Tool chests are a great way to organize one’s wide array of tools. Vehicle owners, handymen, DIYers, and any other man worth his salt will have a large tool chest right in his garage or workshop. While a tool box may come in handy for those on-the-go repairs and maintenance, a tool cabinet or tool chest can accommodate a wider array of implements, instruments, gadgets, and hardware that can address various concerns in the home or in one’s business.
Picking the right tool storage solution is, thus critical to ensuring that you have the right tools in a convenient storage while keeping them in pristine condition and operating performance. We’ve got you covered. Here are some of the best tools chests you may want to consider having for your home or your business.
The Best Tool Chest
If you’re looking for reliable truck tool boxes or as an expansion for your other tool storage solutions, the Top Chest fits the bill perfectly especially if you’re on a rather tight budget.
Its lid-activated locking mechanism helps ensure that your tools stay where they are as the drawers will simply not open without opening the lid first.
The recessed handles on the sides of the Excel also make it highly storable in a side-by-side configuration with other implements since there are no protrusions that can significantly take up space. This makes it a real space-saver if you have several of these babies in your workshop.
Each ball bearing slide drawer comes with a 50-pound loading capacity complete with a protective liner that will prevent scratches and dents on your precious tools. The full length slide drawers also allow for easier access of handy equipment. It’s fully lockable and comes with a lovely powder finish, matching up well with the rest of your gear in your workshop.
Heavy-duty cold-rolled steel construction
Lid-activated internal locking bar
50-pound loading capacity per slide drawer
Ball bearing slide drawers
Full length drawer pulls made of aluminum
Scratch-resistant powder finish
Recessed side handles
2-key locking mechanism
- Weight51 lbs
This Craftsman tool box is well-regarded by many for its sturdy and reliable construction at a price that will never make you cry. It may not be as big as a tool cabinet, but it does an excellent job of keeping your most-oft used hand tools well-protected because of its lid-activated locking mechanism like the Excel. It’s also one of those truck tool boxes that will look good on your flatbed.
For lovers of the ball bearing mechanism in slide drawers you’d be disappointed that the Craftsman doesn’t have any. However, it does slide out magnificently giving you full access to the things that are stored inside, thanks to an ingenious compound action.
The top tray is spacious enough to hold most of your often-used hand tools. And when it comes to securing the Craftsman, you’d be glad you can already bring out your super heavy-duty padlock to slide through its hasp-and-staple mechanism. The draw-bolt latches up front make for a worthy ornament to the sea of red.
Portable 3-drawer design made of heavy-duty steel
Hinged cover with ease of access to tray
Lid-activated drawer lock mechanism
Full length drawer slide with compound action
Built-in hasp and staple mechanism for secure padlocks
Premium-grade, secure draw bolt latches
- Weight19.35 lbs
This tool chest and cabinet combination comes complete with heavy-duty casters, two of which are fully swiveling and locking while two others are fixed. Moving it around your workshop or garage should never be a problem. It won’t be rolling anywhere, too as soon as you’ve locked the wheels.
This tool box on wheels comes with a hefty powder finish giving it exceptional protection against scratches and chemical spills; not that you’d want any fluid to be spilling all over the drawers. It looks reliably sturdy, too and when you consider its steel locking bar that is located externally, you’ll know that it means business.
The top tray just underneath the lid is deep enough to handle most of your tools, although you’ll find the bottom cabinet storage compartment to be especially spacious for larger items. From the metal hinges to the drawer pulls, everything about the Excel Combo is built for extreme durability without really going bankrupt.
Durable and sturdy solid steel construction
Chemical- and scratch- resistant powder finish
Heavy-duty, strong, secure metal hinges
External heavy-duty steel locking bar
Durable slide drawer ball bearings
2 locking and swiveling 3×2 inch casters plus 2 fixed casters
- Weight41 lbs
The Trademaster tool box with wheels comes with a variety of storage and attachment solutions for different tools. While it may look like a play set it is sturdy enough to accommodate up to 250 pounds-worth of tools and equipment.
