We love to listen to radio while we work, and as you’re here, the chances are you do too! On this site, you’ll find the best of the hard wearing, building site friendly radios on the market, along with how to get them for a great price and delivered quickly to use on construction sites and by tradesmen across the UK.
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Just below, you’ll find our current top ten table, which has been selected to take account of everything, from sound quality to price, features to battery life. There’s the key features for each in the table, but if you want to learn even more, click the review link to get a brief run down of what’s great and not so great about that model. If you want to dive in even deeper, we’ve then got in depth reviews of some of our favourite radios.
Let’s get started…
Top Ten Jobsite Radios
|Bosch GML 14.4/18 V
|Bosch GML 10.8 V-LI
|Denver WR 40
Best Jobsite Radio Reviews
Now we’ve had a glance at our rundown of the best jobsite radios, let’s take a more detailed look at what each of the models has to offer.
The Makita DMR104
Makita are a popular name across many types of power tools that you’ll find on a building site, but you might be surprised to learn that they also make some very impressive jobsite radio models too!
The DMR 104 is an excellent example of how something can be solid enough to withstand the knocks and scrapes you’ll expect in a working environment without sacrificing the quality and features you’d hope to find in any decent stereo.
While it’s clearly built to last, it boasts some of the latest features that you’ll find on heavy duty radios built for construction sites, including DAB digital radio support, as well as an FM tuner if you happen to be working in an area where the digital signal is patchy or non existent. There’s even and auxiliary in socket for those times where you would prefer to listen to music you’ve uploaded to your phone, or even use your chosen mobile streaming services like Spotify or Amazon Prime Music. All you need to do is use a cable from the headphone socket of your mobile device (eg phone or tablet) and plug the other end into the AUX-IN port on the Makita.
While this isn’t water proof, it is shower proof, giving you protection for up to five minutes of the rain starting to get it under cover if you’re working outdoors – there’s almost always shelter available somewhere, so while it might be a minor annoyance, it’s great to know that you can use it outdoors even under dark clouds, unlike many rival radio models.
For its power supply, the Makita DMR104 can be used with the mains via the supplied power cable, or alternatively some of the more recent Makita battery packs. It does not charge them while plugged into the mains which is a small negative, but if you’ve got mains access, presumable you’re likely to be able to charge them anyway with a standard charging unit.
All in all, this is our favourite all-round jobsite radio as you can read more about in our Makita DMR104 review – see the current price on Amazon by clicking the blue button:
There’s a certain retro look to the Hitachi UR18DSL in our opinion, so it actually looks quite the part against some of the stereos people are buying for home use. Granted, this is probably a bit overkill in your living room, but at least current trends mean you can buy something that looks decent and not just like a big neon rubber block if that’s more appealing.
Unlike the Makita above, this doesn’t feature a DAB radio, the main reason it’s not challenging for the top spot. If you’re not usually working in areas that have a good digital signal yet (like big towns and cities), or live in the country are buying this for the garden shed, the chances are DAB won’t be much use to you just yet. On the other hand, we’re slowly moving towards DAB only radio – scheduled to complete in the early 2020’s, so there’s a chance that eventually FM will be switched off. In other words, which DAB might not be important to you now, bear in mind that it may be the only option in future. If you want your new jobsite radio to last you for a decade or more – it’s worth considering a different model, but for most people it’s just too far into the future to worry about.
This unit is powered by the provided mains adaptor, but will also run from batteries too. Like the Makita it also has a slight negative in that it’s not a charger, but you can’t have everything – that would make choosing the perfect model far too easy! On the battery front, you can use the Hitachi with their 14.4 volt or 18 volt slide batteries, or alternatively cassette versions in the 9.6 to 18 volt range. The slide batteries are expected to be the most popular choice if you’re torn.
The UR18DSL can generate good volume, and even on the higher levels produces a good quality sound, perfect for larger building sites. It’s got a USB port too, so if you prefer to plug your phone into the Auxiliary socket to play your own music rather than listen to the radio, that’s possible and to charge your phone at the same time to avoid running out of juice.
