Tool Box on a Budget

by Linden on November 25, 2009

Mac Tools - Tool Cart

Mac Tools - Tool Cart

For years, I’ve had a 40-inch Craftsman box in black, just sitting in the corner of my garage. I bought it after my 26-inch model literally broke from the strain of holding all of my tools, plus I got a smokin’ deal that just made it all worthwhile. Sure, I wanted a Snap-On box, but not only did I not know a distributor at the time, I didn’t have the cash to buy one. I joked that I’d rather buy a car than a new toolbox.

I’ve been working on cars for the past 20 years, but it wasn’t until I spent some time in a diesel mechanic’s shop that I really started to question my choice of toolboxes. In every bay I saw names such as Matco, Mac and Snap-On, all looking pretty and shiny, albeit well used. So I asked them, “What it was about the boxes that made it worth the price?”

For them, it was durability. Every day, they would open a drawer easily 50 times, and with wear like that, you want a box that will last. It also had a value and held that value better than store-bought models, as the truck drivers would often take one of their used boxes in on trade. They liked how stable the drawers were, and how they could handle a mammoth load, and still not shake side to side like a typical Craftsman box.

But for the garage mechanic – the guy who doesn’t use their tools for their profession – is it worth spending the money?

Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not you have the money, and how long you plan on keeping the toolbox. For me, when I buy a box I plan on keeping it for the next 30 years, so spending $4,000-$10,000 doesn’t sound like that bad of a deal. But, the initial investment is always the kicker, so for now, I decided to fill the spot with something in the middle. I bought a Mac Tools mobile cart, one with four drawers and a sliding stainless top that can hold my sockets. It’s a great fix for right now, plus it makes all of my tools portable. Of course, I still want the big-name box, but for now, this will do.

For years, I’ve had a 40-inch Craftsman box in black, just sitting in the corner of my garage. I bought it after my 26-inch model literally broke from the strain of holding all of my tools, plus I got a smokin’ deal that just made it all worthwhile. Sure, I wanted a Snap-On box, but not only did I not know a distributor at the time, I didn’t have the cash to buy one. I joked that I’d rather buy a car than a new toolbox.

I’ve been working on cars for the past 20 years, but it wasn’t until I spent some time in a diesel mechanic’s shop that I really started to question my choice of toolboxes. In every bay I saw names such as Matco, Mac and Snap-On, all looking pretty and shiny, albeit well used. So I asked them, “What it was about the boxes that made it worth the price?”

For them, it was durability. Every day, they would open a drawer easily 50 times, and with wear like that, you want a box that will last. It also had a value and held that value better than store-bought models, as the truck drivers would often take one of their used boxes in on trade. They liked how stable the drawers were, and how they could handle a mammoth load, and still not shake side to side like a typical Craftsman box.

But for the garage mechanic – the guy who doesn’t use their tools for their profession – is it worth spending the money?

Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not you have the money, and how long you plan on keeping the toolbox. For me, when I buy a box I plan on keeping it for the next 30 years, so spending $4,000-$10,000 doesn’t sound like that bad of a deal. But, the initial investment is always the kicker, so for now, I decided to fill the spot with something in the middle. I bought a Mac Tools mobile cart, one with four drawers and a sliding stainless top that can hold my sockets. It’s a great fix for right now, plus it makes all of my tools portable. Of course, I still want the big-name box, but for now, this will do.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dan January 15, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Man your story sound very much like my own. I’ve been using Craftsman tools for 40 years, at home and on the equipment at work. Then the quality started to go down on their tools and I started replacing my broken ratchets with Snap-on because they are good and still made in the USA. I then replaced my roll around cabinet and top chest with Snap-on. The cabinet and chest though, new would have been $10,000, I got them off of craigslist for $3000. I know it sounds like a lot, but I bought the cabinet first and later found the top chest. You can beat the price, but you can’t beat the quality. Bottom line, you get what you pay for. Some day my son will get them along with tools that will last him a life time if he doesn’t lose them or abuse them.

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