There are a lot of products we show off on Tools in Action and sometimes it’s really hard to say whether one drill is better than another or one saw is better. However with this radio, it’s a no brainer. When it comes to a Radio or whatever the kids are calling it now a days, no one compares or even comes close to the Bosch Power Box. If you desire quality sound for tough conditions and practical features, this Power Box is for you. We did a review of the Power Box PB360S back in 2012, we loved it then and love it now. In fact, that radio is still hanging tough.
Bosch Power Box Overview
If you’re not familiar with the Bosch Power Box, let me give you a quick rundown. This radio box is protected by a rubber, aluminium roll cage. So yes, it will with-stand pretty much any job site condition. As far as sound, Bosch did this right. Since this is a cube design, Bosch put 4 speakers on each top corner which means you can hear it in any direction on the job site. Under the cube is where they have a premium sub woofer. Hence that is why they call it the Power Box 360. It’s a powerful, tough box that sends sounds in 360 degree directions.
Around The Bosch Power Box
Besides this Power Box being a radio and media player, it is also a charger. When you have the unit plugged in, you can not only charge your Bosch batteries, but also your cell phone or other electronic devices such as an iPad. On the back of the radio is where you can insert your Bosch battery (18V or 14.4V slide packs). When you plug in the unit, it will automatically start to charge your battery or what ever is on the USB port. As soon as you unplug the box, it will kick right over to using the battery as a power source without any interruption. On the left side of the box is where you have your media bay. Inside the media bay is where you AUX or USB port is located. There is even more than enough room to store your AUX or USB cables when not in use. On the opposite side, is where you have the cord management. When you’re not using the power cord, you can store it here. There are also four outlets where you can plug stuff into. Now before you get too excited, the total max amp is 10 Amp. At first I was a little disappointed because a 20 amp on each side would have been nice, but after I thought about it, it wouldn’t make sense.
On the front of the box is where all the magic happens. Bosch uses a nice blue LCD screen to show your station or other information. Even this screen is protected by two metal bars. Just below the screen is the power on/off button. You will notice two knobs which control volume, tuning and are used to select how much bass or treble you desire. In between the knobs are four buttons. One for EQ (There are four preset EQ settings), your custom button, memory and clock. Below all that is a blue light to indicate your Bluetooth connectivity. The next set of five buttons deal with your music playing. You have a play/pause button, a pairing for your Bluetooth device, a seek/scan and also a source mode which just lets you pick if you want radio, Bluetooth or something else. The radio has 20 FM and 10 AM presets which are kept in place even when the radio is off by using the two provided 2 AA batteries.
In regards to radio reception, Bosch attached a pivot antenna. One thing I have noticed about all the radios we have tested, the reception isn’t good. However Bosch seemed to figure this one out because this is the only radio that I get my favorite stations with no static. The other radios always give me static, but not with this. The other note is when I am charging a battery, I don’t get any whining noise like I have seen with other radios.
As a side note this comes with a one year warranty and as you probably would expect, the unit has a weather and dust resistant design. As for weight, this Power Box weighs 24 lbs, but it surely doesn’t feel like it. They have a carrying handle on the top or you can just grab any part of the aluminium protective cage points to carry it around.
Bluetooth and the Bosch App
While everything I already pointed out is what makes this really shine, there is even more that puts this on top of an already great system. First is the Bluetooth capability. You already know it has Bluetooth, but did you know it has a range of 150′. That’s pretty awesome. Okay now on to something that I haven’t seen on a radio before, but it makes all the sense in the world, it’s an App. Yes, Bosch has a specific app for this radio which makes it even more user friendly. If you have ever downloaded any of their many apps, you know whoever is in their app development group, they are truly the best designers out there. While Bosch is known for their tools and accessories, they just always make awesome apps. These aren’t just apps that are thrown together, they are thought out and planned out. They all have a nice layout with easy to use and practical functions. You can download this app for IOS or Android and yes it’s free. So what will this app do?
