Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Even if you don’t consider yourself handy, you still likely have a hammer, screwdriver, and tape measure at home for tackling those simple tasks like hanging pictures and tightening loose knobs. And if you enjoy taking on more complex DIY projects, you probably have a much larger collection of tools, both hand and power.
But your tool collection doesn’t stop there. You also need a sturdy tool box to store and organize your tools, preferably one that makes it a cinch to find exactly what you need when you need it, and is easy to tote to wherever you need to work. That’s why we researched the top portable tool boxes available today, and then whittled down the many choices to those we feel deserve top billing in a variety of categories.
Here are our favorite portable tool boxes.
Best Overall: Keter Masterloader Portable Tool Box 241008
The Keter Masterloader Portable Tool Box is about as close as you’ll come to having a tool workshop right at hand where you need it. This super-durable resin tool box won’t dent, peel, rust, or crack, even in harsh weather. And with two 7-inch rubber wheels, an extendable handle, and a central lock, it’s easy to tote it along with you while you work.
The lower portion of the box has plenty of room for your larger tools, such as power drills, hammers, flashlights, and handsaws. The upper part of the box has multiple compartments for smaller tools, including six removable bins for nails, screws, tape measures, and other small items. But best of all, the upper portion of the box is divided, so you can slide the two halves apart for easy access to every part of the box without lifting off the top shelves.
The tool box is 14.88 x 24.25 x 16.34 inches, and has a 66-pound weight capacity. The box itself weighs 13 pounds.
Best Heavy-Duty: DEWALT Tough System DWST08203
Don’t need all that extra space and just want something for your core set of tools? The DEWALT Tough System DS 300 will have you covered. Similar to the old style of tool boxes that give you a single compartment to work with, this tool box takes it up to the next level by offering extra protection. If you want something that will protect your tools no matter what is happening outside, this is the tool box for you.
The exterior is made of a durable, 4-millimeter thick foam wall. A water seal is sandwiched in between the lid and box to keep out moisture. Additionally, the box is compatible with DEWALT’s Tough System metal carrier. Just latch it onto the carrier and secure it using the central locking mechanism. The Tough System allows you to expand your storage space with modular components to fit your exact needs.
Best Budget: Plano Grab-N-Go 16-Inch Tool Box
If you only use a tool box to hold the essentials needed for simple home repairs, hanging pictures, or tightening loose chair legs, there’s no reason to spend a lot of money. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for an inferior product; while it’s not designed for rough use on a worksite, the Plano Grab-N-Go 16-Inch Tool Box is made of heavy plastic that holds up well in the average home.
The box measures 16 x 9.5 x 7.5 inches, which is adequate to hold a hammer, screwdriver, pliers, tape measure, and the other basics needed for around-the-home tasks. A lift-out tray and clear plastic organizer hold smaller items, such as nails, hooks, and screws.
This is also a great choice if you want an organizer to hold craft or art supplies, or even fishing tackle.
Best for the Car: Torin Big Red 16-Inch Tool Box TB102
Keep a small but rugged tool box stocked with the basics in your car, and you’ll always be ready to tackle unexpected repairs when out and about. The Torin Big Red 16-Inch Tool Box is perfect for the job; at 16.7 x 6.9 x 4.9 inches, it’s just big enough to hold your hammer, screwdriver set, pliers, and other often-needed-in-an-emergency tools, yet it's small enough to easily stash in the trunk and light enough–only 2.7 pounds–to lift without effort.
The tool box is made of heavy-duty gauge steel with a bright red corrosion resistant powder finish that gives it a retro look. The heavy metal latch keeps the box securely closed, so no need to fear your tools will scatter when you take a quick turn or stop, and the comfortable-to-hold handle makes it easy to fetch the box when needed. There are no inner compartments, so you can make full use of the space to hold larger tools.
Best Workshop: DEWALT Tool Box & Mobile Work Center
True road warriors need more than just a basic tool box to get the job done. Whether you are a professional or just need to haul a lot of gear around with you, having a portable workshop by your side will keep you prepared and efficient while working. The DEWALT DWST20800 is like having four separate tool boxes with you at all times. The telescopic design folds out from a single rectangle into a four tier workstation with the push of a single latch.
Each storage space is easily accessible once everything is unfolded. The different tiers will allow you to organize different tools and parts while keeping everything in immediate reach as you work. When it’s closed up, the tool box is easy to transport and store. The heavy duty wheels are suitable for most common work terrains.
