Durable with a weight capacity of 44 lbs
Stores both corded and cordless essential tools
Built with heavy-duty side latches and metal hinges for safe stacking
Offers a large volume capacity for high tools storage
Includes a removable interior tray for easy access to tools
Whether you are a handyman or a journeyman you need a way to transport tools and peripherals to and from the job that is convenient and reliable. In other words you need a tool box. Finding just the right tool box to fit your particular needs is important, but with so many sizes and styles available today it can be a daunting task. That’s where we come in. We’ve selected the 10 best tool boxes around and present them here for your consideration; starting now.
The Best Tool Box
The DEWALT DWST17806 Deep Box doesn’t mess around on any front. It’s built like Fort Knox with enough internal space to accommodate all your basic tools along with a full complement of related items, like wood glue etc. This is not a small tool box. It’s 17.6″ long by 11.75″ wide and 11.7″ high. It will hold up to 44 pounds of your most important equipment without buckling, cracking or twisting. This is a deep, rugged, durable box and it’s our pick for the Best tool box of 2018. And if you need a lighter version, check out our top tool bags review.
Nearly 4 gallons of storage space for power tools
Rust resistant metal latches
44 pound capacity
Weight 5.86 pounds
- Weight5.86 pounds
One of the few portable boxes that accommodates several power tools.
It can get heavy but it never feels unwieldy.
The removable inner tray clears even more space for power tools.
It is plastic so security is going to be an issue.
Unlike most other companies that make tool boxes Keter does not also make power tools. Or any kind of tools for that matter. But they do make boxes. And the Masterloader is a serious box for serious jobs where you need to bring along everything but the kitchen sink. There are nearly 3,000 cubic inches of storage inside, the wheels are large and strong and the box rolls along with surprising ease, even when fully loaded. Two halves of the lid slide apart for easy access and the handle retracts to stay out of your way. If you are a real handyman, make sure you also check out cordless drills review.
66 pounds of storage capacity
Opposable lid bins slide open
Weight 15 pounds
- Weight15 pounds
Easy to move around for such a large tool box.
The high capacity well accommodates all your essential tools.
Central locking mechanism is convenient and reliable.
There might be too many removable bins
Stanley has hit the nail on the head with their 28 inch Structural Foam tool box. This is one of the few truly waterproof boxes on the market and also happens to be one of the most thoughtfully designed and beautifully executed. There is plenty of room for all your basic hand tools along with a power drill or two and perhaps a circular saw if you arranged things just right. It can get heavy but your gear isn’t going to be swimming inside the box if it gets caught in the rain. Be sure to also check out our list of the best aprons for men for more great items like this.
Fabricated from structural foam polymer
Full sized metal latches
Watertight seal around the lid
Weight 10.2 pounds
- Weight10.2 pounds
Provides real protection in the rain
Can be carried via the top or side handles
An excellent all around large tool chest at a fair price
The box strains a bit under a full load.
The BTST19802 is a modular rolling workshop-style unit that resembles nothing short of a trash bin when it’s all put together but is anything but trashy. The top portion of the 19802 pops off and can be used as a stand-alone tool box for those days you don’t need to bring the whole shop with you. And when it’s combined with the bottom you get a total of 10 gallons of useable storage space for up to 70 pounds of equipment. It can even fit an electric chainsaw!
Modular design for optimal flexibility
70 pound load capacity
Robust 7 inch wheels
Weight 18.85 pounds
- Weight18.85 pounds
All the capacity of a rolling tool trolley but easier to maneuver.
The modular design means you don’t have to buy a separate tool box.
A fraction of the cost of other similar items.
Handle can stick sometimes.
The Stalwart Mobile Workshop and tool box is comprised of 2 cases capable of stacking and rolling as a single unit. The bottom case is a bit deeper than the top, presumably to accommodate a plethora of power tools. There’s a pair of removable trays, plenty of exterior hooks for extension cords and the like and a removable cubby drawer on the front for your screws, washers, drill bits and more. The pull handle is large and comfortable and there’s also a topside handle for carrying the upper portion as a standard tool box. Be sure to also check out our list of the rolling tool boxes for more great items like this.
Removable top storage
Exterior hooks for cables and more
Removable front box with 14 cubbies
Weight 17 pounds
- Weight11.05 pounds
Plenty of storage between the two sections for all your tools.
The top separates easily and makes a high quality portable tool box.
A total of 2 dozen storage compartments.
The Waterloo Portable Series Tool Box is a lightweight tool box designed for a few simple tools and necessary peripherals. Its ultra-compact size means it won’t find a lot of favor on construction sites. Still, it’s great for do-it-yourselfers and handymen who don’t need to bring along more than a couple of screwdrivers and torque wrenches, a pair of pliers a hammer, some duct tape and so forth. If you need something just a bit larger the Waterloo is available in 5 different sizes ranging up to 26 inches.
