For many craftsman or hobbyists, tools will begin to pile up as your passion and love for your craft grows.
When you’re getting work done in the garage or around the home, it can be really frustrating to spend forever digging around for the tool you need.
How much time have you wasted just in the last week looking for the right size drill bit or socket? If you find yourself spending more time looking for parts then actually fixing or building stuff, it might be time to invest in a tool chest.
So it’s important to make sure you always have the right tool close at hand, it’s also important to make sure that your tools are kept somewhere safe and secure, and that your workspace is clean and organized.
However, tool chests are not a one size fits all type of purchase. Different people will have different organizational needs, as well as aesthetic requirements. It’s crucial when you make a purchase like this to consider all of your options.
This buyers guide will cover the top ten best tool chests, as well as giving you a brief overview of each one.
Best Tool Chest of 2020
Craftsman 3-Drawer Metal Portable Tool Chest – Best Under $100
The tools chest features three drawers, as well as a top storage area. The top latches shut, and the entire unit can lock. The chest locks as well, giving added security to the unit.
Craftsman has a reputation for quality, and in this toolbox, that’s proven again. The unit is durable and well made, with the drawers and hinges operating smoothly. It can be used for a variety of projects, and the drawers feature an inside coating as well.
Many people prefer to gift craftsman because of their sterling reputation and focus on high quality, and this unit is no exception. It’s the perfect gift for anyone who might be new to tools or is just looking for another unit to expand their collection with.
Keter 240762 5 Drawer Modular Garage & Tool Organizer – For Small Tools
The Keter 5 Drawer Modular Garage & Tool Organizer features 4 swiveling casters, a handing locking system, and a plastic body.
This tool chest is also pretty neat because it has two modular parts that can be restocked or removed as needed. Since this little guy has a small footprint (just over 11″ deep by 22″ wide) and isn’t very tall (23″) it’s great for closets, car trunks, or underneath a work surface.
Performance and Technical Issues
Since this tool chest is plastic, some of the drawers flex if there is too much weight inside. Obviously, your mileage will vary here, depending on what you’re stashing inside this chest. It would probably be best for someone who has a few small household tools and wants to stay organized.
Would I recommend it?
Yes, but with a condition. This chest features a lot of smaller organizers and can’t hold much weight. If you need to keep a lot of small household things organized like drywall anchors and screws, screwdrivers, a hammer or two, then this tool chest is a great budget option. If you have larger (and heavier) tools like socket sets or air compressor parts you may want to hold out for something bigger and sturdier.
Gladiator GAGB28KDYG – Best for Stacking
Gladiator’s Modular GearBox definitely wins points for its good looks. The front doors of this tool chest are stainless steel tread plate, and the sides are black powder coated steel.
Featuring four ball bearing slide feet, this unit isn’t particularly mobile, but it looks great and would make a good base if you want to stack something else on top.
If not for the glaring problem of the upside down bottom shelf, this would be one of my top picks from the list.
This cabinet has the best weight capacity out of all the toolboxes on the list (300 lbs when evenly distributed) and has both the looks and features to make it worth the buy. The low price of this unit might be enough to make it worth the extra work if you happen to be industrious enough to measure and drill out the correct holes. Otherwise, this tool cabinet might be a pass.
Stanley 037025H 50 Gallon Mobile Chest – The Best Value
This hard plastic tote is far and away one of the most affordable options on the list. Touting an “enormous capacity” this chest holds up to 50 gallons worth of tools.
It has two rubberized wheels and an extending handle to make transportation easier. It also comes with a lock and its keys to keep your precious tools safe from tipping out (and sticky fingers.)
Performance and Technical Issues
The box is not watertight, which means that if you plan on taking it camping or on long distance drives you’ll want to cover it in the rain.
Would I recommend it?
Once again, I have to say that my recommendation on this chest is conditional. If you move around a lot or need to be able to relocate tools easily, this chest is a great option. It would also be an excellent choice for someone on a budget, as it comes in under $100. Folks who need help getting organized might want to look for something with more compartments though.
