A portable radio is perfect for making any job site more lively. However, not just any old radio will do. You need to acquire a model that is tough enough to handle a rugged work environment. It is not uncommon for a work site radio to be beaten and battered throughout the day. Rather than wasting time trying to avoid bumping into it, the best course of action is to purchase a radio that can withstand the occasional blow.
Of course, there are so many different radios on the market that it can be hard to choose the best one for your job site. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the four best models currently available and added a supplemental buyer’s guide below.
Top 5 Best Jobsite Radio Comparison Chart
The 5 Best Jobsite Radios – Reviews
1. Bosch PB360C Power Box Job Site Radio – Best Overall
Bosch has outdone itself with the immaculate quality of the PB360C Power Box. The exterior is protected by a roll cage comprised of aluminum and rubber. This can easily shield the radio from both the elements and a barrage of forceful impacts. There is a set of four speakers that can push sound all throughout a crowded work environment. The sub woofer unleashes pristine audio even during the loudest conditions. Plus, each speaker is aligned to encompass a full 360-degree radius.
The Bluetooth connectivity can come in clutch. Each member of your team can quickly pair their phones and start playing whatever they like. If you prefer a wired connection, there is also an auxiliary jack in the back. The radio picks up both AM and FM frequencies with aplomb. You can save up to 10 AM presets and 20 FM presets with the push of a button. You can even stream audio directly if your job site has an internet connection. The Bosch Power Box is equipped with an 18 V lithium-ion battery. At full charge, the battery lasts for five hours at maximum volume. You may also opt to plug it into any 120 V outlet for unlimited music playback.
Once the unit is plugged in, it can act as a charger for any USB compatible device. Up to four devices can be charged at one time. The key is to find a suitable spot for this radio before purchasing it. It weighs 24 pounds and is not very portable. Overall, the PB360C is a premium radio that is well worth the cost. Just know that you will need to splurge a bit to afford it. Luckily, it more than makes up for the price tag when your whole team is happy and productive.
2. DEWALT DC012 – Best DEWALT Best Jobsite Radio
The DC012 is another rugged radio you should consider adding to your job site. However, you should be warned that it doesn’t have any Bluetooth capability. You will need to connect your phone or mp3 player using an aux cord. With that out of the way, the DC012 still offers up everything else that makes a worksite radio excellent. It picks up both AM and FM signals beautifully. You can also save 15 unique stations to quickly swap between different programs. You will need to purchase a separate cable to connect your phone. Once hooked up, you can control playback and volume directly from the connected device. The two speakers on the front produce a booming sound that spreads far and wide.
The Audio quality is very solid, and you can easily listen to music over the sound of power tools. You can power the unit with any 120 V outlet. When connected this way, the radio will also charge up to three USB devices at once. If you prefer the wireless route, the DC012 has a reliable battery. It lasts up to eight hours on a single charge. Plus, you can charge it up to full strength in just one hour. This is perfect for even the longest shifts on a single site.
DeWalt offers an impressive three-year warranty with every purchase. You also get a 90-day money-back guarantee when you order. If anything goes wrong within the first year of owning it, you can send the radio in for free repairs. As long as you don’t crave Bluetooth functionality, the DC012 is a great choice for any job site. It is very durable and offers a great sound quality in even the noisiest conditions.
3. Bosch PB180 Job Site Radio – Best Value
The Bosch PB180 is a great fallback option for anyone on a strict budget. It offers impressive value at a very reasonable price. You get a reliable exterior, and impressive sound quality when comparing it with other models in this price range. There are two speakers on the front that each provides five watts of output. The internal processor optimizes both AM and FM signals before delivering audio playback. This increases sound clarity even in locations with bad acoustics.
There are ten slots for storing radio presets. You can save up to five AM and FM stations to return to them at a moment’s notice. If you have an auxiliary cable, you can also connect your phone or an mp3 player. The outside casing is surprisingly durable and resistant to damage. The material can absorb shocks from both impacts and falls. Since these types of accidents are liable to occur frequently on-site, you can rest assured the PB180 has some longevity.
You can opt to plug this radio into a 120 V power outlet or purchase a separate 18 V battery. If you go the battery route, be prepared to pick up a charger for it as well. The good news is that a standard 4mAh battery will last 48 hours on a single charge. Overall, the PB180 is great for anyone on a budget. It is also the ideal unit for anyone who wants the longest battery life you can get with a portable job site radio. Plus, the one-year warranty ensures you can return it if there is a defect.
