A good quality tool chest doesn’t just give you somewhere to put your tools, it also gives you the ability to organise them for easy, fast access – improving your productivity on a range of tasks. Here’s our guide to what to look out for when you are purchasing a tool chest
What is the difference between a tool box and a tool chest?
This is really about size and capacity. Tool chests are typically larger than tool boxes with more storage capacity, ideal for use in garages and workshops and for storing and organising large tool sets like full spanner or sprocket sets. A good quality tool chest will probably have some kind of combination of drawers and cabinets in different sizes, to separate and order your tools.
Toolboxes, although available in a range of sizes, tend to lean more towards the smaller and more portable. They are a good choice for the casual home DIY-er, or if you need to take a handful of tools with you to work on jobs off-site. These will usually have maybe one or two compartments, which can soon become disorganised as tools are taken out and replaced haphazardly.
With tools or without?
If you are starting to build a new tool collection from scratch, it can be well worth your time and money to buy a tool chest that comes with tools included. You will often save some money this way and you can be sure that all the tools will fit into the chest. Make sure you get a good quality set, however, or you’ll end up spending more to replace broken or damaged tools over the years.
On the other hand, if you already have a substantial collection of tools or need particular or unique items, you will be better off just finding a chest. Make sure your tools and equipment will fit into their new storage, though – you should be able to find options with a variety of drawer or cabinet depths, some of which are even suited to power tools.
Tool chests are typically located in garages, workshops and repair bays – places where tool storage and organisation are most important. You can get specially designed models that can be installed into vans for off-site and mobile projects, so look out for these if you and your staff are on the road a lot.
You will need to think about how secure you want your tools to be. Some models include large magnets or even peg boards on the exterior, so those tools will not be particularly secure. If you have concerns about your tools going missing, then consider a fully enclosed, lockable option.
Unlike smaller tool boxes and bags, which might be made from plastic, fabric, wood or metal, any good quality tool chest is going to be made from metal. If you operate outside or in particularly damp conditions, try to make sure that your chest is watertight (to protect the tools from rain) and the materials are galvanised and/or powder coated (to protect the chest itself).