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Old 02-24-2008, 10:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Why do people buy good toolboxes?

Why do people buy good toolboxes? It seems like a stupid question, maybe a better one would be, "What's wrong with cheap toolboxes?"

I'm in the market for my first toolbox and I've learned over the years that the cheapest way to go is to buy your last tool first. Buying something cheap, then just ok, then really good is a far more expensive way to get a really good tool than to just get it in the first place.

I don't see myself ever buying a new $4,000 snap on box but I might get this one: http://pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=653387 . I could keep an eye out of a name brand (snap on, matco, etc.) used box too.

I guess I'm wondering what regrets people have about going with a $300 craftsman toolbox? They seem just fine in the store.
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The cheap ones just don't tend to hold up over time. If you load the drawers pretty full, the sliders tend to fail or the box can begin to bend. You don't have to buy the top end snap-on but do settle with the cheapest. You get what you pay for and we tend to hang on to tools and tool boxes for a long period of time. I want one that will stand the test of time.
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I started with a cheap crapsmen, problem is you outgrow it fast as you grow and organize, the with weight in the non roller drawers they begin to stick and it becomes a biotch to open and close. I wish I would have seen the international boxes when I was in the market. I stepped up to the 52" craftsman when it came out, I got mine out the door for 1200, they are close to 2K now. It is big and has roller drawers and the griplatch system. now at 5 years old it is far from a tight box, for the most part it is stationary, but the last time I moved it I hit a good sized crack in my old garage floor and two of the caster assemblies (the swivel set) disintigated and it put some "buckles" in the box it self. The lock assemblies are also crap if you ever need to secure them.
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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if you have ever worked with them you would see the difference.

everything from the wheels to the draw slides are made better smoother beefier. they are built from thicker steel. when skinny jason bought his from matco the salesman demontrated the draw strength buy pulling out the lower draw, getting in it with both feet and proceded to kick stomp and jump around like a mad man, then slid the draw back in like it had never been done. skinny jasons is a 4't 6'L 2.5'd, it weighs 900lbs. you can pull every draw out forwards and it wont tip. it has 6 counter sprung castors and rolls like butter.

seriously go find a snap on, matco, or any other high end dealer and check them out in person, a catolog will give you specs not show you the quality.
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Sure the big dollar boxes are better, but really they are overkill for a home shop. I've lived out of craftsman boxes for over 40 years and yes I've even made a living in real shops with them a few times. Don't load up the drawers, build a frame with good casters and set 2 or three boxes side by side. Them high dollar boxes are nice and there is a place for them but not for a cheap guy like me.
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I've got a few different boxes from the ultimate in cheap (thanks Dad) to a higher end Craftsman, my favourite box I own is the one I built myself out of wood.

When you put a tool in a wood box it just feels so much better to me. I have tool mats in my steel ones, but I still find it goes clunk. of course, the wood one is filthy now as wood tends to hold dirty handprints really well.
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Roller slides is the biggest reason, a quality roller slide is . You can get cheaper boxes with them but the drawers and chassis are usually not as good, same for the casters.
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have 0 complaints about my craftsman box, buy the biggest you can afford/fit
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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There's a pretty big difference in qualities available, just make sure you get something big enough that will hold the kind of weight you need to hold.

I had some craftsman homeowner series boxes for about 8 years but the drawers couldn't handle the weight.
My newer craftsman griplatch lower is better, but is a flimsey box compared to the Waterloo upper that I bought. I've looked at some of the snap on boxes up close and really don't see a lot of difference between them and the Waterloo Traxx series.

You can get some good deals on used boxes - craigslist, or scratch and dents like the waterloo I bought on ebay. Also sams and costco have had some pretty sturdy boxes for not a lot of $$


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Old 02-24-2008, 01:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Just so you know. Waterloo makes the boxes for craftsman. They also make the boxes for cornwell. I think that the only two tool companies that make their own units are Snap On and Matco. Do you need a high end tool box at home? That depends on what you expect it to do. If you are just looking for organization then just but the biggest tool box you can afford. If you put allot of hours in the shop, and demand quality over quanity buy a high end box. Just remember that the name does not mean all that much. Snapon's high end box is the best out their (my opinion, I love mine). They also make some garbage in their lower end sets.
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:26 PM   #11 (permalink)
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As someone who just purchased a lower toolbox to match my top, ended up going craftsman ball bearing griplatch blah blah.. I was considering the same question myself.

I had heard through the grapevine, dont quote me on this, that the cosco boxes are the same as the craftsman.

