6 Best Jobsite Radios for 2020

Any job can become monotonous, perhaps even boring. Or the need for 3rd party intervention is necessary to accompany your throughout the day.
From developers to couriers to carpenters we listen to music and speech all through the day, everyday, everywhere. Not just for entertainment but to relax and connect with our environment and ourselves.

On a job site in particular conversations can turn redundant (on a side note this article may share some ideas on interactions at work) between co-workers if not impossible to process resulting in the quality of output being affected.
Lethargy can creep in. Not always of course, but the potential is there especially when thoughts and feelings can interrupt your rhythm.

So, in terms of health & safety, and to keep the troops humming away, banging to the beats or even attempt to ‘sing’ you can invest in a quality jobsite radio to provide audible relief from the stresses of the workplace thus increase productivity, camaraderie and even education!

The Basics of the Jobsite Radio

The jobsite radios are generally built for durability, harmony and portability.
Before purchasing a jobsite radio however, there are a few things to consider.
Audio technology has advanced well beyond the days of workers carrying a boombox or sticking a transistor radio on the bench thats barely audible to anyone within 10ft. I remember my work placement. Someone bonded an old JVC amp to an old Hitachi Ghetto Blaster just to get above the noise of the of the air-tools. Wow. Those days were resourceful but limited. 
We now have brand colored, military-grade, weatherproofed, shock absorbing blasters with endcaps, grills covering the speakers, dust resistant, weather sealed compartments, and even roll-cages.
Some of these should belong on the set of Terminator they look so rugged. Leaps and bounds they’ve come on.

Features

When purchasing a jobsite radio, you should consider how it is powered.
Most of them are cordless with rechargeable batteries range from 7 to 18 volts or house alkaline batteries.
Runtime is important if you don’t have a batch of batteries. You may want something mains powered or find a space for the radio close to the mains for continuous use. 
Most have cords, which can be used when the batteries are not charged or when they are run down.

Considering how loud jobsites can get you will need something capable of high volume so power and sound quality are of major importance. On top of that you should consider how you will play music on the radio.
Will you mainly use USB connection, AUX cable, or Bluetooth?
Each of these have an impact on the battery life as well as volume levels.

Other considerations include:

Do you want to have a radio that can charge your device?
Do you want a radio that can provide an extra outlet for power tools
Are the batteries the same as those you use for your power tools

Our Workshop Radios

Makita’s tools are tiptop as far as I’m concerned. Drills, saws, sanders – bread & butter. I’d buy these all day long (if I could afford them). However, when it comes to audio they’re not exactly the first name that springs to mind.
Exceptional tool makers they may be but their audio merits were totally non-existent.

Audio in the workshop was delivered through a hybrid Yamaha subwoofer fudged with a USB interface stuck into the rear panel. It worked; it still does – It was relegated to my house and use it at when working outside. And performs very well in fact.
Yes, it was a tad bass heavy for but it did the trick despite its poor aesthetics and cumbersome bulk.
Solid as well a powerful…sounds remarkably like a Makita drill yet knew its days were numbered being the lump that it was.

Yamaha hybrid trooper - still going strong!

Then one afternoon it happened. 
Whilst away onsite it was decided our sub-biased contraption needed replacing.
Without consulting me (I’m probably the only one in the workshop with any audiophile tendencies) the decision to buy MORE Makita equipment was taken. 
Initially I believed my sensory insight was foolishly snubbed by a group of philistines I happen to share space with, however quickly realized it was me who’d missed the point.

Enter Makita!

The Makita LXT in standard ‘Makita blue’ (has this color been officially registered!?) blended seamlessly into the workshop. The blues complimented the greys splendidly but it wasn’t aesthetics that swung it.
There was method in the perceived madness. Logic behind the pragmatism.
The penny dropped as I studied the new kind on the block – all the batteries we use for the Makita tools fit the LXT radio.
Cunning. Very cunning.
Substance, style and sensible choices. There was little room to argue.
It may not have been the harmonies that sold it but it was certainly a solid choice and monumentally practical.
And honestly, it looked the part.

