For some, shopping around for tool boxes can be just as exciting as buying a new set of tools. How you store your tools is important, since tools that are not cared for and stored properly can rust or corrode when exposed to the elements. The best tool box will include a variety of storage options that are designed to keep your tools readily accessible and protected. This buyer’s guide that I’ve created includes valuable information that will help you choose the perfect model based on the type of tools you have and your storage and portability needs. I’ve also tested out several of the best-selling tool boxes on the market, narrowing it down to seven models that every handyman, DIYer, or pro will love.
Below, you’ll notice a comparison chart, which includes each of the models that made it onto my list, important spec information, and how each model rated.
Tool Box Comparison Chart
Top Pick-CRAFTSMAN 1000 Tool Box
This Craftsman tool box is one of my top picks for several reasons. It’s made out of 20 to 24 gauge steel, complete with a ball-bearing, full extension drawer design. The internal lock will protect your tools, while the hinged cover keeps the lid open safely and ready for use.
The side handles are recessed and are designed to make lifting the tool box easier. This tool chest has a total of five drawers and is perfect for use around the home, or for the professional handyman, contractor, or mechanic.
- Recessed side handles
- Plenty of tool storage
- Drawers are tough enough to hold 50 pounds of tools
- Can hold and organize large and small tools
- Perfect investment for the pro
- Lock isn’t very durable
The tool chest’s shallow drawers are perfect for storing and organizing all your hand tools, so they’re easily accessible. Thanks to the ball-bearing drawer design, each drawer rolls smoothly and can hold up to fifty pounds of tools. This is one of the best tool chests for both home and professional use and one that’s built tough and designed to last.
Best Rolling Tool Box-Beyond by BLACK+DECKER Tool Chest
This Black and Decker model comes with three drawers, each of which has a 30 pound weight capacity. For ultimate security, it comes with a keyed locking system that allows you to lock up your tools. This rolling chest comes with swivel casters, which are designed to roll smoothly, for easier transport. The tool chest’s loading rate comes in at 300 pounds, offering up to 10,000 cubic inches of storage for hand tools and large power tools. The toolbox is big enough and tough enough for home or pro use and includes plenty of storage space for a variety of organization options.
- Steel construction
- Keyed lock
- Heavy duty design
- Swiveling caster wheels
- 300 pound loading rate
- Only two of the wheels are swiveling caster wheels
This model by Black and Decker is made out of steel, includes tough swiveling caster wheels that make it easy to move a fully loaded tool chest, and comes with all the organization options you need to store tools in one of the best tool storage solutions on the market.
Best Portable Tool Box-TANKSTORM Portable Steel Tool Chest
This portable tool box is made out of rolled steel, with a powder coating finish that makes the tool box rust resistant. This model includes a top tray that’s designed for wider tools, and four drawers that you can use to organize hand tools and smaller power tools. The ball bearing slides allow the drawers to open and close smoothly.
The lid features a full-length piano hinge that will keep the lid open or securely closed. For easier carry and transport, the tool box comes equipped with a comfortable top handle.
- Plenty of small hand tool storage
- Heavy duty design
- Rust resistant
- Low price
- Hinges are very flimsy
This highly portable, feature packed carry tool box includes plenty of storage options, including a removable tray and four drawers, so you can neatly organize all of your tools and supplies, so they’re always readily accessible. This is the best tool chest for any buyer in search of a model that’s highly portable and easy to carry and transport. Of course, even the best tool box does have its limitations in terms of the size of tools it can accommodate, but if portability is a priority, then this tool box is a smart buy.
Most Durable-Milwaukee Electric Tool Box
This Milwaukee tool box is versatile and durable. The Milwaukee tool box is made out of polymers that are impact resistant, with corners that are reinforced with metal. This tool box is compatible with other models of Packout tool boxes by Milwaukee and can be stacked via locking cleats. This particular model has a 100 pound weight capacity and comes with an IP65 rated weather seal that will protect your tools from moisture. The tool box also comes with an organizer trays that will keep smaller tools and parts safe and secure, and neatly organized.
- Compatible with Packout tool boxes
- IP65 rated weather protection
- 100 pound weight capacity
- Made out of impact resistant polymers
- Heavy duty
- Can be difficult to latch
This tool box by Milwaukee is perfect for on the go or home use. This model is compatible with the Packout rolling tool box by Milwaukee and offers plenty of storage options. The modular storage options will allow you to build your own custom storage system, should you decide to expand and purchase additional Packout models.
