7 Best Tool Chests | March 2017

We spent 31 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Being organized in your workshop means getting any job done quicker. These durable and handy tool chests will not only let you get to whatever tool you need quickly, but will also protect your hardware from damage and the elements. Skip to the best tool chest on Amazon.
7 Best Tool Chests | March 2017


Overall Rank: 2
Best Mid-Range
★★★★★
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
★★★★★
Overall Rank: 7
Best Inexpensive
★★★
7
The Stanley 018800R Mobile Work Center is about the size of a roll-aboard suitcase, yet is rugged and reliable enough to tote and protect all your hardware. Its large wheels easily roll over most types of terrain.
6
The Keter 17191709 Master Pro Sliding tool box is highly portable, yet capacious enough for just about every tool you might need during a day on the job, from a set of screwdrivers to a reciprocating saw.
5
The BOSTITCH BTST19802 Rolling Tool Box is large enough to be the only tool chest for amateur DIYers and portable enough for professionals on the move. It can also break down into a series of smaller tool boxes.
4
The WEN 74603 26-Inch Intermediate tool chest is compact enough to fit in most garages or basements, or even to tuck into the bed of your pickup truck, yet it offers ample storage space in three spacious drawers.
  • drawers are 12.6" deep
  • reliable locking system
  • drawer slides support up to 100 lbs.
Brand WEN
Model 74603
Weight 31.2 pounds
3
The Excel TB220XAB Roller Combination Chest offers the perfect size and variety of storage space for the casual carpenter, car guy, or hobbyist. Its powder coated finish is designed to resist scratches, chemical stains and damage.
  • rugged steel construction
  • lift-up top for easy access
  • smooth caster wheels
Brand Excel
Model TB220XAB-Black
Weight 63 pounds
2
The Viper V2605TLR Tool Storage chest is big, bright, and rugged, too. This 5-drawer rolling tool chest can support hundreds of pounds of hardware, and its sturdy side handles make moving it easy, even when it's fully loaded.
  • available in more than 1/2 dozen colors
  • secure key lock closure
  • heavy-duty 5-inch caster wheels
Brand Viper Tool Storage
Model V2605TLR
Weight 130 pounds
1
The Viper Tool Storage VP7218BL cabinet is the last tool chest a DIY enthusiast needs, and suffices for professional applications, too. From sorting screws in small drawers to storing power tools in the large, it's got you covered.
  • drawer slides rated to 250 lbs.
  • 18 drawers in multiple sizes
  • comes with lifetime warranty
Brand Viper Tool Storage
Model VP7218BL
Weight 982 pounds

An Arsenal For Getting The Job Done

Anybody who specializes in a particular profession maintains an arsenal of resources to get their job done. This remains true whether we talk about a profession or project requiring the use of physical tools, experience, knowledge, or a combination of all these things. Both professional and home cooks, for example, require a fully-stocked kitchen equipped with storage space for flatware, silverware, drawers for cutting tools, ovens, cooktops, and other appliances. The cook also needs to know where to find these items and how to use them.

While a cook doesn't always take these tools with them wherever they go, they remain a part of the cook's professional arsenal for crafting edible masterpieces. The same can be said for the machinist, plumber, mechanic, contractor, or any person who needs to keep various tools around and organized for quick access in a tool chest. While the concept of a tool chest is pretty simple (keeping tools organized and easy to find), there is more versatility into the application of this resource. A tool chest is more than just a metal box with a couple trays and a handle for transporting to job sites.

A tool chest (or toolbox) can refer to a compact storage unit designed for transporting specific tools (i.e. hammers, drills, screwdrivers) to various locations on the job. Depending on the type of work that needs to be done, the chest can be built with multiple internal shelves and compartments that are cut to specific sizes for accommodating both specialized and standard items. A tool chest can range in size from a small, portable box to a large, multi-drawer storage unit set on caster wheels for easy mobility. The smallest toolboxes have a single handle on their tops with a hinged lid. Some toolboxes feature removable tote trays or cantilever trays that are anchored at one end from inside the toolbox, which offer the user simultaneous access to small and large items on multiple levels.

Toolboxes are typically constructed from either plastic or metal (steel). While plastic toolboxes may not offer the same weight capacity for storing heavy-duty objects, metal also has a tendency to rust, particularly if a tool chest is constantly used outdoors. However, both materials offer their own advantages depending on the situation.

Not all tool chests have to be small and portable. For example, an automobile mechanic with an elaborate garage setup may leverage the use of a large tool chest on wheels so that he can move the chest easily while always knowing where his items are stored and from which pull-out drawers he can access them. Reliable tool chests offer significant drawer space and can also double as portable workbenches with flat surfaces. This comes in handy when needing to use tools in different locations from within a workshop. For professions that require the use of trucks and tool portability, these vehicles can be equipped with mounted toolboxes so that items can be easily accessed when parking at a job site.

A Brief History Of Tool Chests

The initial heyday for tool chests began in the 1900s with companies such as H. Gerstner & Sons, founded by Harry Gerstner in honor of his father Herman. Harry Gerstner made his first machinist tool chest while working as a pattern maker and woodworking apprentice. In 1906, Gerstner used a bonus of one hundred dollars to start his own tool chest company and began selling his invention door to door. Gerstner's tool chests were designed to accommodate the majority of precision tools required by the average industrial worker (or journeyman) of the time. The chests were also known for their superior durability and many are still in use today.

Other early tool chests were made primarily from heavy woods for the purpose of preventing the rusting of the tools stored inside. Their design intended for the safe and secure storage of various measuring instruments, drills and other objects. The majority of most machinist tool chests were made from combinations of oak, mahogany, and walnut. Some of these early chests also had shallow drawers lined with felt for cushioning more delicate items.

Although Gerstner's company was not the only one to manufacture tool chests in the early 1900s, it remained one of the most successful through decades of competition and still manufactures quality tool chests today.

Go With Your Instinct

There is no established definition of the best tool chest, as this differs from one professional to another. However, one must consider their needs and intended use. For the professional mechanic working out of a garage, a large and mobile tool chest with multiple drawers and a flat top will be beneficial. Caster wheels will allow for easy movement to different cars in the shop while a flat top will offer an additional working surface in one place.

A good tool chest should also have a variety of drawer sizes to accommodate differently-sized tools, regardless of whether you consider yourself a veteran mechanic or an inexperienced worker. Small drawers near the top of the chest can store wrenches, screwdrivers, and ratchets, while larger drawers below would store those heavy and bulky power tools.

Finding a tool chest with an exterior powder-coated finish can add to its durability if you work with a lot of chemicals, sparks, and other industrial equipment that could otherwise scratch or damage the chest. Additionally, if you're concerned about your tools getting damaged, some of the most reliable tool chests include shelf liners that prevent objects from sliding around. Other tool chests even have socket and wrench organizers to keep the tools from moving out of place, which proves useful if you work with several different sizes of the same tool.

Finally, one must ensure that the tool chest chosen has a reliable locking system for keeping tools secure and away from children.



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Last updated: 03/22/2017 | Authorship Information

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