Milwaukee M18 Jobsite Radio/Charger - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

Users of the Milwaukee 18-Volt power tool platform will find this a practical (and enjoyable) accessory.

Milwaukee M18 Jobsite Radio/Charger

Milwaukee M18 Jobsite Radio/Charger

Job site radios have become quite popular over the past few years, and most companies now offer at least one model. They typically come in one of two formats – a radio, or a radio/charger. The latter has always seemed much more practical to me.

Milwaukee's new M18 Jobsite Radio/Charger (2792-20) has a number of features that will be of interest to those who are firmly attached to a smart device – smartphone or tablet computer.

Sturdy roll cage design and thick plastic bumpers

The 2792-20 looks a lot like a small guitar amplifier. It weighs in at 17 pounds, making it easy to tote to and from, and around, the job site. Most of the weight is in the bottom, so that once you set it down it won't easily tip over. Even if it does fall over, the heavy duty roll cage design offers some level of protection – the corners and the base are covered by thick plastic bumpers.

Aluminum handles on the top and both sides give you a number of options when carrying the 2792-20. And, as you can see in the photo above, there is a convenient bottle opener above one of the the side handles.

Clear, easy to read display and nicely laid out control panel

The control panel is straight forward, with a large, bright, easy-to-read LCD screen. There are a variety of buttons, clearly labeled, that everyone will likely be familiar with: mode selection (AM, FM, AUX, Bluetooth), saving and quickly accessing up to 5 preset radio stations, controlling treble and bass, setting the clock time, activating the Bluetooth function, pausing/resuming play, searching the AM and FM bands, and, of course, turning the unit on and off and controlling the sound volume (the large center knob). 

There are also two battery charging status lights on the front of the unit – one that illuminates red while the battery is charging, the other that illuminates green when the battery is fully charged (which you can see in the photo above).

Great sound from dual 4" speakers

A metal grill on the front of the 2792-20 protects the two small tweeters and two cone speakers from damage. The front of the unit is slanted upwards, which, I suppose, helps direct the sound up towards the listener, providing a better distribution of sound, and also making it easier to view the LCD screen and control panel.

Battery dock, antenna, and power cord wrap

The battery charger, along with the flexible 360-degree rotating antenna, and power cord wrap are located on the back of the unit. The battery charger has a convenient flip cover to protect the leads when the battery isn’t docked in the sled. The fact that Milwaukee labels this unit as the "M18 Jobsite Radio/Charger" supports the fact that it won't charge M12 batteries. Unfortunate for all of us who use 12V Milwaukee power tools in the shop and on the job site.

A feature that I really like n this unit is that it can run off AC or battery power. I got over 12 hours of radio run-time with the included 2.0 Ah battery – for an even longer run time use an M18 4.0 Ah battery. When run off the battery, the LCD screen will auto dim after 5 minutes to reduce power consumption.

It takes about 30 minutes to fully charge the 2.0 Ah M18 battery, and 60 minutes for the 4.0 Ah battery. 

Awkward AAA battery replacement

If there is no battery docked on the charging sled and the unit isn't plugged in, then the clock (and the station presents) won't hold their memory. To avoid this you'll need to install the two AAA batteries that are included with the 2792-20. Hopefully these batteries will last a long time, as installing the batteres is awkward. 

Plug in for smartphone and tablet

Anyone who uses a smart device for playing music will love the Bluetooth feature. Inside the waterproof auxiliary compartment you'll find both an AUX (stereo auxiliary) jack and a USB port. Connect any smartphone, tablet computer, MP3 player, or CD player to the stereo jack to play music. Small devices will fit right into the compartment. Tablet computers can rest on the lip of the cover. 

The USB port is used to charge your phone, or power an MP3 player or any other device that uses less than 2.1 Amps of current. Charging will take place either from the AC outlet (if plugged in) or from an M18 battery (if docked in the battery sled).

If your device has Bluetooth capability then you can pair it to the 2790-20 by pressing the Bluetooth button on the control panel or selecting Bluetooth via the MODE button, and then stream music from your device, or from the Internet, from up to 100 feet. The process for pairing the two is clearly outlined in the user guide.  

The convenience of controlling the 2790-20 becomes apparent when you're up a ladder or scaffolding and want to turn the radio off or change the music you're listening to, without having to trot to the radio.

The 2790-20 delivers 40 watts per channel, and at maximum volume is loud enough to knock your socks off. I found the sound to be very clear, and by adjusting the equalizer I got the right mix of deep bass tones and sharp high tones for the type of music I listen to. FM radio stations came in very clear, even when I used the 2790-20 in a concrete basement. However, I did notice that when the unit was using AC power and I installed a battery in the dock for charging, it resulted in static on the radio. To resolve this I had to reposition the antenna, and/or move the radio to another location. More of an inconvenience than anything else. 

Whether or not you use a smart device, if you use the Milwaukee 18-Volt power tool platform, and are thinking of getting a jobsite radio, you'll definately want to consider the 2790-20.


  • 12" W x 15" H x 12" L
  • FM, AM, AUX, USB, Bluetooth
  • 5 preset radio stations
  • Customizable equalizer
  • Built-in 18V battery charger
  • Built-in bottle opener
  • Weighs 17 lbs
  • 6' power cord
  • 1 year warranty
  • Includes: 16" auxiliary input cord, 2 AAA batteries
SOURCE:Where to Buy

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Carl Duguay
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