Written by Terry Smith
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Best tool boxes [UK]: top portable rolling boxes reviewed
This article was last updated on July 31st, 2021 at 10:35 am
Table of Contents
Have you ever lugged your hand tools up 4 flights of stairs or worse? I have, I was working in a tall Victorian property with 4 tall ceilings so essentially 8 flights of stairs! I got to the top, and realised I was heading straight back down for my power tools and a dust sheet. The first thing I did after that was take a look at the best tool boxes in the UK based on how much they will carry, build quality, do they serve as a hop up (can you stand on them), price, and how well they organise your tools. Some last years – I have had these and used them on site a couple of days a week for at least 3 years! They aren’t the best value though, probably my STANLEY Rolling Toolbox Chest is.
Needless to say I look after my tools, and in this case, the container holding them 🙂
Best tool box
I came to the conclusion the STANLEY FATMAX Pro Rolling Toolbox Chest was the best toolbox for me mainly because it serves as a workbench and a hop up. Ideal for reaching and nine times out of ten saved me bringing up a little step ladder too. Your requirements might be different though and so I have rated these best tool boxes on an unbiased and simple mathematical scale to help you.
Whatever DIY or site project you’re doing, whether it’s a simple light bulb change or building a shed, you need a toolbox! With so many tools at your disposal for the jobs you’re doing, you can’t deny they get lost easily. This is why a toolbox is exactly what you need. You get the type that will carry smaller tools that are two tier and upright, and the more tool box come chest type that carry your big stuff as you can see above. Here’s a look at the upright kind:
If you have a workshop, then a stationary toolbox/storage box is always a useful feature. However, most people don’t have one of these, and they’re also quite expensive. Therefore, whether you’re a beginner DIYer or an expert, a portable toolbox is for you.
As well as this, it helps if it’s a rolling toolbox. Even if you might have it set down for a while, a toolbox with wheels makes life easier. You might need to put all sorts in there and some tools, particular power tools, get very heavy. Toolboxes also come in handy when out in the garden too, so they have a range of uses.
Whatever you’re using a toolbox for, you need something portable and with wheels for easy transportation. Some portable rolling boxes have different features than others, so it’s important to get what’s right for you.
To help you decide:
The top best 6 portable rolling tool boxes below:
1. STANLEY Rolling Toolbox Chest
Coming in first place in our list is the STANLEY rolling toolbox chest, which also happens to be amazon’s best choice for rolling toolboxes. This is justified by the 4 and a half star average with over 700 reviews, most (if not all) report the box to be a fantastic buy. At the current price, it really doesn’t run your wallet dry either, and it more than seems to be worth its money at first glance. I gotta tell you I’ve given this a real battering over the course of a few years and the worst I’ve done to it is knock off the clips which will fit back but I’ve never bothered as it’s always stored upright the way it’s meant:
The product itself it’s a compact, lightweight toolbox that has everything you need. It’s heavy-duty and is made from durable plastic, whilst remaining light and small enough to carry around, measuring at 40 x 34.5 x 64.5 cm and weighing 3.42 kg. It has a 50 L capacity too, so for its price, you can fit a lot into this box.
It also has some great accessories which make it a useful box to own. It has two lid organisers for your small parts and accessories, as well as a removable tray inside the box itself. These additions really help when you’re trying to sort your tools into different compartments or categories.
It also has a v groove in the lid, so you can place small bits of timber into the groove when you’re in action. Although it’s a small feature, it’s a great detail which shows how well designed this product is. It has two steel clips on the front to keep it secure and a central, ergonomic handle to carry it about. The padlock loop is also ideal if you want to make things extra secure.
It has a long telescopic handle which is adjustable too, so carrying it around is made that bit easier on you. Some users have reported faults with this handle by claiming it can break, but if this happens contact your supplier and request a refund. The handle may be lightweight and might be causing this to happen, but most users don’t seem to have this issue, so a product fault is more likely.
That said, users haven’t reported issues with the features or details of this product, hence the 4 and a half star average. Its sleek black colour helps with any dust or debris which can get onto the box, and its material makes it easy to keep clean anyway. The 7 inch wheels are big enough to ensure that this toolbox can get around easily and can support the weight of the box.
As a brand, STANLEY is one of the most reliable out there. They provide affordable yet good quality products for all customers, not just experts. You might not be able to store absolutely everything in this box, but for daily use and for storing tools you’ll need on the job, this is the best portable rolling toolbox there is.
Its additional compartmentalisation and handy features, alongside the low price, are the main reasons why this product takes the top spot on our list.
2. STANLEY Essential Rolling Workshop Toolbox
If you need something a little larger but still lightweight, then this 3-tier STANLEY workshop toolbox is for you. It has 3 separate compartments, the bottom of which is suitable for power tools and heavy use, which is handy for larger jobs. The top compartments are for smaller tools and other items.
Whatever you’re storing, the 3 removable toolboxes are perfect for organising your items to easily find them on the job. The 3 toolboxes are held together by secure, geometric latches and so it’s easy to operate and open up. It has lid organisers which are great for your small bits, as well as 7-inch wheels to support the weight of your tools.
