Ridgid Radio Review: Gen5x Bluetooth Charging R84085
If you’re one of the many people out there asking for your Ridgid radio to add a charging function, you have been heard! The big deal about the new Ridgid charging radio is that it will charge any Ridgid 18V batteries. Of course, there’s much more to it than that, so let’s take a tour.
Ridgid Radio Pros
- Full feature set, including charging and app controls
- Durable design with roll cage
- Dual power sources
- Ample amount of bass
Ridgid Radio Cons
- Slightly muffled midrange at higher volumes
The Bottom Line
The charging Ridgid radio puts out an almost silly amount of bass that belies its size. While it won’t dazzle you with vocal clarity or obscene volume levels, the addition of a battery charger and radio app make it a full-featured option that won’t leave you saying “I wish it had…”
The biggest feature for Ridgid fans is the addition of a battery charger. Any of your Ridgid 18V batteries will charge, including the big 9.0 Ah pack.
There’s an app available for your new Ridgid radio. The installation is pretty simple and it doesn’t take up a ton of space on your phone.
App Controls and Features
- Battery charge status
- Mode change (FM, AM, Aux, Bluetooth)
- Preset selection, assignment, and editing
- Radio scan
- Sleep timer
- 10-second message record/playback
- Clock setting
- Bass/treble adjust
- Audio reminders
- Weather alerts
- Registration (required for Lifetime Service Agreement)
- Ridgid social media
- Power off*
*Since your Ridgid radio has to be on to connect to your phone’s Bluetooth, you can turn it off but not on with the app.
Roll Cage Design
The roll cage adds more than just protection on the job site. The sides create recesses that hide the USB charging and Aux in ports on the right. You can use either side for handles and set your phone inside. It doesn’t get it completely out of the elements to protect it from weather or the site, though. In fact, my Kyocera DuraForce Pro has to stick out the side. It’s not oversized by any means, so most phones will be in the same boat.
I’d like the top handle to sit just a little higher up from the housing. As it sits, my knuckles hit the top and the diameter isn’t the most ergonomic for carrying around. Take that with a grain of salt, though. It’s just an observation and really shouldn’t sway your decision away from whether it works for you.
Other Standard Features
- Bluetooth Connectivity
- 3.5 mm auxiliary port
- 10 presets for FM and AM
- USB portable drive music playback (MP3)
- USB charging (1 amp)
- 120V AC or Ridgid 18V battery power
- Cord wrap
- No major missing features
Can You Hear Me Now?
Sound output for the Ridgid R84085 is handled by a pair of 10-watt speakers. While there’s no dedicated subwoofer, this radio puts out an impressive amount of bass. At 3 feet, I recorded a maximum sound level of 90 dB(A). Backing up to 15 feet, that drops to 75 dB(A) (about what you’d expect). You’re not going to fill an entire job site at this level, but it was more than enough to cover our 60 x 40 shop with room to spare.
I ran through a wide variety of songs to get an idea of sound quality. Instrumental, a cappella, country, rock, pop, and swing—everybody had their shot.
Like most radios in this class, the sound quality is average. What we mean by that is—you’re not going to use this for critical listening. What it will do, however, is play music at ample volume without overt distortion—and that’s a huge win. I turned the treble up one notch to get a little more clarity. Overall, the highs come through pretty easily and the low end is downright impressive. It’s the midrange that lacks definition—and that’s simply because everything is being fed through a pair of 4-inch speakers. Bose may have convinced a generation that it could change the laws of physics—but you simply get more definition when you can split off the highs and lows to their own drivers.
You stay in pretty good shape up to volume level 25. After that, the midrange begins to get more muffled. The sweet spot for this radio is in the 15 – 20 range, but you truly can crank it all the way to 30 if needed without any harsh distortion.
Price and Value
The Ridgid charging radio will set you back $179. That puts it right in the wheelhouse with other manufacturers’ models which range from $179 – $199 for charging radios. It’s the feature set that justifies the price, though we wouldn’t complain if Ridgid brought their speaker quality up at this price point. DeWalt’s ToughSystem Music+ gives you a pretty nice upgrade in sound quality for just another $20.
Still, this is a starting point for Ridgid and with—gasp—Black Friday and Christmas not too far away, I’ll bet we see some deals come through where others will hold steady.
The Bottom Line
Here’s the bottom line—Ridgid’s new charging Ridgid radio isn’t the loudest or even the best-sounding radio we’ve heard. But if you use Ridgid tools, you’d be crazy to buy anything else. The battery charger and radio app make this a full-featured option that won’t leave you saying “I wish it had…”
Ridgid Radio Specifications
- Model: Ridgid R84085
- Power Source: 120V AC or Ridgid 18V battery
- Speakers: (2) 10-watt
- Connections: FM, AM, Aux, Bluetooth
- Weight 9.66 pounds
- Dimensions: 18.35 x 10.03 x 9.49 inches
- Warranty: 3 years and Lifetime Service Agreement (registration required for LSA)
- Price: $179 – $199