Organizational skills are either something you possess or could literally care less about. However, no one can debate how much easier life is when you are organized. For handymen and construction workers, some of the most vital equipment to have organized at all times is tools. This can refer to basic hand tools such as screwdrivers and wrenches to handy hardware such as bolts, nuts, and screws. No matter, the answer is a toolbox. Not only do they offer a logical means of organization for all your tools (at least the ones that will fit) but they can also be transported into the field. Just like the people who use them, they are very handy.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 14 hrs of research
Features metal rustproof latches
Has a water seal for water-resistance
The lid has a V-groove track
Top 10 Picks
1. Stanley 028001L
Features metal rustproof latches
Has a water seal for water-resistance
The lid has a V-groove track
There is only one shelf
This watertight model from Stanley features rust-resistant metal latches that ensure the safety of your tools and adds to the durability of the box as a whole. If only this model offered us more than one shelf, it would be near perfect.Read more
To increase the durability of this model, it has been designed out of thermoplastic resin and flake mica. Additionally, the patented water seal ensures optimal water-resistance.
Look, there are a lot of areas to place your tools within this box. However, despite the open space, there is only one shelf which limits your organization possibilities as a whole.
Even for heavier loads, the ergonomic lifting design of the FatMax makes carrying more comfortable. It also helps that the handle itself is made with a soft grip.
Ease of Use
There are large rustproof latches (made of metal) that provide tons of locking possibilities. Furthermore, the top of the lid features a V-groove track which can secure certain items.
For a traditional design, the size is quite nice. At 28 inches by 12.6 inches by 11.6 inches, there is plenty of open space for a plethora of your tools.
In spite of the so-called lack of organization possibilities with this model, it still is one of the better designs on the market and one of the main reasons why is the construction.
2. Keter Masterloader
It is very easy to clean with only a damp cloth
Features a central auto locking mechanism
Comes with built-in wheels
Many users have claimed that the latch spring broke within a few days
Even though this looks like a cooler on the surface, the MasterLoader is actually the best portable model around. This is thanks to the built-in wheels and extendable handle.Read more
Keter decided to design its MasterLoader with polypropylene resin. One of the main reasons why is this material will resist the corrosive effects that chemical spills and acids can cause.
While the interior is engineered to maximize the amount of space, there is also a tool divider that allows for even more organization. In addition, the topmost bins will slide apart.
Whenever a product sports built-in wheels, it instantly improves the portability as a whole. That is what the MasterLoader brings to the table; in addition to the extendable handle.
Ease of Use
As Keter claims, this is essentially a portable shop. To maintain security and stability while you travel, it also integrates a central locking mechanism. Also, ball-bearing sliders allow for easy access.
The MasterLoader can handle quite a bit of equipment and tools as Keter rates it to handle up to 66 pounds. Also, the box as a whole measures roughly 15 inches wide by 24 inches deep by 16 inches tall.
Thanks to its superb combination of portability, build quality, and organization, it is easy to see why the MasterLoader tops this list. It is simply the total package.
3. Dewalt Deep Box
Will be able to handle the abuse
Features a very comfortable carrying handle
Multiple Deep Boxes can be connected together
Maybe too small for some
Placing heavy loads on the drawer can have sliding effects
Time and time again, you will see the Deep Box from Dewalt come up on top 10 lists for toolboxes. As you will see here in a hot second, there are several reasons why this is the case.Read more
Not too many users have questioned the overall build quality and it appears as though Dewalt hit it out of the park here. Of course, the rust-resistant heavy-duty metal latches are worth mentioning.
Thanks to the integration of fixed dividers, you can optimally organize your drills and drill bits. In addition to this, there is a removable tray that gains you access to other tools.
While this Deep Box does not sport built-in wheels, Dewalt did integrate a long extendable handle. This handle is made with a bi-material to improve the comfortability.
Ease of Use
One thing to note is the drawer will slide out smoothly unless it has a heavy load on it. In this case, you have to tug on it a little bit for it to slide out.
