There’s one thing in common among professional mechanics, handymen, journeymen, technicians, welders, and DIYers. And that is they need to go through a method that can help them organize their tools and make them accessible quite easily. By all means, these experts require the best machinist tool box.
But, the varied prices and designs of these chests can make selecting the right cabinet or toolbox confusing for you. Well, you can get on with the process smoothly by going through my comprehensive review of the best machinist tool chest. Go through my product reviews for machinist tool chests below and choose one that best suits your preference and requirement.
Table of Contents
- List of Top 10 Machinist Tool Box Reviews
- 1. Kennedy Manufacturing 520B Machinist’s Chest
- 2. Gerstner GI-T24 Red Oak 11-Drawer Top Chest
- 3. GEARWRENCH 20″ 3 Drawer Steel Tool Box
- 4. Seville Classics UltraHD 6-Drawer Rolling Cabinet
- 5. Eight Drawer Wood Tool Chest
- 6. Kennedy Manufacturing K20B Tool Box
- 7. Craftsman 3-Drawer Chest Toolbox
- 8. Gerstner GI-T20 Red Oak 9-Drawer Top Chest
- 9. Goplus 6-Drawer Rolling Tool Storage Cabinet
- 10. Trusco ST-350-B 2-Level Toolbox
- What is a Machinist Tool Box
- How Does It Work
- Types of Machinist Tool Boxes
- Why Do You Need a Machinist Tool Box
- Buying Guide
- Care and Maintenance
- Frequently Asked Questions
List of Top 10 Machinist Tool Box Reviews
1. Kennedy Manufacturing 520B Machinist’s Chest
Forged with industrial-strength components, the Kennedy Manufacturing 520B 7-Drawer Machinist Chest is probably one of the best products available in the market.
One thing that I am sure of about this item is that it has been purposely designed to offer several years of service. Most specifically, the chest is made of top quality steel that guarantees long years of use.
Besides, the wool-lined drawers of the cabinet will protect all your tools all the time. There’s even a tubular lock that has been intricately designed for keeping the contents safe. Moreover, the front drop paneling of the chest conceals the drawers and keeps them absolutely safe from varied elements.
I suppose that this product comes with the guarantee of durable performance considering the features it is loaded with. It’s compatible with different types of cabinets and weighs 69 pounds, which is spacious enough for storing hardware and tools.
There are a total of 11 drawers and six drawer dividers that can be adjusted for organizing different types of tools. The drawers are made of 22-gauge industrial quality metal while featuring 60-pound friction slides making the product perfect for storing precision tools.
2. Gerstner GI-T24 Red Oak 11-Drawer Top Chest
This classic, imported American-style red oak toolbox is made of high quality steel to remain strong functioning for longer periods, and that’s what I like most about this product. This is the top tool chest for toolmakers like me, who like keeping tools in good condition.
Another great thing that I love about this drawer is that it is not just perfect for professional use but even for home use. There are a total of 3 full widths, 2 narrow and 6 medium width drawers offering sufficient space for storing hand tools. Also, it offers moisture-free storage for several usages starting from hobby storage to important precision tools.
I found the front lid offering the most practical space usage mainly because it is adjustable. I generally use the lid for covering all the eleven drawers in a locked position.
I appreciate the fact that this tool cabinet has been specifically engineered to be of good use for all sorts of mechanics. Perfect for the compartmental storage of craft items, jewelry, stencil and stamping tools, pocket knives, watches, paints, and artist brushes, this chest is a must-have item for every individual.
3. GEARWRENCH 20″ 3 Drawer Steel Tool Box
If you have long been in the lookout of a highly portable tool chest, then your search ends at Gearwrench 3-Drawer Steel Tool Box. One thing that I love the most about this item is its black powder coating that resists corrosion and rust. It even helps the wiping of the chest clean easily.
As made of good quality materials, this tool box is a well-made and solid product at small size that looks quite attractive. This is the perfect tool cabinet if you want a smaller, handy chest to organize sets of mini tools that can easily be carried from one place to another.
