Toolboxes are a grown man’s favorite toy. It safely houses all his essential tools and ensures they stay organized or don’t get lost. So now, when does someone look for a new toolbox? I can bet that you know the answer to this question already. And that’s why friend, you’re trading on these quiet waters of the internet.
It’s alright having a sentimental value attached to your toolbox. We men are simple things…we get easily attached to inanimate objects. They grow on us, don’t they? An old toolbox, however, can be sort of a predicament sometimes.
For example, the box parts could get damaged over time and beyond repair, or your arsenal could increase. In addition, your existing toolbox may not have enough storage to accommodate them.
Commonly, sometimes a change of job could make you obliged to look for a new toolbox to suit your new work environment.
The holy grail of this article is to introduce to you the diverse world of toolboxes, given you’re a DIYer. And if you’re a pro veteran looking to upgrade your toolbox, hopefully, you’ll find this quite helpful.
So, what will you find here? I mainly tried to address two things: different types of toolboxes or storage solutions and who will benefit from them. For the amateurs, I’ve also added a short ‘need to know points’ in case you haven’t bought a toolbox before.
What’s About to Come?
Let’s start with a summary of the things we’ll discuss. After that, it’ll be much more convenient and save you some time. So, we’ll first glide over different tool chests based on their materials…the basic stuff.
After that, we’ll dive a bit deep and explore several types of toolboxes…namely 7. These will be different from each other in looks, build, and functions. You’ll see hand-carry tool boxes, roll-around, wall-mounted tool cabinets, and stationary draw-bar to truck-mounted boxes here.
Now without further ado, let’s get familiarized with some tool chests.
Steel Tool Chest
Today’s modern toolboxes don’t bend away that much from being metallic and plastic. Between these two materials, steel tool chests are the most commonly sought tool chest. They are strong, look gorgeous… especially in the first couple of months, and are capable enough to bear a lot of weight.
Although nature dictates that steel will become rusty over time, they are still the go-to storage solution for most people. You could always take the necessary precautions to maintain their beautiful appearance by using a unique powder coat inside and outside.
Stainless Steel Tool Chest
Now, these are better in every single way than the simple steel tool chest. Modern stainless-steel tool chests are lighter and more durable than any steel or aluminum chest. You won’t have to worry about the aesthetics of your special tool chest anymore.
These corrosion-resistant chests are, however, a bit pricey. Yes, they will last, and the beautiful texture will remain the same for a long time. And for that, you have to spend some extra cash. But if you’re looking for something that will stay by your side for a long time, you can opt for a stainless-steel tool chest.
Traditional Wooden Tool Chest
Nothing beats a classic. Traditional wooden tool chests are beautiful, especially if taken care of properly. They are more flexible, don’t weigh that much, and are also pretty strong. Almost every woodworker has or used to have one of these.
However, these tool chests are considered to be things of the past. The reason is that you have to be extra careful while using these. You can’t worry about your tool chest constantly while you’re working on a project. Also, they can take damage from pretty much anything.
To wit, they are not eligible for casual use, and you must maintain them properly. But if you dig these beautiful antics, you can get the expensive ones with laminated and engineered wood. So they will not decay that quickly or be damaged if exposed to water.
Modern Aluminum Tool Chest
Besides steel and wood, aluminum tool chests have made quite a name for themselves. Anything gets better if it has aluminum as its material. Especially, tool chests made from this material are incredibly lightweight.
What’s better is that, since aluminum tool chests have a special oxide coating, they don’t rust that easily. These tools also go through a rigorous procedure where they are painted, anodized, and lacquered. Hence, you get a tool chest that’ll stay as classy as it first arrived for years to come.
Plus, it’s more affordable than the stainless-steel tool chests. But that doesn’t mean it’s not as strong as them. It’s actually quite the opposite. Aluminum tool chests are strong, stiff, and more durable than any other tool chests.
Plastic Tool Chest
It doesn’t need to be stressed that plastic tool chests are less durable than others. However, these are perfect for DIY enthusiasts. They don’t cost that much, and issues like erosion and rust are out of the equation.
They are lighter than stainless-steel tool chests, making them perfect for people who have to carry their tools more often. But given their nature, you must be extra careful of how much weight you’ll carry.
What I like most about these boxes is that you can quickly clean them. You can use anything from water and soap to detergent. With that said, let’s explore some of the most common and useful categories of toolboxes that might aid you in your work.
Different categories of Tool Boxes
So far, we have merely discussed a variety of tool chests in terms of building material. Now, it’s time to get serious. Here, we’ll delve into the wide array of toolboxes based on their styles and, most importantly, their functions.
Starting with the basics, let’s talk about the good-old stationary toolbox. If you’re an avid DIYer or have a cozy family shop, a decent stationary tool box with several drawers could be your safest bet.