Best Budget Buy-Keter – 241008 Masterloader Resin Rolling Tool Box
This rolling tool box by Keter is made out of durable plastic resin that’s designed for all types of weather conditions. The tool box itself has a 66 pound weight capacity, so you can bring along all the tools you need to get the job done. The weather-resistant construction will prevent the tool box from peeling, corroding, and rusting. This model comes equipped with a central locking mechanism, which will protect your tools from theft and keep them safe and secure during transport. This tool box also comes with an extendable handle for easier transport. If you’re in need of a durable toolbox for your next work or home project, this model offers the right amount of storage for both large and small tools.
- Includes storage boxes
- Plenty of tool storage options
- Rust resistant
- Rubber wheels makes it easy to transport
- Deep bottom drawers
- Resin construction
- Auto lock mechanism breaks easily
This heavy duty tool box comes with thick rubber wheels that make it easy to transport and maneuver this tough tool box, even when it’s filled to capacity. It also comes with 6 removable bins in 2 different sizes, so you can organize hardware, parts, and small tools. The bottom drawer divider offers the type of deep storage space you need for larger tools and other types of bulky equipment. This tool box is perfect for home or commercial use.
Best Tool Box Cabinet-CRAFTSMAN Workbench Tool Chest
If you’re looking for tool cabinets that can hold all the gear you need for bigger jobs, then you’ll love this latest model by Craftsman, which includes several storage compartments and organization options. These rolling tool chests feature 6 drawers with a 100 pound capacity ball bearing drawers, complete with soft close latching and 18-20 gauge double wall i-frame design. The work surface is made out of wood that measures in at ⅔ of an inch thick. The deep drawers can be used for large power tools or tool cases. This model also comes with a drawer tray set and drawer liners.
- 100 pound drawer capacity
- Butcher block work surface
- Deep drawers
- Can store a large tool collection
- Bottom drawer doesn’t close properly
Craftsman is a brand most people are familiar with. It’s also a company that has a reputation for producing some of the best tool chests on the market. Their latest line of tool chests are already creating a buzz for their variety of storage options and durable design.
This stainless steel best seller by Craftsman works as a mobile workbench and tool chest, complete with thick caster wheels. The solid butcher block work surface can handle plenty of wear and tear. If you’re looking for a mobile work station and tool chest for home or commercial use, this is the best tool chest for the job.
Best Tool Bag-Husky GP-43196N13 Contractor’s Rolling Tool Tote Bag
This rolling tool bag by Husky is the best choice for on the go use and one of my top picks if you’re looking for tool boxes that are highly portable. This model is the perfect size for smaller projects and can store tools, protect them from the elements, and makes it easy to transport all your gear from job site to job site. This Husky tool bag also comes equipped with a telescoping handle that’s balanced perfectly over a couple of wheels located on the rear. The thick carry handles feature cross stitching for improved durability, while a couple of exterior loops will keep your gear organized. In total, the bag comes with eighteen pockets, 11 of which are on the exterior, with 7 located inside the bag.
- Perfect size for smaller projects
- Best organization options
- Loaded with pockets
- Reinforced bottom
- Low price
- Handle is difficult to extend, especially in cold temperatures
This Husky tool bag is big enough to hold all the tools and gear you need when you’re traveling from job site to job site. The bag’s tool storage, internal and external pockets, will keep your tools protected and well-organized. The bottom of the bag is reinforced and made from 600D polyester, which will work well to protect your tools from damage, while keeping them dry. If you’re looking for a durable bag for on the go use, one that’s loaded with pockets to neatly organize your tools, then hit that buy now button.
Tool Box Buyer’s Guide
With so many different products to choose from, finding the right model for your home storage or work needs can be overwhelming. I’ve simplified the process of shopping for the top products by putting together a buyer’s guide that takes into account the different types of tool boxes available, the features to look for, and why storing your tools in a dedicated tool box is so important.
Types of Tool Boxes
Below, I’ll go over the different types of tool boxes you can choose from and the pros and cons for each style, so you’ll be sure to find the best tool box for work, home use, and more.
