truck cargo box

A Surprisingly Informative Guide to Buying a Truck Cargo Box

Key Takeaways

1. A truck cargo box ensures the safety and protection of your tools during transportation, preventing damage and theft.
2. Organization is crucial for efficient tool management, and a cargo box allows for categorized storage.
3. Different materials like steel, aluminum, and hard plastic have their own advantages and disadvantages for truck cargo boxes.
4. Rust prevention and proper maintenance are essential for steel cargo boxes.
5. Consider the weight when buying a truck cargo box, as some materials like steel can be heavy and may require assistance when lifting.
6. Investing in a quality truck cargo box with security features is important for safeguarding valuable tools.
7. Cost varies based on factors like material, size, brand, and additional features.
8. Additional features, such as compartments, dividers, and shelves, enhance organization and optimize workspace.
9. The installation and removal process should be considered for ease of use and versatility.
10. When purchasing, prioritize quality and don’t compromise by cutting corners.

If you work in construction or another type of trade and travel from one location to another as part of your job, you may use a pickup-truck to get you from place to place. You might also take a bunch of tools with you to help you do your job. If so, a truck cargo box is a fantastic investment to make.

Why a Truck Cargo Box is Essential

Imagine you’re a tradesperson, maybe a carpenter, an electrician, or a handyman of sorts. Your truck is your mobile office, carrying the lifelines of your profession – your tools. In such a scenario, a truck cargo box is not just a storage option; it’s a critical component of your work routine.

The first concern, of course, is the safety of your tools. Frequent trips and varying road conditions may cause your tools to jostle and tumble, risking damage. A cargo box ensures your tools are safely stowed, preventing any unfortunate accidents that could break your precious gear. It also safeguards them from the outside world – be it rain, dust, or potential thieves.

On another note, the phrase “A place for everything, and everything in its place” rings especially true in the trades. With potentially hundreds of tools to manage, organization is key. A cargo box allows for categorized storage of your tools, allowing you to spend less time hunting for the right tool and more time doing what you do best.

Finally, there’s the aspect of protection from the elements. Tools left exposed to the environment are susceptible to rust, dust, and even theft. Your cargo box serves as a shield, protecting your tools from inclement weather and keeping them in top working condition.

In essence, a truck cargo box is not just a container; it’s an investment. An investment in the longevity of your tools, the efficiency of your work, and, ultimately, the success of your livelihood. No matter what trade you’re in, this is one purchase that holds its weight in gold. The best truck cargo tool box you can buy will make an ideal purchase in terms of keeping your tools in one safe place that is easy to access as and when you need to. But what should you look for when it comes to buying truck cargo boxes?

Type of Truck Cargo Box

You could be of the opinion that all truck cargo boxes are the same, but you would be mistaken. In fact, there are quite a few different types in terms of where and how they attach to your truck. For example, a cross bed style will stretch the width of the truck and will be mounted directly behind the cab. The benefit of this type of truck cargo box is the fact that it usually has space underneath that can be used for storing other items.

If you prefer, you can buy a chest box that will also sit behind the cab but is attached to the floor instead of the sides of the truck and does not reach the height of the sides. Other options include a side-fitting box that attaches to one side of the truck only or a sliding box that is fitted to a rail and can be moved from one end of the truck to the other as and when required.

Different Jobs, Different Needs: How to Decide Which Type of Truck Cargo Box Suits You Best

When it comes to choosing a truck cargo box, the specifics of your daily work can be the deciding factor. Let’s break down a few examples that illustrate how different occupations might demand diverse storage solutions.

Construction Workers

For construction workers, dealing with a variety of bulky, heavy-duty tools like drills, hammers, saws, and wrenches is the norm. These tools demand a rugged and capacious storage system. A cross bed style cargo box would be ideal here. Its placement directly behind the cab offers easy accessibility and it spans the width of the truck, providing plenty of storage space. The bonus is the additional room underneath the box that can be utilized for extra materials like sandbags, bricks, or even personal equipment.

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Landscapers and gardeners might find a side-fitting box to be a more suitable choice. These professionals need to rapidly switch between a range of smaller tools like pruning shears, trowels, and gloves. The side-fitting box provides easy access without needing to climb onto the truck bed, allowing for quick tool changes and efficient work.

