Bosch 18V Compact Radio Review PB180

Bosch makes a lot of awesome hardcore tools.  They build them for the professional, they build them to last.  In fact Bosch makes the best radio on the market, the Bosch Power Box.  Since they have the best radio on the market, you think they could take the stance of sitting back and riding the wave.  Well they didn’t as they just introduced the Bosch Compact Radio PB180 which is now the second best radio on the market, but the best compact radio.  While the Power Box is the best radio, sometimes you might not feel like carrying that radio around.  You would rather just have a smaller radio for certain jobs.  If that’s the case, you have to look at this compact radio.

Small radios never really did anything for me.  The sound tends to be so, so.  The reception isn’t all that great.  Run time tends to be too short and the list goes on.  Well I am sure Bosch thought the same thing and that’s why they may call this a compact radio, but it sure doesn’t hold up to the traditional small radio ideas.  While this is truly a compact radio, it doesn’t follow the old pattern.

Since it is a compact radio, it has to fit that description which it does.  The width of the radio is only 6″ and length is 12″, so it will fit inside an L-Boxx 2.  As for the weight, it only weighs 4.1 lbs.  So with that said it does easily fit into the compact radio category.  The whole radio is protected with bumpers to help protect it during those times of abuse.  As I noted in the video, at first I was a little disappointed when I found out the radio didn’t have a volume or tuner knob.  To me a knob is responsive and easy to adjust.  However after using this radio, I now much prefer the push button.  The push button system is very responsive, easy to control volume and move quickly to a new radio station, plus you don’t have to worry about cracking a knob.  Bosch implemented a nice blue back lit screen which makes it very easy to see, even standing above the radio.  On either side of the screen you have a nice large power and mute button for quick and easy access.

Bosch PB180 Radio 5Moving to the top of the radio, you have 5 presets for FM and 5 for AM.  I have to say the reception of this radio is the best I have heard from a compact radio.  We do live in Chicago, but when I brought the radio in a basement, it didn’t miss a beat.  With the pivoting antenna I could easily get the station to come in without static.  The volume buttons are larger than the other buttons which makes it easy to control the volume.  There is also a source button, tuner buttons and EQ.  One big thing I would like to point out is the EQ button.  On some of the other radios I have seen, the EQ button is more of an extra button with no meaningful point to it.  With the Bosch, when you adjust the EQ, you can really hear the extra bass or treble.

On the back of the radio you can power it two ways.  First you can plug in the supplied power cord.  If you’re like me, I would rather use a battery, which is powered off an 18V Bosch battery.  You should get about 2 full days of work time with a fully charged battery.  You will notice two other items on the back.  One is where you can plug in an auxiliary player like a phone or mp3 player.  There is also a place to insert 2 AA batteries to keep your presets in memory.

amazon  Bosch Bosch PB180 18-Volt Lithium-Ion


Okay,  now one of the most important aspects of the radio, sound quality.  The system uses two 5 watt Neodymium speakers.  The radio is rock solid.  It sounds clear, it is loud and just sounds bigger than what the radio really is.   Looking at the radio you wouldn’t expect the sound that comes out of this radio.  Now don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t have the sound the Power Box has, but again it’s a different type of radio.  As much as I love the Power Box, I think this one will be traveling to more places.  It’s lightweight, small and sounds awesome.

If you are  looking for a top of the line compact radio, the PB180 is it.  With a one year warranty, great sound and all in a compact case, you can’t beat this radio.




  1. I don’t have anything Bosch, but I like this compact radio better than the larger dewalt. But can it withstand the abuse and falls as the dewalt radio did in your other review a couple months ago?

  2. Great Review Eric! That is a good looking radio, I like how the battery is flush when inserted into the tool vs. the DeWalt where it could get damaged during a fall. The led display is nice and I prefer to have knobs on radios, they seem to last longer than buttons do. I would have liked to see a mute button, where you can easily stop the music if you need to talk to a client without changing the station or volume, Now its Milwaukee’s turn to release a compact 18v radio, Keep up the great work guys!

  3. blood hell guys i already got the milwaukee job site radio and now i want this one just to have haha

    great work guys keep up the great work.

    from your mate down under

  4. So, I love my “old” Bosch Powerbox 360, but its simply just to bulky to carry around when youre not going to work at the same spot every day. Im seriously considering buying one of these compact radios, the thing just is, they dont have built-in charger for the battery / power supply. That is kind of a deal breaker for me, a small one, but still. I can get that theyre not able to cramp the same electronics into the 10,8v version, but this with the 14,4v/18v version I seriously dont get. IMO it would be a killer compact radio if it had built-in charger/supply, they (Bosch) already have the best radio around with the Powerbox, why not conquer the compact market too. Quick fix for Bosch? Make a combo 10,8v/18v charger, lets not ruin the enviroment than it already is by always having to get 2 or more types of chargers for the same brand.

  5. Does not get anywhere close to the volume levels needed in a shop My Tv is a lot louder and it’s not loud If you need volume higher than a truck with dual exhaust idling next to you this is not the radio for you

    • Good point and thanks for sharing. Not great for loud areas. I think it’s more designed for those one-man jobs where you can carry it in your bag and have some music or news on when your working in a smaller area or where you want to drown out your thoughts, lol.


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