Which Is the Best Tool Box for Your Workplace? – Mechanopedia’s Top Picks

Many people associate tools with dirty, unorganized workplaces, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I, for once, am a total sucker for organization and harmony between my different types of gear. I like to keep all my tools and equipment, from my Chainsaw Chaps to my Sliding Compound Miter Saw, neatly organized on my workbench.

The thing is; you cannot simply nail your tools on your wallboard – as many handymen do – and expect them to be organized all the time. That’s a mistake that I’ve fallen for in the past but have since evolved. Today, I place all of my tools in toolboxes, making them both organized and ready for heavy-duty usage outside the house.

I’ve assembled my toolbox collection over the course of a few years, but if you’re just starting out and looking for ideas, you must be wondering:” Which is the best tool box for me?”. Well, it depends.

Do not worry though, as you don’t need to roam the aisles of The Home Depot for hours trying to find what’s best for you. Mechanopedia’s team has reviewed a plethora of toolboxes and chosen the best in each category (actually, it was all me. Call me a sucker for attention, but I want to get credit for my work). Yes, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that pun. Surely my fellow handymen will forgive me). Your workplace will never be a mess again.

RECOMMENDED
RIDGID 22 in. Pro Organizer, Black (Set of 2)
BUDGET OPTION
Stanley STST70574 12-Inch Soft Sided Tool Bag
Husky 16 in. Plastic Tool Box with Rugged Metal Latch (1.6 mm) and Ample Storage Capabilities in Black, Tool Box Organizer Heavy Duty, Durable Polypropylene, Easy to Grip, Impact Resistant Plastic
Stanley 016013R 16" Series 2000 Tool Box with Tray
RIDGID 22 in. Pro Organizer, Black (Set of 2)
Stanley STST70574 12-Inch Soft Sided Tool Bag
Husky 16 in. Plastic Tool Box with Rugged Metal Latch (1.6 mm) and Ample Storage Capabilities in Black, Tool Box Organizer Heavy Duty, Durable Polypropylene, Easy to Grip, Impact Resistant Plastic
Stanley 016013R 16" Series 2000 Tool Box with Tray
$68.21
$18.12
$26.92
$15.75
RECOMMENDED
RIDGID 22 in. Pro Organizer, Black (Set of 2)
RIDGID 22 in. Pro Organizer, Black (Set of 2)
$68.21
BUDGET OPTION
Stanley STST70574 12-Inch Soft Sided Tool Bag
Stanley STST70574 12-Inch Soft Sided Tool Bag
$18.12
Husky 16 in. Plastic Tool Box with Rugged Metal Latch (1.6 mm) and Ample Storage Capabilities in Black, Tool Box Organizer Heavy Duty, Durable Polypropylene, Easy to Grip, Impact Resistant Plastic
Husky 16 in. Plastic Tool Box with Rugged Metal Latch (1.6 mm) and Ample Storage Capabilities in Black, Tool Box Organizer Heavy Duty, Durable Polypropylene, Easy to Grip, Impact Resistant Plastic
$26.92
Stanley 016013R 16" Series 2000 Tool Box with Tray
Stanley 016013R 16" Series 2000 Tool Box with Tray
$15.75
Stanley STST19950 Click and Connect Deep Tool Box
Stack-On SHB-16 16-Inch Multi-Purpose Steel Tool Box, Black
CARTMAN Tool Set 160pcs, General Household Hand Tool Kit with Plastic Toolbox, Electrician's Tools in Storage Case
DEWALT DWST17806 TSTAK VI Deep Box
Stanley STST19950 Click and Connect Deep Tool Box
Stack-On SHB-16 16-Inch Multi-Purpose Steel Tool Box, Black
CARTMAN Tool Set 160pcs, General Household Hand Tool Kit with Plastic Toolbox, Electrician's Tools in Storage Case
DEWALT DWST17806 TSTAK VI Deep Box
$17.21
Price not available
$27.99
$25.99
Stanley STST19950 Click and Connect Deep Tool Box
Stanley STST19950 Click and Connect Deep Tool Box
$17.21
Stack-On SHB-16 16-Inch Multi-Purpose Steel Tool Box, Black
Stack-On SHB-16 16-Inch Multi-Purpose Steel Tool Box, Black
Price not available
CARTMAN Tool Set 160pcs, General Household Hand Tool Kit with Plastic Toolbox, Electrician's Tools in Storage Case
CARTMAN Tool Set 160pcs, General Household Hand Tool Kit with Plastic Toolbox, Electrician's Tools in Storage Case
$27.99
DEWALT DWST17806 TSTAK VI Deep Box
DEWALT DWST17806 TSTAK VI Deep Box
$25.99