As compared to other units in the world, this could be considered on the smaller side of the spectrum. Still, it does sport a weight capacity of 44 pounds.
Even the small issues with this model are just that, small. Few toolboxes are designed with the consistency that Dewalt has put forth here and for that, they must be commended.
4. Waterloo Westpointe
Features multiple ways to carry
Can carry a good deal of tools
Designed to last
Maybe bigger than some user will desire
Speaking of consistent designs that consumers will fall in love with, how about the Master Mechanic from Waterloo? Even though it is constructed of plastic, it will not dent very easily.Read more
Yes, this is plastic. However, Waterloo molded their Master Mechanic with heavy-duty high-impact black polypropylene resins. Due to this, it will not mar surfaces and will not dent easily.
There are storage compartments everywhere here. This includes a top storage area, storage pockets in the cover for small parts and also three steel drawers with full extension slides.
In addition to the molded grips on the sides, there is also a large comfortable center handle that can be used to transport this from destination to destination.
Ease of Use
As just mentioned the three drawers have full extension sliders and they operate very smoothly. Also, when the lid is closed, these same drawers will lock.
This may actually be bigger than you expect, which happened to one specific buyer. Note that the actual dimensions are 23 inches wide by 10.5 inches deep by 13.5 inches tall.
Whether for commercial use or personal use, the Master Mechanic is one of the best models in the world today. Do not be fooled by the plastic construction, either, as it can handle the world.
5. Stack On SHB-16
Finish resists rust and solvents
Ideal for strength and durability
Designed with a double-action latch
The tray is a bit shallow
Even though the visual appeal is far from the most important criteria, it is hard to ignore the stunning baked epoxy finish of this next model. On top of its durability, it is also a pleasure to look at.Read more
As mentioned, this is coated with a durable baked epoxy finish and this will resist solvents and rust. Underneath this coating is an all steel end cap construction for enhanced strength.
This, for sure, is a traditional toolbox and it features a lift-out steel tray for access to everyday tools. Of course, some users have criticized this tray for its shallowness.
One really nice integration of this model is the extra-wide steel handle. As opposed to some other models, this will not cut into your hand and is actually comfortable to carry.
Ease of Use
Due to the implementation of the double-action latch, you never need to worry about accidentally slipping all your tools on the ground.
To hold even heavier loads, there are nickel-plated steel draw bolts. Overall, this is one of the smaller models, though, at 16 inches wide seven inches deep and 7.5 inches tall.
For users who love going back to the basics, it does not get much better than this. While space is a bit limited as a whole, the all-steel construction and black finish offer superior durability.
6. Bostitch Rolling Box
It can be rolled around
It is built to last
Can hold up to 10 gallons
The top box does not have a tool tray
The drawers can be hard to open
This design is very similar to some of the other rolling models. The primary difference is that this rolling box separates into two compartments instead of three.Read more
Bostitch mainly designed their model with heavyweight plastic. However, to add reinforcements, there is metal integrated where it needs to be.
The top section of this box, although lacking a tool tray, comes with a drawer. As for the bottom, it also has a drawer and both of them function with ball bearing slides.
Past the integrated handle on the top of this unit, there are also seven-inch full rubber wheels that significantly aid in mobility and ease of transportation.
Ease of Use
Here is where some slight issues arise. Firstly, the drawers do not lock and will still open with the top lid down. Secondly, they can be difficult to open, to begin with, and require pressure.
Let’s say this; there is little to complain about in regard to the capacity of this model. It features a load capacity of 70 pounds and can fit 10 gallons of tools and equipment.
As you can see, there is definitely some weighing to do here. Though it is not a flawless design, though, many will appreciate the solid construction and multiple storage compartments.
7. Goplus Cantilever
Protected with a powder-coat paint
A padlock can be inserted
Features five trays
The shelves are a bit confining
The rivets are on the cheaper side
One thing is for certain; there is certainly not a lack of storage space with this next model. Then again, the trays are a bit confining and could have been engineered a little better.Read more
As you can see from the photos, this is constructed of durable steel. But, it is the powder-coat finish that is the icing on the cake as this coating adds protection to the metal.