If you’ve got corded equipment, you can easily wound the cord or wire on the integrated cord wrap system. The side panels also come with holes perfect as peg board. Simply insert appropriate hooks or pegs through the holes and you’ve got a worthy hanging board. The drawers come in 5 different sizes, giving you better organization of your tools based on size alone.
The lid’s top surface doubles as a multifunctional work bench complete with pocketed channels up front to keep your nails, screws, bits, bolts, nuts, and whatever tool and parts you may need to get the project completed. The caster wheels are also humongous at 5 inches while the locking bar mechanism helps secure your load whenever you have to move this tool storage solution anywhere around your garage.
Heavy-duty, multifunctional workbench surface
Secure locking bar mechanism
250-pound loading capacity
Pegboard side panels
Molded pocket storage compartments
Integrated cord wrap system
4 locking heavy-duty casters
- BrandRubbermaid Commercial Products
- Weight60 lbs
This mobile tool chest from one of the world’s most trusted brands in tools comes with a really spacious 50-gallon interior that will never say no to whatever equipment you put inside. It’s the perfect job site storage complete with two large wheels that make transportation super easy. The retractable steel handle with soft and comfortable grips makes moving the mobile chest a breeze.
It doesn’t come with steel construction, however. Instead it is built from high-density structural foam giving it remarkable lightweight characteristics. Just imagine if this was made of solid steel, with its 50-gallon capacity, you’d be most likely hauling a ton of load. This is not to say that the Stanley is not made for the toughest jobs, however.
On the heavy-duty lid is a pair of 2 x 4 inch grooves that run along its length. It’s perfect for holding 4-inch wide pieces of wood or any other material to be cut. The latches are well-built, too, making sure the contents won’t be spilling anytime soon.
Lockable high-density structural foam construction
Large retractable steel side, soft grip handle
Portable, durable, deep tote tray
Nickel-plated heavy-duty metal latches
Dual 2×4-inch lid saw grooves
Dual heavy-duty, wide rubber-coated wheels
Lifetime limited warranty
- Weight30.2 lbs
The Husky tool box is built specifically for the shop owner who really needs a sturdy and reliable system of organizing his wide assortment of tools. With 23 storage drawers and a remarkable 2,500-pound load capacity, this behemoth is a worthy fixture in one’s garage; that is if you don’t mind the hefty price tag.
More like a huge metal cabinet with plenty of drawers, the Husky tool box comes fully integrated with power options to keep your electronic devices fully operational. Eight electric outlets join two USB ports to keep everything electrified and ready to go. It also features a built-in LED light with 3 different modes and a 360-lumen output, bright enough to illuminate your workshop.
Because it’s made of 19-gauge solid steel and a full dry, empty weight of 542 pounds, you’d definitely need sturdy wheels to support more than 3,000 pounds when filled to the max. Six casters take all the weight handily while also allowing the Husky too box to be easily moved around in the workshop.
Disregarding its price tag, the Husky is one serious tool cabinet that can be rightfully called as one of the best tool chests.
Heavy-duty 19-gauge solid steel construction
2500-pound loading capacity
23 storage drawers with 9.5-inch deep chest lid storage
100-pound rated full length sliding drawers
Integrated secure barrel key lock system
Built-in power strip: 2 USB ports and 8 electric outlets
Integrated rechargeable magnetic 360-lumen LED work light
Maneuverable locking pedals on 6 caster wheels
- BrandLeather Bound
While it isn’t exactly cheap, this handy tool box on wheels from Best Choice Products makes for a very nifty tool storage and organization solution because of its sturdy and reliable construction, ample storage, and fire hydrant red color. It doesn’t come in any other color, unfortunately so you’re stuck with the red.
The design reminds you of the emergency cart systems in hospitals. Its 2-drawer design may not be enough for those with a hefty number of hand tools, but its spacious bottom cabinet compartment should be more than enough. Each drawer comes with foam mat lining, making sure tools won’t be clanging against the metal surfaces of the BCP.
Only the top drawer can be locked, though, so you’d better put your valuable tools in this part of the tool storage solution. Regardless, it should still look lovely inside your workshop.
