A Toolbox Buyer’s Guide

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A decent quality toolbox is a necessity for anyone – whether you are completing DIY on a regular basis, or only using your trusty tools occasionally – you still need somewhere to store them! A toolbox worth your money needs to be portable, practical and large enough to store your tools without a fuss! There is no point buying decent quality tools for a job, and then scrimping on the box that is going to be their home and transport – this will lead to them getting damaged, lost or even stolen!

Our article aims to provide you with all you need to consider before purchasing your own toolbox.

Only Got 5 Minutes?

There are lots of things that you need to think about before going to purchase your toolbox. However, it goes without saying that some things are going to be more crucial than others. We have compiled all the main information in this part of the article so that you can make a well-informed purchase.

Bests Pick – Stanley 170316 19-inch 1-Touch Toolbox

Stanley 170316 19-inch 1-Touch Toolbox with Drawer
459 Reviews
Stanley 170316 19-inch 1-Touch Toolbox with Drawer
  • Heavy-duty design
  • Extra width soft grip handle
  • One touch latch
  • Removable tote tray
  • V-Groove in the lid

Size

There is a massive range of sizes when it comes to toolboxes and different sizes will suit different people and different uses. The best thing to do is to look at the tools that your toolbox is going to be carrying and measure some of the larger ones – this will give you an idea of the size of the toolbox that you need to look for. When possible, don’t buy a toolbox that JUST fits your tools, as you will then be having to purchase a new one every time you buy new tools! Not only this, but it is also important to consider how the size will affect the portability of your toolbox (which we will discuss in more detail further in the article) – a larger toolbox will be a lot harder to carry around and store – but still considerably easier than carrying all your tools individually!!

Weight

The weight of your toolbox will determine how easy it is for you to carry to different places when you have DIY jobs to do. Remember that it isn’t just the weight of the toolbox that you need to think about – but the weight of the toolbox once your tools are inside! The best person to determine what is going to be the right weight for you – is you! Think about what tools you need to keep in your toolbox…if they are heavier tools then it may be worth considering a lighter toolbox to try to counteract some of this weight, whereas if they are lighter tools then you could possibly get away with a heavier, more sturdy model. Some models will weigh as little as 1kg – but others can weigh closer to 10kg (if not more).

You also need to consider the weight that your toolbox can hold! Some smaller toolboxes will only hold around 16kg of tools, whereas other larger models will be able to hold up to 36kgs in weight – if not more! Look at the tools that you are going to want to store in your toolbox and, if possible, even weigh them all together to be sure that you are buying a suitable toolbox.

Design

The design of your toolbox really comes down to personal preference and what you are going to be using it for. However, we are definitely biased towards cantilevered models due to how compact they are when closed, but how much space and how many compartments they have when open.

But, it is important to mention that cantilevered designs are relatively rigid in what you can do with them, so won’t offer the flexibility in design that others do. Many models of toolbox will come with compartments that can be adapted/removed depending on what you need your toolbox for – this means that you can almost customise your toolbox depending on which tools you are needing on which days.

Portability

The main idea of a toolbox is that it protects your tools and makes it easier to move from place to place when you are completing DIY jobs. Therefore, it goes without saying that portability should be considered when purchasing a toolbox. Most toolboxes will simply have a handle on the top that allows you to carry the toolbox (we would recommend looking for comfort handles to avoid fatigue when carrying your box).

Larger, more heavy-duty, toolboxes will come with an extendable handle and wheels, allowing you to simply pull your toolbox along. If you have a considerable number of large tools to move around then this feature is definitely worth the extra pennies!

Best Budget – Stanley 192066 19-inch Toolbox

Sale
Stanley 192066 19-inch Toolbox
478 Reviews
Stanley 192066 19-inch Toolbox
  • Ideal for transporting and storing multiple tools
  • 1 removable tote tray for storing small parts
  • Metal latches
  • 2 organiser for screwdriver bits etc
  • Easy soft grip handle

Material

It is important that your toolbox is going to be waterproof and dustproof to stop your tools from becoming damaged when they are stored or transported. Therefore you need to look for materials like plastic or metal that are going to be able to provide this. Plastic is a much lighter and cheaper option for many toolboxes, however, it can be less hard-wearing, so you may find that you are having to replace your toolbox sooner rather than later. Metal will obviously resolve this problem, as it will last for a long time and will be able to take more of a battering, but will be more expensive and heavier – which isn’t ideal when it is being moved from job to job.

