The wonderful world of tool boxes is as expansive as the tools they hold. They come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and configurations. There are so many options that the toughest choice of all is picking the right one.
Tool Box Categories
Every tool box sold in the United States can be classified under one of the following categories:
- Stationary – A stationary tool box, though it may have wheels, is intended to stay in one place most of the time. These are the big, burly tool boxes you see in auto repair shops.
- Roll-Around – Roll-around tool boxes can be just as big as their stationary counterparts, but they have heavy-duty casters on the bottom to guarantee they glide across the floor no matter how much weight they hold.
- Combination – A combination tool box is a smaller box that can be stored on a workbench but, when necessary, easily rolled around the shop to a new location.
- Truck-Mounted – This kind of tool box should be self-explanatory. It is mounted in the bed of a pickup truck or on a tractor-trailer.
- Fuel Tank – A fuel tank tool box is intended strictly for tractor-trailers. It secures to a tractor fuel tank with large straps to go around the circumference.
- Portable Rolling – This tool box is a bit smaller than the combination box but still large enough that it will be difficult to carry when full. It has all-purpose wheels for easy rolling.
- Hand Carry – The hand carry tool box is the one most DIY mechanics are familiar with. It holds a decent selection of hand tools but is still light and nimble enough to carry just about anywhere.
Tool Box Materials
Size and configuration are just the beginning of your tool box choices. You also have to consider your choice of materials:
- Plastic – It is light, flexible, and easy to work with. It may not be heavy-duty enough for your needs.
- Steel – The preferred material for heavy-duty toolboxes. The one downside is weight. Steel tool boxes are not easy to move.
- Aluminum – Here is a nice compromise between plastic and steel. Aluminum is considerably lighter than steel but certainly more durable than plastic.
- Wood – A wood tool box is likely handmade for a specific purpose. Enough said.
- Polyester – Polyester is a popular material for tool bags (we know, a bag is not a box).
Do Your Duty
One last thing you have to think about when choosing a tool box is the duty requirement. In other words, how much punishment will the tool box be exposed to.
- Light-Duty – Think of a light-duty toolbox as something you might keep in the hall closet filled with hand tools you need to make minor household repairs. We are talking very little punishment here.
- Medium-Duty – Your typical medium-duty tool box is one that spends a lot of time out of the closet. It might sit on a workbench, travel with you in your pickup truck, or whatever. It gets used a lot, but you still take care of it.
- Heavy-Duty – A heavy-duty tool box is going to have to stand up to a ton of punishment. It’s going to be mounted to a tractor-trailer, knocked over at the auto repair shop, subject to the blistering heat of the welding shop, or carried by a construction crew from job to job.
There is no right or wrong tool box. There are just tool boxes in general. It is up to you to figure out which one is best suited to your needs.