Overall, it’s a good radio at a great price that should last you for years, but does have a couple of downsides, like the lack of a future proof DAB tuner and no battery charging support.
To find out more, here’s out Hitachi UR18DSL review, or check the price here:
Bosch GML Soundboxx Professional 14.4/18 V
Bosch are one of the most well known names on building sites across the country, so it’s no great surprise to see them in our top ten. As you would expect from a big name jobsite radio, it’s designed for use in a construction environment, and to suit people that are already users of Bosch equipment. By that, we mean that it can be used with Bosch batteries, and is designed to fit into their L-BOXX system.
Notably, Bosch themselves go to great lengths to emphasise just how robust this unit is, even going as far as to say they’ve built it to withstand drops onto concrete surfaces, although it’s probably best not to intentionally test that claim!
Again, like the Hitachi, this didn’t challenge for the top spot due to a lack of DAB support, so you’re limited to the FM and AM wavebands for your stations, and while it will run on the Bosch batteries, won’t charge them. Are you starting to notice a pattern?
The product description does talk about MP3 support, but to be clear, they’re referring to the ability to plug in a phone or MP3 player – there’s no built in player in this unit, just in case you get the wrong idea!
It is a nice product, but lacks too much to take the top spot, but if you’re a Bosch fan with existing sets of tools, the battery and L-BOXX compatibility might swing this for you.
Read our complete Bosch GML Soundboxx review, or find the current price here:
Makita’s second entry in out table is the STEXMR051, a cheaper and cheerful alternative to their top placed DMR104.
It’s a simple AM/FM radio for use in busy work sites, and a great solution for anyone looking for a low cost radio for short term use. As you can see from the image, it doesn’t have the same chunky robustness of the previous entries, but we didn’t want to discount it entirely on that front, as you may be confident that you can avoid it getting into too many heavy duty collisions and other accidents. You might even just need it for a short term project and then it will be confined to the garage or shed.
Fundamentally, this is a simple product that comes in much cheaper than most, but does lack the features of more expensive models. Yes, there’s a tuner to get FM and AM stations, and there’s an input for playing music from other devices, but that’s about it. It works with Makita batteries, but they’re not supplied with the unit, nor is the power cable which can be bought separately.
If you’re looking for something cheap and already have some Makita 10.8 volt batteries, this might be for you, otherwise choose something else.
At first glance, this DeWalt looks more like a toolbox than a jobsite radio. If money was likely to be no object, this would almost certainly be ranked higher, and possibly even take our top spot. The not so catchy name (DWST1-75663-GB) clearly wasn’t designed by a room full of marketers with degree level education, but who cares?
Let’s briefly talk about why this unit is so good – you can read the full review if you want to hear our glowing in depth analysis and you can afford to spend this kind of money (If you can, do!).
First and foremost the sound is powerful and up with the best in terms of quality. It’s got six very good speakers – that’s got to be verging on overkill for a jobsite radio, but if you’re buying the best, you’re buying the best!
It comes with a power cable, but also supports connecting a DeWalt XR battery if you have one, which it will charge whilst plugged into the mains, or run from when there’s no power source available. There we go – we had to feature a battery charging jobsite radio eventually. That means you can either power the radio from the battery, or use the radio to double up as a charger for your power tools battery as required.
As with most jobsite radios, it will be fine in light rain, but it’s advisable to get it under cover where possible. It’s described as designed to resist water jets, that’s IP54 level if you know what it means. Our recommendation is that you should, by all means, use it outdoors, but give it some shelter from rainfall or other water as soon as reasonably possible.
It also supports AM, FM and the all important DAB reception, as well as Bluetooth connections too, so if you’re working nearby, you can keep your phone or MP3 player in your pocket rather than leaving it for someone to stand on.
We’ll leave it there for now – check the price below, and if it’s in your price range, we highly recommend the DeWalt DWST1-75663-GB jobsite radio.
Bosch GML 10.8 V-LI
Featuring an FM and AM radio, along with an input line in to connect your phone, mp3 player or other device, the only source that’s lacking on the Bosch 10.8 V-LI professional cordless radio is DAB support. If that’s not something that’s important to you (perhaps if you live and work in an area with poor coverage), then this will make an attractive choice at a great price.
