What To Look for in a Trailer Tool Box

What To Look for in a Trailer Tool Box  

A trailer tool box can be a major investment—after all, a well-built trailer tool box will be with you for decades. You should take your time to determine exactly what you need and exactly how you’ll use it before you begin shopping in earnest.

A-frame trailer with Tool Box

First, let’s try to determine exactly what you’re looking for. Quite a lot of products on the market today could be described as a “trailer tool box,” including a few fine DECKED tool boxes. The key thing that differentiates them is how they will be used. After that, you can consider issues like what material they are constructed of, how secure they are, and the reputation of their manufacturer.

Workman removing equipment from DECKED Tool Box

Perhaps you had a different kind of utility toolbox in mind, such as a trailer hitch tool box or a side mount trailer tool box. Perhaps you’re not looking for a semi trailer tool box at all, but rather a small truck trailer tool box or even a boat trailer tool box. You’ll have many options. We’ll explore a few of them here.

Semi Trailer Tool Box

If you need to increase the amount of tool gear and cargo control supply storage on a semi or flatbed truck, you almost certainly want a dedicated trailer mounted tool box which you can access from the ground outside the cargo area. This type of trailer tool box should be waterproof (or at least very weather resistant), secure, and versatile. You’ll have to consider where on the rig this trailer mounted tool box will go, as well. Do you picture a trailer tongue tool box, a side mount trailer tool box, or something else entirely?

A semi trailer tool box can be mounted on the tongue of the trailer itself, underneath the trailer, on the side of a trailer – especially if you are using a gooseneck trailer, or even on top of the trailer if you are using a step-box trailer with multi-level platforms. Each has advantages and disadvantages to consider. For example, selecting an under-the-trailer tool box takes up none of your limited truckbed space. Opting for a trailer tongue tool box allows you to get more utility from a low-rise trailer while ensuring exceptionally easy access to your tools and equipment.

Racing trailer with tool box and off road vehicle.

However, some tool box designs and configurations are not well-suited to particular mounting options. Obviously, you wouldn’t try to mount a top-opening tool box under the trailer. But you should also consider how the doors of your trailer tool box may interfere with the doors of a step-box trailer, etc. Likewise, a tool box for gooseneck trailers is going to look very different from one intended for use on a bumper-pull. In fact, a gooseneck trailer tool box will often be labeled that way.

Even if a particular tool box works mechanically in a certain spot, you should consider what you’ll be storing in it. Tools and cargo management equipment can be heavy and awkward. You’ll want to keep it right near where you’ll be using it. 

How To Spot A Good Trailer Tongue Tool Box

If you’re driving something a bit smaller than a semi, you’ll need something different entirely. A trailer tongue tool box is a boon companion for an RVer, as it stores all of the tools and essentials they need to haul anything on a straight-tongue or A-frame trailer. That said, the performance requirements are very similar to a semi trailer tool box. It will need to be water-tight, secure and relatively durable. However, most RVers don’t pull the same kind of yearly mileage that over-the-road truckers do. That means durability is less of an issue, so plastic and aluminum trailer tongue tool boxes are more common than all-steel or diamond plate tool boxes.

Man standing in front of trailer tool box. 

A trailer tongue tool box can greatly increase the space you have to transport gear, and keep it all right near the link between the truck and the trailer – the spot where you are most likely to be using it. Not having the right tools and equipment when a malfunction occurs can mean hours of delay on a simple trip, or days in the shop to make a repair that you could have done well enough on the road to finish your journey before seeking a permanent fix.

Another advantage to traveling with extra tool and equipment space is that your tools can be more organized and better protected. The road is a bumpy environment, and even the best tools will have drastically shorter lifespans if they are all jammed into a toolbox together, scratching and bashing every time the trailer rattles.

V Nose Trailer Tool Box

If you’re driving with a v-nose trailer, you have different trailer tool storage options. While there are few purpose-built v-nose trailer tongue tool box options on the market, there are plenty of inventive solutions. Some enthusiasts go so far as to custom build a triangle tool box for trailer use, often fabricating it out of diamond plate aluminum or steel. This is certainly an effective option, but as many of us don’t have access to a well-equipped metal shop or the money to have a tool box designed and built from scratch, other options should be considered first.

Another option for a v-nose trailer tongue tool box which works well and looks surprisingly good on many trailers is to mount two A-frame trailer tool boxes directly to the front of the v-nose trailer, one on each side. This does still require a custom-built or heavily modified pair of bracket mounts, but it is a great deal less difficult and expensive to get a special bracket made than an entire high-capacity trailer tool box.

Finally, you have a lot of options for under-the-trailer tool box mounts. Whether this is a good idea depends primarily on the clearance between your trailer’s base and the ground. Just because you technically can cram a tool box in there without kicking up sparks doesn’t mean you won’t regret it when going over a speed bump or even rolling over a moderately sized rock.

