The Montezuma Tool Box: How Does It Stack Up To DECKED?
Montezuma tool boxes have been making a name for themselves in recent years, so we thought we’d take a critical look at them. We’ll see what they offer in terms of handheld tool boxes, workshop tool chests, and (most importantly for DECKED) what Montezuma truck tool box offerings have going for them.
After examining a few for ourselves and looking for the kinds of issues that turn up in Montezuma tool box reviews, we can say that a Montezuma tool box is a solid purchase for most purposes. The materials used are generally good. While a Montezuma tool box won’t have the build quality you’d expect from Snap-on, it won’t have the kind of price tag you’d expect from a Snap-on tool box either.
Montezuma Tool Boxes Come In Three Main Categories:
Steel tool boxes
Montezuma classifies all of these as simply “toolboxes,” but there are really 2 subclasses here. First there are smaller hand-portable utility boxes and then there are worksite or truckbed toolboxes.
The handheld steel toolboxes from Montezuma are good quality. The steel is strong and well-welded. The styling is a bit lacking (dull colored rectangles), but the simple crate shape does make them convenient to drop into a truck bed and go.
Montezuma truck tool boxes are called “jobsite boxes'' because they are not primarily designed for in-truck use. Most are far too big to lug around by hand, especially when full. They are again made of sturdy steel and feature secure locking mechanisms. Most are mounted on rails to raise them up a bit from the ground. These come pre-drilled for mounting directly into your truckbed. Again, Montezuma truck tool boxes aren’t stylish, but they attempt to deliver maximum secure tool and gear storage while eating up a bare minimum of bed space by being simple rectangles.
“Triangles”, which most of us would call Shopboxes
This type of Montezuma tool box is, unsurprisingly, triangle-shaped. They can be used as a top box on a tool cabinet, but can also be placed directly on a static work surface. The large top hatch opens up to reveal storage and organization space for small hand tools. These are a great place to keep your wrenches, socket sets, screwdrivers, and anything else you want to keep ready-to-hand in the workshop.
The build quality is good, but not stellar. They don’t have the lifetime repair or replace warranty you’d get from Snap-on toolboxes, but they don’t cost more than your teenager’s first car either. Good value for money in the middle of the market.
Tool Cabinets and Wheeled carts
The last category of Montezuma tool box consists of wheeled tool cabinets, top boxes, and combination tool chest sets. Overall, build quality is good. The drawers run smoothly, and as you would expect in any mid- or high-market tool chest, the deeper drawers have 2 sets of ball-bearing slides.
They are available in a range of sizes, from 36 inches wide to 72 inches. Montezuma does not seem to offer any intermediate boxes at the moment, but they do offer un-wheeled side boxes. A typical Montezuma tool box for up to 56 inches has 4 wheels, while the 72-inch models mount 6 wheels.
Should You Buy A Montezuma Tool Box?
If you need a good quality tool storage solution for the workshop, but don’t want to pay top-dollar for a high-end name, a Montezuma tool box isn’t a bad choice. They are good quality pieces and great value for money. The only real criticism that comes to mind is their lack of color options, and that is of minimal importance.
However, if you need a way to transport your tools to the worksite, a truck-mounted storage solution that doesn’t eat up half your bed, or a way to keep your gear secure overnight or when unattended, you could do better. We’ll look at a few DECKED solutions that might be more suitable later on.
Would A Working Professional Be Happy With A Montezuma Tool Box?
Generally, yes. A Montezuma tool box or combination box like the Montezuma Tool Box 41 or the Montezuma Tool Box 72 is a good choice for most users. It is robust, functional and attractive. The build quality is excellent for this price range, and you won’t be disappointed in the caster or the slides. Don’t expect to leave a Montezuma tool box to your children, especially if you’re still young, but they’ll do their duty well in almost any kind of shop.
What About A Montezuma Tool Box For Trucks?
You might be less happy with Montezuma truck tool box options. The tool box for trucks Montezuma makes aren’t very attractive, and for something that is going to be very visible on a pick-up or work truck, that is an important factor. For resale, if nothing else. They are solidly built and secure, but despite their optimization of utility over appearance, they don’t make incredibly good use of space. If truckbed space is a key factor for you, consider something like the DECKED drawer system, which we’ll look at more closely later. It provides more storage capacity, better organization, and improved security. But most importantly, you’ll actually gain a few square feet of bed space.
Why You Might Not Want A Montezuma Tool Box
While a Montezuma tool box is generally good value for money, that’s because they have a distinctly mid-market price. You will be making a few compromises, especially if you are choosing between Montezuma and a brand like Snap-on or DECKED.
The quality of the materials used to build the average Montezuma tool box is good, but some customers report drawers with a great deal of flex to them, especially when loaded to near the official weight rating.
The matte finish (the only finish available on most models) tends to hold dirt and grime in a way that a gloss finish generally doesn’t. It can be easily cleaned, but a garage or workshop is a grimy, oily place. You don’t want to add to your clean-up problems.
While this is only likely to be a headache once, the casters are difficult to fit to the main body of a Montezuma tool box wheeled cart or bottom box.
