Ever had one of those days when you needed to grab a tool from your new tool chest and found yourself fishing for several minutes to find that one particular socket while scraping everything around noisily? Or perhaps you’ve begun to notice some of your tools are beginning to show signs of damage from being jostled about.
Most of us rarely stop to think about getting liners for our tool boxes, but a good liner will reduce jostling and also help reduce the amount of grease and grime settling in the bottom of your tool chest drawers. The best tool box drawer liners will match your drawer depth, have a cushioned drawer liner material, and be easy to clean. Here’s what we recommend to give your tool chest or cabinet that professional look.
Our 5 Favorite Tool Chest Drawer Liners
|Mod-Box Tool Box Drawer Liner||12", 16", or 18"||14 ft||0.10"|
|B&C Home Goods Tool Box Liner||18"||24 ft||0.19"|
|EPPCO Tool Box Liner||12", 18", or 24"||Up to 30 ft||0.08"|
|Reizen Tech Tool Box Liner||16" or 18"||Up to 24 ft||0.12"|
|Duck Easy Shelf Liner||12" or 20"||Up to 24 ft||0.10"|
Tool Box Liner Reviews
The following liners are perfect for protecting your tools. There are literally dozens of liners available and to make our cut, these products all had to be usable on other shelves and surfaces, durable, and reduce or prevent movement of tools in most scenarios. Once you use them, we’re sure you’ll wonder why you didn’t put them in right away.
Capable of covering six standard-sized drawers per roll, this high-quality, 1/10 inch thick expanded vinyl foam liner needs no glue to apply. The slightly tacky surface can help prevent tools from sliding around and is resistant to acid, dirt, and grease. You can easily wipe or wash the surface clean, and a reinforced scrim running through the center adds durability and resistance to tears.
Those who have purchased this tool chest liner were pleased with how the liner material held up and how easy it was to cut. They noted that tools will still move around a bit if a portable tool box is jostled around a lot, as the tools tend to be held in place by indentations made by their weight.
In stationary chests or cabinets, the drawers can be opened and closed rapidly without risk of dislodging the contents.
There are very few complaints about this liner, although a few have had issues with it being too sticky at first. A few have also been concerned about the thickness since they expected it to be thicker, but have not reported any frailty as a result. To us, 1/10th of an inch thickness is just about right. It provides just enough cushioning without taking up too much space as far as drawer height is concerned.
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Possibly the best heavy duty tool chest liner on the market, this foam mat is easily cut and modified, yet thick enough (at about 3/16″) to support even your heaviest tools. Its textured grip is non-adhesive for easy repositioning without causing the liner or tools to slide around. It protects against bacteria and corrosion, is wrinkle-resistant, and can be wiped down quickly when dirty.
Users almost overwhelmingly claim this is the best drawer lining material they’ve owned. They report that this product doesn’t slide in situations where their previous drawer lining material failed. Its heavier weight has helped prevent tools from moving, even when owners of this product are wheeling their tool chest around the garage. A few have been so impressed with this product, they have chosen to use it in other parts of the home.
Because this liner is almost twice as thick as others, those with low profile drawers who are limited on vertical space may want to go with another liner.
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This simple, high quality tool drawer liner is made of high-quality, non-slip materials to help keep your tools in place. It’s resistant to dirt and dust, and you can quickly wipe it clean as needed. Not only will this product help keep your tools in place, but it holds up well during extended use without being difficult to cut when fitting it to your drawer.
Available in three depths (12″, 18″, and 24″), it will fit most tool chest drawers after cutting to the correct width. This can be done with ordinary house scissors. The rubbery foam material is tacky but not too tacky. Many reports have shown the liner to be holding up after one or two years of use with little or no signs of wear.
Oddly enough, this liner works well on metal surfaces, but those who have used it on wooden surfaces complain that it moves around a bit too easily. While most have not experienced any issues with this liner, a handful of reported product flaws ranged from arriving stretched or torn to the surface being uneven when placed.
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This approximately 0.12″ thick tool drawer liner comes in a roll large enough to cover most tool cabinets and comes in two depths (16″ and 18″). The non-slip surface ensures tools will stay in place, even with drawers constantly being opened and closed. Its thick, durable material features grid lines for easier measuring and cutting. You can easily wipe down the surface when needed, and the product is covered by a 100% hassle-free satisfaction warranty when purchased directly from the company.
Quite a few of those who purchased this liner did so because of the grid lines. They strongly suggest going over the chosen line with a sharpie, as it’s easy to accidentally cross-cut into the next line when using scissors. While thicker than most of our other selections, users have noted that tools sink in a little more, allowing for a better grip.
