing your phone or other small valuables while you work. The sound quality is great, and you can dial in your settings with the customizable equalizer. With such a stacked list of features, it’s easy to see why this radio is our favorite premium choice.
Fully protected by the surrounding roll cage, the Bosch Power Box jobsite radio is a durable device that’s built to withstand the rigors of a demanding worksite. Equipped with four-way speakers and a separate subwoofer for the lower frequencies, this is the best sounding jobsite radio that we tested.
Unfortunately, other flaws kept it from earning a top-three recommendation. For example, despite the great sound quality, this radio doesn’t get quite loud enough to be heard over the commotion of a busy jobsite. The radio also doesn’t tune in to stations very well, a disappointing realization for one of the most expensive jobsite radios we’ve seen.
Although the radio doesn’t come in as clearly as we’d like, the Bosch Power Box has Bluetooth connectivity that is crystal clear up to 150 feet away! If you have Bosch 18V batteries, this radio can charge them while it plays as long as it’s plugged into a wall outlet. It can also run wirelessly if you use the Bosch battery to power it instead. Aside from the protection of the roll cage, this device is also weather and dust-resistant, so very few things can damage it.
If you want a compact and lightweight jobsite radio, the PORTER-CABLE PCC771B fits the bill. Weighing in at just three pounds, it’s one of the smallest ones we’ve seen. Of course, that can also hold it back as well. It doesn’t get loud enough to be heard over power tools and other common jobsite noises. But if you work on quieter jobsites, it may be sufficient. Even at lower volumes, the sound quality isn’t excellent. This may be due to the small size of the speakers. Thankfully, a built-in equalizer lets you make some adjustments, but we could only get it to sound decent at best.
You can use the auxiliary input to plug your music player directly into the radio. Alternatively, it’s Bluetooth compatible so you can connect wirelessly. It can be powered by the AC cord attached to the back or with a PORTER-CABLE 18V battery. It won’t charge any batteries, but we didn’t really expect it to at this affordable price. All in all, it’s a solid offering that’s outclassed by the competition.
This jobsite radio from Ridgid can be plugged into a wall or it can be powered by any Ridgid 18V battery. Unfortunately, it won’t charge any batteries, but it will run off of one wirelessly. It does have Bluetooth so you can play your music wirelessly, but the range is very short and starts to cut out when you’re just a few feet from the radio. In our testing, the Bluetooth also disconnected at random times, becoming quite frustrating.
In our opinion, the best feature of this radio is the Ridgid radio app. It allows you to control all the functions of the radio from your smartphone. This is one of the most innovative features we’ve seen yet on a jobsite radio, especially one that’s priced so reasonably. We also had a very difficult time trying to read the display, which isn’t backlit. Whether in low-light conditions or direct sunlight, this problem persisted. The Ridgid jobsite radio packs some worthwhile features in at a decent price, but we think it’s seriously outperformed by some of its similarly priced competition.
With an exceptional battery life of 19 hours on a single charge plus the ability to plug into a wall outlet, the Makita XRM02W is an efficient radio that looks right at home on any jobsite. Makita is well-respected in the world of power tools, so we held out hopes for a solid performance from this radio. To our dismay, it wasn’t one of the better options we tested. It’s equipped with an auxiliary input for MP3 compatibility, but it doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity, a very disappointing flaw at this price.
Jobsites are not known for being quiet places. It stands to reason that a jobsite radio will need to be pretty loud to be heard over the work taking place. Too bad the small three-inch speakers on this Makita radio weren’t able to produce enough sound to be heard over the tools and workers. When you start turning it up, the speakers start to distort before you even get to the highest volume levels. Despite the Makita name, we think this radio missed the mark.
Middle-of-the-pack pricing with sub-par performance kept this PORTER-CABLE jobsite radio from earning a higher spot on our list. It does fix one flaw from their other radio that earned our fifth spot, this model charges PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX batteries while it’s plugged in. You can also power it wirelessly with one of these batteries, but they’ll only charge while plugged into AC power. But it’s missing a critical feature at this price point: Bluetooth connectivity. This is a serious drawback that limits the usefulness of this radio.
The build quality isn’t too poor overall, but the volume knob is the exception. It’s cheap and flimsy and doesn’t inspire confidence. The speakers also become very distorted when you start to raise the volume. With so many obvious flaws holding this device back, we think it’s priced too high for what it offers.
The Ryobi 18V family is one of the more popular cordless power tool lines available. It’s quite possible you already have one or more batteries that are compatible with these tools, which would enhance the usefulness of the P746 Dual-Powered Radio. It can run off any Ryobi 18V battery or it can plug into the wall. It won’t charge any batteries though, even when plugged in. However, it does provide both an auxiliary input and Bluetooth connectivity, features that we appreciate at this price point.
