Milwaukee M12 Radio + Charger Gives the M12 Line its First Charging Bluetooth Radio
Milwaukee has one of the deepest 12V battery platforms in the industry, and it just got even deeper with its first 12V radio that features battery charging. The Milwaukee M12 Radio + Charger takes a versatile approach to job site sound with a full-range speaker setup, multiple hanging options, and the capability to not just charge your M12 batteries, but also your phones and tablets.
- Optimized to deliver vocal ranges clearly
- Charges M12 batteries
- Runs on M12 battery or AC power
- 2.1A USB quick charger
- IP54 rating
- Good top end volume that doesn’t distort
- Nail/screw notch and through-handle hanging options
- Small profile
- Highs and lows aren’t as clear
- No 3.5mm auxiliary port
Editor’s Note: Check out our best jobsite radio article for our top picks.
Milwaukee M12 Radio + Charger
Listen to the Sound
The Milwaukee M12 Radio + Charger won’t compete with a full-sized cordless radio, but should still crank out the tunes on the job site. You get a “full-range” speaker and tweeter—unusual for smaller radios.
The audio quality we’re hearing from it is good for a small-form radio, though it falls well short of what the Packout Radio + Charger has.
With limited speaker space comes some decision-making. Milwaukee opted to dial in this radio by optimizing sound at vocal levels. Music vocals and especially spoken words come through well, sacrificing some of the top and bottom end clarity.
Milwaukee got the top end volume right. It cranks up to max and stops right before we felt distortion would set in. That volume level is decent, but again, it’s a small-form speaker. Expect to hear it clearly in the room you’re working on, just not across the entire jobsite.
The AM/FM radio has 5 presets for each. Just use the arrows to the station you want to set, hold the preset button until it blinks, then use the arrows to pick the preset position you want, and hit the preset button again to set it.
When you’re not using the radio, the antenna folds down and completely out of the way with two pivot points.
A Bluetooth 4.2 connection lets you stream audio from any smart device with a decent range.
Milwaukee opts to drop the 3.5mm auxiliary cord connection on this model. If you prefer using that type of connection instead of a Bluetooth connection, it might be a deal-breaker.
It looks like there’s no EQ setting after a quick glance at the control panel. They’re actually hidden—bring them up with a long press on the AM/FM button. You can cycle between treble and bass adjustments with the arrow and volume keys.
Charges M12 Batteries
Of course, the sound is only part of the picture (albeit a big part). When you drop an M12 battery into the radio while plugged into the wall, it will charge while playing your tunes. When you don’t have access to an outlet, use any M12 battery to power your tunes.
The charger outputs at 1.0A, so it’s not a fast charger.
Milwaukee claims you get up to 10 hours of runtime off a 2.0Ah battery, giving you enough to cover most work days. We really like that there’s a 4-bar indicator letting you know how much charge you have left.
The Milwaukee M12 Radio + Charger includes a 6-foot AC cable to run the radio and charge your battery packs. The downside here is that there’s not enough room to build in a storage bay for it. That’s not uncommon on small-form speakers and it’s something you’ll have to keep up with as you travel to and from the jobsite.
There’s also a USB 2.1A port. With it, you can use the 2951-20 to quickly charge your phone or tablet on-site from the M12 battery. Essentially, you can use the radio as a highly-functional USB power source.
The Milwaukee M12 Radio + Charger gives you multiple placement options. It features a centered keyhole for hanging the radio from a nail, while a hollow handle makes it easy to wrap it up in Romex and hang it from just about anywhere. Of course, it’s perfectly stable sitting on a flat surface, too.
The 12V Milwaukee 2951-20 radio features an impact-resistant exterior and an IP54 rating, protecting internal components from drops, water, and dust.
We like the reverse-contrast LCD screen. Light characters pop off of the dark background in a way that’s easy on your eyes. It’s also easy to see outside. Sunlight doesn’t wash the screen out, although the protective glass is reflective, so you may need to adjust its angle to see what’s behind it.
You can pick up this M12 radio for $129 as a tool-only option or for $178 with a 2.0Ah battery. No, you don’t get a separate charger in the kit—that’s what you have the radio for!
The Bottom Line
The Milwaukee M12 Radio + Charger is a nice upgrade for the brand’s small-form speaker line. It has good sound for listening to music and really excels in producing spoken voices. If you get through the day with talk radio or podcasts, you’re going to be pleased with this one.
Milwaukee M12 Radio + Charger Specs
- Model: Milwaukee 2951-20
- Power: AC or M12 battery (12VDC)
- Bluetooth: 4.2
- Integrated M12 battery charger
- Radio presets: 10
- AC cord length: 6 ft.
- 2.1A USB charger
- Size: 5.39 x 9.21 x 5.67 in.
- IP rating: IP54
- Weight: 3.68 lbs.
- Warranty: 1 year
- Price: $129