There are two types of the garage, the home-based kind, and the professional mechanic’s shop. The only difference between the two is the level of activity in each one. Both garages maintain a well-stocked equipment and tool bench and shelving, and both are very loud when working on your favorite vehicle.
- The 5 Best Garage Radios:
- REVIEWS YOU CAN TRUST
- Best Garage Radios – Top-Up:
- 1. Bosch Bluetooth Power Box Jobsite AM/FM Radio/Charger/Digital Media Stereo PB360C – the best garage radio
- 2. Dewalt ToughSystem Radio and Battery Charger; Bluetooth Music Player
- 3. Milwaukee M12 Cordless Job-Site Radio
- 4. DEWALT 20V MAX Bluetooth Speaker for Job Site
- 5. Makita XRM02W 18V Compact Lithium-ion Cordless Job Site Radio
- 6. ION Audio Garage Rocker Wireless Worksite Speaker with Tool Storage
- 7. Bosch 18-Volt or 120V Compact AM/FM Radio with MP3 Player Connection Bay PB180
- 8. Milwaukee Electric Tool 2792-20 M18 Job Radio/Charger
- 9. Ridgid R84087 GEN5X 18-Volt Jobsite Radio with Bluetooth Wireless Technology
- 10. Sangean LB-100 Compact AM/FM Ultra Rugged Radio Receiver
The 5 Best Garage Radios:
- Bosch Bluetooth Power Box Jobsite AM/FM Radio/Charger/Digital Media Stereo PB360C – the best garage radio
- Dewalt ToughSystem Radio and Battery Charger; Bluetooth Music Player
- Milwaukee M12 Cordless Job-Site Radio
- DEWALT 20V MAX Bluetooth Speaker for Job Site
- Makita XRM02W 18V Compact Lithium-ion Cordless Job Site Radio
REVIEWS YOU CAN TRUST
All the information and opinions you find on Mechanicguides.com come from a team of automotive journalists and an independent mechanic, Steve “Whip” Whipple with 11 years of auto industry experience. We look at the latest market research, talk to experts, and draw from our own practical experience to bring you reviews and guides that reflect what you’ll encounter in your garage. For more information about the team, see here.
The one issue when working on your garage is entertainment that takes your mind away from the constant hammering and grinding noises, as well as offering you a calming, or exciting environment dependent on the music you like to hear.
We decided to check out the various radios on offer and tested them for key performance indicators (KPI’s) where we sought power, reliability, and durability in the garage workplace.
Best Garage Radios – Top-Up:
1. Bosch Bluetooth Power Box Jobsite AM/FM Radio/Charger/Digital Media Stereo PB360C – the best garage radio
- BLUETOOTH: The Bosch PB360C Jobsite Radio features Bluetooth connectivity to pair with smart devices, stream internet radio and stored music with range of up to 150-feet, giving you more jobsite freedom
- STEREO SOUND: Includes Four-way speakers and a subwoofer to project 360 degrees of outstanding sound quality in all directions. Includes separate controls for bass and treble and equalizer customization
- DURABLE: Featuring a protective aluminum and rubber roll cage and a weather-resistant and dust-resistant design
- POWER: Runs on Bosch 18-Volt batteries or plugged into a 120-Volt AC outlet. Includes a built-in battery charger for charging and four 120-Volt power outlets for connecting tools and other devices
- PORTABLE: Take the Bosch PB360C Power Box wherever you need it with multiple carrying handles, compact size, and a weight of 24 lbs.
The Bosch Power Box PB360C job site radio/charger/digital media stereo has one more advantage over many of its competitors; it has Bluetooth. This is a great add-on feature that allows you to play your favorite songs from any mobile device. Another great feature is its weight; a sturdy 24lbs keeps it in place.
This model comes with four-way speakers and a subwoofer. It projects sound 360° and has bass and treble setting switches for quality sound.
The unit runs on the Bosch 18v battery pack or a 120V AC outlet adapter.
The Bosch PB360C Jobsite has a wonderful Bluetooth delivery option that can reach a range of up to 150-feet, although I find most times I place the mobile device pretty close to the receiver.
What is really good about this model is its aluminum and rubber protective cage, which is one of the best, if not the best of the batch. We are talking nearly military-grade protection here, and all for a garage entertainment center. The unit is also water and dust resistant, so you can listen in a Sandstrom while taking a shower.
