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No matter how many tools you have, you need a way to organize, store, and transport them. Professionals and DIYers often rely on toolboxes to keep hammers, screwdrivers, and other items in one spot. They are convenient because you can easily carry them from place to place and have the specific tools you need close at hand.
Toolboxes come in a variety of sizes and materials with all sorts of features. Some are designed to function independently, while others can be stacked on a compatible tool storage system for even greater storage. Many well-known companies sell toolboxes to suit various needs, but it can be tough to choose the best one. We include some of the top options available on the market today in our buying guide below.
RIDGID 22 in. Pro Toolbox
This toolbox can hold 50 pounds and is made of high-impact resin. It is water-resistant and compatible with the RIDGID Pro Storage System.
- Comfortable to carry
- Tough and durable
- Tool tray is flimsy
- May emit an odor for a short period of time
STANLEY 19-Inch Essential Toolbox
This toolbox has two organizers on top for small items and comes with a tool tray. It is 19 x 10 x 9.9 inches.
- Accommodates long tools
- Easy to open and close
- Great for household use
- Not as heavy duty as other options
- Handle is not very strong
Milwaukee PACKOUT 22 in. Rolling Toolbox
This toolbox has a 250-pound weight capacity and is compatible with other PACKOUT system components. It's made of impact-resistant polymers.
- Includes all-terrain wheels
- Keeps tools dry
- Easy to transport
- May not fit in a covered truck bed
- Wheels could be a little stronger
Benefits of a Toolbox
- Organize your tools. There's a good chance you have some type of tools at your residence, even if you live in a small apartment. You can keep them all together in a toolbox, so you always know where they are.
- Transport your tools. Many toolboxes are portable, which is helpful if you're working on a project and need to carry your hammer, screwdriver, drill, etc., from place to place.
- Protect your tools. Keep your equipment out of the way and protected from the elements by storing them in a toolbox. Many are waterproof or water-resistant to keep moisture out, so your tools will work properly the next time you need them.
Types of Toolboxes
A portable toolbox is typically metal or plastic with a flip-open lid and a carrying handle. These traditional-looking toolboxes are rugged and durable and designed for both professionals and do-it-yourselfers. They are available in a variety of sizes, depending on your needs. You may want a longer one that’s large enough to accommodate a hand saw or a smaller one for smaller tools.
If you have many tools, you may opt for a rolling toolbox, which is excellent for heavy loads. Some rolling toolboxes have drawers, which allow you to organize items in separate compartments. Some of these drawers are narrow and designed for pliers, wrenches, etc., while others may have large sections to accommodate big tools such as a drill. You can also find rolling toolboxes that are part of a stackable system.
If you drive a truck, you may want to invest in a truck-mounted toolbox. These truck toolboxes are heavy-duty and often made of aluminum or stainless steel. These toolboxes provide a lot of storage and will protect your belongings in all types of weather. While great for large power tools, they aren't designed to organize your tools because they usually consist of one large compartment.
RIDGID got its start in 1923 in Ridgeville, Ohio. The company makes "rugged jobsite tools," including those for the construction and manufacturing industries. It also makes toolboxes, like the RIDGID 22 in. Pro Toolbox.
Stanley got its start in New Britain, Conn., and has been in business since 1843. It merged with Black & Decker in 2010 and makes various tools for home improvement and professional use. We recommend the STANLEY 19-Inch Essential Toolbox.
DeWALT was founded in Leola, Penn., in 1924 and is known for its range of power tools and hand tools. The company is also a subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker. Check out the DEWALT TSTAK Deep, Long-Handle Tool Box.
The Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation has been in business since 1924 and is best known for its power tools and hand tools. Based in Brookfield, Wis., the company aims to deliver innovative solutions to its customers. We like the Milwaukee PACKOUT 22 in. Rolling Toolbox.
- Under $20: The least-expensive toolboxes are designed for the occasional project around the house. They are meant for light-duty work and don't have any bells or whistles. Many people also use these toolboxes for craft supplies, medical supplies, etc., because they're not designed for high-impact conditions.
- $40 to $75: There are various metal and plastic tool boxes in this price range. Most have drawers or trays to organize the tools, and they are more durable than their less-expensive counterparts.
