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Best tool chest/box for misc hand and power tools

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Forum topic by Sanderguy777 posted 06-23-2020 02:34 AM 1417 views 0 times favorited 36 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Sanderguy777

283 posts in 2537 days


06-23-2020 02:34 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question resource tool chest tool box tool storage storage handtool storage

Hi all! I’m in the market for a good sized tool chest or box like mechanics use. I want to get rid of some of the shelving and stuff that is covered in tool cases and put the tools in a permanent home.

I have about 5 or so ratchet sets, a jigsaw, 2 routers, 3 or so circ saws, like 8 different partial sets of screwdrivers, and about 4 billion drill bits.

I’m looking for something under $500 that is good quality (obviously not snap on or mac) with thick enough steel that pushing it up a moving truck ramp wont cave in the sides!

I like the $800 Milwaukee one with speakers and built in power strip in HD, but that is more than I want to spend. But it gives a good idea of the size I’m looking for if I spent $500.
I’d probably be able to shoehorn in the sockets, ratchets, and allen keys, and screwdrivers in a little $50 one from walmart (like the 3 or 4 drawer stanley they had a few years ago), but I want a better quality one than the walmart special.

I DID look this topic up real quick on google and LJs, but I didn’t see anything other than Dutch (anarchists’) tool cheats here, and shallow “reviews” of sponsor supplied stuff on google.
Thanks in advance!

-- Marc Spagnuolo (standing in front of clamp wall): I think I need a few more . Me (owner of at least 8 clamps):.....?


36 replies so far

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Woodknack

13585 posts in 3715 days


#1 posted 06-23-2020 02:56 AM

I hate saying it but in that price range the leading favorite seems to be Harbor Freight if you can believe it. Their mechanics tools and boxes are apparently excellent quality and popular among the wrench monkeys. I don’t own any myself but the mechanics in the family (who all own Snap-On stuff) speak well of HF boxes.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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Sanderguy777

283 posts in 2537 days


#2 posted 06-23-2020 04:31 AM



I hate saying it but in that price range the leading favorite seems to be Harbor Freight if you can believe it. Their mechanics tools and boxes are apparently excellent quality and popular among the wrench monkeys. I don t own any myself but the mechanics in the family (who all own Snap-On stuff) speak well of HF boxes.
- Woodknack

Ok, any suggestions on which of their brands to get? Is US General series 2 a good choice?

-- Marc Spagnuolo (standing in front of clamp wall): I think I need a few more . Me (owner of at least 8 clamps):.....?

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WoodenDreams

1477 posts in 1246 days


#3 posted 06-23-2020 05:07 AM

If your trying to keep the price down, but still a decent tool chest. Check out the Harbor Freight tool chests. I just got another Tool chest last week, I didn’t want the deep drawers so I got this one $299 available in six colors https://www.harborfreight.com/26-in-x-22-in-single-bank-green-roller-cabinet-56104.html

If you want the deeper drawers and use the top as a small workbench then maybe this one $329 available in black https://www.harborfreight.com/46-in-9-Drawer-Mobile-Storage-Cabinet-with-Solid-Wood-Top-Black-56613.html

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controlfreak

3207 posts in 936 days


#4 posted 06-23-2020 09:59 AM

I bought a mechanics chest at Northern Tool I think and have alway regretted it. The top tool chest with drawers is a dust catcher and a misc. gatherer. The bottom drawers just don’t seem like they are ever the right size. I plan on building something that I can customize and take advantage of workspace on top. I will likely sell the metal chest or move it to my office. I think I do better with a plastic case socket set that stores in a small space as little as I use it.

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ChefHDAN

1837 posts in 4184 days


#5 posted 06-23-2020 10:18 AM

I went with a 41” Husky chest and essentially got 80% of my tools off of the pegboard and took back some wall space in my shop. I’ve got everything from planes, chisels, wrenches, misc hand tools, small electrics, pneumatics and probably some stuff I should just throw out. I have not really pushed it around at all since I parked it, but I did not install the top & bottom chest plate connections or the push handle, so that I can move it in 2 parts when that time comes.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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Splinterlicker

14 posts in 580 days


#6 posted 06-23-2020 10:47 AM

Why a tool box?

They’re a waste of space, and they just hide stuff from you.

Build an open rack that keeps the tools within sight, I find this helps me find what I need, or more often what I really needed but wasn’t thinking about using, and saves more room than a toolbox, while keeping things more organized.

If you’re going to go and line all the drawers with foam so that everything has a designated place, you’re already looking at a bunch of menial work. Might as well do that work with wood.

