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pheller
pheller UltimaDork
7/10/19 2:50 p.m.

I currently have about 5 toolboxes, and another maybe 2-3 smaller totes filled random tools for bikes, cars, home projects. Most of my toolboxes are of the stacking tray type - one tray for the tools you use often, another to hide things below you used once, a long time ago. 

Thus, I've got 5 toolboxes, roughly 10 trays, only 5 of which I actually use.  In fact, it may be less than that, because I've got whole toolboxes that I rarely use anything in it. 

The primary problem with most portable toolboxes is the tray depth - rather shallow. Great for wrenches or screwdrivers or other flat things, pretty piss poor for everything else. So all those bulky tools that I use often just sit out. 

Larger, rolling toolboxes have deeper trays, so you can store larger, commonly used items in those trays, as well flatter tools in the shallower trays. Nice. Although larger rolling toolboxes have one BIG flaw - they are BIG. Heavy. Hope your friends are free on the days you gotta move that sucker. 

So here's my question: 

Are big, rolling toolboxes worth it for the commitment to space, lack or portability, cost, ability to hold lots of junk you may or may not need? Has anyone had a big toolbox and got rid of it in favor of smaller boxes? 

Curtis
Curtis GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/10/19 3:18 p.m.

My input:  I have one of these:

30 in. 5 Drawer Red Mechanic's Cart 64059 alternate photo #1

This one has all of my sockets/ratchets/extensions in the top, the next drawer has pliers, then screwdrivers, then the bottom drawer has end wrenches.  The fat drawer on the right has a timing light, multi meter, OBD2 reader, etc.

 

Then I have one of these:

44 in. x 22 In. Double Bank Red Roller Cabinet 64133 alternate photo #1

This has all the other stuff.  Drawers for drill bits, picks, files/drifts/punches, other automotive specialty tools (like dwell meter, caliper tool, drum brake tools, etc),  one for electrical.  The big drawer at the top has all my pneumatic tools.

I did it this way so that I can roll the small one over to the car easily for most jobs.  Any tools I need from the big chest can be thrown on the bottom shelf for that project.  This saves me rolling the big monster around.

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
7/10/19 3:18 p.m.

Super relevant to my interests at the moment. Tired of lugging my two seriously overloaded boxes around, and very worth it to clear the space in the garage for a proper box. And since I can't fit a car in the garage I need something mobile. Started looking for something like this:

30 in. 5 Drawer Black Mechanic's Cart 64033 alternate photo #1

As seen here. That would hold most of the stuff I own (maybe, it'd be crowdy in there)  and I could stash the rest of the stuff I use less often. But The more I think about it the more I like this:

Husky 46 in. W x 18.1 in. D 9-Drawer Tool Chest Mobile Workbench with Solid Wood Top

As seen here. This isn't much more, should be pretty mobile, and would hold everything. Bonus workbench too. Jury is still out though.

rustybugkiller
rustybugkiller HalfDork
7/10/19 3:25 p.m.

I have one large tool box in the working garage for my hand tools. It’s a craftsman 52” I think. Still need more room since I keep my air tools on a shelf above the bench. 

I do have another small tool box in the house garage for house hand tools. 

Stefan
Stefan GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/10/19 3:25 p.m.

I've got two medium rolling boxes to hold all of my wrenches, ratchets and related tools.

When I work on a car, I pull it into the driveway/garage and the tools are all organized in the boxes so I can find them and put them away when done.

For woodworking or working on things around the house, I tend to have larger tools in their own carriers on the shelf or a tote or two I can load up with the tools I'll need.

When I used to go to salvage yards, I either had a spare cheap toolset that I kept in the car or I'd fill a tote back with tools from the larger box and put it in the car when I would go.

I know there are some people who use "job boxes" for specific tasks, which makes sense if you're doing similar jobs often enough to require it.

A tune up box for example would have screw drivers, pliers, oil filter wrench, etc.

