Toolboxes - are there *any* good ones out there?

Over the past few months I have been trying to buy a couple of
practical toolboxes for two or three different purposes. I have a big
workshop/garage where many tools (especially car tools for example)
live permanently but there are obvious needs for toting tools around
sometimes and a basic set ready in a box are useful for emergencies
and quick jobs. So, what I'm looking for is one or more toolboxes to
cover the following uses:-
1. General 'about the house' toolbox with cordless drill, some
bits for same, spirit level, a hammer, probably a mole wrench,
2. 'Electrical' toolbox, electrical screwdrivers, strippers, crimp
tool, some crimps, side cutters, pliers, cheap meter, etc.
3. Plumbing stuff, but a simple 'tote box' seems to handle this
4. An 'up the garden fencing' toolbox, as our 'garden' is 9 acres
it's a bad idea to forget anything important when you go to fix
the fences. This needs to be quite big to take more than one
cordless drill, a supply of big screws, mallet, saw, etc.
Before I started rethinking I had a couple of simple 'tote' boxes (one
with a drawer underneath) and a couple of metal cantilever toolboxes
one of which was my 'electrical' toolbox. I have now bought three or
four new toolboxes (over a year or so) but none has really lived up to
expectations. Are there *any* really practical, hard-wearing
toolboxes out there?
What I have tried so far are:-

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This is (for me) about the best so far, it's a reasonable size and
I can *just* get my cordless in the bottom though it's not really
big enough. It has one really stupid design fault though, when
you open the lid the handle drops down so that it won't lie flat
with the catilever trays fully open, you have to put your hand
under and flip the handle out of the way *every time* you open it.

