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Best Budget Tool Chests Under $500 of 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews

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Rubbermaid Commercial Trademaster 5 Drawer Mobile Work Center

We’ve spent a lot of time looking at budget tool chests over the last several months. The idea hasn’t just been to find a great product, but a great product that ordinary humans can afford. Handypersons and do-it-yourselfers need access to a tool chest, but they shouldn’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get it.

The products on this list are all available for under $500. Some push right up against that threshold, while others are a good deal more budget-friendly. But there is one thing that all of the products have in common: quality.

Read on for some budget tool chest under $500 reviews!

A Quick Comparison of Our Top 5 Picks

ModelPriceNo. of DrawersEditor Rating
Gerstner International
Gerstner International GI-T24Best Value

Check Price
11-Drawer4.2/5
Craftsman Heavy Duty
Craftsman 6 DrawerBest Value

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6-Drawer4.4/5
Grizzly Industrial
Grizzly Industrial H7731-6Premium Choice

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6-Drawer
Rubbermaid Commercial Trademaster
RUBBERMAID FG773488BLA

Check Price
5-Drawer3.5/5
TANKSTORM Portable Steel
TANKSTORM Portable Steel Tool Chest with Drawers

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3-Drawer, 4-Drawer4.2/5

The 6 Best Budget Tool Chests – Reviews 2020

1. Gerstner International GI-T24 Top Chest — Best Overall

Gerstner International GI-T24

The Gertsner International is a beautiful oak chest. The design concept from this unit is a stunning departure from what we tend to see out of the modern tool chest. Whereas most feature a drab stainless steel or aluminum build, this one is constructed of rich oak hardwood.

The Gertsner features eleven drawers that make it easy to safely house all of your precision tools. The exterior of the unit has been sealed to protect against moisture and other environmental factors that are commonly associated with wood.

However, it is still going to have its vulnerabilities. If your workshop is damp or poorly fortified against the outside elements, this probably won’t be the chest for you.

Pros
  • Beautiful design
  • 11 drawers
  • Sealed for durability and longevity
Cons
  • Won’t do well in damp shops

2. Craftsman 6 Drawer Heavy Duty Top Tool Chest — Best Value

Craftsman 6 Drawer

The Craftsman provides an optimal level of quality and value. The unit features six heavy-duty drawers all crafter of a high-quality aluminum construction. In total, you benefit from 3,200 cubic inches of storage space—optimal room for even larger tool collections.

The drawers open seamlessly, thanks to perfectly smooth ball bearings. There is also a space on top of the chest for additional storage, allowing you to truly maximize the effectiveness of every inch of the unit.

Each drawer is able to accommodate up to 75 pounds of weight, making it easy to store most tools. Unfortunately, the chest does not sit flush on the floor. There is a little bit of wobble to the unit—not enough to damage the contents of the chest but certainly enough to get on your nerves.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Six heavy drawers
  • 3,200 cubic inches of space
  • Very sturdy
Cons
  • A little wobbly

3. Grizzly Industrial H7731-6 Drawer Tool Chest — Premium Choice

Grizzly Industrial H7731-6

The Grizzly Industrial is a durable 6-drawer chest with gas springs that ensure it is reactive and easy to use. The stainless steel construction has been coated with a special finish that makes it resistant to the wear and tear that is common to your average workshop. This includes protection from bumps and scrapes, but also rust and erosion.

If you are looking for a heavy-duty piece of equipment and you don’t mind paying good money to get it, this may be the chest you gravitate towards. Just bear in mind that it is the priciest product featured here today. It’s pushing right up against our price threshold, meaning it won’t work for everyone.

Pros
  • Very durable
  • Six drawers
  • Protected against erosion
Cons
  • Pretty pricey

4. Rubbermaid Commercial Trademaster 5 Drawer

RUBBERMAID FG773488BLA

The Rubbermaid is a commercial-grade mobile work center that features wheels that will make it easy to zip around your workshop. It is made of rubber and plastic which keeps the price down, and also makes the entire chest significantly lighter than many of the stainless steel units on our list.

You get five drawers of storage and a total weight capacity of 250 pounds. It’s not the biggest weight capacity on our list (by a long shot, actually) but I will still work well as a light-duty tool chest.

Unfortunately, the Rubbermaid is not as durable as we would prefer to see. That’s kind of the risk you run when you buy a tool chest that is made by a Tupperware company. It’s still a good product but it won’t survive getting banged around too much.

