Tossing your tools into an empty tool drawer, toolbox, or tool chest might be a great way to store them, but certain tools require an added level of organization. Otherwise you’re stuck wasting time digging through a pile of sockets or wrenches every time you need a particular size.
You can buy specialized tool holders and non-slip mats, but that’s not ideal for certain tools, such as sockets. Have you ever tried to stand a bunch of sockets in a drawer without anything to help keep them upright? And when placed on their sides, sockets roll. Some organizers are designed for use on static surfaces. With such holders, open and close a drawers a few times and you will still find that your tools have returned to disarray.
Other tool organizational accessories, such as Hanson socket trays, have spots for socket sizes you might not own or have a use for. These accessories work very well for a lot of users, but they don’t allow much flexibility in how you organize your tools. It’s also not uncommon for Hanson socket tray owners to buy a missing socket size that they might not need – or a couple – in order to fill in empty socket pegs.
There are non-labeled socket trays, such as the Westling socket organizers we reviewed a while back, that offer a bit more flexibility, but even these might even be a little too rigidly sized and laid out for users who don’t own complete socket sets.
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You can even go as far as buying foam, tracing your tools, and making neat cutouts to keep your tools in place, but who has that kind of time? Tool foam is best used when you have a fixed set of tools that won’t change over time, or when FOD prevention is a factor in how you organize your tools.
Since we’re talking about tool foam, check out the ISS Space Station toolbox!
Enter Triton’s MagClip Power Mats. Power Mats are rubberized magnetic mats that are powerful enough to hold heavy tools in place whether you put them inside tool drawers or on the side of a toolbox. Regularly spaced holes in the mat accept Triton Power Pegs, which are used to keep sockets from wandering.
Triton says that the “poly-pro rubber base” makes the Power Mats resistant to oil, grease, chemicals, and harsh environments. It also looks like the Power Mats won’t easily scratch or mar the paint finish on your toolbox.
You can even mix things up to store and organize sockets and wrenches on the same panel. This makes Power Mats especially useful for storing regularly-used tools and accessories in a more convenient place and where you need them for quicker access.
Power Mats are available in sold in packs of two for 12-1/8″ x 10-1/4″ surface area, three packs for 18-3/8″ x 10-1/4″ coverage. If don’t connect them together; each Power Mat is ~6″ x 10-1/4″ in size. Power pegs come in 1/4″, 3/8″, and 1/2″ sizes that correspond to sockets of the same size drive.
All good ideas come at a cost. A 3 panel Power Mat plus 84 assorted Power Pegs will run you ~$63 on Amazon with free shipping, or $58 plus $9 shipping and handling from Northern Tool.
You can also of course buy separate panels and smaller batches of MagClip Power Pegs in individual drive sizes.
The ability to hang the mats on the outside of your tool chest may be a great solution if you are running out of space or just want some of your frequently used tools more accessible. It’s also a nice option for mobile tool carts, as the magnetic aspect helps keep steel tools stay put.
This might not be the best storage and organizational system for everyone, but it’s an option you might not have considered.
Power Mats and Power Pegs are not a cheap solution, but like everything else it’s all a matter of how badly you want to keep your tools organized and how much your time is worth.
It’s possible – but probably difficult or time consuming – to make your own rubber-encased Power Mats. If you just want to store tools, and not sockets, consider Benchcrafted’s Mag-Blok magnetic tool holders, which are going to be a lot easier to build yourself. The benefit of a DIY magnetic board is that you could mount it to any surface, and not just steel-sided toolboxes. You could place DIY magnetic blocks or boards in a tool drawer, but you’d need to make top and bottom surfaces grippier so that everything doesn’t slide around.