This is the most common type of tool chest. Portable, easy to transport, and designed to protect all of your best tools and keep them organized, these tool boxes are perfect for both home and work use. Steel or plastic carry style tool boxes come equipped with a handle that folds down on the top for easy transport. Look for a model that comes with a removable tray, which will help separate and organize small items such as safety eyewear, levels, measuring tapes, nails, bolts, and more. Don’t buy a model that doesn’t come with a tray since you can easily lose all of your smaller tools and parts without one. The less you have to dig through your tool box to find something, the faster you can complete a job.
Rolling Tool Box
A rolling tool box is the best choice if you’re looking for something that is much larger than a carry style tool box. They’re also a great choice if you need to transport and protect all of your larger hand tools and some power tools. They work on the same principle as a rolling suitcase. They come equipped with a couple of wheels and a handle so you can easily roll and guide the tool box to the next destination.
However, this type of larger tool box can be overkill for someone who has a small set of tools with no plans of purchasing more. If you only have the basic hand tools, for small jobs around the home, then you’ll be better off sticking to a carry style tool box.
A tool cabinet and chest combo is what you’ll often find in the garage of the serious DIYer or mechanic. The best combo tool box offers a higher capacity and more organization options, so you can stow basic tools, carving tools, and woodworking tools with each other, in separate compartments. These multi-drawer, metal, larger boxes may not be portable, but they offer the type of mind blowing storage and organization options that many buyers are looking for.
Top Box/Tool Chest
This is another type of multi-drawer storage cabinet. It comes with a hinged lid and can be used alone or you can place it on top of a roller cabinet. These chests don’t come equipped with wheels and are not designed to be placed on the floor. Instead, they sit at waist height. When used alone, they should be placed on a workbench or on top of a sturdy table.
A truck-mounted tool box is usually the type you’ll find contractors and construction workers using. The best truck-mounted tool boxes will help you transport your tools from job site to job site. This type of toolbox often comes with top of the line weather protection, and offers plenty of security and storage.
Bucket tool boxes are a great way for the homeowner or DIYer to transport their tools around the home or yard. These buckets are very light and come loaded with some great organization options including loops and slots designed for specific tools. These buckets may mimic the shape of a classic carry tool box, complete with an open tray design and top handle, or they’ll look just like a large bucket with a carry strap and loops and slots placed around its exterior.
These bags look like a combination of a tool box and tote bag and they can be the best choice for on the go use or when you’re taking care of a small project at home. They have a zippered closure and can come with trays, dividers, and compartments for storing and organizing your tools. They’re a great choice for on the go use, but they obviously cannot provide the same level of protection that a steel or plastic tool box can. If portability is a priority, a tool bag should be one of your top picks.
Other Important Features
Below, I’ll go over the different features you’ll come across that can help you narrow down your choices and find a tool box that meets your space, storage, and organization needs.
How much storage do you need currently? Do you plan on continuing to purchase new tools later down the line? Do you want to store your power and hand tools with each other? If so, then keep this in mind when you’re shopping for a tool box that’s large enough to store and organize all of your tools. It’s always best to purchase a tool box that offers more storage than what you currently need, so you won’t have to purchase an additional tool box once you buy more tools.
Most buyers will go for tool boxes that are equipped with deep drawers. Deep drawers tend to give the impression that they can hold a ton of gear and tools. However, most types of hand tools don’t take up much space and can easily get lost in a bigger drawer. Because of this, I recommend buying a tool box that comes equipped with a variety of shallow drawers, as opposed to a tool box that has a few deep drawers. The more drawers a tool box has, the more organized you’ll be. You don’t want to have to dig through drawer after drawer to look for the tool you need.
A model’s actual storage capacity will be important. The size you choose should be based on what types of tools you need to store, how many, and even project size. If you want to store your regular hand tools alongside your power tools, then you will need a larger tool box with several compartments designed to fit regular hand tools, with a deep drawer or two that can store and protect your expensive power tools.
Durability is another important factor. The best tool chest will be made out of durable materials that are scratch proof and rust-resistant. The box you buy should be waterproof as well, especially if you’re buying a tool box for on the job use.
Is your tool box going to remain in your workshop or garage, or do you need a tool box you can take with you for work? If you’re looking for the best tool box that offers ultimate portability, then search for one that comes equipped with wheels.
