Test: Bosch GPB 18V-2 SC Professional – Great Sound, Terrible Reception

Working is much more enjoyable with music. That’s why a “construction site radio” is an essential tool for every craftsman and DIY enthusiast. Virtually all manufacturers of battery systems also offer such models. At Bosch, this was the GML SoundBoxx model. However, this was a conventional radio without digital reception functions or Bluetooth.

In this regard, Bosch has now introduced the GPB 18V-2 SC Professional to the market, replacing the GML SoundBoxx. This construction site radio from Bosch still uses the 18V Bosch Professional batteries, but now also offers digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity.

But how does it fare in practical use? Is the digital radio reception reliable? What about the sound quality? In this review of the Bosch GPB 18V-2 SC Professional, we will try to address these questions.


Design of the Bosch GPB 18V-2 SC Professional

The new, interesting design of the Bosch GPB 18V-2 SC Professional stands out. The body of the construction site radio is slightly tilted, so the speakers are oriented diagonally upwards. This arrangement makes sense since construction site radios are often placed in a corner on the floor. Both the speakers and the buttons, along with the generous display, are located on the top. In addition to the large knobs, there are four control buttons and four quick selection buttons for program choices.

To prevent the loss of saved stations when removing the battery, the Bosch GPB 18V-2 SC has a small button cell. This is located along with the battery slot under a cover on the bottom. The cover is large enough to accommodate even 8Ah batteries in the radio, although this would be almost oversized. On the back, there is a 3.5mm AUX port as well as a power supply connection.

The radio can also be operated through a regular power outlet, but charging an inserted battery through the radio is not possible.

Operating the Bosch GPB 18V-2 SC Professional is very pleasant. Thanks to the large display and the rotary knobs, tuning in to stations and manually setting frequencies is easy and quick. The radio’s buttons are also large and easy to use.


18V Bosch Professional Batteries

The Bosch GPB 18V-2 SC Professional still uses the regular 18V Bosch batteries, which are inserted under a small flap on the back.


With Water Protection

Thanks to the new battery compartment, the GPB 18V-2 SC features IP54 water and dust protection. This means the radio is protected against dusty construction site conditions and light drizzle. A clear improvement compared to the previous model.


Sound Quality

The sound of the Bosch GPB 18V-2 SC Professional is surprisingly good. It sounds richer and fuller compared to the GML SoundBoxx model. Especially the bass and overall depth of sound have been improved, without compromising the clarity of the highs. The radio produces pleasant sound that doesn’t remind you of a typical “work radio” sound (normal construction site radios usually don’t excel in sound quality). The Bosch GPB 18V-2 SC could even pass as a high-quality Bluetooth speaker with a different casing.

However, it’s important not to set your expectations too high. The sound is comparable to that of a larger Bluetooth speaker in the 80-100€ range. While the music sounds full, the radio won’t make construction sites shake with its volume. The maximum volume slightly disappointed me. The Bosch GPB 18V-2 SC does get loud, but not extremely loud, as you would expect from a good construction site radio. Nevertheless, the sound remains clean and doesn’t distort even at high volumes.


Weak Reception in My Case!

Here, however, the Bosch GPB 18V-2 SC shows its weaknesses. Especially in rural areas like where I am located, digital radio reception is often problematic. Indoors, I can’t receive DAB+ stations with the Bosch GPB 18V-2 SC. Maybe in areas with stronger reception, one might have more luck, but where I am in the countryside, it’s not feasible. While all radios struggle here, for instance, the Teufel BOOMSTER 2021 has significantly better DAB+ reception performance, as does the Sony XDR-S61D. So, it can definitely be better.

Outdoors, digital radio works at least slightly better. Some stations are receivable, but often with an unstable connection, especially when walking around the radio. Analog radio reception isn’t particularly strong either. Indoors, I do receive stations, but only with careful antenna adjustment for somewhat clear sound. Outdoors, the analog reception is acceptable, although in my opinion, the analog receiver of the GML SoundBoxx model was better.



In conclusion, the judgment on the Bosch GPB 18V-2 SC is mixed. There are some positive aspects, but not everything is perfect. Let’s start with the positives:

  • Good sound
  • Supports digital radio, analog radio, Bluetooth, and AUX input
  • Appealing design
  • Large display and user-friendly operation
  • Protected battery compartment against water and dust (IP54)

The sound aspect of the Bosch GPB 18V-2 SC is quite positive. The sound is clean and fuller, which is an improvement over the previous model. The attractive display and simple operation are also advantages. The IP54 protection against water and dust is also welcome.

However, there are also drawbacks:

  • Poor reception for both digital radio and analog radio
  • Average maximum volume
  • Price

While the sound of the Bosch GPB 18V-2 SC is good, even at high volumes, the radio doesn’t achieve particularly high volume levels. For me personally, the maximum volume is sufficient, but it might be tight on a noisy construction site. However, a major issue is the reception, which is relatively weak. Indoors, I find it almost impossible to receive DAB+ stations, and analog reception isn’t strong either. In comparison, in my opinion, the analog receiver of the GML SoundBoxx model was better.

Overall, I can’t give an unconditional recommendation for the Bosch GPB 18V-2 SC, especially at a price of 150€. The quality of digital radio reception in your region and its importance to you are important factors in the decision. Unfortunately, there aren’t many alternatives if you want to use Bosch batteries, which is undoubtedly convenient.

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