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The one I have isn't exactly like this but near enough. I thought
this might 'do everything' for me but it hasn't. It's too big for
the house really, I can't wheel it upstairs. I also don't like
the tote trays really, I *always* want my cordless out and that's
always at the bottom. It may become my 'up the garden fencing'
toolbox though.
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I thought this was going to be it! It's a cantilever box which
appeared to be bigger than the Halfords one. What a
disappointment, it's not bigger, basically because it's an odd
shape. It suffers from exactly the same handle problem as the
Halfords one and the component trays are not very practical
because they don't seal when closed so rattling the box around
will shake things out.
I also have a straightforward Stanley (I think) plastic toolbox
with tote tray, like nearly all of the 'ordinary' toolboxes around
it's just too long and thin. I can't get a cordless drill in the
So, as I said, are there any good, practical, tool-boxes out there?
Price isn't terribly important but I'd want to be sure it's good if
it's expensive.
Reply to
tinnews used his keyboard to write :
I have a several of those cheap (about £1 each) plastic trays - handle in the middle and a deep compartment either side. I just pop into them what tools I might need for the particular job. One stays permanently set up with a few of the basics.
In the garage I have one of those large mechanics rolling steel tool chests with lots of narrow height drawers - perfect for the car and bike repairs. I also have a cheap plastic tool chest on two wheels, which is a vertical version of the one you mentioned - for the more serious DIY type jobs - shallow tray on top, deep box under that, then two component drawers and an even bigger opening section below that. It even had a built in power extension lead when I bought it.
Most of my tools still tend to need picking out from wherever I store them in my garage and workshop for the needs of the job - which is where the cheap plastic trays come in.
Reply to
Harry Bloomfield
Constant battle for me to keep organised. I have a 'first response bag' which always goes into the customers with me, a plumbing bag, an electrical bag & a 'drill & fix' bag.
I prefer bags to boxes because they don't rattle about as much in the van & they have lots of pockets for items.
The 'first response' bag & the 'plumbing' bag are wheeled with telescopic handles.
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like these a lot, the wheels are really useful & they have lots of pockets. You can find them for £15 -20 if you shop around.
The electrical bag & the 'drill & fix' bag are Kosch brand from homebase. The electrical one is really quite small, holds electrical tools, multi meter etc.
The 'drill & fix' bag is quite large with a plastic organiser box in a compartment in the base. This holds 2 x drill drivers, 4 batteries, a charger, level, tape, stud detector, 'bits set', drills etc + plugs & screws in the organiser. Much of my work involves simply fixing things to walls.
Only problem with bags is small parts storage, so I use plastic organiser boxes for these. Keps things neater & in place.
If I need the 'first response bag' and the 'drill & fix' bag the handles of the latter fit over the telescopic handle of the former so I can wheel them along. Only problem is 4 storey apartments - you only get jobs on the 4th floor and there are never any lifts!
Reply to
The Medway Handyman
For go anywhere mobility in a very well made rucksack, I have one of these from CK
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well made, and reasonably well thought out. Excellent for handtools, especially sharp-edged tools and measuring tools that need protection. No room for power tools.
(I first bought the Plano one from Screwfix, and returned it as far too small
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I see lots of people with the Stanley rolling contractor boxes:
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you have Romany blood, you might like this:
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bugbear is power tools coming in much larger boxes than they need to be. My Skil circular saw - beautifully compact, same for Bosch sds drill (including a useful bit of storage) - worst is a Bosch power plane, supplied in a bloody suitcase.
Reply to
It seems to me that this is the crucial problem.
Have you thought about making a sort of wheel barrow to contain the tools you need for this?
A box on an A frame with two handles and a wheel in front would do the job - make it as big as you need.
Reply to
Mary Fisher
Have a Bucket Boss contractor case that have had for a few years, vouch for hard wearing material, with dollar being low hqave you thought of a bucket organiser
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Reply to
Adam Aglionby
Most of mine are ex-mil surplus.
Particularly good for "handyman" stuff are British Army canvas holdalls. About a tenner from your local surplus shop, or tenner+post from eBay. You'll not find anything equally strong elsewhere. Parachutists' "weapons sleeve"s (also canvas) are also good for individual big things, like a greasy trolley jack, or a big felling axe / chainsaw (PC Plod reckons it's illegal to posess an axe inside a city)
As workshop engineering tool drawers I'm using the usual bright red steel 6 or 7 drawer chests. Most of these are "Stack On" as a reasonable compromise of price vs. quality. They're all pretty much the same except for the quality of the ball-bearing telescopic slides. If they aren't ball-bearing as a minimum, don't buy them.
I've no use for plastic toolboxes at all. What's the point? As for spending 20 quid or so on some crap from B&Q or by Stanley, you're having a laugh.
Reply to
Andy Dingley
I got one from Makro that does this job quite well - about 20" long, metal body with plastic top and ends. The top is designed so that you can use it as a handy step or seat which I find is ideal for sitting at a socket fitting position or reaching a ceiling rose etc. It has one lift out tray that seems to take ten screwdrivers, cutters x 2, pliers x 2, strippers x 2, crimp tool, socket tester, and some other stuff, leaving the base of the unit with four test meters, roll of earth sleeving, box of grommets and misc other stuff.
Never found anything ideal for this. I have a big zip up bag I got from Axminster with loads of side and interior pockets, that will hold all the stuff, but once full is impossible find stuff in, and is a bit much to carry far. Separating out all the plumbing fittings into a separate compartmentalised box helped solve that.
I think this is called a car!
Reply to
John Rumm
Is that true?
We have felling and hand axes and I know we're not alone in using them in this inner city area. Saws of any kind aren't always the best tool for some applications.
Reply to
Mary Fisher
Yes, I'm beginning to realise that this may be a reasonable approach, have one basics toolbox and then assemble what you need for a particular job in a 'tote' box as and when needed.
Yes, I've built my own version of this, a 'heavyweight tea-trolley' with a multi-drawer stationery cabinet and shelves in it.
I can't really see this being of much use for me as it's too big to tote around the house and not suitable for wheeling aound the 'garden', for that I currently load things into a small trailer and pull it behind a mower or tractor.
Yes, I think this may be the approach I need to develop, that just raises the issue of where the tools live when they're in the garage.
Thanks for the input.
Reply to
No, not at all! But tell that to Plod who stopped me last time I was loading the car up. 8-(
and it wasn't even a PCSO, or even in Easton
Reply to
Andy Dingley
That sounds like you have a functional split much like mine, quite encouraging really! :-)
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Thanks, I'll take a look at those. I'm not sure if the wheels are encessary in my case but that's a fairly minor thing.
Yes, I've been looking at a really quite small cantilever tray for my electrical box.
Absolutely, just what I often find is needed, lots and lots of jobs around the house (and garage/stables etc.) are simply fixing things to the walls.
I have just bought a load of organiser boxes for keeping nuts and bolts and things like that on shelves in the garage, I have several left over so can do the same.
Thanks for taking the time to respond so helpfully. It seems I'm not *too* far from the right place and your information will help a lot.
Reply to
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OK, thanks, maybe that's a thought for my 'electrical' toolkit.
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I think this is exactly the one I have, it just doesn't quite do it for me, for the reasons I explained before. They are fantastically cheap for what they are though and I guess that may be why you see a lot of them about!
Or, if they do have a big case there's no space in it for actually useful stuff, e.g. one wants a decent set of drill bits and screwdriver bits with a cordless driver.
Reply to
In practice I load stuff into a small trailer, there's too much to manage in any sort of barrow. If I'm just fixing stuff and don't need any large bits of wood or anything then I'll use a hand trolley but for serious fencing with the post 'bonker', several posts, maybe some rails, etc. then a trailer is necessary.
The toolbox for this is more to keep together the fencing tools and small items.
Reply to
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It certainly different! It looks like it would be a good candidate for the 'tote' type approach where you want to gather up a specific set of tools for a job.
Isn't it surprising how different places can have such very different approaches to the same requirement.
Reply to
My solution for this is a DIY one, I built a heavyweight trolley with castors and have put an office multi-drawer unit in it plus some shelves designed to be easy to slot socket sets and such onto.
Nothing wrong with plastic at all if they're well engineered. For example there's a very nice range of boxes from Powell Plastics
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, and their 'hobby case' :-
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excellent and incredibly cheap (£3.99). I have had one for many many years that I use as my 'electronics' tool box.
> As for > spending 20 quid or so on some crap from B&Q or by Stanley, you're > having a laugh.
Reply to
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================================== Note that the bucket is NOT supplied, which seems to be an important part of the item. Personally, I have several strong builders' buckets (about £1-00 each at Wickes) which I use for carrying anything from basic tools to scaffold clips and I don't need numerous pockets to lose things in. I've recently bought two large flexible yellow buckets (Wickes /18" diameter / 13" high / 2 handles) which can be used in a wheelbarrow if too heavy for two-handed carrying.
Reply to
General nosiness. Then asking what I was doing with a couple of axes, billhooks and khukris. As I was loading them into a Volvo estate that's perpetually filthy with wood chippings, I thought this was rather obvious.
His best question was "Don't you think that lot's all a bit dangerous?" Now as I'm a lazy porker with a strong dislike of chainsaws, the whole reason I'm swinging a 6lb felling axe is because I think it's _safer_ than a chainsaw, quieter and I need the exercise.
I did actually think it was a PCSO at first. You expect ignorance from that bunch.
_Extreme_ sarcasm Reciting section 139 of the CJA from memory (it's a party trick - better than Eskimo Nell at least) Ignoring him and continuing to load up until he wandered off.
Reply to
Andy Dingley

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