Heavy-duty solid steel construction with stackable design
Multiple storage compartments with cabinet
Drawer foam mat liners
Secure lockable top drawer
Removable omni-directional caster wheels
Integrated side handle
- BrandBest Choice Products
- Weight57.5 lbs
Designed for the professional, the Homak Pro is a sturdily-built tool chest on wheels that can provide a wide variety of storage solutions for all your tools. The 4 lower drawers are larger and deeper than the rest, making them the perfect places to store bulky stuff. The top drawer spans the entire length of the Homak Pro, allowing your exceptionally long-handled tools and implements to be stowed away with ease.
Each drawer comes with EVA lining protecting the interior surfaces from scratches and minimizing the rattling noise as you roll the Homak Pro across your garage or your workshop. Casters do a great job wheeling the behemoth from one location to the next with a thoughtfully-built side handle facilitating the movement.
With its double wall steel construction, this baby is sure to last many decades of abuse, although the company only provides 5 years of warranty. It still makes for a wonderful tool storage solution especially since you’ve got three color options to choose from.
Durable and super-strong double steel wall construction
Heavy-duty, high-security tubular locking system
Sturdy and secure full-length aluminum drawer handles
Full extension gas struts
88-pound individual drawer capacity
Removable heavy-duty 390-mm drawer slide ball bearings
Protective EVA drawer liners
Four 5×2-inch heavy-duty casters; 2 swivel 2 locking
- BrandHomak Manufacturing
- Weight1 lb
One of the coolest truck tool boxes you can have is this modular tool box from Keter. It is so versatile that you can easily load it onto your truck bed, rolled around in your workshop floor, or even set as a permanent storage solution right inside your office.
The removable caster wheels give you unparalleled access to its sturdy and stable base, making sure it won’t slip anywhere else. Its stackable design allows you to build a tower of Keters all the way to your ceiling if you so choose. A large bottom bin occupies a third of the space of the Keter, making it ideal for storing hefty items. It comes with dividers and small storage bins that you can rearrange to better fit your organizational needs.
The Keter isn’t constructed of steel; otherwise, it would be quite hefty to load onto your truck. Instead, it is made of polypropylene resin giving it its lightweight characteristics. It may look flimsy, but it does do a good job at keeping things organized.
Heavy-duty, portable polypropylene resin construction
Secure centralized locking mechanism
16 removable dividers and small bins
Removable swivel locking casters
Built-in carry handles
- Weight25.5 lbs
Working in your garage or perhaps your workshop requires ease of access to all the tools that you need. With the large and durable caster wheels of the WEN tool box on wheels, such a requirement is made ridiculously easy. It’s like having a box full of your trusted tools wherever you are bound to work in your garage.
The sturdy construction of the WEN is courtesy of the 19-gauge steel that has been ingeniously crafted into a box with built-in drawers. Three sets each of 3- and 6- inch deep drawers keep things neatly organized while the ball bearing slide drawer mechanism allows for effortless access to even the farthest-stored device on the drawer.
Securing the drawers is easy, too as they come fully embedded with self-locking mechanisms. And if you happen to have several of these wheeled babies on the floor, you might want to remove the side handles so you can have an extra-long tool cabinet system.
Heavy-duty 19-gauge steel construction with lockable doors
Three 6-inch and 2.9-inch high drawers each
Self-locking slide drawer ball bearings
Durable and protective drawer liners
5×2-inch caster wheels
Removable side handle
- Weight117 lbs
Stanley understands that your hand and work tools are already heavy that you’d need the strongest and most durable pair of wheels to move your load around. Where most casters come in tiny 5-inch wheels, the Rolling Workshop comes with a staggering 780-millimeter pair of wheels or roughly 30 inches of humongous all-terrain-riding rubber-coated discs to get your tools across uneven surfaces.
The Rolling Workshop looks like a hand trolley with its base forming a secure platform for its stackable drawers. You don’t need to bring everything since the removable top-loading tool box already comes with a built-in drawer for keeping things handy and organized.
The retractable handle is also ingeniously built, complete with soft and ergonomic grips that feels comfy on the hands. The bottom bin comes with a pocket on the back, perfect for slotting other tools or even dirty rags that you don’t want contaminating the rest of your gear.
It’s the best solution for those who want the full functionality of a tool cabinet without losing the versatility and practicality of a handy tool box.