Choosing the Best Tool Box – Mechanopedia’s Picks

#1 – Ridgid 22-inch Pro – The Best Tool Box for the Money

You might automatically associate toolboxes with large sizes to being heavy, but that’s not necessarily the case. When you do the research, you’ll find out that most modern tool boxes on the market are quite large and durable without actually being unreasonable hefty. One good example of this is the Ridgid 22 in. Pro.

The Ridgid 22-inch Pro Tool Box has the perfect amount of space to store your garage equipment so you can move them around with you when you’re not home. You won’t have to worry about small hand tools. You can also fit in a couple of bigger power tools in there with no problem.

Durability is the most critical trait for any toolbox. If the box won’t guarantee that your tools will remain functional and in good shape for as long as they are housed in it, then there isn’t really any point of owning it. The Ridgid 22 has a high-impact resin exterior and water/dust-resistant seal. The lid is tightly locked by a metal handle that goes off with no issue when you want to open it up. We shouldn’t forget to mention that the box is also compatible with the company’s own line of customizable organizers and carts.

What we like about this tool box

First, don’t expect the world, as this tool box set is exceptionally cheap. Now that we got that out of the way, know that this Cartman Tool Set is worth every penny. True, it is a minimal set, but it includes everything you may ever need by covering the bases. For example, instead of containing a metric and SAE set of sockets, the combo comes with the odd SAE size that would be the metric. If you are a homeowner that sticks to putting together furniture, hanging things, and some appliance work, this can be the best tool box set for you.

#2 – Stanley STST70574 – The Best Portable Tool Box (Tool Bag, Actually)

If you’re looking for a toolbox that can help you keep your equipment together for any away-from-home projects or even some yard chores, then you should get yourself a compact-sized toolbox. You don’t want to keep carrying around a big box, and you don’t want to keep packing your equipment every time you have to move them around with you. This Stanley product can take care of this issue for you. Seeing how it’s a bag, you can easily store it when you’re not using it. Quite convenient, isn’t it?

You might think that the nature of the bag’s walls will leave your tools vulnerable to the surrounding elements, but in fact, the padding that the bag comes with is strong enough to protect your equipment from mild hits. The bottom is equipped with rubber foam to protect the interior when the kit comes in hard contact with any given surface. You’re getting six outer pockets as well, three on each side, to store small tools if you’d like. The broader sack on one side has a heavy-duty, reliable Velcro flap to hold stuff inside, which adds to the sturdiness of Stanley’s tool bag. On the inside, the Stanley bag has five pockets of various sizes on one side, and one sack the whole length of the bag on the other.

Want even better news? All of that comes at a really affordable price, which means that you can get several bags and categorize your tools according to their uses.

What we like about this tool box

if you’re looking for a compact tool bag to keep your basic screwdrivers, tape measure, hammer, and other small assorted tools in a kitchen cabinet or your car’s trunk, Stanley’s STST70574 tool bag is a solid choice to consider and can be the best tool box for you. Not only is it lightweight and durable, but it’s also spacious enough to hold several tools with ease. Keep in mind that if you’re looking for something in which you can store heavier, bulkier tools, you’d be better off getting a more heavy-duty bag, such as Craftsman’s 9-37535 Soft Tool Bag.

#3 – Husky 16-inch Toolbox – The Best Cheap Tool Box

Don’t be intimidated by any of the high prices that you might see in the stores. You might not be aware, but you can actually find some quality tool boxes for under 50 bucks. Take it from a man who doesn’t miss an opportunity to get tools at a low price, as long as the quality isn’t compromised. Seeing this toolbox was a fluke, but the features impressed me, so I put it on the best tool box list with a few more expensive products. “How could anything this low-priced be worthwhile?”, I asked myself, but trying this tool box, I quickly found out the answer.