Feature-wise, Bluetooth was the big plus for wireless connectivity and streaming from our phones.
The sound filled the workshop with no problems with volume at regularly at 50%.
Indie/hard rock & electro is the preferred music in the shop so those tones leant themselves kindly to the natural reverb of the shop highlighting the mid-low range frequencies smoothly.
That said, I’m less of a conformer, preferring lectures and podcasts over contemporary radio hits when on my own.
Even with speech the mid ranges are well catered for and audio is clear.

We later took on another workshop next door so needed another radio.
This time I did a bit of research however the decision was more or less made for us; we have the batteries BUT NOW had the choice to opt for the digital radio version of the LXT.
Decent sound yet without the benefit of having Bluetooth. BUT we had digital stations!
This is the Planet of Sound.

Our reliable Makita radio circa 2014
DAB Makita in fetching white circa 2016

Best 6 Jobsite Radios for 2020

Power Sources

Weight (lbs)

Radio

Bluetooth

Bosch PB360S

18V battery & 120V mains (radio charges battery)

24

AM/FM

yes

DEWALT DCR018

20V battery & 120V mains (radio charges battery)

6

no

no

Sangean LB-100

4 x C-type batteries & 120V mains

6.8

AM/FM

no

Makita XRM04B

7.2 to 18V LXT & 120V mains power

10.8

AM/FM

yes

DEWALT DC012

7.2 to 18V & 120V mains power

14.25

AM/FM

no

Makita XRM05 18V LXT

7.2 to 18V LXT & 120V mains power

10.5

AM/FM

no

#1 Bosch PB360S

Why this radio?

If I could choose the next radio for the workshops, purely on features and sound quality it would be the the Bosch PB360.
It has four speakers and a subwoofer built in, which ensures that the harsh sounds in the jobsite are left as background noise to soothing music.
It has a heavy duty exterior and numerous connectivity options that makes it very durable; an exoskeletal roll-cage ensures that. This does however compromise on weight making it a bit less portable.
This jobsite radio also comes with a built-in charger and a reliable battery life that outlasts numerous jobsite radios.

Pros

  • Top-notch sound quality
  • Only jobsite radio that has a subwoofer
  • Durable, heavy duty exterior
  • Bluetooth connection
  • Built-in charger

Cons

  • Weight
  • No batteries included

Key features:

  • 4 speakers plus subwoofer
  • Premium 360-degree stereo sound
  • SD/USB/auxiliary/line-out capability
  • Digital tuner
  • Weather-resistant
  • 26 watts
  • Dimensions 14.5 x 14 x 13.5″
  • Charges Bosch 14.4V to 18V Li-Ion batteries & 120V mains power
  • 4-way power outlets
  • 1-year warranty

Who’ll use this radio? Workshop use preferably. 

The Bosch PB360 is more suitable for a long-term position but the weight might make it less practical for nomadic workers.
Weighs 24lbs.

Summary

I love the sound of my music, and finding something that produces reliably good frequencies across the spectrum whilst simultaneously cutting through the workshop din needs to be formidable in build and rugged throughout.
This one from Bosch is the nuts and I WILL RECOMMEND this to the boys when ours need replacing (sooner that they think!)

#2 DEWALT DCR018

Why this radio?

The DeWalt DCR018 has the best value for money.
It has high-quality reception and playback, AUX cable connectivity, it is water proof, durable and it has storage space for connected devices.
Its durability makes it perfect for busy jobsites and even though it lacks a charger, it provides 8+ hours of nonstop music for workers.
It is very portable and it serves nomadic workers well. It is important to note that only the 20 Volt version comes with batteries.