Portable rolling tool cart
Detachable portable tool box with built-in drawer
2-drawer storage compartment with deep and shallow drawers
Durable bottom flip bin with back pocket
Heavy-duty ball bearings
Retractable telescopic aluminum handles
Heavy-duty 780-mm wheels
Lifetime limited warranty
- BrandStanley Tools
- Weight24.1 lbs
Think of the H2PRO as the Homak 41’s slightly smaller yet equally functional tool chest fully capable of becoming one of the most ideal truck tool boxes to have. It’s a top chest so it is designed specifically as an expansion to the H2PRO 6-drawer roller tool cabinet. It’s the roller cabinet that comes with the casters, not the top chest.
Regardless, the sturdy construction of the Homak Top Chest gives you peace of mind when it comes to keeping the integrity of your tools. It may be quite hefty loading it up onto your tuck though so you’d definitely need a pair of extra hands. Good thing the built-in handles won’t hurt the palms and fingers.
Four smaller albeit longer drawers are directly underneath the top tray that is elegantly covered by gas-operated strut mechanism for effortless opening. Closing the lid and keying the top lock secures the rest of the drawers fully confident that the next time you’ll open it your tools will still be there.
Constructed of 15-gauge steel
High-security heavy-duty tubular locking system
Sturdy and secure full-length aluminum drawer pulls with liners
Full extension gas struts
Replaceable drawer slides
Heavy duty drawer slide ball bearings
8-year limited warranty
- Weight181 lbs
Stanley understands that your hand and work tools are already heavy that the company decided against using steel as its principal material for the design and construction of its best tool chests. Instead, like the Stanley Mobile Chest, the FATMAX comes with high-density structural foam that marries lightweight features with sturdy reliability.
Mimicking the quintessential car and truck tool boxes, the 28-inch FATMAX is a humongous tool box that can readily accept even the longest hand tools you may have at home. It comes with a built in V-shaped groove on the lid, perfect for securing materials for measuring and cutting. It also comes with a half tray that should keep all your bits and pieces of gadgetry well-secured.
It doesn’t come with a central locking feature, but you can always put on your most durable and most secure padlock to go into its padlock eye. It’s the kind of tool box you need to put only your essentials for those highly mobile tasks.
Versatile and durable structural foam construction
Comfortable and ergonomic soft-grip handles
Secure all-around water-tight seal
Integrated V-groove for measuring and cutting
With portable half tray
Secure corrosion-resistant latches with padlock eye
- Weight10.2 lbs
You can always rely on the quality of Pelican storage solutions regardless of the variety of tools that you may have at your disposal. Technically, avid fans love the brand’s no-questions-asked lifetime warranty. That’s how much the company believes in the strength of quality of their best tool chests.
The Pelican Mobile Chest makes for a great tool storage system as it comes with a 9-level stacking design, allowing you to effortlessly organize your things the way you deem it appropriate. It also comes with equalization valves that are guaranteed to create a more stable internal environment for your tools to reside.
The hardware are built to last a lifetime and have been tested against the most severe of conditions. It comes with a trolley handle that easily retracts from its muscular body while dual handles allow for ease of carry with a buddy.
Secure 9-level stacking design
Stable and secure wide-track mobility
Auto-pressure equalization valves
Durable buttress hinges
2-way handles with retractable trolley handle
Heavy-duty double-throw butterfly latches
3 side pockets for smaller item storage
- Weight44.1 lbs
Measuring some 20.5 inches tall, 41 inches wide, and 17.625 inches deep, the Viper stakes its claim as one of the best tool chests because of its reliably heavy-duty construction made of 18-gauge steel with a scratch-resistant powder finish. While it comes in 6 color designs including screaming pink and neon green options, you’ll be better off with the black or the black with trim. But of course, that’s just us.
The Viper’s true charm is the way in which the 9 drawers are configured with 3 on top, two on the right third section, and the remaining 4 on the left two-thirds. Ironically, only the third bottom drawer on the last third section of the Viper that is quite large enough for holding your bigger items. Otherwise, the rest will be perfect for flat-bodied tools and smaller implements.
