Craftsman Tool Boxes
New Craftsman Tool Boxes
By Ralph Mroz
I took a peek at two different Craftsman Tool Boxes. As most of you probably know, Stanley Black & Decker (SBD) bought the Craftsman brand from Sears Holdings back in 2017. It was a bit of a strange deal in that SBD will now own the Craftsman brand and make and sell tools under the Craftsman name, while Sears retained the right to source tools separately and continue to sell them — in Sears stores only — under the Craftsman name too.
So now there are two lines of Craftsman tools on the market: Sears Craftsman available only at Sears, and SBD Craftsman available everywhere else (primarily Lowes, Amazon, and Ace Hardware as of now). These are different tool lines altogether in that the Sears Craftsman will probably continue to be sourced overseas while SBD’s Craftsman tools will be made by SBD, and many of them made in the U.S. Since the deal was struck SBD has introduced well over 1000 new SBD-made Craftsman tools, some showing distinct SBD DNA.
Some of those new tools include tool boxes, and we look at two here — one open top and one covered. They are both more-or-less single-cavity tool boxes with minimal (but novel) organization, which is the style I prefer despite being otherwise a neatnik and extremely well-organized. Let me first tell you why I prefer minimal organization in tool boxes as a way of introducing these particular Craftsman boxes.
Trades people are all over the map when it comes to how they organize, transport, and carry their tools. Some tradies with fairly predictable jobs from day to day may prefer boxes with lots of organization so that they can precisely organize the tools they use all the time. Others find themselves doing different jobs from day-to-day and week-to-week, and prefer large single cavity boxes with some minimal organization so that they can assemble the tools they need for the particular job at hand from their stash of tools in the truck or shop. I’m in the latter category. I have one open-top box that has my “always” tools in it — the tools I usually need despite the job, and the tools I have too often found myself wishing I had with me. That tool bag goes on every job. I then use as many open or covered minimally-organized boxes as needed to carry the tools, parts, and fasteners that I need for the job at hand. The large open center of these boxes means that any tool can fit in them, from an angle grinder to a screwdriver.
Craftsman 26 Inch Pro Toolbox
Craftsman’s 26-inch Pro Toolboxis a big boy. It’s 26-inches long with an interior depth of ten inches and interior height of 8+ inches. It’ll hold a circular saw and an angle grinder, and a good deal more. It has a cantilever sliding tray that has six removable cup compartments for holding small parts and fasteners. The cups can be removed of you want to use the tray for smaller tools like screwdrivers, etc. The lid has transparent windows so that you can view the contents of the cups, which is a neat feature (“Now, which box did I put those impact bits in?”). The box has a lid gasket, is dust and water resistant and is IP54 rated. The large camming latches are rust-resistant, protected by wings, pivot on full-width metal pins, and lock into place with authority. The lid hinge rotates on a full-length metal rod, much like a piano hinge. The full length metal handle pivots on two 2.5-inch long, 1/2-inch thick hard plastic rods in rib-reinforced pockets and snaps into place in both the carrying and storage positions. Of course the box is lockable.
This tool box is made of polypropylene, as are many high-end tool boxes and tool storage/transport systems. Polypropylene isn’t exotic but it’s a good choice for toolboxes because it’s “tough”. Now I don’t mean “tough” as in your buddy who can take all comers in a Friday night bar fight. I’m using the term in its materials engineering sense, where it refers to the ability to deform and not crack or break. “Tough” in this sense is the opposite of brittle; it’s what you want in a tool box because you will certainly run that box into sharp edges a fair bit during its use: truck gate corners, re-bar ends, and God knows what else. To test, I set the tool box on the floor and repeatedly hit it with a 16-ounce hammer as hard as I’d nail in 16D sinkers, and there was no damage or denting to the unit.
SBD/Craftsman rates the 26-inch Pro Toolbox at 77 pounds of capacity. Well, I knew an easy way to test that. I brought the box to my gym, put in a 75-pound dumbbell, closed the lid, and lifted it up by the handle. No problem, no issues. Now two things to keep in mind: 1) 75 pounds is a very heavy tool box – you are unlikely to load one up to that weight, and 2) that dumbbell had all of its weight concentrated on only about two square inches, whereas you’d have it distributed over the 260 square inches of the box’s bottom. So this thing is plenty strong. Finally, it has a substantive feel to it — it feels like a professional’s tool box. Frankly, I didn’t find anything not to like, and was impressed. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty with proof of purchase required. I assume it requires return to Craftsman for warranty service.
Craftsman Versastack System Tote
The Versastack System Tote is part of Craftsman’s Versastack system, consisting of various tool boxes, drawer chests, and organizers that stack and lock together. The System Tote is Craftsman’s take on the venerable milk crate, which we’ve all used for carrying tools and whatnot, only this is much, much better. To begin with, it’s solid, so no holes to snag tools and power cord ends. It’s larger, too, with interior dimensions of 16″W x 12″D x 10.5″H, so that a recip saw may well fit in it (minus the blade, of course). It’s made of the same tough polypropylene as the 26-inch tool box, and Craftsman claims that it’ll hold 22 pounds. That seemed lake an awfully low and conservative number to me, so I doubled it and dropped a 45-pound dumbbell in one and carried the tote around with absolutely no issues or concerns.
The tote has a narrow six-slot organizer on one interior wall for small tools carried vertically, and the organizer is removable. The carrying handle pivots down and flush with the tote top, and the tote snaps into other Versastack modules, including other totes. There’s a clear label window in the front of the unit so that you can label the contents of the tote for those times when they are obscured by other Versastack modules on top of it.
This is the kind of thing that seems almost too simple but in reality, because it is well thought out, will probably become your go-to box for assembling a day’s tools and supplies…precisely because it’s simplicity makes for great versatility. It comes with a limited one-year warranty with proof of purchase required. Again, I assume it requires return to Craftsman for warranty service.
Both of these Craftsman Tool Boxes are available at Lowes as of now.