Pros

  • Water proof
  • High-quality audio
  • Good radio reception
  • Strong and compact
  • Long battery life
  • Storage for other devices
  • Includes AUX cable

Cons

  • Batteries and charger are sold separately
  • Doesn’t charge the batteries when it is plugged in
  • No Bluetooth

Key features:

  • Uses 12V MAX/18V/20V MAX battery packs
  • AC/DC corded power option
  • Device storage box
  • USB power port
  • Auxiliary input
  • Heavy duty design
  • 3-year warranty & 1-year service

Who’ll use this radio?  Workshop & Outdoors 

This little monster is powerful and portable enough to sit sweetly in the workshop, on your travels or outside in the rain (if you’r unfortunate enough to be in the rain working). Nomadic workers rejoice.

Summary

This cool little box from DeWalt has the basic features to get you connected and grooving. Portable and versatile its something I’ll be looking at for the fall projects. Robust as you’d expect from DeWalt. 

#3 Sangean LB-100

Why this radio?

The Sangean LB-100 is a budget friendly jobsite radio first and foremost that provides satisfactory quality and durability.
It has an AM/FM radio and 10 preset-able channels, it is resistant to dust, heat and water, and it is remarkably loud whilst maintaining clarity compared to other jobsite radios in this class.
It’s compact and simple making it an idea radio if a requirement is purly that – a broadcast AM/FM radio.
Its fit for purpose so features no AUX cable input and Bluetooth connectivity.
It even has a flexible antenna to make it more durable to site behavior.

Pros

  • It is small, light and compact
  • Simple and reliable
  • Budget friendly
  • Water proof
  • It has a long power cord
  • Clear sound

Cons

  • No AUX input, USB port or Bluetooth.
  • No tone controls.
  • No clock.
  • Antenna does not fold down.
  • Mono

Key Features:

  • Rain and dust resistant
  • Rugged, industrial grade AM/FM radio
  • Input Power: AC, Four (4) C Batteries
  • 6 Equalizer Presets with Bass Boost
  • 1-year warranty

Who’ll use this radio?  Garage / Workshop & Outdoors 

Sangean have produced a fit for purpose radio that will work at home, in a small work shop or outdoors.
Portable for travellers too.

Summary

Fit for purpose device from Sangean.
Small AM/FM radio that will take a knock or two. Stands up to the harsh workshop and outdoors environments.
Despite not boasting the digital features that make our lives less ‘stressful’ the radio does what it says on the tin providing good clear broadcasting of radio. Good value for money.

#4 Makita XRM04B

Why this radio?

As testified above, our Makita’s continue to do the business for us. Well used, seldom abused (accidentally of course) and utterly reliable!
The Makita XRM04B has an impressive balance of high-end features and high-quality sound including:
an AUX cable input, AM/FM setting, a digital LED screen, a hard-plastic outer casing, an alarm clock, and protective bumpers to increase durability.
It has a long battery life that makes it suitable for places that do not have a power source.
What’s more, it is cordless and portable.
This radio can charge other devices but the chargers are bought separately (click for options).

Pros

  • Alarm
  • High quality sound
  • Robust design
  • Easy to carry
  • Bluetooth connectivity.

Cons

  • Batteries not included
  • Does not charge batteries
  • No EQ

Key features:

  • Runs on 18V LXT Lithium-Ion 5.0Ah or 18V Compact Lithium-Ion 2.0Ah batteries
  • Runs up to 20 hours on 18V LXT
  • Aux input, USB port & Bluetooth connectivity
  • Water and dust resistant
  • 3-year warranty

Who’ll use this radio?  Garage / Workshop

Works very effectively in our 1500 sqft shop.
We listen to mainly alternative & electro music and podcasts throughout the day so most frequencies are covered without fuss. Our workshop is full of carpenters and joiners cutting, joining and shaping throughout the day yet the music, whilst not at full blast, cuts through the din nicely. Light enough to be transported to site without issue.

