After my first review of the Craftsman Pro Storage Combo with Smart-Lock, Craftsman wanted to get that review unit back for troubleshooting, and they sent me me another 41″ unit for further testing.
I was hesitant because of my previous experience with this combo, but in the end I assented to them shipping me replacement units. Since this is the third time we’ve talked about this combo, I’m just going to give you the basic information:
- Chest (58662): 41″ W x 21″ D x 24.5″ H ($750 list, $450 on sale)
- Roller Cabinet (58663): 41″ W x 21″ D x 42.5″ H ($1250 list, $765 on sale)
(Between the last time we posted about this combo, the “regular” prices went up, but the sale price as of the time of this posting is lower.)
$1300 $1215 (“regular price” is now said to be $2000)
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Some time after Craftsman said they would ship me a new combo, I got a call from Waterloo asking me when I was available to receive a shipment. I was confused because I wasn’t expecting anything from Waterloo, but after a few minutes I figured out that he was talking about the Craftsman Storage Combo. We set up a time for delivery the next day.
The guy that delivered the storage combo turned out to be the guy who drives Waterloo’s show trailer. He said that sometimes he also moves boxes from the factory to the warehouse during less busy times (this turns out to be important). He drove 8 hours from
Iowa Missouri the day before and was going to turn around and drive back after he delivered the combo — all this just to deliver my new sample and retrieve the old one.
Thanks to Matt for catching that the Waterloo plant is in Missouri not Iowa, it slipped my mind.
I even took a picture of the inside of the trailer after I helped him load up the old toolbox, just to show it was empty.
In this followup review, I will be discussing what Craftsman fixed on the Pro tool boxes since the first review, and then I’ll discuss how I’ve been using this unit in the last few months, and finally I will talk about what my impressions have been.
In the first review I found several problems with the combo:
- Poor packaging
- Blocked threads
- Cabinet and chest misalignment
- Paint/powder coat coverage
- Drawers not locking
- Smart-lock issues
I’ll address the most important issues first:
If you recall from the first review, I had problems with some drawers still being unlocked even though the GripLatch had engaged. I would turn the key in the lower cabinet to lock it, but would then still be able to open up some of the drawers.
The Craftsman team was sure that most of my locking issues were caused by the cabinet being racked and the locking mechanism was out of line. I have NOT had this same issue with the replacement unit, and so it does seem like it was a manufacturing issue that has been fixed.
On the latest unit I was still having problems with the lock on the lower cabinet hunting back and forth several times, timing out, and then losing communication. So I contacted the Craftsman team and they said they thought they knew what the problem was:
Unfortunately, it sounds like a problematic lock still managed to get through our quality system and into your hands. These locks are each tested at least three times at various stages of the build before they ship out, so although we are confident that the lock worked when it was packaged, something has obviously changed between our factory and your garage. We have been able to identify the root cause of this problem from your description and are working tirelessly on a firmware update which you will be able to install OTA [over the air] through your Android [device and app] to eliminate this issue.
I was pretty mad at this point and felt I was being given a line by the Craftsman representative. Remember – the driver that hand-delivered the tool box to me sometimes transports toolboxes from the Waterloo factory to warehouses. If “something has obviously changed between our factory and your garage,” that same “something” can happen to their toolboxes traveling from their factory to a distribution warehouse.
If the design can’t handle being delivered straight from the factory, there’s no way that “something ” wouldn’t change when a regular customer had a unit delivered by freight.
They said they would contact me when they had a firmware update to fix it, but several months passed and I never heard back.
Spring has arrived, and my frustrations have faded a little over time. I’ve been out in my garage more, grabbing tools out of the storage combo. The other day I started thinking that it’s really about time to see if they’ve fixed the locks yet.
So, I decided to reload the Smart Lock App onto my phone again and see if there had been any updates. After I entered the serial number for the upper chest into my phone I got a notification that there was new lock firmware — something the Android App couldn’t do before.
I clicked the more into button to download and install the firmware. After a few minutes the lock had updated without a hitch and was operating normally. So far so good. I entered the serial number of the problematic lower cabinet lock and updated the firmware. Lo and behold — the lower cabinet lock was operating perfectly like the upper cabinet lock.
In the previous review post for this storage combo I said: “the Android app is lacking quite a few features that the iOS app has, such as configuring the proximity locking feature.” This is still the case, all they seemed to add to the Android software was the ability to update the lock firmware. The Android App is still missing the following features:
- Proximity lock and unlock
- Tamper alerts and notifications
- Schedule access times
- View the log for the lock
Not having the proximity lock and unlock for Android phones is a pretty big deal — it’s pretty much the selling point for these locks. You can lock and unlock the chest and cabinet with your Android phone, but you need to pull the phone out of your pocket, enter your pin, and touch the icon on your screen. At that point why not just use the keys?
Remember when I said the experience soured me on electronic locks? I’ve been using my phone to lock and unlock the unit for the past week. Even though the Android version is missing quite a few features, it has been working well enough that it is almost as fast as digging the keys out of my pocket.
I have noticed that there seems to be a timeout feature on Android, that if you leave the app open long enough to require the passcode again and you never went out of range, the phone will lock any unlocked unit. I still wouldn’t depend on the feature because it has not worked dependably for me.