Husky’s 16-inch toolbox can help you with protecting and moving around your equipment without having to go hard on your wallet. It doesn’t matter if you’re in your garage or outside it, this is a very dependable toolbox. That’s all thanks to the heavy-duty construction of the box, as it’s made of hardened plastic that doesn’t crack or get rusty as time goes by, and the lid is safely held together by a big padlock.

You’ll have enough interior space to store a significant number of small tools and equipment. It has a removable tray on the top that presents an additional surface which you can use to keep smaller objects that you wouldn’t want to lose.

What we like about this tool box

I know, good quality doesn’t come cheap, or that’s what we’ve been led to believe. Husky’s 16-inch toolbox, aka the best cheap tool box on the market, is here to prove us all wrong and show that sturdiness, durability, and efficiency can indeed be affordable. If you’re just starting out with woodworking, craftsmanship, or repairing, you shouldn’t be looking for an expensive toolbox. Instead, you should get an excellent storage solution that wouldn’t break the bank (hint: I’m talking about the Husky 16-inch tool box).

#4 – Stanley 016013R – The Best Organizer for Small Objects

Budget toolboxes are usually avoided by buyers because of the absence of organizational aspects in the majority of them. Having one compartment isn’t exactly sufficient if you want to be the proud owner of a properly-organized set of tools. When compared to other boxes in its price range, the Stanley 016013R is superior in the aspect of providing a number of containers for small objects so they won’t be lost in a jumbled mess of equipment.

The interior space is designed in a way that gives just as much space as you’d usually need while giving you the opportunity to organize your tools and equipment however you want. The manufacturer divided the area into different compartments to dedicate a place for small objects. You can find two hidden containers on top of the lid that can be accessed without the need to open the box, and they’re both quite large for small tools.

In a nutshell, Stanley’s 016013R tool box can be a welcoming home for all your taps, dies, reamers, and drivers, which is something that any handyman would dig. If Bob the builder, the greatest handyman ever, was real, he’d confirm my statement.

What we like about this tool box

The Stanley 016013R is an affordable, well-built toolbox with a positive steel lockable latch. Not only is it durable though, as it’s incredibly efficient for small tools and supplies. The lid storage compartments have a divider, making them practical for small items, such as screws and connectors, but not big enough for even a small set of wrenches. If you only need the best tool box for your small supplies, this is a solid option to consider.

#5 – Stanley STST19950 – The Best Organizer for Neat Freaks

This is one of my personal favorite toolboxes, as I fall under this category. Cramming all of your tools in a large space isn’t exactly the ideal storage way that you want to adopt. Organizing things is key. You must be able to keep a pattern to access your equipment easily. Spending too much time looking through a pile of metal and plastic to find the piece you want is just going to delay everything and make your job unbearable. This toolbox avoids this issue by offering a design that allows you to organize your arsenal of tools the way you want it to be. The walls that separate the different compartments can be moved and customized according to how you want to redistribute the space.

The lid itself has a number of containers for small objects, and the exterior overall is hard and sturdy enough to prevent any damage from happening to your tools.

The price of this toolbox is also quite affordable, making it one of the best choices for people seeking a simple yet effective storage solution that won’t cost them an arm or a leg.

What we like about this tool box

This tool box is well-made, sturdy, durable, and perfectly-adjusted for organization. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. Should you get Stanley’s STST19950 toolbox, you won’t have to spend hours trying to remember where you put your screwdriver.

#6 – Stack-On SHB-16 16-Inch Multi-Purpose Steel Tool Box – The Best Metal Organizer

Is getting a metal toolbox the only way to preserve and protect your tools? Well, you could say so. Sure, containers made of hard plastic can give the amount of protection that you seek, but a metal box can guarantee true protection against rust and hard impacts as long as it’s manufactured in a proper way.

The 16-Inch Multi-Purpose Tool Box measures 16 x 7 x 7.5 inches. Granted, it’s not as big as one would expect of a metal toolbox, but it can still provide enough space for several items. It’s also a bit under 5 lbs. so your tools will be quite safe in such a heavy and robust container. You’ll be able to place the big devices in the bottom and the small equipment on top thanks to the lift out tray that comes with the toolbox.