If it’s a tough nut you want, and your environment is hectic, perhaps a lot of kids, or a lot of cars and kids, well, this is the beastie you want nearby.
- Allows connectivity to any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or music device up to 100 feet
- Premium sound with 4 Full Range Tweeters, +1 Subwoofer, +1 Assisted Bass Resonator
- Charging capability for 12V MAX and 20V MAX DEWALT power tools
- IP54 Rated for water and dust resistance
- Able to run on a 12V MAX or 20V MAX DEWALT Li-ion power tool battery, or can be plugged into a wall outlet
There’s not an iota of doubt that Dewalt makes some good-looking, rugged devices. And when that device can offer a bit of entertainment while you’re trying to work on your beloved truck/car, what can be better than that? The Dewalt ToughSystem looks great and is packed with features, at a competitive price and will most likely put rivals to shame.
Powering the ToughSystem out of the box is an AC adapter, but you can also pick up one of the Dewalt batteries. It can charge USB devices, but that’s not all. If you have a Dewalt power tool in the garage, you can charge that using the ToughSystem’s onboard charging system (valid for 12V and 20V tools). The speaker set includes four full-range tweeters, 1 subwoofer, and 1 assisted bass resonator.
You can connect your preferred music player to Dewalt using Bluetooth or 3.5 mm auxiliary input. A Bluetooth-enabled smartphone can play on this as long as it’s in the 100-meter range. As mentioned above, it has a 15V/1A USB charger for charging your devices as well.
The ToughSystem as the name suggests is tough and how. The flat device comes with an IP54 rating, making it safe from water and dust — although not entirely. It’s not light — at 17.1 pounds. It’s not going to be as easy to transport as well; it measures 21.45 x 6.63 x 13.9 inches.
Backed by a 3-year warranty and filled with decent sound-related features, the ToughSystem looks like to be a good purchase for those who want a lot from their speaker but don’t want to pay a lot. The fact that you can charge other Dewalt power tools makes it a perfect system for the garage.
- It is easy to use
- It is highly durable
- Made in China
- M12 radio is equipped with premium weatherproof aluminum speakers
- Contains a weather sealed MP3 compartment
The Milwaukee M12 Cordless Job-Site Radio looks like the perfect radio for your garage if you’re looking for something that’s not too large but also has weather-sealed compartments. The clear button layout makes it easy to use whereas the claim that it’s got the highest reception accuracy and signal clarity makes it worth a second look. It can play MP3, radio, as well as directly from your iPod.
Powering the Milwaukee M12 are M12 Red Lithium battery packs or if you want to plug it in, you can use the included AC adapter as well. It must be kept in mind that the M12 Red Lithium battery and the corresponding charger are sold separately. The backup time is said to be 12 hours.
While Bluetooth is missing from the device, you can still enjoy high-quality audio on it, thanks to an auxiliary input cable, and a dedicated MP3 compartment, with the ability to connect to your iPod as well. The said MP3 compartment can hold small devices, and thanks to the weather sealing, you can put it to heavy-duty use without worrying about the devices. Perfect for the garage, we say!
The weather-sealed MP3 compartment is a strong point of the Milwaukee M12. But that’s not all — the aluminum speakers are also weatherproof. The overall quality seems to be rugged; this is ABS polymer housing that’s shock-absorbing as well. It weighs 5.15 pounds and measures 12.4 x 5.4 x 12.7 inches.
As a cost-effective option, the Milwaukee M12 looks like a good device. It comes with a 5-year warranty, so that’s a big positive. The weather-sealed compartment is a nice feature. Although the lack of Bluetooth isn’t going to sit well with a lot of customers who are used to newer devices. Another thing worth mentioning is that while users appreciate that it’s loud and clear, the small buttons can be difficult to operate when you have gloves on.
- Dual speakers for rich stereo sound
- Bluetooth connectivity - 100ft range
- Convenient carry handle with phone holder
- Play/pause, skip tracks, and control volume from Speaker
- Brass reflex port enhances low-frequency performance
The Dewalt Max Bluetooth Speaker for Job Site has a lot going for itself. Firstly, it’s not expensive, so you won’t mind spending on it. Secondly, it’s light, so perfect for carrying it back from your garage. And most importantly, it comes equipped with Bluetooth, so you don’t have to worry about wires or connectivity. And that’s not all, you can even connect your playback device directly or even charge it from the onboard USB port.
