Whether it’s for an automotive enthusiast, an all-around DIY repair person, or a seasoned professional, a trusty mechanic tool box is important. These sturdy storage units keep mechanics’ tools safe and organized, helping to improve the user’s workflow and allowing for better repairs.
But there’s a lot to know about choosing the best mechanic tool box. This guide will explain some of the most important considerations to keep in mind when shopping and will highlight some of the top picks on the market.
It might seem that the tool box isn’t as important as the tools it holds, but that’s not necessarily true. Choosing the right type of tool box as well as ensuring that it will meet the user’s needs are critical, and the following points will help.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a mechanic tool box is the type. There are several, and each has its strengths and weaknesses.
There is no hard-and-fast rule about how big a tool box should be or how much storage it should offer. Everyone’s tool collection is different, so it takes a bit of planning on a case-by-case basis.
First, shoppers should consider the tools they own. A large collection of screwdrivers might require its own drawer, as will a collection of ratchets and sockets. Air tools like impact wrenches, air sanders, air hammers, and their fittings might require their own cabinet. In these cases, a large tool chest might be the best bet.
However, for smaller tool sets, it may be possible to get away with a tabletop box that’s easier to transport and takes up less space. Or, for the best of both worlds, consider a small tool cart with built-in storage.
Keep this one point in mind, however: Err on the side of caution and purchase a larger tool box than seems necessary. There are few things as disappointing as purchasing a new tool box only to find that some tools won’t fit.
Tool boxes can get extremely heavy. The highest-quality models are made from thick-gauge steel and feature overbuilt slides, locks, and hardware. Fill that tool box with a collection of sockets, hammers, pliers, and power tools, and mobility will quickly become an issue.
Wheels are a mechanic’s best friend. Look for models with large casters (4 to 5 inches) to promote easy rolling across the garage floor. Push handles and wheel brakes can be important as well. These features allow the user to bring the tool box to the vehicle or repair area, making it unnecessary to walk across the garage several times to fetch tools.
Most of the best tool boxes consist of heavy-duty steel construction. This allows them to hold their shape under a tremendous amount of weight and prevents them from denting, which can affect the way the drawers or cabinet doors open.
Manufacturers may list their tool boxes’ steel in terms of gauge. With gauge, the lower the number, the thicker the metal. Most tool boxes suitable for homeowners and enthusiasts will be in the 18- to 21-gauge range, while professionals who make their money opening and closing drawers may prefer a box with 14-gauge steel.
Note: The lower the gauge number, the thicker the metal, but the heavier the tool box. Folks who plan to move their tool box often may prefer to sacrifice a little bit of quality for a lighter model.
There are quite a few other features that might make a particular model the best mechanic tool box for the situation. They include:
That’s a ton of information to unpack, and some shoppers might still be struggling with choosing the best mechanic tool box. For a bit of help, check out the following list. It consists of some of the top tool boxes for mechanics on the market. Just be sure to keep the above considerations in mind when comparing these models.
Craftsman’s S2000 41-Inch 10-Drawer Rolling Tool Cabinet might be worth a look for DIY auto techs searching for simple and reliable tool storage. This rolling tool chest measures 37.5 inches tall by 41 inches wide by 18 inches deep and has 10 drawers for plenty of storage.
This tool chest features sturdy double-wall 18- to 20-gauge steel construction. All of the drawers have ball-bearing slides with soft-close features, and each can hold up to 100 pounds. Under this rolling chest is a set of 5-inch casters that are capable of withstanding up to 1,500 pounds. There is also a lock to keep the drawers secure as well as a rubber mat on top for protection and slip resistance. The only thing it’s missing is a built-in power strip, but that might be splitting hairs on a high-quality tool box.
Get the Craftsman S2000 mechanic tool box on Amazon.
Not everyone is in the position to drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on a tool box, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to secure tool storage. This rolling tool chest from Husky offers the best of both worlds as it’s affordable but provides locking drawers for keeping a moderately sized tool collection safe and sound. It measures 30.7 inches tall by 26 inches wide by 18 inches deep.
The tool chest features four drawers, each of which contains rubber liners. This mechanic tool box has ball-bearing slides, each with a 50-pound capacity. It also features 4.5-inch casters for relatively easy rolling. The biggest downsides to this box are the relatively low weight capacity (650 pounds) and the 21-gauge steel it’s made from.
Get the Husky 26.5-inch mechanic tool box at The Home Depot or on Amazon.
Folks with a few more bucks in their tool storage budget might want to think about upgrading to a Husky 80-Inch Heavy Duty 10-Drawer 3-Piece Combo Chest. This rolling tool chest measures 72.4 inches tall by 80 inches wide by 24.1 inches deep and consists of three pieces: the tool chest, a locker, and the upper cabinet. This combination provides a ton of storage space for hand tools, power tools, and other equipment.
This mechanic tool box features a flip-open workstation, 10 drawers, and a locker to the left. There are two power strips (one on the back of the workstation and one on the side) for keeping batteries charged or lights plugged in. Each of the drawers features ball-bearing slides with 100-pound capacities and soft close, and three of the drawers actually have dual sets of slides for added capacity. The box is made with 19-gauge steel, and there is a drawer liner in the bottom of each storage area. Keep in mind that a box this big will get heavy, especially when filled to the max.
Get the Husky 80-inch mechanic tool box at The Home Depot.
When it comes to organizing a small set of tools or adding supplemental storage to a tool chest, Homak’s 20-inch tool chest is worth a look. This tool box features steel construction with a built-in carrying handle for easy transport, as well as a locking hasp for keeping unwanted hands out. It measures 8.63 inches tall by 20 inches wide by 7.88 inches deep.