What we like about this tool box

Experience is one thing, but craftsmanship is a different ballgame – and one that Stack-On plays well. Despite being made of steel to ensure durability and sturdiness, the SHB-16’s weight is still suitable for transportation. The dimensions are perfect for an all-around tool box, and it can definitely be the best truck toolbox or one that can be used to specialize for one trade or another. If you don’t mind the plastic tray, this is a solid choice to consider.

#7 – Cartman 160-Piece Tool Set – The Best Organizer Set

You might not be very experienced in the field, and you don’t know what to do or where to start with. If that’s relatable, the Cartman tool set is exactly what you need. Even if you don’t have a set of toolsfor yourself, you’re getting one with this toolbox. You’ll have all of the usual needed gear and equipment in one sturdy box. Everything is going to be placed in its designated area so you won’t have to reorganize the set.

The set includes a total of 160 items, which are the following tools:

  • 1 8-inch crimping plier, a Wire Stripper, 1 6-inch linesman plier, and 1 6-inch long nose plier
  • 2 precision screwdrivers, 2 6x100mm screwdrivers, and 1 mini screwdriver
  • 1 8-inch adjustable wrench and 6 hex key wrenches
  • 123 assortment fasteners in a plastic box
  • One bit driver handle with 16 bits
  • 1 3-meter measure tape
  • An 8-oz claw hammer
  • 1 bit extension bar
  • One hack saw
  • 1 knife

Every tool contained in the toolbox verifies the ANSI criteria, which means that the devices will resist any kind of impacts they may be subjected to in atypical working environments. The steel used in these tools is extremely hard, harder than any no-name brand you’ll find.

Even if you’re an experienced professional, say an electrician, a carpenter, or a woodworker, this set can serve as a great back up set whenever you find yourself in an emergency situation. Besides, it’s incredibly cheap, so why not?

What we like about this tool box

First, don’t expect the world, as this tool set is exceptionally cheap. Now that we got that out of the way, know that this Cartman Tool Set is worth every penny. True, it is a minimal set, but it includes everything you may ever need by covering the bases. For example, instead of containing a metric and SAE set of sockets, the combo comes with the odd SAE size that would be the metric. If you are a homeowner that sticks to putting together furniture, hanging things, and some appliance work, this can be the best tool box set for you.

#8 – DeWalt DWST17806 – The Best Deep Tool Organizer

Spaciousness is one of the most demanded traits in any toolbox. A deep box is the kind of storage option that delivers on that level. What’s different about a deep box is the fact that it has an expandable depth and width feature that allows you to gain extra exterior space. This DeWalt box is that kind of box. It delivers extra space without compromising the portability aspect. A maximum of 44 lbs. can be contained and carried around in the hard-plastic body of the box.

One other great feature is the fact that you can customize the exterior space of the box according to your preference. You’ll have the primary storage container as well as a top tray that has small areas for smaller objects, such as your drill bits and screw bit tips.

If you want to increase your organization choices, you have the ability to place and lock down several boxes on top of each other. I also really like how the boxes can interlock and latch together using a secure and simple latching scheme.

What we like about this tool box

DeWalt’s DWST17806 deep tool box offers great durability thanks to the texture, colors, and durability of the plastic selected. It also excels when it comes to versatility as it comes with different storage options, such as the upper compartments designed for smaller items and the ability to stack and lock down several boxes on top of each other. Whether you’re a freelance carpenter, a veteran construction worker, or a professional contractor, you cannot go wrong with this durable, sturdy, deep tool box.

Picking the Best Tool Box – Mechanopedia’s Buying Guide

Best-Tool-Box-BG

Picking and buying the toolbox that fits your preference is a journey in itself, it can be as exciting as buying the tools you’re going to use.

Since toolboxes can be found in a multitude of shapes and forms, anyone from an experienced professional to an ordinary house owner can find what they’re looking for on the market. It can be plastic, or it can be steel, you’ll always find the best options for storing and protecting your equipment.

Different Types of Toolboxes

What, you thought there is only one type of tool boxes? Silly you. Step in my garage, and you’ll see a handful of kinds, each serving a specific purpose, including:

Hand Carry Toolboxes

Going around stores, you’ll find that the standard tool storage products are either steel or portable plastic boxes. Owners of big tool chests would still have a portable toolbox for whenever they need to get something done around or outside of their residence.