Toolbox drawers are the worst for organizing sockets. Grab some dowel material and fill a small shelf with upright pegs at a height that’s comfortable to look at. Now the socket size is staring you in the face every time you go to get a socket, and you’ll always know when one is missing instead of spending 15 minutes digging around in a pile before you decide it’s really gone. You’re welcome.

If you still want something for the power tools, get some bags made by CLC from Amazon. I have 4 of them in 3 sizes that regularly go in and out of my truck and they’re great. My bag with the sockets and wrenches easily weighs 80 pounds and the only way you’d know it’s filled to the brim is by watching me pick it up.

Drawers are where tools go to die. – Adam Savage

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EEngineer

1139 posts in 4948 days


#7 posted 06-23-2020 10:58 AM

Just bought stacking toolboxes from Harbor Freight. Sturdy, nice finish and long drawers. US General are decently priced – avoid the ICON line, they are overpriced.

I like shallow drawers with a lot of area. If tools are piled on top of each other, you end up sorting through all the tools to find the one you need. Buy (or make) drawer organizers, label the drawers and keep the box neat.




-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

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JCamp

1535 posts in 1885 days


#8 posted 06-23-2020 11:59 AM

Check out a store called Rural King. They sell some very nice tool boxes at good prices. For what you want tho you might consider building something, that will allow more customizations

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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GrantA

3167 posts in 2742 days


#9 posted 06-23-2020 12:15 PM

For ratchet sets and screwdrivers you’ll want shallow drawers most likely, drill bits belong in an index but I keep loose extras in a clear plastic container.
The large tools need deep drawers or a cabinet. I have a US general box, 40-something inch and it’s great, best bang for your buck. It’s full of ratchet/sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers etc.
I also have a Yukon branded box from HF with the wood top and a single full width drawer and cabinet doors on the bottom. I’m liking that for circular saw, drills, jigsaw etc.

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ChefHDAN

1837 posts in 4184 days


#10 posted 06-23-2020 03:08 PM



Why a tool box?
They re a waste of space, and they just hide stuff from you.
Build an open rack that keeps the tools within sight, I find this helps me find what I need, or more often what I really needed but wasn t thinking about using, and saves more room than a toolbox, while keeping things more organized.
Drawers are where tools go to die. – Adam Savage
- Splinterlicker

When you run out of wall space, you need to go to a better condensed storage. I have a few things to help organize the drawers, but largely the drawers are full of stuff, and hold much much more in the footprint than spread on the wall, I can find all of the things I need very quickly.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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Splinterlicker

14 posts in 580 days


#11 posted 06-23-2020 03:17 PM


When you run out of wall space, you need to go to a better condensed storage. I have a few things to help organize the drawers, but largely the drawers are full of stuff, and hold much much more in the footprint than spread on the wall, I can find all of the things I need very quickly.

- ChefHDAN

Didn’t say you had to put the rack on a wall, it can go on wheels just as easily as a toolbox.

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Steve

2677 posts in 1917 days


#12 posted 06-23-2020 03:27 PM

Harbor Freight toolboxes would be the way to go. I bought my brother’s old 42” craftsman or else I would have gone with the HF one. It’s a bonus now that they come in other colors besides red

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Woodknack

13585 posts in 3715 days


#13 posted 06-23-2020 03:50 PM



Ok, any suggestions on which of their brands to get? Is US General series 2 a good choice?

- Sanderguy777

No idea, didn’t even know they had more than one brand. HF is in the most traffic-y part of town so I rarely go there. I have a Kobalt from Lowe’s and its alright but the HF is probably better if it lives up to the hype.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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mtnwalton

108 posts in 2361 days


#14 posted 06-23-2020 04:52 PM

You most definitely can store most tools very effectively in a rolling tool chest Storing in the open, on a wall or on shelves would be a nightmare for me. I don’t have nearly enough wall space as it is. When i retired I got rid of several smaller rolling cabinets, mostly Kennedys and combined most of my hand tools in a 72” 20 drawer Grizzly tool chest. After being in the machinist world for almost 40 years my accumulation was large. The Grizzly is probably more money than you want to spend, but the quality surprised me.

I store all my precision tools inside for climate control but the Grizzly holds 75% of my mechanic, and woodworking hand tools.

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ChefHDAN

1837 posts in 4184 days


#15 posted 06-23-2020 05:13 PM


Didn t say you had to put the rack on a wall, it can go on wheels just as easily as a toolbox.
- Splinterlicker

Consolidated 48 square feet of pegboard storage into the chest and then used the remaining 24 square feet of pegboard for some tools and mostly clamps,

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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