Tool chests are the centerpiece of any tinkerer or amateur mechanic’s garage. Offered in a wide range of shapes and sizes, these storage units perform a critical function. When you’re done fixing a suspension clunk in your buddy’s truck or replacing the brake pads on your autocross toy, you have to stash your tools somewhere. Tossing them in a plastic tub or random tool bag and stuffing it in the corner of your garage behind the Christmas decorations is not a good solution. Items will get damaged, or worse, lost forever.
Helping eliminate these issues, tool chests give you a secure place to store all your pricey tools. They help you keep everything neat and organized, too, which makes the next project just a little easier since you don’t have to spend half an hour tracking down your 10-millimeter deep-well socket.
There is a dizzying array of different tool chests out there, tall ones and long ones, examples with integrated workbenches and others that have pop-up lids. Helping demystify the world of tool chests, below are some of our best tool chest recommendations, which are based on personal experience and user reviews, so you know they’re solid choices. Quality tool chests do cost a bit of money, but the good news is they’re totally reasonable, so you shouldn’t have to take out a second mortgage to afford one.
If you need a good tool chest that doesn’t cost a fortune, this unit fits the bill nicely. It consists of two separate boxes, the upper of which features six drawers, three small ones in a single row and three larger ones for storing bulkier tools. The lower portion of this unit has two deep drawers for storage and a tool cabinet on the bottom that’s large enough to hold the entire top box if you want, presumably for better transportability.
Dimensionally, this rolling tool cabinet measures 42.5 inches tall, 24.4 inches wide and 13 inches deep. For added protection, the whole megillah is lockable to keep scofflaws and their sticky fingers out. Customers are reasonably pleased with this rolling tool chest. It has a 3.8-star rating after more than 390 customer reviews. If you like what you see, this tool cabinet is available in four snazzy colors: black, blue, orange and red, so you can pick the one that best matches your garage or workshop.
If you want a super-nice tool-storage unit complete with a roller cabinet and workbench, this offering from OEM Tools is tough to top, plus it looks great since it’s made of gleaming stainless steel. A sizable unit, this assembly checks out at 78 inches long, nearly 20 inches deep and just shy of 72 inches tall, so budget garage floor space accordingly. It has four handy storage cabinets and 11 drawers, each of which has full-extension slides and can support 100 pounds (200 for the larger drawers) for your bulky tools. The pegboard backer also allows you to hang more things or items that don’t necessarily need to be stashed away. Casters permit you to roll this bad boy cabinet around wherever you need it.
If there is a downside to this tool chest, it’s the price. This thing goes for $3,000, which sounds like a lot (and it is!) but that’s nothing compared to ultra-high-end boxes that go for tens of thousands of dollars. Customers that have purchased this tool-storage system are pleased, as it has a 4.7-star rating.
This premium tool chest from Husky is the real deal. Aside from just storing your tools, it also features a solid-wood surface on top, so it functions as a small workbench, too. This tool chest’s nine drawers feature fancy soft-close mechanisms and roll on smooth ball-bearing slides for a premium feel. Those drawers can each support 100 pounds, though the larger two on the bottom are rated to handle twice that much, such as your power tool collection. For added versatility, this storage box also features integrated power outlets.
Dimensionally, this rolling toolbox measures 46 inches in length, 24.5 inches wide and it stands 37 inches tall. It also clocks in at a certifiably chunky 221 pounds, a figure that speaks to this tool chest’s sturdy construction. Five-inch-by-2-inch casters allow you to effortlessly move this unit, even when it’s loaded. Similar tool chests are also available. Husky offers 56-, 61- and 66-inch lengths, so if you want something a little bigger, there are options.
Priced at $449, this tool chest isn’t cheap, but it is of high quality and Home Depot customers love it. A whopping 96% of buyers recommend it and it has a 4.8-star rating after more than 2,100 reviews.