At any rate, you’d still be glad it comes with a lifetime warranty, although limited. You’d still get the best value for your buck.
Heavy-duty 18-gauge steel construction
Premium powder coated finish
Drawer slide ball bearings rated at 100 pounds
Gas struts and single cam lock on lid
2 side handles with drawer pulls made of extruded aluminum
- BrandViper Tool Storage
- Weight137 lbs
Best Tool Chests Buying Guide & FAQ
Why You Need a Tool Chest
If you only have a handful of tools that you can count with the number of appendages you have in your hands you clearly don’t need a tool chest. As the name implies, these are large containers designed with exceptionally large capacities that can handle a variety of tools from the small ones to the larger implements such as drills, saws, hammers and wrenches among other things.
The nature of a tool chest actually defines its purpose. Since it comes with a large capacity then you can expect to put a lot more things into it. Some tool storage solutions also come with dividers or organizers that can make for a more systematic way of accessing different tools. For example, you can place all cutting tools in one drawer while all striking or hammering tools will be organized in another drawer. Screwdrivers and other driver systems can also be categorized into another drawer. It is this sense of organization that is inherent in a well-designed tool chest that makes it appealing, but only to those who have an extensive set of tools.
That being said, if you own a business such as an automotive repair shop, then it usually is wise to have a tool chest around. Or, better still, a tool cabinet will be more appropriate since this implement has an even greater capacity than a chest. The good news is that majority of tool chests today are fully stackable or expandable. A single unit can actually be placed on top of another unit, giving it a more modular design. So, as your business grows and the number of tool collection expands, you’re also able to keep on expanding your tool chest organizer system.
Even if you don’t own a business, you will still need a tool chest to help keep things organized and secure. Your tools are not cheap. The overall value of your hand tools can easily reach in the thousands of dollars with full-time automotive mechanics known to shell out at least $7,000 worth of tools. This is a substantial investment and you would definitely want it protected.
And if you want to protect these babies you’re better off with a vault. But that is way too expensive. The next best thing is to invest in a tool chest that comes with enhanced security features. Not only are you protecting your investment, you’re also keeping your tools in pristine condition.
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Features to Look For in a Tool Chest
Tool chests may look the same featuring drawers and locking mechanisms in pretty much the same way as cabinets. However, there are certain features that you really have to look for.
- Storage capacity
For obvious reasons the capacity of the tool chest you have in mind actually depends on the number and type of hand tools that you have or the different implements you want to store. If you only have a handful of implements an ordinary tool box should suffice. But if you’re looking to expand your collection of tools on an almost yearly basis, you’re better off with a tool cabinet. If you’re happy with the number of tools you have now, but won’t fit everything in a tool box, then a tool chest is in the offing.
- Durable frame
Tools are heavy, no doubt about that. An adjustable wrench can easily weigh about half a pound. If you have ten of these, then you’re essentially looking at 5 pounds just for this set of wrenches alone. You also have other tools to think about. As such, the loading capacity of the tool chest is as important as its volume capacity. In hindsight, it could even be more important than the volume capacity since you don’t want a chest that will give in to the weight of your tools. Most tool chests today come with 18- to 19- gauge steel while some go for thicker, heavier 15-gauge. Also important consideration is the wall construction whether it is single or double. You’ll definitely have a more durable frame in a double wall construction.
The drawers should be spacious enough to allow you to store and organize your stuff. You would also want the drawer edges to be somewhat rolled to give it added rigidity.
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It is also important to look for a stamped drawer bottom as this can increase the drawer’s durability and strength especially if you intend on putting your heaviest tools and implements in this part of the tool chest. You may also want a drawer that has a flush design for space-saving purposes.
There are two types of drawer slide designs in modern tool chests. Friction or non-bearing slides work on the principle of kinetic energy. These are largely unsophisticated, but they do have a definite price advantage. They are also more robust and are more immune to failure, requiring only occasional lubrication. These are very easy to reassemble, too.
On the other hand, ball or roller bearing slides allow for faster, quieter, and more efficient opening and closing of the drawer. However, it is important to look at the load capacity of the roller bearings. You should always go for those rated at least 100 pounds. Additionally, you will want a roller slide with full extendability. You will want a drawer that will slide fully out so you’ll gain access to everything.
