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You don’t have to be a professional mechanic to need a mechanic tool box. You just need to have a large tool collection that you want to keep well organized, protected, and at hand while you work. Most mechanic tool boxes are fairly large and have multiple drawers. Many have casters, making it easy to maneuver the box right where you want it while you’re working, and then push the box back and out of the way once you’re done. Some even have built-in seats, providing a welcome spot to sit while working around the garage. The right one for you, however, is the tool box that is large enough to hold your tool collection in the configuration that works best for your needs.
We researched the best mechanic tool boxes in several categories, so whether you are a DIYer, a mechanic by profession or by hobby, or just someone with a large tool collection, there's a box here that will suit your needs.
Read on for our top picks for mechanic tool boxes.
Best Overall: Milwaukee 46-Inch 16-Drawer Rolling Cabinet 48-22-8500
Construction: Steel | Drawers: 16 | Casters: Yes | Weight Capacity: 100 pounds per drawer | Removable Tray/Bins: No | Lock: Yes
Might be too large for some
The Milwaukee 46-Inch 16-Drawer Rolling Cabinet Set combines a lot of storage space, options, and mobility in chest that’s just the right size for the average garage or workspace. This all-steel roller cabinet is the best choice if you have a fairly large tool collection that you use in a single space—not a collection that you tote from jobsite to jobsite.
With 16 drawers—each can hold up to 100 pounds—that glide in and out on ball-bearing slides and a lift-up lid, you have numerous options to organize your tools just the way you like them. There’s even a special storage section to safely hold your laptop while you work. Four casters on the bottom make it easy to push around hard surfaces such as concrete floors.
The red powder-coat finish will protect the box against the usual assortment of scratches and chemical damage. The casters are also built to stand up to abuse and feature locks for stability. The overall size of the chest, not counting the casters, is 46 inches wide x 62.5 inches high x 18 inches deep. The weight capacity of the chest is a whopping 1,800 pounds.
Runner Up, Best Overall: Keter 22-Inch Rolling Tool Chest
Construction: Plastic | Drawers: 5 | Casters: Yes | Weight Capacity: 22 pounds per drawer | Removable Tray/Bins: Yes | Lock: Yes
Good size for most DIYers
16 removable bins
Not for heavy-duty use
While bigger mechanic’s tool boxes make great long term storage solutions, they are typically meant for larger or uncluttered workspaces, and are heavy and bulky. If you’re looking for a more manageable box that still has a good amount of storage, the Keter Rolling Tool Chest fits the bill. This rugged plastic tool chest has five drawers—the bottom drawer is deep enough to hold power tools such as drills or impact drivers—with included organizers, so you can keep your tool set just the way you like it.
Thanks to the four casters, you can easily move the tool chest right where you need it. The overall size of the tool chest is 23.5 inches high x 22.1 inches wide x 11.3 inches deep. It’s an excellent solution for any DIYer who has a medium-size tool collection that needs organization.
Best Budget: WEN 73015 Garage Glider Rolling Tool Chest Seat
Construction: Steel | Drawers: 3 | Casters: Yes | Weight Capacity: 350 pounds total | Removable Tray/Bins: No | Lock: No
Two folding magnetic trays
Sixteen storage slots on back of chest
Vinyl cushioned seat
Few complaints about caster quality
Budget tool boxes tend to do one job well: storing and organizing your tools. You may sacrifice a little heavy duty construction, but good options like the WEN 73015 can still keep your tools protected during everyday use. In total, this box comes with three drawers, plus extra side holders for tools you are using on the fly. Organizing screws, bolts, and nails is easy with two foldable, magnetic storage trays.
If you move around a lot in the garage, the 73015 also does double duty as a seat. A padded top and four casters makes this comfortable and mobile to scoot around the garage, knowing that your tools are within reach. For larger spaces, this is also great for secondary storage if you want a box for the tools you are using on any given project.