Trailer Fender Tool Box

Many types of trailers have large fender platforms that are not a part of the bed or cargo area, and are already reinforced to be a walkable surface. This naturally gives rise to utility trailer tool box ideas. You’ll find many different side mount trailer tool box options for sale, including larger tool boxes designed to fill the deeper space available just before and just after the fender. Others are simple under-the-trailer steel boxes that fit just before or just after the wheels. This last type should be very heavily built, as they take abuse from everything the wheels can kick up off the road surface.

Again, your watchwords will be durability, waterproofing, security, and space. As with anything this close to the road surface, though, durability should be job one. Because the trailer fender top box and the side mount trailer tool box are both very common designs, you’ll have little trouble finding commercially produced mounting hardware as well.

What Makes A Good Tool Box For Enclosed Trailers?

This is an entirely different issue. If you’re considering tool storage for the inside of a fully enclosed trailer, you are going to end up with something like a small garage or shop space inside. Security will probably be less of a concern, as you can secure access to the inside of the trailer at one place. Weatherproofing is probably not a high priority either, as an enclosed tool box trailer had really better be watertight.

Paramedic removing equipment from DECKED drawer system

However, there are a few ways in which tool box for enclosed trailer solutions will not look like tool storage solutions for a small workshop. An enclosed trailer tool box or tool cabinet should never be mounted in caster wheels – or wheels of any kind. Even in the most earthquake-prone cities in the world, people don’t design their workshop tool storage solutions to deal with rapid acceleration, deceleration, or turning.

Man cooking on truck bed, tool boxes

In the end, a truck tool box on trailer solution must be more than simply static. It must be securely fixed to the trailer, both at the bottom and at the top. Tall, heavy tool cabinets can tip easily, and you don’t want all of that steel falling over (or digging chunks out of your trailer floor) the first time you take a turn at more than 5 miles per hour.

DECKED drawer system mounted in emergency vehicle

Enclosed trailer tool box options need to be securely affixed before any other concerns. Beyond that, compact, light, and well-organized “tiny shop” tool storage solutions work surprisingly well inside trailers and truck bodies of all kinds.

Truck Bed Mounted Alternatives To A Trailer Tool Box

If you drop the idea of storing more of your tools, gear, and equipment in boxes mounted to your trailer, you open up other options. Assuming you are hauling your trailer on a pick-up truck or SUV, you can choose from many in-bed, under-bed, and even trailer hitch mounted toolbox solutions.

Trailer Hitch Tool Box

A trailer hitch tool box has a lot of advantages, and two really obvious disadvantages. Your trailer hitch is already a very sturdy mounting point. Any tool box attached there will not take up space in the bed of the truck, and will generally be at a convenient height from the ground. Many designs can also be dis-mounted easily, in the same way you would unhook a trailer.

Truck hauling snowmobiles on a trailer

The most obvious problem is that you can’t pull a trailer if you have something mounted on the trailer hitch. That isn’t a problem for the majority of trailer-hitch owners, but it bears mentioning anyway.  The next most obvious issue is that a trailer hitch tool box will often interfere with opening the tailgate or otherwise accessing the cargo space from the rear. Of course, you can avoid this by dis-mounting the tool box, but it is an extra step, and a trailer hitch tool box can be a very large and heavy piece of equipment in its own right.

Woman access in-bed tool box

The DECKED Tool Box

A DECKED Tool Box, unmounted

DECKED Tool Boxes are made to fit most of the world’s most popular pick-up trucks, SUVs, and working vehicles perfectly. They are constructed of high-quality plastic resin, and reinforced with aluminum and galvanized steel. Not only does this produce a very sturdy truck-bed or trailer tool box, it ensures that moisture and weather never get in to affect your tools and other equipment. We even especially armored the lock, to keep out thieves and unauthorized users alike.

Some of the DECKED Tool Box’s best features include an optional aluminum fold-out ladder for easy access, more than 73 gallons of internal space, and a slam-free spring-loaded top access hatch. Better still, it can be used as a tool and tool box organizing system, with internal dividers and space for one or more DECKED D-Boxes inside.

DECKED Tool Box, open

The DECKED Drawer System



DECKED drawer system, truck bed tool box with 2 drawers and several smaller tool boxes

The DECKED Drawer System is a unique tool and gear storage system which fits on the bed of a typical pick-up truck. Several models are available, so it works with both small and large trucks, and both short and long beds. Typically, the DECKED Drawer System covers all or part of the truck’s original bed. The surface of the unit sits below the side rails, allowing you to store cargo on top normally. This system’s main advantage is the pair of bed-length pull-out storage drawers which can be used as sin-bed tool boxes, or to store smaller tool boxes and cargo organizing accessories. Most versions also offer a pair of ‘ammo box’ weatherproof storage wells. 

DECKED drawer system, mounted in truck

We hope we’ve helped you understand a few of your tool storage options today. If any of the DECKED options appeal to you, please contact us about whether the high quality in-bed and under-bed tool box options we make will fit your vehicle and the way you use it.