There are very few problems encountered with this liner. A few have complained about sliding, although they have not reported if the drawer was metal, wood, or plastic. Another issue is that the tool box liner material isn’t always cut precisely, leaving the grid lines a little off-center.
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This popular simple non-slip drawer liner has grip bottom cushions to help prevent sliding. It’s machine washable and easy to cut and reposition. The smooth, non-slip surface is completely PVC-free and extremely lightweight. Because the Easy Liner line was designed for any type of shelf, black isn’t the only color, allowing you to pick a liner that matches your tool chest’s paint scheme or use your favorite color to make things more personal.
This liner works really well in a wide variety of environments. While it might not be as durable in a commercial or industrial setting, owners who use this in their home garage have reported excellent results. They have also noted the surface doesn’t feel tacky or sticky at all, unlike similar liners. The surface has very small breathing holes, so moisture will seep through instead of remaining in contact with your tools.
The biggest issue consumers have had with this liner is the grid pattern. The grid is often uneven, and the roll itself is sometimes cut unevenly as a result. When cutting this product to size, it’s best to use a T-square or other straight-edge measuring tool to ensure properly squared corners. All in all, this is probably the best cheap drawer liner you’ll find but if your budget allows, go with one of the more heavier duty options above.
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Other Drawer Liner Ideas
Of course, there are many ways to line a drawer or shelf in your garage or home. The following include some classic ideas, as well as a few less common solutions.
A good cheap option, you can buy exactly how much you need at the carpet department at your local big box home and garden store or even find some leftovers at construction sites. You want low pile so you don’t sacrifice additional drawer height space. Simply cut to fit each drawer and all your tools will be protected. Obviously you won’t have any of the tackiness associated with rubber or foam liners so that may be either good or bad.
Foam fill is a bit more labor intensive but for a cheap DIY tool drawer organization method, it can’t be beat. You’re essentially creating exact sized molds in your tool drawers for specific tools. You’ll quickly know where each tool goes and there’s no chance of any movement. The obvious downside is that you can’t change your mind about where you want to store a particular tool without creating a new drawer mold from the foam fill. MachinistBlog.com has a good “How-To”.
Similar to foam fill in that each tool has a spot, foam sheets such as Kaizen Foam are used to create cut-outs for each tool shape within a drawer. Since you are manually cutting out each tool spot, you’ll need a bit of patience. But if you take your time, the end result is (in my opinion) the cleanest tool drawer organization method out there. Some love this tool insert system but others say it’s not as efficient since it takes just a bit of extra effort to retrieve tools from their custom sized spots.
The same material that wetsuits are made of, neoprene is actually one of the best materials to use as a drawer liner. It’ll outlast most foam liners as it’s much denser and has just the right amount of tackiness. There’s nothing better to put under finer tools such as calipers and micrometers.
Why bother with a liner when you can simply organize your tools into their own compartments? You can get organizer boxes anywhere from a dollar store to a large chain such as Target or WalMart. My personal favorite is the 6-drawer organizer from Harbor Freight. It’s inexpensive and shallow enough to fit into any tool chest drawer. The best part about using an organizer in your tool chest is that you can remove the only containers you’ll need when packing a portable tool box.
Vinyl Utility Runner/Flooring
Typically sold in bulk at your local Lowes or Home Depot, this material is a good option when you have a lot of drawers or shelves to line. It’s easy to cut and install, durable, and will prevent your tools from sliding around.
Other Shelf Liner Ideas
Linoleum or Laminate Tiles
You can often find scraps of these left over from remodeling projects, and they’re relatively inexpensive to buy new. The benefits of using these are easy cleaning and reduced sliding (although they won’t prevent sliding completely). The surfaces will scratch over time under heavy use, at which point they can be simply replaced as needed.
Reusable Shelf Liners
These are cheap rubbery plastic rolls you can pick up at most dollar stores. They’re designed in a grid pattern which allows water and other liquids to drain. The surfaces are naturally tacky, giving them an excellent non-slip quality that’s usually good enough to stand your fine china on.
Wallpaper or Wrapping Paper
This is the traditional answer to lining drawers, as anyone who’s lived in an older home will know from experience. Some modern homes use leftover wrapping paper instead. Both of these make for an attractive drawer, and wallpaper is easy to wipe (although wrapping paper will be damaged by water). Note that these won’t prevent sliding, and wrapping paper can be fragile, making it a poor choice when using in a toolbox.
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