You can take it with you: When it comes to keeping it lively on a jobsite, a radio that is loaded with features is great company. We mean radios that deliver music, sports, and news programs from AM and FM stations and, via an auxiliary input, plays MP3s or music from a smartphone or a portable CD player.

The ruggedized cordless/corded radios featured here are offered by manufacturers of corded and cordless power tools and designed to run on the same rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries that run each manufacturer’s cordless power tools. They are built to survive the rigors of a worksite and be heard above the daily din of drills, hammers, nailers, and job chatter.

Some of the radios below can charge a smartphone. Two of the units include built-in chargers that, when the radio is plugged into an outlet, can charge the Lithium-ion battery for the radio or for use in a compatible cordless tool on the jobsite. Some of the radios have permanently attached power cords while others utilize an adapter that plugs into an outlet.  

One radio includes the Radio Data System (RDS) capability. With RDS, if the radio is tuned to an RDS-enabled FM station, the radio’s LED display provides up to 64-character free-form text (static or in sync with the programming) giving station name, frequency, program type, radio text, year/day, date/day and, in standby mode, the time synchronized to the radio station clock time. Many stations in the U.S. now use this technology, which has been popular for years in Europe.

All the radios below have digital tuning, deliver quality sound from dual stereo speakers, feature backlit LCD displays, offer seek and scan to find stations, and hold a crew-friendly complement of presets. Four of the radios have rotatable external antennas; one has a fixed external antenna. 

1/ The well-designed compact Makita 18V Job Site Radio (LXRM03B) with iPod docking features water-resistant construction, protective bumpers on all sides, front chrome bars that shield the radio controls from repercussions of a forward fall, a removable screw-on/off flexible antenna, and a large fold-down handle that makes it easy to carry close to the body. The radio, which has 3” side-firing speakers, includes the RDS function and when tuned to an RDS-enabled station, will display a wealth of static and scrolling information on what’s playing. There is a provision for storing the antenna. A flip-up cover on top shields a dedicated iPod/iPhone docking port with universal dock adapter, the only radio covered here with that feature. The iPod or iPhone music control functions can be handled by the radio menu controls. There’s one auxiliary input socket on the bottom front, protected by a rubber seal, and a second inside the battery case. There are five AM and five FM presets. A user can switch from stereo to mono to enhance weak FM reception. A 12V DC transformer is included for line voltage. Makita also makes the smaller jobsite radio BMR 100. 

Battery: Makita 7.2V - 18V slide-style and pod-style batteries, sold separately
Dimensions: 11” x 11 7/8 x 6 3/8”
Weight: 10.4 lbs. with an 18V LXT battery.
Run-time: 16 hours with 18V LXT Lithium-ion battery and 8 hours with 18V Compact Lithium-ion battery
Built-in battery charger: no
Built-in smartphone charger: yes
Warranty: 3 year

Pros: Sturdy, stylish, delivers rich sound
Cons: No equalizer, though it does have loudness control. Antenna does not rotate

2/ Encased in a reinforced rollcage and sporting one top and two side metal handles, the Milwaukee M18™ Jobsite Radio/Charger 2792-20 features front-facing stereo speakers, a large LCD display that stays lit when the radio is on, and a powerful 40 watt amplifier. The radio offers 10 FM and 10 AM pre-sets and a customizable equalizer to adjust treble and bass. The unit is Bluetooth compatible, expanding music options to include input and control from another Bluetooth enabled device. The built-in 3-amp charger will quick-charge any M18 battery when the radio is line powered. There’s a large weather-sealed storage compartment on top with a USB power outlet and a stereo aux jack for plugging in an MP3 player or other electronic device, and a bottle opener tucked under the top roll bar. A customizable equalizer supports adjustment of bass and treble. When on battery, the unit automatically shuts down if the charge is very low, preventing a deep discharge. The power cord is attached directly to the radio and wraps around fittings for storage. Milwaukee also offers the quite smaller 2790-20 and the much smaller M12 Wireless Jobsite Speaker (2592-20)

Battery: M18™ Lithium-ion 18V Battery, sold separately
Dimensions: 12” x 15” x 12”
Weight: 17 lbs. without battery 
Run-time: About 3 hours at full volume with an M18 4.0 XC battery; about 1.5 hours at full volume with an M18 2.0 battery
Built-in battery charger: yes
Built-in smartphone charger: yes
Warranty: one year

Pros: Bluetooth enabled; lots of power for a large jobsite; always-lit-when-on large LCD display
Con: very heavy; no dedicated preset buttons – setting up to 10 AM and 10 FM presets requires multiple steps

3/ The nicely contoured, easy-to-carry Bosch PB 120 12V Compact Radio is just three inches deep. It has high strength shock-absorbing housing and full-height handles that serve as protection against forward falls. The radio stands on two broad feet and has screw mounts on the back for hanging. The battery plugs into the battery port on the underside of the unit. The radio has high performance neodymium 5 watt speakers which feature rare-metal lightweight magnets (rather than conventional ceramic magnets) that minimize distortion when the volume is turned up. The unit offers advanced digital signal processing, 5 FM and 5AM presets, a flexible pivoting fold-down antenna, and an equalizer for bass and treble adjustments. A fuel gauge on the LED display indicates remaining battery charge. The 12V AC adapter and an auxiliary cable store neatly in a hard-backed compartment. Bosch also offers a slightly larger PB 180 18V Compact Jobsite Radio and a very large Power Box 360S Jobsite AM/FM Stereo, with 30 presets, 5 preset equalizer settings, and a battery charger bay.   

