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Put 'Em To The Test: Dee Zee Vs. DECKED Tool Box

Put 'Em To The Test: Dee Zee Vs. DECKED Tool Box 

Two women by a pond tailgating and a man grilling burgers nearby

 

Are you a tradesman who uses your truck to haul gear and materials from jobsite to jobsite, and back home, only to do it all again when the sun comes up –– or before? 

Or maybe you’re a road junkie who jumps at the chance of exploring the great outdoors in your trusty truck? Choosing your own adventure out on the road is a great way to blow off steam, focus on your own interests, and simply have an old-fashioned, plain good time. 

So whether you’re venturing out for work, a family road trip, or a solo all-nighter, it makes no difference. Doing any of it in your beloved truck or van is even better. After all, you have all you need in one place.

But is that really true? 

Do You REALLY Have What You Need?

No matter how good looking your vehicle is, it won’t ever feel like a real right-hand until you add a truck toolbox to it. 

Tool boxes open the door to a world of possibilities, protect you in the event of real emergencies, and take your life on four wheels to that whole other level. And while you can pack away the things you need in the back of the truck as-is, it’s nowhere near the same as installing a toolbox. 

Why? 

Because the last thing you want is that black hole of stuff bouncing around in a tangle you can’t make heads or tails of, especially when you most need it –– that one, critical piece –– you know The One: it’s the whole reason for your latest adventure, the one tool or bit of equipment that will get you the payoff you came for, or, in a pinch, the one that’ll get you out of that jam. 

The RIGHT truck tool box can be the last piece of the puzzle you’re looking for, and with that right box in your arsenal, there’s no limit to what you can do with your valuable time, no matter your trade, your gear, or your interests. 

Tent set up on roof of truck parked at the shore at sunset

 

Your truck won’t feel like a right-hand until it has the right tool box

But with dozens of different brands, styles, features, and benefits available, it can be a downright head-scratcher to find the right truck tool box that fits your needs. So today, instead of doing a complicated comparison of every tool box product out there, we’re looking at the pros and cons of two of the top shelf brands: DECKED and Dee Zee.

Both companies have been around for a while, making tool boxes for vehicles, and both makes can be seen in the backs of countless pickup trucks across the country.

But before we jump into a straight-up, apples-to-apples comparison, let’s dig down to the brass tacks – what should you even be looking for in a tool box, in the first place?

 

How do you know what box is right for YOU?

Finding the right truck tool box can be a challenge. What’s right for you may not be the perfect solution for your hunting or fishing buddy, or any other guy or gal who does what you do and loves what you love.

And since it’s so hard to put a finger on what makes “the best” truck tool box, and because each one comes with its own set of pros and cons, that makes your choice a trade-off no when it’s all said and done. No matter what.

 

So whether you’ve never bought a toolbox for your vehicle before and you’re not too sure what you should be looking out for –– or whether you’ve custom-built and converted your own, DIY box, so all of this is pretty much old hat to you –– the most simple thing you can do is to base your decision on these three things: organization, durability, and usability.

 

Rancher stands at the open drawers of his truck bed tool box where his gear is neatly put away

 

It All Comes Down To This. Organization. Durability. Usability.

Think about it this way. If you get a system that keeps you organized, can take all types of abuse, in rain, snow, or shine, and keep performing on rough roads and every kind of extreme terrain, AND it’s a regular part of your day, no matter what your activity –– then you can rest easy knowing you’ve found the perfect match for YOU. That’s why these are three of the major factors that most outdoorsmen and women, not to mention contractors and tradesmen, put their highest bets on when spending their hard-earned dollars on a truckbed tool box. 

First, you probably want to ask yourself: why does anyone invest in a truck tool box in the first place? The answer is – organization. The trick is to look for a system that makes your life simple and is easy to use, because the reality is, you’ll have little or no time to be fumbling around for your tools or your gear, whether it’s on the job or hunting game on the weekend with your pals. You want to find a system that allows you to know exactly where everything is, at all times. Basically, you should be able to open it up, grab exactly what you need, and hit the construction project, the campsite, or the trail without thinking twice.

 Next, durability. The main factor to look for is how the box is engineered. What materials is it made of, and will it stand up to every harsh environment, climate, and rugged activity that you could possibly put it through?  Does the system lock securely to keep your stuff safe and sound? Can anyone else open it if they try hard enough?

 And finally, make sure you’re not overlooking the usability of your box. What does that mean? Well, each truck owner has different hobbies, necessities, and priorities when it comes to their system and how to use it. You want to look for features and accessories that allow you to tailor the system –– not only to your current, specific pursuits and needs –– but that can also grow with you as your needs change and as you evolve your work, your hobbies, and the finer details of your day-to-day life.

 So we looked at the pros and cons of the Dee Zee vs. the DECKED system using these criteria. Ready? Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. 

Dee Zee DZ6163NB Specialty Series Crossover Tool Box

The aluminum that makes up Dee Zee tool boxes is usually not as thick as that of some other top shelf brands, but a Dee Zee tool box should last you a good, long while; keep in mind that they offer a limited lifetime warranty.

