- A good tool box is the foundation of any home maintenance, ensuring that your tools and equipment are protected, organized, and accessible.
- A great tool box does all the above, as well as striking the ideal balance between size and functionality, which is why we chose the versatile Ridgid 22 in. Pro Organizer as our best overall option.
Whether you’re a serious DIY-er who reupholsters her own couches on the weekends or an apartment renter who wants to hang one or two picture frames a year, a dedicated tool box is essential.
Think about it: How many times have you thought about tightening that loose cabinet knob, only to leave it for later because you didn’t feel like scrounging around in the junk drawer for the screwdriver? Similarly, how many years have you taken off your Skilsaw’s lifespan by keeping it on the shelf in the garage, just because you don’t have a tool box to keep it in?
If this sounds like you, don’t worry, it’s not too late to get back on track. Using my experience as a residential and commercial carpenter, I’ve assembled five high-quality options suitable for a variety of users, whether you’re prioritizing storage capacity, organization, or price.
Here are the best tool boxes you can buy:
- Best tool box overall: Ridgid 22 in. Pro Organizer
- Best budget tool box: Stanley 12-1/2 in. 1 Gallon Essential Tool Box
- Best oversized tool box: Milwaukee 26 in. Jobsite Work Tool Box
- Best tool box for organization: Stanley 2-in-1 Click ‘n’ Connect
- Best job-site tool box: Milwaukee 13 in. Jobsite Work Tool Box
The best tool box overall
- The Home Depot
Not only does the Ridgid 22 in. Pro Organizer have both the size and storage capabilities of a great tool box, it also has the flexibility to be customized to your specific needs.
With both the space to fit standard-sized drills and chargers, and the storage capacity to keep all your screws, nails, and washers organized, the Ridgid 22 in. Pro Organizer easily cracks our best tool boxes list. But what solidifies its top spot, is its ability to increase or decrease the interior storage capacity, just by removing any of its six storage cups. This versatility makes it a great option for almost anyone, and at $29, there’s not much to complain about.
Typically, when it comes to tool boxes, more storage means more moving parts, which inevitably means higher chances of snapping and cracking the assortment of hinges, lids, and clasps involved. Ridgid avoids that issue altogether, as the lid of the box itself acts as the cover for the storage cups, forming a tight seal when the lid is closed.
I have personally used this tool box while working as part of a residential carpentry crew, and it was always an essential piece of our gear. We could remove some or all of the storage cups if we didn’t need them, providing us with the room to transport multiple drills and drivers, or we could keep them in place for easy access to the hardware we needed for that project.
Pros: Rugged and durable, waterproof, dustproof, convenient shape, inexpensive
Cons: Could be too big for some, need to store storage cups somewhere if they are removed
The best budget tool box
- The Home Depot
The Stanley 12.5 in. Essential Tool Box has everything you need in a basic tool kit, and nothing you don’t. This affordable option is great for people on a tight budget, or anyone who doesn’t need the bells and whistles of more expensive options.
If all you need is a place to keep a few basic hand tools and some assorted hardware, there’s no reason to spend $40 on a tool box when this little guy has everything you need for $7.
Honestly, I love this thing. It’s rugged, has a pair of handy built-in storage compartments, an interior tray insert, and is built with a level of quality that you really don’t expect to find at this price. That said, durability-wise, you’re not going to be loading this thing up with monkey wrenches and tossing it in the back of your truck every day, but for light general use, you can’t go wrong.
At 12.5-inches long, this tool box will fit pretty much anywhere, making it perfect for storing in the trunk of your car to use as a roadside emergency kit, or as a first aid kit in your boat or camper.
Bob Vila described this tool box as “a fine choice for any average homeowner on the hunt for a budget-friendly toolbox that sacrifices precious little durability or practicality”.
If money is tight, do yourself a favor: Spend $7 on this box and use the extra $20 you saved to pick up a quality screwdriver set or pair of vice grips.
Pros: Extremely low price, durable construction, practical design.
Cons: Small size is unable to accommodate cordless drills
The best oversized tool box
- The Home Depot
The size of the Milwaukee 26 in. Jobsite Work Box makes it ideal for the type of person who insists on being prepared for any situation that may arise, no matter how many tools they need to bring with them.