It depends on the space you have and the type of work you're doing.  If you're more stationary and organized, then larger boxes may make sense.  If you're more mobile or spread out, then smaller boxes for specific jobs may make sense.

akamcfly
akamcfly Dork
7/10/19 3:29 p.m.

 

I have this and it's overflowing with mostly tools.  I need something else for wood working and power tools. I have portables too for outside jobs, but they all eventually go back into the big box. I'm going with shelves and totes for parts, fasteners and consumables. I'm likely going to get a rolling shop cart for the "electronics lab" upstairs. 

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/10/19 3:32 p.m.
Curtis said:

My input:  I have one of these:

30 in. 5 Drawer Red Mechanic's Cart 64059 alternate photo #1

This one has all of my sockets/ratchets/extensions in the top, the next drawer has pliers, then screwdrivers, then the bottom drawer has end wrenches.  The fat drawer on the right has a timing light, multi meter, OBD2 reader, etc.

DANGER BOX!!!

 

pheller
pheller UltimaDork
7/10/19 3:38 p.m.

With HF rolling toolbox, do the 20%-25% off coupons work?

RevRico
RevRico PowerDork
7/10/19 3:38 p.m.

I have a big roller in the garage and a little rolling one in the shop where I actually work. I've been trying for a year now to get help changing the locations of the two. 

I thought a little one would be nice but it's too small to actually be useful where I do most things, and needs to be reorganized constantly because so little stuff actually fits in the drawers. 

Robbie
Robbie GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/10/19 3:51 p.m.

Im going to build something like this and ditch my toolbox all together:

Stefan
Stefan GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/10/19 4:28 p.m.

In reply to Robbie :

That stuff stresses me out and seems to be a waste of perfectly good wall space that could be better spent on storage or even decoration.

Most people I see with setups like that are either showing off what they have because they don't actually use it, or its a jumbled mess because they do use it, but don't or won't take time to put it back.  The final kind are in high school shop classes where its easier to inventory what is missing and allow for more people to access tools at once.

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo SuperDork
7/10/19 4:32 p.m.

Wall hangers - no thanks.  Too hard to expand, and if you ever want to change your setup, forget it.  Wall hanging and shadow boards are for production environments, nothing more.  Plus your stuff gets dirty all the time and it can't be locked up too easy.

Perfect solution for me has been two 72"Matco rollaways, one with a full width top and one with a smaller top set to one side, and a small toolbox just with special bike repair tools since I am out of real estate in my big boxes to have a dedicated bike drawer.

I got the wife a tool cart like Curtis has just to keep her stuff in, keeps her from messing around with my tools, plus its fun for her.   

I also have a rolling cart that my drill press is on that I use for overflow storage for things with blowmolded cases, nail guns, other large and infrequently used items.

 

 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
7/10/19 5:15 p.m.
pheller said:

With HF rolling toolbox, do the 20%-25% off coupons work?

I am pretty sure not, but those boxes go on sale with a coupon pretty regularly ($230 to $190)

P.S. Coupons are the go to way to get deals on anything other then then smaller stuff.

Cotton
Cotton PowerDork
7/10/19 5:56 p.m.

We’re moving soon and I’m building a bigger shop at the new place.  I currently have 6 smaller toolboxes and have grown to hate them.  I plan to give them away and get a large setup,  probably the biggest setup HF has as they seem to be getting very good reviews.

noodle
noodle GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/10/19 6:34 p.m.

I've owned a big MAC box, a vintage Snap-On with custom side box, and the obligatory $180 Harbor freight box.  I'm currently thinking of trying out one of Adam Savage's home made designs....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWQAYfGxsPE&t=2s

Torkel
Torkel Reader
7/10/19 7:21 p.m.

I have both. I have one biiig (and quite sexy) toolbox where I can, in a well organized fashion, store a lot of tools. 

 

But, I also have a smaller box and that contains, in reality) all the tools needed for ~90% the work I do. And the very top section of that toolbox contains all the tools needed to do ~85% of all the work I do and therefore, I have taken the time to organize it very carefully (embrace your OCD!). 