Removable inner tray
Durable comfort-grip handle
Flush top for stacking
Weight 2 pounds
- Weight2 pounds
The removable tray opens up enough space for a couple of power tools.
Good to see a real locking metal latch for a change.
Can be stored away pretty much anywhere when not in use.
Don’t expect it to accommodate all your tools.
Plano refers to this as a “storage case” and we won’t argue with that description. The fact that the lid is not on hinges but is clamped down at either end is the first indication that something is up. Still, if you can get past the lid you’re going to find plenty to like in the 823-003. There’s a pair of removable inner trays, a large comfortable handle, enough room for a power drill, cord and peripherals as well as a most agreeable price point. Our handy guide to the best tool backpacks features more great products like this.
1 deep and 1 shallow removable tray
2 lift out hardware trays on the lid
Weight 9.35 pounds
- BrandPlano Molding
- Weight9.35 pounds
A well-built budget tool organizer.
Some obvious thought was brought to bear on the organization.
The unconventional lid takes some getting used to.
MILWAUKEE 26 inch Jobsite is a rugged, handsome, practical and well-considered box for power tools and peripherals that is not quite a tool box but not quite a storage unit either. Although it could easily pass for both. While there is a robust, comfortable handle up top, the box is too large to be toted around like a standard tool box when it’s full. But if you don’t mind carrying it by the end handles it’s nothing short of an ideal power tool transporter with a removable tray for screwdrivers, drill bits and the like. Don’t forget to also check out our best tool belts guide for more great items like this.
Pass through side handles
Impact resistant construction
Weatherproof seal around the lid
Weight 8.68 pounds
- Weight8.68 pounds
The pass through side handles make carrying easy.
Plenty of room for your Sawzall or other large tool.
Well thought out storage slots.
Pretty easy to pry open.
The Keter Classic is what most people will think of when they think of a classic tool box, expect perhaps that it’s plastic instead of metal. It’s got the stout, sturdy profile of a classic box and enough room inside for a power drill, power cord, a few hand or pocket tools and some peripherals like screws, drill bits, nails, wire nuts and more. It’s not so big that it can ever become unwieldy and the large, comfortable handle makes it painless to carry in all conditions.
Dual lid compartments for peripherals
Removable interior tray
Polypropylene resin body
Weight 3.9 pounds
- Weight3.9 pounds
Compact and durable tool organizer.
Perfect for transporting peripherals and small tools.
The metal lid stopper is a nice touch.
Anything in the lid compartments is going to get wet if it rains
The OEMTOOLS 19” tool box is another classic style lightweight tool box with a compact profile but plenty of well-considered drawers, trays and storage cubbies. The main interior tray is easily removed to accommodate a couple of modest sized power tools while the built in lid organizers let you bring along all the screws, nuts, bolts, washers and drill bits you like. With a maximum capacity of 40 pounds this is a pocket sized dynamo that will do any handyman or DIYer proud.
Robust metal latches
Removable inner tray
Electric lime green lid for easy identification
Weight 3.75 pounds
- Weight3.75 pounds
A great looking little tool chest with a forget-me-not lid.
Has its priorities straight with peripherals up top and inside reserved for larger items.
Removable inner tray allows you even more space for tools.
The clamps don’t seem all that durable.
Tool Box Buyer’s Guide
How We Chose Our Selection of Tool Boxes
We chose the tool boxes for this list by examining the physical characteristics of each box, the materials it is made from and its feature set. We then combined our findings with information gathered from the people who actually use tool boxes. That information fell into 4 categories:
- Quality - How does the box hold up under duress? How comfortable is it to carry? Does it feel fragile? Do the latches hold fast or pop open? These are some of the questions we sought answers to in order to discern a general level of overall quality for each box.
- Brand - When tradespeople find a brand that works they tend to stick with it. This is both good and bad. It’s good in that it promotes the long term success of companies that produce quality products, but it’s not so great because it can prevent worthy new products from breaking through to widespread acceptance. So the brand of a particular tool box was a secondary concern to us.
- Price - Although there are exceptions to every rule you pretty much get what you pay for when it comes to tool boxes. That truism however, did not prevent us from considering any tool box at any price point that seemed as though it was/is a value winner.
- Reviews - We never give too much weight to customer reviews, simply because it’s impossible to know who is actually behind them. We’d rather draw our own conclusions. When we do sift through customer reviews we’re primarily looking for trends or things we might have missed rather than the number of stars or particularly scathing or glowing comments.
Features To Look For In Tool Boxes
- Size - Unless you have a compelling reason to believe you’re never going to carry much in the way of tools you’ll typically want to get a slightly larger tool box than you think is necessary. This way you’re prepared for any eventuality.