Summary

Monolithic design with stereophonic sound gives this radio a dominant presence without being dominating physically. 
Rugged, boxy, compact and pretty loud this will perform without compromise on sound quality.
Well served by the LXT battery range so will happily fit into Makita stocked workshops.
Serious contender for a workshop stalwart. If you want an unassuming radio comfortable in the fore or background this is the one for you.

#5 DEWALT DC012

Why this radio?

The DeWalt DC012 has the honor of appearing like a traditional stereo while simultaneously resembling something that propels you under water. I like it.
This baby is not flashy but is a solid device offering both AM/FM frequencies and has an AUX port.
Boasting a protectively strong exterior, the DC012 can charge all DeWalt 7.2V to 18V battery packs while still functioning as a radio, and although slightly heavier than most jobsite radios reviewed it all-round handles make it easy to lug about the workshop and on site.

Pros

  • Simultaneous charging and playback
  • Fast charging (charges in one hour)
  • Robust design
  • Weather proof
  • Three power ports
  • Loud

Cons

  • No batteries included
  • No USB port or Bluetooth
  • Weight

Key features:

  • Runs off of 12V to 18V DEWALT batteries
  • Weather resistant
  • Dual bass ports
  • Auxiliary port
  • Cord option
  • 3-year warranty & 1-year service

Who’ll use this radio?  Garage / Workshop & Outdoors 

Sangean have produced a fit for purpose radio that will work at home, in a small work shop or outdoors.
Portable for travellers too.

Summary

This device from DeWalt, whilst not boasting the best of anything (sound, features or weight) has a unique attribute in this list by housing an onboard multifunctional charger, making it very appealing for people who need additional power outlets.
Not withstanding the output, the sound is more than satisfactory. The settings and functions are easy to use.
This radio is not limited by exposure to the elements and it is loud enough for many worksites.
Need power and sound? Here Comes Your Man.

#6 Makita XRM05

Why this radio?

Again, as testified above, our original Makita LXT radio that usurped the fetchingly gorgeous bass-heavy Yamaha, is still a fabulous unit who perches proudly on top of the edge bander, HAL 9000-esque as it watches everything in the shop, without the threat of being replaced anytime soon.  
The Makita XRM05 LXT boasts an equally impressive set of attributes without having digital capability.
Like I stated its compatibility with the 18V battery range makes it a logical choice for anyone using Makita LXT tools.
It has a long battery life that makes it suitable for places that do not have a power source.
What’s more, it is cordless and portable.

Pros

  • Alarm
  • High quality sound
  • Robust design
  • Easy to carry

Cons

  • Batteries not included
  • Does not charge batteries
  • No EQ
  • No Bluetooth

Key features:

  • Runs on 18V LXT Lithium-Ion 5.0Ah or 18V Compact Lithium-Ion 2.0Ah batteries
  • Runs up to 35 hours on 18V LXT
  • two powerful 3″ side-firing speakers
  • AM/FM frequencies
  • Water and dust resistant
  • 3-year warranty

Who’ll use this radio?  Garage / Workshop

The Makita LXT is housed in our 900sqft shop. Most of our heavy equipment sits in there (bench saws, edge banders, compressors, extraction fans. And despite the infrequent use of these, the sound can be heardvery effectively in our 1500 sqft shop.
We listen to mainly alternative & electro music and podcasts throughout the day so most frequencies are covered without fuss. Our workshop is full of carpenters and joiners cutting, joining and shaping throughout the day yet the music, whilst not at full blast, cuts through the din nicely. Light enough to be transported to site without issue.

Summary

The Don of the workshop. This is the OG and it still punches above its weight. 
Imposing build with the same monolithic design as the XRM04B this chief also boasts stereophonic sound, great build quality and small footprint so sits comfortably in and out of the limelight.
Like-for-like rugged, boxy, compact build with excellent volume, filling the room warmly.
No Bluetooth is the only negative.
Again – well served by the LXT battery range so will happily fit into Makita stocked workshops.
Need a tried and tested workhorse? This Must Be The Place