It has metal locks on the front as well as a padlock loop, so you don’t need to worry about security. The ergonomic telescopic handle allows you to carry the toolbox round with ease, and whilst it may not be adjustable, it’s great for manoeuvrability.
The only slight issues are that the handle is quite low down and it’s slightly more expensive than our spot for first place. A low down handle can be a slight annoyance, but it isn’t problematic for the most part. Users also don’t report this issue too much, and with almost 4000 reviews averaging at 4 and a half stars, problems with the product design itself don’t appear to be present.
Priced at about £40 most of the time, this is a great option for a rolling toolbox. Its best feature is compartmentalisation, but it has everything you need in a toolbox. It just doesn’t quite beat the STANLEY chest in the first place.
3. WrightFits Essential Mobile Toolbox
Wrightfits may not be as popular as STANLEY toolbox chest, but this particular toolbox is very similar to the toolbox taking first place. It has a 50L capacity, measures 65 x 40 x 35 cm and is made from durable plastic with a strong polycarbonate lid. It also looks similar in terms of colour and design.
As well as this, it has a central handle and an ergonomic telescopic handle made from steel, so you have guaranteed strength. Metal latches and a padlock loop also allow you to keep it locked and secure with confidence. Its lid organisers on either side of the handle are almost identical to the toolboxes in first and second place, so you can store your smaller accessories with ease.
It also has a removable tray that sits just underneath the lid, meaning you can store your larger tools below. There’s no further compartmentalisation than this, but it’s still enough to sort your tools properly. The box is also guaranteed to be waterproof, and whilst most toolboxes are due to plastic material being used, this particular box would be great for the garden.
Although this is a reliable and useful toolbox, it comes in third place for a couple of reasons. The first would be the weight, as it weighs 4.5kg despite being similar in size and capacity to the STANLEY chest, which can be problematic. It’s currently priced just above the lowest tool boxes, and as first and second place are cheaper, you’re not getting as good value for money in my opinion.
4. STANLEY FATMAX Pro Rolling Toolbox Chest
Coming in at fourth place is another STANLEY rolling toolbox chest, but this time it’s the FATMAX version. The primary difference compared to the STANLEY chest in the first place is that this is much bigger and heavier, with a 113L storage capacity and weighing 13.8kg. If you have plenty of power tools you need by your side daily, this toolbox is for you. I get my cordless Makita nails guns in there, my cordless planer, cordless router, my oscillating multi tool, and a few batteries to keep me going no trouble.
It has heavy-duty wheels and an ergonomic, telescopic handle to carry around and manoeuvre the toolbox with ease. The portable tray within the chest that sits at the rim is perfect to separate your smaller tools from the power tools below, making organising that bit easier. The integrated metal locks with padlock loops are perfect for security.
Whilst this toolbox has everything you need, it has additional features on top just to be cool :). The lid contains a section to hold a tool such as a spirit level, which can be easily clamped down to make working easier. It also has a groove similar to the STANLEY chest to hold onto material as you’re working, so there’s no doubt this is similar in many ways to our first place spot.
That said, the large storage capacity is useful in some situations, but it can make it a real pain to carry around if you’re not using it to it’s full potential. If you’re out on a construction site for example then it’s perfect, but for DIY jobs around the home, it might be a bit much. It also costs a fair chunk of change and despite the 4 and a half star average across 700+ ratings which is well well justified, you might be making a large investment into something you don’t truly need. For me though, doing work and using it everyday, makes it a no brainer.
5. STANLEY Mobile Work Centre Toolbox
Next up is quite an interesting design by STANLEY, in which the toolbox converts into a workstation…fancy right? Well, it’s a handy feature and is ideal for building/renovation jobs in the home. It’s priced at the lower end of the scale too, so it’s not going to drain you dry. I’ve actually got this and I have to say I am always careful with it because I can feel the plastic is thin and no that strong but it’s held up well and I love the tray that spins out and holds screws, pins, and bits. That really is well built – here’s a look at that:
This rolling toolbox is effectively two stacked storage boxes, with a fold around tray for small bits as I mentioned, and also a portable tray for small tools. This handy compartmentalisation makes jobs that little bit easier and allows you to keep track of your tools. It’s got secure metal latches, a telescopic handle and heavy-duty wheels-so it has what you need to work
However, whilst this product has an average rating of 4 and a half stars, it has come under fire for its structural qualities and I would understandably agree but at this price it’s understandable. Reviews have reported it to break or damage easily, especially with weight. Its lack of ergonomic quality and no padlock hole also has been noted to be an annoyance to buyers. I will say this though, when I’ve had it a bit over weighted, it’s held up well on the handle, it’s never fallen apart or made me look stupid 😀
Whilst this is an issue, the box isn’t designed for heavy-duty storage. So, if you’re putting power tools in here and cramming it full, it’s not going to last. Furthermore, it’s the cheapest on this list, and so it’s expected that it will lack some qualities that other rolling toolboxes have but it breaks up nicely into pieces and really is a bargain:
That said, the common theme throughout the review section is that this box is perfect for the beginner DIY’er and for around the home. It can store all your basic tools (besides heavy power tools) and is perfect for small jobs and woodworking. This isn’t what you want for on the job, but it’s cheap, the beginner DIY’er/home renovator will really benefit from this product.
