A jobsite radio must stand up to tough conditions and still keep playing music. It might face billowing clouds of drywall dust, a sudden downpour, or a hard fall when it’s inadvertently kicked over. Jobsite radios are tougher than ordinary radios. They’re built to take abuse on a near-daily basis and still keep cranking out tunes. Music can make a day go by more quickly and keep you focused, so a jobsite radio is a go-to piece of gear if you spend long days working.
The best jobsite radios should be waterproof, shock resistant, able to run on electricity or batteries, and have powerful speakers so you can hear your music over the roar of tools. Some jobsite radios do more than play music—they can also provide storage for small items and charge cell phones and cordless tools.
Read on for reviews of some of the best jobsite radios.
- BEST OVERALL: DEWALT ToughSystem Radio and Battery Charger
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Porter Cable PCCR701B 20V Jobsite Radio
- BEST BLUETOOTH: Bosch Bluetooth Power Box Jobsite Radio PB360C
- BEST WEATHER-RESISTANT: Ridgid R84087 Lithium Ion Jobsite Radio, 18V
- BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: Makita RM02 12V Max CXT Compact Job Site Radio
- BEST IMPACT-RESISTANT: DEWALT 20V MAX / 18V / 12V Jobsite Radio
- BEST SOUND QUALITY: DEWALT DCR028B 12V/20V MAX Bluetooth Jobsite Radio
- LONGEST BATTERY LIFE: Makita XRM06B 18V LXT Job Site Radio
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Jobsite Radio
When shopping for a jobsite radio, there are several factors to consider.
Many jobsite radios feature Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream your favorite tunes from a smartphone or tablet. This allows you to play songs from a digital music service or stream a radio station or podcast from a smart device.
Battery Life and Type
Most jobsite radios operate on AC power from an electrical outlet, but they also run on battery power. While standard radios run on AA, AAA, or 9-volt batteries, jobsite radios usually run on the same large batteries used to power cordless tools. The batteries jobsite radios operate on tend to be brand-specific. For example, a DEWALT jobsite radio will run on only DEWALT cordless batteries, and a Makita jobsite radio will run on only Makita cordless batteries. Most jobsite radios are made by manufacturers of cordless power tools, and the batteries that power the tools will also power the radios.
Battery life varies by the voltage of the battery. Typical voltages include 12-volt, 18-volt, and 20-volt. The higher the voltage, the longer the battery life, but in general you can expect 25 to 35 hours of tune-playing time on a cordless battery before it needs to be recharged.
Some jobsite radios can charge other items, like cordless power tools or the batteries that operate them. This is a desirable option because you can listen to music while charging a battery for a saw or a drill.
Many jobsite radios feature one or more USB ports for charging cell phones or tablets. These USB-enabled radios may have sealed compartments to protect the phone or tablet from dust and the elements while it’s charging.
A good jobsite radio needs to be loud enough to be heard over hammering and sawing, but it should have speakers that produce good sound quality as well as volume. Many jobsite radios have multi-sided speakers that produce an immersive sound. Some have adjustable bass and treble so you can adjust the sound quality for music or for talk radio or a podcast.
Jobsite radios are designed to be portable, and most have a handle for easy carrying so you can easily move them around as needed. Depending on the brand and model, a jobsite radio can weigh anywhere from 5 pounds to 15 pounds.
Jobsite radios have a durable outer case that makes them water-resistant, but they are usually not waterproof. They can stand up to a thunderstorm, but don’t drop one in a swimming pool and expect it to work. Some of the waterproof features on jobsite radios include flip-up doors that cover USB charging ports and sealed compartments for holding batteries, phones, or keys.
Jobsite radios must be durable enough to withstand dirty, tough conditions. Some jobsite radios have protective cages that look like the roll bars on a dune buggy. They protect the radio from being damaged if it falls or gets knocked over. Some models are advertised as being able to support the weight of a person standing on them without breaking.
Some jobsite radios have compartments designed to hold small items like cell phones, screws, or nails. The radios aren’t meant to double as toolboxes. Their compartments are too small to hold hammers and other hand tools.
Our Top Picks
With our primer on jobsite radios behind you, you’re ready to shop for the best jobsite radio. Here’s a list of favorites.
