The Famous Snap-on Tool Box Warranty: Is It Everything They Say?
Snap-on tool boxes are legendary, and not just in the automotive industry. Many a well-funded home garage or professional workshop boasts one or more Snap-on rolling tool box units, and mechanics all over the world aspire to own a full set of Snap-on tool Boxes one day. But why are they so popular? Is the quality really that good?
A Snap-on tool box is definitely a top-of-the-line item, but you can get the same quality of materials and craftsmanship at a lower price from other companies. The real deal-maker for Snap-on tool boxes (and Snap-on tools) is their legendary lifetime warranty and high resale value.
Mechanics and professionals of all kinds believe that a Snap-On tool box set (which can easily cost more than a new car) is an investment. They feel that it will not only ensure their ability to work productively, but it is also covered against anything. They feel confident that it will be repaired or replaced if anything happens to it. They see a Snap-on tool box as being a “tool box for life.”
Well, maybe there was a time when that was true. Today, though, that legendary warranty has a lot more loop-holes than it used to. The people who administer and enforce the warranty have also become a lot more particular about what they will and won’t repair without a fight.
So, let’s take a much closer look at that warranty, at some of the famous products it covers, and a few DECKED brand alternatives for the mechanic on the move.
What Do The Warranty Terms And Conditions For A Snap-on Tool Box Actually Say?
Let’s start with the actual “lawyer language” of that warranty as it exists today, and then put it into plain English.
The warranty, which you can find at https://www.snapon.com/Terms-and-Conditions-of-Sale, says:
“During the applicable duration of the applicable personal use warranty, at its option, Snap-on will repair or replace its Products which fail to meet the personal use warranty standards, or provide a refund by repaying or crediting Customer with an amount equal to the purchase price of such Products. Repair, replacement, or refund shall be at the election and expense of Snap-on, and is Customer's exclusive remedy in place of all other rights and remedies. This warranty only extends to the original Customer and cannot be transferred or assigned.”
There are a few weasel-words here, which we’ll address below. The most important limitation at this stage is that the warranty is for the first owner only, and cannot be transferred. This isn’t unusual or shady in any way, but it is something some used Snap-on tool box buyers don’t know. A used Snap-on tool box is not covered by the famous warranty.
The warranty later states:
“Snap-on warrants to Customers who purchase Product from authorized Snap-on distribution channels for use in their profession that Snap-on® brand Products and Blue-Point® brand Products will be free from defects in workmanship and materials for a duration described in each Product's warranty code. The warranty duration depends upon the nature of the Product.”
The take-away here is that the warranty on your Snap-on tool box might not be a lifetime warranty at all. Check closely with the dealer when you buy.
In a later section, it says:
“During the applicable duration of the warranty, at its option, Snap-on will repair or replace its Products which fail to give satisfactory service due to defective workmanship or materials, or provide a refund by repaying or crediting Customer with an amount equal to the purchase price of such Products.”
Now we come to the first real weaselly part. They promise only to repair or replace a Snap-On tool box which fails due to poor materials or poor workmanship. This specifically does not cover normal wear and tear or the normal kind of hard use these tool boxes see in a professional garage, let alone weird accidents.
“In addition to any limitations outlined in warranty statements provided with the Product, Snap-on does NOT provide any warranty for (1) products labeled other than Snap-on or Blue-Point or (2) products subjected to "abnormal use"… …"Abnormal use" includes misuse, accident, modification, unreasonable use, abuse, neglect, lack of maintenance, use in product-related service, or use after the product is significantly worn. Abnormal use of tool storage units also includes, without limitation, situations when a unit is pulled using a mechanical vehicle, rolled over large drops, used in a highly corrosive environment, used as a step stool, modified with non-Snap-on parts, overloaded or modified in any way.”
Now, I’m not sure what “use in product-related service” means, and I graduated from the second-best law school in Kansas. OK, maybe third best. But the point remains. This could be a problem for many professional mechanics, if they choose to interpret it against you.
In addition, “abnormal use” includes continuing to use a Snap-on tool box after it has become worn. In the meanest possible interpretation (which is that standard you have to use when speaking “lawyer”), once a Snap-on tool box becomes significantly worn you have to stop using it. If you keep using it, you have violated the warranty.
It is not the lifetime warranty it used to be.
What About Snap-on Tool Box Prices?
Are all Snap-on tool boxes as expensive as new cars? No, of course not. They make a rolling tool satchel that costs less than $150. But when people think of a Snap-on tool box, they picture a big mechanic-grade combination box with 15 or 20 drawers. Does that have to cost as much as a new car? No. That can cost as little as a used car. A very nice used car. Or maybe a new Chevy Spark, if you can talk the dealer down by a few hundred and don’t get the nice radio.
Go On, Tell Us About The Most Expensive Snap-on Tool Box
OK. Everyone wants to hear what the most expensive Snap-on tool box is this month. But we really have to define the terms first. We have to look at only single piece tool boxes here. If you start playing with the Snap-on tool configurator app, you can Lego yourself a wall of gleaming tool storage that had better include a bedroom, because you’ll have to sell your house to get it. We also won’t consider rare collector’s items. Only ones you can buy new from a regular dealer (and have any hope of getting the warranty on).