A Detailed Look At A Few Montezuma Tool Box Products
Montezuma 15-inch steel shopbox SB150B
This steel triangular tool organizer is too small to work as a top box for most wheeled tool chests, but fits conveniently on a workbench. It has space for a 22-piece socket set, as well as a few hand tools and supplies.
This Montezuma tool box lacks any locks, but it does have eyelets for small padlocks. It has a handle at the top, and even when full, should not be too heavy to carry easily. Because that is the case, it is nice that the lid closes flush with the socket tines, preventing sockets from falling off if the toolbox is dropped.
At just under $120, this is a good little tool organizer for small jobs.
Montezuma 41-inch steel shopbox DX411B
At the other end of the spectrum, you see the Montezuma tool box 41-inch triangular shopbox. There is no question of this being hand-portable, especially when full. This box is said to have room for more than 280 tools and tool accessories, and that seems accurate. The piece is made of 16-gauge steel, and feels quite solid.
The whole thing is designed in 2 tiers, with an internal hatch securing a large bay underneath and an extensive set of socket tines. The lid even offers a weather seal around the main lid, which may protect your tools from damp if the toolbox is exposed. The powder coat finish is outdoor-compliant as well, being rated against moderate UV. This model does offer integrated locks as well.
Expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,150 for this top-of-the-line triangular Montezuma tool box.
Montezuma 36-inch, 10-drawer rolling combination box BKM362404CH and BKM362406TC
This is the smallest Montezuma tool box that comes as a combination cabinet set. It measures just 3 feet wide, but is 24 inches deep compared to the “standard” 36-inch box which is 18” deep. Each of the 10 drawers is rated at 150 pounds and operates on a pair of ball bearing slides. Both the top and bottom boxes have AC and USB power sockets as well.
The casters on Montezuma tool box bottom boxes are very good, even on their smaller models. Gas struts make opening the lid of the top box easy, and solid tubular locks provide reasonable security. The entire thing weighs a little under 400 pounds, and its total weight rating with tools is 1,800 pounds. It wouldn’t be impossible to get 1,400+ pounds of gear into this, but you’d have to be good at Tetris.
At between $2,200 and $2,600 for the set, this is inexpensive for what it is. Very well suited for garage or home workshop use.
Montezuma 72-inch 26-drawer combination box BKM723010CH and BKM723016TC
This is easily the biggest Montezuma tool box on offer, especially if you get a pair of side cabinets (not included). It is a respectable 72 inches wide and 30 inches deep, where many mid-range and budget tool chests are only 24 inches. Sometimes you’ll see these listed as Montezuma Tool Box 30” instead of Montezuma Tool Box 72” for this reason. Each of the 26 drawers is rated at 250 pounds, and both the top and bottom boxes offer power supplies. Six solid Montezuma casters bear the weight of all this steel and more than a ton of tools or equipment without complaint.
This is a really solid offering from Montezuma. It doesn’t directly compete with brands like Snap-on, but it is easily the equal of a Husky or anything Rockin’ tool boxes has to offer.
Montezuma tool box Jobsite series
Montezuma tool box’s truck-mountable Jobsite Boxes come in 36-inch, 45-inch and 48-inch models. These are built solidly of plate steel with adequate reinforcements and fully welded seams. The skid rails make these Montezuma tool boxes moveable by fork-lift, though the side handles mean 2 people could just about maneuver the largest ones safely if they were unloaded first. The entire chest is reasonably weatherproof as well.
With the smallest models coming in at just under $450 and the largest just under $800, these aren’t cheap. Like most everything Montezuma tool box makes, these give value for money. However, their truck-mountability is more of an afterthought than a primary design feature. One model or another will fit in almost all pick-ups and working trucks, but they will fit awkwardly in most. They are also just a bare box inside, with no tool organization options at all.
The DECKED Tool Box – A Better Truck Mountable Tool Box Solution
DECKED Tool Boxes mount solidly to the rails of most modern pick-ups and working trucks, so you don’t have to drill holes in your bed. It is constructed primarily of a recyclable polymer (and contains a high percentage of recycled material), along with substantial steel and aluminum reinforcing. The lock is literally armored, making sure what you put inside stays inside.
The DECKED Drawer System – More Storage Without Sacrificing Bed Space
The DECKED Drawer System gives you a full ton of secure and weatherproof tool and gear storage while actually increasing the usable area of your truck bed. It does this by placing two high-capacity drawers under a resilient polymer truck bed protector. Because the protector mounts over the wheel wells and the drawers mount between them, you get to use the full width of your bed for any purpose.
Just like the DECKED Tool Box, the DECKED Drawer System is made of heavily reinforced high-impact plastic resin. That means the bed and the drawers can withstand just about any load you can fit inside them as well as pile on top of them.
So, now you know as much as we do about what Montezuma tool box has to offer, as well as how their various tool box lines compare to their competitors. Just remember, if you’re looking for secure, weatherproof vehicle-mounted tool storage, and organization, look to DECKED first.