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Whether it's a home improvement, a hobby project, or simply a minor repair, you can't do anything without your tools. The more tools you accumulate, the more pressing the question becomes: What is the best way to store, organize and transport your tools? For generations, and to this day, the answer has been a well-made toolbox.
But toolboxes are not a one-size-fits-all solution. To choose the best toolbox, consider type, material, size, weight, portability, security, organization, and more. While it's important to get information about these factors and features, real-world tests that reveal how a product will perform in the real world can often help consumers make the best decision. For this reason, Tom has put together each of the following toolkits and kits to provide feedback that you can't get from product descriptions alone.
Best Overall: Trusco ST-350-B Class 2 Toolbox
Best Value: DEWALT TSTAK Tool Organizer
Best for Organization: Keter Masterloader Resin Rolling Toolbox
Best for Rolling: Milwaukee Packout, 22″ Rolling Tool Box
Best for Power Tools: DEWALT TOUGHSYSTEM 22″. Mobile Toolbox
Best for Small Parts: Keter 22″ Resin Cantilever Toolbox
Best Packout: Klein Tools 5109P Wide Straight Wall Bucket
Now armed with a wealth of information about toolboxes, it's time to consider our do-it-yourself reviews. We thoroughly tested these toolboxes to see how they function and what they're best suited for. One of the products we tested, the BIG RED TB101 Torin 19″ Hip Roof Style Tool Box, did not meet the criteria we included in this review. Between the most important considerations and our rigorous testing, choosing the best toolbox for your purposes should be fairly easy.
Made of beautiful blue enamel, the Trusco 2-Tier Tool Box comes with side hinges that allow the top to open in both directions, revealing tiered interior storage areas that you can customize with reconfigurable metal dividers. The entire box is metal, with the tiered compartment cantilevers sticking out smoothly.
There are a few products that blow me away in a hands-on review, but I like the Trusco. it's made of much higher quality metal than other boxes of its size, and the fit and finish are just right. The metal handle is very comfortable to hold when the box is full. I can fit almost all of my usual hand tools in the box except for a tachymeter, staple gun and a screwdriver. The one issue I found is that it doesn't have a latch, which I prefer for transport.
The DEWALT TSTAK tool organizer line includes a variety of sturdy, reliable options to meet specific needs, as well as some everyday toolboxes. This affordable TSTAK model features a segmented upper compartment for storing small fasteners, bits and parts, as well as a larger open bottom section for hand tools (or drill and battery combinations). It also has a hole for a padlock to pass through.
There was a lot to like about the TSTAK box during testing. Overall, I just like the idea of the TSTAK system, so the fact that it has a latch and connects to other boxes is appealing. I also like the domed shape of the inside of the lid, which means that bulky items that cock up slightly won't prevent the box from closing. Plus, at this price it feels like a steal.
However, there are two things I don't like: the plastic lid for holding parts and bits isn't very strong, and it doesn't have much storage space underneath for hand tools. Everything is in the main compartment, which can easily get messy.
When transporting heavy-duty tools from project to project with the KETER Masterloader Resin Rolling Tool Box, they are organized. This heavy-duty resin toolbox offers up to 66 pounds of tool transport capacity for hand tools, power tools and hardware. The polypropylene resin is weather resistant to protect tools from harsh weather.
The Masterloader features a telescoping handle and two 7-inch heavy-duty wheels for easy pulling. Two storage boxes on the top slide out for easy access to the tools below. One wing has a clear plastic cover and plenty of room to store miscellaneous items such as screws and nails. the master loader also has a top-mounted latch for securing tools, but it does not lock.
I found the Masterloader very easy to open with one hand, and the sliding storage provided all the access I could ask for. I also like that the smaller hand tools have a completely separate compartment from the power tools and parts (each with its section). If there is room for improvement, the telescoping handle is poor quality and the buttons stuck a few times.
Those looking to customize a rolling one-hand toolbox system may find Milwaukee's Packout rolling toolbox to be the right choice. This rolling toolbox features industrial-grade extended handles and 9" all-terrain wheels that can carry tools and hardware weighing up to 250 pounds.
While the Packout is the basis for a fully customizable, modular toolbox system, it offers plenty of storage space on its own. It features metal-reinforced latches and corners to keep gear safe and secure. Its built-in hardware acts as a tether, and IP65-rated seals keep water, dust and dirt out. It also has a hole that allows the lock to pass through and protects against thieves.
In testing, the Packout proved to be a dream. This toolbox has plenty of room for my basic power tools and a deep removable tray that fits almost all of my smaller hand tools. The handle telescopes up and down smoothly and the 9-inch wheels roll nicely. I also like that the case is weatherproof, has a maximum capacity of 250 pounds, and has metal reinforcement at important stress points. The only downside is that it's a pretty big investment.
Size is everything when it comes to storing bulky power tools, and Dewalt's 22-inch mobile toolbox measures 22 inches wide x 18 inches deep and 24 inches high, providing plenty of storage space for tools and their batteries. The box has large wheels and a telescoping handle that makes it easy to roll up and work. To keep the tools from walking away, there is a padlocking hole.
I found the telescoping handle and wheels made moving the box around a breeze, and the storage capacity is large enough to hold power tools and long-handled hand tools. I was impressed with the gasket around the lid, which provides a fair amount of water resistance. As a nice touch: if the user opens the box, they simply push back on the handle to open the lid. My only complaint is that while the removable tray is long and holds a lot of stuff, it is a bit shallow and difficult to organize.
Organizing odds and ends for DIY projects can be a headache. Instead of tossing those pieces into a brown bag, use KETER's resin cantilever toolbox to organize them. This two-tier system features 27 removable bins in two different sizes to keep small items separate and easy to find.
Although this KETER is plastic, it is a durable resin. It has a clear plastic lid that reveals items on the top shelf, while two clasps on the bottom shelf grab it to ensure it doesn't suddenly open during transport. It also has a durable top-mounted handle that folds flat, and folding legs prevent this cantilevered case from tilting backward when opened.
I wasn't sure how I would feel about this box during testing, but it ended up surprising me. I removed a couple of the storage boxes in the lid and found that there was quite a bit of customizable tool storage. The cantilever action is also very smooth. I like how the clear plastic lid stays secure due to the metal latch. The downside I found is that it is not attached to the Keter Rolling Cart and can be difficult to open with one hand.
Sometimes the best toolbox is a bag - and Klein Tools' Wide Straight Wall Bucket might just fit the bill. This durable canvas bag can carry up to 75 pounds. The high-density polyethylene top ring provides extra strength and chemical resistance, and the sturdy, weather-resistant shoulder strap makes it easy to carry. Use the interior pocket to store hardware and small hand tools.
The Klein bag feels virtually bulletproof. The canvas is sewn to the plastic bottom, but the nylon handle does most of the lifting, so it holds its weight. The reinforced edges keep it open, which is an advantage for one-handed use. I could see using this bag to take some tools from the store to home, or from a work truck to a customer's home, as it takes very little space to fold up. But its lack of organization detracts from its bid for a permanent tool storage solution - there's only one pocket inside.
If you're looking for an overall high-quality metal toolbox, then the Trusco ST-350-B Class 2 toolbox is truly a test surprise. If you need more storage space, check out the Milwaukee Electric Tool Packout, a 22-inch rolling toolbox, and take advantage of its great size and load-bearing capacity.
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