Best Stackable: Stalwart 75-4650 Oversized Portable Tool Chest
Stackable tool boxes give you the best of two worlds: Stack them up high like a tool chest for maximum storage in the smallest footprint, or separate them when needed to tote just the tools you need. And the Stalwart Oversized Portable Tool Chest performs both scenarios like a champ.
The system consists of three stackable sturdy plastic tool boxes: 19.5 x 9 x 7, 19.5 x 9 x 13 and 19 x 9 x 9 inches. The top two boxes have side handles so you can easily carry them when separated from the stack, while the bottom box is fixed into the steel rolling frame that supports the entire system. A double latch keeps the boxes securely shut when not in use, and a pull-up handle lets you comfortably roll the entire system on the two sturdy plastic wheels.
The entire system weighs 33 pounds and has a total weight capacity of 150 pounds.
Best Oversize: Milwaukee Packout 22-Inch Rolling Tool Box
If you have a big collection of hand and power tools, and are looking for a big box to tote them in, you’ve met your match with the Milwaukee Packout 22-Inch Rolling Tool Box. This bear of a box measures a whopping 22.1 x 18.6 x 25.6 inches, and has an impressive 250-pound weight capacity. The box itself weighs 23 pounds when empty.
The Packout is basically a big box; there are no included trays or organizers, so you can pack in even large or oddly shaped tools with ease. It’s made of heavy-duty red impact-resistant plastic with metal-reinforced corners, and is weather-sealed to keep your tools safe from the elements. Two 9-inch, all-terrain wheels and an industrial-strength extension handle make it a breeze to wheel the box wherever you want it, and the reinforced hinges keep the box from falling apart even under rigorous conditions.
Best for DIYers: GEARWRENCH 20-Inch Tool Box 83151
Here’s a tool box well suited to the DIY enthusiast whose tool set goes beyond the basics and who wants to keep them protected and well organized, yet not be overwhelmed by an oversize tool chest.
The GEARWRENCH 20-Inch Tool Box is made of durable steel with a corrosion-resistant powder-finish black paint. There’s a keyed center lock to keep the box secured and an easy-grip handle so you can tote it where you need it.
The chest has three drawers with smooth ball-bearing slides, plus a top
storage compartment for a total of four compartments to organize your tools.
The weight capacity of the whole box is 75 pounds. The box itself weighs 20 pounds. At 20 inches wide x 8 inches deep x 12 inches
tall, there’s plenty of room for all the basics plus quite a few extras, making
this a good choice for home, garage, or workshop.
Durable, roomy, and plenty of compartments to keep your tools neatly organized—It’s no wonder we love the Keter Masterloader Portable Tool Box (available at Amazon). But if you are looking for something to house a really large tool collection, you’ll be happiest with the Milwaukee Packout Rolling Tool Box (available at Ace Hardware), which has a whopping 250-pound storage capacity.
What to Look for in a Portable Tool Box
When choosing the right-sized tool box, you’ll need to consider the size of your tool collection, where you plan on storing the box, and how often you’ll actually be toting it from place to place. Obviously, the more tools you want to keep in the box, the larger it needs to be, but keep in mind that as size grows, so does weight. That might be an issue if you’ll be lifting or moving the box frequently.
You’ll want to keep the tool box on the smaller side if it’s going to be kept in your car for emergencies, stashed on a closet shelf and brought out infrequently for household tasks, or serve as the tool cache for a student in a dorm or renter in a small apartment. Go larger if you’ll mostly keep the tool box in your garage or a set worksite, you need to carry a big selection of tools with you on a regular basis, or it’s going to serve as tool storage for a work truck or van.
Some portable tool boxes are just that—a basic box with a handle. Others have multiple inner compartments, drawers, dividers, or even pullout bins. Many small or inexpensive options have one larger compartment and a lift-out tray with small compartments for screws, nuts, and bolts. The right configuration of storage options for you depends mostly on what you’ll be keeping in the tool box; lots of larger tools plus multiple smaller components calls for a box with drawers, trays, and perhaps a pullout bin, whereas a tool collection that’s not much more than hammer, screwdriver, pliers, and a box of nails only requires a simple box with a lift-out tray.
There are two basic materials for portable tool boxes: plastic and steel. Plastic is lightweight and inexpensive, but not always very durable. Nor can plastic tool boxes hold as much weight as a steel box. Still, plastic is a good choice if budget is your main concern, you’re only buying a box to hold a small collection of tools for household tasks, or the box won’t be toted to rugged conditions. If, however, you need a portable tool box for outdoor worksites, busy shops, a large and heavy collection of tools, or professional use, steel is your best bet.