Reviews

Bosch StarlockPlus Oscillating Tool Review: Is it Worth it?

We tested the Bosch StarlockPlus oscillating tool. Find out its strong points, and what it could have done better.
Glenda Taylor Avatar
Bosch StarlockPlus Oscillating Tool Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor

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Oscillating tools, sometimes called multi-tools (because they accomplish a variety of tasks), are relatively new to the power tool market. They’ve only been in production for a couple of decades but they already have a cult following in the construction and remodeling industries. Several well-known tool manufacturers produce their own version, so along with my husband, who is a licensed contractor, I tested some of the best oscillating tools to see how they perform.

The Bosch StarlockPlus oscillating tool took top honors in our hands-on testing, and I felt it deserved a more extensive look. Ahead, find the answers to the most common questions about the StarlockPlus to help you figure out whether it’s the right choice for your collection.

The Bosch StarlockPlus Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit: At a Glance

Rating: 8.5/10

The Bosch Oscillating Tool Review: Bosch 32-Piece StarlockPlus Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit
Photo: Glenda Taylor

PROS

  • Offers quick and convenient tool-free blade change
  • Powerful 4-amp motor provides ample power for most cutting applications
  • Variable speed control allows user to select the best speed for various projects

CONS

  • Costs more than several competing models
  • Users are limited by 10-foot cord length
  • Not compatible with universal blades

Get the Bosch oscillating tool at: 

What is the Bosch oscillating tool?

It’s a saw. It’s a sander. Wait, it’s a scraper, too. The oscillating tool takes its name from the movement of its blade. The blade on the Bosch oscillating tool is fixed at one end, and the other end moves rapidly from side to side in a tiny arcing-type motion that mimics the swing of a pendulum. This oscillating motion is part vibration and part sawing action, a combination that works well for cutting wood, some types of metal, and drywall.

When fitted with sanding pads, an oscillating tool also makes a great power sander, and because it’s long and narrow, the design makes it well suited for reaching tight spots. Oscillating tools were used initially for undercutting door casings and trim during the replacement of existing flooring with thicker flooring, but with a variety of blades and accessories, they’re now more versatile than ever. The Bosch multi-tool is a top performer in the world of oscillating tools.

Is the Bosch StarlockPlus easy to use?

The Bosch oscillating tool is among the most straightforward power tools—nothing complex here. It’s relatively lightweight at 2.7 pounds and can be held with one or two hands (if necessary) when cutting or sanding. It comes with an adjustable speed dial (ranging from 8,000 to 20,000 oscillations per minute) so users can select the oscillating speed best suited to their specific project.

One of our favorite features on the Bosch StarlockPlus is its toolless blade-change system. Earlier oscillating tools required a hex key or a wrench to replace blades, but this model comes with a blade-change lever. All I had to do was pull the lever out to release the current blade, put another in its place, and close the lever to secure the new blade.

The Bosch Oscillating Tool Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor

What can the Bosch oscillating tool be used for?

The original purpose of the oscillating tool was for undercutting door casings along the bottoms during remodeling to accommodate thicker floor materials. For instance, if the home had 6-millimeter-thick linoleum (less than ⅓-inch thick) and the homeowner wanted to install hardwood flooring, which averages ¾-inch thick, the door casings would have to be cut for the thicker flooring to fit underneath. The oscillating tool made it possible to cut the boards in place—no need to remove and reinstall them.

The Bosch multi-tool excelled in our undercutting tests, but it does more than that. We also used it to cut out outlet boxes in drywall, cut sheet metal, and even cut through nails that held wall studs to floor plates. However, we didn’t like using the included grout-removal blade to grind out old grout between tiles. We tried it, but the strong vibrations of the blade nicked the tile glazing and left chips on the surface.

The Bosch Oscillating Tool Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor

How does the Bosch StarlockPlus compare to other oscillating tools?

While all the tools that made our lineup of the best oscillating tools are good choices for various cutting and sanding projects, the StarlockPlus ticked all the boxes. It offered toolless blade change and a variable speed-adjustment dial, and it excelled in our wood and sheet metal cutting tests. We also found it comfortable to use over an extended test period. It didn’t heat up or vibrate as aggressively as some of the other models, so our hands didn’t get fatigued.

Still, a notable downside is an inability to use universal oscillating blades with the Bosch StarlockPlus. Some of the other models we tested came with universal attachments that allowed us to swap blades between models. That said, Bosch blades and accessories are widely available at lumberyards, do-it-yourself centers, and home improvement stores.

The Bosch Oscillating Tool Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor

Is the Bosch StarlockPlus worth the money? 

The Bosch StarlockPlus oscillating tool currently sells for anywhere from $140 and $150. That’s more than the price of some of the other models we tested. That’s more than double the price of some of the other models we tested, but it’s in the same range as another top performer from our lineup—the DeWalt 20V MAX XR oscillating tool. Both models had stellar performances in our tests, and both offer similar speed adjustments. The most significant difference is that the StarlockPlus is corded, while the DeWalt is cordless.

In many cases, cordless power tools cost more, but they offer portability, which makes them more versatile. The decision is ultimately up to the buyer, but in our opinion, the StarlockPlus is worth the price. We liked the idea of not having to remember to charge batteries, and we know the StarlockPlus is a powerful tool.

Where to Buy the Bosch StarlockPlus Oscillating Tool

Get the Bosch oscillating tool at: 

Glenda Taylor is a product tester and writer specializing in construction, remodeling, and real estate. She and her husband own a general contracting company, and she is experienced in both residential and commercial building applications. She tests a wide range of power tools as well as other home improvement, household, and lawn-and-garden products.

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Glenda Taylor

Staff Writer

Glenda Taylor is a BobVila.com staff writer with a background in the residential remodeling, home building, and home improvement industries. She started writing for BobVila.com in 2016 and covers a range of topics, including construction methods, code compliance, tool use, and the latest news in the housing and real estate industries. 

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