A Snap On Toolbox Review And Comparison
Recently, we published a piece on Snap On toolbox options but we left out quite a few important products. We’ll attempt to remedy that by reviewing more Snap On products. We won’t get to every toolbox Snap On sells or even touch the variety of tool storage cabinets and wheeled carts available. After all, some of these things last for generations. In fact, the older it is, the more appealing a well-preserved Snap On toolbox is to collectors.
Let’s do a quick review. Snap On toolboxes tend to be modular units that take up only a few square feet of floor space in a garage, or can be behemoths which dominate an entire wall of a well-equipped mechanic’s workshop. Because they are modular, you can assemble the perfect tool chest for your needs by adding on pieces like playing with Lego bricks. However, these are Lego bricks that weigh hundreds of pounds and cost thousands of dollars, but at least they're pretty tough to step on.
Modular tool cabinets all come in a few basic components:
Roller Cabinet or Bottom Box
A roller cabinet, sometimes called a bottom box because it has the wheels and has to be at the bottom of the stack, does the heavy lifting for the entire assembled cabinet. One or more cabinets can typically be mounted on top of the roller cabinet. Tools are accessed through drawers or front-facing hatches. You can also mount cabinets on the sides of many roller cabinets.
Because it will be carrying the weight of the entire assembled combination cabinet, you should check the weight rating of its casters and the cabinet itself. That has to be at least equal to the weight of all the cabinets mounted to it and the weight of tools they’ll carry. A Snap On tool box is built tough, but this can be a staggering amount of weight.
Tool Chest or Top Box
At the top of the stack is typically a tool chest. Some of these are small enough to be lifted off by hand and carried around the shop or onto the worksite. Many are just as wide and deep as the cabinet itself, and are only as mobile as the combination cabinet’s wheels make them.
Most top boxes will have a top opening of some kind, as well as front-facing drawers. If the top box is meant to be independently mobile, the drawers will usually have a secure closure. Almost all Snap On toolboxes have sturdy locks which protect all of the drawers, but this is less certain with other brands.
Middle Cabinet or Intermediate Box
As you may have guessed, an intermediate cabinet goes between the top box and the bottom box. Some combination cabinets omit these entirely, but most will have at least a small intermediary cabinet.
The intermediary cabinet had to accept a top box on top. If it can’t, it isn’t really an intermediate cabinet. As a result, tool access is exclusively from the front with a flat and sturdy top.
Side Cabinets or End Cabinets
These are even more optional than intermediate boxes, and some wheeled cabinets do not accept side cabinets at all. Side cabinets tend to be tall and thin, and many mechanics prefer to have them match the overall height of the combination cabinet.
Thinner is better, because you don’t want to exceed the wheelbase of the bottom cabinet by more than is necessary. It is worth noting that many “end cabs” for Snap On toolboxes each sport an extra set of caster wheels. This adds to the total weight the combination cabinet can handle and improves stability.
Side cabinets are generally bought and installed as matching or asymmetrical pairs. This helps to balance the unit in terms of weight, but also for esthetic purposes. A Snap On toolbox like this can cost more than a car, and it should look good.
If you want to virtually construct your own ideal combination box, you can search for “Snap On toolbox builder” or “Snap On toolbox configurator.”
What A Snap On Toolbox Will (And Won’t) Do
All of these Snap On toolbox parts share a common purpose: to organize and protect your tools. In situations where you share workshop space, they can protect your tools from theft or “unauthorized borrowing,” but mostly they make sure your tools are not damaged by poor storage. Knocking around with your other tools in a milk crate on a wet garage floor, for example.
They do not protect your tools from the weather. Snap On toolboxes are purely for indoor use. They also don’t help you transport your tools more than a few yards on a smooth concrete floor.
If you want the security and high capacity of a tool cabinet, but also weather protection and mobility, you’ll have to move away from the Snap On toolbox to something like DECKED. More on that later.
Snap On Toolboxes Aren’t Offered In Just One Style Or Line
Just at the moment, Snap On toolboxes can be purchased new in four different styles (not counting special edition and tribute pieces). These include:
The Heritage Series
The Heritage Snap On toolbox series has a distinctly “retro” look, retaining the style that made these toolboxes popular decades ago. This has an advantage when you consider the sheer longevity of these products. If you need to replace a 30 year old top box, the new one won’t look completely out of place when you add it to the set.
The Classic Series
The Classic Series is virtually indistinguishable to the Heritage Series of Snap On toolboxes. The list of available colors is different, but the retro styling is the same.
The Masters Series
With the Masters Snap on toolbox series, we begin to see more modern styling. The main difference is the chrome (or your chosen accent color) elements on the vertical walls separating the drawers. Many different components are available and you can build most of the same combination cabinets out of this series as others. The differences are mainly cosmetic, but the mechanics of the casters have been updated.
