FINDING THE RIGHT TRUCK TOOL BOX SHOULDN’T BE HARD. BUT IT CAN BE
Truck tool boxes can be lifelines. They might be an essential part of your niche trucking and shipping business, and finding the perfect storage space for your goods could literally be what puts bread and butter on the table. Or you might work in the construction industry, and you need a safe and durable place to secure equipment that’s necessary to get the job done. And, some of us simply want a place to keep our most favorite fishing, camping, and outdoor necessities. No matter what the reason, your toolbox should be perfect and fit your exact needs.
TOOL BOX PROS AND CONS
Looking at some of the most common brands on the market, there are a few that regularly pop up at major retailers – like Dee-Zee, Milwaukee, and Dewalt, among others. Some of these are better made, more durable, or more affordable than others. But, the most important question is: Which tool box best meets your needs?
OPTION 1: THE HUSKY BRAND
Husky tools have been around for a while, almost a century to be precise. But, in the 90s, Husky became the exclusive brand of Home Depot. As the house brand, Husky tools are mass produced to be sold at all the Home Depots around the country. Naturally they are less expensive than other tools from a high-end retailer or specialty shop, and they are commonly bought by a lot of construction workers and truck owners alike. Some Husky tool boxes promise a cheaper and sturdy alternative to some more expensive brand. But, sometimes people find – as the saying goes – you get what you pay for.
THE PROS: Husky sells numerous types of tool boxes from ones that fit in truck beds to some that can stay in the garage, like the 11-drawer tool box and the 41 inch tool chest. One of the more common is the low-profile crossover box. The box fits most full size trucks, has a black powder coat finish to offer a sleek look, and includes two locks for safety and security. Some of the positives of this model is that there is lots of storage space for your equipment, and it's fairly durable. The price range is only around $300-$400 dollars, which means it won’t break the bank.
Husky also makes some slightly more expensive tool boxes that they advertise as being more durable, like the Husky weatherguard.
The Weather Guard DEFENDER SERIES model Saddle Box for full size trucks is Husky’s well huskier toolbox, and it’s manufactured to be a little more tough than the other boxes. The tool box includes a push-button lock system, with steel reinforced material, and an advertised heavy-duty welded aluminum frame. And of course, the key feature is a weather seal around the box, which helps to keep the elements at bay. At just over $500, this toolbox is a little pricier, but promises to provide a safer and more secure storage option for your tools.
THE CONS: Husky may be the house brand of Home Depot, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the brand can deliver on its claims to fame. One thing to consider with Husky is that the brand is largely produced outside the United States. Home Depot works with manufacturer Apex Tool Group, which manufactures a large chunk of Husky products in China and Taiwan. So that means a couple things: Your tool box may not be made by the hands of U.S. workers and the quality of the product may not be the best.
In fact, many buyers often leave complaints in their reviews. Some have found difficulty even just installing this tool box in their vehicles, saying there’s a gap between the box and the back of the bed. Also, reviewers say the tool box material is typically light weight, even though it’s advertised as being welded with aluminum. So, what happens is that even a hundred or so pounds of tools can dent the box. Others have mentioned that the lock system was cumbersome and didn’t work as desired. So, while it might be a more affordable option and Husky is often on sale at Home Depot, there may not be much bang for the buck.
OPTION 2: THE MILWAUKEE BRAND
Milwaukee sells a popular line of tool boxes and other equipment. Like others, they offer a variety of options, but they specialize in the packout system for truck beds – otherwise known as a pit box.
A pit box is one of the most common and basic ways to store tools. It’s an open-faced type of storage mechanism, where workers can organize their wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, in a way that can be easily seen and grabbed. It’s also used in other professions, like in the medical field. EMS workers may need to use a pit box in order to grab any first-aid material they need to keep someone in a crisis safe.
The packout system or portable storage box is sort of like a lunch box for your tools. It’s made for easy transportation. Milwaukee makes a number of different packout systems made for large or small quantities of tools.
THE PROS: Milwaukee’s packout system is fairly affordable. For example, the Milwaukee packout 3 piece tool box kit is a great starter kit for someone who has a fair amount of tools to lug around, but wants something they can keep organized. The system includes a large, wheeled box and two smaller storage boxes that can be placed on top of each other.
At only around $300, this rolling tool box system is fairly affordable and can be placed either in your truck or stored safely away in a garage. And if you’d like you can also stick one of Milwaukee’s soft-body totes on top. These totes are secured tops of the storage boxes.
Milwaukee also makes some smaller, more compact packout storage boxes, which could be perfect if you only have a few tools and don’t want to waste space in the truck. For example, the 2-drawer tool box includes a sliding drawer system that can keep some basic tools like wrenches and hammers safe and organized.