The box quality is right on par with all the other popular brands across the market. Its drawers slide in and out smoothly while there is even a detent for holding them while the top remains open.
The keyed center locking system is another feature I appreciate because it offers improved security. With this keyed locking mechanism, it can give a higher level of security and protection to the contents within; hence, tools will not spill out when you’re moving the chest. Besides that, it is quite affordable as well.
4. Seville Classics UltraHD 6-Drawer Rolling Cabinet
I really love this rolling cabinet made entirely of steel! The steel body material of this cabinet makes it a durable product that can offer several years of unmatched performance. The drawer fronts are made of stainless steel while there is even a wooden work surface on top to be used for varied tasks.
Other features of the box, like six cushion-lined drawers and 4 caster wheels make it a product worth buying for your generous collection of tools. Beside spacious, the handle push bar of this item is chrome-finished, adding to its durability.
One exclusive feature that has actually inspired me to include the Seville Classic Rolling Cabinet in my review is its one-key-all-drawer locking mechanism. This keeps all the stored items secure all the time. Furthermore, this is a high-quality product available within an affordable range and probably the right choice for DIYers.
This is a decently-sized unit made using decent material while the drawers are made of high polish aluminum to offer an attractive appearance. All the other parts of this item are powder-coated in grayish sheet metal making it rust and corrosion-resistant.
5. Eight Drawer Wood Tool Chest
In case you want an attractive wooden machinist tool box, this 8-drawer chest would be the perfect buy. This tool cabinet is made entirely of hardwood with walnut staining making it the perfect item for storing micrometers, fine tools, and calipers.
One thing I love the most about this piece is that all the eight drawers are felt-lined to offer added protection to precision and fine tools. The felt liners in the drawers also help in preventing rust and corrosion. There’s even an internal lid featuring a safety mirror specifically designed for first aid if debris gets into the user’s eyes.
I think that you will also like the single-key locking mechanism that offers complete riddance from carrying a number of keys for the different drawers. Additionally, the heavy-duty chrome plating featured in the hardware of the product makes way for superior performance.
The rubber handle of the product makes way for easy lifting and storage in whatever place you would like to organize the product. More than a handy tool box, this is an inexpensive tool cabinet perfect to be purchased if you are on a limited toolbox buying budget.
6. Kennedy Manufacturing K20B Tool Box
This Kennedy tool box has made my list of the best machinist tool chests of all times, mainly because of its outstanding features. This 2-drawer tool cabinet is probably a dream come true if you are looking to empty their garages.
It serves as the perfect product for commercial settings where the storage of different small tools can be a challenge. It has been specifically designed for the owners of hand and precision tools. Not to forget, the easy sliding drawers that make using the product a breeze!
The fact that this product can even be used in the form of a modular chest speaks tons of its versatility. What I really appreciate about this toolbox is that it is made using 100% durable metal. Yes, there’s no fabric used in its construction.
The drawers feature felt liners offering friction to the hardware and the tools stored within. The liners also help in keeping the tools in the perfect place. Then comes the simple yet useful tubular lock that keeps the contents of the box well-protected when not being used. I also love its compatibility with the other machinist chests and roller cabinets from the house of Kennedy.
7. Craftsman 3-Drawer Chest Toolbox
So, you want an easy way of maintaining your organized workshop? I went through this same problem until I came across the Craftsman 3-Drawer Metal Portable Chest. I loved it mainly because the box comes with cover hinges specifically engineered to maintain an open lid. This makes it easy for the users to access the content within.
I really like the top handle of this item as it not only offers a comfortable grip but even enhances easy carrying, which is especially useful to a machinist. So, you can take the tools wherever without going through any hassle.
Its heavy-duty drawer bolt latches offer enhanced safety. On top of all that, this product comes with a staple and a hasp feature engineered to be used with padlocks. This offers enhanced safety to the tools stored within.