The first obvious thing is control your music. The music library is where you can pick your songs. When you do click this button, you will leave the app. I do wish they were in this app, but I am sure it would eat up memory or some other reason they don’t do that. Next is the announcement button. How cool is this? You can record a message on your phone and play it through your speakers. Not sure exactly what that would be used for, but it’s pretty cool you can do that. Okay, the next cool item is the alarm. Besides the Music Library, the alarm is the next most important item on the app. You can set an alarm to let you know it’s break time, time to go home or any time you want. The next button is streaming. Here you can pretty much stream anything you want. They have preloaded services such as Pandora, YouTube and a bunch of others. Again, this will take you to that app. The other two are for Bosch Toolbox and to select your audio device. If you haven’t seen or used Bosch Toolbox, I would suggest downloading it and giving it a shot. While I wish you could do more inside the app instead of just opening another program, the app is pretty cool.
I am sure I sound like a broken record, but I really don’t care. If you want the one radio system that stands above everyone else, it’s the Bosch Power Box. This thing is tough, the sound is great and the features are awesome. I don’t care if you’re on the Job site, camping, tailgating or just hanging out in the yard, this system stands by itself.
I imagine this sounds better than a Big Jambox which is my go to portable speaker. My Jambox has virtually no lag over bluetooth but some speakers have a large delay that make them unusable for video. Does this speaker have a delay over bluetooth?
Nice little music box for the work site or the garage even.
That’s my favorite job radio. A little better than Dewalt and Milwaukee and has more sound and that battery charger. Great Christmas gift idea too!!
That’s a pretty nice rig. I could use a set up like that.
Turns out that the Bosch power box radio is still going strong. This was the one to beat, and until Dewalt came out with their latest radio it was top dog. I love this thing, if Bosch could just add wireless charging to the existing radio it would be great. Can’t wait to see who wins the radio wars Tia style!
Bosch makes some very good tools and products. This speaker is great, a lot of people that I work with use this speaker on the job site. I have seen it dropped down a staircase and turned back on. This thing is a beast. It has very good sound and rocks the jobsite. If I had the Bosch 18v lineup I would most certainly have this speaker.
First let me start with this statement. Ever since 2012, EVERY tool company has been trying to come up with something better than this German-Tank of a job site radio. Every one of them have failed, and even other competitors in different market categories had nothing even close to what the original brought to the table. 90% of the people I have worked with on countless sites own this radio, and there has always been one around long before I ever purchased my own. It was a no-brainer when I saw a sale price drop to $159.99 3 years ago online and pulled the trigger finally on getting one for myself. I have brought this Brick of Awesome on a full spectrum of adventures, and it has done nothing but surprise me with how well its stood the test of time, abuse, construction, masonry, ice fishing trips with high levels of humidity in such small areas, open water fishing in boats taking on 2 foot waves through a shit-storm of rain and wind, dropped from a gehl lift 45′ up and never missed a single note of the Jimmy Page solo playing at the time, been my step stool/laptop stand at every job site I’ve gone to in my career ( she never stays in the shop) , and EVEN was the “DJ” at a wedding hosting around 40 people on a Pier. This radio has seen some isn if you catch my drift. I have honestly become comfortable with not even worrying about the thing because id be surprise to see someone Easily break one of these without using a hammer drill or bonfire.
There IS in fact a handful of cons, which are not enough to bitch about, or even say out loud almost for that matter, but enough to make you say dammit every now and then.
-The USB and SD slots if being used to play music, will cycle through the same exact selection order when your using “random”. What I mean is say you have 20 songs on a USB, and you hit random from the get go. The first 5 songs to play might be the 3rd, then the 12th, than the 6th, then 19th, then 2nd songs from the usb. Now say you take a break from working, and hit the cooler and the shade for an hour and get back to the radio to turn it back on. (Even if you took the usb out, changed settings, waited 7 days till you returned to job site, anything) The radio will always play the same exact “random” order selection being #3, #12, #6, #19, and #2 being the first 5 songs in a row again. Not a BIG gripe, but you better not hate those first few or your in for an annoying button mash session EVERY time you listen to that usb.
– The display can get sun damaged over time, in the same way a Calculator can if you press your finger against the screen hard enough. Don’t buy it a sun umbrella, just don’t leave it out for day after day in the blazing sun with the screen facing towards it and expect it not to happen eventually.