There are five individual trays that you can use to store and organize your tools. But, one of the issues is each tray is a little too close to each other and it makes removing the tools a little more of a hassle than it should be.
Integrated into the Cantilever is a full-length steel handle and this makes transporting it simpler.
Ease of Use
Be careful when shutting this as you literally need to guide the two slides in otherwise the lids will buckle and bend. But, also, you can insert a padlock for security.
While there are a plethora of compartments at play here, there is still not a ton of room for larger tools. For smaller tools, though, this is all but perfect.
Let’s just say that the engineering of this model could have been improved. Then again, the multiple storage trays and the all-steel construction make this a suitable option.
8. Brait BR302
Features excellent water-resistance
Backed by a one-year limited warranty
Lid opens up 70 degrees
The low-gauge aluminum dents easily
Not ideal for organization
Brait decided to go with straight aluminum with their BR302 model. But, in hindsight, they probably should have gone with a higher gauge. Of course, this is still fantastic for your vehicle or RV.Read more
The fully welded seams and rubber seal strip do wonders to keep out water. However, the low-gauge aluminum is easily dented and should have been thicker.
Because this is merely one large tub, it is more suitable as a storage solution for your vehicle. It can still hold tools but may not be ideal for sockets and smaller hardware.
On the sides, there are integrated handles that have been molded into the aluminum. With these, you can easily carry this from site to site.
Ease of Use
As there are no drawers, you really do not need to worry about the ball bearings here. What is nice, though, is the lid opens 70 degrees and makes loading and unloading much easier.
While the actual internal dimensions may be a bit smaller, this is listed with dimensions of 30 inches by 13 inches by 13 inches.
For smaller tools and optimal organization, you may want to look elsewhere. There is just no other way to put it but if you merely are looking for adequate storage for larger tools, this could be the ticket.
9. Stanley Mobile Work
Stanley warrants this for its entire lifetime
Has a 13-gallon capacity
Has balance issues
The top of the work center is a bit too flexible
The Mobile Work Center from Stanley is one of the more unique designs on this entire list. It essentially is a work center that also happens to integrate an extra-large toolbox.Read more
Even during rainfall, the top will seal tightly to prevent water from entering in. But, the top is a little too flexible, as well, and probably could not withstand many impacts.
Despite the issue with balance here, as you need something heavy in the bottom to keep it from tipping, this is a large bin for power tools. But, it also sports a portable tray for hand tools.
As this is a Mobile Work Center, it is not asinine to assume it is mobile. Well, with its large wheels and fold-down handle, it is safe to say that it certainly is.
Ease of Use
It seems like accessibility is not going to be an issue. What helps is the slide down door is equipped with an easy shut snap system.
Stanley rates their Mobile Work Center with a 13-gallon capacity and it measures 11.4 inches tall by 24.3 inches long.
A better model could not have capped off this list. But, the issues with the top of the center and the balance issues can cause red flags for some buyers, admittedly.
10. Trinity 3-in-1
Features three separate compartments
Designed with heavy-duty rubber wheels
Latches are easy to open
The drawers of the middle section can be tricky to open and close
As the name of this next entry implies, this is a 3-in-1 model and it literally will separate into three compartments. On top of this, the exterior is designed with stainless steel.Read more
Trinity chose stainless steel for a plethora of reasons and one of the reasons why is its exceptional combination of durability and weight.
As mentioned, this does separate into three compartments. The bottom provides extra-large storage, the center has two slide-out drawers and the top sports a removable tray.
This is another toolbox that is designed with rubber wheels. In conjunction with the telescoping handle, this makes mobility and transportation much, much easier.
Ease of Use
Although most of this unit separates with ease, there can be issues with the middle section. The drawers can be a little tricky to open and close and tend to catch on one another.
Each compartment is almost its own small box. They are all at least 20 inches by 10 inches by 10 inches and overall, offer a ton of space for your equipment.
