You can't get very far as a DIYer if you don't own any tools, and you can't finish (or even begin) any given project without those tools by your side. So the question is: What's the best way to transport tools from one work area to the next, and in between jobs, how do you store your hammers, screwdrivers, and levels while keeping everything neatly organized? For generations of home handymen, the answer has always been the same. Once you accumulate more tools than you can comfortably fit on your belt and in your pockets, it's time to invest in a well-made toolbox.
Isn't one toolbox as good as another? To a degree, yes-so long as that toolbox is made of impact-resistant metal and powder-coated to discourage rust. That said, solidly built metal toolboxes don't come cheap. Heavy-duty plastic, meanwhile, costs less but doesn't offer the same durability (although the best plastic toolboxes do offer superior built-in organization options). Finally, there's canvas. Those who don't need to lug around a huge arsenal-or who want a more portable companion for light work days-often choose a lightweight, long-lasting canvas tool bag.
1. TRUE BLUE
Finished in a spiffy blue enamel, the Trusco 2-Level Cantilever Toolbox features side hinges that allow the top to open in two directions, revealing a tiered interior storage area, some levels of which you can customize with reconfigurable metal dividers. Nice. If there's a downside, it's the relatively light-gauge metal the toolbox is made of. If you're a casual DIYer, you're not going to mind. But if want a toolbox you can toss around and still rely on for years, look elsewhere. Available at Amazon; $49.04.
2. BUDGET BET
From industry stalwart Stanley, the Series 2000 16-Inch Tool Box makes a fine choice for any average homeowner on the hunt for a budget-friendly toolbox that sacrifices precious little durability or practicality. Surprisingly, given its low price tag, the Series 2000 fits the bill, with heavy-duty construction that stands ready to withstand wear, and with handy, even ingenious organizers built right into the lid to complement the already amply sized interior compartment. Available at Amazon; $10.
3. IN THE BAG
Not all toolboxes have to be, um, boxes. Case in point: The Wide-Opening Straight-Wall Bucket from Klein Tools. Believe it or not, this thing can carry up to 75 pounds! It's not all braun, though. There's beauty too, in large part thanks to a unique (and water resistant) polypropylene rope handle, making the tool bag easily portable whenever you can't bring, or don't need to bring, the rest of your gear. Available at Amazon; $65.
4. TRIED AND TRUE
Bridging the gap between the demands of professional contractors and the needs of their most ambitious DIY counterparts, the Stack-On 16-Inch Multi-Purpose Steel Tool Box obviously doesn't win any design points, but on every metric, it scores more or less perfect marks. Built tough, and no more complicated than it needs to be, the Snap-On toolbox is one that you can use and (within reason) abuse for a long, long time. Best of all, it doesn't cost an arm and a leg-far from it! Available at Amazon; $20.
5. POWER UP
Familiarize yourself with the DeWalt Tstak line of tool organizers. It includes a wide variety of tough, tried-and-true options for specialized needs, plus at least a few everyday toolboxes. Our favorite? The DeWalt Tstak I. Why? Because with its deep central storage bin, the Tstak I accommodates larger tools (including some power tools) as easily as its segmented top tray accommodates small parts. Added bonus details are its metal latches and long, easy-carry handle. Available at Amazon; $42.