September 29, 2010

DeWalt DC012 Heavy-Duty Worksite Charger/Radio - Review

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DeWalt, masters of the job site radio (and thus the people directly responsible for us having to listen to miles and miles of evil sports radio) have just released an upgrade to their enduring, 'on-every-site' stereo to the DC012. They were also nice enough to send us one so we could check it out. We did, and in the process we saw a million faces and we rocked them all.

dewalt_radio_controls.jpgFirst off, the sound quality is great, especially for a job-site. We tested the volume (Slayer), the bass (Waylon), and the clarity (Sam Cooke) and found them all to be great. It's maybe not up to "1970's stereophonic bachelor pad with the round bed" standards, but the bottom line (and our neighbors four doors down will agree!) is that it has great sound and really better that you would expect from a job site stereo.

We found the radio reception to be pretty good, but we had better luck on the AM band with Milwaukee's little 12-volt. The DeWalt seemed to come and go a bit, while the smaller radio remained constant and a little clearer.

dewalt_radio_charger.jpgThe durability on the DeWalt is top-notch. The stereo has some nice roll bars which protect it from standard falls, tips, and other daily abuse. The buttons all have a good feel and the knobs have a nice spin, with a good movement ratio (meaning changing the channel is easy and you don't have to sit there for 20 minutes trying to get from 88.9 to 107.3). The feet of the radio double also as a cord wrap.

There are also three outlets which are a nice touch, a ton of presets, and a clock so you can manically monitor how many minutes until coffee break.

dewalt_radio_knobs.jpgBut there are a few things that we were expecting that we didn't get.

1. Like all DeWalt radios, this one doubles as a battery charger. According to DeWalt, it is capable of charging 7.2-volt to 18-volt DeWalt batteries (li-ion and Ni-Cad), but it appears that the new 12-volt DeWalt line is not supported. This is too bad and a bit mystifying, seeing as the industry seems to be heading into a split between the two platforms, with 14.4s and the older 12-volts harder and harder to find. But DeWalt is very loyal to their customers so we're not shocked that the charger supports these older platforms, it's just strange that it doesn't support their newest platform. Perhaps (hopefully), they have some kind of adapter in the works to allow the new 12-volts some charging action with the stereo.

2.Our second complaint isn't really with the DeWalt radio, but with the entire class of tool (minus Milwaukee and Bosch). What about our iPod? With pretty much all of the world's music heading into digital form, it's another mystery as to why DeWalt didn't provide a protected spot for an mp3 player. Like we said, we've got the 12-volt Milwaukee radio (which is basically built around the mp3 player), and when we use it, it's very comforting knowing that our $200 musical gizmo is completely secured in a dust free environment. DeWalt only gives us an auxiliary port (with cable not included), so we can plug one in, but then what? Set it on the stereo while Billy the laborer grinds concrete next to it? Not a chance.

dewalt_radio_feet.jpgThere is also no CD player, which is likely the thinking behind just providing an aux port. Let the user decide which to use; portable CD player or an MP3 player. This is fine, but unfortunately, the simple fact is that we'll never use our MP3 player in a half framed house if it's going to get exposed to any danger.

And again, this is not just a DeWalt issue. Porter-Cable is right there with them, as is Ridgid. Like we said, only Milwaukee and Bosch have started providing safe places for MP3 players.

We think it's likely that the next generation DeWalt stereo will have this feature, but with the other companies already doing it, we were a bit surprised not to see it on this one.

But those are our only two gripes. If you have no problem with them; if you could care less about charging your DeWalt 12-volts and you don't have an MP3 player, then this has everything you'll need in a jobsite radio; good sound, durability, and all the radio presets you could ever want.

The DeWalt costs $169 which is cheaper than the Bosch cube, but you probably don't care because if you're considering this radio, it's likely that you're already plugged into the DeWalt line.

At Amazon.com

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

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at September 29, 2010 5:00 AM

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