You can find tool boxes made from a variety of materials including metal and plastic. Some plastic tool boxes are surprisingly durable and they offer some benefits that a metal tool box does not. With a box made out of plastic, you won’t have to worry about rust or corrosion. Additionally, they won’t scratch easily or dent, like a metal tool box can.
Keep in mind, boxes made out of metal can hold a lot of weight. Aluminum and stainless steel models are expensive and rust-proof. Tool boxes made out of steel are more affordable but can rust if left exposed to the elements.
If you’re looking for that one tool box that can finally help you stay organized, then aside from plenty of drawers, you’ll want a tool box that comes with dividers, trays, and compartments. Many tool boxes that are made out of plastic will come with removable compartments, complete with lids that latch. These compartments can be removed and help to keep small pieces of hardware accounted for. Some models will have removable trays which will hold and store smaller hand tools, while keeping them organized.
Almost all types of larger tools boxes, especially those that are made out of durable steels, will come equipped with wheels. In terms of easy portability and transport, a good set of wheels can make all the difference. Look for a model that’s equipped with ball-bearing style casters. These wheels tend to roll easily as they swivel. Caster wheels will also make it much easier to maneuver and roll your tool box.
Prevent theft by purchasing a model that comes with a locking mechanism. Locks come in a variety of forms and shapes. Some tool boxes will come with a built-in tumbler that locks and unlocks with the use of a ley. Others will have a hasp lock with a padlock.
Heavy-duty plastic resin boxes can protect your tools from the elements. These tool boxes come equipped with sturdy latches and heavy duty seals that clamp down tight to prevent any moisture from making its way inside a tool box. A waterproof box will be especially important if you have woodworkers or carving tools, since the tool box can prevent them from oxidizing.
A good tool box is going to cost you. Every time you come across a feature packed model online, you’ll notice that particular model may not be in your price range. Unfortunately, like with most products on the market, with a tool box, you get what you pay for. While price is one of the main factors that determines which model you’ll order, it shouldn’t be the only factor. If you want a top tool box, plan on investing in the best. You can find models ranging in price starting at $30, all the way up to $1000. If you’re in search of the right model for work, the price may seem steep, but in the end, a top of the line tool chest is going to last you several years, so it’s definitely worth the higher price tag.
With qualifying purchases, you can have tool chests repaired or replaced if they’re found to be defective or they don’t stand up to some of the manufacturer’s claims. Some models will come with a 12-month warranty, while higher-end models may come with 10 to 20 year product warranties.
Check Out Tool Chest Reviews
Even the best tool boxes can have some serious problems when they’re put to the test and while some may earn a 5-star rating, you’ll end up finding out the hard way that you were better off investing in a higher priced model. Reading tool chest reviews can give you a better idea of how a specific model responds to certain weather conditions and environments. For example, popular brands such as Harbor Freight have run into quality issues with some of their tool boxes, especially those designed for all-weather conditions. Aside from Harbor Freight, other big name brands such as Gearwrench produce some of the best tool boxes, but some of their models have a reputation for denting easily, which would make them a poor choice for commercial use. Reading reviews will give you an unbiased look at how each model performs in different environments and weather conditions, so you can choose the best tool boxes for work, home use, or your next big project.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are Most Tool Boxes Red?
A tool box is one item that is usually painted red purely for safety reasons. The color red is a very noticeable, vivid color that can prevent people from tripping over a tool box, while also making the box easy to spot.
What is the Most Important Tool in a Tool Box?
Hand tools are usually the most important tools. This includes the basics, such as a measuring tape, Allen keys, duct tape, electrical tape, screwdrivers, and hammers.
Why are the Best Tool Chests so Expensive?
The reason tool boxes can be pretty pricey is due to their durability and the type of materials they’re made out of. These boxes are designed to go from place to place, handle being tossed into the back of a truck, and can even be left out in inclement weather, so they have to be built tough. So, if you want a tool box that can handle the job of protecting your tools, be prepared to pay more.
The best tool box will offer the level of protection your tools need to prevent damage, including corrosion, rust, and scratches. However, the type of tool box you choose will heavily depend on your job, where the tool box will be stored, and your organization and portability needs. The models that I’ve included here each earned top marks for their durable design, organization options, and overall quality. With this buyer’s guide and my list of the top products, you should have no trouble finding the perfect tool box that offers the level of protection you need at a price that won’t break the bank.