Stacking up the competition: Modular Tool Box Comparison
Modular tool box systems are becoming more and more popular for storage solutions for both the professional and the average tool user. Modular boxes not only make transporting tools faster but help to organize and prolong the life of your tool. Modular systems offer tool boxes that can be used individually or together. It’s about having options and the ability to customize your storage setup according to your needs. With so many options out there, which boxes are right for you?
I had the opportunity to try three of the current types of modular tool boxes available.
Systainers come with most Festool tools but can be purchased separately made by Tanos. The Systainers lock together using a T-shaped lock. The lock can be used in three positions. Normal upright position keeps the lid locked. Side ways with another systainer on top will lock the two boxes together and keep the bottom box locked shut. Finally, upside down will keep the boxes locked together but allow you to open the lower box. The boxes are all plastic and are 15 inches long by 11.6 inches wide. Prices range from $98-$240 CAD.
All of the L-boxxes have top and side handles for easy carrying. The boxes feature a "click and go" system - just set a box on top of another and the spring loaded latches on both sides automatically click together. Unlike most tool boxes Bosch has manufacturer available foam inserts for their #1 and #2 L-Boxxes at a low price. The boxes are a thicker plastic construction and all L-Boxxes are 17.5 inches long and 14 inches wide. Prices range from $65-$170 CAD.
The basic Tstak tool box features metal latches and two handles. The Tstak boxes have handles on the top and front and lock together with manual latches on both sides. One nice feature on these boxes is a plastic window on each Tstak that enables you to insert labels for identifying contents. Similar to the systainers the boxes can be opened without taking apart the stack. The boxes come in several options including deep and shallow drawers that open nicely on metal ball bearing sliders. All of the boxes are 17.3 inches long by 6.5 inches wide. Prices range from $27-$65 CAD.
Which Box Comes Out On Top?
All of these boxes are great options it depends on your specific need. The simple answer after trying all three is that my favorite is the Bosch L-Boxx. The boxes quick click and go locking system is the biggest reason. It's so fast to just click the boxes together and apart when moving them. The only issue I have with the L-Boxx is not being able to open them while stacked, you have to remove each box to get to the one below. This is not an issue for a shop set up like mine but could be a real pain for someone loading in and out of a vehicle. They come with a ton of different organizing options and Bosch is constantly evolving the boxes with improvements.
Best Overall System?
Which System will I be putting my money into? If I was to recommend one modular system to get in to, it would be the Dewalt Tstaks. Although the Bosch L-Boxx's were my favorite box and normally would be what I would recommend, they are not available locally in most places and unless money is no object, they are quite expensive compared to the Tstaks. The Dewalt boxes seem to be a little more rugged and for the price they just can't be beaten. The Systainers were out of the running on price alone. Although the TLoc on them is a great locking system, the cost is just to much comparatively. Even if price is not a consideration the Dewalt Tstaks are the only system among these three with a lifetime warranty. The Tstak is not a perfect system, however for the cost and the availability they're definitely my top pick.
These opinions are my own and are as honest as possible. No compensation of any sort was given for this review.