Main photo credit: BoJack / Shutterstock.com

If you own a pickup truck, you know there is no other vehicle type that can match its utility. A typical full-size pickup can handle thousands of pounds of payload and trailer towing with a cargo bed that can accommodate almost anything you need to move.

But for all of a typical truck’s capability when it comes to moving large items, few pickups have much to offer when you need to organize smaller items, like tools, that you regularly bring with you.

That’s where truck tool boxes come in. Now, the distinction between a regular tool box and one suited for use in your truck may be hard to see at first. There are indeed some tool boxes designed specifically to be installed in a truck, and we’ve included several of those in this list of the best truck tool boxes.

But we’ve also rounded up a few other more general tool and gear storage solutions, a few of which aren’t boxes at all but whose ingenuity and utility we think you’ll appreciate all the same.

What all these products have in common is that they’re great for organizing tools and they’re well-suited for use in your truck. For more information on the best truck tool boxes, refer to our table of contents.

1. Editor’s Pick: Undercover SwingCase

Undercover SwingCase

Our Editor’s Pick goes to the innovative SwingCase from the truck specialists at Undercover. The SwingCase is a small, hard-sided storage box that, as its name suggests, attaches to the side of your truck’s bed with a hinged mount that lets it swing out over the open tailgate for easy access. The gear you need most often stays organized, and you don’t have to climb or reach into the bed to get at it. Undercover says the SwingCase’s mount is rated to support up to 75 pounds of weight.

One of the SwingCase’s key advantages is that, because it stows behind the wheel well, it doesn’t interfere with your ability to load large cargo between the wheel wells. It is also designed so that it won’t get in the way of your tonneau cover. If your truck doesn’t have a tonneau cover, the SwingCase both locks in place and has a lockable, weathertight lid.

And if you need to bring your tools or other cargo with you when you arrive at your destination, you can simply lift the SwingCase out of its hinged bracket.

Installation is easy, with six self-tapping screws to secure the mount to your truck.

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2. Best Purpose-Built Tool Storage Solution: Montezuma Triangle Toolbox

Montezuma Triangle Toolbox

This product from Montezuma is one of the few items in this list designed specifically to organize tools and nothing else. But while it only does one thing, it does it very well. Montezuma’s triangle tool boxes come in a variety of sizes, all of which have a wide base that tapers to a shallower top section. These boxes are made of 16-gauge steel with welded seams to avoid unsightly spot welding.

The locking lid latches at the bottom and lifts open on gas springs. Underneath it, you’ll find pegs for sockets in SAE and metric sizes, along with places to hang wrenches and screwdrivers. The bottom socket tray lifts out to allow access to storage for other tools of your trade, like hammers, saws, and pliers.

When it’s closed, the lid holds your tools in place so they’ll stay put while you’re in transit. Weatherstripping keeps your valuable tools safe from the elements. Certain versions of Montezuma’s triangle tool boxes feature a powder coated exterior finish.

Montezuma provides instructions for mounting the SM200B to your truck. If you need to keep your tools portable, these triangle tool boxes have handles for lifting.

3. Best Trailer Solution: Buyers Products Aluminum Box

Buyers Products Aluminum box

If your work requires towing a trailer but also puts cargo bed space at a premium, consider this trailer tongue box from Buyers Products. This box is designed for mounting to the tongue of your A-frame trailer, where it occupies the otherwise unused space between the truck and the body of the trailer. Buyers Products also makes this box in steel and plastic, but we chose the diamond-tread aluminum option for that material’s combination of light weight, corrosion resistance, and durability.

The lid opens on a full-width hidden hinge and locks at the front with a stainless steel paddle latch. While Buyers Products says this box provides some protection against the weather, the lid does not appear to have any weatherstripping to provide a wind- or watertight seal.

While the shape is arguably less practical than a square or rectangular design, the angled sides are better for aerodynamics and are less likely to limit the turning radius of your truck-and-trailer combination.

This box measures 34-inches wide at the rear and 20.7-incheswide at the front, stands 15-inchestall and is 14.5-inches deep. Buyers Products makes a larger version, too.

4. Best for Underbody Mounting: Buyers Products Underbed Tool Box

Buyers Products underbed toolbox

So far, we’ve looked at tool boxes designed to be in or on the topside of a truck or trailer. Let’s change things up and look at one you can mount underneath your truck’s body. This Buyers Products underbody truck box is meant for mounting to a vehicle’s frame rail, making it a good option if you drive a truck with a custom body in which a bed-mounted solution won’t work. The other benefit of an undermounted box is that it gives you additional storage capacity in otherwise unused space.