Not everyone is going to need this much storage space. But, the 3-in-1 design is ingenious in a way as it almost combines multiple models together into one unit.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
What good is a toolbox going to do that does not last? It is a simple question but it alludes to arguably the most important consideration for you to make when you are in the market for one. Of course, this is their build quality and overall durability. Now, toolboxes are typically constructed of either metal or plastic. But, they can be made with different types of metals and plastics. For example, you may see aluminum or steel models. The nice aspect of aluminum is that it is lightweight much like plastic. But, it also has an adequate amount of strength and durability. As for steel, this is ideal for those looking for something more heavy-duty. Then again, with steel, always look for either a powder-coating or some sort of finish that will protect the metal from corrosion and rust.
In regard to plastic, this can be ideal for consumers looking for casual use. Of course, some types of polypropylene constructions (sometimes even consisting of resin) can offer tremendous durability and chemical-resistance. Finally, even though they may not be waterproof, look for water seals to ensure, at a minimum, water-resistance.
Quick question, how anal are you about organizing your belongings? Answering this question will go a long way in the buying process. The reason for this is some toolboxes will offer a plethora of different storage options with several trays and locations. Meanwhile, others will maybe offer a single tray and a bottom area to store larger tools. If you are super meticulous about how you have anything arranged, you may want to shoot for more storage options. Look for individual trays that allow you to store certain tools in a certain way. For example, you could use one location for all your screwdrivers and wrenches and then another for your sockets and drill bits.
But, the number of tools you have in the first place will also dictate your selection. If you have only basic and essential items, you could probably get away with a lack of storage options. The contrary is true, though, if you need your equipment on a daily basis and require several tools. In this case, again, look for multiple storage locations with optimal organization possibilities.
We move from exterior and interior construction to another important consideration. This can also be assisted with a question. Where do you intend to use your toolbox? Is it going to be stationary in your garage or shed? Or, will you be taking it with you out in the field on a daily basis? Figuring out where you stand here is essential as if you need to travel with it, it is optimal if it is portable. But, if it is just going to sit on your bench and collect dust, portability may not even be of the slightest concern for you. If it is, though, there are two vital features to look out for.
Firstly, you want the handling to be both comfortable and easy. Outside of the weight of the unit as a whole, look for handles that are ergonomically designed with a soft grip. At the very least, though, ensure that the handles are not going to dig into your palm and become painful over time. Secondly, and this comes into play with larger models, look for integrated wheels. Instead of needing to manually lift it, wheels (with a built telescoping handle) will allow you to merely roll it from location to location.
Ease of Use
Okay, so what exactly is meant by the ease of use? Well, let’s address the security and accessibility of each toolbox. When referring to security, it comes down to two factors. The first of which is if the drawers and openings of the unit lock. This becomes important when you go to lift the toolbox to ensure that everything does not come spilling out. Plus, not all drawers will lock automatically and if tipped, may come loose. Secondly, this refers to actual theft. Some models will be equipped to handle a padlock and doing so can protect your tools. If someone steals your box, in this case, they will not be able to get in unless they completely destroy it or break the lock.
As for the accessibility, this could also be stated as the performance. With a system that integrates multiple drawers and openings, you want to ensure that they all open smoothly and efficiently. With drawers, look for above-average ball-bearing sliders that will allow them to open smoothly. If not, it could be a hassle to open and close them consistently.
The one last major point of emphasis for you to focus on is the capacity limit. You need to buy a model that fits your needs and to do so, it needs to be the optimal size and also needs to hold everything you need it to. So, the logical specifications to assess would then be the physical dimensions and load capacity. Nobody knows what you need except for you so either shoot for a longer and wider model, or a shorter and slimmer one.
As for the load capacity, you may either see a pound limit or a gallon limit. It is important to note that the gallon limit is available as capacity is measured in volume and one of the primary units of the volume is gallons. It makes the most logical sense as you are talking about space and that can’t really be measured any other way.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
You should always keep your heaviest tools on the bottom of the toolbox. This will provide the box with more stability but make it easier to load and unload in a hurry. Additionally, the heaviest tools are usually the largest as well. With most toolboxes, your only storage option for these large tools will be on the bottom shelf.
