Launch Slideshow

DeWalt and Makita Jobsite Radios

DeWalt and Makita Jobsite Radios

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    Tim Uhler

    The DCR015 can be powered by a 20V MAX battery (not shown) that fits into a compartment on the back of the housing. When the cord (lower left) is plugged in the radio can be used to charge the battery.

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    Tim Uhler

    On the right side of the radio are two 110-volt receptacles and a wrap for the cord.

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    Tim Uhler

    The storage box on the left of the unit contains an auxiliary input (top) and a USB port for charging media players and phones. It’s large enough (just barely) to hold a Samsung S3 in an Otterbox case. The author usually leaves the box open so he can access the media player.

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    Tim Uhler

    Makita’s LXRM0B3 is taller and narrower than the average jobsite radio and the speakers are placed on the sides.

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    Tim Uhler

    The radio can be powered by an AC adaptor (supplied) that plugs into the front of the unit or by 9.6-volt to 18-volt slide-style batteries that fit into a compartment on back. It does not charge batteries.

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    Tim Uhler

    Media players can be connected to the radio by an auxiliary input and played through the speakers. Apple products (iPods and iPhones) can be plugged into a dock on the top of the unit and played or charged without the use of a cord.

I've used most of the jobsite radios that have come out in the last 10 years. Recently, my crew and received updated versions of the DeWalt and Makita radios we tested a few years back. Here's how they performed on the framing site.

DeWalt DCR015
This radio/charger works with DeWalt's new 12V Max and 20V Max batteries. It can charge those batteries or be run off of them. I rarely roll out a cord just to run a radio but with this one I will because it allows me to use it as a charger and gives me two 110-volt receptacles (on the side of the unit) to plug things into—like phone chargers or charges for other brands of cordless tools.

On the side of the radio is a storage box large enough to hold my iPod or my Samsung S3 in an Otterbox (just barely). The aux input is inside the box so I can close the door over the media player to keep it clean and dry. There is a USB port in there too, which can be used for charging various devices.  The DCR015's digital tuner has multiple presets, and the radio stations in our area come in clear—though most of the time we use it with a media player.

You would not want to crank this thing all the way up near other houses because it would be too loud for the neighbors. We often frame where there are no nearby neighbors and in that situation I'll set the media player just short of max volume and turn the radio all the way up. Even then, it's not quite loud enough if it's a large site and we're wearing hearing protection. The volume is sufficient for use in a shop with hearing protection on.

The DCR015 is sold bare (no charger or batteries); I've seen it online for about $180.

Makita LXRM0B3
This new Makita radio is an upgraded version of a radio we reviewed in 2011. It's relatively compact but is taller and boxier than other jobsite radios and has speakers that face to the sides. The LXRM03 can be powered by an included AC adaptor or 9.6-volt to 18-volt slide-style and pod-style Makita batteries. The batteries and adaptor store in a gasketed compartment on the back of the unit.

I like the iPod/iPhone dock on top of the radio, which can be used to play music and will charge the device when the radio is off. When an iPod or iPhone is in the dock you can control it with the radio controls. When the dock is not in use a lid can be closed over it. Devices that don't work with the dock can be connected to an auxiliary input on the front of the radio or a second input in the compartment that holds the battery. The LCD display is backlit and very easy to read. The tuner has 5 presets but I hardly every use them because we mostly listen to media players.

There's a lot to like about this radio. I like the small size and that it works with my iPod (and an iPhone if I had one). The radio is rugged and it sounds good too. What I don't like about the unit is the location of the speakers; they project out the sides so the sound can't be aimed. It helps to put the radio in a corner so the sound projects out, but it's not always possible to do this. The LXRM03 would not be my first choice for a framing site because it's not quite loud enough and it's too easy to knock your iPod off the dock—because it's up on top. It would be great indoors or in the shop.

The radio is sold bare (no battery or charger) and I've seen it online for about $145.