Best Tool Boxes

Finding a quality tool box is key, whether it’s for personal use or in your business facility. We did the research to find the best tool boxes made in the USA today. Below are our findings, along with tons of details about each of our top picks, and the factors we considered in our research.

Our Findings

After our research, we found 4 brands who are making the best tool boxes right here in the USA: Proto, Kennedy, MSC Direct, and Pioneer. Each of these brands have different qualities and use cases, so we broke each of our picks out into a few different categories. Let us know if you have any questions about our recommendations! Also, feel free to check out our master list of tools made in the USA.

Top Recommendations

Best Tool Boxes Best for:
Proto General Purpose Single Latch Tool Box Basic Steel Tool Box
Kennedy Manufacturing 7-Drawer Machinist’s Chest Machinist’s Chest
Kennedy Manufacturing 7-Drawer Industrial Roller Cabinet Rolling Tool Chest
MSC Direct 1 Compartment 1 Tray Tool Box Basic Plastic Tool Box
Pioneer Steel Plumber Totes & Nipple Boxes Plumbers
Pioneer Steel Cantilever Box Cantilever Tool Box

Recommendations: Going Deeper

Below are deeper details on all of our top picks, including what we liked and didn’t like about each one.

Best Basic Steel Tool Box

Proto General Purpose Single Latch Tool Box


While the Proto General Purpose tool box isn’t going to wow anyone due to its simple construction and basic design, we were still impressed with the durable construction and user-friendliness of this box. The box features a couple carry handles on its sides as well as a central carry handle on top for easy transport. It comes in a classy solid red finish, and is made from tough steel construction. The basic construction of this tool box means that it has very few fail points, so we really liked the durability of this one. The single removable tray offers storage space for smaller objects, while the lower storage offers space for larger tools. Overall, this box offers enough space to bring your most valuable tools, and it’s built to last, which is the most important things to consider when buying a tool box.

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Things we like:

  • Tough dual latch system
  • Tough steel construction
  • Basic color scheme

Things we don’t like:

  • Limited storage options
  • Slightly heavy

 

Best Machinist’s Chest

Kennedy Manufacturing 7-Drawer Machinist’s Chest


Kennedy Manufacturing is well-known for producing top-quality products, and this machinist’s chest is no different. We were impressed by the build quality and storage options that this tool box has to offer. It comes with a total of seven different sized drawers, plus a top storage compartment for holding all of your calipers, clamps, dies, taps and everything else neatly in position. Each of the drawers is felt-lined to protect against scratching, and the movable dividers make it easy to split up your storage space based on the tools that you have available. Since it’s bulkier, this tool chest is meant to store on your work table. It’s also rock-solid thanks to steel I-beam construction in each of the drawers and a tough steel build quality.

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Things we like:

  • Wool felt lined drawers and top storage
  • Tough steel core handle with vinyl padding
  • Adjustable drawer dividers
  • I-Beam drawer slides
  • Supports up to 90 lbs. per drawer

Things we don’t like:

  • None

 

Best Rolling Tool Chest

Kennedy Manufacturing 7-Drawer Industrial Roller Cabinet


If you need a large storage area and mobility, this rolling tool cabinet from Kennedy Manufacturing is a top quality product. It features seven tool drawers, all designed to offer just the right amount of storage for small and large objects. The box is built with tough double wall steel construction, making it very durable, and also quite secure. We were impressed with the easy-to-use tubular lock system for securing the cabinet, but were a bit disappointed that the whole cabinet is protected with a single lock. Boxes with multiple locks are a bit more secure (since you can control who has access to which drawers), though this one is convenient to use. The whole box is mounted on easy-rolling wheels, and it’s a simple solution for storing most types of tools in your workshop.

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Things we like:

  • Tough tubular locking system
  • Double wall construction build
  • Steel end handle
  • Perfect for workshop or garage

Things we don’t like:

  • Just a single lock for the entire box

 

Best Basic Plastic Tool Box

MSC Direct 1 Compartment 1 Tray Tool Box


When you’re searching for a good general-purpose tool box to hold basic supplies for working around the house or on the go, not much beats the usability of a lightweight plastic tool box. MSC Direct offers high-quality products here, like this one-compartment one tray box. We were impressed with this option because it’s exceptionally sturdy for its plastic construction, while still being affordable. The tool box features a single tray and a large open compartment on the inside, offering enough space for drills, hammers, wrenches, tape measures, and other hand tools. It also comes with a compact compartment up top with individual storage slots for things like screws, nails, washers, and other fasteners. The tool box secures in place with two latches and has a single carry handle up top. It’s lightweight, affordable, and a good solid tool box that you won’t be afraid to beat up during use.