The EPIQ Series
The EPIQ Series of Snap On toolboxes are very big versions of the Masters Series combination cabinets. It is worth noting that the bottom boxes alone cost between $20,000 and $30,000.
The exceptions are the EUV (EPIQ Utility Vehicle) which has truly massive wheels for extra mobility and the EPIQ Lockers which include everything from side cabinets that can act as stand-alone lockers to end cabinets which are basically safes.
Special and Tribute Edition Snap On Toolboxes
Snap On has worked with or licensed many different brands and concepts over the years to offer special editions of their toolboxes. These include a 2012 collaboration with Monster World Rally star Ken Block, the 57 Chevy Bel Air toolbox seen in this article, several different editions of Harley-Davidson Snap On toolboxes and tributes to police, the military and firefighters.
A Few More Snap On Toolbox Products
Snap On 57 Chevy Tool Box
This is one example of the Snap On special edition tool box based on the styling of the classic 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. Functionally, not much differentiates these from any other Snap On toolboxes. They sure are pretty, though.
Snap On KR 1000 Toolbox
This is a classic example of an older Snap on toolbox. The KR-1000 is the bottom box of a set, with the KR-1100 being the top box. It stands 45 ½ inches tall including the casters. It is 29 inches deep and 53 inches wide. The addition of a side panel can increase the top width by a further 18 inches. Expect to pay between $500 and $1000 for a Snap-On KR 1000 toolbox at auction, depending on condition.
The EPIQ™ Series Left Side Power Locker Cabinet with ECKO Remote Lock (shown here in electric orange)
This is one serious Snap On toolbox side locker. It must be connected to an EPIQ roller cabinet or another side cabinet and is not freestanding. This locker contains more than 33 thousand cubic inches and 4 thousand pounds of storage, and can accommodate up to ten storage bins. It is primarily designed for power tools and incorporates an internal power strip. It can be locked and unlocked remotely from up to 75 feet away with a key fob. Expect to pay between $6000 and $7000 new, depending on options and accessories.
100th Anniversary Edition Double-Bank EPIQ™ Utility Vehicle with SpeeDrawer and PowerLocker
Outside of very rare collectors’ editions in perfect shape, the most expensive Snap On toolbox is probably this “Utility Vehicle” from the EPIQ line.
Special features include the SpeeDrawer, a small drawer with movable dividers, and the PowerLocker, a special drawer for power tools featuring five AC outlets and two USB charging ports. The wheels are a full 17 inches in diameter and form part of the strongest rolling cabinet Snap On makes. It weighs more than a ton and can handle a load of up to 16,000 pounds.
The price? Just under $39,000.
Snap On 78 Classic Toolbox
The KRA2410 is the top box from the “78” subset of the Classic series of Snap On toolboxes. It offers 10 high-capacity drawers and a large hinged top. A power strip is an optional extra, but a hole for the cord is pre-drilled. The drawers are removable and interchangeable with others of the same size.
The drawers are rated at 120 pounds each but the deeper drawers can be fitted with an additional set of sliders, increasing their capacity to 240 pounds. The chest weighs 361 pounds unloaded.
Without any additional extras or options, this top box costs $3875 new.
The DECKED Drawer System – A Mobile Alternative to Snap On Toolboxes
Many of us have to take our tools and equipment to where the work is waiting rather than bring it into the shop. That means a Snap On toolbox, even one on wheels, isn’t going to help much.
The DECKED Drawer System offers all the safety and security of a tool chest in a weatherproof underbed storage system. Each of its 2 sturdy drawers can hold 200 pounds of tools or equipment and it doesn’t cost you any truck bed space. Because it fits over the wheel wells, it actually expands the useful area of your truck bed. There are specific versions of the DECKED Drawer System to perfectly fit the different bed dimensions of today’s most popular working vehicles.
The top of the unit forms a raised bed cover which can handle any of the rough, heavy cargo the original truck bed could and keeps the bed looking new and unmarked. Each drawer has a sturdy lock and they cannot be opened without first getting through the tailgate, adding another layer of security.
The DECKED Tool Box – A Tool Chest For Your Truck
The DECKED Tool Box fits securely behind your truck’s cab. It is just as durable, weatherproof, and secure as the DECKED Drawer System, and indeed can be used along with it in most truck models. The DECKED Tool Box even features an armored lock to keep your gear safe on the worksite or when parked overnight.
It is worth noting that both the DECKED Tool Box and the DECKED Drawer System work as toolbox organizers as well as tool chests. The chest and the drawers can be subdivided directly or can accommodate toolboxes like the DECKED Crossbox and DECKED D-Box. It can accommodate a host of trays, satchels, and other accessories as well. Please check the website to see what we offer to fit your needs.
Now you’ve seen a few more versions of the iconic Snap On toolbox and heard a little more about mobile and weatherproof alternatives that only DECKED can provide. There is room in most mechanics’ lives for both.