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Tips for Choosing a Jobsite Radio

Updated on September 27, 2011

Do You Want a Rugged Jobsite Radio?

Jobsite radios are designed to withstand the harsh and potentially dangerous environment on a worksite. They can also be useful in a workshop, outdoors, at the beach, and in other rugged conditions as well.

These rugged radios should provide good listening while withstanding exposure to moisture, dust, dirt, and even the shock of being dropped or having things falling on them.

On this page you can see some of the best jobsite radios on the market as judged by the people who use them everyday.

What Features Does a Good Jobsite Radio Have?

A good jobsite radio should provide at least two things, good sound and a tough exterior to last a long time despite harsh conditions. Here are some of the must have features:

  • A tough exterior
    Most of these rugged radios will be constructed from heavy duty plastic/polymers and steel. They should offer a roll cage or, at a minimum, a safety bar/handle and rubber bumpers to protect them in case of a fall or having other items dropped on them.
  • Easy Controls
    Large buttons and knobs can make these jobsite radios easier to operate even if you're wearing work gloves.
  • Dust and Moisture resistance
    For a radio to really be rugged it needs to tolerate the dirt, grime, sand, and so forth that is often present in any workshop or outdoors. They should also be able to stand up to a spill, some splatters, and maybe even an unexpected rain. They need waterproof housings, rubber gaskets, and seals. Waterproof electronic components and speakers are especially critical.
  • Power Flexibility
    A radio that will function off of batteries allows you to work with fewer cords cluttering walkways and work spaces, which is a plus for safety. Batteries also allow you to enjoy the radio even when AC power isn't available. Some of these radios will offer longer playback time per charge than others, so be sure you know what to expect.

    Of course having the ability to use AC power is also good for those times when battery power runs low.
  • Other Functions
    A good jobsite radio can also provide functions which can be critical at work. Many of them can charge other devices. From power tools to cell phones and more, these radios can be a convenient and portable power source. In addition, they may provide a clock, a light, and even access to weatherband radio to keep you informed of current conditions.
  • Music
    Yes, the music is important too. A radio should obviously provide the entertainment or distraction you want. Most of these jobsite radios will provide an AM/FM digital tuner and exterior, adjustable antenna. Some of them will offer more listening options. For instance, they may have a built in CD player or ports for media players, satellite radio receivers, and so forth. Audio quality can be dependent upon how well the radio receives stations as well as the power, the subwoofer, and tweeter sizes, and so forth. Listening to the radio before buying is the best way to assure the sound will satisfy you.


Milwaukee makes some of the most rugged radios available. The first jobsite radio featured here offers an impact resistant rugged plastic shell, steel handle and blow-resistant base as well as weatherproof speakers. It provides FM stereo radio with 20 station presets, a digital clock, NOAA weather radio, connectivity with CD players, and a port for media players and cell phones for charging. It offers great sound and 3 level EQ Bass Boost. It will operate on 18/28 volt lithium ion batteries, 12/18 volt Ni-Cad batteries, or a standard 110V outlet. It has a 10 foot power cord, storage bag, and weighs 22lbs. It comes with a one year warranty.

The second model from Milwaukee, features a digital AM/FM tuner with weatherproof 4" woofers and 1" tweeters housed within a shock absorbing polymer/steel exterior. It includes a weather sealed MP3 compartment, equalizer with customizable bass and treble, 1/8" stereo jack, and built-in bottle opener. It features a 40 watt amplifier and comes with a vehicle charger. This rugged radio will operate with 12V-28V M series, V series, or NiCad batteries or via 120V outlet. It weight 17.5lbs.

The third option from Milwaukee is a smaller and more affordable option. It provides a digital AM/FM tuner and media player compatibility. It features weatherproof aluminum speakers and a weather sealed MP3 player compartment all within a shock absorbing housing. It runs off of a li-ion battery pack or the AC adapter. It measures a mere 7" x 10.5" and weighs 3.5lbs.

A Look at the Milwaukee 2790-20


Makita offers this rugged radio which has protective bumpers, weather resistant components, and a retractable top handle with rubber grip. It features two powerful 3.25 inch side firing speakers for excellent stereo sound, a digital AM/FM tuner with 10 station presets, an on/off timer, and MP3 player compatibility making it one of the best jobsite radios.

This device also has a clock and a very portable design. It weighs only 9.2lbs and operates on either an 18V li-ion battery pack or through the AC adapter. It provides 8 to 16 hours of listening per charge and comes with a 3 year warranty.

A Look at the Makita BMR100W


Bosch offers several rugged radios that are great for the worksite. This first option provides an AM/FM radio, CD player with anti-skip features, and an auxillary input for MP3 players. It can also charge your Bosch tools as well as your cell phone and other 12V equipment. This device offers separate controls for bass and treble, a 3.5 watt built-in amplifier, 4 preset equalizer settings, and a keychain remote control.

It's built to withstand the rigors of the jobsite with sealed buttons, speakers, and battery chamber as well as a tough aluminum roll cage that allows it to withstand falls from 10 feet. It operates off of 12V, 14.4V, 18V, and 24V batteries or the AC adapter. It measures 14" x 14" x 14" and weighs 21lbs.

The second Bosch jobsite radio featured here has the same great weather resistant design and rubber aluminum roll cage. It offers 4 speakers plus a subwoofer to project sound in all directions. It offers 26 watt sound output and a digital media bay with a powered USB port and SD/MMC card slot. It has 2 inputs for MP3, CD, or portable satellite receivers.

A Look at the Bosch PB360S


This Dewalt radio is a charger for Dewalt battery packs and will operate with batteries or via AC power. It features and AM/FM tuner with 15 station presets, clock, and weather resistant speakers. It also offers connections for CD players, MP3 players, and portable satellite receivers.

A Look at the DeWalt DC012


Here are two rugged radios from Sangean. The first is a compact model measuring 11.8" x 9" x 7.3" and weighing 6.8lbs. It offers an AM/FM radio with 5 FM and 5 AM preset stations. It's housed in durable ABS plastic and a roll cage. It's also rain, dust, and shock resistant. It features a backlit LCD screen which is easy to read in daylight or at nighttime. It operates off of batteries or AC power and has a 9ft power cord.

The second Sangean jobsite radio is a water resistant model with 6.5" full range speakers, microphone input for use as a loudspeaker, auxillary input for MP3 players, and a built-in flashlight. The sound is perfect for bass lovers. It operates off of 6D batteries, AC power, or your car. It measures 16" x 10.9" x 10.5" and weighs 11lbs.


This Sony radio has the rubber gaskets, bushings, and waterproof seals to make it water and dust resistant. It also boasts a high impact, durable housing and safeguard bar to protect it from falling debris or having heavy objects stacked on top of it.

It has large, easy to manipulate controls and offers a digital AM/FM tunner, CD player, and auxillary input for media players. It is a rugged radio that's perfect for the jobsite, workshop, or any place outdoors. It operates off of D cell batteries or via the AC adapter. It measures 20.12" x 9.6" x 6.06" and comes with a 1 year warranty.


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    • AllyWally profile image

      AllyWally 6 years ago from Subang, Malaysia

      My husband used to have one of this in his workshop, his workers loved to turn it on while doing their jobs.

    • KenWu profile image

      KenWu 6 years ago from Malaysia

      This kind of radio is not only perfect for jobsite but also people who love adventures. Good companion for camping and fishing.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      How very interesting! I have never heard of such radios before, but it makes perfect sense.

      Thanks for this.

      Love and peace


    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      Jobsite radios are very useful for hunting, fishing and just being out and about in the garden especially if you have a few boys you need sturdy!