Have you ever noticed how many tool storage systems are advertised as being the best you can buy? Marketing is a funny thing. But marketing aside, the best tool storage system for any consumer is the one that meets the consumer’s needs at the most reasonable price.
Storage Systems for Every Need
The current retail market offers a tremendous number of tool storage systems for all sorts of tools. There are systems for general home use as well as customized systems for auto mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, etc. You can even buy individual components to mix, match, and design your own storage system unique to the tools you own and how you use them.
While it is not possible to name one specific tool storage system as the best among all options, there are certain characteristics that define the best option for each user. In this post, you will learn what those characteristics are. There are nine of them, each one capable of influencing how you store your tools.
Are you looking to invest in a new storage system for your tools? If so, pay attention to these characteristics:
1. Location Flexibility
Comparisons of the best tool storage systems often discuss stationery vs. portable solutions. You will sometimes hear experts recommend stationery systems to people who tend to do most of their work in the same place. They will also recommend portable systems to people who take their tools on the go. This is the wrong way to look at it.
The best storage systems offer location flexibility. In other words, you might be looking at a heavy-duty toolbox on casters to store some of your tools in the garage. It is tough enough to be used as a stationary toolbox for all of your auto repair needs, yet still portable if you need to move it from one side of the garage to another.
Another example would be a stationary tool cabinet built into your basement workbench. This is where all of your tools find their permanent homes. But included in your system are a number of modular trays with handles. You can carry them individually or put them in a toolbox. Either way, the trays are portable. They make it easy to take hand tools with you when you go to another room or leave the house entirely.
2. Commensurate Durability
The second characteristic of a great tool storage system is durability commensurate with the amount of punishment received. You want a tool storage solution to last. You do not want it to fall apart at the first sign of trouble. At the same time, your tools generally stay in a pretty quiet environment.
The idea of linking durability to the amount of punishment your tools are likely to face is to make sure you don’t pay too much. You don’t need to invest 10 times as much in a military grade toolbox if your hand tools rarely leave the house. Likewise, it makes no sense to save a few dollars on a cheap plastic box if you are a construction worker whose tools get put through the ringer every day.
3. Commensurate Weight
Similar to durability, the weight of your tool storage system should be commensurate with its use. You might love that heavy steel toolbox capable of surviving a fall from a scaffold. But do you ever take your toolbox up that high?
By contrast, you might appreciate a lighter plastic toolbox because it is easier to carry around the job site. But if it’s so light, could it withstand having a cinder block dropped on it? Remember that the weight of a tool storage solution is often linked to its durability.
You might also consider weight as a security issue. Perhaps that tool chest you keep in the garage should be heavy enough to prevent opportunistic thieves from taking it for a walk. You never know when your garage might be broken into.
4. Adequate Capacity
A tool storage system is only as good as its capacity, right? Absolutely. The whole point of investing in a complete system is to organize and store all of your tools in a way that makes them easily accessible yet protects them from harm. Selecting a system without adequate capacity just doesn’t make sense.
It is not unusual for consumers with large tool collections to have to invest in multiple systems just to contain everything. The more tools you have, the less likely you will find a single system with enough capacity. In the end, you are looking for systems that offer maximum capacity with very little wasted space.
Bear in mind that capacity should be considered in light of the overall dimensions of a particular storage solution. You might find a particular product that gives you plenty of capacity for your cordless drill, bits, and all of the other implements you have. But is the unit so big that it won’t fit on any of your shelves?
5. Built-In Scalability
Modern tool storage systems are sometimes designed around the modular concept. The reason for this is simple: modular systems are also scalable systems. In other words, you can start as small as you need to accommodate the few tools you have. As your tool collection grows, you can add modular components to increase capacity. This is scalability.
Built-in scalability means you are not left mixing and matching different pieces as your needs grow. A storage system with scalable modules gives you access to increased capacity that is guaranteed to work with whatever you already have. New pieces will fit. They will work, feel, and look the same.
6. Protective Capabilities
The best tool storage systems offer more than just space. They also protect tools against all sorts of threats. A heavy-duty toolbox will protect tools against impact from falling objects. A box with an airtight lid will keep out moisture and debris. You get the point.
As long as you are investing in a new system that meets all your other needs, you might just as well look for one that offers adequate protection in relation to how and where your tools are used. For example, someone who works outdoors a lot would do well to find a system that is waterproof when closed.
If you work in an industrial environment with exposure to grease and solvents, your storage system should be able to withstand those things. If you work in an extreme cold weather environment, the last thing you need is a storage system that freezes up when temperatures dip below a certain point.
7. Customization Capabilities
Working our way through the list brings us to the topic of customization. The best storage solutions offer at least some degree of customization. You might be looking at a portable system designed for electrical contractors and HVAC mechanics. Is the system modular? Can interior configurations be modified to accommodate your needs?
No two tool owners have exactly the same needs. No two electrical contractors or HVAC mechanics carry the exact same tools. Therefore, being able to customize your tool storage system is a big plus. Customization offers maximum flexibility and function in the same space.
8. Strong Warranty Protection
No manufacturer can claim its tool storage system is the best in the business without offering strong warranty protection. A strong warranty should never be negotiable. At bare minimum, a good storage system is protected against manufacturer defects and failure due to normal wear and tear. The best warranties cover products for your entire lifetime.
This can be the trickiest part of finding a tool storage system. Manufacturers and retailers are more than happy to point out key features and selling points. They are more than happy to talk about price. If you have to hunt for warranty information, there may be something amiss. You may eventually find that the warranty in question is not all it’s cracked up to be.
9. Reasonable Price
The final characteristic of the best tool storage systems is price. And not necessarily a cheap price either. Rather, the best products offer a reasonable price. They may be priced higher than other comparable products, but that’s okay if the higher cost is justified by quality, scalability, etc.
A price is reasonable if you truly get what you pay for. So after all of these other characteristics are considered, you have to determine what you can get for the money you have to spend. There is nothing honorable in spending less if you have to compromise to do so. Likewise, there is nothing inherently good about spending more than you have to to get what you need.
There is no single tool storage solution that can be called the best. The absolute best solution for you is the one that meets as many of your needs as possible at the right price.
Now that you have read my list of the top 9 characteristics of the best tool storage systems, you might be interested in buying one such system. If so, why not check out this wonderful selection of assorted options that are available on Amazon. Happy hunting.