This tote is small enough that lots of reviewers use it for traveling, especially military deployment. Despite the travel-friendly footprint, it holds quite a bit of stuff. The wheels and extending handle make it a good choice for users who need something that can be loaded into a pickup truck or plane cargo. Another nice feature is that the top of the chest is flat and has two saw grooves to hold 2″x4″ lumber.
Rubbermaid Commercial Trademaster Work Center – Good Overall
This rolling tool chest is chock full of handy features that would make it a superstar in the garage or workshop. It features pegboard sides, a cord wrap, molded pocket compartments along the top, and four locking swivel casters.
The drawers of this roll-around cart are metal, with plastic fronts, and it has a front lock bar to keep drawers from sliding out.
Performance and Technical Issues
Since the cart ships in one piece and is pretty large, it seems prone to damage. Luckily, Rubbermaid provides a one year warranty that should cover a refund or replacement parts if you find that it doesn’t arrive as expected.
Would I recommend it?
Absolutely. Although reviews had some mixed information about the shipping and packaging problems, it seems like this cart is a great multitasker. The five drawers offer loads of organization, the cups at the top are great for keeping track of small screws or rolls of tape, and the 250 lb weight capacity is enough to hold several tool sets comfortably.
The biggest con of this cart is the price. It is definitely the most expensive of the tool chests reviewed here. If you have the extra money to spend on this though, it could be worth the spring.
Giantex 2pc Mini Tool Chest & Cabinet Storage Tool Box – Exactly What You’d Expect
The Giantex 2pc Mini Tool Chest & Cabinet Storage Tool Box pretty much delivers exactly what you should expect from a tool chest at this price point. It comes in two pieces, an upper tool box with sliding drawers and a lower rolling cabinet.
It is very affordable, but this comes at the cost of thinner metal shelves. If you keep the price in mind, this little set is perfectly serviceable.
Would I recommend it?
Although my comments on the Giantex 2pc Mini Tool Chest & Cabinet Storage Tool Box haven’t been particularly glowing so far, I’d still recommend it. What you pay for is exactly what you get here. For a low price, you get a tool chest with sliding doors and a cabinet that is fairly roomy for its size.
It also has a classic look with its glossy red paint job and chrome details. It’s also a high budget buy for the budding enthusiast since it does offer both storage and organization at a price point that leaves room for customization.
The price point of this tool organization combo is hard to beat. It also has swivel casters, which is an excellent addition, particularly when you keep the price point in mind. The toolbox portion is not attached, nor does it lock on.
It simply sits on top of the cabinet, which is handy for reorganizing or for using the cabinet top as a work surface in tight quarters. Swivel casters are a surprisingly nice feature.
Excel TB2105X Blue – An Affordable Tool Chest for Beginners Under $200
The chest is sixteen inches tall, twelve inches deep, and twenty-six inches long. The total weight is fifty-one pounds. The drawers themselves support up to 50 pounds and come with liners. There is also storage space at the top, with a flip up section.
The Excel comes with a lock, for those who are worried about being able to secure valuable tools. The exterior is powder coated paint to protect against the elements. The chest itself features a steel body. The chest also features handles built into the side for easy movement and transport.
The Excel is a sturdy box, and it’s lower height makes it harder to tip over, a useful feature if it resides in the back of a truck or some other less stable surface. The drawers function well, though there can be some difficulties with locking and unlocking the toolbox if the top is down, or the drawers are slightly crooked.
Some customers have reported issues with rusting in the interior of the toolbox, especially the bottom corners. Others have expressed some frustration with the packaging and initial delivery. The tool chest can come with some dents, which mar the finish and in some cases, the functionality of the device.
WEN 74706 – Best Tool Chest for Home
The WEN is twelve and a half inches deep, twenty-six inches long, and fourteen and three/fourths inches tall. It weighs just shy of fifty-four pounds. All told, it includes 1,832 cubic inches of storage.
The drawers also come equipped with locks, to be able to secure tools. It comes with two handles for easy transport and movement. The outside is a finished, textured metal.