This beast of a tool box definitely comes close to crossing over into “too big” territory, but I think it stops just short.
Don’t get me wrong, the Milwaukee 26 in. Jobsite Work Box is big, but unlike most other tool boxes that tend to lose functionality the bigger they get, this one has a couple of surprisingly useful features that keep it from just being a “big box”.
The handiest of these features is the integrated storage pockets in each corner of the box. These built-in cups can be used as holsters for your drills and impact drivers, preventing them from banging around inside the box and getting damaged. They can also be utilized to vertically store your smaller hand tools, making them much easier to locate and grab.
Another feature is a channel cutout that runs along the length of the lid. This is used for holding sections of PVC pipe or dowels in place for cutting, using your foot to clamp them in place with the handle in the center of the lid. This channel can also be useful for balancing drywall sheets, or anything that you want to keep dry, clean, or off the floor.
The most exciting element of this tool box is the series of screw bosses located on the underside of the lid. These give you the ability to use your own screws and mount any kind of hardware you’d like. The majority of the mounting examples shown online are simply Milwaukee battery chargers, but there are countless other ways you could use these to customize your box.
I worked with an electrician once that actually mounted a piece of plywood to the lid, and on that, he had his own system of mounted tools and drill bit holders, as well as some alligator clips for holding up blueprints and floor-plans for easy reference. Keep in mind though, anything you mount to the lid when it’s open, it will also be taking up space inside the box when you close it; you can’t get too crazy with it. Also, I wouldn’t do too much screwing and unscrewing in those bosses, as the holes can crack with too much use.
Pros: Water and ust resistant, able to hold up to 200 pounds of equipment, large enough to fit large power tools like a reciprocating saw
Cons: Large size may pose storage issues, more expensive than comparable options
The best tool box for organizing
- The Home Depot
The versatile Stanley Click’n’Connect is jam-packed with a variety of different-sized storage compartments, making it a great option for anyone prioritizing organization over bulk space.
The Stanley Click’n’Connect is actually a set of two tool boxes that clip together to create a single unit. A robust 20 by 12-inch tool box attaches on top of a slim, 12-compartment organizer, letting you keep everything together and well-sorted.
This tool box would be ideal for an apartment dweller or anyone who’s tight on space, who could use it as more of a comprehensive storage solution. With the ability to store medium and small-sized tools in the large box, and smaller bits and pieces like drywall anchors, spare Ikea hardware, and assorted fasteners inside the organizer, you could conveniently keep everything in one place.
Since it doesn’t have the rugged construction of the other options here, and wouldn’t survive long-term banging around a construction job site, this tool box could be ideal for an electrician or other specialized tradesmen, with the need for organizing a lot of small components like wire connectors.
Pros: Large amount of customizable storage compartments, the two boxes can be detached if preferred
Cons: Not especially durable, the larger box is relatively shallow
The best job-site tool box
- The Home Depot
The vertical design of the bucket-style Milwaukee 13 in. Jobsite Work Toolbox allows for easy access to your tools, and at 16 inches, is the perfect height for taking a seat on your lunch break.
I’ll admit, I was skeptical about this tool box when I first saw it. It has weird storage trays inside, a giant goofy handle, and looks like a Lego bucket. But the more I saw them around, the more I realized how cool they were, and I finally got my own. Its vertical storage system ensures that your tool organization is always tidy and easy to grab when you need them.
The most surprising thing is how comfortable it is to carry, compared to bulky rectangular tool boxes. With its small 13-inch footprint and extra-large handle, it’s a breeze to haul around, even when it’s loaded with heavy stuff.
Like a few other Milwaukee tool boxes, the lid features a cutout channel for securing PVC pipe for cutting, though the short 11-inch lid limits the usefulness a bit.
The Wirecutter had three carpenters put this box to the test, declaring it to be their top choice. It said, “What puts the Milwaukee head and shoulders above the rest is its emphasis on organization.”
Pros: Smaller footprint makes for easier storage, vertical design allows easy access to tools
Cons: Relatively small, cannot fit tools over 15-inches, no storage compartments