The usual design would include a fold-down top handle for moving the box around, and a hand carry. You’ll want to keep your attention on boxes with a removable tray on the inside as it will help you keep the smaller, easily-lost objects separated and on their own. Having a clear order is very important when it comes to using power and hand tools.

For your wire nuts and screws, you’ll find toolboxes with interior small built-in containers. This is very helpful when you can’t find a designated space for them.

If you’re thinking of buying plastic boxes on the lower end, we recommend getting one with a metal latch for increased durability and performance.

As for metal toolboxes, they are timeless. One inconvenience about them is that they can be heavy to carry around. If there’s a garage sale near you that you can check out, you might find one filled with numerous rusty tools. Even if the box itself is kinda rusty, you can always try to restore it a much better state. I personally love my metal tool box (all of them actually) as they reflect durability, strength, and capability.

For many contractors, a tool bag is the way to go if you’re looking for a lightweight alternative. The canvas that makes it can be durable enough and the bag itself would have a number of pouches on it for storing and easily accessing items.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to carry around a giant hammer in it. But this remains a helluva a choice for any homeowner or DIYer. So, if you’re looking for the best tool bag, check out what Stanley and DeWalt have to offer.

Rolling Toolboxes

What’s a rolling toolbox? It’s the kind of storage solution you want to have when you need to move some massive power tools around – say a Table Saw, Random Orbital Sander, or even Chainsaw Under 200 dollars. Their concept follows the idea of the rolling luggage: basically, you have a couple of wheels and a handle to move the bag around easily.

The manufacturers to look out for when it comes to this type of toolboxes are mainly RidgidStanleyDeWalt, and Milwaukee as they have previously produced rolling workstations. We’re talking about a toolbox and a number of tool cases that can be stacked for easy movement. Seems tempting, doesn’t it?

This may be a bit too much for any casual user. So, we wouldn’t recommend this one for any individual who doesn’t travel a lot or move around frequently. Just go with a hand carry toolbox, and you’ll be just fine.

Cabinet Storage and Tool Chest

I’m the type of person who’s constantly adding and cramming new tools in his toolbox (In a neat and well-organized way though). If you’re like me, you might reach a point when your box won’t be sufficient to hold everything you need. For that, we have the tool chest. You’ll find different sizes ranging from 26” to up to 46” and the usual design would come with big lockable drawers made to house objects of different sizes.

In most cases, the top would flip to provide more storage space for the user. These extra chambers can be taken off and be put anywhere around your worktable. It’s essential to have everything laid around in your exact pattern to allow for ease of access to tools.

This would be considered just as much of garage furniture as a sofa would for the living room. So, if you’re planning on getting one, get the right measurements first. Make sure that the layout of the room will give the best working experience with the addition of the tool chest (this includes providing enough space for the drawers to extend properly).

When it comes to popularity, Snap-On and Craftsman have been dominating for a while. Nevertheless, you can get similar affordable products from Seville Classics and Husky on Amazon. Even tool manufacturers have jumped on the cake and started developing their proper tool chests (e.g., StanleyDeWalt, and Milwaukee)

And here you have a choice. Either you spend around $200 for a good tool chest or over 1000 dollars to get the cabinet/chest combo.

What a more expensive tool chest can offer is thicker gauge steel, heavier load limit, smoother drawer sliders, better paint, and an exterior finish. Some even have their own power strips and lighting.

Milwaukee offers a Heavy-duty, 16-Drawer Tool Chest/Cabinet Combo for around 1000 bucks. It would be considered significantly wide at 46”, so make sure your garage can contain it without affecting your day to day tasks.

Tool Workbenches

The best out there are steel workbenches. A workbench gives you a nice working area and a storage space at its lower part, and it’s not too dissimilar to the cabinets and the tool chests.

Usually, the upper part would be made of butcher block. To make sure that it can be easily moved, workbenches come with casters just like the tool cabinet.

We recommend checking out workbenches from Craftsman and Gladiator as they are the best tool box brands in this category, but there are still a ton of other power tool brands worth taking a look at.

The Most Important Accessories

Yes, even accessories should be considered before choosing the best tool box.