Battery: Bosch 12V Max Lithium-ion (sold separately)
Dimensions: 12” x 2.8” x 7.5”
Weight: 3.1 lbs. without battery 
Run time: 16 hours with 4.0 battery; 8 hours with 2.0 battery  
Built-in battery charger: no
Built-in smartphone charger: no
Warranty: 3 years on radio, 2 years battery coverage

Pros: powerful sound for a small radio; compact and easy to carry 
Cons: absence of an integrated USB charging port for a cellphone or other music input device 

4/ The medium sized DeWalt DCR015 12V/20V Max Li-ion Heavy Duty Work Site Charger/Radio offers four modes – AM, FM1 and FM2, and auxiliary – and supports  5 AM and 10 FM stations, seek and scan, and equalizer control of bass and treble. When plugged into line voltage, the radio can charge a battery for DeWalt cordless power tools. A red light, blinking or fixed, indicates the status of the charge. The unit has an auxiliary port and a USB port which can be used for charging a phone when the radio is plugged into an outlet. The attached power cord wraps around the side of the unit for storage. There are two 120V pass-thru receptacles which, together, can draw up to 10 amps, a convenience when outlets are at a premium. Two loops on the handle facilitate hanging. A snap-close side compartment will hold a phone or MP3 player for storage or for playing, with control remaining on the device. DeWalt also offers the DCR018 18V/20V MAX/12V MAX Compact Worksite Radio, the DC012 Worksite Charger/Radio, the DC011 Worksite Radio/Charger, and the recently released DCR006 Jobsite Bluetooth Speaker.   

Battery:  12V Max and 20V MAX (sold separately)
Dimensions: 16” x 9 7/8” x 12”
Weight: 13 lbs. without battery
Run time: up to 8 hours on a 20V battery
Built-in battery charger: yes
Built-in smartphone charger: yes
Warranty: 90 day money back guarantee, 1 year free service contract, 3 year limited warranty

Pro: When the radio is plugged into an AC power outlet, a charger selection switch in the battery compartment allows setting the device to its lowest power consuming state – charger only, disabling the radio but maximizing the charging capability.   
Con: heavy

5/ The water-resistant RIDGID: X4-18Volt Cordless Jobsite Radio R84083 features substantial ShockMount™ protective armor designed to absorb impact from all sides, phase-lock loop digital for enhanced reception, a fold-down antenna, five memory preset buttons which can each be set for AM, FM1, and FM2 (for a total of 15 stations), and a connection point for an optional standard wire-style FM antenna to improve indoor reception. The FM mode can be played in stereo or mono, which would enhance a weak signal. The radio has a phone/MP3 compatible auxiliary input (though there is no communication capability beyond volume) and a USB port for charging a phone or other mobile devices. The display shows bass and treble settings (which are adjustable), the preset number, the frequency and mode of the station being played, and indication of remaining battery power. The radio displays the time when the radio is on. The power cord is permanently connected to the radio and can be wrapped around the feet for storage and transport.

Battery: RIDGID 18V Lithium ion (sold separately)
Dimensions: 19.88” x 11.61” x 10.24”
Weight: 12.60 lbs. without battery; 13.65 lbs. with compact battery
Run-time: 8–20 hours depending upon the size of the battery, volume, and USB usage
Built-in battery charger: no 
Built-in smartphone charger: yes
Warranty: 3 years

Pros: total of 15 presets; provision for external antenna
Cons: very deep front to back and does not feel balanced when carrying

6/ The nicely scaled and compact Porter-Cable PCC771B 20V MAX Radio with Bluetooth has front and back roll bars that fully protect all sides, with the back bar doubling as two handles. The radio offers four modes: FM, AM, auxiliary, and Bluetooth. A phone can be plugged in through the aux port or paired with Bluetooth and when the cellphone receives a call, it rings through the radio speakers. With a Samsung phone, the caller’s voice is heard through the radio until transferred to phone; with an iPhone, the call is taken through the phone. With both phones, the radio remains mute until the call is terminated. The radio supports 6 FM and 6 AM scroll-based presets and seek and scan and includes an equalizer to adjust bass and treble. The LCD display can, selectively, show clock time, mode, frequency, and volume. To run cordless, the battery affixes externally to the battery port in the back. Hang loops on both sides allow for the radio to hang off a string. An AC adapter is included. Porter Cable also offers the 18V PC 18JR bare cordless/120V AC corded jobsite radio.

Battery: Porter-Cable 20V MAX Lithium Ion Battery (not included)
Dimensions: 12.4” x 6” x 5.6”
Weight: 3.2 lbs. without battery
Run time: up to 7 hours
Built-in battery charger: no
Built-in smartphone charger: no
Warranty: 90 day money back guarantee, 1 year free service, 3 year limited warranty

Pros: Bluetooth enabled; small, light and very portable
Cons: cannot charge a smartphone; no dedicated preset buttons so programming in presets is a multi-step process and ditto for playing presets