Sometimes shopping for a good tool box can feel like you’re getting wedged between a rock and a hard place. When you shop online, it can sometimes seem like you’d have to spend an exorbitant amount of money to get a tool box.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. If you know how to look, you can find models that work well and will meet your needs at a fantastic price. We know how to look, so we’ve made your job easy. Our reviews of the best tool boxes for the money of 2019 are designed to make it easy to find a model that works for you at an affordable price.
We’ve also included a short buyer’s guide designed to help you think through the buyer’s process and get you a tool box that you’ll be happy to own, in addition to one that you can get at a great price.
|DEWALT DWST17806 TSTAK|
|Stanley STST70574 12-Inch Soft||1 lb||4.7/5|
(Best for the Money)
|Stack-On SHB-16 16-Inch||5 lbs||4.3/5|
|Stalwart 75-2250||11 lbs||4.05/5|
The DEWALT DWST17806 TSTAK is a good choice for a worker who needs a sturdy tool box that comes with storage for both smaller and medium-sized tools and parts. This model comes with a removable tray that can be used to hold smaller tools and parts like sockets. It is very deep, so you can keep your medium-sized tools in the lower compartment and keep them out of the way when you’re not using them. This tool box is rated to carry up to 44 pounds, though many users think it may be capable of more if you’re willing to carry that much weight around.
The latches on this model are well-made, so you won’t have to worry about them breaking as you do on so many inexpensive tool boxes. The only downside to this model is that it won’t carry the largest tools in your arsenals, and many boxed sets, like those that come with ratchets, won’t fit inside. You’re probably limited to about three of your medium-sized tools as well. That will be enough for most people, but not for all. Still, if you’re looking for a high-quality toolbox, this one should last you a very long time.
The Stanley STST70574 12-Inch Soft-sided tool bag is very inexpensive and is a great deal for people who need small- to medium-duty tool carrying capacity. If you need a tool bag for use around the house and need an option that will double as a way to store your tools when you’re not using them, this tool bag will meet your expectations. It weighs just a pound, so most of the weight that you feel will be from the tools you put inside. It also comes with a rubber-foam bottom, which gives the bag some stability and offers some light protection to the tools inside.
It also comes with small exterior pockets. You can use these to store small tools you’ll need at hand while you’re working for easy access. However, this isn’t the best choice for heavy-duty users. You’re not going to want to put expensive tools in this case and then travel since it doesn’t have great protective properties. It also doesn’t have the largest capacity on the market. But, if your primary concern is price, and you can make good use of an “around the house” tool bag, then you’ll be very satisfied with this purchase.
The Keter 197481 is the rolling tool box for someone who needs a lot of storage space but values a wheeled tool box as well. This model comes with wheels, making it the easiest to transport on our list. It also comes with an extendable handle, which further increases the ease of transport, and gives you the power to hop curbs or other small obstacles with this model. This is a very large model, and it comes with a ton of storage compartments. The one large one in the center gives you the space you need to store tools of all sizes, but the small compartmentalized bins in the lid give you spaces to store and organize sockets or fasteners.
You can also get this model for a good price. While you might think that you would need to spend hundreds of dollars on a model like this, you can get it for less than 100 dollars, making it a good deal. If the latch spring were made better, we’d rank this model higher than third, but since it often breaks, this model can’t break the top two. Still, this is easily the best rolling tool box for the money.
The Stack-On SHB-16 16-Inch is one of the best-looking tool boxes on our list. Its black finish looks great, but it also lends rust-resistance to this model, making it a good choice for people who live and work in wet or humid conditions. Of course, there’s more to a tool box than its looks, and it delivers in some other areas as well. It has a good capacity relative to its size, and you should be able to carry most medium tools and smaller around with no problem.
However, this model suffers from serious shipping problems. It often arrives damaged, with dents and dings that are clearly related to shipping. Better packaging and padding would go a long way towards preserving this model, but as things stand, expect a model with some transport-related damage. For the price, it’s not a surprise that the included plastic tray is mediocre quality, at best, though it would still be nice to get something a bit sturdier. Overall, this model can get the job done, but a nicer tray and better shipping conditions would allow this model to rise higher on our list. Still, many people will be happy with it for the price.
The Stalwart 75-2250 has some interesting design elements but falls short in a few critical areas, and consequently falls to the bottom of our list. The good news is that it gives you a ton of storage options. The bottom storage chest is deep and suitable for carrying your larger tools, while the upper one has tons of small compartments for small tools such as screwdrivers, as well as compartments for storing fasteners on top. It also comes with an extendable handle and wheels, which makes moving it around easier, though the wheels are small enough that you shouldn’t expect them to work on any terrain that isn’t flat.
However, this model has poor overall durability. Many different parts are subject to breaking, meaning you can’t be too careful when using this model. The hinges, however, are worse than most and tend to break even when treated with care. To make matters worse, the plastic this model is made from gets brittle in the winter, which increases the odds of something breaking even more. Overall, if you’re looking to get a model that will last years, you’re going to be very disappointed with this model.
If you’re shopping for a value tool box, chances are that you might be tempted to buy the cheapest model you can find. That’s not always a good idea. Cheap tool boxes, like cheap tools, may fall apart not long after you invest in them. If you want to get good value, you need to get a model that lasts. If you want to get great value, you need to invest in a model that you like using.
In order to find a model, you’ll like using, think about your needs. What size tools do you need to transport? Will you be traveling, and if so, will you need a hard case? What small tools and parts will you need to bring with you.
Once you’ve made a list of your needs, match up all toolboxes that would meet all of them. Then, rank them from least expensive to most expense. It’s now safe to buy the cheapest model from that list. It has all the features you’ll need, so you’ll like using it. Since it’s the least expensive model, you’re getting the best value for your money that you can get, which should leave your wallet happy, as well.
The DEWALT DWST17806 TSTAK is the best tool box for the money on the market today, coming with a deep tool box, removable tray, and good weight capacity. The Stanley STST70574 12-Inch Soft-sided tool bag is a good option for around the house, and its light weight, rubber-foam bottom, and low price make it a bargain. The Keter 197481 comes with compartmentalized bins, and extendable handle, and wheels making it the best rolling tool box for the money on our list. The Stack-On SHB-16 16-Inch has a good-looking, rust-resistant exterior, but it also comes with a cheap interior tray and suffers from shipping problems which mean it can take no higher than fourth place. The Stalwart 75-2250 has a lot of potential, but its cheap construction and poor durability lead it to drop to last place on our list.
We hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you understand what makes for a tool box with great value. You should now be able to find the model that suits your needs at a great price.