– weight. It does clock in at 25 pounds so if your having a bad shoulder day, or are trying to he-man every bag and tool in to a clients house in one trip, remember that beast ways 25 pounds.
-The Cigarette lighter does NOT work if the unit is NOT plugged in. This was a bummer, because i bring this thing with me camping and fishing quite often. That or in remote job sites. I have bought 4 more batteries over time strictly for this radio so i can go weeks at a time without ever needing an outlet.
-No Bluetooth on my original, the newer one does which is awesome. I solved this buy ordering a $15 bluetooh receiver on amazon and kept it in the “media bay” area. This little bay is the shiz-nits for storing extra cords, chargers, money, keys, etc and keeping them in a safe place where they won’t get lost or fall out.
-Durabliity. Its Unbreakable in my book. I have taken this thing through every test as far as temperature, sitting in tide for 3 hours at the ocean getting fully submersed or sitting in rainstorms because your not getting off the damn roof to save your radio when you have 2 squares of shingles left.
-versatililty, With 4 outlets with at least 2 to my knowledge being GFCI, USB (which can only charge a phone if your using the Phone as a source for audio. if you switch to radio, it cuts power, and I am not sure how to work around this.) , SD card reader, AM, FM, Both an Internal and External 3.5mm “line in” ports, cigarette lighter outlet, a roll cage that can have plenty of things clamped or on top of it at once, and a decently long 5-6 foot cord, i can say its the best thing out there hands down.
Portability- Runs on 20V batteries, and lasts quite a long time if your volume is 50% or lower.
Looks- I can’t leave this part out, I have never been to a job site for a residential client who did not ask “That thing looks neat, what is it and where can I get one?” After 30 seconds of describing features, and them getting a first hand look at how useful it is on site, they are fans.
-price, If people are spending $300 on garbage Beats headphones, $200 for small bluetooth speakers, $50 a month on cheapie walmart radios to jam FM till they take one fallen tool and retire, than they have not had the pleasure of seeing one of these in person before. Even at $300 retail when it was new, for how long it has lasted I have gotten my moneys worth tenfold. Its one of the few tools that has outlasted its warranty by double.
Once again This is A description of MY Bosch radio which was the original without bluetooth. The new one looks pretty awesome, and will be on my wish list without a doubt. I need several woodworking machines more than I need a 2nd radio when my 1st one already works like a charm. For anyone in the market that has never had the Joy of owning one of their own yet, Consider yourself lucky! The newer model has every feature that i have thought of countless times on job sites BS’ing back and forth with co workers about “if only it had this” ideas. Don’t think twice, don’t look at other brands. Do your self a favor and add this Gem to your cart, and you will not regret it. (That is assuming then new model is built to the same standards as the original was)
End of Rant, thanks for reading.
Ben, Thanks for showing me off an writing a better article than me, lol. Very in depth and brought up some great points to this radio. I love this radio and is still my favorite radio. Nice review and thanks for sharing.
I love this radio. I bought this radio for my garage station. My workers are song addicted, and our old radio was not working correctly so, I bought a new bosch radio. It has excellent battery power; you can use two days. Excellent sound system. We all are happy to use this radio. Enjoying our works by listing the songs by bosch radio.
This link up above list about all radio tested has poor reception but then goes on to say not Bosch Bosch seemed to figure this out…,. Not for me the radio reception sucks for the most popular stations…….poor reception unless your 15′ away from the radio Everytime you get close it goes to white noise again no matter what station it’s on same result….speaker are just loud not balanced woofer or sub woofer sucks can’t really hear bass with a speaker pointed down….obviously it was an idea by a non sound activist cuz they know nothing as usual of a company puts to much thought into a quanty instead of quality……not much info on certain things either…like batteries what does the different batteries have like how long do each one last…duration of a charge I bought 2 and don’t tell me on battery or in book for radio. 1 is 18 volt 4 amps and 1 is 18 volt 8 amps…..and radio doesn’t list how long it’s internal charger takes to charge a battery another important thing they left out….another dumb thing is presets that you need other separate batteries to keep stored as well is clock…that’s what the 100 dollar batter is for…….and why they didn’t leave a cd player like old one…..through USB doesn’t play external cd players Bluetooth doesn’t pick up devices either waste of money