A Great Tool Chest for Tool Storage

Tool storage is an oft-sought garage storage solution, and to begin this search one should first know the difference between a tool chest and a toolbox. Quite simply, a tool chest is usually on rollers (i.e., not designed to be picked up), whereas a toolbox is smaller and meant to be carried by hand to your work site.

We will discuss both tool chests and tool boxes below, as well as provide examples of some interesting hybrids that are both tool chests AND toolboxes and, thereby, provide a unique and very efficient tool storage solution for your garage.

Craftsman Stainless Steel Tool Chest
Craftsman Tool Chest

Virtually all tool chests (which some people call “tool cabinets”) — like the one shown on the right — are intended primarily for metal working tool storage. You can easily imagine having a complete set of socket wrenches in the top drawer of this tool chest, with maybe a metric set in the next drawer and then the third drawer might hold pipe wrenches, crescent wrenches or spanners suitable for automotive work. Whether its wrenches, cold chisels, punches, screw drivers, ballpeen hammers or other metalworking tools, a tool chest such as this is most likely dedicated to automotive or other machine shop applications. The heavy metal tool chest is needed to house the heavy metal tools.

More cumbersome tools could be placed in the bottom drawers, and each drawer could be dedicated to a single purpose. For example, all drills and related fittings could be house in one drawer, while electrical or woodworking tools (sanders, scrapers, planes, rasps, etc.) might be stored in another drawer or two.

Fluid items like oils, degreasers, paints, solvents and the like really should NOT be put in your tool chest. Because the tool chest allows motion, it’s possible the fluid would spill and create a huge mess or even a hazard or fire if toxic chemicals are spilled.

tool box
HOMAK Tool Box

Toolboxes, on the other hand, should be small, especially if you plan to fill them with dense, metal tools like wrenches. It can’t be too heavy if you plan to carry it. Because toolboxes are small, it’s perfectly plausible to have more than one — perhaps a few, even — for different purposes.  A toolbox like the one here — just click the image to read customer feedback and learn why it’s an Amazon bestseller — is best for organizing your small hand tools.

One might also want a long, wooden “carpenter’s box” in which to store saws and other woodworking tools and/or a compact case to organize smaller, more intricate tools like torx or allen wrenches or small screwdrivers for work on electronics.  A small plastic box or attache-like case might be the best solution for keeping specialized tools (like soldering equipment, including flux and solder) at the ready and easily transportable.

But why is the title of this article about a single, great tool chest, and not a survey?  That’s because it may be possible to have your cake and eat it, too (so to speak):  You can have a large tool chest on rollers and yet have a detachable toolbox on top.  They are called tool chest / cabinet “combo units,” and if you think you’ll ever need to transport some of your tool chest items in a toolbox, this design offers a the perfect way to achieve that:

Craftsman Tool Chest image by flickr’s Charles & Hudson, Creative Commons license.


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