The 3 drawers of the item lock automatically the moment the lid is closed, making way for enhanced user convenience. Moreover, the drawers slide open smoothly, even if they are carrying heavy loads. Now that’s one feature that speaks of the high-quality performance and durability of the item.
8. Gerstner GI-T20 Red Oak 9-Drawer Top Chest
If you are looking for a toolbox that is both stylish and resourceful, then the Gerstner International GI-T20 Red Oak chest is for you. There is no other better product in the market to keep small tools well-organized.
I love the fact that this product comes in varied drawer sizes ideal for storing all kinds of things. The multiple compartments in this item make it one of the best toolboxes for storing craft supplies, brushes, collectible knives, watches, and stencil and stamping tools. There’s also an adjustable lid in front that covers up its nine drawers while in a locked position.
I recommend the purchase of this product mainly because it comes with a utility tray in full-length. The tray can be used for various activities and can also be removed when not being used. I advocate using the tray for carrying the tools that are mostly put to use.
One feature worth mentioning is the product’s tongue and groove joinery that offers great durability and strength. Its hardwood design offers moisture resistance while the green felt-lined drawers offer maximum cushioning.
9. Goplus 6-Drawer Rolling Tool Storage Cabinet
The perfect storage solution to be used in workplaces, garages, and offices – the Goplus 6-Drawer Rolling Tool Storage Cabinet. I highly recommend not just because of the above spaces, but this cabinet can ideally be used in almost any space where tool organization is a must.
One thing that I really appreciate about this product is its build quality. It is completely different from the other tool cabinets that I have reviewed herein in that it is made of cold-rolled steel that guarantees strength.
Moreover, the glossy paint finish of this product makes it corrosion and rust-resistant. The paint finish also makes it easy to maintain and clean the cabinet. The product has been engineered in a way to offer durable performance without disappointing its buyers.
Personally, I feel that this is one of the best machinist tool boxes because of the multifunctional feature it comes loaded with. All thanks to its two larger sections, four small sections, a couple of trays and a big cabinet at the bottom, so you can use it for storing different things.
Additionally, this cabinet comes in a detachable design, which means the entire product can be separated into two distinct boxes. Hence, you have the option of using both the chests separately, or if you want, you can use them together as well.
10. Trusco ST-350-B 2-Level Toolbox
Trusco, the highly specialized trading agency, has always been my first choice whenever I needed a top-quality machinist toolbox. Truly speaking, I am a big fan of all the toolboxes that come from the house of Trusco, mainly because they are different from the other products in similar categories found across the market.
Yes, go by my words and purchase the Trusco ST-350-B2 Level Toolbox to experience the difference yourself. This toolbox is amazingly designed with a compartment at the bottom and trays popping out when the cabinet is opened. Its wonderful design eliminates troublesome latches and adds more convenient and accessible terms for you, as all tools are available and clearly viewed by just an open.
The moving compartments and hinges also catch my attention with their smoothness and strength. There are even dividers made of stamped steel offering several years of undisturbed and durable performance. Instead, there are handles used for keeping the cabinet closed.
Not just quality as the detail on this toolbox is what appeals more to me. It features a minuscule slot for holding the dividers when they are not being used. This is probably one of my most favorite machinist tool boxes in the lot for the attention to detail and for its quality.
What is a Machinist Tool Box
If you are new to the industry of machining, then it is important for you to know what a machinist toolbox is. Nevertheless, the ones who are looking to make it big in the field of production or manufacturing should also consider increasing their knowledge of what a machinist toolbox is in reality.
In one word, the machinist toolbox organization is all about using a cabinet for storing the different things required for varied assignments. A toolbox is the very first thing that the majority of the professionals in the manufacturing and other associated fields require.
It is the toolbox where professionals and even DIYers can keep the majority of their tools, manuals, books, and personal inspection equipment.
