Best Budget Tool Chests Under $500 – Reviews & Buying Guide 2019

an effective storage unitTool chests can be quite costly. That’s why we’ve made this list, and we’re about to share our reviews of the best tool chests under $500! While many tool chests are expensive, not all of them are, and there are many great tool chests that are under $500.

You see, a tool chest has many benefits. The first is that it keeps your tools safe and secure. It allows you to find your tools easily. While also keeping them from getting damaged. And, depending on the size of your tool chest, there is a certain degree of mobility that allows you to take many tools to a specific worksite.

Now, let’s dive in!

Comparison of our Top 5 Picks

ModelPriceWeightEditor Rating
Waterloo W300
Waterloo W300
(Top Pick)

Check Price
107 lbs4.9/5
Viper Tool Storage V2605PUR
Viper Tool Storage V2605PUR

Check Price
114 lbs4.7/5
Craftsman 6 Drawer Heavy Duty
Craftsman 6 Drawer Heavy Duty
(Best for the Money)

Check Price
45 lbs4.6/5
Rubbermaid Commercial FG773488BLA
Rubbermaid Commercial FG773488BLA

Check Price
60 lbs4.3/5
Excel TB3205X-BK
Excel TB3205X-BK

Check Price
38 lbs4.0/5

5 Best Budget Tool Chests – Reviews 2019:

1. Waterloo W300 Tool Chest – Top Pick

Waterloo W300

Our top pick is the Waterloo W300. This tool chest is manufactured in the U.S.A., forty-one inches wide, eighteen-inches deep, and consists of 12,498 cubic inches of space. This is a very large tool chest, and there are no concerns about space, due to the aforementioned size.

When we look at a tool chest, we look at the space that is available, the strength of the tool chest, and the security that it offers. The Waterloo W300 exceeds in these areas, which is why it’s our top pick.

In terms of strength, we were unable to figure out the gauge of steel that it is made from, but when we used it and tested it out, we were able to discern that it is very durable and strong. As well, it has a double-wall construction and casters that can hold up to 650 lbs.

Finally, with regards to security, there are two strong locks that work very well. These locks, on top of the durability of the steel that comprises the tool chest, ensure that your tools will be safe and sound.

Pros
  • Lots of space
  • Very durable steel exterior and interior
  • Strong casters that hold up to 650 lbs
  • Two strong locks for extra security
Cons
  • Width makes it slightly hard to move around

2. Viper Tool Storage V2605PUR Tool Cabinet Chest – The Runner-Up

Viper Tool Storage V2605PUR

Our runner-up is the Viper Tool Storage V2605PUR. This is a very good tool chest, and it almost was our number-one pick, but there’s one reason it isn’t. However, before we get into that, let’s discuss the positive aspects.

In terms of security, this is an excellent tool chest! The internal locking system consists of a single tubular cam lock that is incredibly strong and incredibly durable, allowing for strong security. You combine this with the fact that it’s made of 18-gauge steel, and has four casters built to resist damage from oils and grease, and you get a very strong, very durable, tool chest.

The reason it isn’t our top choice is that, in terms of space, it doesn’t fully utilize the sheer size of the unit as well as it could have. The drawers are rather shallow, and you can’t really store anything that big in this tool chest.

Regardless of that small detail, this is an incredibly well-constructed chest, and we highly recommend it!

Pros
  • Made of 18-gauge steel – very strong and durable
  • Strong security system
  • Casters resist damage from oils and grease
Cons
  • Doesn’t maximize space as much as it should

3. Craftsman 6 Drawer Heavy Duty Tool Chest – Best For The Money

Our pick for “Best For The Money” is the Craftsman 6 Drawer Heavy Duty. This is an immensely affordable tool chest that is made for a very specific use. It’s 26-inches wide, 12-inches deep, and fifteen-inches tall. So, it really can’t hold very many larger tools, but when we take into consideration space and the size of the chest itself, we adjust our criteria to meet the intentions of the chest. In this particular instance, the space is so well-optimized, that we have given it major points for that!

This is a very heavy-duty piece of construction, and it is made entirely of steel. This is very strong, very durable, steel and it can withstand quite a bit. This ties directly into the overall security of the chest, which is quite good, except for the lock. The lock works well enough, but it felt rather clunky, and the key was slightly chipped as well, so the durability of the key itself is certainly in question, along with the lock.

