You mop the sweat off your brow in your workshop. You’re only halfway through the workday, and all you can think is, “If only I had some music to keep me energized …” That is exactly what you can do with a jobsite radio! There is nothing like being able to bring your favorite music and talk radio with you wherever you go. Whether you want some music to keep you pumped up on the job or you want to enjoy your music on a boat or at the beach, a jobsite radio can keep you entertained through rain and shine.
If you are considering purchasing a jobsite radio, but do not know where to start, you can compare prices and features for top-selling models in our comparison chart below.
Still not sure what you need to shop for in a jobsite radio? Read on to learn everything about these handy appliances.
What is a Jobsite Radio?
A jobsite radio is a rugged AM/FM radio unit you can take with you anywhere. Many (but not all) jobsite radios feature a roll-cage design, perfect for construction sites and ideal for transportation. Jobsite radios often are water-resistant and dust-resistant, enabling them to function even under harsh conditions. Quite a few models are shock-resistant as well.
Questions to Ask When Shopping for a Jobsite Radio
What kind of environment will you be using the jobsite radio in?
This is one of the first questions you need to ask yourself, because it has an impact on the features you need to look for. If you will only be using the radio indoors, moisture protection may be irrelevant. But if you will be using it outside, it is vital. Dust protection is essential at construction sites, but also important in indoor workshops. Shock absorption is critical if you will be transporting the radio on a regular basis, but may not be as vital if the radio will usually remain in one location. But that depends on the nature of the site.
What power hookups will be available?
Will you have an AC or DC hookup? Or will you have to rely on battery power? Make sure that the power options for the jobsite radio match the options you have available at the site.
Features and Add-Ons to Look For When Shopping for a Jobsite Radio
If you enjoy listening to your own music files or you want to listen to satellite radio, you should look for a jobsite radio which includes a 3.5 mm auxiliary input port. This allows you to plug in a portable satellite receiver, MP3 player, mobile device, or CD player. That way you can enjoy music from other sources.
If you are going to be using the radio outdoors or in a poorly sheltered area (a leaky workshop for example), you should definitely make sure that the unit includes sufficient weatherproofing. Check the water resistance rating to make sure that the device will still work if it starts to rain. Remember, though, no matter how strong the water resistance is, there is no such thing as complete waterproofing; you radio will still fail if it is submerged.
Volume and sound quality
This is particularly important when you are shopping for a jobsite radio. Not only do you want crystal clear audio, but you want a radio which is loud. Sound scatters outdoors because there is nothing to contain it. Couple that with the noise of drills and hammers at a construction site, and it can be a struggle to hear most conventional radios.
Check the decibel rating and read customer reviews to see how loud the radio is. You might also want a device with dynamic loudness which can adjust its volume in response to rising and falling levels of environmental noise.
Customer reviews can also provide you with information on the quality of the bass and treble. You want strong bass notes, but you do not want treble notes to be drowned out either. A subwoofer is a great feature for amplifying and rounding out sound quality while deepening bass notes without subsuming higher frequencies.
Presets for stations and equalizer settings
Speaking of equalizer settings, a high quality jobsite radio will provide you with several presets. This can be quite helpful if other people at the jobsite will be using the radio on other shifts. If they have different preferences, it is easy to switch back and forth without erasing settings. Look for a large set of station presets as well.
All the sound quality in the world will not matter if you do not get strong, clear reception on your radio. This is especially important if your worksite is somewhat remote, but still within radio range.
Battery life and charging options
Some customers purchase a jobsite radio expecting it to have an onboard charter, and are dismayed if it does not.
This is something to pay extra close attention to when you are shopping. If you are intent on purchasing a radio which can charge your batteries when plugged in, then you will need to make sure that is in the description. The downside of having a charger onboard is a heavier, bulkier radio which is harder to transport—but for many buyers, that trade-off is worth it.
Alternately, you can buy a smaller, lighter radio that does not include a charger. If you go this route, you will need to purchase the charger separately. So take that extra expense into account.
Also make sure you check to see what the battery life is for each charge. Eight or more hours is perfect for a standard workday.
Now that you know all about the important features you need to look for in a jobsite radio, you are ready to purchase your own! Scroll back up to the top of the page to take a closer look at our comparison chart. There you can view features and prices for top models!
Bosch PB360S: Excellent quality sound & AUX inputs galore
The Bosch PB360s might very well be the best sounding jobsite radio on the market today. Most work radios are only good for listening to talk radio, but the PB360s’s speakers have great range and put out excellent quality sound. Also, the PB360 is extremely power efficient compared to other work radios. You can easily get 20 hours of music out of a single charge.
- Awesome sound quality. The PB360S’s speakers blow away other jobsite radios.
- Strong connectivity features. This radio’s many input options make it easy to connect external devices (smartphones, CD players, etc.)
- Extremely rugged. The PB360S is more than just tough, it’s practically indestructible.
- Multiple power outlets. In addition to USB, the PB360S also sports a 12v car charger style outlet.
- Great batteries. A single charge yields 20 hours of uninterrupted music.
- Expandable storage. The PB360S’s SD card slot allows you to store an unlimited number of songs.
- Excellent reception. Far away stations that sound fuzzy on other radios come in loud and clear.
Weighing in at just over 25 pounds, this heavy duty jobsite radio is a little on the heavy side and could be a pain to lug around.
DeWalt DCR018: A sturdy, lightweight jobsite radio solution
If you stay in one spot all day at work, it’s not a big deal if your work radio is a bit heavy. But if you’re constantly moving from location to location, you need a mobile option– like the Dewalt DCR018. The DCR018 weighs only 6 pounds, yet it’s just as sturdy and loud as jobsite radios that are twice as heavy.
- Lightweight convenience. The DCR018 is one of the lightest work radios on the market.
- Carrying handle. When you’re ready to move to a new spot, just pick it up by its carrying handle and go.
- Dust resistant “lunch box” style case. The DCR018’s bright yellow shell protects its sensitive electronic components.
- Route music in via the AUX jack. Any music player that has a standard headphone jack can connect in.
- Rough and tough. Even though it’s light, the DCR018 is just as durable as any work radio.
- Backlit display. The LED display is basic, but very easy to read.
- Above average sound. The DCR018’s speakers are loud, clear and great for listening to news broadcasts and talk radio.
The DeWalt DCR018’s lack of a built-in rechargeable battery pack is the only thing stopping this very good radio from being a great one.
Sangean LB-100: Compact and weather resistant
If you usually work outside, that means that you need a radio that can handle temperature extremes, sun exposure, wind, rain and snow. The LB-100 by Sangean can handle any type of weather Mother Nature throws at it. It’s a rugged outdoor radio that can withstand full water immersion, not just an accidental water splash or a light drizzle of rain.
- Loud, bassy speakers. Pop and rap music sounds good through the LB-100.
- Large display. This radio’s easy-to-read LCD screen features backlight functionality and measures 2.24″ x 0.98.
- Cord safety feature. The plastic nubs on the back allow you to wrap up excess cord and minimize trip hazards.
- Strong AM and FM reception. The LB-100’s surprisingly powerful antenna allows you to pick up far away radio stations.
- Easy to use with gloves. The extra big knobs and buttons were designed with construction workers in mind.
- 100% waterproof. This radio meets all JIS4 waterproof requirements.
- Shock resistant. The LB-100 won’t stop working if you drop it.
This radio’s bassy internal speakers sound good with music, but all that boomy bass reduces the clarity of news broadcasts and talk radio programs.