So, the single most expensive Snap-on tool box at the moment is the 144-inch, 26-drawer, 5-bank EPIQ Roll Cab with Power Drawer. This comes in red, gloss black, or midnight blue with chrome trim, or in “storm gray” with black trim and badges (Dracula’s tool-coffin). The price for any color scheme? A cool $30,670.
How many new cars is that? 2 x 2021 Chevy Sparks, with the good radios and maybe the nice seats.
Is It Worth Buying A Used Snap-on Tool Box?
Honestly, yes, if it is in good shape. Check it for rust, especially along the bottom where it is hard to see or clean. But without any hope of the warranty lingering on, the resale value of these boxes is quite reasonable. A Snap-on tool box will generally hold up to time and use rather well, so a 20-year-old used box could last another 20 or longer. Or the wheels could come off in transit. You never know. Most users seem happy with their used Snap-on tool boxes, at least.
A Detailed Look At A Few Snap-on Tool Box Products
72-Inch, 12-Drawer Triple-Bank Masters Series Roll Cab With PowerDrawer and SpeeDrawer
This Master Series Snap-on tool box is a rolling bottom box with full-width drawers at the top and compression suspension casters which can support just under a ton of weight. The PowerDrawer features 5 power outlets and 2 USB charging ports. The SpeeDrawer has movable dividers and is intended to help keep fasteners and other small parts organized.
This piece costs $14,855, or approximately one Chevy Spark.
72-Inch, 15-Drawer Triple-Bank Masters Series Top Chest
This Snap-on top tool box is suitable for mounting on the 72-inch roll cab above. Matching paint and trim are available.
The drawers lock while moving, and each can hold a generous 227 pounds. The top lid opens easily on gas shocks. Non-slip drawer liners are included.
The price? $10,050 new or 0.72 Chevy Sparks.
40-Inch, 7-Drawer Single Bank Heritage Series Roll Cab
This Snap-on 7 drawer tool box is a good all-arounder. It will fit well in a garage or small shop, and will accept nearly any 40-inch top box. The top drawer features double slides for a hefty 250-pound capacity, while the single slide drawers can each hold 120 pounds.
It has 4 6-inch by 2-inch monoprene casters. The total weight of the box is 275 pounds, and its total load capacity is 2,400 pounds.
What does it cost? This Snap-on 7 drawer tool box is a steal at just 0.17 Chevy Sparks, or $2,420 in a more conventional currency.
40-Inch, 6-Drawer Single Bank Heritage Series Roll Cab
This great example of the Heritage series could be the Snap-on 6-drawer tool box for you. Each drawer is rated at a full 100 pounds load, but these drawers can be fitted with double slides, increasing their capacity to 200 pounds.
It is mounted on 2, 5-inch fixed wheels and 2, 5-inch lockable pivot casters. The total weight is 265 pounds and load capacity is 1,300 pounds.
At $2,280, this Snap-on 6 drawer tool box is the equivalent of 0.16 new Chevy Sparks.
Mac Tools Titan Tool Box
This Snap-on Intimidator tool box is a part of the special edition line Snap-on made to honor Dale Earnhardt (called “The Intimidator”) just before the turn of the 21st century. There were quite a few different pieces in the Intimidator and Intimidator II lines, and you still see them up for auction on a regular basis.
How much does it cost? That all depends on the auction you attend, the quality of the individual box, and of course, its size. Something like the one pictured could easily set you back between $6,000 and $8,000, or just roughly ½ of a Chevy Spark.
The DECKED Tool Box – Just As Good As Snap-on, But Mobile
A genuine DECKED Tool Box fits behind the cab of a working truck or pick-up. It is a perfect way to transport a large collection of tools, or to hold any kind of gear you could imagine.
The DECKED Tool Box is weather-tight and securely lockable. In fact, the lock and its surrounding mount is heavily armored to prevent unauthorized access. Better still, the DECKED Tool Box can be used as a tool organization system. It comes with a DECKED D-Box and Snack Tray small parts container, and many other organizational extras are available.
The DECKED Drawer System – A Two Ton Tool Box That Drives With You
The DECKED Drawer System gives you a full 2,000 pounds of tool and gear storage. It is easily the equal of most Snap-on tool boxes in terms of cargo, but also in materials quality, and craftsmanship. The entire system is designed, built, and sold in the USA, and will last as long as your truck (and probably longer).
The DECKED Drawer System actually increases the usable area of your truck bed, because it sits at or above the wheel wells in most vehicles. This lets you use the entire bed width and length for more types of cargo. Better still, it protects the actual bed of your truck from damage.
We hope you learned a little about Snap-on tool boxes and the famous Snap-on warranty, as well as some of the more mobile alternatives from DECKED. Snap-on might be the garage-bound tool box of choice, but when you need to take your tools on the road, you need DECKED.