As Bosch think carefully about their product lines working together, it will come as no surprise to learn that the radio works well with the L-BOXX system, occupying a half box. While the unit comes with a mains adaptor, the name probably gives away the fact that it will also work with power from a 10.8 volt Bosch lithium ion battery. It’s worth noting that like many of the models above, it’s not a charger for the connected battery, even when connected by the power cable to the mains.
You can see the most up to date price for the Bosch GML 10.8 V-Li jobsite radio on Amazon:
We wanted to include a couple of alternative ways to listen to radio at work, without necessarily needing to buy an all out jobsite radio unit. While technically these aren’t radios, these bluetooth speaker units will play whatever you stream to them over bluetooth. That means that you could use a mobile phone or tablet to play whatever you like through the speaker if it supports bluetooth, which includes radio, mp3s, music streaming services, YouTube, and pretty much any other internet service you can access from a mobile device.
The Milwaukee is a very affordable option, coming in cheaper than almost all of the full feature jobsite radios. Of course, the downside is you’ll need another device as a source for whatever you want to listen to, and it doesn’t come with a power cable or battery supplied. If you’re looking for a cheap, unit only option though, give this a look.
Here’s Dewalt’s verison of the Bluetooth speaker, a more recognisable brand with a product that’s not much more expensive than the Milwaukee. There’s no built in radio support, so again, you’ll need a phone, tablet or something else to play music or radio through to the speaker via Bluetooth.
As you’d expect from Dewalt, a good amount of thought has been put into the design, and the outer edges provide a roll cage effect – useful for the inevitable knocks and scrapes that come with life on a building site.
Again, this is a bare unit, so you’ll need a separate charger or Dewalt battery to get it up and running, but that’s a fairly easy thing to sort, especially if the DCR006 ticks all your other boxes.
Denver WR 40
Here’s the entry in our top ten that’s reserved for people on a very tight budget. Before we go any further, we’ll mention that cliche that your get what you pay for, and inevitably, if you go for something at the bottom end of the price range, you’ll get less features and a less sturdy product than more expensive alternatives.
All that said, the Denver WR-40 delivers well for the price, and does include a mains cable to plug in, as well as being able to run on four C batteries if you prefer.
If you live in an area with weak reception, this may not be a good choice, as there have been reports of poor quality sound in areas with weak reception. If you’re looking for a cheap solution for an area where you can easily tune a radio to a strong signal, have a look at this. However, if you can afford a little more, one of the models higher up the page might server you better and for longer.
Here’s a brilliant jobsite radio that we’d like to have placed higher in the table, but couldn’t justify it because of the price. It ticks virtually all the boxes you could ever be looking for. It’s a DAB and FM radio, which produces great sound quality, and not only provide auxiliary inputs for mp3 players and phones, but even has a handy, closable compartment to protect the devices.
The reason it’s at the bottom of our top ten is we’ve already got the more expensive Dewalt placed higher, and that’s a better model, largely due to the ridiculously good quality sound on that. If you’re happy with slightly lower quality, but still very good sound, you’ll more than likely love the Dewalt XR, and save yourself a bit against the more expensive big brother.
So, that’s the rundown of what we believe are the best jobsite radios this year. We hope that you’ve found at least one that you like the look of – don’t forget that you can get the current pricing by clicking the blue button next to each review.
Next, lets move on to more information that you might find helpful in your buying decision, starting with our burning questions list in the FAQ.
Jobsite Radio FAQ
Our frequently asked questions are designed to cover the most likely areas you’ll be wondering about. Some we cover in greater detail elsewhere on the website, for example the DAB page to fill you in on all you need to know about digital stations and jobsite radio reviews.
Are Jobsite Radios Safe To Use Outdoors?
Let’s start by addressing one of the most common questions we hear when people are trying to choose the best model for their needs. The long and short of it is yes, they can be used outside, and in fact they’re designed for that precise purpose. Of course, they work perfectly well indoors too – in fact anywhere you need to take them. If it’s hammering down with rain though, there’s a little more caution required, which nicely brings us to the next one…
Is The Radio Waterproof?