Mobile Mechanics

For mobile mechanics who have to juggle between a myriad of tools and parts, a sliding box could be a game-changer. Given the diversity of their tools, from wrenches and screwdrivers to various small parts like nuts, bolts, and screws, organization is critical. The movable nature of a sliding box offers flexibility, and the usually present smaller compartments help keep the toolbox tidy and tools easy to locate.

General Handymen

If you’re a handyman who does a bit of everything, versatility is key. A chest box could be the perfect fit. Attached to the truck floor and lower in height, these boxes are inconspicuous and can cater to a variety of tools without limiting the overall utility of the truck bed. It’s a great all-rounder for those who need to stay ready for a wide array of jobs.

Remember, the best truck cargo box is the one that aligns seamlessly with your day-to-day work demands. Always keep in mind the nature of your tools and the ease of access you require when making your decision.

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Which Material Should You Choose?

You will also need to give careful consideration to the type of material you choose when buying a truck cargo box. They tend to be made from steel, hard plastic or aluminum and, while all are resistant to the elements, all have their own advantages and disadvantages. The type of material you do choose will depend on your needs and circumstances.

Many people will go for aluminum because of its many advantages. A truck cargo box made from this material will last for a long time because it will be resistant to corrosion and because of the fact that aluminum itself is an extremely durable material. It is a strong but lightweight material, making it perfect for truck cargo boxes. However, if you are on a tight budget you may struggle to find one that meets your needs.

Steel is another popular component material when it comes to truck cargo boxes. Steel is heavy duty and strong and will last for decades. Nevertheless, it can be an expensive choice and the price may be out of some people’s budget.

If you are restricted in the type of cargo box you can buy for your truck because of your budget, you will probably want to consider hard and durable plastic. Plastic truck cargo boxes are made from strong and hard-wearing plastic. Nonetheless, one issue they do have is that they do not tend to be as durable as their aluminum and steel cousins and can fall foul to the elements over time.

Maintenance and Durability

When it comes to the longevity of your truck cargo box, maintenance is crucial. However, the specifics of this maintenance largely depend on the material of your cargo box – be it steel, plastic, or aluminum.

Steel Cargo Boxes

Steel, known for its strength and durability, can stand up to heavy use. But, like any other material, it has its vulnerabilities. Exposure to moisture can lead to rust over time, compromising its durability. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep your steel box as dry as possible. After rainfall or washing, make sure to thoroughly dry the box. It’s also beneficial to regularly apply a rust-preventative spray to further increase its lifespan. Remember, while steel is strong, it isn’t immune to scratches or dents, so handle your box with care to prevent such damages.

Plastic Cargo Boxes

Hard plastic cargo boxes are generally resistant to rust and corrosion, but prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures and sunlight can cause them to warp or fade. To maintain a plastic box, regular cleaning with mild soap and water is usually sufficient. Avoid using harsh chemicals, as these may deteriorate the plastic over time. If your box is constantly exposed to sunlight, consider using a UV-protective spray to prevent discoloration and brittleness.

Aluminum Cargo Boxes

Aluminum boxes are known for their resistance to corrosion, making them a popular choice. However, they’re not entirely maintenance-free. Over time, they may oxidize, leading to a dull appearance. To counter this, clean your aluminum box regularly with a mild detergent and water. To maintain its shine, apply an aluminum polish occasionally. If your box has a painted or powder-coated finish, treat it as you would car paint – use gentle cleaning agents and avoid abrasive tools.

The environment and frequency of use will also impact your cargo box’s durability. For instance, boxes used in coastal areas might suffer from accelerated corrosion due to salt in the air. Similarly, those used frequently in harsh weather conditions or for heavy-duty purposes may show signs of wear sooner. Regular inspection and proactive maintenance are your best defenses against these elements, ensuring your truck cargo box remains a reliable storage solution for many years to come.

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Additional Features

As you might already be aware, truck cargo boxes differ depending on the brand. The size and style are important considerations, but you will also want to think about any additional features that you would like.

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How your truck cargo box opens is something that you should think about as there are a number of options. Some boxes will have openings at the front that are like a door while others open at the top and have dual gas cylinders that make it easier to open.