If you plan on using the radio tuner on your jobsite radio, then stay away from the Ryobi. The radio reception is very poor and the sound quality when using the tuner is equally terrible. To be fair, the sound quality is never great with this device, but it’s especially bad when using the radio. The speakers distort too much, even at low volumes, ruining the listening experience. It is affordable, but there are other affordable jobsite radios that we think offer better value such as the Sangean LB-100 that sits in the second position on this list.
Rounding out the bottom of our list is another jobsite radio from Makita. Thankfully, this one offers Bluetooth capability, one of our biggest complaints about the other Makita radio we reviewed. This one works with almost any Makita battery, including the 12V Max CXT, the 14.4V, and the 18V LXT Lithium-Ion series as well. But it won’t charge any of those batteries, even when plugged into AC power. For the high price that this item sells for, we’d hope to see such valuable features included.
This radio shared many problems with the XRM02W in the seventh position of this list. Notably, the low maximum volume. It just doesn’t get loud enough for jobsite use. This one also has poor low-frequency response leaving your music sounding hollow and empty. Despite the lack of bass, the speakers still cause enough rattling in this radio to ruin the sound quality. It may bear the Makita name, but we don’t think the XRM09B lives up to the Makita standard.
This is just a small sample of the many jobsite radios available. You probably have a good idea of they compare to each other, but what features should you be comparing? In this section, we’re going to discuss which features we think you should prioritize to help you determine which jobsite radio is the right fit for you.
All of these radios can be powered wirelessly by a battery. But some of them have the incredible dual-functionality of also being able to charge batteries. Mind you, they’ll only be able to charge batteries from the same family. For example, the Milwaukee radio can only charge Milwaukee M18 batteries. But they can only charge the battery while they’re operating off AC power. When you use a lot of cordless tools, having an extra charger can be a major blessing. Even more so when it doubles as a radio, lessening the total amount of items you need to drag from jobsite to jobsite.
Worksites tend to be pretty loud and packed with workers, tools, and excess noise. For a jobsite radio to be of any use, it needs to be loud enough so that it can be heard over all the insanity. Many of the devices we tested didn’t manage to live up to this rule. But some of them did. We think this is an important trait to look for because your radio won’t do you much good if you can’t hear it.
Today, most of us have smartphones in our pockets that have access to the entire music collection of the world. For you to take advantage of it, you’ll need a radio with some way to connect to your phone, MP3 player, or other music devices. There are two main ways that a jobsite radio will connect to your device; Bluetooth or auxiliary input.
An auxiliary input allows you to plug a 3.5-mm audio cable into the radio and your phone so you can transmit music through the cable. Bluetooth, on the other hand, lets you connect wirelessly to the radio. Naturally, this is much more convenient since you’ll still be able to carry your phone around in your pocket, which also gives you control of the music without having to walk back over to the radio. Keep in mind, Bluetooth ranges vary across radios. Some have small ranges of just 30 feet, while others have impressive ranges reaching up to 150 feet.
Some people still like to listen to old-school radio, and most of these devices offer this ability. But they don’t all do it well. Radio isn’t as popular as it once was, so manufacturers aren’t as focused on this feature. Some of the radios we tested didn’t even include an antenna. Others had an antenna that was too small, resulting in a poor radio signal and awful sound quality.
Few things are worse than hearing a song you love ruined by crackling speakers or muffled sound. We experienced both of these quite a few times during our testing. For many of these radios, when you start to raise the volume, you’ll be introducing noticeable distortion into the speakers. This ruins the listening experience overall. Some speakers just don’t sound good to begin with. They may have muffled highs, too much bass, not enough bass, or any other type of sound problem. For most of them, there is no remedy. However, several of these devices included built-in equalizers that allow you to adjust the sound of the music to match your preferences. This made it possible to achieve much higher sound quality. But the speakers still need to be good to start if you’re going to get decent sound out of them.
Our ears are starting to hurt after listening to so many radios to write these reviews! But to make sure that you get the right product, we’re willing to take a little hearing loss. In the end, the DEWALT DCR018 Jobsite Radio beat the competition to take the top spot and the title of best overall. It works with most DEWALT batteries, can be powered by an AC outlet, charges your devices via USB port, and is protected by the durable roll cage that surrounds it.
The Sangean LB-100 Ultra Rugged Compact Radio has managed to clinch our second-place position and is our pick for best value. It’s rain, dust, and even shock-resistant, despite being one of the cheapest models we tested. It can run wirelessly with four C-batteries or it can plug into a wall outlet. Finally, the Milwaukee Electric Jobsite Radio is our premium choice recommendation. It’s easy to see why with features like a customizable equalizer and a 100-foot Bluetooth range. It also doubles as a charger for Milwaukee batteries. We have faith in all three of these jobsite radios, and we feel confident recommending them to you.
More buying guides like this:
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!