As a DIY professional, or even as an often called upon ametuer, you could well need to grab your tool box urgently, and get to the site quick as you can to get something fixed or put in place ASAP. And when that happens, it's sooo convenient to have all the tools you could need all in one place that you can simply pick up and put in your trunk and be on your way.
Because with some people’s bad luck, if you were to leave with just one or two tools, when you get to the site you’ll be super frustrated if the tool or part that you need is still sitting at the workshop.
That’s why it’s a good idea to have a good portable toolbox. And there’s no shortage of them on the market. Getting hold of one is easy. But if you want a little guidance in choosing the best one for your budget, you’ve certainly come to the right place.
Coming up shortly, we’ve got a few reviews of some of the best portable tool boxes out on the market today, all handpicked, and all bestsellers. And after that we’ve got a handy buying guide for you which walks you through everything you might want to think about before you buy.
It's worth noting at this point that this article will concentrate on portable tool boxes, as opposed to going into boxes that merely store hardware.It’s also worth noting at this point that we also have an article on Best Tool Backpacks, which is available on this link and an article on Best Tool Belts, which is available on this link.
Short on time? Here are the best portable tool boxes
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
This smart toolbox from Stalwart may look big, but we can assure you it’s very portable.
Why? Because it’s on wheels - soo much easier to transport than if you were to carry everything you had inside.
It’s made up of different compartments. And sensibly, the larger bulkier and heavier items are meant for the deep storage compartment at the bottom (so it’s less likely to topple over).
This is great because many of the portable tool boxes on the market today simply don’t have the room for large power tools, and can only fit hand tools.
And if you have any spare room in there, then you may want to use it to stash extra hardware, or maybe some PPE.
And if you don’t need the larger compartment, you can take the storage compartments apart and just use the one or ones you need.
There’s a black compartment with its own lid and handle, and better yet, there’s an even larger compartment, again with its own handle, with a total of 24 small compartments with a transparent front, so not only can you have all your small pieces of hardware at hand but you can also see at a glance where the part is (or check that you do in fact have it on hand).
We also like how it comes with handy cable hooks, which is great for keeping extension cords nearby and neatly stored. Or for keeping tape rolls handy.
It has a heavy duty, durable polypropylene and metal construction which ensures that all your tools and equipment are protected from the elements while on site.
You can fold all the handles down when you’re not using them, leaving a flat surface, which is great for resting things on (like paperwork or a thermos).
With so much space to stash all of your gear, you’ll never need worry about having left items in your workshop. And with separately portable elements it’s one of the most versatile portable tool boxes out on the market today.
👍 Enough room for large power tools
👍 It’s on wheels & is super easy to maneuver
👍 Effectively 3 storage boxes in one
👍 Keeps your small hardware organized
👍 Handy cable hooks for cords & tape rolls
👎 Premium product at a premium price, but in our view worth every cent
👎 The manufacturer warns against buying counterfeit products from unauthorized sellers, so I guess that’s a thing. Best to look out for the company logo.
Ok, so this isn’t just a tool box. It’s an excellent and large set of hand tools that comes in a great tool box. And that’s why it costs so much money.
So, it has a whopping 408 pieces of hand tools and hardware. So this tool set and tool box would suit someone who’s relatively new to the trade, and/or who doesn’t have as many tools as they would like, or for a small company that could really use some spare tools.
The tools are all top quality, chrome vanadium forged for toughness and all with a chrome finish for anti-corrosion protection. It includes all the tools you would want on a day to day basis, such as pliers, screwdrivers, hammer, allen keys, wrenches, bits, a tape measure, knife, wire stripper and so on.
In fact we would argue that since these tools meet international tool studies, they are perfectly suitable for professional maintenance technicians, and not just DIY enthusiasts.
The box itself is a sturdy built to last aluminum, and organizes your tools and hardware very neatly into 3 drawers which are all well compartmentalized, to keep everything in its proper place.
In terms of portability, even with all those tools it’s not too heavy at all. There’s a handle on top and handles on the side besides.
👍 Comes with 408 pieces of hand tools!
👍 Keeps your tools highly organized
👍 Made of sturdy built to last aluminum
👎 No power tools included and no room to store any power tools either
👎 Of course, it’s more expensive than a typical tool box, but that’s because it comes as a complete collection of hand tools in a portable tool box
OK, at first you might think that almost $50 is a lot for a 2 draw case, but there’s a case (pun intended!) to be made for it.
First off (and this is not the main point) the draws themselves are great. They feature removable dividers so you can keep lots of small pieces organized or you can remove them to store larger items. The casing is also very heavy duty and durable.
But what makes it so popular is not just what a good brand it comes from (Dewalt is a big name in tools and DIY) but how it forms part of a whole series of stackable tool boxes, which are all on the same Amazon page.
So you could have one large deep box for your power tools, stick these 2 draws on top, stacking them with heavy duty latches, and if appropriate, also get a specially dedicated trolley to roll them around them. Or you might be interested in the clear lid organiser, with it’s removable trays. Customize your collection as you please.
When boxes are stacked together you can carry them all using the uppermost handle.
So it’s a great line of products for the maintenance professional who has a lot of tools. And not only is it super portable when you need your tool box, but it’s also a great way of keeping your gear organised in your workshop.