The WEN 74706 is generally highly rated by the users. The unit is well built and solid. The drawers can sometimes be a little “sticky” for some people’s tastes, but you can adjust them from a spring release to a standard push and pull system. Some people express issues with the locking mechanisms, which is something to consider if security is an important factor. Overall, this box is well built and dependable.
Viper Tool Storage V218MCBL – Best Small Portable Tool Chest
This tool chest has two drawers and is eighteen inches wide, ten inches deep, and eleven and a half inches tall. It weighs twenty-three and a half pounds. Each drawer can take fifty pounds of weight, with extra space on top for more storage.
The Viper also comes with two side handles for easy transport. The Viper also features a powder coated finish to protect against all manners of environments.
The V218MCBL is an excellent toolbox for small tools. The box is well built and sturdy. Its small size means that it’s easy to tote around and use for a variety of purposes. The viper is highly rated, with customers using it for both indoor and outdoor uses, like portable toolboxes and modeling kits.
The drawers are easy to open and close, and they come with liners. The locking system ensures simple, easy security, as well as making sure that nothing will move around in transport.
Seville Classics UltraHD – Good Rolling Cabinet for the Money
The Seville measures twenty-four inches deep, thirty-five inches tall, and twenty-eight inches long. This model also boasts a wooden worktop, as well as wheels that mean it can be moved around for your convenience.
Tool cabinet is capable of supporting up to three hundred pounds, and the weight of the unit clocks in at one hundred and fifteen pounds. The bottom portion of the unit is comprised of stainless steel outside, with five small drawers, and another deeper one on the bottom.
The unit’s outside is powder coated to increase durability and lend a more finished air to the final product.
Seville UltraHD is generally highly rated. Customers appreciate the deep bottom drawer to store things that might not fit in a standard sized tool drawer. The drawers also lock, adding extra security to the chest.
The wheels and wooden worktop make it a convenient wheel along tool chest and the quality of the unit is very good. Complaints mainly seem to focus on the fact that the unit comes disassembled, and the instructions can sometimes be confusing or hard to follow, or not present at all. The other issue is that only the outside of the unit is powder coated, which means that the inner part of the unit can be vulnerable to rust and the elements.
Viper Tool Storage V4109WHR – Professional Quality for Under $1000
This Viper V4109WHR is another model to come in multiple colors, so there’s sure to be one to suit everyone’s needs. The V4109WHR is a rolling tool chest, with high-quality wheels, two of which lock for safety reasons.
The unit is built from eighteen gauge steel, and the powder coated exterior comes in a variety of colors. There are nine drawers, each capable of holding up to one hundred pounds of weight.
The viper is forty-one inches tall, forty-four inches wide, and eighteen inches deep. The unit weighs two hundred and forty-eight pounds and comes equipped with a cam locking system as well.
The V4109WHR is also equipped with a limited lifetime warranty, and the unit performs fairly well. The unit comes disassembled, but assembly is fairly easy with the included instructions. The drawers experience a few separate issues, with some customers experiencing warping, meaning the drawers do not open fully. The unit overall is a high-quality piece for a fairly low price tag.
Goplus 22-Inch Steel Rolling Tool Chest – Choice for garage with wheels
The Goplus is twenty-two inches wide, twelve inches deep, and thirty-three and a half inches tall, with the wheels on. It does come with wheels, though you’ll have to put those on yourself once the unit is delivered.
The Goplus is capable of holding up to one hundred and seventy-six pounds, with the small drawers holding thirty-three pounds, and the larger drawers holding forty-four pounds.
There are four drawers in total, and they boast a ball bearing slide for easy open. The Goplus also has a top storage section as well. The unit has a powder coated finish for durability.
The Goplus does not have a locking mechanism, which puts it at a disadvantage to some of the other units on our list. Additionally, while the chest boasts a steel construction, the metal is quite thin, and the unit is not recommended for professional or contractor use.
The drawers open and shut well, and they lock. They also come in a variety of sizes, which is always useful to store more things than just wrenches and screwdrivers.
