The UnderCover Swing Case Tool Box… And A Few Alternatives
Is the UnderCover Swing Case truck tool box all that it is cracked up to be? It has its stand-out features as well as its problems. Let’s look a little closer and see if the UnderCover Swing Case tool box is right for you, or whether you need something else entirely.
What Is A Swing Case Tool Box, Anyway?
A swing case truck bed tool box mounts to the inside of your truck bed, along either the driver’s or passenger’s side rails. What differentiates them from standard side-mounted truck bed tool boxes is that they are mounted on a hinge near the tailgate or rear hatch, allowing them to swing out for easier access. Most have a wheel-well shaped cut-out to fit the space better. This gives them a distinctive shape sometimes compared to a pork chop.
Is The UnderCover Swing Case Tool Box The Only One On The Market?
Far from it. There are several brands making good quality swing case or “pork chop” style truck bed tool boxes, and a few cheap knock-offs as well. We’ll look at options like the Maxi Trac swing case tool box, the Dezee Tool Box swing case, and a few swing case tool box alternatives from – you guessed it – DECKED.
Should You Buy An UnderCover Swing Case Truck Bed Tool Box?
That all depends on your truck (or SUV), your tools, and how you use them. Almost everyone with a “working truck” of any kind needs to access some kind of equipment or gear, and needs a way to keep it tucked away conveniently when they’re not accessing it. If they have an open-bed pick-up, they also need to keep that gear safe from the weather and unauthorized access. The swing case tool box offered by UnderCover does all of this well, but it isn’t really exceptional. There are plenty of other good options available.
The amount of space in the bed a swing case truck bed tool box is going to occupy is an issue. Many people use every square inch of their truck bed regularly. The sturdiness of the design is another issue. Any swing case tool box design will, at some point, put the entire weight of all your tools and equipment on a single hinge.
If you have a great deal of gear to move, or if your tools are particularly heavy, you might want a solution that gives you just as much ready access to your tools but is more securely mounted to the truck bed. You might even prefer an under-bed tool storage solution that will keep your entire bed free.
Here, we’ll look at how the UnderCover Swing Case tool box performs, its best features and the issues that might annoy some users most.
Why You Might Like UnderCover’s Swing Case Tool Box
The Undercover Swing Case Truck Bed Tool Box is a quality build overall. It is available to fit most makes of modern working trucks and SUVs, and installs easily without any special tools. It swings out easily, and locks back into its side position easily. Most of the truck bed space it takes up is the hard-to-use space blocked out by the wheel wells, so many users won’t miss the square footage the boxes take up.
As you might expect from a brand called UnderCover, these tool boxes do fit under a standard tonneau cover perfectly. Like most brands of swing case tool box, you can buy UnderCover’s swing case tool box in both “right handed” and “left handed” versions, for mounting in the driver’s and passenger’s sides of the bed, respectively.
Why The UnderCover Swing Case Tool Box Might Not Be The Right Choice
The swing case tool boxes offered by UnderCover are not without their flaws. They do not appear to be particularly durable. Their all-plastic construction makes us wonder if they will hold up to long use or store very heavy gear while in the “swing out” position. The plastic does not appear to be particularly UV resistant, either. This will be less of an issue for this with a tonneau cover or other bed covering, but it will be a serious issue for others.
Security is a concern. The Undercover Swing Case tool box comes with an integrated lock, but it is not a very sturdy one. It seems like a determined thief could have it open fairly quickly and quietly, though we haven’t tested that.
The UnderCover swing case tool box had a few utility issues as well. For example, you cannot open either driver’s or passenger’s side mounted units fully when they are locked into the “stowed” position. That means that if you ever need to access your tools or gear when you have a full load in the bed—a very common occurrence—you might have to unload the bed to access larger tools. That would cause a fair amount of cursing, one would think.
Finally, mounting these swing case truck bed tool boxes on at least some truck models requires you to screw self-tapping screws into the truck bed itself. This isn’t particularly onerous, but many users will hesitate to damage their bed to install a tool box.
Swing Case Tool Boxes From Different Manufacturers
Maxi Trac Swing Case Tool Box
Maxi Trac’s swing case tool box offering is not vehicle-specific, so don’t expect a precise fit. This plastic swing case tool box is rated for up to 75 pounds of tools or gear. Its lid features a keyed lock, and a moisture seal to keep light weather out of your tools.
This wheel well tool, box swing case option offers no internal dividers or organization features. It is available only in black. It is worth noting that the entire tool box and mounting hardware weighs only 5½ pounds, so don’t expect heavy duty construction.