👍 Heavy duty
👍 Top brand
👍 Part of a series of portable stackable tool boxes, inclusive deep drawer tool boxes, clear lid organisers, trolleys and carts
👎 With regards to the reviews on the Amazon page (which are mostly very positive) they can refer to any item in the collection and not just the particular product you are interested in, so be wary when reading them
This portable tool box from Ganchun is affordable, durable and highly recommended.
There’s ample storage with a 16 inch long deep bottom compartment where you can store one or two large, heavy power tools.
Then there’s also a removable tray that you can also use, which will keep your hardware or hand tool pieces organized, and easy to find.
There are also 2 handy storage compartments in the lid that you can access without having to unlock the whole box.
It has a real solid construction, made with durable sturdy thick stainless steel, so it can take a knock from a fallen tool. The edges of the box are made from superior ABS plastic, which provides further protection to prevent dents and rust.
Although it comes with two plastic buckles, you can make it more secure still by adding your own padlock or combination lock, which is worth a thought.
This also goes to making it waterproof, since many odd jobs are also carried out outside, and in such instances, you may be asked to work out in the rain.
Yet despite it’s solid construction, it’s quite lightweight to carry, so you don’t need to be afraid of making it too heavy by stuffing as many tools as you can inside.
The handle has a comfy grip, and when you’re not using it it folds down to create a flat surface to rest things on, which always comes in handy.
It’s also dirt resistant, which is great for maintaining a smart appearance on a new location. And it will stay looking smart thanks to its abrasion proof smooth edges.
👍 Smartest looking tool box on the market
👍 You can apply your own padlock
👍 Waterproof & suitable for use outdoors
👍 Keeps smaller items organized
👍 Really lightweight to carry around
👎 At 16 inches long it may not fit many power tools
This is actually a much better tool box than it looks like at first glance.
At first, what you see is a briefcase style shape, with many dividers and clear casing. Which is great because it shows you all your small items of hardware so you can spot them easily and check that you have everything you need at hand before you leave.
But better yet: 1) it’s double sided so you can carry twice as many tools, and 2) the dividers are completely removed, so you’re not limited to only taking small items, and you can it a number of other different things, whether it’s screwdrivers, scissors, tape measure, or a spirit level.
It’s also easy to carry and has a latchable lock system to keep everything in place when you’re on the move.
It’s built with a rugged impact resistant polymer which won’t dent, crack, or shatter if it gets dropped.
We also love it’s super affordable price, coming in at less than $15!
👍 Double sided
👍 Clear lids
👍 Removable dividers
👍 Bargain price
👎 No room for power tools
Things to consider before buying best portable tool boxes
First of all let us commend you on your choice for going with a tool box, rather than, say a tote bag. All your tools and your hardware can be kept out of sight from would be opportunists and your tools are much less likely to get stolen (does happen).
And when you’re using a tool belt or tool apron, or if you’re going up a ladder, you don’t want to risk any tools falling out. A portable tool box is the way to go when you're carrying out maintenance at multiple locations.
So, without further ado, here are some questions to consider when buying your portable tool box:
- Do you want one that can be rolled around on wheels?
- Do you want to invest in one that comes with tools already included?
- Do you want to be able to lock it up?
Answer these questions first, and then you can consider what other features you’re interested in. Which we will cover now.
If you need to take your tools from one location to another on a regular basis, then portability is important. This means it needs to have convenient handles (unless you’re going for wheels), and the tool box has to be relatively lightweight, especially if you have heavy tools weighing it down.
You also need to consider how you’re going to get to the location. If you’re going by car, then you will need your equipment to fit in the car’s trunk. But if you have a van at your disposal, then you could accommodate a whole trolley.
Large drawers for larger tools
Most portable tool boxes can easily fit a screwdriver or wire cutters, but if you ever need to pack a power tool, then you will need your portable tool box to be able to accommodate it/them. This means you’ll need them to be both long enough and deep enough.
This is important to think about because there are a lot of tool boxes out on the market today that simply cannot fit larger tools, even when you remove the dividers. Which leads is on to our next section
Removable trays and dividers
Different jobs can require different tools, and you will not need the same tools for every type of job. So it’s nice to be able to arrange your tool box beforehand to ensure that you have the right tools for the job.
Many tool boxes come divided into small compartments, designed to keep various small items in their set place, separating out different sized pieces. However if you were to use a tool box with removable trays and dividers, then you can remove items you don’t need to accommodate items that you are more likely to use. Or if you need to fit something larger still, then being able to remove an entire tray can sometimes come in very handy.
We’re fans of clear lids. With a clear lid, preferably some sort of plastic that won’t crack, you can see at a glance whether you have the bit you need for a job, which you could possibly check before you leave for the site, or you can see if you need to go on an errand to get that specific item.
Without a clear lid, you’d have to rely on your memory to know what’s in it.
When it comes to portable tool boxes, it is imperative that the box has a lid that will stay in place. You don’t want the tools and bits to all fall out in the trunk of your vehicle.
And if you like expensive tools, or have any hard-to-get-hold-of hardware, then you may want to put additional security in place. In this case, you might want to consider a tool box that you can attach a padlock or combination lock to.
Most maintenance technicians like their tool boxes to be rugged and durable. You will want your tool box to be able to stand up to light impacts, if not heavy impacts also. Having a tool box that stays in good condition also makes you look good when you want to maintain a good impression. You don’t want to turn up with a box that’s battered and scratched.