At this point, you might have guessed how much I hate looking for the right tool. I also rarely loose my tools, since I can see right away if a tool is missing. The top section is heavy, but possible to lift and take along to the track. 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
7/11/19 1:59 p.m.
pheller said:

With HF rolling toolbox, do the 20%-25% off coupons work?

Turns out, they have a coupon this month on the home page:  https://www.harborfreight.com/

(those actually go on sale pretty often)

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
7/12/19 10:30 p.m.

Bought the HF roller. 

And even squeezed it in the garage. It’ll be a tight fit getting all my stuff in there but better than the plethora of boxes, bags, blow-molded cases I currently have scattered everywhere. 

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
7/13/19 8:51 a.m.

If you're buying new, I think the Harbor Freight boxes are the best bang for the buck.  They're surprisingly well built and sturdy.  If you're looking at used, there are sometimes bargains for name brand boxes (Snap-On, Matco, etc.) although I never seem to find them myself.

TJL
TJL Reader
7/13/19 10:12 a.m.

I have a big black craftsman(BBC?) ball bearing box and 3 carts, small boxes, boxes of overflow/extra. Probably 5-6 different sets of wrenches and sockets. 99% of the time i use this. About 90$ on amazon, quite good quality and all in a slim case. Rarely do i need anything thats not in here.

https://www.amazon.com/Crescent-CTK170CMP2-Mechanics-Tool-170-Piece/dp/B00F4AVRGW

Robbie
Robbie GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/13/19 10:12 a.m.
stuart in mn said:

If you're buying new, I think the Harbor Freight boxes are the best bang for the buck.  They're surprisingly well built and sturdy.  If you're looking at used, there are sometimes bargains for name brand boxes (Snap-On, Matco, etc.) although I never seem to find them myself.

People spend a ridiculous amount on name brand boxes so they also usually think they are worth a ridiculous amount on the used market.

I've never even seen a used name brand cheaper than a new hf.

Robbie
Robbie GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/13/19 10:18 a.m.

Re: wall hanging.

It might not be for everyone but I'm trying to maximize available floor space, while also reducing the time spent looking for tools and putting them away. I do not want the tool wall over a work bench, that is a recipe for junk on the bench (for me at least).

It's very easy to expand and reorganize a tool wall, just pull the nails/screws and reset.

Also, I want to be able to grab a tool with one hand. I don't need to lock them. And they sometimes get used so they are already dirty.

What I know is I don't love my current toolbox sitch. I'll try the wall and see how it works out.

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/9/20 2:26 p.m.

 I have several large boxes- I own a lot of tools. They stay by the walls. They are for tool STORAGE  

When working on a project, I roll out one of these:


It starts empty on the top shelf.  The bottom shelf is loaded with stuff I always need- zip ties, primer, rags, gloves, cleaner, etc.

The top is big enough to carry quite a few tools and parts, but not big enough to get out of control.  I roll it close to where I am working- within arm's reach.  I toss broken parts in it, tools, whatever.

When it gets too sloppy, I put stuff away.  When a project is finished, I put everything away, wipe it clean, and start again.

Its a great way to keep track of tools, make sure I reinstalled all the parts, etc.  
 

It's a lifesaver for a guy who is not naturally neat and organized.

 

 

slefain
slefain PowerDork
4/9/20 2:46 p.m.
johnkaplan said:

I saw a heavy duty steel box at a trade show recently.  It was swiveled and it a 2in1 workbench toolbox combo.  It had a 1/4 in steel top and was super heavy duty.  [website] sells them and they always seem to have a discount available.  

Do they have swivel canoe storage?

wawazat
wawazat HalfDork
4/9/20 5:44 p.m.

I've got a big rolling box from Costco that is home base for most of the stuff.  I also have a plastic, plumbing specific box that is accessible and mobile.  Works for me.

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