Whether you’re a home mechanic or DIY wizard, a sturdy and robust toolbox is essential for transporting, protecting and arranging your tools. If you’re looking for a home for your screwdrivers, spanners and set squares, then this guide is for you. We describe the different types of toolboxes and pick some of our favourites. 

How to choose a toolbox

On a basic level, your toolbox should be easy to store, comfortable to carry and with enough space for all the tools that you need. 

A toolbox needn’t be expensive, with our entry-level Stanley 12.5” Toolbox coming in at under a tenner. But be sure to plan ahead. We know that tool collections have a habit of growing, which might mean you need to upgrade to a larger model sooner than you thought! 

Think about what tools you’re going to store. If you’re going to store a variety of plastic and metal tools, then a plastic toolbox will suit you fine. If you’re a mechanic using metal tools, then a metal toolbox is likely to last longer. 

From the outside, they’re all pretty much the same, but toolboxes come with a variety of trays. Most plastic toolboxes will have a removable tote tray that sits on top of the main storage chest to hold tools in. The bigger the box, the larger the tote tray. There may also be compartments on the outside of the toolbox that can be used to store things such as drill bits, chuck keys, screws, rawl plugs and other DIY essentials which can be useful if you need them.

Think about how and where you’ll be using your toolbox. If you’re a home DIY-er, then your toolbox will probably have a comfortable life, so you don’t need to invest in an expensive model. Professional tradespeople and mechanics are likely to give their toolboxes and tools a harder time, so our advice is to spend a little more for a better-quality toolbox.

As with everything, you get what you pay for so always buy the best that you can afford.

Types of Toolboxes

Toolboxes can be broadly split into two categories: plastic and metal.

Plastic toolboxes come in a huge range of sizes, from the 12.5” Stanley Toolbox to the super-sized 26” Stanley Galvanised Metal Toolbox. The plastic used in both is thick and durable.

Metal cantilever toolboxes are the other common option. Built from heavy-duty metal, the toolbox opens out to give you access to three levels of tools. Because they’re built from heavy metals, these are usually the best toolboxes for mechanics because they’re able to withstand repeated knocks and bumps without cracking. The pay off is that metal toolboxes are slightly more expensive and are heavier than plastic toolboxes. They also require a little maintenance to keep the mechanism moving freely.

We also stock Halfords Advanced blow-mould tool cases which are built specifically to house our Halfords Advanced range of sockets, spanners and other professional-quality mechanical tools. These are specialist products, and if you don’t know what they are, you probably don’t need them.

Our choice of the best toolboxes

Professional mechanic or tradesperson: Halfords Professional Cantilever Toolbox

Every mechanic should have a toolbox, and there are few better than the Halfords Professional Cantilever Toolbox. Built from long-lasting heavy-metals, it’s a classic design that has served generations of grease monkeys well. The toolbox opens out automatically when the handle is depressed to give you access to three tiers of tools arranged in five trays.

At 56cm long, it’s big enough to store most commonly used tools. 

If you’re looking for a toolbox for life, you’ve found it. In our opinion, it’s the best toolbox for garages and mechanics available today.

Professional tradesperson or serious DIY: 26” Stanley Galvanised Metal Toolbox

The Stanley Galvanised Metal Toolbox combines the best of plastic and metal toolboxes to produce a robust and reliable plastic toolbox for the professional or serious amateur. The solid plastic shell is wrapped in a galvanised, rust-resistant finish. Metal latches keep everything secure and at 26” it’s large enough to carry everything you’ll need for the job. Built by the experts at Stanley, you know it’ll last.

Home DIY: Stanley 19” Toolbox

At just under £20, the Stanley 19” Toolbox is exceptional quality at an attractive price. The 19” box is big enough for most hand tools, and the tote tray provides additional flexibility. Two lid organisers provide space for screws and other essentials, and the built-in padlock ensures that your tools are always safely stored away from children.

If you’re looking for a new toolbox, then head over to Halfords.com. We’ve got toolboxes of all sizes suitable for your tools and every budget.

While you’re there, why not check out our range of professional-quality hand tools? We’ve got all the tools you need to tackle those essential DIY tasks, all at an affordable price.

Once you’ve organised your tools into your new tool box, take snaps and share them with us using #ReadyFor on Instagram and Twitter @Halfords_UK.