How Does It Work
Machinists and mechanics use different varieties of tools, but the main difference between them is the size. While the mechanics make use of large tools such as wrenches, spanners, and sockets, the machinists use a number of small tools.
That being said, machinist tool boxes are not as large as the cabinets used by mechanics. And yes, they also do not feature big drawers. The machinist tool cabinets are small in size, and they come with small compartments and dividers for storing small parts and tools securely and in the perfect place.
The Lista tool box is a good example of a top-quality machinist tool cabinet that is not just compact but even comes with several small compartments and drawers.
I myself bought the Lista tool chest and have found it to be amazingly beneficial when it comes to storing all my small tools and equipment required for varied jobs.
Types of Machinist Tool Boxes
If you are not aware, I will tell you that there are different varieties of machinist tool cabinets available across the market. These chests are classified based on their portability and design. So, you will have to choose the one that best suits your requirements.
The different varieties of machinist tool boxes are as follows:
Stationary: The stationary toolboxes are bulky and large, and it is recommended not to move these cabinets very often. In fact, they only need to be moved when changing place or while cleaning.
The automobile users with several tools might find the stationary chests quite useful. These cabinets offer a lot of storage space, and therefore they are liked by car yard and auto-shop owners. The only issue with these chests is their heavyweight and the fact that you will require a huge space for storing them.
Rolling: The rolling toolbox cabinets are neither too big nor too small. These are sufficiently large to store several tools while offering effortless portability because of the wheels featured on them.
You can buy them as single chests or a couple of detachable units. For the ones with small workshops or garages, I would recommend going for the rolling tool box chests.
They can accommodate all the different tools you have starting from the ones needed for plumbing to the garage equipment.
Portable Chests: Handymen who need to move around with different tools should always go for portable tool boxes. These are generally small and come with drawers for storing tools like screwdrivers and spanners.
I simply love the ruggedness of these chests that are built to do away with harsh and adverse outdoor conditions.
Workbench Tool Cabinets: These are cabinets that come with top platforms made of hardwood. As is suggested by their name, such tool cabinets are used in the form of workbenches. They are not as large as the stationary tool cabinets.
They come with caster wheels for moving the tools from one location to another and will not take any abuse due to their ruggedness. These chests are a good choice for professionals looking to save a good amount of floor space.
Going for a workbench tool cabinet means you will not have to buy a tool chest and a workbench separately. I recommend getting this one for handling both the tasks.
Truck Boxes: As is suggested by the name, these toolboxes are meant to be used by truck owners. These tool chests are made of high-grade steel, and thus they can withstand the hits of the bumpy roads.
Tool Carts: Tool carts are not really designed for storing tools, but they can make tool organization a straightforward procedure because of the trays they feature. These are simple tool chests that have trays in place of drawers.
The trays are open tiers while there are even wheels for transporting the carts from one place to another. These are generally used by mechanics to move around with their tools.
Why Do You Need a Machinist Tool Box
Many individuals do not find it convincing to spend their money on buying a machinist toolbox. But the fact is that these storage cabinets have a number of benefits to offer. The reasons why it is important to buy a machinist toolbox are as follows:
- They help in organizing the garage. The tool chests help in keeping all the tools in one place instead of having them scattered throughout the place.
- Also, tool chests help in keeping tools safe and secure. They feature padlock hasps and staples or key locks that help the users in locking their tools, so they are not prone to damages or theft.
- Yet another reason why it becomes necessary to use a tool cabinet is that they safeguard the tools from all kinds of wear and tear. The majority of the tools indeed tend to be rugged, and they might get easily damaged if they are left outside. However, with the chests coming in handy, everything can be stored away from the damaging conditions of water and heat.
- Last but not the least, these storage chests make way for easy portability. They can conveniently be used for carrying required tools from one place to another. The ones available in a compact size with handles are perfect for the effortless movement of tools.
That being said, toolboxes are definitely worthy investments provided you are getting one that suits your tool storage requirements.