Whether it’s power tools, outdoor equipment or vises, Milwaukee makes great stuff. The famous brand’s tool chests are excellent options as well. This two-part, 46-inch unit is an excellent premium tool-storage option. It’s made of hefty 20-gauge steel and sports a textured powder-coat finish that looks great and is made to last. As for storage space, it boasts 16 soft-close drawers that roll on slick ball-bearing slides. Each tool chest drawer can support 100 pounds. It also has a pullout work surface, so you can fill out forms or type on a computer. This toolbox also features study, 5-inch swivel casters and the whole thing can hold up to 1,800 pounds of stuff, so don’t be afraid to fill ‘er up.
Dimensionally, this rolling tool chest is 49.3 inches long, 18.2 inches wide and, with the roof-like top open, about 78.3 inches tall. Customers love this unit’s fetching looks and capacious storage cubbies. In fact, 95% of owners recommend it and the toolbox has a 4.8-star rating.
If you are shopping for reasonably spacious tool chests and don’t want to spend one red cent more than is absolutely necessary, this unit from Big Red is for you. It has storage space to hold your screwdrivers and sockets, hammers, plyers, wrenches and ratchets (whatever it takes to work on cars) just as well as a super-pricey box. Our bargain-basement pick, this toolbox is as basic as they come, so don’t expect fancy soft-close drawers, ball-bearing drawer slides or any other amenities. At just $89 with a black finish, this setup on wheels provides a secure place to stash your tools and that’s about it.
OK, with your expectations properly calibrated, here’s what you need to know about this tool chest. It consists of two parts, a removable upper box and a lower section with a cabinet. Overall, this unit measures 40.4 inches high, is 20.3 inches wide and checks out at 11 inches deep. Caster wheels are included, so you can easily roll this sucker around in your garage or workshop. Customers have given this Big Red tool chest a 3.5-star rating, which isn’t the greatest, however, it’s still pretty impressive for something at this price.
What if you need a tool-storage solution and a convenient work cart but don’t have enough space for both? Well, the folks at Sunex have just what you need. This nifty two-in-one features three generously sized storage drawers with full-extension slides. There’s a stainless steel work surface up top that’s split in the middle, so it moves apart to reveal another storage space.
Down below, four caster wheels ensure this combination tool chest and cart can roll whenever you need it. And you’ll be glad it’s on wheels because the whole shebang weighs more than 251 pounds. Yeah, it’s solidly built. Protecting this tool-storage chest from dents and dings — not to mention other objects and surfaces — the corners feature integrated edge bumpers. At $840, this Sunex tool cart isn’t cheap, but it’s versatile and well-built.
This lovely tool chest from Husky is a lot like a Honda Accord. It’s well-appointed but not overly fancy, affordable but not cheap. This 14-drawer chest features lovely ball-bearing slides and soft-close mechanisms, is made of sturdy, 21-gauge steel and is lockable to keep thieves out. Each drawer can support up to 100 pounds, though the entire unit is rated to withstand an impressive 1,200 pounds. Not only is this tool box a great buy, it’s also an incredible value, checking out for a more-than-reasonable $498.
As for the all-important topic of dimensions, this rolling tool cabinet is a claimed 46 inches wide, 58.9 inches tall and 18.1 inches deep. It also comes with 5-inch-diameter wheels so you can roll its unladen 270 pounds around with ease.
Hoo boy, this baby from Home Depot is pricey, like, really expensive. In fact, it’s our pick for the best money-is-no-object tool chest. A professional-grade piece of hardware, this unit is loaded with features and amenities, bells and whistles, buzzers and claxons. You name it, and chances are this puppy has it. At $8,990, this Husky tool chest is not something your average shade-tree mechanic is going to buy, but it’s a bargain compared to ultra-premium tool chests from companies like Snap-On, which can cost 20 grand or more.
As for the finer points of this deluxe tool chest on wheels, there are too many to mention, but here are the highlights. It’s made of thick, 16-gauge steel and features 20 drawers, each of which can support hundreds of pounds. Naturally, ball-bearing slides and soft-close mechanisms are included. This toolbox has a total weight capacity of 10,000 pounds and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. The included work surface is covered in lustrous 304-grade stainless steel and it comes with storage lockers on the ends and cabinets up top.