As you might have realised with recent smartphone launches like the iPhone 7, waterproof seems to be a lot more complicated these days than it used to be. The reason is that different devices are capable of being used for different activities and in different locations in order to be classed as waterproof. For example, a watch aimed at swimmers will need to be able to withstand prolonged periods in water to be useful, whereas that smartphone probably isn’t going to be deliberately immersed at all.
When a phone gets wet, it’s usually dropped down the loo, or falls into a drink – it’s less likely that it’s going to be in a swimming pool or the sea for hours on end. That’s where the different classifications come from – they’re tested usually against water at a specific depth for a specific period of time.
Relating this to jobsite radios might sound a little odd then, as it’s not the sort of thing you’re likely to want to take swimming. Where the waterproof classification is likely to apply in this case is out in the open, when a sudden downpour happens, or if a plumber suddenly finds an aggressive water leak. Generally speaking, if you see a radio described as waterproof, it’s best to work on the principle that once it starts raining, you should get it under cover relatively quickly. It will probably be fine for quite an extended period, but it’s not the sort of thing you want to intentionally test out!
How Loud Is A Jobsite Radio?
Once you have bought one of these devices, you’ll know that the question is probably fairly redundant, but a lot of people looking to buy have this question. It’s most common for builders working outside – especially if it’s a loud environment with a lot of machinery on site, or maybe situated next to a busy road. The fact of the matter is that virtually every model is going to be capable of being turned up loud, and the chances are, you’ll annoy the neighbours long before you hit the maximum level. What’s more, site managers tend to get fussy way before that point is reached, so in general – don’t worry about it! If we review a particularly wimpy model, you’ll definitely find that our in the individual reviews!
What Batteries Do I Need?
With a normal radio, you’ll be looking for a simple answer like double A (AA) or triple A (AAA) batteries, but with jobsite radios, things are a little more complicated. Generally speaking, the make of the radio will be the same make of battery, especially if it’s a brand that make power tools. That means it’s a good idea to match your buy to the brand of power tools you prefer, although it may be that you have a mix already.
All that said, some radios will also use standard size batteries (possibly in addition to own brand ones compatible with other tools). The best way to find out is to take a look at our detailed reviews, and if we’ve not been able to provide the information there, click through to Amazon, and see if the product descriptions give anything away.
Finally – remember that almost all models of jobsite radio also ship with a power cable, or have an optional extra available to buy. These latter ones are usually described as ‘unit only’.
Can I Charge My Tool Batteries On These Radios?
This is one of those ‘it depends’ answers, which we know isn’t ideal. If you’re either a fan of Dewalt tools, or are starting out so don’t already have a myriad of tools from another manufacturer, take a look at the DeWalt DWST1-75663-GB above. This is our highest ranked radio that will charge as well as run off of batteries, so is worth a closer look.
For other brands, take a look at our detailed reviews where we cover details like whether there’s battery charging support in more detail on a case by case basis.
How To Turn Up/Down The Treble/Bass?
Most radios have at least a limited amount of control over the sound quality, over and above the volume control. However, most of the time, simply changing the surface that the radio is sitting on can solve the problem you’re having, especially if the sound quality is normally OK. In general, the sound can be different when placed on a hard vs soft surface, or hollow vs solid and so on. If you’ve tried that, have a look for the bass and treble controls. If you’re struggling to find them, manuals are sometimes available on the manufacturers website.
The Final Fix
Our jobsite radio reviews are designed to help you narrow down to one or more that suit your needs – and it probably will end up coming down to one or two that you really like the look of. As you learned in the table above – there’s a lot of common features between all the brands and models, and to be blunt about it, they all do the same core task – blast out music from a speaker that’s designed to withstand a few knocks here and there. Hopefully you’ve found the information on the site useful – we’ve certainly enjoyed putting it together for you.
If you’re still not sure, follow the links to Amazon and have a good read through what their customers have to say too – we’ve done our best to summarise it all for you, but they’re selling jobsite radios every day, and that means there may be more customer reviews to look at by the time you read this!