Craftsman Rolling Tool Box: Is It Ideal for On the Road?
If you’re in the market for a new tool box, there are plenty of options out there. You’ve got everything from Snap-On, if you’ve got the money and like the name, to other brands like DEWALT, Husky, and Craftsman.
Craftsman has long been a popular option for mechanics and machinists. These tool boxes have been around just about forever (May 20, 1927, in fact), and can be found in any mechanic shop or garage across the states. They’re good quality and feature a nice ball bearing system for the drawers. You can pack them full and they’ll still open and shut–quietly too, a nice touch.
Their price is decidedly low to midrange (especially when compared to Snap-On tool boxes), so they’re a good step up for anyone who’s looking to keep their tools safe in the garage, but doesn’t want to spend boatloads of money to do so. You can grab the tool boxes at Sears or Lowes, so they’re easy to get as well.
But what about taking one of these tool boxes on the road?
For mobile mechanics, construction workers, or anyone else who works out in the field, having a good system to house your gear is crucial. The last thing you’d need is a box that’s flimsy, heavy, or not really waterproof. This is one reason why a Craftsman tool box might seem like a good choice –after all, these boxes are sturdy and built well. Why not bring them with you?
Well, for one thing, they’re not exactly mobile. Most of their tool boxes, while they’re sturdy options for the shop, are just not built for the road. In this article, we’ll break down some of the features of the Craftsman rolling tool box, and see what other options are available if you do decide to hit the road with your tools.
A Look at the Craftsman Rolling Tool Box: Features and Specs
It’s not exactly the cheapest option out there, but it’s not a bad price either for the quality that you get. You often see Craftsman tool boxes in shops that have been there for twenty or thirty years. These things really can take a beating. Then there’s the fact that they’re made from steel and have a high load rating. For instance, the 52 inch wide 10 drawer rolling tool cabinet, or roll cab, has a 1,500-pound load rating.
One of the things that the Craftsman name is renowned for is their quality. Their tool boxes, at least their traditional steel ones, are largely indestructible. Their drawers feature a ball bearing system, so they hardly ever come off their tracks and a high load capacity per drawer. Their units also include caster wheels on the bottom so that you can move them around the shop.
What if you wanted to take one of these things on the road? Well, that might be a bad idea. This box is tremendously heavy, and while it does have wheels, they’re castors. It’s not meant for taking out and about.
What about the top portion of the box? While the top portion is smaller, and you could fill it with tools and use it as a mobile tool box, that’s a bit of a stretch. It’s very heavy, and when it’s filled with tools, it’ll be even heavier. It’s not exactly designed to be a portable solution.
There are a number of different options that you can go for including the Craftsman 8-drawer rolling tool box, the Craftsman 6-drawer rolling tool box, and the Craftsman 4-drawer rolling tool box. The main difference is the size and the number of drawers. They are all built roughly the same. Most of their roller cabs have a large workspace on top where most folks stack another tool box.
What about buying one of these used? While they are good quality and built to last, these things seem to be going for quite a bit of money on eBay. So buying used it’s not necessarily the cheapest option if you’re looking for a good deal.
Okay, so we know that the standard Craftsman rolling tool box isn’t designed for mobile use. What about the other systems that they have available? Craftsman has quite a range –and some of their systems are good for on-the-go. Or are they? Let’s look at a few of their more popular options now.
Other Craftsman Tool Systems
Let’s take a look at a few different Craftsman tool box options now.
Craftsman Versastack Rolling Tool Box
Okay, so what about a different Craftsman tool box?
Now, if you’re looking for a Craftsman tool box that’s portable, you may want to consider their plastic wheeled lockable VERSASTACK™ system.
This system is indeed designed for on-the-go use, and it’s made to be stacked with other boxes in the system, so you can get yourself a pretty nifty box set up for on-the-go jobs.
Just keep in mind that there have been some issues with the handle on the Versastack system giving out. It may be fine for most jobs, but it’s up in the air how well it’ll last for extra heavy equipment.
And of course, remember that you’ll have to heave each and every piece in and out of your truck if you’re going from job to job. You’ll also need a way of securing it in the back of the truck (unless you don’t mind it slamming into the sides when you go around corners).