I recommend getting some tool rolls to provide extra protection for the tools, especially from contact with each other as they move around inside the toolbox.

Another great addition to your toolbox would be the drawer liners as they help keep your equipment in place whenever you open or close the drawers.

What to Look for in the Best Tool Box

Portability (Duh!)

If you’re not planning on moving around much with your toolbox, you can get yourself a hefty one that will store in it all that you need. But if portability is what you’re looking for, choose wisely before doing anything. Find a toolbox that’s lightweight enough to be portable but without losing any needed sturdiness.

Load Capacity

One other important trait is how much can the toolbox carry? This question is answered by the determination of two aspects: the material and the design of the box. The weight limit of toolboxes can vary from 5 kg to 50 kg, so go with what best suits your needs.

You need to determine what kind of tools you’re going to store before heading to the store to get your toolbox. There’s a world of difference between a tool organizer in which you can store a Tile Saw or cordless circular saw and one that can barely hold a Chainsaw Mill, screwdriver, or Circular Saw Blade.

Storage Needs

The necessity for a toolbox may stem from individuals of different fields of expertise. This difference means that no two people would necessarily use the box in the same way or house the same equipment in it.

A carpenter wouldn’t use the box similarly to how a mechanic would. An ordinary homeowner won’t need much space to carry around his basic tools, unlike a professional who has a whole garage full of different equipment.

Your needs will dictate what you need out of a toolbox and ultimately which one you should get for yourself.

Other Considerations

Besides the above factors that you need to consider, there are some questions that you need to ask yourself before picking the best toolbox for your garage.

How many tools that need housing do you own, and how many will you purchase in the near future?

Think about the long-term changes that will happen to your set of tools to have an idea of which kind of toolbox you’ll need.

Where are you going to store your tool box?

You’ll need to know the exact measurements of the location before you make the purchase, so you don’t end up with a large box with no place to go. That happened to me in the past. Believe me, it ain’t pretty. I had to give up a tool box that I really liked all because I didn’t find a place for it beforehand.

Let’s say you can only get one. It’s either the tool chest or the roller cabinet. If you have spare room on the workbench, go with the tool chest. If you’ve got space on the floor, we’d recommend the roller cabinet.

What do you use more; power tools or hand tools?

If you’re more of a hand tool person, go with a box with numerous shallow drawers instead of one that has a few deeper drawers. You might think you’re getting more space, but the truth is, most hand tools won’t take up much space in the first place because of how small they are. The more drawers you have, the more organized you can be.

On the other hand, if you use power tools more often, we recommend getting a tool box that has deep drawers. We all know how much room power tools take.

Choosing the Best Tool Box – Frequently Asked Questions

You’re getting closer and closer to determining what works for you. But before you take your final decision, here are a few things to take into consideration and some questions that you should ask yourself:

What Is the Best Tool Box Brand?

In a world where power tools and their accessories come in every size and shape, it’s important to choose reliable brands from which you can get all your equipment. Just like other departments, there isn’t really a “best tool box brand” when it comes to storage options. It all boils down to your needs and preferences.

For me, the best tool box brand is Stanley, but that’s only my personal opinion after years of working with a variety of tools coming from different manufacturers.

So, which is the best tool box brand? Here are my recommendations (no particular order here):

  • Stanley
  • DeWalt
  • Husky
  • Kobalt
  • Strap-On
  • Homak
  • Extreme Tools
  • Us General
  • Montezuma
  • International Tools

There are other quality manufacturers that qualify for the title of the best tool box brand of course. If you use a different brand, feel free to mention it in the comments. I’m always open to trying new things.

Verdict

At the end of the day, the most important thing I can insist on is getting the highest quality that you can afford. Having the best tool box, made of premium-quality material will ensure a better work experience for yourself. You will get things done faster, and you’ll enjoy it more. It’s an investment that returns its benefits immediately, and you won’t regret putting your time and money into it.

Now, it’s your turn to share your opinions. How do you go about storing your tools? Which is the best tool box for you?

Resources:

  • https://www.quora.com/What-is-a-toolbox
  • https://www.familyhandyman.com/tools/tool-storage/how-to-build-a-stand-up-tool-caddy
  • https://www.familyhandyman.com/workshop/saturday-morning-workshop
  • Our own experience