Our favorite part about this radio is that it not only looks solid and durable, but it is also durable ! The DeWalt DC011 Wireless Charger hangs securely within a full roll cage with rubber suspension mounts. The speakers feature steel grilles with rubber seals on the openings and doors. Drop it, kick it, leave it in the rain… this job site radio is absolutely rugged and weather resistant.
DeWalt DC011 Wireless Charger Ergonomics and Use
The DeWalt DC011 Radio Charger features an AM/FM digital tuner with LCD display and built-in clock. There are 4 buttons allowing up to 8 station memory presets (4 per band). The volume and tuning knobs on the top of the radio are large and easy to adjust even with gloves on. The radio has seek and manual adjustment knobs, but no pitch or bass adjustments. Radio and clock functions use two AA batteries (included) to maintain clock and radio preset memory. The batteries are located in a separate area inside the battery charging compartment. The problem with many small radios is the flimsy foldable antenna; that's not the case here, as the flexible rubber 11" antenna has a durable swivel base.
Editor's note: Check out our best jobsite radio article for more jobsite radio testing. There's also an updated DeWalt DC012 Jobsite radio, a DeWalt DCR006 Bluetooth speaker, and a DeWalt Bluetooth radio adapter for retrofitting any existing audio system you have to accept Bluetooth streaming audio from your smartphone or tablet.
Speakers and Sound Quality
The speaker on the DeWalt DC011 radio is weather resistant and has a steel grille for protection. We beat them (intentionally) and they stayed in shape. In addition to the radio function, there is a 1/8" mini-jack on the back of the unit that allows you to plug in a secondary CD player, MP3 player or any other portable audio device. Unfortunately, there is nowhere to store your iPod or other MP3 player, so if you're on the job site, we're not sure how helpful this feature will be for most people. We found the radio to have good reception on both the AM and FM bands.
The sound quality is good, provided the unit is placed a few feet away from the wall (this reduces the "hum" of the unit) The volume of the DeWalt DC011 radio is also good enough to overcome other sounds encountered on the job site. The 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 can handle 7.2 – 18 volt DeWalt standard NiCd battery packs. Standard charging time is 1 hour. This charger has a 3-level charging system that provides better runtime and helps extend battery life (helps with older NiCads). The only bad news is that it is not compatible with Univolt, 24V NiCd batteries, or any lithium nano battery pack.
Heck, that really limits the appeal of this product. The battery charging compartment is located on the back of the radio with a rubber-sealed door and a sturdy latch. There is a battery status light on the front of the radio. The indicator light consists of a light that flashes in a specific sequence to communicate the status of the charging process. The lights work the same way as DeWalt's standard battery chargers.
The radio is designed for 120V and batteries. The radio can run for up to 8 hours on a fully charged 18V battery, making it ideal for use when no other power source is available. Like all NiCd batteries, they gradually discharge over time – even when not in use. When a rechargeable battery is left in the radio for a few days without use, the battery is nearly dead.
There is also convenient wrap-around power cord storage at the bottom of the unit.
This is a great value radio, but if you are a DeWalt tool user who uses a lot of NiCd batteries, this is a good choice because of the features it offers. Of course, we're disappointed that the charger isn't compatible with Nano Batteries, but hopefully DeWalt is already working on the next generation.