You can opt for either a corded or cordless choice for this speaker. And while the universal AC cord is included, if you’re planning to use the cordless option, you’ll need to buy the relevant battery separately. That may not be a big bummer, as the overall price of the device isn’t much. It has two 3-inch speakers, so you can expect some high-quality sound from this light and compact device. The bass-reflex port adds to the aural performance. The overall output is rated at 30 watts.
Since the Dewalt Max uses Bluetooth, you can pretty much play anything that’s on your device. It’ll still be operable up to 100 ft away, but you’ll need to make sure that the Bluetooth signal isn’t obstructed by walls, partitions, etc. There’s also a phone stand right on the speaker’s handle, so if you want to keep your phone close to you, that offers a good solution. And you can always charge it with the help of the onboard USB socket.
Given that Dewalt products look absolutely rugged, it’s no surprise that this one carries that appearance as well. The onboard buttons look nice and sturdy, and the impact-resisting housing is built to last. The metal grille on the speaker not just protects it but also makes the Dewalt Max look so much cooler.
At the price point, it’s hard to ignore the Dewalt Max speaker. It covers almost all aspects except the presence of any form of waterproofing. But otherwise, it looks like a great speaker for all needs, including in the garage. And since it’s just 3 pounds and 4.06 x 8.56 x 5.81 inches, you won’t have an issue in carrying it around. The speaker comes with a 3-year warranty.
- MP3 Compatible for iPod and MP3 players
- Delivers rich stereo sound from two powerful 3" side-firing speakers
- Up to 19 hours of continuous use with BL1830 battery (battery not included)
- Protective bumper design for added durability
- 10 Preset FM/AM buttons
The Makita Compact Cordless Job Site Radio brings together a rugged body, compact dimensions, stereo sound, and fairly long battery backup for a price that matches the rivals’. The robust appearance is backed by its weight and build, making it an ideal choice for use in the garage.
The 18V Makita Compact Cordless Job Site Radio can either be run using direct AC power (adapter is included) or if you want to make the most of its portability, you can use the sole Li-ion battery (that you’ll need to purchase separately) and enjoy the music for up to 19 hours (claimed backup). The job-site speaker has two side-firing speakers (3 inches, each) that create a stereo surround sound for absolute aural satisfaction.
The connectivity choices for the speaker include iPod and MP3 players. You can also use the onboard radio functionality and store 10 AM/FM stations on the preset. There’s, unfortunately, no Bluetooth or any other form of Internet connectivity available on this.
The Makita Job Site Radio carries an unmistakably rugged appearance. The onboard protective bumpers do help in the case of inadvertent bumps. Having said that, there’s no mention of water resistance, so you’ll need to be excessively careful when using this near spillage. It weighs 8.8 pounds and measures 11 x 7 x 17 inches.
The Makita Radio might look rugged but the lack of waterproofing/resistance and Bluetooth stop it from reaching the top spots in our list. It’s not the cheapest here, but you’ll need to shell out some extra on batteries. There’s a reassuring 3-year warranty on the device itself, and if you pick up a new battery from Makita, you’ll get a 1-year warranty on that as well.
- 50W 2-way speaker system with bass boost; Streams music from any Bluetooth(R) device; NFC Easy Pair for quickly pairing smartphone; Water-resistant (IPX5)--safe in the rain or near splashing pool; Magnetic tool holder keeps workspace organized & neat; Integrated ruler
- drill bit holder
- socket tray & magnetized screw tray; Digital AM/FM radio with 6 preset buttons & internal antenna; USB port for charging smartphones
- tablets & more; 3.5mm aux input for connecting non-Bluetooth(R) devices; Large rubberized buttons & controls are easy to use even while wearing gloves; Metal grille protects the speaker; Built-in battery provides up to 50 hours of continuous use on a single charge; Includes high-quality microphone & cableWarranty: Ninety DaysCountry of Origin: China
Think of the ION Audio Garage Rocker Wireless as the Swiss-Army knife among speakers. Not only is the speaker itself immensely powerful, but it can also double up as a storage for your common garage tools. And that’s not all, it also includes a microphone, and the battery backup is other-worldly, to say the least.
The built-in battery on the ION Audio Garage Rocker delivers up to 50 hours of playback on a single charge, and that’s a lot. It’s a battery-powered speaker, and with that good backup, you won’t need to worry about losing access to your music halfway through the day. It has a 2-way speaker system with an overall output of 50 watts with a bass boost.
