The 10 Best Tool Chests

Updated April 24, 2018 by Quincy Miller

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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Tools are expensive. They're also easy to lose, especially if you're not in the habit of putting them back when you're done. These chests make it simple to store and organize your equipment, so everything is always where you need it, when you need it. Many are rather generously-sized as well, which gives you the excuse you've been looking for to add to your gadget collection. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best tool chest on Amazon.

10. Wen Garage Glider

Designed with vinyl-protected padding, the Wen Garage Glider offers multi-layered security for up to 350 pounds of equipment. Its ball-bearing casters allow for multidirectional movement, while its 16 easy-access slots make grabbing tools quick and painless.
  • magnetic wings for nuts and bolts
  • has a cushioned seat
  • surface scratches easily
Brand WEN
Model 73015
Weight 29.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Stanley Mobile Work Center

The Stanley Mobile Work Center is about the size of a carry-on suitcase, yet it’s rugged and reliable enough to tote and protect a reasonable amount of your hardware. Its large wheels roll easily over most types of flooring and terrain.
  • spacious bin for larger tools
  • handle collapses when not in use
  • not designed to hold heavy gear
Model 018800R
Weight 7.7 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Excel Blue

If you only dabble in the occasional do-it-yourself project, the Excel Blue may fulfill all your storage needs. It can hold up to 50 pounds of hardware, and the recessed handles on the sides make it easy to lug from site to site (just lift with your legs, not your back).
  • resilient powder-coated finish
  • rubber mat in each drawer
  • can't handle much abuse
Brand Excel
Model TB2105X-Blue
Weight 53.5 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Keter Masterloader

A highly portable option, the Keter Masterloader is capacious enough for just about everything you might need during a day on the job, from a set of screwdrivers to a reciprocating saw. The storage area is compartmentalized for convenience.
  • dual removable bins on lid
  • smooth ball-bearing sliders
  • wheels work poorly on uneven ground
Brand Keter
Model 197481
Weight 18 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

6. Flambeau 6531BK

The Flambeau 6531BK is about as simple and no-nonsense as you could hope for in a container. The inside is huge, with plenty of room for power tools, and it has grooves on the lid to support beams of wood, making it an ideal option for carpenters.
  • great for camping gear too
  • comfortable pull-out handle
  • cumbersome to lift
Brand Flambeau Hardware
Model 4010394
Weight 23.5 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

5. Thor Kitchen Work Station

Sleek and modern, the Thor Kitchen Work Station features a solid rubberwood top that serves as a high-performance platform. It’s not a lightweight model, but if you want to keep a large collection of heavy items secure and organized, you won’t be disappointed.
  • heavy-duty and sturdy casters
  • side push or pull handles
  • assembly is a bit of a chore
Brand Thor Kitchen
Model HTC7215W
Weight 306 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. Viper Storage Salon Cart

The Viper Storage Salon Cart has enough space to hold just about anything you might have lying around, while still being slim enough that you can stash it in a corner when not in use — without having to worry about stumbling over it all the time.
  • secure locking mechanism
  • durable 18-gauge steel
  • drawers slide smoothly
Brand Viper Tool Storage
Model V1804BLR
Weight 89.8 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Craftsman 3-Drawer

Dedicated DIYers should consider the Craftsman 3-Drawer. Professional contractors might find it doesn't have enough room for all their gear, but that also means it's lightweight and easy to carry wherever your chores take you around the house.
  • classic retro charm
  • good budget option
  • perfect for stashing in rvs
Brand Craftsman
Model pending
Weight 19.4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Plano Molding Stow N Go

It's not as durable as a stainless steel model, but if you're not the type to subject your equipment to a beating, the Plano Molding Stow N Go is an incredibly useful, lightweight option. It comes with three portable plastic trays, plus a generously-sized top compartment.
  • secured with sturdy latches
  • good choice for electricians
  • great for keeping things organized
Brand Plano Molding
Model 1363
Weight 5.1 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Viper Storage Mini

The Viper Storage Mini can sit discreetly on a bench or table without detracting from your work area. Despite its small stature, though, it can hold an impressive amount of wrenches, sockets, and loose hardware, helping to keep your shop neat and tidy.
  • smoothly opening lid
  • available in 8 attractive colors
  • makes a tough makeup case too
Brand Viper Tool Storage
Model V218MCPU
Weight 30 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

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 on April 24, 2018 by Quincy Miller

Quincy is a writer who was born in Texas, but moved to Los Angeles to pursue his life-long dream of someday writing a second page to one of his screenplays.

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