You might also want to check out the various compartments, dividers, shelves, and trays that could make it easier for you to store your tools. The more compartments your cargo box has, the easier it will be to organize your tools according to type or size.

Security Features of a Truck Cargo Box

When considering a truck cargo box, security is undoubtedly one of your primary concerns. After all, the box is intended to keep your valuable tools safe and secure, whether parked on a bustling construction site or in your own driveway. In this regard, a range of security features can greatly enhance the protective abilities of your chosen cargo box.

Types of Locks

A key point to consider are the types of locks integrated into the cargo box. Most boxes come with either key locks or combination locks. The latter does away with the necessity of a physical key, instead allowing you to open the box with a preset numerical code. Some high-end models even feature biometric locks, which use unique personal features like fingerprints to unlock the box.

Integrated Alarm Systems

While locks are a strong deterrent, an integrated alarm system can offer an extra layer of security. This feature, usually found in premium models, triggers an alarm when someone attempts to tamper with the box without the correct unlocking procedure. This can act as a powerful deterrent to potential thieves, making them think twice before targeting your truck cargo box.

Heavy-Duty Latches and Hinges

The sturdiness of the box’s latches and hinges is another critical factor in securing your tools. Heavy-duty latches and hinges not only withstand harsh weather conditions but also make it more difficult for intruders to forcibly pry open the box.

Installation and Removal Process

The first thing you need to know is that the process of installing and removing a truck cargo box largely depends on the type of box and the model of your truck. But don’t worry, it’s not as daunting as it sounds! Most boxes are designed with user-friendly installation in mind.


To start with, you’ll usually find that truck cargo boxes come with all the hardware you’ll need for installation. For most designs, such as cross-bed and chest boxes, you’ll typically need to bolt the box onto the bed of your truck. In the case of a cross-bed box, you would typically secure it directly behind the cab with J-hooks or other secure fasteners. Chest boxes are often bolted to the floor of the truck bed. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best fit.

Side-fitting and sliding boxes may require a bit more work. They often involve attaching rails or brackets to the sides of your truck bed, onto which the box is then secured. While this process can be a bit more time-consuming, it’s worth it for the increased flexibility these types of boxes offer.


Now, let’s talk about removal. It’s generally a straightforward process, almost a reverse of the installation. If your box is bolted down, you’ll simply need to remove the bolts or unhook the fasteners. Boxes attached to side rails can typically be slid off the end of the rails once any securing devices are released.

However, keep in mind that some truck cargo boxes can be quite heavy, especially those made from steel. It may be a good idea to have a friend help with lifting the box out of your truck to avoid any potential injury.

Remember, with a bit of patience and the right tools, the process of installing and removing a truck cargo box can be straightforward and hassle-free. You’ll appreciate the flexibility this gives you in managing your workspace and tool storage.

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Cost and Where to Buy

When it comes to investing in a truck cargo box, the prices can vary significantly depending on the material, size, brand, and additional features. On average, a quality aluminum or steel truck cargo box might cost anywhere from $200 to $800. Hard plastic variants are often less expensive, typically falling in the $100 to $400 range. These are general estimates and actual prices can fluctuate based on market conditions, manufacturers’ pricing strategies, and geographic location.

Online outlets such as Amazon, eBay, and Home Depot offer a wide array of options. Amazon, known for its customer reviews and competitive pricing, often has special deals or discounts, which can be especially beneficial if you’re on a tight budget. eBay offers both new and used boxes, so you might find a bargain on a second-hand model that’s still in good shape. Home Depot is a reliable source for new truck cargo boxes and frequently offers free shipping.

If you prefer a brick-and-mortar shopping experience, auto parts stores such as AutoZone or NAPA Auto Parts, as well as large home improvement retailers like Lowe’s, carry a range of truck cargo boxes. Shopping in person has the advantage of allowing you to physically inspect the box before purchase, ensuring it fits your specific needs and truck dimensions.

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Do keep in mind that while cost is an important factor, it shouldn’t compromise the quality and durability of your truck cargo box. After all, this is a long-term investment aimed at protecting your valuable tools. Consider the box’s material, security features, and storage capacity, along with the price, to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.

