Tech

Best tool box for 2021


The humble tool box. It’s not sexy, it’s not fun and it’s nothing to dream about at night, but this simple tool-toting bin is indispensable when it’s time to get work done. Imagine trying to do things around the house or help a friend put a new alternator in their car without one of these portable tool storage crates. Your sockets would be spilled everywhere, wrenches would be mixed in with screwdrivers, pliers with hammers. It’d be pandemonium, and an inefficient way to work. 

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Keeping things relatively neat and conglomerated, tool boxes make life easier. They allow you to carry a range of tools or other instruments all at once from your garage, while keeping them organized and shielded from both prying eyes and the elements. They’re also far better than putting your tools in a grocery bag or tossing them in your spouse’s rollaboard luggage. Seriously, don’t do that. 

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There’s a huge range of different tool boxes out there, ones for light-duty DIY and others for professional mechanics, there are tool boxes with drawers and others that have pop-up trays for small parts, some tool boxes even have wheels or casters for easier toting. There’s a tool box for nearly every budget, too. Some cost just a few dollars and others cost hundreds. No matter what your needs are, there’s a tool box for you, and I’ve rounded up the best in the business. The following recommendations are based user reviews and real-world experience.

DeWalt

Looking for a tool box that can do it all? This DeWalt is worth your consideration as a tool-storage solution. It measures 17.3 by 12.7 by 13.3 inches and clocks in at less than 7 pounds, so it’s not heavy or bulky. It’s made of robust plastic for durability, features rust-resistant latches and comes with a full-length handle for easy, comfortable carrying.

But what do customers think? Well, they have a lot of positive things to say. “I love this toolbox!” exclaimed James W. Anderson in his review. “From the compartments in the lid, to the heavy-duty tray, to the deep well in the bottom, this thing has plenty of storage! I think DeWalt has elevated the tool box to an art form with the TSTAK system.” Many other reviews sing the praises of this tool-storage bin, which has a 4.7-star rating after — and I hope you’re sitting down — more than 18,000 reviews. Yeah, this is a good ‘un and priced to sell at just $34.

DeWalt

This beauty, also from DeWalt, is the best basic tool box you can buy. With rugged plastic construction and a price tag of just $22, it’s ready to work. The chunky one-handed grip is ergonomic and the latching lid features an integrated seal to keep dirt and water away from your tools. The top even has an integrated V-groove to help hold pipes or lumber while you’re measuring or cutting. This box is 11.3 inches wide, 23.8 inches long and 11.3 inches tall, making it a convenient size.

Despite its low price, this DeWalt tool box is a crowd-pleaser, having earned a 4.6-star rating after 700 customer reviews. MariamG wrote in their review, “I bought this toolbox about six months ago for my husband and it is holding up great. … We feel it is a fantastic box for the price we paid and is well made.” JeG. has similar feelings. “I bought this case to store several power tools that didn’t come with a plastic carrying case. … It easily accommodated my jigsaw, a Ryobi angle grinder, a DeWalt hammer drill, the handle of the drill and the one for the grinder, a set of masonry drill bits in its case, plus more.”

Homak

This is a nifty piece of engineering. Homak’s cantilevered tool box blends old-school looks (you’ve got to love that brown wrinkle finish on the outside) with plenty of functionality. Inside, there are four integrated shelves that spread out as you open the lid. These are great places to stash smaller items. And of course, down below, the main portion of the box can accept larger tools like hammers or drills (or maybe even hammer drills). Up top, the lid is of a triple-clasp design and is even pad-lockable for extra security. Beyond all that, this tool box features industrial-quality construction, its husky, 21-pound weight means it’s practically built to last generations. As for dimensions, it measures about 10 inches wide by 22 inches long by 13 inches tall.

Thanks to its classic design and rugged construction, users love this tool box and have given it an impressive 4.6-star rating. “This thing is great!” wrote Hugh Janus. “Awesome access to all your tools, no more digging to find what you need. It is pretty heavy, even when empty, but that just shows that it’s sturdy.” This unit ain’t cheap, but it is worth the price, as Rachael commented: “Talk about living up to expectations! I’ve been searching for some time for a good-quality metal toolbox for my husband, but the ones that I’ve found either don’t look like they’d last a year or cost so much that they just aren’t feasible. … I was so very pleased when it arrived and just the weight of the box alone reassured me of the quality of this product.”