Dee Zee Tool Box Swing Case
The Dee Zee DZ95B Gloss Black Wheel Well Tool Box isn’t bad for what it is. It looks like a steel swing case tool box at first glance, but it is in fact made of diamond plate aluminum with a black powder coat. This model is only available in a driver’s side version. Reviewers mention its thin body panels and the ease with which the locking lid can be pried off, some say by hand.
Other reviewers note that it is visually attractive and light, and quite suitable for holding small tools and general gear. Overall, this seems to be a “budget quality” unit at a premium price.
Telawei Swing Case Tool Box
These are definitely a “Budget” option, but there is room in the market for that. They are made of thin plastic that will not stand up to a beating, though the screws and mounting hardware are steel. They come in several colors, which will appeal to many users. They come as a set of two – driver’s side and passenger’s side.
One side is specialized for tool storage, and the other serves as a cooler as well as for storing general gear. Unlike many undercover driver & passenger side swing case tool box options, the Telawei offering does offer movable internal storage divisions.
Better Built 48 Inch Wheel Well Tool Box
Better Built offers something more traditional in a wheel well tool box. It is not a “swing out” design at all, but rather a side-mounted over-wheel-well tool box with some interesting features. Like the Dee Zee swing out tool box we look at elsewhere, it is made of diamond plate aluminum. This version is thicker and more durable, as well as offering a “brite aluminum” finish rather than a black powder coat.
In addition to a lockable, easy-open top lid, Better Built’s wheel well tool box has a lockable panel on the back of the box which opens to reveal two small drawers. The gas-charged self-rising top hatch is a nice touch, as is the high-quality weather-stripping along both accesses. Note, though, that this model is only usable in longer truck beds.
The DECKED Tool Box – An In-Bed Tool Box Alternative To The UnderCover Swing Case Tool Box
DECKED Tool Boxes are not swing-out designs at all. Instead, they are designed to sit securely behind the cab in the bed of a working truck. Like most DECKED products, the DECKED Tool Box is made of steel and aluminum-reinforced high-density plastic resin. It is a very solid option that is easy to access via the (optional) fold-away access ladder. Using that means you won’t be crawling up into the truck bed to get to your tools or gear.
How does the DECKED Tool Box compete with the UnderCover Swing Case tool box? Favorably, if you aren’t completely married to the idea of getting a swing case design. It offers a massive 73.4 gallons of cargo space, putting even a 2-box set of UnderCover Swing Cases to shame. Its gasket seal keeps water and moisture out very effectively, and adds extra protection to everything you keep inside the unit.
This is one of the DECKED Tool Box’s key features, and something that the UnderCover offering simply can’t match. The DECKED Tool Box can organize a whole set of smaller tool boxes, and offers several types of rails, trays and internal dividers to keep all of your gear separate and easily accessible.
The Under-Bed Upgrade To A swing-Out Tool Box – The DECKED Drawer System
The biggest problems with the UnderCover Swing Case tool boxes are space and security. In terms of space, they take up valuable truck bed real estate, and don’t hold much actual gear. These issues are not just solved but completely blown out of the water by the DECKED Drawer System.
This system holds up to 2000 pounds of tools, gear or equipment, and some of that can be very large indeed. It is more accessible than a swing case design, as all of your cargo is accessible at just over waist height. That’s important if any of your gear is heavy or awkward to move.
Like the DECKED Tool Box, the Drawer System is also a tool organizer. All of the smaller tool boxes, dividers and trays that work in the Tool Box work in the Drawer System. You can even move things easily from one storage system to the other.
And, of course, the DECKED Drawer System leaves the entire width and height of your truck bed accessible. Its heavily reinforced, high-impact plastic top serves as your new truck bed, and it’s one you won’t need to be gentle with.
Finally, let’s talk about security. The DECKED Drawer System has steel reinforcement around the locking mechanism, and each drawer locks independently. If you choose a system the full length of your truck bed (shorter options are available), then you cannot even access the drawers without first getting through the lock on your tail gate or rear hatch. Security is no problem.
Now, one advantage of the UnderCover system is that they offer different models and mounting kits for different vehicles. In the same way, DECKED sells several versions of the DECKED Drawer System. Each fits a different one of today’s most popular vehicles perfectly. Short bed or long, wide or narrow, we’ve got a DECKED Drawer System just for you.
So, now you know precisely what the UnderCover Swing Case tool box does best, where it could be improved, and what your alternatives are. Go forth and make good choices!