Best Chest: Viper Tool Storage V1804BLR 16-Inch 4-Drawer 18G Steel Rolling Tool/Salon Cart
Construction: Steel | Drawers: 4 | Casters: Yes | Weight Capacity: 100 pounds per drawer | Removable Tray/Bins: No | Lock: Yes
Side handle can be mounted on either side
Strong, durable construction
A chest mechanic tool box offers the best long-term storage and organization, but many of them are quite large and bulky, taking up more room than the average DIYer has to spare in their garage. The Viper Tool Storage V1804SSR, however, solves that problem with a compact design that holds a lot without taking up too much space. The chest is only 16 inches in width, but 36.5 inches high and 18.1 inches deep. Three drawers and two upper/lower storage bays keep tools organized.
For extra safety and protection, the Viper Tool Storage is constructed out of stainless steel to resist chemical damage and common scratches. An internal locking system will secure each drawer in case you are worried about tool theft, and the drawers slide smoothly and quietly on ball bearings. The chest is even available in various colors.
Best with Included Tools: WORKPRO 408-Piece Mechanic Tool Set with 3-Drawer Heavy Duty Metal Box
Construction: Aluminum | Drawers: 3 | Casters: No | Weight Capacity: Not stated | Removable Tray/Bins: No | Lock: Yes
Includes large set of basic mechanics tools
Convenient size for home use
Some complaints about tool quality
With mechanic tool boxes, more drawers typically is a good thing. A simple box fails to provide the necessary organization most people need when using their tool sets. The WORKPRO W009044A not only comes with great organization, it also provides a complete set of tools to get you started. For a beginner’s tool box, this option will give you everything you need. Three drawers and a top compartment round out the storage options with this box.
In addition, each compartment already comes fully stocked with common, everyday tools such as a hammer, level, hex keys, sockets, bits, and screwdrivers. Each tool is made of durable components such as fiberglass, steel, or nickel plating. In total, you get over 400 tools that can handle just about any typical DIY project or around-the-house or garage repair.
Best Cart: Performance Tool W54032 2-Shelf Compact Mechanic's Shop Cart
Construction: Plastic with metal frame | Drawers: 1 | Casters: Yes | Weight Capacity: Not stated | Removable Tray/Bins: No | Lock: No
Perfect for keeping tools handy while working
Two deep trays
Somewhat difficult to assemble
Working around the garage, basement, or worksite can get cluttered as you progress through a project. Things may start organized, but can quickly fall apart as you try to keep track of the tools you need at any given moment. The Performance Tool W54032 cart will provide you a mobile and steady way to keep frequently used tools and parts within arm's reach without cluttering the rest of the space up.
The cart comes with two shelves and a single drawer. To keep it light, the cart uses a combination of molded plastic and metal to form a sturdy frame. While it won’t give you much long term storage, the durability and mobility from the casters is perfect when you need a temporary spot for a random object.
Best for Portability: Homak 24-Inch Industrial Steel Toolbox
Construction: Steel | Drawers: None | Casters: No | Weight Capacity: 50 pounds total | Removable Tray/Bins: Yes | Lock: Yes
Not for a large collection of tools
If you have a few tools or a basic set you frequently use and want to keep separate, a traditional mechanic tool box can be enough to stay organized. The Homak BW00200200 will give you the most simple setup you could ask for: a single storage compartment with 2,160 cubic inches of usable space. This is the type of tool box you will want if you just need to reach in and find a hammer or screwdriver while on the job.
A solid construction and foldable handle make the box portable enough for long or multiple projects. Inside, a steel tool tray fits above the main storage compartment, so you have a spot to place smaller tools and parts. The boxes total dimensions are 8.63 × 24.13 × 9.75 inches.
Best Specialized: Powerbuilt Roller Seat
Construction: Steel and plastic | Drawers: 2 | Casters: Yes | Weight Capacity: 300 pounds total | Removable Tray/Bins: No | Lock: No
Perfect for use while working on cars
Drawers are very shallow
If you spend a lot of time working while low to the ground, especially doing car repair, you likely find yourself doing a lot of crouching to work, then standing to fetch your tools. That can get hard on your back. The solution? Try the Powerbuilt Roller Seat. Now you have an all-in-one seat and place to hold your most commonly reached for tools.
The Roller Seat consists of a comfortable, molded seat on casters with two pullout trays underneath the seat. There’s enough room to stash wrenches, nuts and bolts, sockets, and other small necessities. The overall measurements are 15 inches wide x 14 inches deep x 13.25 inches high and the weight limit is 300 pounds.