OEMTOOLS 24629 – An Expensive Tool Chest Combo
The OEMtools 24629 comes with three different color options and three separate build options as well. The combo version comes with twenty-six separate drawers of varying sizes, as well as a top storage section and wheels for easy portability.
The unit measures seventy-two inches wide, nineteen and seven/tenths inches deep, and a little over twenty-two inches wide. It weighs in at six hundred and forty pounds.
The 24629 has a one-millimeter steel shell, as well as a latching system for each individual drawer to keep them secure. The drawers on the 24629 come with liners, and each is capable of holding up to one hundred pounds. The unit also comes with two sturdy handles on either side, for easy transport.
Viper Tool Storage V1804BLR – An Excellent Solution for Small Spaces (Under $500)
This chest stands thirty-six inches tall, sixteen inches wide, and eighteen inches deep. There’s also an optional side handle that will increase the width to eighteen and a half inches.
The Viper comes with wheels, to make this chest easier to move around with you. The chest also comes with a cam lock with security. There’s also a limited lifetime warranty. The unit is fairly highly reviewed, with the only customer complaints being some damage in shipping and the very bottom drawer not being on bearings.
Excel TB2040BBSA – Perfect Solution For Beginner
The TB2040BBSA also comes with two steel handles and a double steel wall. The outside of the unit is powder coated, and the unit locks for added security.
The Excel is twenty-six inches long, almost thirteen inches deep and fifteen inches high. The unit weighs a total fifty-one pounds. Excel is rated well, with the aesthetics and durability being high on it’s better qualities. Chest also recommended for beginners and home craftsman who might not have very much to stores.
Best Tool Chest for the Money – Buyer’s Guide
When looking for a tool chest, it’s important to first identify your specific needs and desires. Below is a list of common qualities buyers find important in toolboxes, with specific qualities and brands to focus on for each.
It’s important to consider how you’ll be using the box. Is it for at home use? In that case, the Goplus or Excel models are excellent values for the price. Professional contractors and mechanics might need something with more heft to it, like the Craftsman or Viper models.
The list below will help you narrow down more specific qualities to focus on, with leaders in each category listed below.
- Powder coating
- Variety of colors
- Slim or compact designs
- Brands to look for including the Viper series for color options and compact storage, as well as Craftsman for that classic look. The Seville also scores highly as well, with the wooden worktop lending an extra element of class.
- Steel body or shell
- Coated interior and exterior
- Well built or assembled units
- Most units scored fairly high, with Craftsman, Seville, and Viper models earning the top slots.
- Lots of drawers
- Variety of sizes and depths to fulfill more storage needs
- Top contenders would be OEMtools, the Viper V1804BLR, and V218MCBL leading the pack.
This list of toolboxes will help you narrow down which chest would be best for you, according to your specific needs. There’s something on the list for everyone, from budding craftsman to heavy duty professional.
Tool chests at their core haven’t changed much in the last years, with powder coating, steel bodies, and locking drawers. However, more and more brands are beginning to focus on aesthetics, with sleeker designs and smaller footprints.
As brands figure out more and more how to meld customized exteriors with quality interiors, consumers are left with more and more options. As consumers are beginning to use tool chests for more than just outside or garage use, meaning that the variety of sizes and colors are becoming more and more important to buyers.
Everybody has their own specific needs when looking for a tool chest, and that’s ok. Something on this list is bound to fit what you’re looking for if you need space to store tools, gadgets, or odds and ends. If you have the budget for a larger organizer, you could spring for the Rubbermaid Mobile Work Center. Folks who are a little more budget conscious though will still likely find what they need in either the Stanley Mobile Chest of the Giantex 2 Piece Set.
As a general recommendation, while you’re shopping, it’s good to think of three key factors. The first is the size. If you’ve got a small space to work in, it’s good to look for a chest with a small enough footprint to fit in a closet or under a work surface. Second, consider whether you need the flexibility of wheels. You’ll notice that almost every entry here has wheels. The really nice options have locking swivel casters for maneuverability and security. Last is a budget, which seems pretty self-explanatory. Regardless of which tool chest you go for, pick one based on these factors, and you’ll likely find a winner.