The connectivity choices on the ION Audio are endless. You have the standard Aux-in, digital AM/FM radio with six presets, NFC for easy pairing, and Bluetooth. Using the onboard USB, you can also charge your devices. The speaker also gets a high-quality microphone and cable.
Flanked by handles on both sides, the speaker has rubber parts for the socket tray and screw tray whereas the speaker is covered by a metallic grille. The buttons are rubberized and can be operated while wearing gloves. The ION Audio Garage Rocker has an IPX5 water-resistant rating, which declares it safe to be used in the rain as well. It’s heavy at 24.6 pounds, so you’re better off leaving it in the garage. The dimensions are as follows: 23.54 x 23.23 x 22.36 inches.
There’s everything you’d asked for in a garage speaker. The fact that it can hold your tools makes the deal even sweeter. It’s backed by a 90-day warranty. And while the features are certainly impressive, some users aren’t too keen on the overall sound quality of the device.
- COMPACT: Weighing only 4 lbs. and measuring 12 inches long, the Bosch PB180 18V compact radio can be stored anywhere, including the Bosch L-Boxx system
- SOUND: The PB180 radio features two high performance, 5-Watt neodymium speakers for maximum sound clarity and quality over jobsite noise. The PB180 comes complete with an external auxiliary port to connect to digital media players
- DURABILITY: The jobsite radio has high strength shock-absorbing housing and handles that provide maximum robustness and protection. Even at a 2 meter drop, the PB180 can be fully functional
- QUALITY: Featuring advanced digital signal processing to optimize AM/FM reception quality with 10 preset options for all your favorite stations. The PB180 also includes a 7” antenna that pivots and rotates 360 degrees for maximum reception both indoors and outdoors
- COMPATIBILITY The PB180 is powered by the Bosch AC adapter (included) or Bosch 18V Lithium-Ion batteries and chargers (not included, sold separately)
The PB180 18-Volt Compact Radio is a great contender for the top title. It is lightweight, powerful and also reliable. It ticks the boxes. Bosch is, after all, a leading brand that is known for its excellence. This box weighs in at 4.1lbs which makes it extremely light when compared to others of similar features.
The PB180 is powered by 18V and works great with 2 rechargeable 4.0Ah battery that lasts for two days at a time when used constantly. The speakers are 5W high-performance Neodymium with external AUX port. It comes with the Bosch 18V adapter, so it can be plugged in for constant power.
This model comes with an advanced digital signal processing optimizes AM/FM reception, and you can store up to 10 preset channels. It also comes with a 7” 360o rotating antenna for greater reception.
This model comes with a high strengths shock absorbing housing and handles that can withstand a 2-meter drop.
A very powerful model, delivering an even more powerful audio performance.
- Built-in charger quickly and conveniently powers up all Milwaukee M18 Lithium-Ion batteries
- Weather-sealed compartment offers onboard protection for small belongings and smart phone
- Premium speakers and 40 Watt amplifier produce a rich, full sounds for clear audio
- Customizable equalizer and 10 station presets deliver personalized and enhanced sound
- Exclusive Digital Bluetooth receiver streams audio wirelessly from over 100 ft.
This is the Milwaukee Electric Tool 2792-20 M18 Job Radio with built-in-charger. This is one strong package and provides more than it appears to offer. The built-in-charger is used to charge all M18 battery packs, and if you want a drink while listening to music, it comes with a bottle opener too. Now, why didn’t you think of that before? It also comes with a 16″ auxiliary Input Cord and Two “aaa” batteries to start you off.
Let’s start off the 40-watt amplifier that blasts the two speakers into overdrive, now add the recharging M18 Li-ion batteries, and you have a docking station that rocks.
This unit gives you the 10 channel presets that is a standard for any normal modern RF receiver, and it also comes with a 100’ Bluetooth handshake. Impressive when you don’t want to hear yourself think.
This model comes with a reinforced roll cage with metal handles that is great for protecting it against heavy objects, or when it falls. It is all weatherproof.
One of the best models on the market, and well worth the price.
- DUAL POWER SOURCES: You can use Ridgid 18V batteries (not included) or the included AC cord to power this radio
- RIDGID RADIO APP COMPATIBLE: Change the mix and tune the radio remotely through a Ridgid app you can download on your smartphone
- STORAGE: Keep your mp3 player or smartphone in the attached compartment. It has USB charging for maximum utility
- MULTIPLE MUSIC SOURCES: Play music with aux, Bluetooth, AM, or FM radio. There are so many options to stay entertained on the job
- PORTABLE: An ergonomic handle is bolted on top for you to carry this where you need
RIDGID GEN5X Jobsite Radio with Bluetooth Wireless Technology is a smartphone pairing machine with the appropriate app too. It’s operated via Bluetooth or manually but was designed to be hands-off. It weighs only 9.66lbs.