Kennedy

At $216, it’s pricey, but if you’re a working professional and want a tool box that’s built so well it’s a family heirloom, consider the Kennedy K20B. With a brown wrinkle finish like the above-mentioned Homak tool chest, this unit exudes old-school cool. It also has heavy-duty latches and hardware, a lift-out tray with a socket divider and the capacity to hold tools that are up to 20 inches long. In short, there’s a lot to get excited about here.

The K20B also has a 20-gauge steel body and is made in the USA, plus it has an astounding 4.9-star rating after more than 110 customer reviews. It doesn’t get better than that, folks. “This is NOT your average big-box store tool box,” wrote W.A. Campbell in a glowing review. “It’s built for heavy use with much sturdier latches and hinges, and the steel in the body of the box is a heck of a lot thicker than the flimsy, throw-away Chinese boxes being sold now under brand names that used to mean quality.” If you want heavy-duty construction, consider this pricey — but lovely — Kennedy tool chest.

Husky

Looking for a portable tool box with drawers for small tools? Seek no further, because this Husky specimen has your name on it. Measuring 20.2- by 8.8- by 11.8-inches, this tool box features three drawers, all of which are supported by ball-bearing slides, which are far smoother and easier to operate than lesser cabinet designs. Above that triad of drawers is an upper storage cubby with a cool cantilevered tray. This unit’s welded-steel construction and power-coated finish means it should last for the long haul.

Some 92% of customers recommend this product, which happens to have a 4.6-star rating after more than 540 reviews. But don’t take our word for it. Backsplash wrote in their assessment, “It’s a nice, sturdy tool box with plenty of storage space and different compartments to keep your tools easily organized.” Rod didn’t mince word words, either, describing this product as “the best small-drawer, portable tool [box] on the market.”

Harbor Freight

This old-school wooden tool box not only looks great, it’s ideal for carrying precision instruments like calipers or micrometers. But it also has no trouble toting more rough-and-tumble tools such as sockets, screwdrivers and wrenches, either. Offered by Harbor Freight, this box features eight felt-lined drawers, a latching top complete with a rubber-covered carrying handle and a locking front to keep people with sitcky fingers out. This tool storage box is 16 inches high, 20 inches long and just shy of 11 inches across. It weighs around 19 pounds, but can support much more than that. All this refinement and utility is available for just $85, which makes this tool chest a great value, but best of all, the steampunk styling comes at no extra charge.

Milwaukee

If you need to tote a ton (no, not literally) of tools, the Milwaukee Packout 22-inch modular tool box storage system is an ideal choice. Not only does this puppy feature three separate latching bins that can accommodate all kinds of tools and sundries, it has an IP65-rated weather seal to keep water and dust out, plus it comes with a pair of 9-inch all-terrain wheels and an extending handle so you can roll your stuff right to where it’s needed. This Milwaukee modular storage system features 6,885 cubic inches of storage space and has a 250-pound weight capacity, so don’t worry about loading ‘er up. Built for years of hard service, this rolling tool chest storage system is constructed of impact-resistant polymers and features metal reinforcements in the corners and locking points. All told, this setup weighs a hefty 46 pounds. Customers love this rolling toolbox, which has a 4.8-star rating after more than 4,000 user reviews.

Stanley

This big boy is practically ready to haul the contents of your entire garage in one move, it’s that lorge as the kids are saying these days. (Or are they saying chonky?) The Stanley 037025H is our favorite big tool box. Fully assembled, this beast measures 34.3 inches long, 20.5 inches wide and 18.9 inches tall and has 50 gallons of capacity. If you ever miss your rent or mortgage payment, you could probably live in this thing without any trouble. Designed to hold a massive amount of tools or camping gear or nearly anything else, this cabinet features wheels and a convenient extendable handle, so you can transport your stuff without throwing your back out, and we’re all for that. Even though it’s huge (lorge?) this tool box is still affordable, priced at just $130; it’s also well-liked by customers, who have given it a 4.6-star rating.

Workpro

This is our pick for the best tool bag you can buy. We’ve included it on this list because sometimes soft-sided tool bags are better than a bulky box. This item is great to stash some tools in to keep in the back of your vehicle for emergency repairs, it’s also ideal for small jobs away from your garage. Throw a few essential items in here and head up onto the roof to tuckpoint your chimney or crawl behind the furnace to fix that problematic power outlet. This small tool bag is softer and easier to carry than larger boxes and it fits in tighter places, too. Loaded with pockets and sporting a durable zipping top, this Workpro tool bag is versatile. It’s also durable, too, made of rugged polyester fabric. Overall, this bag is about 13 inches long, 7 inches wide and 8.5 inches high and costs about $20. And it currently has a 4.7-star rating after thousands of reviews.