Remember to research before you make a purchase. Check customer reviews, read product descriptions carefully, and don’t hesitate to ask questions either in-store or online to make sure you’re choosing the right truck cargo box for your needs.

Buying a Truck Cargo Box – Conclusion

To reiterate, the choice of your truck cargo box is more than just a decision about tool storage; it’s an investment in the efficiency of your work, the protection of your tools, and ultimately, your peace of mind.

From selecting the appropriate type of cargo box that fits both your truck and job needs, to weighing the merits and demerits of different materials – steel’s resilience, aluminum’s lightweight yet durable nature, or hard plastic’s cost-effectiveness – each choice you make impacts how you interact with this essential piece of equipment on a daily basis.

The additional features are not mere add-ons but rather crucial elements that further enhance your experience. How your box opens, the number of compartments for organization, even the dividers and shelves play a significant role in optimizing your workspace on the go.

Undoubtedly, security features demand a key focus when considering a truck cargo box. They serve as the first line of defense in safeguarding your valuable tools from theft or unauthorized use. The installation and removal process is another facet to deliberate, as it determines the box’s ease of use and versatility. And finally, when it comes to purchasing, bear in mind that this isn’t an area to cut corners. The right box will justify its cost through durability, utility, and the peace of mind it provides.

At the end of the day, your truck cargo box is more than just a storage solution – it’s a toolbox for success. Choosing the right one means striking the perfect balance between your specific needs, budget, and the nature of your work. So, invest time in understanding these aspects thoroughly, because the right decision will indeed pay off in the long run.


Q: What is a truck cargo box? A: A truck cargo box is a storage compartment that can be installed in a pickup truck. It provides a secure and organized place for storing tools, equipment, or other necessary items.
Q: What are the different types of truck cargo boxes? A: Truck cargo boxes come in a variety of types including cross bed boxes, chest boxes, side-fitting boxes, and sliding boxes. Each type has its own advantages and is suited to different needs and situations.
Q: How do I choose the right type of truck cargo box for me? A: The right type of truck cargo box depends on your specific needs. Consider factors such as the amount and type of tools you need to store, how often you access them, and the configuration of your truck.
Q: What materials are truck cargo boxes usually made from? A: Truck cargo boxes are typically made from steel, hard plastic, or aluminum. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of durability, resistance to the elements, weight, and cost.
Q: What should I look for in a truck cargo box’s additional features? A: Some important additional features to consider are the way the box opens, the number and type of compartments, dividers, shelves, and trays. These features can enhance the organization, accessibility, and overall usability of the cargo box.
Q: What are some security features of a truck cargo box? A: Common security features of truck cargo boxes include locks and alarm systems. Some models may also have reinforced panels or lids for added protection against break-ins.
Q: How do I install a truck cargo box? A: The installation process can vary depending on the type of cargo box. Some models may require professional installation, while others can be installed using common tools and the included instructions.
Q: Can I remove a truck cargo box once installed? A: Yes, most truck cargo boxes can be removed if needed. The process will depend on the type of cargo box and how it was installed.
Q: How do I maintain a truck cargo box? A: Maintenance will depend on the material of your box. Regular cleaning, checking for signs of wear and tear, and addressing any issues such as rust or cracks promptly will help extend its lifespan.
Q: How much does a truck cargo box typically cost? A: The cost of a truck cargo box can vary widely depending on its type, material, size, brand, and additional features. Prices can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
Q: Where can I buy a truck cargo box? A: Truck cargo boxes can be purchased at automotive stores, home improvement stores, and various online retailers. It’s important to buy from a reputable source to ensure the quality of the product.
Q: Can a truck cargo box withstand harsh weather conditions? A: Yes, most truck cargo boxes are designed to be resistant to weather conditions. However, the level of resistance can depend on the material of the box. Steel and aluminum boxes generally offer better protection than hard plastic boxes.
Q: What if I have a limited budget for a truck cargo box? A: If you’re on a tight budget, consider purchasing a hard plastic truck cargo box. These tend to be more affordable, yet still offer a reasonable level of durability and security.
Q: Is it worth investing in a high-quality truck cargo box? A: Yes, investing in a high-quality truck cargo box can pay off in the long run. It can provide better protection for your tools, last longer, and offer more convenience and efficiency in your work.
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