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Things we like:

  • Small divided storage space for fasteners
  • Ample internal storage space
  • Tough plastic build quality
  • Lightweight and affordable

Things we don’t like:

  • Plastic tray is slightly flimsy

 

Best Tool Box for Plumbers

Pioneer Steel Plumber Totes & Nipple Boxes


Most plumbers know the struggle of trying to keep all their little nipples and connections neatly organized while at a job site. That’s why it’s so helpful to purchase nipple totes and boxes designed specifically for that purpose. Since the 1950’s ,Pioneer Steel Company has been around manufacturing 100% American-made steel toolboxes, lock boxes, drop off boxes and other garage, shop and trailer organizers. We were impressed with the totes and nipple boxes sold by Pioneer, because they’re made from tough 20- or 22-gauge steel, and they’re built to be lightweight and sturdy. Each container has many small sections for storing nipples away, and they’re affordable enough that most plumbers can afford to purchase several of them for organization purposes.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Rick Storer of Pioneer Steel, who had this to say about their manufacturing process: “To this day, all our products are built in our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Brea, California. We are proud to manufacture our American made products right here, knowing this is one way our country was build. We take great pride in using the highest quality cold roll steel available at a heavier gauge than the industry standard to ensure our products are built to last. Some of our products are even built to pass military specifications. Our products receive an environmentally friendly powder coat finish and are carefully packed to ensure it’s intact upon arrival.” We’re proud to list Pioneer Steel as one of our top recommendations.

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Things we like:

  • Affordable
  • Spot welded steel
  • 20- or 22-gauge steel build quality
  • Sectioned for easy storage

Things we don’t like:

  • Not stackable

 

Best Cantilever Tool Box

Pioneer Steel Cantilever Box


Have all your tools large and small in sight and ready to go the moment you open up this Pioneer Steel cantilever box. We were impressed with this tool box because it’s made from tough 20 or 22 gauge steel construction and feels very solid. Even the cantilever section of the box feels like it will hold up through many years of use, and it’s tough enough to hold lots of weight up top. This box is simple in design and features just a single latch to hold everything in position. It comes with an eye hoop that’s large enough to accept a padlock for security. The box hinges on a full-length piano hinge for maximum strength and it’s just a good utilitarian tool box that should last for many years.

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Things we like:

  • 20 or 22-gauge steel construction
  • Powder coat finish
  • Basic single latch design
  • Accepts a padlock
  • Tough cantilever design
  • Built with a reliable full-length piano hinge
  • Affordable

Things we don’t like:

  • Limited storage space

Recap: Best Tool Boxes Made in the USA


Factors We Considered

Build Quality

We focused on build quality more than anything else. We looked for boxes made from durable materials that will hold up through many years of use. Even the plastic boxes considered are made from a very thick and durable type of plastic that isn’t likely to fail under normal circumstances. We look at the box material, but also the build quality of the drawers and the hinges holding the boxes together.

Usability

Any good tool box should be user-friendly. It should open quickly and smoothly. The boxes should offer enough storage for their intended purposes and they should include added features like drawer lining whenever possible to make them more enjoyable to use.

Storage Options

Each of our top selections needed to have appropriate storage options for the intended users. For example, a small personal tool box doesn’t need much – typically just a couple of compartments to separate larger hand tools from your smaller nuts, bolts, and other items. However, for someone who needs a chest or cabinet for their office, your storage options need to be more robust.

Security

Tools are expensive, so our top boxes all needed to consider security. Our main box recommendations either come with built-in locks, or have the space required to add a lock on. While the boxes aren’t protected with state-of-the-art security measures, they should at least make it difficult to steel the contents of the box.

Value

We want to make sure that you’re getting the best tool box for your money, which is why we eliminated any tool boxes where we felt like the product quality did not live up to the price.