For that reason, it isn’t in our top two, but other than that, this is an excellent tool chest for someone who wants to hold a number of smaller tools in a tight, portable, secure space.

Pros
  • Made of strong, durable steel
  • Maximizes the space very well
  • Very affordable
Cons
  • Clunky key and lock
  • Not very secure

4. Rubbermaid Commercial FG773488BLA Tool Storage/Chest

Rubbermaid Commercial FG773488BLA

The Rubbermaid Commercial FG773488BLA is a decent tool chest with many flaws that kept it from being in our top-three choices. First off, though, let’s make it clear that this is a mobile tool chest that can hold up to 250 lbs., and there are five drawers which do maximize the entirety of the space very well, despite not having very much with it. You must also take into consideration the strong locking system, which allows for strong security.

Unfortunately, the construction isn’t very good. At all. We tested it out and found that the materials used to build the FG773488BLA are pretty flimsy. This doesn’t aid in any sort of strength or durability, and it also weakens the security of the tool chest itself. Specifically, the drawer slides were incredibly weak, and they appeared to be on the verge of breaking apart when we first started using the chest. The drawers themselves appeared to have been put together very quickly because they felt like they were going to collapse. But, the exterior surfaces were equally weak, as well, and it would be easy for someone to kick them in.

Pros
  • The five drawers maximize the space very well
  • Very strong locking system
  • Easy to carry around and take places
Cons
  • Drawers felt like they were going to collapse
  • Drawer slides were very flimsy
  • Weak exterior surfaces

5. Excel TB3205X-BK Cabinet & Chest for Tools

Excel TB3205X-BK

The Excel TB3205X-BK is a 22-inch long tool chest that has five steel drawers and three casters. It is advertised as “secure,” and while the steel slide bar does that well, the lid that catches the lock is made of incredibly cheap plastic and would be very easy for someone to smash it open. This red flag takes it down a notch when it comes to security. With strength, we found that the casters were incredibly weak and flimsy due to the cheap materials used for the securing pieces.

Unfortunately, the chest itself isn’t very sturdy or very good at all. This is due to the lack of security and the incredibly weak materials for the lid and for the casters. But, we can say this about the TB3205X-BK, and that’s that the drawers are quite strong. But they don’t maximize what little space they have very well, and you really can’t fit that much into them.

For those reasons, we can’t recommend the Excel TB3205X-BK.

Pros
  • Strong drawers
Cons
  • Space isn’t well-maximized
  • Casters were very flimsy
  • Lid is made of cheap plastic

Buying Guide

With any tool chest, there are three major pieces of criteria that we evaluate for every tool chest. Each one is vital to the success of a tool chest, and the best tool chests have all three in spades. 

Security

Security is important because, assuming you plan on storing your tools in your tool chest, tools cost a lot of money and you want to discourage people from stealing your stuff. We look at the quality of the lock and the key, but this is a bit hard to do online since it is rarely advertised. So, we recommend reading reviews or testing it out at a store. But, security also comes in the form of the strength and durability of the materials, which leads to our next point of consideration…

Strength

Strength is very important because it aids in the security of the tool chest, but also the amount of wear and tear that it can sustain, the lifespan of the chest itself, and whether or not your tools will be protected if anything happens to the tool chest. Discerning the strength of a tool chest is quite easy. Look out for specific features that have to do with “resistant casters” and the different steel gauges that the tool chest is made of. 

Space

Space refers not only to the actual size of the spaces within the chest, but, more importantly, the way that space is used and if it is maximized. One of the simplest ways to discern how well the space is used is to see and interact with the tool chest in person, at a store. Or, you can look at pictures online and compare the measurements listed with the number of drawers and the way each drawer is set up.

Conclusion

Our top pick is the Waterloo W300, which is the best tool chest that you can get, in 2019, for less than $1000. And, the best tool chest “for the money” is the Craftsman 6 Drawer Heavy Duty. They are both excellent tool chests, and we highly recommend them.

When you look at a tool chest, remember to consider the space and the way that space is used, the strength of the materials used for the chest, and just how secure it holds everything. If you keep your eye out for those specific factors, you can’t go wrong!

We hope we’ve helped you choose which tool chest is best for you, and we hope that we’ve given you a few things to look for so that you can find the best tool chest for yourself!

Related: