Tool Chest Advice

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Old 07-02-17, 05:32 PM
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Tool Chest Advice

Hi everyone - I am looking to get serious about my garage organization, and instead of storing all of my tools in a series of handheld boxes and on tables, I want to invest in a nice tool chest. I am looking at the Husky 36" wide 12 drawer chests and the Milwaukee 30 in, 12 drawer chest. My initial thought is that since I am just a homeowner/diyer, the Husky would work just fine. My only concern is that I want to buy this now, and then own it as long as possible. I always aim to buy the better product now just for longevity's sake - ive been burned on hand drills and other tools and such so now I just go with your milwaukee/dewalt/makita tools by default.

Vague question i know, but hopefully someone has some advice. Any thoughts?
 
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Old 07-02-17, 05:40 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

The one box in my shop is a Snap On but all my boxes at home are Craftsman.
I've never had a problem and no complaints with any of them.
 
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Old 07-02-17, 05:57 PM
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Thanks! I saw a Craftsman chest yesterday that looked pretty nice too, and was decently priced. So far I've been pretty happy with the quality of the craftsman tools I have, and your comments are leading me towards my initial inclination to just buy the better product and only buy it once. Craftsman is a little more affordable than Milwaukee or Dewalt so that is probably the route I'll take. I think snap-on is a little bit high end for my needs!!!

Thanks again for the reply - very helpful!
 
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Old 07-02-17, 06:35 PM
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Buy the best and biggest you can afford and have room for, you will never regret doing so. I know HF has some 44" and 56" chests that have good reviews that I would consider if I were looking for a new one. Trust me you will find a ton of uses for the top surface of a larger box, it's like a portable work bench.
 
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Old 07-02-17, 07:29 PM
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I also have a stackable 3 piece Craftsman tool chest that I bought in early 2000's & I have been very happy. So, at around 15 years old... No issues.... none.
 
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Old 07-03-17, 03:53 AM
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My tool chest is also a 3 piece Craftsman that I bought back in the 80's. It wouldn't hurt for it to be repainted but other than that it still as good as new. I have 2 side boxes bought maybe a year later that are also in great shape. I'd have to run out to the shop to get the brand name but it was a cheap one sold at K-Mart. IMO the drawer and slide construction is the main thing to pay attention to.
 
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Old 07-03-17, 08:15 AM
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I have a 3 piece stackable Craftsman chest that I bought in the 80's as well, and have been very satisfied with it. IT's not Snap On or Mac or whatever, but I don't need one of those in my own shop. And it's not a "do all" for me, as I also have a number of heavy wooden drawers, shelves, etc. for a lot of other tools, but it is full of sockets, wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, torque wrenches and things like that, which I use something from at least 5 or 6 days a week, sometimes every day, and the drawers, slides, etc. remain in very good condition and working order. The bottoms of all of my metal boxes are lined with cardboard, which yeah, might take a half hour up front, and probably seems like a total waste of time to most, but it prevents some dings and whatnot, and can be replaced if it gets grimy. And I don't keep things like calipers, micrometers, etc. in a box like this, they go in a machinist chest, as they would rust, at least where I am, in MI.
 
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Old 07-03-17, 10:32 AM
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Buy the best and biggest you can afford
So there is no question that boxes from Snap On & Mac (and others) are the best, but, for a home owner probably overkill but I know some guys that have $5K invested in their boxes sitting in their garage.

Sears and Kennedy would be about the lowest quality Id go, Kobalt and Husky I simply dont know who makes them but they are probably on the low end of quality.

When you get a big box full of tools they get heavy and you want drawers and wheels with bearings.

I'd also highly suggest your local Craigslist for a good used box.

I picked up a $2400 Craftsman Pro box a couple years ago for around $500. Sure it;s got a few scratches but I smile at that awesome box every time I'm in the garage!
 
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Old 07-03-17, 10:46 AM
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Thanks for all the replies. Definitely going the Craftsman route based on all the positive feedback. Now its just time to look for a good used one or a good sale (perhaps 4th of July deals)!
 
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Old 07-03-17, 11:12 AM
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Note that all who have responded with their opinions of Craftsman (Sears) tool boxes bought them decades ago. Since being "bought out" by K-Mart a few years ago the Craftsman line of products has gone downhill in a dramatic fashion. It is NOT the Craftsman of the 20th century. Look carefully at any new Craftsman before spending your money.
 
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Old 07-03-17, 01:25 PM
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The bottoms of all of my metal boxes are lined with cardboard, which yeah, might take a half hour up front, and probably seems like a total waste of time to most,
I lined mine with cardboard also. I started out with rubber mats but they don't stay in place. I cut cardboard to fit, sprayed it flat back and they still work well decades later .... not that it would be a big deal to replace them if/when needed.
 
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Old 07-03-17, 01:31 PM
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It is NOT the Craftsman of the 20th century
Their power tools wend down the tubes 20 years ago, I still buy mechanics tools.

BTW, Sears sold Craftsman to Black and Decker recently for close to a billion, no idea if that means quality will improve?

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Definitely going the Craftsman route
Just be aware they have several different levels of cabinets!
 
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Old 07-03-17, 02:04 PM
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The good thing about sears is they usually have quite a few display models. The main thing to pay attention is how well the drawers work ..... and remember once full of tools the drawer won't work as easy. If the drawer feels sloppy when empty - I'd pass.
 
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Old 07-03-17, 03:28 PM
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Well, I have a big Rem/Pro rolling model with a tool chest on top, a 7 drawer Kennedy machinist model, and both Craftsman and Husky mechanics portables. Both the first two were pulled out of the trash, ahem, "excess equipment", when my ship was decommissioned in 1998. After a bit of hammer and dolly work, replacement swivel wheels, and a little paint, they work and look good as a 30+ y/o tool box can.

The Craftsman and Husky were probably purchased about 4-5 yrs later and still look and work fine, but not nearly as well constructed as the first two. Slides are a bit cheap and sticky, drawers don't automatically lock in when the top is closed, latches interfere with lower doors, etc. The nice ones have ball bearing slides on 1 and heavy duty slides on the other, heavier gauge metal in sides and drawers, latches are heavy construction, auto-locking rods for drawers, 3/8" bolts for multi point lock on the chest doors.

I guess you get what you scrounge for to a great extent.
 
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