Now, you could look for a bigger toolbox in case you own a lot of tools. But if you don’t, a larger storage system can be overkill. Also, an extensive toolbox will waste money and time, assuming your work doesn’t involve maneuvering larger tools. You’ll always have to rummage through the pile of tools.
In this way, you won’t lose your small tools anymore. Unless you can organize your tools like a pro in a bigger box, it might be a little hard to find them. Also, they will not get mixed up with the bigger ones. However, if you have any doubt about their durability and strength, well, you’ll be surprised.
Sometimes, you may already have a primary toolbox where you keep your main tools. Stationary toolboxes could perform as a secondary unit. Or you could use this to store the fancy tools you use…let’s say not that frequently.
I’ve always been a big fan of hand-carry toolboxes. These are compact and have a quite elegant look too. Moreover, you don’t need to carry the entire tool collection with you, always assuming you have to move from place to move. In that case, a good quality hand-carry toolbox will only be handy to carry your essential tools.
Most manufacturers don’t avoid making these boxes as challenging as stones. Instead, they use stamped metal and also incorporate a drop-in tray. This feature helps the user to differentiate between big and small items.
Some toolboxes in this genre come with transparent lids. So before you go on a treasure quest to find your preferred tool, you can identify it without opening the box. Therefore, if you don’t have a lot of tools or have to move around a lot, then a hand-held toolbox could be what you’re looking for.
The market has plenty of these types of boxes. It’s tough to say which one would be the best for you. If I have to suggest, I would say you could either go with a DeWalt Tough System 2.0 or a GearWrench 16.5-inch Tool Box.
The first one could carry up to 110 pounds of weight and has enough real estate to house from small tools to full-size cordless drills and batteries. Comes with a waterproof seal. It will keep your tools nice and dry even if the weather is a bit moody.
The second one has a heavy-duty plastic body. To be honest, this is not eligible for the tough work sites. However, if you’re an avid DIY enthusiast, you will not get a better deal than this. It has a spacious compartment, a full-length tray, and segmented compartments to organize the tools as you see fit.
Drawer tool Chest and Roller Cabinet
This one here is a deadly combo for any big workshop. In terms of space and feature, nothing screams ‘professionalism’ more than this one. Notice the word ‘roller?’ Given you have a bigger playground and like to move around, this one could be a wise choice.
If you are currently having problems with your huge tool collection, grab one of these and take advantage of its several spacious drawers. You can store your most used ones on the top and work your way to the bottom. It makes organizing your tools much easier.
As for the build, there’s nothing to worry about. This kind of toolbox tends to weigh like a baby elephant. However, it only reflects its sturdiness and robust nature. These stoic-looking toolboxes are bound to uplift the mood of your workspace by keeping everything organized.
Now, there are some very good products that you can check out. For example, if you’re on a tight budget, you could take a look at Goplus Rolling Tool Chest. Made of alloy steel, it features 6 drawers and a spacious cabinet at the bottom. But if you want something that has more drawers, then you can consider the On Shine 8-drawer tool chest.
However, if you want to go all out on this, by all means, check out either the monstrous-looking Milwaukee 16-drawer Steel tool chest or the Husky 14-drawer tool chest and cabinet combo.
Roll-around tool boxes with workbench
A toolbox that lets you work on it does sound fun, right? I mean, you don’t have to move around to get hold of the tools you need. Just look down and there they are!
This type of storage solution is almost the same as normal roll-around toolboxes. The only difference is that the former comes with a functioning workbench.
Now, who would benefit from such a toolbox? Well, if you work in shops or garages, and your work doesn’t make you travel then you can opt for this. From start to finish of your project, you’ll always have your tools with you. It will save you time and you won’t lose track of any of your tools easily.
Take the Husky 9-drawer mobile tool chest for example. Comes with a good-looking solid wood workbench on top, it also has a decent soft close mechanism and smooth ball bearing.
No matter how many tools you have in it, you can move it around with ease. The drawers, however, can support 100 pounds each. And that, in my opinion, is quite decent.
Wall-mounted tool Cabinet
Let’s start with when you should consider having this kind of product for your shop. Well, if your workshop is small and you can’t move a roller tool chest around, you can go for one of these wall-mounted tool cabinets.
First, they look great when you install them on the wall. A single one of these will clear up a lot of space in the workshop. They hang stoically on the wall keeping all the tools safe and secure. Now, the best way to do this is to make one yourself.
In that way, you can customize it in any way you want. If you don’t know where to start, this video might help you a bit. There are tons of material on this subject. You can also check out this excellent website called FineWoodworking. Here, you will find all the details you need to know to make a wall-mounted cabinet all by yourself.
Portable Tool Chest
The name explains itself…it’s a tool chest you can take on the road. Now, you may ask, how are these different from hand-carry tool chests? As a matter of fact, there’s any grand difference between these two genres.
However, portable tool chests have wheels under them, so you can move them around the work site. And since they will be moved about a lot, manufacturers mostly use plastic to make it less heavy than the steel toolboxes.
