Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi Tool review: Starlock accessory system is star of the show

Saw, scrape and sand to your heart’s content with this versatile number that cleverly switches accessories rapidly and without the need for tools

Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi Tool Review
(Image credit: Bosch)
T3 Verdict

Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi Tool is a professional-spec tool at a DIY-friendly budget, taking inspiration from power products that cost twice as much. A unique Starlock accessory system, a clever 180-degree LED light at the front and hefty build quality are typically the domain of DeWalt, Milwaukee and even Bosch’s own pro-line, but this feels like it easily hold its head high against the competition. The only downside is that users are invested int the Bosch Starlock system, so it’s harder to purchase cheaper third party accessories for the tool.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Feels rugged and capable

  • +

    Easy accessory swaps

  • +

    Handy for so many tasks

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Shorter run time than pro models

  • -

    Heavier than rivals

  • -

    Tied into Bosch accessories

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Oscillating at an impressive rate, the Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi Tool is perhaps the best multi-tool at its price, and the perfect DIY companion. 

The marked improvement in battery technology over the years means it is now possible to run powerful tools using swappable and rechargeable lithium-ion packs, freeing the user from frustrating power cords and allowing even the trickiest tasks to be tackled with ease. Anyone who has tried to remove mouldy grout from a cramped shower cubicle will admit to the bliss of going cord-free.

Alas, cordless generally means more expensive and with an RRP of £120, the Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi Tool is a lot more expensive than similarly powerful corded rivals from Mac Allister, Wickes and more.

But it’s good. As in really good for the money and built in such a way that it starts to looks and feel like models from the Bosch Professional range, as well as those chunky units offered by DeWalt and Milwaukee.

In fact, I feel it is better built and generally more robust than the Ryobi 18V One+ Multi-Tool I also tested recently, while it does a better job of sawing and sanding than the plaster-covered Worx corded model that I have laying around at home.

If you want more information, peruse our guide to the best multi-tool for DIY and home improvement.

Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi Tool Review

(Image credit: Bosch)

Ryobi 18V One+ Cordless Multi-Tool Review: price and availability

The Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi Tool is available from a number of places, including B&Q, where it currently retails for £120… and that includes the battery pack, hard carry case, several blades, a sanding plate and some sandpaper.

You can also find the bare tool for £98 at Wickes, should you already have Bosch tools with the switchable battery packs. 

Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi Tool Review

(Image credit: Bosch)

Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi Tool Review: Design and build quality

Weighing in at 1.4kg without the battery pack, the Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi Tool is a hefty piece of equipment that generally requires two hands to operate correctly. The weight immediately makes it feel like a proper power tool though and the rugged plastics that cover most of the body are thick and robust, perfect for withstanding the rigours of large DIY jobs.

Bosch’s unique Starlock system is probably worth mentioning right off the bat, purely because the  mechanism that holds the accessory is made from reassuringly sturdy metal and fits nicely with the general build quality.

To swap accessory heads, it is simply a case of ejecting the one you don’t want via the well sprung and rubber-clad lever, and then pressing down on the new head and waiting for the clicking noise to assure it is in place. I’ll get on to how much easier it is compared to rivals in the ‘Performance” section, but suffice to say, it’s a doddle.

In terms of specs, the Bosch tool oscillates from 10,000rpm to 20,000rpm and this is easily adjustable thanks to six different settings, selected by rotating a small plastic dial on the flank. The on/off switch is reassuringly chunky, too, while the mechanism to slide and clip one of the batteries into place feels like it will withstand years of battery swaps with no dramas.

Finally, there’s an oversized LED on the front of the tool that brilliantly illuminates any surface you are working on. The fact that it wraps 180-degrees around the front of the tool means you get a much better look at the job in hand compares to the concentrated blast of light from a puny single LED.

Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi Tool Review

(Image credit: Bosch)

Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi Tool Review: performance

Despite its multitude of uses, there’s not that much to a multi-tool. In essence, it vibrates whatever attachment is bolted to its end at such a rate that the little serrated blades are able to cut through wood, plastic piping, plasterboard and even metal (with the correct attachment).