The DEWALT ToughSystem Radio and Battery Charger is our top pick because it has an excellent combination of features. The ToughSystem has high-quality sound thanks to four tweeters, a subwoofer, and an assisted base resonator. It can play music loud without distorting it. The ToughSystem plays AM and FM radio and can stream music from smartphones, too, because it’s Bluetooth enabled. The ToughSystem can be powered two ways: plug it into a wall outlet, or run it on a DEWALT battery. It can charge DEWALT batteries, too, and has a USB port for charging a cell phone. It’s water- and dust-resistant and comes with a sealed compartment where you can store a cell phone while it’s charging.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good jobsite radio. The Porter Cable 20V Jobsite Radio plays AM and FM radio stations over dual speakers that provide quality sound, and it can charge batteries for your cordless tools. It’s not Bluetooth enabled, but it meets the need for music and tool battery-charging on-site. It has presets, so you can program your favorite stations, and it runs on (and charges) a Porter Cable 20-Volt cordless battery—to give you a day or so of music-playing time. The battery is sold separately. The radio has a roll bar cage to protect it if it’s dropped or knocked over, so it’s tough. And it has a carry handle on top that can be used to hang the radio from a hook so it stays out of the way.
Unlike some Bluetooth radios that pick up a signal when your smart device is nearby, the Bosch Power Box syncs with devices up to 150 feet away. It also plays AM and FM radio stations. The Bosch has speakers on all four sides, so you’ll be able to hear the music all around the jobsite. It has an aluminum- and rubber-covered roll cage to protect it from bumps, and it’s dust- and weather-resistant. It comes with a cord for plugging into an outlet, or it can run on a Bosch 18-volt cordless battery (not included). It can also charge the battery when it’s plugged into an electrical outlet. In addition, the radio has four power outlets for plugging in work lights or power tools.
The tough, sealed outer shell of the Ridgid R84087 Lithium Ion Jobsite Radio helps protect it from dust, dirt, and the elements. It provides clear, crisp sound quality and plays both AM and FM radio stations in addition to music streamed from your smart device via the radio’s Bluetooth connection. The Ridgid also features an auxiliary port for connecting an MP3 player or iPod. The radio runs on the included AC power cord, or it can be powered by a Ridgid 18-volt cordless battery (not included). It does not, however, charge a battery.
The Makita Compact Jobsite Radio weighs in at just 1 pound and is a tiny 6 inches by 12 inches, so it’s a fraction of the size and weight of most jobsite radios. You can stow it in your toolbox or slip it in a pouch on your tool belt. What the Makita radio lacks in size it makes up for in rich stereo sound with a pair of powerful speakers. It plays AM and FM radio stations and comes with an earphone jack if you want to listen to your music without bugging others. The Makita also has an auxiliary jack for plugging in an MP3 player or an iPod, but it’s not Bluetooth capable. The Makita has an impact-resistant exterior and runs for up to 30 hours on a charge of its battery (sold separately).
The DEWALT 20V MAX Jobsite Radio has a heavy-duty design with a 360-degree roll cage that protects it if it’s knocked over or hit by a falling hammer. It can be plugged into an electrical outlet or run a 12-volt, 18-volt, or 20-volt DEWALT rechargeable battery. It comes with a USB port for charging a smartphone or tablet and has an auxiliary port for connecting a CD or MP3 player. It does not charge batteries and does not sync with Bluetooth, but it has clear, high-quality sound from its speaker.
Just try to keep from busting a move when the tunes pour out of the quad speakers on the DEWALT DCR028B 12V/20V MAX Bluetooth Jobsite Radio. It has 3.5-inch woofers, 1-inch tweeters, and high-quality sound. The DEWALT radio syncs with Bluetooth devices, so you can stream your favorite music from up to 100 feet away. While the radio does not charge batteries, it has a USB port for charging a cell phone or a tablet. It operates on AC power via a plugged-in electrical cord or a DEWALT 12-volt MAX, 20-volt MAX, or FLEXVOLT battery (sold separately).
You can play music up to 35 hours (one of the longest run times available for jobsite radios) on the Makita 18V LXT. It runs on a Makita 18-volt LXT battery (sold separately). The LXT radio comes with a fold-down handle for easy carrying and has a beefed-up case, made of molded PVC to protect it from drops and impacts. It plays FM radio channels (no AM tuner on this one) and syncs with Bluetooth-enabled devices to stream music. It also has an auxiliary port for an MP3 player or iPod. High-quality speakers on both sides of the radio deliver rich sound, and the LXT resists dust and water. The LXT does not charge cordless batteries, but it does come with an AC adapter for plugging the radio into an electrical outlet.
FAQs About Jobsite Radios
Still not sure how to choose the best jobsite radio for you? Here are tips to help you make a decision.
Q. How is a jobsite radio different from a regular radio?
A jobsite radio is reinforced with padded rubber bumpers and sometimes steel roll bars to protect it from getting kicked over or having a tool fall on it.
Q. How loud should a jobsite radio be?
A jobsite radio should be loud enough to hear clearly from at least 20 feet away.
Q. Is a battery-powered jobsite radio better than a corded one?
Not necessarily. Most jobsite radios operate on both electricity and batteries. If you’re not working near an electrical outlet, a radio that can run on a battery will keep the music pumping even when the electricity isn’t.