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Tools

Best Tool Case

Toolboxes are great for some situations, but there are some where wheeling a roll-around tool chest with top box might look a little strange. That doesn't eliminate the need for the tools however; it merely means that those tools need to be housed in something that fits the environment better. For those circumstances, there are tool cases.

Tool cases are most often used by service technicians who need to perform repairs to equipment in customers’ stores, offices and other public locations. They provide an organized manner of carrying tools around in an attractive case that doesn't necessarily look like a toolbox. Even so, they are rugged enough to survive carrying the weight of the tools, while ensuring that those tools are ready to hand when needed.

Some of the bigger tool cases come with wheels, looking like a wheeled briefcase, rather than a toolbox. The wheels eliminate the physical strain of carrying the tools, and free up at least one hand for other things, like opening doors or using a cell phone. These cases are typically larger, allowing the service technician to carry more with them as well, making it possible for them to be more efficient, instead of having to run back and forth to their vehicle after various tools they need.

The various pockets and dividers inside the tool case are intended to hold the tools in place, so that they cannot move. By eliminating their ability to shift position, the case is easier to carry and move. At the same time, tools are easier to find when they haven’t shifted around during movement.

Selecting the right tool case for a particular need depends mostly upon what needs to be carried along. Some types of repair work require more tools than other. Some technicians also need space in their tool kit for common parts that they repair on every service call. Others might need to carry a laptop computer with them, in order to interface with the equipment that they are working on for testing and adjustment.

The other major factor for most people is the appearance of the case. Some situations warrant having a case that appears like a briefcase, rather than a tool case. Others may need to be able to transport their case with them on an airplane. The right case has to meet all of the technicians needs.

Pelican 0450 Mobile Tool Case

Pelican is probably the largest manufacturer of tool cases on the market. They are known mostly for their equipment cases, which have protected millions of dollars worth of delicate equipment in some of the harshest environments that man has visited. This heavy-duty, wheeled case is a customizable design, allowing for the use of a number of different drawers to fit the tools which will be carried in it. The wide wheels and telescoping handle make it easy to bring the case wherever it is needed. Buttressed hinges for the lid allow it to be opened 180 degrees and used as a work surface; supporting up to 50 pounds. Although waterproof, the case has an automatic pressure equalization valve. Butterfly latches are used for extra security.

CH Ellis Wheeled Tool & Laptop Zipper Case

With today’s computerized equipment, a laptop computer is often the technician’s most valuable asset. This case from CH Ellis provides a way for the technician to take their laptop, along with more conventional tools. Or it can be used if the technician needs their laptop for billing and other business requirements. This roll-around case looks just like a large roll-around briefcase, such as many traveling businessmen use. Two replaceable pallets allow a level of customization to the industry that the technician is working in. There’s also ample space for cables and meters. It will hold a maximum of 25 pounds of tools and equipment.

Chicago Case - Military Ready Mechanical Hinged Tool Case

This is an actual mil-spec case, meaning that it has been overbuilt to take the abuse of a combat environment. The HDPE plastic that the case is made of is 25 percent thicker than non-mil-spec cases. As such, you can be sure that it will handle any abuse that you might throw its way. It can handle temperatures from -40oF to +185oF. The military hardware, such as butterfly latches, won’t come loose or break down with use. Eight rubber bumpers help in dealing with shocks from drops and bumps. It comes with three pallets for tool, with the top pallet having the ability to be locked in an open V position for easy access. The bottom of the case is foam-filled, which can be cut out to hold larger tools, meters and other equipment.

Vestil CASE-1814, 18” Aluminum Storage Case

For those that can’t afford the high dollar price tags of the cases we’ve looked at so far, perhaps this aluminum case from Vestil will meet their needs. The case comes with one removable tool palate. Moveable dividers in the case bottom allow customization of the space for holding tools, parts and test equipment. Metal draw latches hold it shut and a shoulder strap for carrying is provided. The “FM” version of this same case comes with a perforated foam insert for the bottom.

Stanley 014266R, Large Double Sided Tool Organizer

Okay, maybe it doesn’t look like a fancy briefcase or equipment case, it’s functional. This plastic case from Stanley opens up, allowing the two sides to sit flat, holding all your tools. Plastic covers over the two sides keep things in place while opening. Each side has several compartments, allowing you to organize your tools. The center section consists of six plastic parts drawers to keep your most commonly needed small parts conveniently at hand. The one potential drawback is that the latches are plastic, so may break if used extensively.

Rich the Tool Man

Before embarking on the current stage of my life, I spent 15 years as a Manufacturing Engineer in both the medical equipment field (medical electronics) and automotive engineering (city transit buses). After that, I owned a small construction company, mostly doing residential remodeling and commercial tenant finishes. I am no longer in either of these fields, but still get my hands plenty dirty as a consummate do-it-yourselfer; working on everything from remodeling my own home to rebuilding my car’s engines. My hobby (when I can find the time) is woodworking; making everything from toilet paper holders, to shelves, to music stands for my own home. My wife long ago gave up the idea that a two car garage is for parking two cars; it is my workshop.

While I cannot claim to having worked professionally with all types of tools, I have worked professionally with some. This comes from my previous careers, where I had to specify, buy and at times live with those decisions. Additionally, I would have to say that my engineering background has given me a thorough understanding of the construction of such tools. So, while I may not have used a particular type of tool personally, I have the knowledge to cut through all the advertising hype and statistics; in order to get at the truth of how well a tool will operate and last.

In my current career as a writer, I've written over 90 books. This includes my own titles and those I've written on contract. I've also written a complete website on how to build your own home.

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