The brilliantly versatile didn’t get its title by fluke, because this is an easy-to-use power tool that can take on all manner of jobs without the need for lengthy accessory swaps or bulky additions to the set-up.
Unlike the handy contraptions that Bear Grylls likes to carry around in his multi-pocketed trousers, the powered multi-tool oscillates at an astonishing rate, allowing accessories with teeth or blades to cut through a multitude of materials or to simply scrape away at tricky DIY tasks, such as tile grouting and plaster.
Many DIYers also whip out the multi-tool to tackle large sanding jobs, as it minimises the amount of grunt work involved in cleaning up a nice wooden surface or smoothing down a wall in preparation for painting.
The cordless Ryobi 18V One+ model is a great example of a simple multi-tool that is powerful enough to make mincemeat out of many tasks. It is compact, light and easy to get on with, but it is not without its foibles. But we will get on to those later.
More importantly, because this is part of the Ryobi One+ range, the battery will fit a variety of Ryobi power tools. This is great, because you won’t need to buy hundreds of expensive battery packs to power your gear, but it means you will have to check if it is sold with a battery or not. More often than not, Ryobi will sell just the bare tool, which can leave some Ryobi newbies a little frustrated.
If you want more information, peruse our guide to the best multi-tool for DIY and home improvement.
Ryobi 18V One+ Cordless Multi-Tool Review: price and availability
You can buy the tool directly from Ryobi’s website, where it is currently retailing at £79.99. Alternatively, Amazon UK sells a slightly more versatile version - the R18MT-0 18V - for £99.99. This tool has a pivoting head that allows it to reach those really tricky spots.
In the US, Ryobi sells the P343 18V One+ Cordless Oscillating Multi-Tool bare tool for $46.00 via Amazon. It's a little harder to find in Australian markets, by which I mean, I couldn't find it.
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Ryobi 18V One+ Cordless Multi-Tool Review: design and build quality
Ryobi tools generally feel well-built and chunky in the hand, with their rubber and plastic coated bodies ensuring that they will happily withstand the odd drop and bashing they may receive when “on the job”.
This particularl model is fairly simple in its design, packing an industry standard quick change system that allows for various accessory heads to be snapped into place. It involves a bolt and a plunger unit at the top of the tool.
Annoyingly, it’s not as simple as it makes out and this securing bolt can come loose when working, meaning you have to reattach the head and secure the bolt into place. We’ve also tested the Bosch Advanced Multi 18V tool and its patented Star Lock system is much easier and much more secure.
However, the downside of the Bosch system is that you’re locked into its branded accessories, whereas you can fit almost anything to the Ryobi. That includes cheap eBay replacement sanding heads, because the one that comes bundled with the tool is utter rubbish. It splits after a couple of uses
Ryobi also includes a six-position variable speed wheel for control over the amount of vibration, as well as an LED light at the front of the unit that helps illuminate dark corners and dingy surfaces.
The battery system is also really easy to deal with, as this just slots into place with a reassuring click. Removing it is as simple as repressing a couple of tabs and reversing the movement.
Ryobi 18V One+ Cordless Multi-Tool Review: performance
As previously mentioned, it doesn’t take long to get accustomed to the Ryobi multi-tool, as it really is very simple. The only thing to watch out for is the speed wheel, which should be set to its lowest output when first starting a job. Pump it up to max volume and the thing shakes like a defecating whippet.
A fair amount of high-pitched whining is also produced by the tool, with official stats putting sound pressure level at 90.5dB. According to safety advice, this is four times as loud as 70 dB, which is similar to a household TV or vacuum cleaner, and is likely to damage ears in an 8-hour exposure.
Now, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to use it for that long, but you might want to invest in a decent pair of ear defenders if you are particularly sensitive to this sort of thing. On top of this, a lot of the vibration is transferred to the hands, which makes it quite uncomfortable to use for extended periods of time anyway.
More expensive multi-tools feature motors and systems that attempt to dampen this tingling sensation, but not so here. I found a thick pair of work gloves helps a bit, while avoiding the highest vibration settings is the simplest way to make life more comfortable.
That said, the Ryobi 18V One+ Cordless Multi-Tool does a good job cutting and sawing through a multitude of materials. I used it to take some notches out of a door frame when adding larger threshold strips in the kitchen and it was perfectly good.
The included cutting tool seemed to last a few more jobs before the teeth became blunt, but replacements are fairly inexpensive. A full Ryobi five-piece tiling accessory kit, for example, costs £39.99 but similar variants they can be found much cheaper elsewhere online.
As a sander, it is a powerful addition to the toolbox, as it saves so many hours with a piece of sandpaper and a wooden block. That said, there’s no option to add a vacuum here (like with routers or palm sanders) so it makes a hell of a mess.
It also chewed through its sanding pad accessory after about three or four uses on some fairly standard wooden worktops. I found replacements were extremely cheap and easy to get hold of, so it’s no big deal, but it reflects on the over all quality of the tool.
Ryobi 18V One+ Cordless Multi-Tool Review: what the customers say
From Ryobi UK
* “I bought this for a specific job that was awkward to do without a multi-tool. It then wasn't used for a good while until I started using it again. After little use it stopped working as the variable speed switch failed.”
* “Great tool and have used it for various things. The only fault that is a little frustrating is the securing bolt is not as secure as it could be thus the blade becomes loose and then have to re-tighten the bolt/blade”
* “Why did I not get this sooner? Easy to use, powerful and a great companion to my family of Ryobi tools. A really versatile multi-tool.”
Ryobi 18V One+ Cordless Multi-Tool Review: verdict
At £79.99 for the bare tool, the Ryobi 18V One+ Cordless Multi-Tool appears fairly reasonable to buy. But add a £60 battery into the mix and it suddenly feels quite expensive. Granted, it is well built and feels like a solid investment that will last many years of DIY jobs, but the accessories let the side down.
Ryobi 18V One+ Cordless Multi-Tool Review: also consider
We’ve also tested the corded Worx WX680 F30 350W, which feels just as powerful but costs under £100. Similarly, the Bosch AdvancedMulti 18 retails at £120 from Amazon UK and comes with a battery, charger and accessories. In our eyes, it is also the better tool.