Dimensionally, this tool chest is as imposing as its price tag. Overall, the unit is 127 inches long, stands 94 inches tall and is 25 inches deep, so budget your floorspace accordingly. If you have deep pockets and want an excellent tool chest, give this Husky example a close look.
Comparison of the best tool chests for 2022
|Best light-duty tool chest||On Shine tool chest||$300||Affordable price, good quality, garage-friendly size|
|Best tool chest and workbench||OEM Tools OEM24615||$3,000||Attractive stainless steel construction, integrated work bench, generous storage space, highly rated|
|Best wooden-top tool chest||Husky H46MWC9XD-TL||$450||Premium drawers, integrated workbench, maneuverable, highly rated|
|Best premium tool chest||Milwaukee 48-22-8500||$1,000||Respected brand, attractive finish, premium drawers, sturdy construction, highly rated|
|Best bargain-basement tool chest||Big Red ATBT1204R-Black||$127||Ultra-low price|
|Best all-in-one tool chest and work cart||Sunex 8035XTOR||$840||Convenient two-in-one design, sturdy construction, integrated work surface|
|Best general-purpose tool chest||Husky 46-inch, 14-drawer tool chest||$498||Well-appointed design, rugged construction, garage-friendly size, reasonable price|
|Best money-is-no-object tool chest||Husky Professional Duty 20-Drawer Mobile Workbench Tool Storage Combo||$8,990||Ultra-premium design, exhaustive feature list, integrated storage cabinets and workbench, limited lifetime warranty|
5 things to know about tool chests
- If you can afford it, get a tool chest with ball-bearing drawer slides. These minimize friction and make it much easier to open and close the drawers, even when they’re overloaded with heavy tools. If possible, pay a little more upfront and you will thank yourself for years to come.
- Tool chests come in a huge variety of sizes, everything from tiny units designed for amateur mechanics to chests that take up entire walls. Make sure you know how much space you have for one of these tool holders before purchasing.
- There’s a huge variation in how much tool chests cost. You can get a passable unit for less than $100 or you can spend many thousands on super-premium options. The good news is, many excellent boxes are available for a few hundred dollars, so don’t worry if you can’t afford one with a four-figure price tag. Quality is within reach of the average person.
- Some tool chests feature integrated workbenches. This feature can be super valuable if you haven’t built or bought a dedicated workbench for your garage yet. If, however, you already have a workbench, you may not need a tool chest that comes with one, so keep that in mind.
- Most tool chests, even inexpensive ones, seem to come with locks. This is great, as it allows you to secure your valuable tools when you’re not around. These locks may not keep a seasoned criminal out, but they’re great for keeping honest people honest.
Tool chests don’t have to be scary
They’re big, can be super expensive and often require a bit of assembly, but tool chests don’t have to be scary. Peruse some of our recommendations listed above and you’re sure to find one that meets your specific needs, whether you have just a few bucks to spend on a basic chest or you’re swinging for the fences and plan on having a long career in the auto repair field. These storage units keep your tools organized and secure.
Tool chest FAQs
What are some of the best tool chest brands?
For most amateur mechanics, name-brand offerings from companies like Craftsman, Husky and Milwaukee are great bets. You should be happy with the products offered by all of these companies.
What features do you want to look for in a tool chest?
Sturdy steel construction and ball-bearing drawer slides are great features to have in a tool chest. Locks to keep you stuff secure and soft-close drawers are also nice to have.
Why do you need a tool chest?
Do you want to store all your expensive tools in a plastic tote or dump them on the floor? Of course not! This is why you should have a proper chest if you’ve got even a moderately large collection of tools.
What are common features you won’t get on cheaper tool chests that you would on more premium options?
Less premium tool chest will lack power outlets, locks and the all-important ball-bearing drawer slides. They also might be flimsier and a lot smaller.
How do you organize tool chest drawers?
Keeping things like sockets and wrenches neat and accounted for in your tool chest can be a challenge, but not if you purchase separate organizers. Special trays are made specifically for these tools, so you can easily keep them in order and find them when they’re needed. Nobody wants to spend 15 minutes searching for their 8-millimeter nut driver in a pile of hammers, pliers and other tools. Been there, done that.