DeWALT Tough you say? Umm yeah, this radio is beyond tough. One of the most important tools, if not the most important tool on the job site is the radio. It keeps the job moving, keeps tradesman smiling and some also have the added feature of being able to charge batteries. From my understanding, there is some sort of patent claim in which radios can charge batteries and which ones can’t. The DCR015 can do it all, run off of 12v and 20v MAX batteries and can also charge them. Users of the 20v line have been awaiting this radio for quite a long time and on April 1st they will be able to get their hands on one. We took the DCR015 out to the job site to see how tough the new 20V charger radio really is.
First impressions from the pros were very positive. They liked the size, the loud clear sound and of course the ability to charge their batteries on site. The job site was loud with generators and compressors running. The radio did a great job of overcoming that. The dial was easy to use even with gloves on and the big lighted LCD display was easy to read. The red LED charge status light is big, bright and can be seen from afar so you know your battery charge status from across the room. I did notice a bit of noise on certain weaker stations when charging and listening to the radio, but it was hardly notable.
The radio is encased in a protective roll cage that does an awesome job of keeping the unit safe. From our video you can see we put it through some major job site abuse and even threw it out of a second story window (we do not recommend you do this with your radio). The DCR015 begged for more and we were very pleased with its ruggedness. The cage also includes a cord wrap and eyelets at the top so you can hang the radio. The battery door on the back did a great job of staying locked even on the toughest of falls it never came open. The latch is a bit finicky to get unlocked, especially with gloves on. There is a side panel that allows access to an AC powered USB charge port and a AUX in so you can stream your favorite music. The down side is you need to keep the door open when plugged in for most devices. The compartment is too small to fit an iPhone 5 while plugged in. You could get the phone to fit if you get a low profile right angle plug. (UPDATE: They now include a right angle patch cord that allows an iPhone 5 sized device to fit in the compartment) We had an early test unit.
It has 2 non GFCI side outlets that will allow you to run up to 10 amps of power through them. Tradesmen really like outlets and immediately put them to use charging their phones when we arrived. You get 10 FM presets and 5 AM presets, reception was great and the antenna stows away when not in use. A clock and an EQ finish out the front panel. The DCR015 was designed to withstand the daily abuse of job site duty. I would say it excelled at that. The radio was loud, sounded good and charged our batteries with no issues. You could easily get all day operation from this radio with a 3.0 or 4.0 Ah 20V battery. Even the runtime from a 12V battery was impressive at over 4+ hours. If you have a 12v or 20v tool already the DCR015 is a no brainer. But even if you use another brand of tools, the DCR015 makes a great radio. Just get an extra 12V battery and you have a rugged cordless radio wherever you go.