This time there weren’t ill-fitting foam pieces just shoved in the box just to get it out the door. It looked like they designed some custom foam inserts for shipping cabinets and chests. While these pieces of foam weren’t designed specifically for this cabinet, they were at least designed to fit multiple sizes of cabinets without having to tear them apart. Some of the L-shaped foam corners still had rough edges where they had been torn though.
It’s not the greatest photo, but you can at least see there are no scratches on the bottom of the cabinet this time because there are no staples poking through the thin foam on the pallet.
Blocked Threads (Fixed)
I didn’t even bother taking photos, because all the threads I tried were in perfect shape this time. I still find it unbelievable that I had to deal with it the first time.
Cabinet and Chest Alignment (Better but Not Perfect)
While attaching the upper chest to the lower cabinet, I was able to get three corners to align pretty well, but no matter that I did, the last corner was always about 1/8″ to 3/16″ off. I decided to align the cabinet and chest so the corners on the front aligned and put the corner that was off was on the back side where I wouldn’t be bothered by it.
This is slightly better than my original combo, but still a little disappointing. I’ve since examined many tool storage combos from other brands and haven’t found one that was even off by an 1/8″. In the scheme of things this isn’t a showstopper.
Powder/Paint Issues (Fixed!)
The upper chest in the first unit I reviewed had splotchy paint inside and areas that weren’t covered at all.
The insides of both the new upper and lower units were finished about as perfectly as you could ask. Neither upper chest or lower cabinet had splotches or uncovered areas.
This is how things should look on a $1000+ premium storage combo.
Using the Cabinet
Before I resolved the locking issues, I’d been using the storage combo as a regular keyed tool storage unit for several months.
I have found I like the deeper drawers this storage combo provides, as the added depth opens up storage options that shallow units simply cannot offer. Not only can I fit some larger items, I can fit longer items from front to back that I’d never be able to in a shallower drawer.
In the full width drawer I’ve put an assortment of my sockets, ratchets and accessories. The deeper drawers allow me to store my 18″ breaker bars from front to back, which allows me to arrange the tools more efficiently.
Stuart asked me to check to see how much the full width drawer was sagging when it was filled. As this is the only drawer with two sets of slides, it is definitely meant to hold a lot of weight, but the width means that the middle will still sag more than the other drawers.
With the tools you see above, the drawer is sagging a bit, which is to be expected, but there is enough clearance to where I think you could fill up all the empty spaces and be safe.
The drawers are deep enough to store my blower wand straight from front to back rather than diagonally, again this makes more efficient use of the drawer space.
In the larger bottom drawers, I’ve been able to fit some larger items that I haven’t been able to fit efficiently into other tool storage combos.
For example, I’ve been storing my 14″ inch chainsaw in the wider lower drawer. It just fits in diagonally with the chain guard on. There is quite a bit of wasted space in the corners, but I think that I will try to store my bottle of bar oil and other chainsaw-related safety equipment there when I get to cleaning up that part of the garage.
In the narrow lower drawer there is enough room for two pairs of jack stands. These had been taking up valuable space in another cabinet, but they stack quite compactly in this drawer.
Finally, to address Stuart’s and some other readers’ concerns about closing the lid, I made the following quick post on Instagram:
I really haven’t had any issues with the height of the combo. I’m 5’10” and don’t think I have an arm-span out of the average. But if you are shorter or have shorter arms, or will be putting the tool cabinet in a place where you cannot reach around to grab the side of the lid, the height of this combo might be a problem. I’d definitely recommend checking one out in person if that is a concern.
- Deeper cabinets have allowed me to make more efficient use of the drawers.
- Solid construction and well built.
- Expensive compared to similar products.
- Bluetooth app for Android still lacking.
- For the price the cabinets should align better.
- Possibly too tall for some users.
- The replacement was hand delivered and wasn’t shipped via freight like normal.
While it’s always a possibility that a tool sample isn’t representative of what’s actually in stores, in this case I’m particularly worried about that being a possibility. Craftsman was concerned about our negative initial review and probably wanted to do everything the could to make sure the units I got this time were good — including hand delivering me replacement units.
We believe that the box was taken straight off the assembly line and delivered directly from the factory to avoid potential damage due to third party handling. But it’s impossible to know for sure. The possibility exists that it was cherry-picked or given special attention.
The big question this raises is: “what is going to happen to all the units in the pipeline before they made made these improvements?”
It’s not critical to the functioning of the cabinet, but here we are at least half a year past the initial release, and the Android app is still not as fully functioning as the iOS version. If you are going to advertise a product feature but cannot provide that functionality to a large group of users, people are going to be disappointed.
In short, if you are an Apple user looking for electronic locks, a taller chest and rolling cabinet height, and want deeper drawers, the Craftsman Pro Smart-Lock 41″ Storage Combo might be worth a look. If you don’t fit the above criteria you’d probably be better off with one of the better-priced tool storage combos from a big box store.
Stuart’s Note: The last time I checked, there was a demo unit on the sales floor at the local Sears. If you’re interested in the combo, definitely head on over to your Sears and check it out first.
I personally think that this box is competitively priced for what you get. But I also think that Craftsman and Waterloo might have been a little too ambitious in getting this to market when they did. Crooked boxes, jammed threads, drawers that won’t close and lock? The good news is that it looks like most of these issues have been fixed.
The bad news is that the Craftsman Pro Series tool storage combo looks better on paper than the whole package can currently deliver.
Thank you to Craftsman and Sears for providing the review sample unconditionally.