If you are a professional mechanic, using your toolbox constantly, running around getting things done as efficiently as possible, then I would consider a more expensive box, it is your living. Having used a Matco toolbox prior and getting out of mechanics for a few years to school for a differnet field, I honestly like my craftsman better now, I have more money for tools as well. With the matco I had a few lock failures and the drawrs would creep out on me and I'd catch them on my shoulder, etc (unlevel shop floors). This was all fixed under warranty however, so the choice really is yours. This is just my experience.

Lots of people at the dealerships like having the biggest tool boxes, because they are the biggest tool boxes. lol.
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:36 PM   #12 (permalink)
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for me working in the airline industry, i need a big box. when i first started i used a waterloo traxx bottom box, and honestly it was not a bad box. i just got to the point of the box not being able to do what i wanted. working in 3 different hangers puts some mileage on a box over several years and i noticed the box starting to tweak and drawers not working smoothly. the frame (if you would call it that) was starting to break. alot of guys at work build steel bases for the box and things are good. i on the other hand spend several hours a day at my toolbox and i wanted something nice. i ended up buying a matco box and never looked back at the cheaper boxes (which make nice home boxes). i think that i have had my box for almost 7 years now and never once have i had to fix it or replace something like a slider. what amazes me is that i have one drawer for just my bucking bars. and i would guess that drawer is 100 lbs (i have alot of tungsten bars). one finger will open and close it.

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Old 02-24-2008, 01:36 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I have been looking around for a new lower box. I got a top Craftsman unit for x mas a few years ago. For my use, it has served me well. I have out grown it quickly though, and thats with hanging quite a few tools from the peg board behind my work bench.

My problem, the top box is a dark blue color. (Similair to this box http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...CMidnight+blue ) While I dont need things to match, I think it would look better. I don't have anything against Craftsman, just been watching other companies to see what else is out there.

I have considered

-Another Craftsman
Like I said, I havent had a problem with Craftsman as a home owner. So I have thought about going with a chest and intermediate chest (http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...yle%7CCabinets )

-International
Just like NissanCrawlers, they seem to be decently price, and I like the idea of having a wide box

-Harbor Freight
Yeah, I know HF.... But this box: (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=90320 and http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=92099 with http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=90321 )
Absolutely BLEW me away. I assumed, based on the store, it was going to be junk. It felt MUCH more solid and stable than my craftsman box, I was surprised to say the least)

-Montezuma
http://www.montezumamfg.com/top_cabinet_box.htm
I havent got a hold of one of these boxes in person, but I found a post about them on GMFullSize.com. They seem to be pretty well built. The guy that posted about them on GMFS is a diesel mechanic by trade, and compared them with a snap on box...

"I got my hands on a Snap-On box today.

odd thing, the drawer slides are exactly the same. hit the sheetmetal with a digital caliper... same gauge. drawer pulls are thinner and sharper. mine are nice and rounded."

He had a top and bottom craftsman professional, but destroyed it. Claims his montezuma is much better... He payed 1350 for his 56" bottom....

Awwww, decisions decisions....
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:45 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by tcorns View Post
for me working in the airline industry, i need a big box.
The entire time I was at the airlines I worked out of a Kennedy cantilever box and before that when I worked on helicopters I had a small roll-cab and worked out of a pair of small too bags on the road.

I think I needed less tool storage in that industry then any other...
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:51 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by NJ View Post
I have been looking around for a new lower box. I got a top Craftsman unit for x mas a few years ago. For my use, it has served me well. I have out grown it quickly though, and thats with hanging quite a few tools from the peg board behind my work bench.

My problem, the top box is a dark blue color. (Similair to this boxhttp://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00965642000P?vName=Tools&cName=Garag e+%26+Tool+Storage&sName=Chests+%26+Cabinets&s bf=Brand&sbv=Craftsman&filter=Cabinet+Color%7CMidn ight+blue ) While I dont need things to match, I think it would look better. I don't have anything against Craftsman, just been watching other companies to see what else is out there.

I have considered

-Another Craftsman
Like I said, I havent had a problem with Craftsman as a home owner. So I have thought about going with a chest and intermediate chest (http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...yle%7CCabinets )

-International
Just like NissanCrawlers, they seem to be decently price, and I like the idea of having a wide box

-Harbor Freight
Yeah, I know HF.... But this box: (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=90320 and http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=92099 with http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=90321 )
Absolutely BLEW me away. I assumed, based on the store, it was going to be junk. It felt MUCH more solid and stable than my craftsman box, I was surprised to say the least)

-Montezuma
http://www.montezumamfg.com/top_cabinet_box.htm
I havent got a hold of one of these boxes in person, but I found a post about them on GMFullSize.com. They seem to be pretty well built. The guy that posted about them on GMFS is a diesel mechanic by trade, and compared them with a snap on box...

"I got my hands on a Snap-On box today.

odd thing, the drawer slides are exactly the same. hit the sheetmetal with a digital caliper... same gauge. drawer pulls are thinner and sharper. mine are nice and rounded."

