Top Rated Tool Chests To Keep It All Together in 2018

Whether you’re just starting out buying basic tools or already have an extensive collection, a good tool chest is a must-have for every garage. No matter how careful you are with your tools or how organized you think you are, the plastic cases that tool sets come in won’t last forever, buying individual tools means you will not have a case at all, and even cases of tools need to be stored somewhere at some point.

To solve that problem, you should be looking at getting the best tool chest designed with the mechanic in mind. There are a lot of chests on the market with prices ranging from under $100 to easily over a few thousand for some models made by major tool manufacturers. Instead of thin, cheap tool chests or those high-dollar tool boxes, make your cash go further by taking a look at the two top ranked tool chests below.

Indicators of a quality top chest include such things as drawer linings to protect the chest from dings and scrapes, and ball bearing drawer slides that work smoothly and last longer than other types of drawer mechanisms. Drawer height can be an important factor, but most drawers in top chests are within a fraction of an inch of being the same size. Aside from that, make sure that the chest includes handles if you plan on moving it about, because a box full of tools can be too bulky to move without them.

TOP PICK:

Excel TB2105X-Blue Tool Chest

The Excel TB2105X is a well-crafted tool chest. It has two drawer heights for easy storing of your equipment, 1-9/16 inches and 2-9/16 inches, along with the top rack which provides even more space. One of the things you might appreciate is the fact that the drawers have a liner already installed, so your tools will not scratch up the chest right away.

On the down side (or plus side depending on how you look at it), all 5 drawers fasten with a single lock, and the default is that the top must be open for the drawers to work. You can get around this easily by opening the top, opening the drawers, and then closing the top. The drawers will not fully close, but you will be able to access individual drawers as needed. On the other hand, the single lock makes it easier to secure your tools when the work is done and is preferred by most.

tool-chest-reviewsIf a top tool chest is not enough for your mechanical tool storage, Excel also produces two add-on units that complete the offering. The first, the Excel TB2502X-Blue 26-Inch Steel Intermediate Chest, is a flat-topped tool chest that adds two deeper storage drawers. The other is the Excel TB2605X-Blue26-Inch Steel Roller Cabinet, with 5 drawers of increasing heights. The rolling chest is designed to bottom-chesthold the middle and top chests, forming a complete tool solution.

For portability, store the most commonly needed tools in the top chest, which has recessed side handles for lifting. If you do get the additional features, be prepared for a very slight difference in the color shade as the units may not be an exact match. The difference is not even noticeable by most, but it indicates that the intermediate and lower portions are manufactured at a different facility.

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RUNNER UP:

HOMAK BG02026503 5-Drawer Tool Chest

The Homak 5-drawer top chest is another handy tool chest. The drawers are not quite as deep as on the Excel tool chest, but the overall dimensions are a little larger. The hinged top design provides enough room for you to store large tools in the top, even something as large as a cordless drill or rubber mallet.

Aside from the Homak offering a little extra storage space, the only real difference between the two tool chests is that one comes in blue and the other is black. This model does not have complementary components, but still has portability and enough room for all of your frequently needed tools.

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2 thoughts on “Top Rated Tool Chests To Keep It All Together in 2018

  1. Hard to beat the Harbor Freight’s US General top chests, bottom cabinets and carts as far as bang for the buck goes. Not quite as nice as the Homaks, not near Snap-On quality but, IMO, they are more than good enough for weekend wrenchers, better quality than the Waterloos and Craftsman I used professionally years ago. I know some who use them professionally and they have held up to daily use. I compared them to what Home Depot, Lowes and Costco was selling at the time I bought mine and the US Generals, bought with coupons easily found online, were the winners.

    IMO the money, saved can be used to fill them with decent tools. I’m definitely not a fan of most Harbor Freight tools but I like my HF tool boxes. And I would buy the same top chest, bottom cabinet and carts again. Research is free, mistakes can be costly.

  2. Thanks for the comment. I have to agree regarding the US General line. The only reason why I didn’t include them is because of location. Unless you have a store nearby, you’re looking at about $100-$150 for shipping alone (the tool chests are surprisingly good quality which means HEAVY). Also, their coupons always seem to exclude tool cabinets so for online use it’s a no-go but I’ve found most cashiers will have no problem taking them in-store.

    It’s been a while since I’ve been in a HF (there are none in my area) but I remember there being two lines of chests/cabinets. The cheaper line (much thinner metal) is typical Harbor Freight junk but the higher end line we’re both talking about is outstanding for the price. I still have my 44 inch cabinet from there and the drawers still glide like new. It’s pretty comparable to my Husky tool chest but was definitely cheaper.

    I have plans to update this article to include Harbor Freight as well as Home Depot and Lowes offerings.

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