Can you get by with a cheap toolbox, or should you spend a bit more to invest in quality storage for your tools and equipment?
The answer is simple and straightforward: quality matters. No question.
Why You Need a Good Toolbox
The primary purpose of work truck toolboxes is to protect your gear. You’ve invested a lot of money in your tools and equipment; it’s likely taken years to accumulate your collection of the right tools for your trade. Without your gear, you can’t get the job done. Missing or damaged tools are expensive; they cost time and money to replace.
A solid, high-quality toolbox protects your investment. It keeps your tools out of the weather and securely locked away, out of the reach of folks with sticky fingers who might be tempted to walk off with tools they see left out in the open. An inexpensive, cheaply-made toolbox won’t effectively do either of these things. Water and dust seep through wobbly welds and brittle gaskets, and cut-rate locks do nothing to keep thieves out. The result is rusty, broken, or absent tools. It’s a far better option to safely store your tools away in a solid toolbox that keeps them in and everything else out.
In addition to protecting your stuff, toolboxes are a critical organizational tool. No one wants to waste precious time on a job site searching for tools; that’s not productive and doesn’t give a good impression to coworkers and employers. Toolboxes come in many sizes and configurations; investing in one or more quality toolboxes gives you space to organize your tools so you can always find what you need when you need it.
Let’s not forget that storing your tools in a top-notch toolbox is safer; it’s safer for your tools, your truck, and you. Loose tools in the bed or cab can damage your truck and leave your expensive vehicle vulnerable to rust and other problems if the paint gets scratched or dinged. And that screwdriver that’s rattling around in the cab? If you need to stop quickly or are involved in an accident, it instantly becomes a very real hazard to your health.
A durable toolbox encloses your tools and prevents them from rolling or banging around and causing all kinds of damage.
What Does Quality Look Like?
It’s clear a good toolbox is a must; a second-rate model simply won’t suffice. What should you look for in a quality toolbox?
Most work truck toolboxes are made from either aluminum or steel. Both metals are good for toolboxes, and each has its pros and cons. Steel is almost indestructible, but its one weakness is water; just a tiny bit of exposure to water will cause steel to rust, which is bad news. Chandler Truck Accessories uses 12-gauge carbon steel for all our steel tool boxes, and we add a durable black powder coating to seal out moisture. The other issue with steel is that it’s heavy. While that means your tools are very protected and secure, your truck gets very heavy.
Aluminum is a good alternative to steel. It weighs much less than steel but is nearly as strong. Best of all, aluminum doesn’t rust. But aluminum toolboxes typically cost more than steel. CTA offers boxes made from smooth and tread plate aluminum.
Strong materials are only one element of a secure box; the other is a good lock. Chances are, your toolbox is going to be exposed; whether it’s mounted in the bed or beneath the body, your toolbox is accessible to anyone passing by, especially when you’re parked, and your truck is unattended. Padlocks and hasps are easily broken. Your toolbox needs a heavy-duty latch that is inset into the box to make it impervious to crowbars and other similar tools. Your box needs to be securely mounted to your vehicle so no one can walk away with the entire box and everything inside.
CTA boxes come with either cam-over latches or T-handle latches, each equipped with a keyed locking mechanism plus the option to add an additional padlock. No one but you gets into our toolboxes.
Aside from the lock and the material, good toolboxes include a number of other features that indicate quality construction. CTA toolboxes are built with the following:
- Commercial grade one-piece gaskets. These gaskets run the entire circumference of the lid and keep water and dust from seeping in.
- Continuous stainless steel piano hinges. We use the best hinges available to ensure our boxes are always easy to open.
- Robotic welds. We use precision robotic welds on all our boxes, so you can be certain each box is square and tight.
Made in the USA
At CTA, we admit to being a bit biased, but we think all USA construction indicates quality. We design and build all our superior work truck toolboxes in our facilities in Springdale, Arkansas.
How to Prolong the Life of Your Toolbox
With a bit of care, your toolbox can last a long time; it may even outlive your truck. Keep the box clean. If it’s made from steel, watch for scratches and dings and get the powder coating repaired quickly before rust sets in. Monitor the condition of the gasket; those rubber pieces don’t last forever, but it’s easy to get a new one from CTA. Clean your toolbox regularly, and remember that almost anything on a quality toolbox can be repaired.