If you work on a building site, you’ll know that your average radio just won’t cut it. A job site radio needs to be able to operate outdoors and is usually cordless or can be operated via a range of power outlets for ultimate versatility.
It's also got to be pretty robust to endure the odd knock and needs to be resistant to dirt, dust, and maybe even water too, if you're likely to experience the odd rain shower. For a job site radio, you’ll want something reliable, durable, and well-made. It needs to be light enough to carry and easy to transport - usually via a handle. Perhaps most importantly, it needs to be loud! You’re likely to be working further away from it at certain times, so you'll definitely need something with a sound powerful enough to travel. Weak radios have no place on a building site!
There are several other things you may want to consider; for example, how is the radio powered - is it battery-operated, connected via a traditional AC outlet or does it connect to your power tools? Does it have Bluetooth connectivity to connect it to your smartphone, or a USB output so you can charge your devices on it? These are all important aspects to consider when you’re looking to buy a site radio, as some of the high-end options come with a myriad of useful features.
Don’t despair though, there’s plenty of choice out there, the difficult part is choosing the right radio for your needs. Whether you're looking for something compact and portable, loud and durable, or high-tech and modern, we’ve got you covered, and have put together a list of our top 5 job site radios complete with a Buyer’s Guide so you can make an informed choice, and get your radio playing in no time.
Short on time? Here’s what to look out for:
- Durability: Look for something that is robust and reliable, ideally with rubber shock absorbers. It’s also a good idea to ensure your site radio is dust and water-resistant, too.
- Sound quality: Site radios need to be louder than most as they need to cover a larger area so you can still hear them when you move around. The loudest site radios usually have around 50-60 wattage power.
- Portability: The loudest radio in the world is no use if you can’t easily transport it to and from work. Look for something that doesn’t compromise portability for durability, or another option is to go for something stackable, like our top pick from DeWalt below. A handle is always essential for a site radio so it is easy to pick up and carry.
- Cordless: Most site radios can be powered via a battery or AC. It’s worth having both options, as while a cord can restrict you and is less convenient, batteries require charge and may run out of juice without warning.
Top 5 Jobsite Radios
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
The Dewalt is a beast of a radio, and is the loudest and most powerful site radio out there, with 65 watts of high-quality sound from four full-range speakers and a built-in subwoofer. This radio is heavy-duty and built to absorb shock, it’s also highly durable and is IP54 certified dust and water-resistant.
The TSTAK runs on and charges 20v max lithium-Ion batteries, and is highly versatile, offering USB ports, a digital tuner, and Bluetooth connectivity so you can listen to your favorite radio show or play your music direct from your phone or the TSTAK radio app.
Complete with a handle, this radio is easy to carry and move around and is also compatible with TSTAK boxes, making it even easier to stack, store or stow.
- Four full-range speakers, 65 watts of high-quality sound
- Heavy duty and water/dust resistant
- Runs on and charges batteries
- USB and Bluetooth connectivity
- Stackable with TSTAK system
- Some people complain that the cord/AC adapter was of cheap quality
This 40-watt job site radio from Milwaukee doesn’t have the loudest sound quality, but it still packs a punch. It has a handy built-in battery charger for quick charging of Milwaukee M18 lithium-ion batteries for not only the radio itself but for your power tools, too.
It offers a myriad of useful features, for example, it has a durable, weather-sealed compartment for storing your cell phone and other valuables, and it has a clear display with an easy-to-read clock, too. It’s also great if you’re moving to different areas of the site a lot, as it has an exclusive Digital Bluetooth receiver which can stream audio wirelessly from over 100 ft.
This radio can be truly made your own thanks to the customizable equalizer and 10-station presets for a personalized, enhanced sound. While this radio is compact in size, it’s actually on the heavy side, probably due to its robustness.
- Built-in battery charger
- Runs on battery and AC
- Weather-sealed compartment
- Option for 10 presets and customizable equalizer
- 100 foot Bluetooth receiver
- Antenna commonly falls off
Bosch is well known for its quality tools and electricals, and the PowerBox doesn’t disappoint. Four-way speakers and a subwoofer project 360 degrees of outstanding sound quality so you never miss a beat, while separate controls for bass and treble allow you to customize the equalizer for ultimate sound quality and personalization.
Play music on your phone thanks to the Bluetooth connectivity option, which reaches up to 150 feet for ultimate convenience.
If you’re looking for something highly durable, the Power Box is ideal. With a protective aluminum and rubber roll cage and a weather-resistant and dust-resistant design, this radio is built to last.
This Bosch radio is also super versatile. It runs on Bosch 18-Volt batteries or can be plugged into a 120-Volt AC outlet. It also includes a handy built-in battery charger and four 120-Volt power outlets for connecting tools and other devices. Thanks to multiple carrying handles, this is a perfect radio for somebody who is continually on the move.
- Four-way speakers for 360 degrees of sound
- Customizable equalizer
- Bluetooth connectivity up to 150 feet
- Highly durable
- Built-in battery charger
- It’s on the heavy side
This Makita site radio has a brilliant battery life and runs up to 35 hours with an 18V LXT Lithium-Ion 5.0Ah battery. It’s also highly diverse, with easy-to-use menu controls to set FM Mono/stereo, clock settings, volume, and a snooze button, plus it has a Bluetooth connectivity option for your smartphone.
The XRM06B delivers great sound in a compact size, weighing only 10.8 lbs with the battery. Despite its lightness, it’s surprisingly resilient, and has protective bumpers for shock absorption and is water and dust resistant, too. The LXT rapid charger provides lightning-fast charging, and charges up to 3x quicker than other site radios.
