Tools, it seems, are never where they should be when you need them. How many times have you asked yourself “Where are those damn needle-nose pliers?” as the weekend project halts so you can scurry around, checking the kitchen drawers, the dark recesses of the basement, and the glovebox? A toolbox or tool bag might not be as sexy as a new miter saw, but it might be the most underrated tool you have: The right one will make you a better and more efficient DIYer. From handling the basics of Ikea assembly to more involved upgrades like crown molding, knowing where your tools are means you’re putting time into getting the project done, and not searching or asking family members if they’ve seen your flashlight. And today’s tool storage is a lot smarter than the basic box your parents had. Here are five toolboxes, tool bags, and other smart tool storage solutions to consider.
The Best Basic Tool Storage
Even the most space-starved apartment dweller has enough room for a 5-gallon bucket tucked in a closet somewhere. Slip this 600 denier ripstop fabric pouch over a bucket — like that 5-gallon pail drywall compound comes in — and you can stash larger tools inside, like a drill/driver, hammer, or a level. The 30 outside pockets hold smaller tools like screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, and a tape measure. With everything on display, it's easy to find what you need — and importantly, just as easy to put them back — and with the grab of a handle, you can take your tool kit just about anywhere in the house. Just keep kids away since your tools are easy to get at with this option.
The Best All-Around Toolbox
As you take on more involved projects, the tools tend to get larger. At 28-inches long, this medium-sized toolbox will swallow longer tools like a reciprocating saw, 2-foot level, or a pipe wrench. The durable plastic walls on this box are paired with a lid that clamps down tight using a rubber gasket. That means if you leave your gear out in the rain or a humid environment, it’ll keep water out. Once you flip the lid, a removable top tray keeps smaller items like screwdrivers and fasteners easy to get at. The lid’s V-groove will hold things like 2x4s and PVC pipe steady, under your boot, as you cut. Basic yet efficient, the box’s square top means it’s easy to store other gear on top.
The Best Garage Tool Storage
If you’ve lusted after a gleaming metal toolbox on wheels, you’re in luck: In recent years these have come down in price, while housing deeper drawers that make them more useful to DIYers. The 21-gauge steel frame on this Husky comes in six colors and has 5-inch-wide caster wheels. That means you can wheel it out of the way to move a car in, or outside to work on the driveway. Plug the integrated power strip into a wall, then port in your cordless tool chargers or juice up your smartphone. With nine lockable drawers, each with a grippy liner, this will keep your small tools and even bulkier ones like a circular saw tidy. The 46-x-24-inch wood top is enough space to assemble small projects or mount a miter saw.
The Best Tool Bag for the Guy With Needy Friends
If you’re handy, word tends to get out. This is a tool bag masquerading as a backpack, and it's the best way to get the gear you need to a friend’s house. The Klein's organized interior holds 39 tools with a hard, rubber bottom that keeps the bag upright when you set it down and protected from water or mud. Unlike a regular backpack, this one opens fully so you can see all the tools at once. It might not carry all of your bulkiest power tools, but it will hold a small drill/driver and the essentials. And if you’re heading up flights of stairs or using mass transit, it's the easiest way to travel.
The Best for Bringing Everything
The latest trend in tool storage is a collection of rugged boxes that click together to keep things really organized. If you're the type who takes the time to grind your own coffee beans in the morning, this is the kit for you. This Packout consists of three boxes — large to small — to store just about all your gear, from bulky saws down to removable bins to sort screws by length. Each box clicks onto the next in any configuration. Just need some screws? Click off that box and go. Don’t know what you’ll need? Take it all with you and toss it into the back of an SUV by breaking it down. Then wheel it over turf, stairs, or rocks.
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