Top 8 Best Tool Boxes
By | Last updated: May 27, 2020
best tool boxes

It’s a debate for the ages: should one put tools back in their place during a repair? One school of thought says that if you don’t, then they’re at hand and easy to reach. Others argue that the time spent walking back to the bench is well spent since you always know exactly where the tools are sitting. We’ll let you guess which side of the debate this author resides.

It’s an argument not likely to be settled any time soon. What both camps can agree on, however, is the necessity of a good toolbox for all this kit. We’ve selected eight options from Amazon – whether you choose to put your tools back during a job is up to you.

1. Editor's Choice: DEWALT Tool Box, Tough System XL

This one ranks high on our list because it is part of a modular system that can scale anywhere from a home-based DIYer to a professional with an entire van-racking system. This particular XL box measures about one foot by two feet which makes for a wide and deep tool back that will accept almost all your garage-based detritus.

It has a weight capacity of up to 110 pounds, durable structural foam walls, an IP65 rated integrated water seal, and rust-resistant metal latches. As a part of the ToughSystem family, it can be attached to the trolley using the adjustable brackets or stacked with other ToughSystem units using the side latches.

Pros/Fit-together system, keeps out water
Cons/Betcha can't buy just one
Bottom Line/Great by itself or with its friends

2. Big Red Torin 19" Portable Steel Tool Box

As our own Murilee Martin has proved on many occasions, it pays to have a small (and likely beat up) toolbox at the ready for impromptu trips to the junkyard. This ‘hip roof’ style doesn’t refer to its level of cool but instead the barn roof shape of its lid.

This design means you can poke a few extra 10mm sockets and flathead screwdrivers in the removable top shelf without having to bend the lid into a pretzel while closing it. Don’t expect any fancy compartments or waterproofing here; this is strictly a rugged and affordable toolbox to grab on your way out the door. Sounds good to us.

Pros/Great price, ideal size
Cons/The removable shelf is plastic
Bottom Line/Don't worry about knocking this one around

3. COU 5-Drawer Rolling Tool Chest

Hey, you might not be an ASE Certified mechanic but with a tall toolbox on rollers you can definitely pretend you are one. It’s tough to beat this particular unit, with five drawers and a pair of locker cabinets for less than 200 bucks.

It is available in three colors – black, red, and orange – and stands just under four feet tall when fully assembled. The works of it weigh about 40 pounds, meaning you’ll be grateful for those stout castor wheels when the time comes to move this thing about the garage.

Pros/Plenty of storage capacity, looks good
Cons/Just a single review
Bottom Line/Quickly upgrade your workspace

4. Milwaukee 22 in. Packout Rolling Modular Tool Box

Similar to the DEWALT boxes shown above, these units from Milwaukee are sanitized stackable for your convenience. The various sellers on Amazon all promote these boxes as being weather sealed and designed for use in harsh job-site conditions. Your spic-n-span garage should be just fine, then.

Ample real-world pictures from customers show a sturdy toolbox system with plenty of storage cubbies for small items. The extending handle and twin roller wheels remind your author of a carry-on suitcase that, while on brand, would probably not be welcome in an overhead bin.

Pros/Stellar ratings, excellent feedback
Bottom Line/You get what you pay for

5. McGuire-Nicholas 22015 15-Inch Collapsible Tote

Believe it or not, there is a subsection of gearheads who may not have enough free space to dedicate to a toolbox. Yeah, I know. For these folks, a collapsible tote might be just the answer. This one has more than a dozen exterior pockets and a bunch of webbed loops inside the main compartment to keep all your kit in one place.

Made of soft material and framed by tubular steel, its interior dimensions are about 6 inches wide and just over a foot long. In addition to holding tools, customers say they’ve used it for carting around cleaning products and few drinks (just don’t get those two mixed up, okay?).

Pros/Consumes a small footprint when folded
Cons/No shoulder strap
Bottom Line/A handheld tool belt

6. Step N Store Step Stool Tool Box

Leaving easy jokes about the vertically challenged aside, it never hurts to have a step stool on hand, particularly if your garage has a 9ft+ ceiling (many of them do). Instead of wasting the empty space underneath the step stool, certain bright minds decided to build a toolbox right into the base of the thing.

Measuring about 9 inches deep and tall with a 14-inch width, this neat solution is capable of holding a decent number of hand tools. Its drawbolt latch is pretty standard and should keep the thing closed and tools contained if it gets tipped over. The included removable basket can help prevent smaller items from getting lost in the mire.

Pros/Innovative design, two-in-one product
Cons/Not the best in terms of portability
Bottom Line/Stand on it!

7. Ganchun 18-inch Toolbox

Here’s a basic plastic tool box with almost no metal parts at all. You can decide for yourself if this is a good thing or not (at least it won’t rust). Two see-through cubbies atop the lid permit easy access to stuff like nuts and bolts.

Customers report that it’s construction is robust enough to handle not-insignificant amounts of weight, including the likes of a cordless drill and its battery/charger companion. Complaints include carping about the quality of the latches.

Pros/Affordable, generous size
Cons/Concerns about latch quality
Bottom Line/A good starter box

8. Stanley 19-Inch Big Space Metal Tool Box

Wrapping up this list is a robust steel tool box from the Stanley brand. Single handed latch operation means you can open the lid with your head still stuffed in the wheel well of your knackered SBC-swapped Jeep CJ. That’s a strangely specific example. Anyway.

While not technically part of an official box system, it is apparently stackable with other tool boxes of the same type. On the inside, it measures a generous 18 inches wide and 9 inches deep. Customers also remarked on the stout handle.

Pros/Robust steel construction, known brand
Cons/More expensive than some
Bottom Line/Get it and stop leaving a mess about

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: Studio 72 / Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

8 Comments on “Organize This: Best Tool Boxes...”

  • avatar

    If you don’t have a garage then the bigger wheeled boxes are no use.
    I keep tools in a small workshop and load what I need into a tote similar to the one you show.

  • avatar

    Without strict organization you will waste a year of your life just looking for the right tool. And your car keys. And your glasses. Or you’ll buy the same tool twice (or three times) because you can’t find the first one (or the first replacement) when you need it.

  • avatar

    The wood one my father made in High School sometime in the late 1930`s. It is still solid and perfectly laid out.

  • avatar

    I like all these but prefer a portable bench top chest like the one that comes with the WORKPRO Tool Set with 3-Drawer Heavy Duty Metal Box. I don’t need any more tools, just the chest.

  • avatar

    I know this isn’t a sponsor’s product, but I clicked on a few of the links, so it makes up for it, right?

    I wanted to say that Sears sells very nice portable plastic tool boxes. They are flat so they fit well inside a vehicle, such as under a seat. They are really inexpensive and come in 12″, 17″, and 22″ sizes. Get them while you can.

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