Editor's Review: Toolboxes Fit for the Apocalypse
review date: November 8, 2012
To me, DeWalt’s Tough System toolboxes are an Americanized version of the sleek stacking boxes popular in Europe (see “Toolbox Evolution,” FHB #232). Available in three sizes, the boxes have crushproof expanded-foam walls capped with an essentially watertight lid secured by burly metal latches. They swallow heavy tools and absorb abuse from the most ham-handed helpers on rough construction sites. Double duty as a step stool or sawhorse? More like a jack stand to block your truck up for changing a tire.
If you’re strong enough to pick up more than one at a time, you can latch the boxes together securely in a stack. You also can latch them onto the arms of an accessory hand truck, which can be configured to hold different combinations of cases. There is also a locking bracket that secures all the boxes to the hand truck —presumably so that they cannot be stolen during lunch runs or from the back of an open pickup. The hand truck has large pneumatic tires that roll easily over job-site debris.
The two larger boxes are configured traditionally with a large main compartment and a shallow lift-out tray, but they also have a small rack for things like chisels, screwdrivers, or a combination square. The small box comes with a number of bins for small parts, and it includes a pair of narrow compartments in the lid to organize drill bits or reciprocating-saw blades. I found the bins a little on the large side for the types of fasteners I normally carry, but if you use long screws, carriage bolts, or lag screws, they may be just the thing.
Although these DeWalt boxes proved a bit large and unwieldy for my use as a residential finish carpenter, there is still a lot to recommend them. I feel confident saying that they will stand up to very hard use, whether that’s on a busy commercial job site or out in the snowy North somewhere. They lock together solidly and easily—though two hands are required—and the cart is a great accessory for the right circumstances. The toolboxes start at about $50.
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