As they say, a man is only as good as his tools – so clearly it’s important to store those tools somewhere safe and accessible, in a high-quality toolbox.
Every DIY-er will know the frustration of trying to assemble flat pack or put up shelving, and not having the right tools to hand. This can be partially solved by having a decent toolbox, which keeps your tools well-organised, and ready to grab when the assembly instructions demand it.
Toolboxes are not all created equal – some are bigger, more robust, and have more storage solutions than others. They can be made from plastic, fabric or metal, and often come with handles and/or wheels, to make them easier to move around when fully loaded.
To help you choose a new toolbox, we’ve selected what we believe are 5 of the best toolboxes on the market today, thanks to their superior design, durability, and value – read on for our full analysis of each one.
Last update on 2021-04-17 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
Check out our top pick below:
Our best toolbox is sturdy, easy to open, and comes with a tool tray and pull-out storage drawer, allowing you to easily organise your tools
We’ve chosen this Stanley 19-Inch 1-Touch Toolbox as our best pick, largely due to its heavy-duty construction, easy-open latch, and handy tool storage tray. At 48 x 28 x 29cm, it offers plenty of space for all your DIY tools.
The roomy main compartment has a tool tray that can be positioned in the centre, or over to one side. Beneath this, there’s another pull-out storage drawer, which comes with removable dividers, to allow you to easily separate and organise your various tools.
As the name indicates, the toolbox can be opened with just ‘one touch’, thanks to the easy-to-open latch. This is especially helpful when you’re in the middle of a job, and need to grab an extra tool quickly.
The toolbox comes with pre-drilled plastic lugs, to allow you to lock it with a padlock (not provided). There’s also a metal bar along the hinge, which gives it a further feeling of security. A wide, soft touch handle makes it easy to transport the toolbox between jobs.
Overall, this is an excellent, user-friendly toolbox, that’s ideally set up for storing and organising your tools. It’s not the cheapest option on our list, but it’s still great value, and is durable enough to last for many years.
- Made from sturdy, heavy-duty plastic.
- Lots of storage – comes with tool tray in main compartment and pull-out storage drawer below.
- Removable dividers in the drawer help you to organise your tools.
- One-touch latch for easy opening.
- Soft-grip handle makes it quick and easy to transport.
- Not the most affordable option.
- Drawer runners are reported to be a little flimsy on some units.
Our best value toolbox proves that you don’t need to spend loads for high-quality tool storage
For our value pick, we’ve chosen another model by Stanley – their Essential 16” Toolbox.
This affordable toolbox is again made from durable plastic, and comes with ergonomic latches. The toolbox measures 41 x 21 x 20cm, so it’s a little smaller than our top pick, and won’t hold quite as much – but there’s still plenty of space for most standard tool sets.
It comes with a removable tool tray/organiser, to separate your tools, and there are also 2 small compartments on either side of the lid, which are perfect for storing screws, sockets and smaller items.
There’s no additional storage drawer with this one, but this is more than made up for by the price, which is by far the lowest on this list, and pretty incredible for such a high-quality item.
If you’re looking for a compact yet robust toolbox to store your DIY or gardening tools, and you’re on a budget, then we 100% recommend this affordable option – when it’s this cheap, you really can’t go wrong.
- Made from durable, weatherproof plastic.
- Includes a removable tool storage tray.
- 2 small compartments on either side of the lid, for extra storage.
- Ideal as a small DIY or garden toolbox.
- Excellent value – our most affordable toolbox, by far.
- Plastic is not very thick, and overall quality could be better.
- Not as big as others, so less space for your tools.
This heavy-duty tool chest is made from metal, and has a total of 6 storage drawers
Cost: Price not available
If plastic isn’t your thing, you might prefer this Hilka BBS Heavy Duty 6 Drawer Chest, which has an all-steel construction with ball bearing slide, and a painted red finish.
At 33.7 x 59.7 x 25.7cm, this is our largest toolbox yet – which is to be expected, given that it’s also our most expensive. The design features a total of 6 drawers, of differing sizes, in which to store your tools. There’s also a top compartment, accessed by lifting the lid of the toolbox.
It comes with a built-in key locking facility, to enable you to secure your tools within the drawers. Whilst this won’t prevent someone stealing your toolbox, it might deter would-be thieves from taking individual tools. Some users do report issues with the locking mechanism, with the drawers occasionally getting ‘stuck’, so this is something to watch out for.
This is our most expensive toolbox, by quite a long way, but it’s also the only one which is made from metal, and represents a different size and style to all our other toolboxes, which some users may prefer.
- Made from steel, with ball bearing slide.
- Durable and stylish painted red finish.
- Top compartment and 6 drawers offer plenty of space to separate and organise tools.
- Key locking facility means you can secure your tools.
- Our most expensive toolbox, and pricier than many competitors.
- Locking mechanism on the drawers can be a bit hit-and-miss.