If your chosen toolbox does not come equipped with organizational boxes, you may want to invest in some or create your own. You could create your own by using precisely cut foam or cardboard. Another idea to create more organization in your toolbox is to use rubber bands to link similar tools together or small ziplock bags for drill bits and nails.
Other Factors to Consider
The weight of the toolbox may slip your mind, but it is an important factor to consider. You already know that the tools that you will be lugging around are heavy on their own. Depending on the materials that the box is made out of will determine the overall weight. The most common materials are thick plastic or metal. Metal tends to be heavier, but more durable. However, there are a few models that are available on wheels! If you know that you will be carrying a heavy load for a long distance, this would be a great choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why do they smell?
Have you ever opened one of your toolboxes only to notice a really potent smell? This is common and there are many reasons behind it. For starters, you have to realize that when you handle your tools that your hands are probably sweaty. If you do not clean them and throw them back inside, they will simply permeate inside and thus, potent odors can result. Along the same line, it could simply be light oils such as machine or mineral.
Also, do you have tools with plastic handles inside? If so, when they start to get old (depending on the type of plastic), they will release acids. Those acids will begin to smell and oftentimes will smell like sweaty socks. Yeah, not very pleasant for your nostrils.
q: Should you buy them used?
With any consumer product in the world, this question often resonates inside your mind. The reality of the situation is, not everyone can afford new equipment all the time. The logical answer here is to buy them used. However, with toolboxes, in specific, should you do this? To be frank, it just depends on the quality of the item that the seller is offering. A lot of times, consumers will be looking for the next big thing and in this case, there may not be anything wrong with their current model. In addition, designers do a terrific job of designing their toolboxes to last for a long time.
Granted you do not mind a few scuffs on the side or perhaps some damage in the interior (depending on the condition of the used model you are looking into), you can still get a lot of use out of used models.
q: Can you take one on the plane?
This next question is not going to apply to everyone but let’s say you plan to travel with all your tools. Can you do this over airlines? Well, anytime you have any question about what you can or can’t board onto planes you can reference the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). They are the so-called law in this case and they will have the answer. They have listed on their site that tools greater than seven inches in length can only be carried as checked baggage and not as a carry-on.
In regard to the box itself, you can have it in checked baggage but you need to ensure that there are no flammable liquids or any other banned items by the TSA. Check yourself before they do to ensure you are good to go.
q: How do you clean them?
A lot of how you care for and clean these types of boxes depends on the materials that are used to build it. For example, you may clean aluminum differently than you would plastic. Then again, for the most part, you should be able to get away with dish soap and water. Of course, for plastic or polypropylene resin, you may even be able to get away with a damp cloth. It does depend on the severity of the dirt and mud, though, so keep that in mind.
But, back to the soap and water, if you merely add a touch of soap into a bucket of water you can scrub the surface with a soft bristle brush (or something similar). Just ensure it is fully rinsed off and dried, afterward.
q: Can they be sat or stood on?
Although this question seems completely out of the left field and one that has no bearing on anything involved with toolboxes, it is actually more prevalent than one may think. Think about it this way, how many times have you simply wanted to take a quick break only to realize you had nowhere to sit? Would you consider sitting on your toolbox? While a lot of factors come into play, such as the angle of the top and how comfortable and large it is, it could make for a decent resting point for a few minutes.
In regard to if they can support your weight, it does depend on the construction and your weight. With plastic models, it will not be advised to rest your total body weight on them. But, some rugged all-steel models could theoretically handle you (depending on how much you weigh).
q: Will they withstand being left outside?
It was alluded to a little bit earlier, the weather-resistance, but let’s dive a little deeper into this. For the most part, most models you look into will not be waterproof. They may be water-resistant and be able to handle rainfall without it entering inside to corrode all your tools, but most will not be suited for submersion or anything like that. So, you could probably already answer this question but would they handle being left outside?
If they withstood countless rain and terrible weather, they may begin to corrode (if it is metal) or deteriorate. Let’s just say that it is not advised to do so and instead, store it in an enclosed environment.
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