The Milwaukee 46-Inch 16-Drawer Rolling Cabinet Set (view at Home Depot) wins our top spot thanks to its rugged construction and superior storage design and capability. This is the best choice if you have a large collection of tools that you take seriously. But if budget is a concern, or you only need storage for a small collection of tools, the WEN 73015 Garage Glider (view at Home Depot) not only has three drawers and several dividers for organizing your tools, it also has a padded top so you can take a seat while you work.
What to Look for in a Mechanic Tool Box
Obviously, the larger your collection of tools, the bigger the box needed to contain them all. You’ll find mechanic tool boxes that are small enough to fit in the car all the way up to behemoths that are a full floor-standing cabinet. The right choice for you depends on the size of your tool collection, the amount of space you have to hold your tool box, and whether or not you plan on toting the box with you to worksites outside your home or garage.
Just as there’s a wide range in size, there’s also a lot of choice when it comes to the various organizing drawers, slots, and compartments in different models of mechanic tool boxes. The simplest have little beyond a tray with a few compartments for smaller items, while the largest have multiple drawers with dividers of different sizes, pullout bins, lift-out trays, and even spots on top to hold your laptop, beverage, or notebook. Again, the right choice depends on your own preferences and tool collection.
The heaviest-duty mechanic tool boxes are made of steel. These boxes weigh a lot, but stand up to rigorous conditions in busy garages or worksites. Less expensive options are often made of heavy plastic, which is fine for a box that isn’t going to see extreme use, but potentially might crack or warp in the most severe circumstances.
What is a mechanic tool box?
There is no hard-and-fast definition of a mechanic tool box, nor do you have to be a mechanic to own one. But as a general rule, these tool boxes are large, are on casters so you can easily pull the entire tool box close to where you are working, have many drawers—some of which are rather shallow—and allow you to organize an extensive collection of tools, many quite small, in a convenient manner to help streamline your work, whether that’s as a professional mechanic, a hobbyist who enjoys working on your own cars, or just a DIYer with a large tool collection. But there are lots of options beyond the typical mechanic tool box, including portable tool boxes, tool boxes with a built-in seat—very handy when working down low on a car—or tool boxes with just a couple of drawers.
How do you organize a mechanic tool box?
The short answer is that you organize your tool box in the manner that works best for you. But you’ll find the following tips helpful in achieving that goal:
- Adding drawer liners helps keep tools in place, and reduces scratches and wear to your expensive tools.
- Small-parts organizers, if your tool box doesn’t include one or more, are very useful for corralling screws, nails, bolts, and other small items.
- Separate your tools by function or type. Most large mechanic tool boxes have one or more shallow drawers on top, which are perfect for holding your ratchets and sockets, pliers, files, and other small or flat tools. Larger tools, such as drills and impact drivers, are best stored in the large drawers or pull-out bins normally found at the bottom of a big mechanic tool box.
- Keep the tools you use the most up front where they are easiest to grab. Less-frequently used tools should go towards the back of the drawers.
- Label all the drawers of the tool box so you can tell what’s inside at a glance. This really helps speed up your work time, as you’ll waste less time hunting for what you need to complete a specific task.
- Periodically go through your entire tool collection, and get rid of broken or nonfunctional tools. It’s easier to organize when you only have usable tools to deal with.
- If you have duplicates of some basic tools, or tools that you rarely use, store them in a separate box. Your mechanic tool box should only hold those tools you use on a regular basis.
What are the must-have tools in a mechanic tool box?
There’s no one answer as to what tools you must have in your mechanic tool box, as it really depends on the type of projects you typically tackle, but as a general rule, these are the tools most often used by mechanics and others who do a lot of work on motors or electrical systems:
- Socket sets
- Screwdrivers in a wide range of sizes and types
- Various types of pliers
- Hammers, including ball-peen hammer
- SAE and metric wrenches
- Impact wrench set
- Drill/driver set
- Pry bar
- Wire stripper
- Automotive stethoscope
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article is edited and updated by Michelle Ullman, the tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience not only in writing about all things related to the home, but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs. For this roundup, she considered dozens of mechanic tool boxes, evaluating each for basic features, extras, and customer feedback.