Craftsman Rolling Tool Box Plastic
Next up, we have the Craftsman Sit/Stand/Tote Rolling Tool Box Model SST2. This one appears to be largely unavailable these days –and perhaps for good reason. The whole sit-on concept is a good idea, but there are many, many complaints online about how sitting on this tote made it crack. A lot of the complaints in customer reviews state that the plastic handles seem to be the weak point. It might be a good idea to avoid this tool box altogether unless you’re hauling ultra-lightweight loads or doing infrequent jobs.
Vintage Craftsman Rolling Tool Box
So are there any vintage Craftsman rolling tool boxes available today? A quick search on eBay reveals that yes, there are indeed some rolling around on there (Get it?).
They feature caster wheels and a robust design, but they’re just not made to be mobile.
Again, you might be able to find one of these on eBay, but there’s a good chance that it’s not going to be as portable as you’d like. Once it’s full of tools, it’s going to be a pain to haul around.
Other Tool Systems
Now, let’s take a look at a couple of different tool systems that are perfect for mobile use.
The DECKED Truck Bed Drawer System
If you’re looking for something portable, then one of the best options today is a system that’s built into your truck or van –one that you can take with you wherever you go. This is a solution that many construction workers have been using for decades. Many professionals would go so far as to have a custom-built wooden tool solution built into their work trucks. Sometimes these wooden systems even contained drawers. Of course, they take a considerable amount of time to retrofit a wooden tool system into a truck, and then there’s the issue of weight –not to mention wood isn’t the most robust of materials. The drawers are often a pain to open and shut, especially once they’re filled with tools.
It was this method, and the cumbersome nature of it, that inspired DECKED to create our first line of tool box systems: the DECKED Truck Bed Drawer System. Unlike their wooden predecessors, though, these guys are smoother, stronger, and just all-around easier to use. Oh, and they’re much, much easier to install as well. You can do it in about two hours. No drilling required! So you don’t need to retrofit anything, it all just goes into place.
Just take a look at the finished result:
So how are they made? We use a high-impact polymer resin to create these systems. These systems are injected molded, so they’re made in one piece, rather than being cobbled together after the fact. Then we use steel and aluminum hardware as part of the integrated design. The result is a weather-resistant system that’s resistant to dents as well.
Oh and all of our products are made in the heartland of the USA too. Our factory is in Defiance, Ohio.
They’re extra strong, waterproof and rust-proof, and best of all –built for use out in the field. We also offer a range of inserts if you want to stay even more organized, but you can buy those separately. If you’re just looking for the bare-bones system to get you up and running, you can’t go wrong by purchasing these guys.
Since the tool system is built into the back of the truck, this essentially just raises the surface of your bed. The result is a double-decker system of easy-to-get-to storage. This means ample room for the discrete system and your gear, all of which is safe from prying eyes (and crowbars!). Just lock them up when you’re done, and anyone who’s strolling past won’t know what you’ve got in there. Heck, they probably won’t even notice that the bed’s been lifted. The great thing about this system is that you’ll still have complete use of your truck bed too.
Oh, and these drawers are great for off-duty as well. They play as hard as they work–which is pretty hard. They’re great for ski gear, camping gear, or hunting equipment.
The DECKED Truck Bed Tool Box
If you’re looking for more tool storage, or aren’t sure about installing a system in the back, we offer traditional truck tool boxes as well.
The DECKED Tool Box is a step above regular tool chests. Our systems are waterproof, and since they’re made from a polymer resin, they’re strong as well.
We also have an integrated ladder that folds up into the chest. It’s optional, but it can be a great choice if you’re tired of standing on the tire, doing gymnastics every time you want to reach the gear in the back of your truck.
We have a D-Box that hangs in place right within the chest, so there’s no hunting for lost tools or wondering which black hole your drill got swallowed up into. Just like our Truck Bed Drawer System, the Truck Bed Tool Box is crowbar-safe too. It’s also resistant to scuffs, dents, and dings. Your tools will also be less likely to “walk off” with this system. The chest can’t be removed from the truck unless the lid is open. If you’ve got the key, then you’ll be golden. How much can it take? It’s been tested at 180 degrees and -5 degrees, with 500 pounds in the back–with absolutely no issues with the payload.
So there you have it: a look at Craftsman tool boxes, how they work, and a couple of options that might be a better fit if you’re doing work out in the field.
At the end of the day, you need a tool box that works hard so you can too. You’ll be able to get more done, with less hassle, with a tool box that’s built for your needs.
Curious about how this tool system stacks up? Take a look at this video: DECKED 101 | Everything You Wanted to Know About DECKED Drawer Systems. See this system in action!