The brand also makes a 3 drawer system. These boxes have a 50 lb weight capacity and a locking security bar that keeps the drawers securely in place. The system is also portable, while being durable with all-metal ball bearing slides. At only $150 dollars, this is super affordable.
THE CONS: Some of the downsides of the packout system are fairly obvious. If you have a large amount of tools, you’ll have to lug around a lot of material. And, all those boxes could take up a lot of space in your truck bed. If you have some back issues, grabbing these boxes out of your vehicle could actually be a health concern, especially if you’re packing a lot of equipment.
Also, even though the boxes do have a security mechanism, it might not be entirely safe to just leave these boxes on your truck. It might be hard to break into the box, but someone could just grab one of them and walk away. There are lots of benefits of Milwaukee’s packout system, but if you’re a heavy duty construction worker, or you have other large equipment like fishing rods, it may not be the best fit.
OPTION 3: The CRAFTSMAN Brand
The Craftsman brand is known for being SEARS’s top line of tool supplies and tool storage. It’s fairly well-respected, as it’s been around for nearly a century. It’s now run by Stanley Black & Decker. And it’s commonly sold by Lowe’s.
THE PROS: Much like Husky is mass produced, so is the Craftsman line. But, much of Craftsman products are made in the United States, though some items were and likely still are still manufactured overseas. Under Stanley, the company made a commitment to return to U.S. manufacturing.
Craftsman truck tool boxes are fairly inexpensive, ranging from around $300 to $500 for standard sized tool boxes. Some of the most commonly purchased like the 71 inch Matte Black Aluminum Crossover Tool Box feature welded aluminum construction, ergonomic paddle handles, weather seals, and a low-profile construction.
THE CONS: But even though the box is fairly inexpensive, some buyers do think it’s still overpriced. That’s because the exterior can still dent easily and can get shipped with malfunctions, like loose hardware. There might be a promise of free shipping or an easy installation mount, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the box is solid. With mass production and especially welded construction, there are often problems with the durability of the box.
The rubber seals may peel off, and it might be difficult to put organizers inside too.The latch system may not work as desired. And, the box might not even fit your truck the way it should, because the boxes are made for multiple types of models.
CONSIDER DECKED’s LOW PROFILE TOOL BOX
We looked at the pros and cons of some of the most common tool box brands out there and some key shopping factors, like price, durability, and materials. Now, let’s do the same for DECKED.
PRO 1: MADE IN AMERICA
DECKED’s supply is based entirely in the USA. And the team loves to brag about that. DECKED was born in Idaho, and after expanding over the years, DECKED built a plant in Defiance, Ohio. So, this Tool Box is manufactured in the heartland and engineered in the motor city. Also, DECKED’s supply chain includes numerous family run businesses. With production based in America, it ensures that DECKED can focus on putting out a high quality product that fits your exact needs.
PRO 2: IT’S BASICALLY INDESTRUCTIBLE
The DECKED team seems to take even a bit of sick satisfaction in the fact that they can grab a hammer and smack their tool box to death, without it having a single scratch. That’s because this Tool Box is made with galvanized steel and aluminum reinforcements, making it as tough as possible. In fact, it can handle a 500-pound dynamic payload.
PRO 3: SAFE AND SOUND
Most truck owners want to make sure that anything they keep on their vehicle will be hard to steal. That’s especially true if you’re keeping hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of equipment in your truck.
While the Tool Box has torsion springs instead, which are harder to break and make it easy to lift the 30 pound lid, there are also plenty of safety mechanisms. For example, the tool box includes a steel-armored locking system, which makes it extremely difficult for a thief to break and enter. Also protected against some softer elements, like water. DECKED designed the Tool Boxes to be absolutely waterproof.
Husky, Craftsman, and other widespread brands make fantastic products. But, when you start to consider some major factors like price and longevity, you might find that you need to look elsewhere.
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SOME CONS TO CONSIDER
DECKED’s tool box is undoubtedly a bit pricier than the average home brand product on the market. If getting something a little cheaper is a deal-breaker for you, then this may not be the best fit. But when we are talking pricier, DECKED’s tool box is really only a few hundred dollars more than some of the high-end products from Husky – at just under $1000. The question to ask really is whether you want the most bang for your buck and need a tool box that could cost you less in the long run. DECKED’s Tool Box is designed to last for years.
Another issue is whether you just need a temporary solution to handling your tools. No doubt, if you just need something basic to get the job done, maybe you don’t want to invest in something heavy-duty and designed to hold hundreds of pounds of tools. Any truck accessory depends entirely on your needs, and if you are looking for something cheap and minimalist, it may be better to go with a generic brand.