Someone really took it seriously when designing the Bosch Power Box PB360C construction site radio. An upgrade to the original Bosch PB10-CD PowerBox with tons of features and speakers that seem to fire from every direction at once. It takes into account the fact that not everyone will be working directly in front of the radio. We set out to see if it could actually fill the workplace with great sound.
- Wide coverage
- many functions
- Built-in battery charger
- 4 GFCI 120V outlets
- Bluetooth Audio + App Enabled
- USB charging
- Accommodates larger Bosch batteries
Editor's Note: Check out our Best Live Broadcasting for Jobs article for our top picks.
Instead of traditional front-facing stereo speakers, the PB360C features an array of four 1-3/4-inch drivers that fire up and out in all directions simultaneously. A 4-1/2-inch recessed woofer fires down for extra bass. Put it in the middle of your workplace and everyone will hear your music.
The PB360C Power Box delivers a full output of 94 dB SPL, measured from any angle. It's not the loudest radio we've tested from the front, but if you consider how it performs when listening from the side or the back, it's definitely louder. I think it's the first "social" station that really cares about everyone in the room, no matter where they work. Now you all have to agree on the music!
All buttons are rubberized and easy to use with gloves on. Plus, they're backlit, so you can see what you're doing when the light isn't too hot. The tuning and volume knobs are simple to turn, but I wish they were a little more responsive. They seem to take forever when you're trying to dial from one extreme to the other — fast or slow, the increments move at the same rate.
You'll need to put your favorite stations into one of the 10 AM or 20 FM memory slots to avoid having to tune down or hunt from one extreme of the dial to the other. Also, unlike the more advanced Makita LXRM03, the Bosch PB360C does not "sense" inputs like most other job site radios. You'll need to cycle between AM, FM, Aux 1, Aux 2, USB, SD and Sirius to switch between active sources – switching from FM to AM, for example, can be a pain.
Input, Output and Power
The Bosch PowerBox has so many features that almost every side needs its own description to cover them all. The left side has Aux 1 input, line out, 12V DC (1A) port and hinged compartment. Inside is a 250V/1A fuse (for the 12V socket), SD card slot, USB port and Aux 2 input. You also get some carabiners to attach your mp3 player to the door to keep it out of the elements.
This USB charger charges your small portable devices when you connect the radio to a 120V power source. If you happen to have a favorite playlist, you can dump it to a 4GB drive and plug it into a USB slot for a week's worth of music.
On the back, you can connect an FM antenna (included) and a Sirius antenna (optional). Open the compartment and you'll find the integrated 18V Li-Ion battery charger (also where the radio is powered from a Bosch 14.4V or 18V battery).
Four GFCI outlets
On the right, you'll find four covered 10A GFCI outlets, allowing the radio to double as a power distribution center for all but the most power-hungry power tools. I like the idea that Bosch provides covers for the outlets. While they're not waterproof, they keep out dust and dirt when not in use. After all, this is a job field radio, and it's remarkable how many times a detail like this gets overlooked. The top of the Bosch Power Box has a convenient carrying handle that also stores the included keychain remote. The remote gives you access to volume, skip, source, power and mute controls and easily clips onto a keychain or belt loop.
Bosch PB360C Hearing Test
We really like the sound of the Bosch radio. It plays loud and clean, with more realistic bass than most other systems. The multi-directional speakers are a great concept and the overall design of the radio makes it very durable as it really isolates the central radio from the surrounding roll cage.
The only downside to the Bosch PB360C Power Box construction radio is that it weighs over 25 pounds with the batteries inserted. That's nearly 8 pounds heavier than the next heaviest model reviewed, the Milwaukee 2790-20.
If you can afford it, the PB360D is a feature-packed model that will do the job and provide music to the entire job site. At around $199, this might be your best bet for a loud, fully functional construction site radio.