It isn’t just the material of the actual box that you need to think about, but the material of the hinges as well! Many toolboxes will be made with plastic hinges, which will only have a limited lifespan (especially if you are going to be opening and closing your toolbox regularly). We would strongly recommend toolboxes with metal hinges so that you know they will last considerably longer.

Extra Features to Consider

There are some extra features that you need to think about before going to purchase your toolbox, such as:

  • Is the toolbox lockable? – Tools are expensive, so even if your toolbox is just going to be stored in your shed, it is worth considering a lockable toolbox to avoid tools being stolen. Also, check whether it comes with locks or will you have to pay extra for these?
  • Is the toolbox stackable? – This will make your toolbox more compact when it needs to be but then also able to hold more when necessary. Also, consider a toolbox that can be fitted as part of a bigger system such as a tool chest, this will help to make your life easier if you having to extend the number of tools that you have in the future.
  • Does the toolbox come with an organiser lid? – Organiser lids are perfect for different screws and nails that you use on a more regular basis, as will keep them all separate and usually comes with a transparent top so that you can easily spot different parts that you need. This is a feature that you will appreciate time and time again!
  • Does the toolbox have variable drawer depths? – Some toolboxes have compartments that can be adjusted to change the sizes of the different compartments. Again, this is a handy feature if you are going to be using your toolbox for different tools at different times, or simply if you want to make your toolbox work for you, to meet all of your needs.
  • Can you use the toolbox as a step? – Many toolboxes are now strong enough to be used as a small step – perfect for those difficult to reach places around your home when you are completing DIY. Some even come with grips in the lid to make the surface safer to stand on.
  • Does the toolbox come with lights or charging ports? As OTT as this may sound, treating yourself to a high-spec toolbox with lights and charging ports will be something that you will thank yourself for later! We all know that DIY never runs as smoothly as you think, so having a toolbox that can charge your tools, and shine a light if working in a dark space, really will prove invaluable! 

Best of the Rest

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STANLEY STST1-80151 Essential Rolling Workshop - Black
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DEWALT Dwst1-75799 Tub with Wheels and Telescopic Handle, Yellow/Black
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DEWALT Dwst1-75799 Tub with Wheels and Telescopic Handle, Yellow/Black
  • Telescopic handle in Metal-Plastic for easy handling; 7-inch wheels for great manoeuvrability.
  • Large volume tub also for larger objects tag for identification of contents.
  • Comfortable and wide central Bi-Component handle for maximum comfort and grip and for a convenient portability. Sturdy metal closure hinges.
Stanley 1-94-850 FatMax ProMobile JobChest
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Stanley 1-94-850 FatMax ProMobile JobChest
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  • Integrated lock and keys
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  • Level and saw lock in mechanism; Portable tray

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I can’t find a big enough toolbox?

Don’t panic if you can’t find a toolbox big enough for all of your tools. There is now a range of tool chests that are considerably bigger so able to fit every tool you could need inside! Although not as portable, many are compatible with smaller toolboxes, so you could have one for the tools that need to travel with you, and another as an organised, secure based for your tools at home.

Why are polypropylene and structural foam used for some toolboxes?

Polypropylene and structural foam are now used in many toolboxes to provide a light but incredibly hard-wearing outer structure. This combines both the benefits of plastic and metal to make a toolbox that really is made for the purpose. But be careful, as structural foam comes in different levels, so you can be fooled into thinking it will be heavy-duty when it isn’t! Take the time to look out for true, heavy-duty models if you are wanting your toolbox to last.

Last update on 2020-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Mike Jones 179 Articles
I started doing DIY around the house and it soon developed into a hobby. I look for tools and products that are genuinely useful and get the job done. I enjoy writing product reviews, researching my buyers guides and putting tools through their paces. In my downtime, I like to run and I am a bit of a Netflix documentary geek.

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