Which Job Site Radio Is Best?
Recently a debate among fellow carpenters on the job site over which job site radio was the best lead me to take a closer look at three major manufacturers.
I chose to look at four radios from three manufacturers: Milwaukee, Porter-Cable and DEWALT.
Milwaukee Job Site Radio, Model# 2790-20 $119.99
The Milwaukee 2790-20 job site radio is built to last but is heavy. It’s also the size of a toolbox.
The Milwaukee 2790-20 has a 40 Watt Amplifier, weatherproof 4-inch Woofers and 1-inch Tweeters and is one of the nicest sounding job site radios I’ve listened to.
This radio is not a charger but can run off of all of Milwaukee’s batters from 12 volt to 28 volt for the following platforms: M12™, M18™, V18™, V28® , NiCd 12V to 28V, as well as an AC outlet.
A really nice weather sealed battery and MP3 compartment keep your MP3 or IPod safe, secure, dry and dust free. A customizable equalizer and 10-station presets allow personal customization.
PORTER-CABLE PC18JR 18-Volt Cordless / 120-Volt Corded Job site Radio $ 104.00
The Porter-Cable PC18JCJR, also the size of a tool box, features a back lit digital tuner with clock, preset memory, bass boost, and seek are easy to read and push-buttons.
The best feature of this radio is the two external 120-volt AC outlets.
The Porter-Cable PC18JCJR has a 3.5 mm auxiliary input accommodates MP3 or IPod but it is located on the front of the radio which means that your music player is left out in the elements and dangers of the job site.
The Porter-Cable PC18JR job-site radio is a durable radio it has a nice protective roll cage and a flexible antenna. I found it the lightest of the radios of it’s size. The radio house did not seem as tough as the Milwaukee or DEWALTs.
DEWALT DC012 Work-site Charger/Radio $160.00
The DEWALT DC012 Work site Charger/Radio is a rugged and well built radio. It features a 1 hour charger that will charge Dewalt batteries from 7.2-volt to 18-volt. [except UniVolt] I was disappointed that it did not charge the new 20 volt platform.
The DEWALT DC012 runs off of 7.2-volt to 18-volt DEWALT batteries and will run a full 8 hours on an 18 volt battery. I liked that.
One real nice feature is the three power outlets make this radio / charger able to accept three additional plug in tools
The DEWALT DC012 has an LCD display, built-in clock, 15 station presets, weather resistant speakers with dual bass ports. The auxiliary port is located on the front of the radio, which I feel is a poor location.
The DEWALT DC012 Work Site Charger/Radio is not light weighing in at 14.25 pounds but its no heavier than the Milwaukee and is able to charge batteries as well as boasts three power outlets.
Milwaukee 2590-20 M12 Radio $ 80.00
The Milwaukee 2590-20 M12 Radio was my favorite of all the radios.
SIZE MATTERS! The M12 radio is only 10 1/2-inch narrow, 3.5 lbs, and is powered by M12 lithium-i
The front of this radios has a real nice weather sealed MP3 compartment and two premium weatherproof aluminum speakers
The M12 radio has a digital tuner and sounds great. It also has a “mute button” which I think may come in real handy on the job site.
Editor’s Choice For A Job Site Radio:
All of the radios above were well made, quality sounding radios with pretty the same features.
It really comes down to personal preferences. If you own a lot of a certain brand tools then it makes sense for you to buy that brand radio so you can enjoy the radio in its cordless mode.
If you run a lot of DEWALT tools, having a radio that also charges your batteries is a nice feature.
One thing that I’ve noticed is the DEWALT allows me to charge two batteries for the same tool at the same time. Many times I will start using a tool to find the battery drained. I’ll charge that battery and then use the second battery. If that battery drains before the next battery is charged I can get a jump start on charging the second battery by using the job site radio to charge it. Cordless tools come with one charger so having a radio charger gives me that redundant back up charger.
My choice for a job site radio is less concerned with what tool brands I run or for a second charger. I’m always looking for smarter, faster, easier and more efficient ways to do things. That also translates to tool size as well. Size matters in this case – a small size.
The Milwaukee 2590-20 M12 Radio can accomplish the same job as a “tool box” size radio with one that is the size of half a loaf of bread – that’s a win.
My main concern is in the light weight and small portable radio. My tool trailer currently looks like a five gallon bucket with ten gallons of tools in it. Space is a commodity so any way I can reduce the size of my tools and still get what I need, [a radio] then I call that a win!
I choose the Milwaukee 2590-20 M12 Radio.
It sells online for $80.00 here: Milwaukee-2590-20-M12-Radio