A large toolbox with wheels and a handle, that can be divided into 2 smaller units
Our next toolbox is another Stanley model. This Mobile Work Centre consists of a large 2-in-1 toolbox, which easily separates into two when required.
The whole toolbox measures a whopping 47 x 26.5 x 62cm, and has a maximum load capacity of 40kg, so it’s ideal for those with more tools to store.
It can be broken down into the lower storage bin, which is suitable for larger items, such as power tools, and the upper bin, which comes with a removable tote tray. There’s also a front drawer with carousel design, to store small parts, such as nails and screws.
The toolbox is made from durable plastic, but has a metal front and side latches, to make it more hardwearing. Road-tested wheels and a telescopic handle make it super easy to move the toolbox around, despite its large size.
This is a larger toolbox than the others on our list, and might not be suitable for everyone – but if you’re a home DIY-er with a lot of tools, you’re sure to appreciate the extra space.
- Made from durable plastic, with metal front and side latches.
- 2-in-1 toolbox that separates into 2 units.
- Giant lower bin offers storage for bulky items, such as power tools.
- Upper bin comes with removable tote tray, and front drawer with carousel design, to store small parts.
- Wheels and telescopic handle make it super easy to move around.
- High 40kg/88lb load capacity.
- Low price.
- Plastic hinges are prone to breaking.
- No option for locking the toolbox.
This fabric tool box will fit to its contents and is ideal for those lacking in storage space
Our final toolbox is yet another model by Stanley – when it comes to affordable, high quality toolboxes, they really do know what they’re doing.
This Fatmax Technician Bag is made from a tough 600 x 600 denier fabric, with a rigid, waterproof bottom. There are also leather reinforcements on critical points, to make the bag even more durable.
It has an ergonomic, rubber grip handle, which enables you to transport it easily, and there’s also a heavy-duty shoulder strap, if you prefer to carry it this way.
The bag is spacious, with plenty of pockets on the outside, and interior tool loops to allow you to separate your tools inside the bag too. Easy pull zips mean you can access all your tools quickly.
One of the advantages of a soft tool bag is that it will fit to your tools, so it’s perfect for users who are short on storage space. This tool bag offers something a little different to the norm, but it might be just what you’re looking for.
- Made from durable 600 x 600 denier fabric.
- Rigid waterproof base, to protect your tools.
- Ergonomic rubber handle and heavy-duty shoulder strap, for easy transportation.
- Pockets and interior tool loops, to separate your tools.
- Leather reinforcements on crucial points.
- Comparatively low price.
- No way of locking the bag.
- Side pockets are a little shallow.
What Are The Essential Items For Your Tool Box?
Exactly what you need in your toolbox will depend on what tasks you’re planning to undertake. If you’re a qualified mechanic, your toolbox will probably look quite different to that of a casual DIY-er. However, there are some items that no toolbox should be without. Here are our top 10 essentials items:
Ideally, you’ll want a few different types of screwdriver, including Phillips and flathead styles, so you’re always prepared.
A classic claw hammer will be suitable for most DIY tasks. Try them out in the shop, and choose one that feels comfortable in your hand.
A tape measure is essential for most DIY and construction tasks. You can choose between traditional styles, and modern electronic versions, which use lasers to measure distances.
Socket wrench and sockets
A socket wrench is useful for tightening and loosening nuts and bolts. You’ll need a variety of socket sizes to get the most out of it.
Pliers can be used to tighten, compress and hold things in place whilst you work, basically functioning as an extra hand.
Cordless drill and bits
A drill will make your screwing tasks so much easier. Choose a cordless one, so you’re not tied to your power source, and make sure you have a variety of bits.
Choose a crosscut handsaw, which is designed to cut against the grain on a plank of wood. This will cover you for many common DIY projects, such as sawing shelves to size.
Unless you want wonky shelves and picture frames, a spirit level is another essential addition to your tool kit.
An Allen key is a simple tool that is often required in flat pack assembly jobs.
Lastly, make sure you’ve always got a pencil and notepad in your toolbox, so you can jot down notes and measurements.
How To Organise A Tool Box
When it comes to organising your toolbox, it is a good idea to keep the tools you use the most near the top, or in an easily accessible location, such as the middle drawers.
Heavier and bulkier tools, such as drills and saws, should be placed in the bottom, or in the main section of the toolbox (which is likely to be the only place they fit anyway). This will help to keep your toolbox stable.
Aim to place different types of tools in different sections/drawers of your toolbox, and add labels to the front of these drawers, so you always know where to look. If you have different versions of the same tool, such as screwdrivers try to separate these too, so you know you’re grabbing the right one for the job.
Organising your screwdrivers and sockets according to size will save you time looking through them to find the one you need. Placing a padded or foam drawer liner in the base of your drawers will help to keep everything in place, even when you’re transporting your toolbox.
April is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about home and garden design and the environment. She is an avid wildlife-enthusiast and adventure-seeker, and feels happiest when in the Great Outdoors.