Our favorite part of this radio is that not only does it look rugged, it is rugged! The DeWalt DC011 Radio Charger is safely suspended inside a full roll cage with rubber suspension mounts. The speakers feature steel grilles, and there are rubber seals on the openings and doors. Drop it, kick it, leave it out in the rain…this job site radio is definitely constructed to be tough and weather resistant.
DeWalt DC011 Radio Charger Ergonomics and Use
The DeWalt DC011 Radio Charger features an AM/FM digital tuner with LCD Display, and has a built in clock. There are 4 buttons that will allow up to 8 station memory presets (4 per band). The volume and tuner knobs on the top of the radio are large and adjust easily, even with gloves on. The radio has both a seek and a manual adjustment knob but there is no way to adjust tone or bass. The radio and clock functions use two AA batteries (included) to maintain the clock and radio preset memory. The batteries are located in a separate area inside the battery charging compartment. The trouble with many smaller radios is the fragile collapsible antenna; this is not the case here as the flexible, rubberized 11″ antenna has a durable pivoting base.
Editor’s Note: Check out our Portable Job Site Radios Round-up comparison article for even more job site radio testing. There’s also an updated DeWalt DC012 Jobsite Radio, a DeWalt Bluetooth speaker, and a DeWalt Bluetooth radio adapter to retrofit any of your existing audio systems to accept Bluetooth streaming audio from a smartphone or tablet.
The speakers on the DeWalt DC011 Radio are weather resistant and feature steel mesh covers for protection. We beat them up pretty good (on purpose) and they held their shape. In addition to the radio functions, there is a 1/8″ mini jack located on the back of the unit that will allow you to plug in your auxiliary CD players, MP3 Players or any other portable audio device. Unfortunately, there is no place to store your iPod or other MP3 player, so if you’re on a jobsite we’re not sure how helpful this feature will be for most. We found the radio to have great reception on both the AM & FM bands. The sound quality was decent, provided the unit was placed several feet away from any walls (which reduces the unit’s “boominess”) The DeWalt DC011 radio also has plenty of volume to overcome other sounds encountered on a job site. A CD player and weather station tuner would have been nice features and we hope to see them in future models.
The battery charger function of the DeWalt DC011 Radio will handle 7.2 – 18 volt DeWalt standard NiCd battery packs. The standard charge time is 1 hour. The charger features a 3 stage charging system that provides better run time and will help to extend the life of the battery (helpful with older NiCads). The only bad news is that it is not compatible with the Univolt, 24V NiCd batteries or any of the Lithium Nano battery packs. Ouch, that really limited the appeal of this product. The battery charging compartment is located in the back of the radio with a rubber sealed door and a strong latch. There is a battery status indicator located on the front of the radio. The indicator consists of a light that flashes in certain sequences, conveying the status of the charging process. The indicator light works in the same fashion as the standard battery chargers from DeWalt.
The Radio is designed to function on both 120V and batteries. The radio should operate up to eight hours on a fully charged 18V battery which makes this great to use where there are no other power sources. As with all NiCd batteries, they discharge gradually over time – even when not in use. When a charged battery is left unused in the radio for a few days, expect the battery to be nearly run down.
There is also convenient wrap around cord storage located on the bottom of the unit.
This is a pretty expensive radio for the money but if you are a DeWalt tool user with lots of NiCad batteries, this is a pretty good choice because of the functionality it offers. We were, of course, disappointed that the charger is not compatible with the Nano Batteries, but hopefully DeWalt is already working on the next generation product.