6. STANLEY FATMAX Cantilever Rolling Toolbox Trolley 4 Level Workstation
In 6 place is another workstation by STANLEY, and this time it’s the FATMAX cantilever. With over 400 ratings averaging at 4 and a half stars, the 9.91kg rolling toolbox measures in at 73.3 x 54.9 x 41.3. This is a heavy-duty toolbox that’s perfect for transporting and storing power tools, as well as other heavy items or tools.
The toolbox is divided into 4 layers, all of which are different sizes and are ideal for organisation. Two of these layers are organisers, perfect for sorting your smaller tools and items into different categories. The top layer is also portable and can be removed, so the work station is handy for any job.
As with the other toolboxes this product has metal latches, a telescopic handle and heavy-duty wheels. This makes it easy to transport and operate, and the large wheels make it easy to balance, especially given its size and weight. The simple pull up latch and ball bearing slides mean that it’s easy to convert into a workstation, so it should be robust enough for your jobs.
Some reviews have reported that whilst it may be heavy duty, it breaks easily or is not sturdy enough. This is only a handful of reviews, as a large majority of others praise its robustness and effectiveness as a heavy-duty toolbox. Its durability is also praised, which implies these bad reviews are due to shipping/damage faults.
Nevertheless, for mid range money it’s a reliable toolbox, it just may not be for you if you need to save space or if you have limited/smaller tools to store.
Best Tool Boxes – Buyers guide
Before buying a portable rolling toolbox, it’s important to look for a few features that will affect how much use you get out of one. The first thing you need to consider is how much you will be storing, as the size of the product affects its storage capacity. If you have power tools as well as smaller tools and items, then a larger toolbox is necessary, but if you only have a smaller collection of tools then a smaller toolbox is best.
If you want the additional feature of the toolbox turning into a workstation, toolboxes such as 5 and 6 would be perfect for you. If you aren’t interested in this then buy a standard rolling toolbox, as workstation versions typically cost more. Also, consider the space available for your toolbox and check the dimensions before buying.
Now that’s been cleared up, there’s a few specifics to look for. Don’t panic though, they’re discussed below!
Can you stand on your toolbox?
Big big one, the amount of time that you can save by being able to stand on a toolbox, and the subsequent effort of not having to drag a set of step ladders up a set of stairs is golden. These will almost certainly be the more expensive, and better built models and well worth paying the extra for. If you need a hop up as well, then this will actually save you money because the toolbox combines as one.
Seems like an obvious choice, but the handle matters when it comes to a rolling toolbox. It also links to what you’re using it for, as when you’re doing some DIY a good handle matters, but not as much as when you’re out on the job. It does depend on where you’re taking your toolbox, but it’s important.
Almost all toolboxes have a foldable, central handle that is for handheld use. This handle must be the one that’s the most ergonomic, as you’ll be holding a fair bit of weight, so your hands will feel it most. As for the main handle, almost all toolboxes have a telescopic handle, but an adjustable handle is always best so you can alter its height to your needs.
Without a good handle, the transportation of a rolling toolbox can be quite problematic. It can also be a pain on the muscles, especially when you’ve got a lot of items, which no one wants.
Portability / manoeuvrability
Again, an obvious one, but there’s a couple of things to look for regarding the portability of a rolling toolbox.
Firstly, you’ll benefit from having some type of organiser/compartmentalisation in your toolbox, as this makes it easier to access your tools and means less time organising them. Most toolboxes come with lid organisers, as well as included removable trays, which really enhance a toolbox’s portability. The more you can detach from a toolbox or the more you can separate items, the more portable it will be.
On top of this, the wheels make a huge difference to how portable a toolbox can be. Heavy-duty wheels are needed for structural integrity, but make sure they’re large enough for easy manoeuvrability. For rough or uneven surfaces, wheels with additional grip are ideal too.
Look for a toolbox with at least one removable tray. Your chosen toolbox should ideally have lid organisers too, or at least small compartments, as this will help with small accessories (such as nails, drill bits, etc). As well as this, look for a toolbox with large, heavy-duty wheels to ensure easy manoeuvrability.
This may seem a bit odd, as surely a heavier toolbox would be less ideal, but this isn’t strictly true. Depending on the size, a toolbox should have a substantial amount of weight to it, as this indicates a strong material that will last over time. A lightweight toolbox makes manoeuvrability easier, but it still needs some weight to it to feel sturdy enough.
This also affects balance, especially when you’ve got your items in the toolbox, so the weight does matter. Smaller toolboxes (50-70L capacity) should weigh around 3-4kg, but larger toolboxes (80L or above) should weigh at least 7-8kg.
Whilst these three features are key in a rolling toolbox, your choice really depends on how much you need to store. However, whether it’s a few spanners or a power tool collection, they are key to look for either way. The 6 products reviewed above account for these features and are great choices no matter what you pick.