Pros
  • Very mobile
  • Lightweight build
  • Five drawers
Cons
  • Low weight capacity
  • Not very durable

5. TANKSTORM Portable Steel Tool Chest

TANKSTORM Portable Steel Tool Chest with Drawers

The Tankstorm is among the most affordable products on our list today. It features four drawers worth of storage that can be easily sorted, thanks to a variety of different compartments within the drawers. This feature will make it easier to sort hardware, tools, and other equipment.

Unfortunately, though, the Tankstorm is not checking all of our boxes. For one thing, this is one of the smaller chests on our list today. If you are trying to store a lot of gear, this won’t be the chest that you reach for.

It also might erode over a relatively brief period of time. If you have a typical garage workshop that isn’t well-sealed against the elements, it may degrade pretty quickly.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Four drawers of storage
  • A variety of different compartments for sorting hardware
Cons
  • Not very large
  • Not well-sealed

6. 8-Drawer Rolling Tool Chest

8-Drawer Rolling Tool Chest

The final unit our list is a sizable and affordable chest that is good for people that want a lot of storage. It features eight drawers that make it easy to keep the vast majority of your gear. Wheels make the unit easy to get around with. It also comes complete with smooth ball bearings that will ensure it operates smoothly for the duration of its life expectancy.

Unfortunately, there are some problems that keep the 8-drawer rolling chest on the bottom of our list. For one thing, the metal is just very low quality. It will get banged up pretty easily, which is a regrettably likely occurrence in the setting of a workshop anyway.

It’s also not well fortified against the elements. Moisture will essentially spell doom for this product. Finally, the wheels also leave quite a bit to be desired. They are very fragile and probably won’t hold up well to wear and tear. The hope, of course, is that you will get good use out of them, but all signs indicate that you won’t.

Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Lots of storage
  • Wheels
Cons
  • Not very durable
  • Likely to degrade against moisture
  • Wheels are very fragile

Buyer’s Guide

You’ve seen six great products but perhaps you have found them difficult to choose from. If you don’t quite know which unit you want to take home then you are sure to appreciate this helpful buying guide. Read on!

Material

The majority of toolboxes are of either steel or aluminum construction. Both materials have their own benefits. Stainless steel is typically very hard and will be likey to handle wear and tear well. However, it may rust a little bit if it isn’t properly treated, and it also tends to be a pricier material.

Aluminum is usually a little bit more lightweight. It also tends to be affordable and it is less likely to degrade against the elements. However, it’s not nearly as tough or durable as stainless steel.

We also looked at an oak chest on this list. Wood has the benefit of just being beautiful. Why shouldn’t your chest be practical and visually appealing? The problems are severalfold with wood. For one thing, it will probably be expensive. It will also be very heavy, and it probably won’t hold up so well against moisture.

Wheels

A wheeled tool chest will be your best friend in the workshop. Wheels make it easy to bring your tools wherever you need them, maximizing the effectiveness of your work station.

Wheels are naturally only associated with larger, upright units. However, they also tend to be a point of vulnerability on tool chests. Often enough, they are the first thing to go when the unit starts to degrade. But hey, it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all, right?

Number of Drawers

The number of drawers you have access to will really impact the effectiveness of your tool chest. The more drawers you have, the better the chest will be at compartmentalizing your things. It can be nice to have a drawer for hardware,e a drawer from wrenches, a drawer from screwdrivers or power tools, etc.

Surface Area

The surface area is a consideration that is separate from the number of drawers. Naturally, the more surface area your chest comes with, the more use you will ultimately get out of your drawers.

However, you also want to factor in the amount of storage that you have at your disposal. Some chests will sit desk top while others will require their own space on the floor of your workshop. Bigger chests will be tougher to store but they also give you a lot of bang for your buck.

Conclusion

Did one of our tool chest reviews speak to you in an actionable way? Hopefully, by now our job is done. The goal by this point is always to have connected you with a great piece of equipment. However, if you haven’t zeroed in on the right chest yet, there are a couple of tools that you may want to give another thought to.

If you like the best of the best and will pay whatever it takes to get your hands on a great product will really love the Gerstner International GI-T24 Red Oak 11-Drawer Top Chest.

Or maybe you are trying to economize. If you want something that is affordable and effective you will be thoroughly impressed by our budget pick, the Craftsman 6 Drawer Heavy Duty Top Tool Chest.

In any case, all of the products featured here are very good at what they do so buy confidently.

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Featured image credit: Rubbermaid Commercial Trademaster 5 Drawer Mobile Work Center, Amazon

About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!