The last Ridgid Jobsite Radio we got the chance to test was impressive. When we lined it up against other popular radios, it was the clear winner in sound quality and volume while minimizing distortion. It measured 104 dB of SPL (sound pressure level). When comparing that to other full-size radios, the R84082 was twice as loud as some of the competitors with no significant audible distortion. The rugged protective roll cage around it made it extremely tough. We decided to compare the Ridgid R84083 against the competition to see if it delivered enough improvements to justify an upgrade.
Editor’s Note: Check out our best jobsite radio article for our top picks.
While the former Ridgid R84082 Jobsite Radio was very good, it still had some room for improvement. It featured a docking station that fit most, but not all, of the most popular MP3 players. In looking at some customer reviews, one of the most common complaints I saw was that the docking station didn’t fit the newest Apple devices. The updated Ridgid R84083 Jobsite Radio addresses this by getting rid of the docking station altogether. Instead, they have included a simple 3.5 mm auxiliary port to pump music from any device with a headphone jack into the system. Right next to that you’ll find a USB charging port. Is it as convenient as a docking station? No, but it provides the versatility to use any MP3 player, phone, or even that old Sony Walkman you’ve refused to get rid of.
Designers didn’t just decide to create the system and leave your devices to the elements. The auxiliary jack and USB port are on the right side of the radio and protected by a cover. The space is large enough to fit just about any phone, including the Samsung Galaxy. There’s even a rubber band inside to keep your device from being knocked around the storage compartment while transporting the radio.
Same Great Volume and Distortion-free Sound
Here’s the great news: The Ridgid R84083 didn’t mess with the excellent system that made up the core of this radio in its previous generation. You’re still going to get all of the volume and lack of distortion that was in the R84082. Both radios take advantage of a pair of 3-3/4″ speakers and 3/4″ tweeters. The heavy-duty roll cage even has holds the radio in a fashion that it “floats” in the cage using shock absorbers. This adds extra protection in case of a fall.
The radio can be plugged in to run off of 120 volt AC power or it can use a Ridgid 18 volt battery. Unfortunately, the ability to charge your Ridgid batteries still hasn’t arrived. With a couple of other competitors out there that do include charging, I hope to see this in the near future. There is a cord wrap on the bottom that is built-in as part of the roll cage. The entire design is weather-resistant to add to the durability. Tuning is achieved through a phase lock loop which provides exceptional reception (of which I am enjoying right now!).
Inputs and a Clock
The updatedRidgid R84083 Jobsite Radio comes with a 3.5 mm auxiliary cord to connect your devices to the input and a pair of AAA batteries for the clock operation. The AAA batteries present a bit of a challenge on installation. They go in the back of the battery compartment. Considering that I have the convenience of using my 18V batteries and that it’s in a spot that really protects it from the elements, it’s a very minor issue.
Using the Radio and Other Functions
I found the tuning, preset assignment, and clock adjustment to be very simple. Tuning is accomplished by pressing mode until you reach the FM, AM, or Auxiliary mode you want, then the forward or back button to get to the station. There are 2 FM modes that let you have 10 total FM presets to go along with 5 AM presets. To set a station, just hold down the number that you want the station assigned to for a few seconds and it’s ready to go.
With the volume dial/power button and just 10 buttons to push, it’s not complicated to operate, yet very functional. For radio listening, I simply adjust the bass down one notch and found my style of music to be very pleasant on an FM frequency. When listening to higher quality music (and the occasional audiobook), I found that the settings I already had dialed in on my iPod continued to work just fine with no additional adjustments.
I love that Ridgid started with a great radio and then built around it. By going at it that way, you get to experience excellent sound quality from the beginning. As Ridgid continues to add features, it gets better. We’d obviously love to see an 18V charger on the radio when the road is clear for it. Perhaps Bluetooth connectivity for the next generation is something we can look forward to as well. Overall, the Ridgid Jobsite Radio is still the best available. The fact that I can now play and charge any of my devices and the price didn’t change only solidifies its place on top.
For more information, visit Ridgid’s website or visit your local Home Depot to pick up your own!
Ridgid Jobsite Radio Summary
- Model: R84083
- Power Source: 120 volt AC/18 volt DC (Ridgid batteries only)
- AM Range: 520 – 1710 kHz
- FM Range: 87.5 – 107.9 MHz
- Modes: FM1, FM2, AM, Auxiliary
- Weight: 12.7 pounds
- Price: $149
- Warranty: 3 year limited