This box features three drawers, each of which has ball-bearing slides. It also has a flip-open center section for larger tools. With the lid closed, the drawers lock to prevent spilling tools out all over the floor. Also, each drawer features foam nonslip mats. Our only dislike is that this model doesn’t have any carrying handles on the sides.
Get the Homak mechanic tool box on Amazon.
Combining a solid rolling tool chest with a top-tier tabletop tool box like this combo is a great way to keep tools organized and safe. This box features an eight-drawer base unit with storage spaces of different sizes, as well as an eight-drawer top unit with a flip-open section for improved storage. Overall this combo measures 66 inches tall by 49.3 inches wide by 18.2 inches deep and it is built of 20-gauge steel.
Each of the drawers on this model offers 100 pounds of capacity thanks to its ball-bearing slides. This model also has built-in power centers on both units, built-in dividers for specific tools, and locks for safety and security. Inside of each drawer is a precut liner to make storing tools in the drawers a bit easier. Keep in mind that with all of that storage space, tools can seem to hide, so be sure to spend time organizing them.
Get the Milwaukee mechanic tool box at The Home Depot.
When that rolling tool chest runs out of space or that new workbench is just begging for some customization, check out Torin’s Big Red tool box. This steel tabletop-style tool box features a three-drawer design and a flip-open lid for plenty of storage for items like screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, and sockets.
The Big Red tool box from Torin has plenty of built-in features that we like. The drawers have ball-bearing slides for smooth operation, and when the lid is shut, the drawers lock in place. It offers quite a bit of space for a small tool box, measuring 12 inches tall by 20.5 inches wide by 8.5 inches deep. The biggest con to this tool box is that to really secure it, it’s necessary to put a lock on each hasp, and that can be a pain for locking and unlocking.
Get the Torin mechanic tool box on Amazon.
Most DIYers don’t have vehicle lifts in their garages, but that doesn’t mean they need to sit on the ground during a brake job. Mychanic’s rolling tool box stool provides a comfortable and customizable spot to sit for those low-level repair jobs. This powder-coated steel stool has a 500-pound capacity and measures 21 inches wide by 14 inches deep. The height adjusts from 17.5 to 20.5 inches for improved comfort.
This tool stool is all about the built-in features. First, it has a built-in drill or impact wrench holder in the rear for convenient storage. Also, it has caddies on either side of the stool for small tools and fasteners. There is also a large drawer for storing hand tools and other items, and this drawer is equipped with ball-bearing slides. There is even a removable tray with a built-in mobile device stand for watching how-tos. The one issue some users might find is that the 3-inch wheels might be slightly too small for rough garage floors.
Get the Mychanic mechanic tool box on Amazon.
Rather than carrying those brake drums and shoes from the bench to the vehicle, why not transport them in a sturdy tool cart like this model from Husky? This cart features an open section underneath for transporting items of all sizes back and forth across the garage. And, measuring 34 inches tall by 36 inches wide by 19.8 inches deep, it has plenty of room to do so.
This cart has other features to note as well. It offers four drawers of storage for hand tools, and it has a flip-open lid with a deeper storage area for even more space. The cart does have 5-inch casters for better rolling as well a lock for improved security. There is an integrated push bar for easy transport. The downside is that despite having a 672-pound capacity, this box is made with relatively thin 21-gauge steel.
Get the Husky 33-inch mechanic tool box at The Home Depot or on Amazon.
For folks who worry about buying a tool box because they feel their tool collection doesn’t warrant a large storage option, this tool box from Craftsman may change their minds. This rolling tool chest from Craftsman measures 37.5 inches tall by 52 inches wide by 18 inches deep to provide plenty of storage for moderately sized tool collections, and it even comes with one.
This model features dual banks of the same drawers, each with its own lock for access. Every drawer also provides up to 100 pounds of holding capacity, and the 18- to 20-gauge steel and 5-inch casters combine to give this model a maximum weight capacity of 1,500 pounds. The tool set itself comes with 121 pieces, including ratchets, sockets, wrenches, and driver bits. A built-in power station is all it would take to bring this tool box to the next level.
Get the Craftsman 10-drawer mechanic tool box at Lowe’s.
Anyone looking to add a high-quality tool box with features like ball-bearing slides, 5-inch casters, and drawers with 100 pounds of weight bearing will want to consider the Craftsman S2000 mechanic tool box. However, folks who just want to organize and secure their tools without spending a ton will likely do quite well with the affordable Husky 26.5-inch mechanic tool box.
We love our tools and we take their storage seriously. For those reasons, we were the perfect team to put together a list of the best mechanic tool boxes. It was important to us that we suggest only top-quality products, so we drew upon all of our experience with mechanic tools and tool boxes to pick out the most important features.
After we knew what we were looking for, we performed extensive product research to find the best models on the market. We then compared these tool boxes based on style, storage, materials, and size to ensure they were providing the type of value we expected. Some failed, so we tossed those to the side. The ones that passed were given awards based on their strengths, making sure this list of the best mechanic tool boxes consisted of something for everyone.
Even with all of that background on the most important considerations and shopping through our list consisting of some of the best mechanic tool boxes, there could still be questions hanging about. The following section aims to help as it’s a collection of some of the most frequently asked questions on the topic.
It depends on how many tools you own. For most shoppers, a moderately sized tabletop model or rolling chest will typically do. However, folks who plan on storing lots of power tools and other items may opt for a larger chest or combination model.
A basic tool box should have a latch, a lock, and metal construction. It helps if there are drawers or removable caddies inside as well.
First, understand that heavier tools must be in the lower drawers to keep a large tool box safe from tipping over. After that, arrange screwdrivers and pliers in the most shallow drawers, with sockets and ratchets in the next smallest depth. Be sure to keep the most used tools toward the front of the drawers for quick and easy searching.