Carrying heavy tools is an important yet grueling part of many worker’s and hobbyist’s days. Like any kind of tool, they make projects and work possible. The downside to them is their size and weight, and that can be back-breaking after weeks, especially if you’re traveling from site to site. But whether you’re a greenhorn or a seasoned veteran, the following best ways to carry these essentials may spark an idea for your unique work and tool collection.
You’ve Outgrown Your Tool Kit
Storage cases included with tool kits are filled with the bare necessities for a job or project, but they aren’t the best when your tool collection expands. Rather than carry a bag and your toolkit box, an empty toolbox may be the best bet.
They’re often far sturdier than the case that comes with a tool kit, and they usually have a tray at the top for organization purposes. The rest of the space can be filled with organizers and the tools you need. Depending on the size of the toolbox you select and how many devices you have, you may even be able to carry everything in your collection.
If the weight is a big concern, there are rolling tool boxes that serve the same purpose. Sometimes having more than one box for tools is a great idea, especially if you have more than one type of work to do at a site. Keeping each box stocked with what you’ll need saves on time and stress.
Types of Toolboxes to Consider
When it comes to specific shapes and materials, there are plenty of toolboxes to consider. As mentioned, there are handheld toolboxes that can be made of plastic or metal, and they can be durable depending on how you’re using them. In addition, they’re the best for portability, and they come in small and commercial sizes.
Portable rolling tool boxes are similar in that they can be made from many different materials, though they are often made of plastic. Having wheels means you can bring them with you without having to break your back and lift a handheld box repeatedly.
There are three kinds of larger toolboxes, as well. They’re often called roll-around toolboxes, though some are designed to be stationary. They’re cabinet-sized and usually have wheels, and some may also include a workbench. These are often less portable because of their size, but they make an excellent hub for tool storage.
The largest toolboxes are truck-mounted, usually in the back of a pickup truck. These are excellent for carrying large quantities of tools and other job necessities, and their weight is never an issue.
The only problem with them is that you’d have to have a secondary box or bag to carry specific tools to the project itself if it’s too far from your truck—but having a mobile collection large enough for any job with you at all times ensures you never have to return home to get something else.
These boxes all serve different purposes, but tool bags may also be something to consider.
When a Toolbox Won’t Cut It
There are some things your toolbox can’t accommodate reasonably. For example, angle grinders, gas-fueled cutters, and coring drills can each weigh more than a stocked handheld toolbox, and that’s often without fuel or the attachments you need. Many plastic tool boxes may also not be hardy enough to be carried around on a site—and metal often adds unnecessary weight.
Bags, in this case, may serve a better purpose. There are backpacks, messenger bags, and other shapes and sizes to best suit your needs. However, tool bags can be created for niche purposes, such as tool belts or rolls vs. multi-pocketed bags. Any type of tool bag, however, provides less protection to fragile tools given the ‘organizers’ are sewn pockets rather than rigid plastic separators.
Types of Tool Bags to consider
Tool rolls are an option for compact storage of wrenches, screwdrivers, or anything that can fit within the pockets. They’re portable and lightweight, but they can’t hold larger tools, which would need to be carried separately. Tool rolls can be included in a larger bag to prevent losing the smaller pieces or kept entirely separate.
Tool belts are like rolls, but their pockets are usually larger. However, if you’re using a lot of tools on hand at one time, the weight can hurt your back. If you keep this in mind (and perhaps purchase additional straps to counteract the weight, if necessary), this can be an excellent choice for construction projects or anything that requires mobility and having your hands free.
Ladder tool bags are excellent when working off a ladder. Having one on hand prevents climbing up and down to get what you need—and it will often have various pouches.
Your Project Comes First
Overall, tool bags can be useful if you need a less-than-rigid storage solution. Bags are also lightweight and can expand to hold more tools. But they may not be a good decision if you have a lot of tools that need to be carefully organized or if your tools are fragile. Conversely, toolboxes are rigid and, depending on the material, can be far more durable than a bag.
In addition, they offer better organization, as they often include different compartments or have room to add your own. Larger ones can have wheels, but this makes them difficult to transport—unless they’re installed in your pickup truck, of course. However, their rigidity means they occupy more space, and the lack of straps can make toting them around difficult.
You might find that a toolbox suits one situation, while a bag may suit another. Nevertheless, these rough examples are a great place to start searching for a solution that meets your job’s needs. Tools themselves have predefined uses for specific jobs, after all, and it’s the same for the bags you use to transport them.