4. Ridgid ZRR84084 X4 Job-Site Radio
If you’re already heading to the store for a job site radio, then the Ridgid X4 is a great product to spring for. It is incredibly compact and weighs less than two pounds. It also has an unbeatable price that anyone can afford on a whim. Despite being able to carry this radio with ease, the unit is also pretty strong. The hard casing protects it from damage caused by common falls and bumps during work hours. Plus, the small size makes it easy to avoid when you’re busy and distracted.
You can connect to both AM and FM signals quite quickly. However, there isn’t any option to save and cycle through presets. You can also connect your phone with an aux cable and play anything you want.There is a convenient strap on the front that holds either your phone or an mp3 player in place. This is a great way to protect your fragile electronics while hustling. As for the sound quality, it isn’t the strong suit of this model.
There is only one speaker to route the audio through. This means that you can only listen to music in mono mode. This can make some of your favorite tunes sound different than what you are used to. That being said, the X4 is a solid job site solution in a pinch. It comes with an impressive three-year warranty so it is safe to pick one up spontaneously. Just know that there are better options if you have a bit more cash to spend.
How to Select A Best Jobsite Radio For Next Project
Now that you know a bit more about each of the best options, it’s time to determine which radio will serve your unique job site the best. Each radio excels in different areas and in different situations. A good way to tell which radio you need is to ask yourself a few questions. Once you have the answers to each inquiry, you can pair them up with features and functionality that provide the best solution.
Play Radio in The Background While Working?
If all you need is a basic radio setup, you won’t need to splurge on the most expensive model. A mid-range model like the X4 will serve you nicely. Here are a few factors to consider for general radio usage.
You want a lightweight radio that you can carry around with ease. You want to be able to move the radio to any outlet that provides the best balance of reception and acoustics.
The smaller the radio, the less it will get in your way. You can have a tiny radio close to you and still have room for all of your equipment. Plus, a smaller target is less likely to get knocked over.
Since you are on the job site, it is reasonable to expect the radio will occasionally get hit. You want something that can withstand at least a few blows before needing to be replaced.
- Decent sound quality
Radio signals will always lose clarity as they travel through the air. Since your audio won’t be from a clear source anyway, you don’t need to waste money on a high-end speaker system. You won’t be able to take full advantage of HD sound regardless. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at what you will need if you desire to play music directly from your portable device.
Play music or podcasts through your phone
If you plan to listen to high-quality music files, then you are going to want to splurge on a great sound system that can take full advantage of HD audio. You also want to bear in mind how you will be connecting and charging your device.
- HD sound quality
If you have uncompressed 320 kbps music files on your phone, you want to take full advantage of their potential. A robust speaker system will translate your audio flawlessly. At a minimum, go for speakers that output at least 5 RMS watts.
- Aux jacks
An auxiliary cable is the only way to establish a wired connection between your phone and radio. Make sure the model you choose has an audio jack. Also, be sure to pick up a cable if the radio isn’t bundled with one.
- Bluetooth functionality
It is tough to revert back to a wired connection once you’ve experienced the convenience of Bluetooth. With a wireless connection, you can switch songs or adjust volume without having to get up and waste any time walking to the unit.
- Charging ports
Since you are going to be using your portable device constantly, you’re going to want to keep it charged. Most high-end job site radios include multiple USB ports for charging a variety of different devices.
- Built-in battery
Many radio manufacturers cut costs by not including a charger for the unit itself. If you don’t check if a charger is included, you might run into a rude awakening at work. You can buy a separate charger at the same place you picked up the radio.
- Battery life
You also want to make sure your radio can remain charged throughout an entire shift. At a minimum, you’ll want eight hours of battery life. It is also worth noting how long your charger takes to restore the battery to health.
What is RMS Wattage?
The power that any radio can output is measured in watts. While the peak wattage is used to determine what you can output safely, the RMS wattage refers to what output will produce the best audio quality. Since you don’t want to blow out your speaker, going by RMS wattage is the best way to balance power output and sound fidelity.
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into choosing a job site radio. If you want a simple breakdown, it is best to determine what each of the above radio excels at the most. The Bosch PB360C is the best all-around unit. While it is the most expensive, it provides everything you will ever need for an excellent job site radio. The DeWalt DC012 is a great balance between price and functionality. It is a bit cheaper than the PB360C but retains a majority of the high-end features.
If you have less money to spend, the Bosch PB180 provides good value for the price. Although it doesn’t offer a suite of advanced features, it will get the job done with aplomb.Finally, the Ridgid X4 is inexpensive and highly portable. If you are just picking up a radio on a whim. it will do pretty nicely. Just don’t expect to take full advantage of uncompressed music files on your phone. No matter which unit you choose, you can rest assured that these radios will improve your job site experience immensely.
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