Radios are considered essential by many who work on construction sites and in other workplaces because they provide entertainment and information while doing work that can be repetitive and boring. However, standard radios are rarely sufficient because they are not designed for the conditions that are present in many work environments.
Job site radios need to:
- Be rugged so they can withstand the dirt, dust, moisture and rough handling that are often unavoidable on worksites.
- Have sufficient volume to be heard over the noise of machinery and other activity.
- Be portable so they can easily be transported around and can operate on battery power if no mains outlets are available.
- Ideally offer DAB reception as well as AM/FM since digital is gradually taking over from analogue broadcasts and provides greater choice as well as improved reception.
DeWalt is a well-known and respected manufacturer of power tools and so is a familiar name on construction sites and in other places of work. The brand offers a range of job site radios that complement its other products. These radios are designed with features that make them especially suitable and useful for work environments.
In this article we’ll compare three of the most popular DeWalt site radios on the market.
DeWalt DCR020-GB Compact Jobsite DAB Radio
This is the smallest, lightest and by some distance the cheapest of the three radios compared here. It’s also the most basic. The guarantee is limited to one year rather than three like the others, and there’s no Bluetooth so you can’t control it from another device or use it to stream audio wirelessly. Nevertheless, it has and has good output volume and DAB, DAB+ and FM reception, although you can’t save preset stations.
The radio has a power cord for mains use and can also be operated with battery power using 10.8, 14.4 or 18 volt Li-Ion batteries. However, no batteries are supplied with the radio and a charger also has to be bought separately.
Durability is provided by an integral roll cage that gives it resistance against knocks. There’s also an on-board Tech Box for storage of mobile devices, which also houses a USB port to charge devices and a 3.5 mm aux port.
DeWalt DWST1-75663 Tough System DAB Jobsite Radio
At the time of writing, this radio is more than twice the price of the DCR020-GB. It’s also around double the size and weight, which makes it more difficult to carry around. However, it has additional functionality and features.
DAB, DAB+ and FM reception are available although the DAB reception has been criticised as not being great at times. Unlike with the DeWalt DCR020-GB, you can save preset stations (18 in total).
The radio has a wide bandwidth of 30 Hz to 18 KHz and volume and sound quality are good thanks to the presence of four tweeter drivers, two sub-woofers, a class D amplifier and a digital sound processor.
Like on the DeWalt DCR020-GB, there’s a 3.5 mm aux input and a USB connector for charging other devices, but there’s also Bluetooth so you can control the radio or play music from mobile devices. There’s inbuilt storage for other devices and the radio is compatible with the Tough System toolbox range and so can be stacked with other boxes.
The radio is IP54 rated, meaning it’s protected against water and dust. It can be either mains powered or use DeWalt batteries of either 14.4 or 18 volts. These are recharged when on mains power and so, as a bonus, the radio can be used to recharge batteries for your DeWalt power tools.
DeWalt DWST1-81079 GB TSTAK Connect Radio
Almost as large and heavy as the DWST1-75663 and slightly more expensive, this radio has the same aux input and USB connection for charging other devices. It also has the same DAB/DAB+ and FM reception but additionally has AM and has four mid-range speakers and two sub-woofers to give exceptional sound quality.
The 45-watt output provides sufficient volume for most job sites and the shock-absorbing bumpers on each corner supply resilience. It also has TSTAK stacking latches and is IP54 rated for spray resistance.
Bluetooth is available for connecting other devices and there are downloadable Android and iOS apps. Battery power is via 10.8 or 18-volt batteries or XR Flexvolt 54-volt batteries. These are recharged when running on mains power.
If money is a deciding factor and you’re just after a basic radio, the DeWalt DCR020-GB is the obvious choice. Although the other two are more than twice the price, they offer better sound quality, pre-set stations, Bluetooth connectivity and the ability to recharge power tool batteries. If that’s what you need, the DWST1-75663 is slightly cheaper and offers similar functionality to the DWST1-81079.
For some more options, see our roundup of the best DAB site radios.