In this section, I will help you understand the factors that need to be kept in mind when shopping for the best machinist toolbox. The factors are as follows:
- Type of Toolbox: The very first thing that you need to decide on when looking for the right tool cabinet is the type of product you require. As I have already discussed, there are different varieties of tool chests available in the market. These are designed for specific groups of professionals and handymen.
There are small portable tool chests and even the larger ones. Then there are rolling chests that make way for great portability and the stationary ones as well. These products are generally categorized based on the tool varieties they can house in.
Before putting in your money into buying them, make sure to consider your requirements. The ones with small workshops or garages should always go for rolling tool chests while the ones with auto repair shops and sufficient space can have the large chests fitting in.
The freelance machinists should buy the portable and small toolboxes that allow them to carry their tools as and when required. The workbench tool chests that can double up as workbenches and storage for tools can also be a great choice.
- Ruggedness: When buying a toolbox, the ruggedness of the item also needs to be duly considered because these products go through a lot of wear and tear. They are mistreated and mishandled most of the time. So, they need to be rugged enough to respond to the hits and the maltreatments in a very strong way.
When I say this, I would like you to know that the very first toolbox that I bought really disappointed me. It went weak when I loaded it with my tools for more than a month. From that time onwards, I have understood the significance of ruggedness when buying a tool chest.
- Security Offered by the Product: One of the most specific benefits of using a tool chest is the security offered to the contents within. Hence, it is quite imperative for you to consider toolboxes with locking systems.
Best is to go for the cabinets that come with a locking system where there is just one key used for safeguarding all the drawers.
- Brand: Considering the brand of the product is also an important factor. Brands that are known for providing toolboxes of the highest quality within the most affordable range are worth considering.
Care and Maintenance
Taking care of or maintaining a machinist tool cabinet is a pretty simple and straightforward procedure. If the tool chest has wheels, they need to be lubricated with grease frequently.
The slides also need to be lubricated twice during the year. Clean water and detergent can be used for cleaning the drawers along with other surfaces of the tool chest. The shine of the tool chest can be preserved by using car wax. It is best to use degreasing solutions for cleaning oil, grime, and grease.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most popular machinist tool box brands?
Speaking of the most popular brands of machinist tool boxes, the one name that deserves special mention is Kennedy Manufacturing. The tool chests from this company are well-known across the machining industry for their strength and durability.
The Kennedy tool boxes are specifically designed for machinists with drawers for organizing different tools. The standards toolboxes from Gearwrench and Gerstein can also be a good choice for you if you are on a limited toolbox buying budget.
The ones coming from the house of Craftsman, Goplus, and Trusco might also offer the required specifications and benefits while being available within an affordable range. These are brands known for manufacturing sturdy and resourceful toolboxes that will help you save more money that can otherwise be used for buying extra tools.
Are Kennedy tool boxes good?
Yes, of course, Kennedy tool boxes are quite good when it is about organizing both big and small tools in the most appropriate manner. They can best be used for storing power tools and even small tools like screws and nuts.
The reason why Kennedy tool boxes are considered good is that they come equipped with a number of drawers in varied sizes for storing different types of tools. The cabinets even feature deeper drawers for the storage of bigger tools while slimmer drawers for the smaller tools.
How to use it?
Using a toolbox is a very simple and easy procedure. If you are going for a portable and small tool chest with wheels, then you can place it almost anywhere in your home or your workshop or workplace. These tool chests can easily be moved from one place to another.
However, if you are opting for the bulkier tool chests, then have them placed at a position where it would be feasible for you to have easy access to the cabinet. This way, you will be having all your tools handy.
Nevertheless, the best way of using a toolbox is to use it for storing different small and big items like a tape measure, wrench set, key set, screwdriver set, wrenches, pry bar, hammer, pliers, file set, debarring tools, and so on.
What tools should a machinist have?
Every machine shop offers some unique services that others may not have. With that in mind, you can expect that some machinists will have some tools in their machinist tool storage that may not be useful to you.