He had a top and bottom craftsman professional, but destroyed it. Claims his montezuma is much better... He payed 1350 for his 56" bottom....

Awwww, decisions decisions....
Monetzuma Box on ebay

IMHO from what I've read that's the best box out there in that size for the price. $3300 delivered for a box that weighs 1030lbs, 72" long and 30" deep!! That's 6" deeper than the international boxes.

Overall Deminsions
72"w x 30"d x 46.25"h
Weight: 1036 lbs.
Steel Thickness - 18 Gauge
Load Rating - 4500 lbs (250 lbs. per drawer)
Capacity - 50,343 cu. in.

My only problem is, for $3300 you can get almost 2 of the 56" international WITH the top, so obviously way more storage... quality comparison I dunno.


56" International Bottom Box:
Weight 359 lbs.
Storage Cabacity: 21575 cubic inches

x 2 = 718lbs
Storage: 43150 cubic inches

So, two of the 56" has less storage than one of the 72". BUT You can get 4 of them (ok like 200more) for the price of 1 72".

INT TOP BOX: 13518 cubic inches
BOTTOM: 21575 cubic inches
Total: 35,093 = Less than the 72" Montezumma
However you can get 2 of them for $2800. Which may be a better option, less money, more space, and you can place them easier in a small garage. that is if you need 2 of them.


The monetzumma box has to be a beast since the 56" INT top and bottom weigh 544lbs TOGETHER and the montezumma weighs 1050lb just for the bottom... then again it has more space than a top/bottom so it should weigh more.
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:57 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Just so you know. Waterloo makes the boxes for craftsman. They also make the boxes for cornwell. I think that the only two tool companies that make their own units are Snap On and Matco. Do you need a high end tool box at home? That depends on what you expect it to do. If you are just looking for organization then just but the biggest tool box you can afford. If you put allot of hours in the shop, and demand quality over quanity buy a high end box. Just remember that the name does not mean all that much. Snapon's high end box is the best out their (my opinion, I love mine). They also make some garbage in their lower end sets.
Yes, but they are not all made to the same specs. The steel in my griplatch lower is thinner than the waterloo upper. The drawers in the upper also have a much more solid feel even though they are both ball bearing units. Luckily I didn't have to pay much for the upper. $450 to my door - scratch and dent off ebay. Saves me the trouble of putting the first dent in it.
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:00 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I had heard through the grapevine, dont quote me on this, that the cosco boxes are the same as the craftsman.
the costco boxes are not the same as the craftsman. i studied them both as well as others before i made a purchase. in my opinion, the costco box is by far the best value for a box that size. i found the costco box is much sturdier and smoother than a craftsman even at near twice the cost.
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:07 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Monetzuma - 18g
International - Varying gauge from 19g to *gasp* drawers of 23g.. no wonder they have the backbone in them.

Wish I had room for a 72" chest.
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:08 PM   #19 (permalink)
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the costco boxes are not the same as the craftsman. i studied them both as well as others before i made a purchase. in my opinion, the costco box is by far the best value for a box that size. i found the costco box is much sturdier and smoother than a craftsman even at near twice the cost.
I`m going to have to come by and checkout your junk I guess...
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:15 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I won't put $4,000.00 worth of tools into a $400.00 box. My craftsman cheapo is great for the house, but I make my living with tools and have much invested in them.
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:28 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I won't put $4,000.00 worth of tools into a $400.00 box. My craftsman cheapo is great for the house, but I make my living with tools and have much invested in them.
Wouldn't want the box to tip-over and ruin those tools

(I get what you are saying)
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:34 PM   #22 (permalink)
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The main reason to spend a few k on a good tool box really boils down to what you do with. I bought a big roller from Snap On but I use it for work six days a week and open every drawer at least 30-50 times a day. Now if you are just going to use in your home shop every once in a awhile then go with a cheaper box. I personally don't like craftsman, mainly because once you get into something that big your now into it couple grand. I would look around for a box with decent metal thickness and good slides and make sure it's atleast 24"deep.
The one thing also about Snap On boxes is the hold their value you might spend 3-5 k on it but you will get your money back from it if you take care of it.
here's a pic of mine. one more thing is you do go with a Snap On look for a good used box or one that they got from a tool show usually they will sel for half the price from a show. Here's one i just found at northern tool decent size and a 1 yr parts and labor warranty.http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...3086_200343086
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:52 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Also take a look at craigslist if you want a tool truck tool box. I see stuff like this all the time around here.
http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/tls/584352888.html
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:55 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I`m going to have to come by and checkout your junk I guess...
now that just doesn't sound right
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:02 PM   #25 (permalink)
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now that just doesn't sound right
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