One of the reasons why you need a tool chest is to keep your implements safe. But how can you do this if the tool chest doesn’t have a reliable locking mechanism? Most designs come with a tubular lock system that requires the locking or unlocking of a single drawer to lock or unlock the rest of the drawers. Some actually come with the more conventional padlock eyelet for inserting a traditional padlock. Whatever system of lock you may see, it is important to choose one that gives you the best security.
Not all tool chests come with casters or wheels. In the case of rolling tool chests, casters can help improve the mobility of the storage solution. These should be made of heavy-duty materials and come with rubber coatings to help improve grip or traction while dampening rolling noise. You may also want casters that have locking and swiveling mechanisms for greater security, stability, and maneuverability.
What Can You Store in a Tool Chest?
You can store almost anything that can fit inside a tool chest. It really doesn’t matter if these are automotive tools or carpentry, woodwork, or even masonry tools as long as they can fit inside the tool chest and that their cumulative weight is well within the load capacity of the tool chest.
Tool Chest FAQ
Q: How do I replace my locks?
A: Manufacturers of tool chests have their respective replacement locks as well as other hardware. Also included in such replacement parts is the detailed instruction on how to replace such hardware. Generally, you will need to remove the existing lock by removing the top drawers, exterior nut, and lockbar.
This should give you plenty of room to access the lock. You can then install the replacement lock and put everything back. Alternatively, you can take your tool chest to a locksmith or ask one to come over to have a look at your lock. He can also replace it for you for a fee.
Q: What does the maximum product weight mean?
A: This refers to the combined weight of the tool chest and its maximum loading capacity. For example, if a tool chest weighs 100 pounds and has a maximum loading capacity of 1,500 pounds, then you can safely say that the maximum product weight is 1,600 pounds.
Q: How do I clean and maintain my tool chest?
A: Keeping your tool chest in pristine condition is relatively easy. If it comes with casters, then these should be lubricated annually with appropriate bearing grease. The slides can be lubricated twice a year. Usually WD40 or some similar product should suffice. The drawers and other surfaces can also be cleaned using plain water and a mild detergent. You also have the option to apply car wax if you want to preserve the shine in your tool chest. If there is oil, grease, or grime on any part of the tool chest you can remove these with the usual cleaning or degreasing solution.
Q: What are ball bearing slides?
A: These are types of slides that come with ball or roller bearings. The ball bearings allow for the smoother, faster, and virtually effortless opening and closing of the tool chest drawer. These are the preferred types of slides since they are more efficient.
Our Top Pick for Best Tool Chest
There are many worthy contenders for the top spot in this list of the best tool chests. Stanley’s FATMAX offers exceptional versatility that marries the fine qualities of conventional hand-carried tool boxes with the design soundness of Stanley’s structural foam. It has a very friendly price, too. The 50-gallon Mobile Chest of the same brand also warrants careful consideration for the top spot since its humongous space is totally unheard of. And while it is easy to think that this behemoth has a price tag of the same proportion, it costs less than $100.
If you’re not really conscious about the price or that you have an exceptionally large collection of invaluable tools and implements and that you would want a truly versatile workstation for your garage or workshop, the Husky tool box and cabinet fits the bill perfectly. The inclusion of a power strip and built-in LED work lights extend the versatility of the Husky.
For those who do not really have an extensive array of tools to begin with but don’t like an ordinary-looking hand-carried tool box, the Craftsman tool box is a worthy choice. It has all the right features at a very friendly price, too. Overall, we’d say the Craftsman tool box deserves our pick as the best tool chest you can buy and include in your workshop. But if you don’t mind paying handsomely, the Husky wins it hands down.
Tool chests come in various sizes and types, not to mention prices perfect for a certain budget. These help keep your tools protected and organized so you’ll be able to maintain their optimum functionality.
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- How to Choose the Perfect Toolbox for Your DIY Needs, Life Hacker
- How to Organize a Tool Chest Like a Pro, Garage Tool Advisor
- Shopping for a New Tool Chest? Here Is What You Need to Know, Shop Gray Tools