Alternatively, Buyers Products says this box can also be mounted on a flat surface.

Made of black painted 14-gauge steel, this box comes in a single size measuring 36-inches wide by 18-inches high and 18-inches deep. The front-opening door, which is fashioned from lighter 12-gauge metal, is hinged at the bottom so that it opens downward and is supported by aircraft grade cables. It locks when shut with a compression latch.

Because this box is meant to be mounted low on the truck, the door features a replaceable weatherproof gasket to keep out road spray and other moisture. Mounting brackets are available, but you have to buy those separately.

5. Best Sporting/Hunting Goods Storage Box: Plano Field Box

Plano 1612

Not all tools are for work: here’s a box you can use to store and transport the items you need when it’s time to head into the wilderness to indulge in your favorite outdoor activities. Plano specializes in boxes for fishing and hunting, like this option: a water-resistant field box with a locking lid and lift-out tray. The Plano Field Box will not keep water out if it is submerged, but it will keep your goods dry if you leave it out in the rain.

This is the medium-sized option in Plano’s line of Sportsman’s Trunk products, a 68-quart box that measures 30-inches long, 14.25-inches wide and 12.75-inches high.

Among the Plano Field Box’s more practical features are grooves molded into the bottom of the box that interlock with those in the top of the lid so that you can securely stack multiple boxes.

The lid is fully removable, and not hinged, but it latches shut and is lockable thanks to molded-in padlock tabs. You have to supply your own locks, however. Plano says its box is airline approved, so you can use it as checked baggage if you’ll be travelling by air to your next outdoor adventure.

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6. Best Soft-Sided Storage: Cab Bag Covert

Plano 1612

Your pickup truck’s utility lies mainly in its cargo bed, but there are other places to stash cargo, including under the rear seat of a four-door crew cab truck. The Covert is Cab Bag’s solution for taking advantage of that space—which is often wasted in full-size pickups—adding even more utility to your workhorse truck.

Named for its 36-inch width, the Covert 36 is a soft-sided storage solution with a low, 6-inch profile that allows it to easily fit under the seats in many four-door trucks.

The Covert’s main compartment is accessible through a zippered top whose opening is made easiest by flipping the seat up or pulling the bag out from under it. However, there are four smaller compartments on the outside of the bag that you can get at easily without moving either the bag or the seats. And with the seats in place, the Covert’s black nylon construction keeps it hidden from prying eyes.

Each bag comes with four internal dividers, so you can split the main compartment into as many as five smaller storage spaces. This option is also easy to move thanks to handles on the bag’s top and ends.

7. Best All-Purpose Trunk Organizer: Starling’s Cargo Organizer

 Starling’s Cargo Organizer

Sometimes, all you need is a simple way to keep your tools organized, and for that, you don’t necessarily need a hard-sided box or even one with a lid. This cargo organizer from Starling’s is a type of product you’ve likely seen many times. While it stretches the definition of tool box, this organizer is worth a look for its useful size and rugged construction.

The sides of this organizer are made of polyester and PVC mesh, and the three-layer bottom panel is waterproof. Handles make it easy for you to lift the loaded organizer out of your truck, and tie-down straps let you secure it while you drive.

You can split Starling’s cargo organizer into smaller compartments with the supplied dividers, or use it as a single large storage solution. If your tools don’t take up all the available space, you’re left with a handy place to stash a handful of items from the grocery or hardware store. And when you don’t need it at all, you can fold this organizer away, which is one advantage this product has over rigid plastic tool boxes.

8. Heininger Hitchmate NetWerks Cargo Bag

heininger hitchmate netwerks cargo bag

Here’s another soft-sided solution for keeping your truck and tools organized. The Heininger Hitchmate NetWerks is a mesh cargo bag that hangs across the width of your truck bed to keep frequently used tools right where you need them. This option is designed to hang from a cargo bar, like a curtain. Heininger says it designed this bag for a universal fit, so you should be able to use it with any cargo bar you already own.

The bag is narrow, so consider it a way to keep smaller power and hand tools from sliding around in transit. However, this is a clever and flexible design that you can also use to carry a few groceries or sporting goods when you’re not travelling with tools.