- Storage Capacity/Weight - The storage capacity you need is determined by how many tools you typically use in the normal performance of your duties. If you typically need lots of tools you’ll want to consider a rolling tool box because any portable box will likely be too heavy to carry around.
- Material - In the days of yore craftsmen had elaborately designed wooden tool boxes. In the 20th century those gave way to steel, which was easier and cheaper to mass produce. In the 21st century the majority of tool boxes sold are some form of plastic or plastic composite. Plastic has some distinct advantages over steel in that it’s lighter, lends itself to a wider variety of designs and colors and costs less to make.
- Construction - Manufacturers can try and buttress their plastic tool box with all the nifty interior support ribs they want but it’s still not going to be as tough as a steel box. That’s not to say today’s plastic tool boxes are pushovers. They’re not. But generally the larger the portable plastic box the more you’re going to come face to face with the material’s practical limits.
- Durability - To some people durable means the ability to withstand heavy shocks and resist break ins. Which would make steel the most durable. While to others durability is tied to potential longevity. In which case plastic would be the most durable because your plastic tool box will likely still be around at the dawn of the next ice age.
- Compartments - Because a tool box is not just used to transport tools you’re going to want yours to have as many compartments, drawers, trays and cubbies as possible. While there are some folks for whom “organization” is a kind of 4-letter word, for most of us the more options we have when it comes to arranging our materials the easier it is to do our job. And that’s true whether we’re talking about briefcases or tool boxes.
- Design - Tool boxes are a classic case of form following function. Portable tool boxes are going to be small(ish) by definition. Otherwise they won’t be very portable. Mobile workshops, however can get very large indeed. Many, especially the plastic ones, are also designed to be modular so that you can take only the components you need on a given day.
- Locking mechanism - Many portable tool boxes are made of plastic and even if this type of box accommodates a padlock breaking into it is a relative piece of cake. Security becomes an even bigger concern when you get into the realm of the rolling workstation. The sheer volume of tools you can store in such a box makes it both convenient and an obvious target for thieves. As such you’ll need to prioritize security features such as locking mechanisms.
- Waterproofness - Plastic tool boxes are never going to succumb to the elements but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily waterproof. Leave the average plastic tool box out in the rain and when you open those storage trays on the lid they’re going to be full of water. If you work outside a lot and water is an issue you should go with a tool box that is designed to be truly waterproof like the MILWAUKEE 26 inch Jobsite Work Box.
- Portability - If you need to take certain tools with you wherever you go your tool box should be big enough to store those essential tools but small enough to be carried easily. If you regularly take lots of tools with you you’ll need a rolling tool box like the Keter Masterloader.
- Features - Thanks to the digital and LED revolutions everything is being pimped out these days, including tool boxes. Some of the newest ones have built in lights inside while others have portable charging stations. The best tool boxes, whether portable or rolling workstations, have lots of interchangeable and removable drawers, trays and other storage features.
Types of Tool Boxes:
- Hand Carry - A hand carry tool box is what most people are referring to when they say “portable tool box”. This is the classic rectangular box with the handle on the lid that’s about a foot and a half long. Today, most hand carry tool boxes are made of plastic because it’s lighter and cheaper than metal or composites. Typically a hand carry tool box will have a shelf or tray inside that holds peripherals and can be removed to make way for a large power tool.
- Rolling - Today’s rolling tool boxes are available in an array of configurations and sizes. They may be largely horizontal 2 wheel boxes that resemble coolers or they may be enormous upright boxes - also with 2 wheels - that resemble trash bins. Then there are the more traditional rolling boxes that have 4 wheels and multiple shelves to hold all types of screws, washers, nut, bolts and other peripherals, as well as a large compartment to store multiple power tools and cords.
Tool Box FAQs
Q: Why Do You Need A Tool Box?
A: It doesn’t take long for novice tradespeople to discover the answer to this question. You need a tool box because you simply cannot do your job without one. Whether you are a carpenter, electrician, plumber, house painter or just a dedicated DIYer you need to be able to bring at least a minimal complement of tools with you to the jobsite and carrying them individually by hand is just not going to work. To a tradesman a tool box is every bit as essential as the briefcase is to the high powered attorney or investment banker. It’s how you transport the tools that allow you to do your job.
Q: Plastic or Metal Tool Box?
A: While tool boxes are available in a number of different materials the vast majority these days are either metal or plastic, with metal steadily losing market share even as you read this. The virtues of the metal tool box are almost entirely functional as there is no denying it’s going to be able to withstand the rigors of the jobsite to a greater degree than a plastic tool box. On the other hand, if you are willing to be a little more careful in how you handle your tool box, plastic has a lot to offer. Including the fact that it’s lighter, it’s not going to rust, it’s available in a wider variety of styles and colors and it’s more affordable.