But don’t worry…these are high-density plastic materials we’re talking about. They are tough and can withstand all the bumps and pressure of a construction site. Normally, they come in the guise of a trolley, making them fun and easy to maneuver.
For whom are these tool chests? Anyone from a DIY enthusiast to plumbers or carpenters will benefit from it. You can quickly move it around if you’re working on a bigger project. This way, you’ll always have your tools by your side and won’t lose sight of them either.
There are lots of tool chests of this kind in the market. Let me suggest some in case you haven’t traded in this way. For instance, the Milwaukee Packout 22-inch Rolling Tool Box is a great-looking entry-level portable tool chest.
For always-on-the-go people, a truck-mounted toolbox comes as a blessing. The reason is that having an open bed or a long-haul truck poses some issues if you want to transport your tools. The mentioned toolbox kit, however, can solve your problems.
Let me explain. You could be tempted to just store your tools in your backseat. This is a rookie mistake. If you don’t want to risk a massive drop in the resale value of your truck, don’t do it, for it may damage your vehicle.
And you always can’t just leave them on the back of your truck. There is a chance of theft, and your tools could be damaged. So, it’s probably wise to opt for a toolbox mounting kit. They are competent and quite secure too. Don’t worry…these are very affordable and can be a decent storage solution for all the truckers.
Besides, they come with mounting brackets, fully detailed instruction guides, and the necessary accessories that you’ll need to make it work.
And this concludes the categories of different types of toolboxes that can help you finally organize your workshop or garage.
Things You Need to Consider Before Buying any Toolbox
I’m almost tempted to end the article here and now. However, at this point, it would seem immature. So, before we bring the curtain down on this one, we’ll address several important issues before you buy a toolbox. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it very short.
Consider the Size and Storage Capacity
It’s wise to do mandatory homework before you buy a toolbox. First, make a fair estimate of the tools you own and the ones you use the most. It’ll give you a good idea of your arsenal of devices. But most importantly, it’ll help you determine what toolbox will work best for you.
If you take your job seriously and have a lot of tools, it’d be wise to opt for a toolbox with a lot of space and sturdy material. On the other hand, a smaller toolbox will be enough if you own a handful of tools.
Do You Want to Move Your toolbox or not?
The mobility of the toolbox will determine a lot of things. For example, a roll-around toolbox can be a good option if you own an oversized garage or workshop. Having them will enable you to access all of your tools within a second.
But what if you want to carry your toolbox to your work site? Well, in that case, you can go for either a hand-carry tool chest or a portable tool chest. The former works best if you don’t have to carry many tools with you. Instead, use it to store only the tools you’ll need.
On the other hand, a portable trolley-style tool chest can store many tools. Your work preference will determine what kind of mobility you want from the toolbox. Once you figure that out, choosing one should be easy.
Make Sure It is Durable
Regarding toolboxes, durability is the one thing that shouldn’t compromise. So always go for the one made from the most rigid material…it’s a general idea, I know. But there are other intricate things that you should be wary of before buying one.
For example, will it be safe for your tools? If you work in a challenging environment or travel days, the box should be sturdy enough to withstand all challenges. The fitting also has to be perfect as well. You don’t want your tools to roam freely in the box, right?
One more thing is that you should check the quality and durability of the wheels in case you want to buy a roll-around toolbox. And finally, check the integrity of the lock and security system.
Cost of different kinds of toolbox
Obviously, it will differ based on the product and the companies. However, if we can make a generalized idea of the price range for the toolboxes. For example, smaller toolboxes’ price doesn’t exceed more than a hundred bucks. These are perfect if you want something to keep your tools organized in your abode or small garage.
Between 100- and 700-dollars price range, you’ll see some gorgeous rolling toolboxes, trolley-styled toolboxes, portable tool chests with several drawers, and many more. They will offer you more space and fancy features to make your life much easier.
Beyond 700 dollars is the realm of premium toolboxes. These are for the professionals who like to compromise the quality of the project they’re working on or the tools they own. And it’s a given that when you’re spending this money, you’ll have a quality toolbox with lots of bells and whistles.
A decent and organized toolbox marks professionalism for any shop owner. It shows that you are serious and respectful about your crafts. It speeds up the workflow and keeps a good work environment.
As your business grows, so will your tool collection. And before you realize it, you’ll find yourself in a messy situation if you don’t have a proper toolbox to organize your tools. Without one, losing your stuff is straightforward, and you’ll lose track of things.
Imagine looking for a particular wrench and going through the pile of tools for a long time. It disrupts the workflow and causes a lot of irritation. So, if you haven’t already, you should invest in a good toolbox that fits your needs. Look through different types of toolboxes if you need to.
Having a good toolbox will result in an organized workshop. You’ll know where to look for a particular tool, and it’ll also free up a lot of space in your workshop. So, get one that perfectly fits your needs and never lose a tool again.