What’s more, you can sand large surfaces when the sanding pad is in place, remove unwanted materials with a scraping tool and remove old grouting with a clever accessory. Of course, most of these accessories are optional extras and you are locked in to the Bosch Starlock range, but you will get a wood blade, a segment saw that takes care of wood and metal, as well as a sanding head attachment with sandpaper when you buy the previously highlighted £120 kit.

That’s a fair amount of tool for the money and it’s enough to get started on most at-home DIY projects, where this thing will easily chew through whatever you throw at it. Just bear in mind it is insanely noisy, especially when cutting, but Bosch has done a good job of isolating the vibrations, so it doesn’t leave your hands suffering too badly from pins and needles after extended use like some models.

However, the key difference between this and the more professional variants is the electronic motor, which will be brushless in the professional range, eking out more from the battery life and allowing those pro builders to work all day without too much interruption.

But even the trickiest home DIY projects shouldn’t require multi-tool usage that creeps into the wee hours, which is why the Bosch 18V battery found here and the brushed motors do just fine in this scenario. I used the tool for removing some old grouting and sealant from a shower and it happily ran for half an hour without really troubling the battery capacity. What’s more, the batteries charge so quickly, it’s not really a problem anyway.

As previously mentioned, it’s loud and a little unwieldy to use with one hand, but Bosch provides a precision handle that is easily screwed to the left or right of the body to get an improved grip on things. 

Perhaps the only downside here is that you are limited to the Bosch Starlock system, which is definitely more expensive than the generic multi-tool accessories that use a plunger style fastening system. But the quality is high, so spending a little extra will likely save time and hassle in the long run anyway. 

Plus, it's so easy to use. Ejecting an unwanted accessory head takes milliseconds and clipping in a fresh head takes about as long. It's nice to have the accessories lined up somewhere near by and be able to rapidly switch between them, should the job require it. No tools, no fiddly plunger mechanisms dropping out and no wonky accessory heads shaking themselves loose. DeWalt might have coined a similar system many moons ago, but Bosch did well to "take inspiration" from it. 

Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi Tool Review

(Image credit: Bosch)

Ryobi 18V One+ Cordless Multi-Tool Review: what the customers say

From Amazon UK

* “A great tool that's saved me time of having to get a pro in to do same job, with a similar tool! But only came with two blades, so I bought at least ten extra blades etc.”

* “I use it for everything. Precision cutting of plastic trim and plasterboard, floorboards, ceilings etc... there's a blade to cut everything. Batteries last fine for home use, I've got two, to switch over while one is on charge (30 minutes). It's half the weight of a professional one, and half as noisy. But you will still need ear defenders”

“A word to the wise though - the Bosch Starlock connector means it will only take Bosch Starlock attachments - I bought some from here (Amazon UK) claiming to be compatible but they weren't.

Also so far as I know there's not an adapter you can buy to make cheaper blades work on this tool - maybe worth considering if you want lots of attachments - because the Bosch ones are expensive”

Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi Tool Review

(Image credit: Bosch)

Ryobi 18V One+ Cordless Multi-Tool Review: verdict

The Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi Tool might not be quite as robust, nor does it run as long as its professional grade sibling, but the differences between the two aren’t stark in the slightest. For keen DIYers, this will be more than enough for most jobs, while even professional tradespeople might benefit from the savings made by purchasing this “mid-level” tool.

I’ve used it for sanding, cutting and scraping during my time with it and the Bosch attachments feel extremely well put together and don’t blunt as easily as some of the others I’ve tested. The same goes for the sanding head, which holds up well even after long bouts of removing stubborn varnish from kitchen worktops.

It might be a bit of a pain to be tied into the Bosch Starlock system but the ease at which accessories change is well worth it and the system’s ability to securely grab hold of an accessory adds further peace of mind when cutting.

Yep, there are cheaper corded tools out there but the freedom and versatility this Bosch number offers is worth the extra expense, in my humble opinion.

Leon Poultney

Leon has been writing about automotive and consumer tech for longer than he cares to divulge. When he’s not testing the latest fitness wearable and action camera, he’s out in a shed fawning over his motorcycles or trying not to kill himself on a mountain bike/surfboard/other extreme thing. He's also a man who knows his tools, and he's provided much of T3's drills coverage over the years, all without injuring himself.