- $75 and up: Rolling toolboxes and workstations provide the most space for tool storage, but they're also the most expensive. They're an ideal option if you have a lot of heavy tools that you need to move around frequently.
Your toolbox must be able to accommodate the tools you frequently use, so it has to be large enough to contain them. Different people need different-sized toolboxes: a carpenter, for example, may require one that's longer than what an electrician may use. Also, consider the weight of the toolbox: try to avoid one that is heavy when it's empty because when it's full, it can be hard to manage.
Most toolboxes are made of either metal or plastic. Plastic toolboxes, typically made of resin, are popular because they are durable, rust-resistant, and difficult to dent. More traditional toolboxes are made of metal and are designed to carry a lot of weight. Aluminum and stainless steel options are rust-resistant and more expensive than steel toolboxes.
Determine whether you need drawers or dividers to organize your tools. Many plastic toolboxes have removable trays or compartments on the lids that hold small items, such as bits and washers. These toolboxes usually have a large space on the bottom for bigger items. You can also purchase a rolling workstation, which is set up to provide several areas for organization. Some also accommodate a stackable system, so you can remove the modules as needed.
- Wheels. The more tools you have, the more difficult it can be to transport them. If you have a lot of heavy tools, a toolbox with wheels may be the way to go. A rolling workstation will often have plastic resin wheels, while a mechanic's tool chest will have casters that use ball bearings to roll around.
- Waterproof. A water-resistant or waterproof toolbox is convenient if you frequently work outside and are exposed to the elements. A waterproof toolbox is also necessary if it's stored in a truck bed. Look for toolboxes with strong latches and seals that prevent moisture from penetrating to protect your tools from rusting and oxidizing.
- Lockable. If you regularly leave your toolbox unattended, you may want to choose a product that has a locking mechanism. Many have hasps you can lock with a padlock, while others have built-in locking systems in place. Some are more basic with just holes that you slide a lock into.
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- If you have a toolbox with drawers, place the items close together, either next to one another facing the same direction or organize them like puzzle pieces. This will allow you to store more tools than if you haphazardly put them in the drawer.
- Choose your tools before putting them into the toolbox. Throw away broken items, and sell or give away tools you do not need. Otherwise, these items will take up the precious space you need for tools you use regularly.
- Sort tools based on type. For example, you may want to keep SAE and metric tools in different drawers. You can also sort the items by size.
- Consider using drawer liners. They keep tools in place and protect them as well as the metal bottom of the drawer.
Q: What is the best toolbox?
There are a wide variety of toolboxes that suit all different needs. We feature many of those options in this buying guide, with the RIDGID 22 in. Pro Toolbox coming in as our best overall set.
Q: Do Home Depot toolboxes come at a good price?
You can find many toolboxes from Home Depot that are reasonably priced and include a variety of useful features, depending on your niche.
Q: Can I buy a Craftsman toolbox at Lowes?
Yes. Lowes sells a wide range of Craftsman toolboxes.
Q: Should I buy a Mac toolbox?
Mac Tools is an American-based company that makes high-quality toolboxes, chests, utility carts, and more. It has a good reputation and has been in business since 1938, so its tools and toolboxes are a good option.
Q: Does Stanley make a quality toolbox?
Stanley is a reputable brand that makes high quality toolboxes that are also affordable. A Stanley toolbox is always a great option.
Q: Should I buy a toolbox from a clearance sale?
If the toolbox is from a well-known brand and looks like a good quality item, go for it — everyone likes saving money on their purchases.
Q: Where can I find a toolbox for sale?
Search online and in stores to find toolboxes on sale. Sales often fall during holidays, such as Memorial Day and President’s Day, as well as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Q: Is a wooden toolbox worth buying? How about a plastic toolbox?
It may be challenging to find a wooden toolbox today as most are made of resin, polymers, or metal. Plastic toolboxes are very common but can vary in quality depending on their construction.
Our pick for the best overall toolbox is the RIDGID 22 in. Pro Toolbox. It has a 50-pound weight capacity, is water-resistant, and is lockable for security. It's also compatible with RIDGID's Pro Storage System. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the STANLEY 19-Inch Essential Toolbox.
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