For those who are new in the business, however, there are a couple of basic tools that need to be procured:
- Combination square set
- Deburring tool
- Dial indicator
- Edge finder
- End Mill Starter Set
- Gauge (e.g. telescoping gauge, center gauge, feeler gauge, etc.)
- Machinist’s hand tools (e.g. metric and standard Allen wrench, 12” crescent wrench, ball-peen hammer, soft hammer, automatic center punch, and so on)
- 6” Scale
- Scientific calculator
How do you keep tools from rusting in a machinist toolbox?
When it comes to corrosion, we know that moisture is the culprit. Still, it can’t be helped. Our tools can come into contact with moisture as we use them.
Try these machinist toolbox organization strategies:
- Allow air to circulate in your shop. Typically, rust is caused by humidity. If you have the budget, install an air conditioning system to regulate the humidity and temperature. Otherwise, you can get a dehumidifier, or keep the doors closed and switch on your fan.
- Avoid exposing sensitive pieces of equipment to the elements. I know, at times, working inside the shop is not always possible. When storing them, make sure they are far away from the windows and doors.
- Apply rust inhibitors or protective oil to your metal tools.
- Another trick is to place an oil-impregnated soft cloth over and under the drawer of tools in your tool chest hardware.
- Storing metal parts like drill bits in an airtight Ziploc along with a packet of silica gel can also keep them from corroding. You can even use these resealable plastic bags to organize according to sizes or types of accessories.
If you want something more hardwearing, you can also opt for name brands like Tupperware. Then, place these containers into your metal machinist toolbox or chest.
How do you build a mechanics tool chest?
Kennedy Manufacturing, Craftsman, or International toolbox models are all premade. While they are convenient, nothing compares to a personalized tool chest that you build for yourself!
Only you can determine what exactly you need. So rather than giving you a set of instructions, let me share a couple of pointers:
- What kind of tools do you want to put in the drawers?
- How would you like to organize your tools? Do you want to group them according to function or size?
- How big is the space where you plan to put your tool chest? Do you have a big space in your workshop? Are you thinking of designing a tabletop chest or a chest with wheels?
In a nutshell, you will need to cut the plywood or lumber into pieces that can serve as the front, sides, and bottoms of your drawers then piece them together with glue and 22 gauge nails.
But if you don’t have experience in woodworking or the tools for the project, you might end up spending more money buying them than you would if you purchased a ready-made tool chest.
How long does a machinist toolbox last?
In secondhand shops, you will likely find a used machinist toolbox dating back to the 1990s, as well as a vintage machinist toolbox from the 1940s. What’s more, they are in good condition!
That should give you an idea of how long a wood or metal machinist toolbox can last when they are well-maintained! Both materials are known for their durability, which can last decades!
Where to buy?
Different sources can be used for buying the best toolboxes, but if you do not want to visit the stores physically, then going the online way is highly recommended. Many online stores deal with the supply of the right machinist tool boxes.
There are even online sources that will not just let you choose the right tool boxes but will dispatch the ordered options right to your doorsteps. So, it is always a hassle-free procedure to buy machinist tool boxes online.
But mind it, you need to go through a number of reviews like mine in order to make an informed and cost-effective purchase.
Hopefully, my review of the best machinist tool box can assist you in keeping your workplace well-organized, neat, and tidy. My review will also help you in getting a toolbox that not only suits your requirements but even gives you easy access to the different tools you require very often.
I recommend getting the model that best suits your requirements and satisfies you to the trim. The models I have reviewed above have been specifically designed to help users benefit from their reliable performance and durability without causing a hole in their pockets.
Having worked in the field of personal protective equipment for over two decades, Andrew Carnegie is a specialist in the field.
At EDC, he strives to improve performance efficiency and promote workplace safety for EDC’s readers and customers. He also researches the most up-to-date equipment that has earned relevant accreditation for use in a wide range of industries and specialties.