How to Choose a Toolbox? Guidelines and what you need to know
In all trades, workshops, industries and even homes, there is a toolbox that is essential. From the simplest and smallest to the most sophisticated and extensive, they are a useful resource for storing and transporting both manual and electrical tools, as well as countless accessories, from nails and screws to nuts, washers and a host of other elements.
The first toolboxes appeared about 150 years ago and were primarily large wooden trunks. Later a portable size was built consisting of an open wooden box with a handle for carrying it.
In the 1920s, wood was gradually replaced by metal, and for a long time, there was a great boom in metal boxes for tools. In the late 1960s, plastic burst into the toolbox industry, not precisely as technological innovation, but because the material that was already standard in a particularly active market - fishing boxes - was being adopted.
Today, toolboxes not only serve the primary function of storing and transporting tools but also of organizing them. That is why there is a wide variety that requires detailed analysis to select the toolbox that best suits our needs.
In this article, we will address that analysis based on a set of critical parameters that characterize the kind of toolbox to choose.
Regardless of size and type, the toolkits we can currently purchase on the market have some of the various materials mentioned above, as well as others.
This feature is related to the size of the toolbox and its ease of transporting it from one place to another. Given this, we can distinguish the following types of boxes:
a) Stationary or trunk boxes
They are generally made of steel or reinforced plastic and are the ones usually found in large garages, gardens, and workshops, especially car repair shops.
Some models may include wheels at the bottom, although these are not intended to assist in the movement of the box throughout the workshop. Instead, they serve the purpose of facilitating the placement of the box, allowing periodic cleaning underneath it. At the same time, keeping it separate from the floor so that it does not come into contact with fluids or even stagnant water.
The advantage of these boxes is they can store a large number of tools of all sizes and types. The disadvantage is that, for this reason, they are challenging to maneuver once full and occupy a considerable space.
b) Movable boxes
This group includes different sizes of boxes built with any of the materials we have seen. We can subdivide them into:
Small size boxes for manual transport: they can be opened, with a longitudinal bar that serves as a handle (like the first portable toolboxes) or provided with a lid with hinges and a handle for transport.
They are found in homes, garages and under workbenches everywhere, so they are probably the most common and economic toolboxes offered on the market.
This group also includes leather briefcases and textile backpacks for storing and transporting tools. Manual boxes are ideal for the home, the hobbyist or the newcomer to trade can be stored in a closet, and you can easily carry where desired. However, remember that they have only a limited capacity to hold tools.
Large size boxes fitted with wheels: when the quantity and weight of the tools to be transported exceed the dimensions of the smallest boxes, as well as the physical capacity of the user, wheeled toolboxes are a broad choice. This type of box is also available in a variety of materials, such as hard plastic, canvas, composites or metal. It is easy to transport over short distances, placed in a van or even in the trunk of a car.
Some models incorporate, in addition to the wheels, telescopic handles to make transport even more manageable. These boxes are handy for plumbers, carpenters and other workers who make home visits because it allows them to store and transport a wide selection of tools with them and have them at hand when they need them.
Although, as we have already said, these boxes allow tools to be quickly moved anywhere, keep in mind that their sizes are generally used to store small and medium tools only.
Vehicle Mount Boxes: For those who travel in trucks, trucks, or tractors from one place to another, whether on construction sites, mining, agriculture, or jobs on routes that cover long distances, the trunks that are bolted to the vehicle's box. It provides a better alternative for storing tools safely, rather than having them loose and scattered.
These are stationery boxes, but from the moment they can be moved in a vehicle, we include them in this group. This type of boxes are expensive, many come specifically designed for the make and model of the car, and has an element of steel. It also comes in the plastic of high resistance and low tendency to deformation, and able to withstand extreme environmental temperatures. The advantages of these boxes are translated in their exceptional capacity to store tools, which can be transported anywhere the vehicle goes, but it is not easy to dismantle them.
As we said before, today's toolboxes allow not only to store and transport tools, but also to organize them, occupying as little space as possible and providing as much use as possible. So we have tool boxes, from the smallest to the largest which fulfill several functions among which we can highlight the following types.
a) Boxes with removable tray
Whatever the size and type of box, many models incorporate a tray with a handle that can be completely removed from the box to access tools stored on the bottom of the box. This removable tray has various compartments that allow you to organize small tools or accessories.
b) Extendable or cantilever boxes
These boxes also incorporate trays with compartments, but unlike the previous ones, the trays are not removable. It is folded in cantilever within the same box, forming stacked shelves that can be unfolded to allow simultaneous access to tools or accessories arranged on multiple levels.
This type of mechanism is known as "cantilever," whose advantage is its large storage capacity in a small space.
In addition to cantilevered trays, some models also have small drawers that allow various accessories to be stored and sorted. Electricians, plumbers, locksmiths, electronic technicians, and electrical appliance repair technicians find this type of box very useful.
c) Portable boxes combined with workbenches
Those who want to spend a little more, but in return get a sophisticated work tool can opt for tool boxes with wheels, which on the top offer a full and smooth surface for use as a workbench. They have a metal component or reinforced plastic of high resistance. They can incorporate drawers and trays in the cantilever, and they constitute an excellent option to move our complete work equipment by the workshop, the garage or other wide places.
The significant advantage of these boxes is their versatility, but in return, they are expensive and are not moveable beyond the shop or a nearby area.
Both the stationary and the large movable boxes can have a horizontal or vertical design, in what is generally called a trolley and mostly resembles a modular cabinet with several compartments that you can e dismantle.
a) Horizontal modules
They are usually stationary, made of metal or reinforced plastic and have a multiplicity of drawers and compartments to classify a large number of tools and accessories. They are very useful in workshops and even in gardens.
b) Vertical modules
They usually consist of a lower module with wheels containing one or more stackable boxes and drawers for storing large tools, and an upper module. Sometimes, it fitted with a telescopic handle, providing one or more stackable boxes and smaller drawers for storing keys, bits, and screwdrivers.
In mechanical workshops, these vertical trolleys can be transported to the vehicle to have the tools at hand. They are also useful in factories, companies offering product repairs, garages or larger home workshops.
The advantage of these trolleys is that they can store a large number of tools of all types and sizes and that they can be moved around the garage or workshop, but only for short distances.
The best choice of a toolbox depends on the intended use we have. By what you have just seen, each one will be able to decide on the most suitable toolbox according to the needs and specific type of work. It is evident that the tools that a box for an electrician must contain, for example, are not the same as those provided in a box for a carpenter.