- Excellent battery life with rapid charging
- Clock settings and snooze button
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Durable - water and dust resistant
- Has weaker speakers than other options on the market
A lot of site radios are usually built with durability in mind, however, this sometimes means compromising on portability and lightness. The DeWalt compact job site radio offers both; it has a heavy-duty roll-cage design to protect against dust and debris, but weighs in at just 7.1 pounds, making it easy to carry from one place to another.
It’s pretty versatile too and can be run off of an AC/DC power outlet or the AC power cord of DeWalt power tool batteries. The 3.5 mm auxiliary input allows for connection to CD, MP3, portable satellite receivers, and other digital audio devices, and these can be kept safe in the sealed device storage box which keeps your valuables safe and dry.
- Compact design for easy transportation
- Heavy-duty roll-cage design
- Auxiliary input
- Storage box
- Cord or battery operated
- No Bluetooth connectivity
- Not the best sound
Best Jobsite Radios Buying Guide
Probably the most important factor to look for in a site radio is durability, as a building site can be a dangerous place, with the risk of weather conditions, dust, dirt, and water. Most radios consider this, with many promising to be water and dust resistant. You also want to think about the structure of the radio - is it robust enough to withstand being knocked about, transported around, and used day-after-day? You may want to look for a radio with shock absorbers or rubber caging, for extra protection against wear and tear.
Your average radio isn’t going to cut it when it comes to the sound quality and power you need while working on a building site. Wattage varies across different radio models and brands, and you’re likely to have to spend more to get the very best sound quality.
Many modern radios come equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, but it’s worth considering whether or not this is something you would use. Bluetooth is great because it allows you to connect your smartphone to the radio, meaning you can play music via Itunes, Apple Music, or Spotify. It’s also worth thinking about the range the Bluetooth can operate within, for example, some top brands offer Bluetooth connection up to 100 or 150 feet, which is great if you’re moving around the site and means you won’t lose connection.
How you charge and power your radio is also an essential aspect to consider. You’re going to want something that has the option of being battery powered so that you don’t need to rely on extension cords which would be an added safety hazard on site. Most site radios are versatile and provide a myriad of power options so that you can plug them in or use them cordlessly.
However, there are some drawbacks to battery-operated radios, one being that you’ll have to ensure it’s got enough charge, as you’re in trouble if it runs out of juice halfway through the day. That’s the one good thing about having the option of an AC power supply. It’s also worth bearing in mind that not all radios come supplied with batteries so you may have to purchase these separately.
You might not think that a USB and charging feature is that essential, but these can be really useful features to have in a radio, particularly when working on a site with limited access to power outlets. Radios with charging capabilities can be used to charge battery packs and smartphones so you never run out of juice. The best worksite radios will have charging capabilities within their own internal batteries, with either 12v max, 18v, or Dewalt's 20v max range.
If you’re going to be lugging your radio to work daily, you'll want something portable. Site radios are usually built to be highly durable and robust, and can sometimes be heavier because of this. However, most come with handles and some are compact and lightweight for easy carrying. Certain models from DeWalt are even stackable and are compatible with their other products and toolboxes so they can be easily stacked and towed.
Think about any other extra features you may require. Do you want a clock, pre-set options, a sealed compartment to keep your phone and other belongings safe? These types of features are pretty common, but it’s worth noting any particular features you want and checking the product specification.
When it comes to site radios, they’re usually manufactured by brands that specialize in site tools, workwear, and electricals, so they know what they’re talking about. There are a few go-to brands when it comes to site radios though, and brands such as DeWalt, Makita, and Bosch usually make some reliable, high-quality, and durable products that are used the world over, so it’s worth going for one of these than a cheaper, lesser-known brand.
Site radios can cost hundreds of dollars, usually due to their extra durable materials and higher sound range and quality. Generally speaking, the higher the price, the better the sound quality and durability, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to get a good radio. That said, we don’t recommend going for the lowest price point either, as these are usually constructed of cheaper materials and will have less wattage and poorer sound. Our top 5 are all high-quality radios around the $100 mark, which is where you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best site radio?
While there are a range of excellent site radios out there, many workers do rate the DeWalt TSTAK Portable Bluetooth Radio thanks to its all-round versatility, excellent sound quality, Bluetooth connectivity, and TSTAK compatibility. However, the best site radio for you largely depends on what you’re looking for. If you don’t need all those extra features and want something lightweight and simple, perhaps the DeWalt is not for you. It’s an entirely subjective matter and that’s why it’s important to refer to our buyer’s guide so that you can figure out what you want in a site radio, and not get distracted by jargon and marketing!
What’s the loudest site radio?
The loudest site radio on our list is the DeWalt, with 65 watts of high-quality sound from four full-range speakers and a built-in subwoofer, which is used to play low-pitched audio frequencies such as bass. The Sangean U4 Ultra Rugged site radio is also renowned for being super loud.
How do I connect my phone to my site radio via Bluetooth?
- Connect the battery and turn on the radio selecting the Bluetooth option if it is not already on.
- Open the wireless settings on your device and turn on Bluetooth.
- Scan for nearby devices, once you find the Bluetooth radio press connect on your cell phone or device.
- You’re now connected and can play any music from your device through your radio!
Are site radios waterproof?
Most site radios are built to endure harsh conditions, and most are water-resistant and dust resistant. Water-resistant means it can cope with a certain degree of water, ie. a rain shower, however unlike waterproof materials, it is not entirely impermeable to water.