This model uses dual power input, either from any Ridgid 18V battery or from an AC connector.
An antenna tip: When using the radio receiver, for best-receiving results, use a simple 1-meter (39.4 in.) length of 22 AWG stranded or solid copper wire. If the wire is insulated, strip one end to expose at least 1/2 in. of the conductor.
The Ridgid comes with a USB charging and aux-in connection, so you can also charge your smartphones and other connectable devices.
It is weather resistant, and also comes with some great padding, its protective frame covers the sides completely, and together with the carry handle, makes this one of the more damage resistant models there are.
- Rugged Industrial Grade Digital PLL Synthesized AM / FM Radio with 10 Station Memory Presets (5 AM, 5 FM) and Dynamic Loudness
- Rain Resistant to JIS4 Standard, Dust and Shock Resistant with Rubber Shock-Blocks
- Compact Roll-Cage Protective Design Resists Impacts and Drops while Remaining Highly Portable, Rugged Rotary Tuning and Volume Controls with Durable ABS Plastic Body
- 5 1/4 Inch Water Resistant High Powered Speaker, Backlit Display and Compact Flexible Antenna
- Operates with 9-foot Attached AC Power Cord or 4 C Batteries (not included)
This is the Sangean smaller brother of the TB-100. It’s more compact but gives similar level of performance. However, this model is smaller, doesn’t have that military look, and weighs in at 6.9lbs.
This model also runs on three power sources, an AC connector to the mains, on standard batteries or on rechargeable batteries. It uses 4 rechargeable or alkaline C batteries. The AC line will recharge the batteries and maintain them charged when connected. It comes with a 5” speaker that is no less a match than the TB-100.
The tuner is a digital PLL tuner for FM and AM and comes with a 12 memory preset stations, 6 FM and 6 AM.
It also comes with an Aux-in connector for your mobile devices and has an amber backlit LCD.
This model is made of ABS Plastic and comes with a roll cage that gives it extra durability. The model is JIS4 Standard Dust/Shock/Rain Resistant.
The speaker is also water resistant, so it will last a longer time than most.
If you want a nice tidy model, that can stand up to most hard knocks; then this is a good model for you. It’s also got a nice light and bright look and feel and is really easy to use.
What are the best garage radios?
The best garage radio is the one that you’re going to use without worrying too much about the chances of it getting damaged. So it’s got to be rugged, with a variety of connectivity options, and most importantly, it has to have good sound quality.
To us, the Bosch PB360C does almost everything without compromising much on anything. The DeWalt also enables you to charge other DeWalt tools with it, making it a perfect garage companion — and deserving of the number 2 spot on the list.
The Milwaukee M12 is a good cost-effective speaker, has a long warranty, and with the weather-sealed MP3 compartment that can hold an iPod, it can be a great rugged music player — although the lack of Bluetooth stops it from getting higher on the list. If you’re looking for music playback through a rugged wireless speaker, the DeWalt Bluetooth speaker is exactly what you’ll need. You can run it directly from the power supply as well.
The Makita setup has a boxy appearance, and like others, that works well for it. It lacks Bluetooth and there’s no word about water resistance, so you will need to be careful. The ION Audio is another relatively inexpensive system. You also get a good backup from the inbuilt battery, ensuring the long days spent in the garage won’t go silent.
The Bosch PB180 sits comfortably in the seventh spot. It comes with high-strength shock-absorbing housing that helps it withstand drops from up to 2 meters.
No one said the ideal garage radio doesn’t have to be multi-purpose, so Milwaukee went ahead and made one with a bottle opener! The M18 also has a 40-watt amplifier, reinforced roll cage, weatherproofing, Bluetooth connectivity, and a docking station.
The Ridgid jobsite radio comes with the ability to stow your phone/audio player, is weather-resistant, comes with a carry handle, and has a variety of connectivity choices including Bluetooth. The Sangean LB-100 is a cool-looking radio receiver with Aux input. While your connectivity choices might be limited, with a heavy-duty roll cage, water resistance, dust and shock resistance, and a fairly sturdy ABS plastic body, you won’t have an issue with durability.
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