January 11, 2010

Milwaukee M12 Radio - Review

m12_radio_1.jpgWe have mixed feelings when it comes to jobsite radios. On one hand we like having a little background music while we work, but on the other hand, we can't stomach the musical tastes of most other people. Really, how many times can the human mind listen to 'Slow Ride' before there's some mental damage (and don't get us started on sports radio or 'wacky morning DJs')? So we always get a little nervous when we see a sub contractor getting out of their truck with some massive, John-Cusack-from-Say-Anything, boom box.

But like we said, we're not opposed to music at work, so when Milwaukee sent us one of their 12-volt radios to test out, we were predisposed to like it. And as it turns out, we did like it, but there are some caveats. We were into the fact that it's very small and stripped down (no cd player, no race scanner, not even a battery charger). All it is is a radio (with 10 presets), a weatherproof compartment for an MP3 player, and a clock. That's it. Basic and small. Minimal bling.

M12_radio_2.jpgm12_radio_5.jpg

Oddly enough, we had just won an iPod Touch at the company xmas party, so we thought we'd give it a whirl in the Milwaukee. Strapping the mp3 player into the compartment turned out to be a little tricky. In order to prohibit the iPod from moving once it's in, there's a little elastic strap that holds it in place. Because the elastic is so tight, wedging the iPod in is quite difficult and the compartment leaves minimal room to access the power button on the top left of the iPod. Also, the elastic runs across the center of the screen, so using the Touch was also a bit of a pain. Our general thoughts on these drawbacks are that once the iPod is in, it's in. You're not going to be taking it in and out all day long, so we would rather have the iPod well protected and have the twice a day hassle of the tight elastic. We just have to get used to the idea of playlists and shuffle.

m12_radio_3.jpgSo once the iPod was in, we got some tunes going and discovered that the sound is pretty good. Not mindblowing, but really solid. Definitely good enough for a job site, in fact, better than is really needed for a job site. But if you're the type who can talk at length about the subtle production values of Johnny Cash's American Recordings, you're not going to be satisfied.

As we mentioned before, the M12 radio does not having charging capabilities, which is a standard feature on larger radios. It can run off a 12-volt battery or off the AC adapter, but sadly, it will not charge your battery when it's plugged into the wall. This is unfortunate, but our guess is that the miniature size of the radio would be sacrificed were this the case. We've had the radio on site for about a week and so far we've gotten an average of about 7 hours of iPod time per full 12-volt battery. Since we're down with the Milwaukee 12-volt system, we always have at least one battery kicking around so it works out for us.

The radio is also durable. We dropped a few 2x4s on it by accident (they hit hard enough to eject the battery from the back of the radio), and the radio didn't even take on a mark.

m12_radio_6.jpgWe also tested out the weatherproofing of the compartment door by bringing the radio to the sink and giving it a good hose down with the hand sprayer. After a nice drenching, we opened the door and the iPod area was bone dry. It's nice having the confidence that it can handle snow flurries or a light drizzle.

For our needs, this radio is right on target. We like not having to lug around a massive piece of equipment and it's loud and clear enough for our needs. For the low price of $100 it would be tough to ask for anything more.

At Amazon.com

Read More in: All Reviews | Lithium-Ion | Radios

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at January 11, 2010 4:45 AM

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Recent Comments

Some tunes on the job are not a bad thing. My partner and I tend to change the format several times during the day but it does help make the day go faster.


Posted by: Carter Porter at November 22, 2010 8:54 AM

Handy little sucker. That would be a good little Xmas present, along with that Dremel Duo I lost in a basement flood. That pair is one of my favorites. Always good for tools at Xmas. I'm looking for some Dremel accessories, good knife, and that CLC tool backpack I've been wishing for.

8^)


Posted by: Wtester at November 22, 2010 5:23 AM

I make antique toy wooded cars. i would love to have a wood lathe for Christmas so I could make my own accessories such as tires, steering wheels, barrells etc.


Posted by: Barry Gardner at November 22, 2010 5:16 AM

Milwaukee also recently released a bigger version of this radio for the M18 series.


Posted by: Rob at January 27, 2010 11:17 AM

Homey Depot has the Milwaukee Radio w/ Drill kit on clearance for $79.


Posted by: SharkBreath at January 13, 2010 4:03 AM

Ahhhh...I just saw that on a message board. It also says that Bosch pays them a royalty to have a charger in the Cube. Interesting. Thanks.


Posted by: Tool Snob at January 12, 2010 5:18 AM

dewalt owns a patent for battery charging in jobsite radios


Posted by: ryan at January 11, 2010 10:50 PM
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