The powder coat finish helps prevent scratches and weather damage (big bonus there!), but this is made from a lightweight metal and seems more susceptible to denting easily. It was designed to be narrower than some other tool boxes, and that means it takes up less space in the truck bed than some similar models from other brands. One thing to consider is that it’s not the best choice if you need something that can withstand heavy use in rough conditions, but it might be a very good option for light projects, or if you want to maximize your bed space for equipment and other cargo. Most Dee Zee products are American-made in their Des Moines, Iowa plant.

 

  • Type: Crossover
  • Organization Options: Removable plastic tray included; the tray is small and itself is not overly durable
  • Accessibility: With this single-lid tool box, you’ll have to climb into your truck to access your your stuff
  • Durability: Light-duty
  • Storage space: 5 cubic feet
  • Dimensions: 63 x 12 x 15.2 inches
  • Material: Brite-Tread aluminum
  • Lid Support: Dampened gas shocks and self-adjusting strikers
  • Weatherproofness: Closed-cell foam gasket
  • Installation: Comes with J-Bolt mounting hardware. You’ll definitely need a drill
  • Price Range: $300 – $400

Pros: This truck tool box has a limited lifetime warranty, lockable push-button handles, dampened gas shocks, closed cell foam gasket, and self-adjusting strikers. It’s lightweight, rust-free, and has a sleek and sexy finish that comes in gloss black.

Cons: The organization tray is small, and the box itself is not extremely durable.

Bottom Line: Great for shorter cabs and light-duty projects. 

DECKED Tool Box

DECKED Tool Box with Ladder and D-Box

With DECKED products, organization is where it’s at. The best part about it is there’s almost an endless choice of accessories that lets you totally customize the box and the system to your personal needs. To put it plainly, it’s also extremely durable because it’s engineered to be bulletproof, or withstand anything you put it through, and it serves as a secure and weatherproof area to store your work tools and the whole gamut of your gear and cargo: think fishing waders, boots, guns, tools, fly boxes...basically, you can let your imagination run wild with all of your other valuable equipment. (Hunters who bring along their canine companions have even used it as a space-saving compartment to keep their dogs’ food contained!)

Plus, if you’re a real, die-hard outdoorsman or woman, or you’re the type who always wants to take your organization to the next level, the Crossbox and D-Box accessories will get you there. The D-Box (and Snack Tray!) is included with your Tool Box and will keep your gear neat, separate, dry, and safe. The Piecekeeper is an optional add-on that is specifically molded with foam and will keep your wet fire-arms separate and free from rusting in its sleeve, a problem you’ve likely encountered before if you’ve ever gone hunting.

And more, DECKED is all about ergonomics and making your life easy, so it took tool box accessibility to a whole other level when designing the Tool Box and System. They engineered an optional Ladder made from 6000 series aluminum that easily drops to the ground, takes up minimal space, and telescopes closed inside the DECKED Truck Tool Box. With its main plant headquartered in Defiance, Ohio, DECKED products are 100% made in the USA and offer a lifetime warranty on ALL of their products.

DECKED Piecekeeper stores three firearms
  • Type: Crossover
  • Organization Options: Comes complete with a DECKED D-Box (organization is the name of the DECKED game), a smaller modular tool and gear organization system
  • Accessibility: Comes with an integrated ladder that nests underneath the lid, which means you can access over 50% of your storage from the side of the truck, without ever having to jump in the bed
  • Durability: Heavy-Duty and built with anti-corrosion, galvanized steel hardware
  • Storage space: 9.82 ft³ (73.4 gallons), 200-pound storage capacity per drawer
  • Dimensions: L76” x W22”x H20.53” x Height Above Bed Rail 5.78”
  • Material: Made from 100% recycled High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and high-impact injection molded resins that rest on a sub frame consisting of 40 pounds of steel
  • Lid Support: 30-lb lid that stays open
  • Weatherproofness: Weatherproof durability lets you work, drive, camp, or hunt in any forecast with total confidence
  • Installation: J-hooks attach to the bed tie-downs, which makes the DECKED storage system easy to assemble, install, or remove; comes with installation instructions that shouldn’t take more than a few hours to complete
  • Price Range: MSRP starts at $699
DECKED Drawer System

 

Pros: This Truck Tool Box fits most full-size and mid-size trucks, and the final product has a 2,000-pound deck load capacity. The entire system is 12 inches tall.

Cons: While you can be sure to gain in precise organization, durability, accessibility, and security with the DECKED Tool Box and Drawer System, you might lose a few inches in the overall available room of your truck bed.

Bottom Line: If you value organization, durability, and usability, the DECKED Tool Box and System is going to fit most of your needs, whatever your trade or activity. It’s worth every penny.

 

 

Each truck owner has different hobbies, priorities, and must-haves when it comes to their system and how to use it. The final verdict is, if you’re the type who beats the actual hell out of your trucks and gear, and if you take them to rugged and remote places, the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. The DECKED System is not only built like fort knox, it’s proven to withstand just about everything there is, and just about every kind of truck-lover – and then some. End of story.

A hunter walks towards his dog, which is standing on top of the truck bed as the sun begins to set.