OEM Tools

Always on the prowl for the best deal? Well, here you get two tool boxes for the price of one! This set from OEM Tools includes one 19-inch box and a corresponding 12.5-incher. Both have removable trays, are light in weight and feature storage cubbies with transparent covers integrated right into their lids, which are rendered in highlighter green, so you’ll never miss them. Priced at just $40 and with a 4.5-star rating, this tool-box combo is a no-brainer.

MagDurnus

If money is tight and you need a tool box, check out this MagDurnus unit, which costs just $12. Sure, it’s made of plastic and, yeah, it probably isn’t built to withstand the rigors of professional use, but still, the price is so low, it’s hard to argue, plus it’s available in three sizes: 10, 13 and 17 inches. It features a pair of latches to keep the lid firmly in place and has a couple transparent storage cubbies integrated into the lid, which are perfect for stashing small parts. For around-the-house use or to keep a few tools in the trunk of your car, this is pretty much ideal, which makes it our pick for the best no-frills tool box.

Comparison of the best tool boxes for 2021

Tool Box Price Features
Best all-purpose tool box DeWalt TSTAT tool box DWST17814 $34 Sturdy construction, affordably priced, well-liked by customers
Best basic tool box DeWalt One Touch tool box DWST24082 $22 Simple, affordable, highly rated
Best cantilevered tool box Homak Industrial Cantilever steel tool box BW00210220 $158 Unique cantilevered design, rugged construction, fetching looks
Best old-school tool box Kennedy all-purpose tool box K20B $216 Respected brand, top-quality design, built to last generations, old-school looks, highly rated
Best tool box with drawers Husky three-drawer metal portable tool box $60 Ball-bearing drawer slides, three convenient drawers, great price
Best wooden tool box Windsor Design eight-drawer wood tool chest 94538 or 62585 $85 Fetching design, felt-lined drawers, compact size, excellent price
Best rolling tool box Milwaukee Packout modular tool box storage system $229 Stackable design, supports up to 250 pounds, wheels make it convenient, highly rated
Best large tool box Stanley Mobile Chest tool box 037025H $130 Huge capacity, good price, wheels make it convenient
Best tool bag Workpro tool bag W081103A $20 Portable design, low price, positive reviews
Best two-piece tool box set OEM Tools tool box set with removable tool trays 22161 $40 Includes two tool boxes, low price, highly rated
Best no-frills tool box MagDurnus plastic tool Bbox $12 Super-low price, available in various sizes, no-frills design

There’s a tool box for every application and budget.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

How much should I spent on a tool box?

There’s a huge number of tool boxes to choose from, and they’re available at just as many prices. You can spend a fortune on one of these things or just a few bucks, so don’t immediately assume a new tool box is out of your price range.

Which style tool box is the best?

Choose the shape that’s best for you. Some tool boxes have lids right up top, others feature drawers, some even have storage trays that splay out when you open them up. Each of these designs is useful for different applications. Think about what you need before purchasing a tool box.

Are all tool box drawers created equal?

No, they aren’t. If you opt for a tool box with drawers, try to find one with ball-bearing drawer slides. These move far more smoothly and with less effort than examples fitted with cheaper, non-ball-bearing slides.

What other tool carrying options are there besides a bulky tool box?

A tool bag is more appropriate for some jobs than a tool box. If you only need to tote a few things around at a time, or if you frequently work in tight quarters, consider a bag instead of a box.

Are plastic tool boxes strong?

Many tool boxes these days are constructed of plastic, but don’t let this dissuade you from purchasing. Modern polymers can be super durable and lighter than traditional steel; they also don’t conduct electricity. Of course, if you’re lusting after an old-school look or feel, there are plenty of metal tool boxes out there to choose from.

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There are numerous high quality plastic tool boxes on the market.


OEM Tools

There’s a tool box for everyone

Tool boxes are deceptively simple, but once you take a closer look, you realize there’s a lot more to them than meets the eye. There are countless designs, nearly as many price points and plenty of features to consider. All the options highlighted on this list are well liked by customer and worthy of your consideration. Hit the links above to buy a new tool box. You won’t be disappointed. 



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