At 59-inches wide and 18-inches high, Heininger says the NetWerks bag will fit widthwise in just about any pickup bed, but it won’t span the full width of a full-size truck box. Also, depending on the depth of the bed, the bag may not stay suspended above the floor.

9. Rubbermaid ActionPacker Storage Bin

Rubbermaid ActionPacker 35-gallon box

Rubbermaid is a household name thanks to its many proven and well-made storage products, like the rugged ActionPacker. The Rubbermaid ActionPacker doesn’t have many especially unique features. Instead, we’ve included the 35-gallon version of the ActionPacker here simply because it’s so useful: you can use it to store and transport almost anything you might need to take wherever you’re going.

Among the ActionPacker’s standout design features is its reinforced lid, which is strong enough to sit on when it’s closed. The latching hinged lid provides water resistance when it’s closed; you can secure it with a padlock or a bungee cord. The lid is also designed to promote stacking and prevent water from pooling on top if you leave the box outside, and grooves in the bottom of the box’s outside panels make it easier for you to secure the box with bungee cords. There are carry handles molded into the ends of the box.

Rubbermaid says the ActionPacker’s plastic construction is dent-resistant to stand up to whatever you pack inside it.

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10. Dee Zee Storage Chest

DeeZee DZ6535P plastic storage chest

The final product in our list of the best truck tool boxes is this Dee Zee plastic storage bin. It has a hinged lid that closes on 3.6 sq. ft. of storage capacity that you can use to store and transport tools—either loose or in smaller tool boxes—or gear for your next outdoor adventure.

If you’re on the lookout for a simple tool box or storage option with few frills, this is a good choice. While it’s smaller than the Rubbermaid ActionPacker, it has the added bonus of a pair of cupholders molded into the lid. Another advantage is the lid’s foam gasket, which provides an extra layer of protection for your items in inclement weather.

On the downside, the lid doesn’t latch closed, so you’ll have to use the padlock eyes in the lid and box front to keep the top secure during transport.

Dee Zee says the lid double-wall design adds strength. Some buyers say the top is robust enough to serve as a makeshift seat, while others have successfully used theirs as checked baggage on commercial airline flights.

Should you buy a plastic or metal tool box for your truck?

Photo credit: Thanat Senarak / Shutterstock.com

The answer to this depends on how you plan to use the tool box.

A plastic box’s advantages are that it will likely be lighter than one made of metal, and it will obviously not corrode if you regularly leave it where it will be exposed to the elements.

A well-made plastic tool box will also be just as durable as a metal one and may actually be better at resisting dents if it gets knocked around in your truck or on the job site. Many plastic tool boxes are designed to be stacked on top of each other, too, if you buy more than one of the same kind.

If you prefer metal to plastic, consider one made of aluminum instead of steel. Aluminum is lighter, so a box fashioned from this material can be made stronger while weighing the same as a less-robust steel one. Aluminum is also more resistant to corrosion than steel.

How do soft-sided organizers measure up in terms of durability?

We think you’d be surprised at how well-made some of today’s soft-sided storage products are. They are typically made of nylon or combine polyester and plastic to create a surprisingly robust way to keep tools from sliding around your truck’s cargo bed.

That said, using one of these organizers to store loose saws, screwdrivers, and hammers increases the risk of damage due to tearing. If you often travel with several smaller cases for socket sets, jig saws, or other small power tools, you might find it easier to fit them all into a soft-sided storage organizer than a rigid tool box.

Should you buy a tool box that you can bolt to the body of your truck?

The obvious answer to this question depends on whether you want a box that will remain portable, or you need one to store tools that will stay in your truck.

Based on the products we found when compiling this list, there are only a few specific applications where a box you can bolt to your truck is especially useful.

One such situation is that your truck has an aftermarket dump box instead of a standard cargo bed; in that case, choose a tool box designed for undermounting so that you can bolt it to your truck’s frame rail. On many trucks, you could mount one on either side. Because this type of box will be mounted on the outside of the truck, it should be weathertight and have a lock to keep its contents secure.

If you’re buying a tool box that you’ll transport in your truck’s bed, it will likely be easier to secure it with bungee cords or a cargo bar. That way, the box remains portable. Also, remember that attaching a tool box to your truck’s bed will involve drilling into the truck’s body, which could affect your warranty coverage.


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