I have been using Bosch L-Boxxes for quite some time now, and have formed some very strong opinions about the system. Some of my thoughts were previously discussed in a Dewalt ToughSystems vs. Bosch L-Boxx comparison, as well in the comments sections of numerous posts.
Overall, I feel that the Bosch L-Boxx system is the best modular tool storage system currently available. L-Boxxes are not perfect, but few things are.
My first few L-Boxxes were used to hold loose power tools and small tool collections arranged by theme (e.g. fine woodworking hand tools). Then, I started discarding blow molded plastic tool cases (don’t worry, a neighbor found some way to put them to use). Now, I use them for everything – handheld power tools, hand tools, accessories, and supplies.
Multiple Size Options
- L-Boxx-1: sized for 12V and other compact tools
- L-Boxx-1A: comes with removable and customizable plastic bins
- L-Boxx-2: great for smaller 18V cordless tools, some corded tools
- L-Boxx-3: a good size for larger tools (such as sanders) and small combo kits
- L-Boxx-3D: designed to hold removable i-Boxx organizers or drawers (sold separately)
- L-Boxx-4: sized for large circular saws and 18V cordless tool combo kits
All L-Boxxes are 17.5″ long and 14″ wide. L-Boxx-1, -2, -3, and -4 units are 4.5″, 6″, 10″, 15″ tall, respectively.
All L-Boxxes have top and side handles. L-Boxx-1’s have shallower side handles, -1 and -2’s have front handles. In lieu of front handles, -3 and -4’s have a flip-out no-weight-supporting handle that can be used to pull the cases forward on a shelf.
Click & Go
As Bosch’s marketing term for the L-Boxxes suggests, the cases lock together for easier transport and storage. There are locks and spring-loaded release levers on both sides of every L-Boxx.
Transport & Mobility
There is an L-Boxx dolly (L-Dolly) and a collapsible folding cart (L-Cart).
Many Bosch cordless and corded handheld power tools are now available as bare tools with insert trays, or as L-Boxx kits complete with blow molded trays.
You can also buy pick-and-pluck foam for L-Boxx-1 and -2 units.
How Many L-Boxxes do I Have?
I lost count. I believe I’m up to about 80.
As of December 2012 I had purchased 13 L-Boxxes and had another 10 that were supplied by Bosch at various times. I was reorganizing my workspace and thought it would be nice to consolidate my tools from random boxes into additional L-Boxxes, especially since my storage area would be in the backdrop of a video series I had been planning. I pitched the plan to Bosch and they sent another 10 L-Boxxes.
My workspace is still being reorganized (almost done now!), and the more I used Bosch L-Boxxes, the more I loved them. Thus, I ordered 12 more in early May and another 22 in late May when Amazon offered a Father’s Day coupon on $100+ Bosch orders.
So that leaves my total number of L-Boxxes at about 77, plus 1 more from a purchased PS31 combo kit and maybe 2 more from Bosch test samples that came with their own L-Boxxes. Let’s round up and say 80 L-Boxxes.
80 L-Boxxes. About 8 or so are still empty but won’t be for long. I also received one L-Dolly for testing and purchased 3 more after that. The price went up since then, so I purchased a couple of Akro-Mils dollies that also fit my folding-lid bins and large storage totes.
How am I Using 80 Bosch L-Boxxes?
This section could have also been titled how Bosch L-Boxxes helped turn chaos into order.
(In case you are wondering, yes, those are Stuart minions.)
This photo was taken right before I moved this and another shelving unit to a spare room. This is not the best way to stack L-Boxxes, so as soon I have a chance I will create a tower or two with adjustable position sliding rails.
This is a single stack of L-Boxxes at offsite storage facility, before I went on an L-Boxx buying spree in May. Now, there are 4 tall stacks and a few cases placed on wire shelving.
In the past few months I have been reorganizing everything. My personal tool collection has become too large to store in my workspace, and the addition of frequent test samples made things even more unmanageable.
L-Boxxes have allowed me to modularize my personal tools, and those samples I retain for comparison purposes and to answer readers’ questions with.
With Bosch L-Boxxes, my tools and retained samples are organized logically in a manner they might be needed. Tools or supplies I might need in a moment’s notice remain in my workspace or in the large storage space the next room over. Those I might not need without a planned project or testing session go into offsite storage.
While it is a slight hassle to swap L-Boxxes back and forth between my workspace and offsite storage, it is a far better solution than to keep everything onsite. The L-Boxxes’ stacking connectability allow for easier transport of multiple cases at once.
Previously, if I needed to bring tools to off-site locations, either to work on projects or to test large mess-producing products, I would first have to hunt down the tools I needed and then find empty tool boxes or tool bags to pack them in and toss in the back of the truck.
For example, readers ask about Craftsman Bolt-On products quite frequently (reviewed here). If there’s a question I can’t answer right away, I grab the L-Boxx from offsite storage and do the necessary testing. Once I’m done, the L-Boxx goes back to storage during my next retrieval trip. Once I am sure there is no further editorial need for the product samples, the tools will go to a new home (via donation or giveaway) and the L-Boxx will be used for something else.
I intended to do an L-Boxx a day type of post to show how the tools are all arranged. If this is something you are interested in seeing, let me know.
Before switching to an L-Boxx organizational system, I used bins, totes, and cardboard boxes to house less used or compared tools, and it was a real pain to dig things out.
Right now I have 4 tall L-Boxx stacks in storage, and will turn it into 6 shorter stacks to make it quicker for me to retrieve lower-positioned cases. I keep about 20 L-Boxxes in my workspace to organize and store frequently used tools, and also have an area for L-Boxxes that are temporarily rotated in from offsite storage as needed. As soon I have a chance, I will build one or two towers that can be used to dock L-Boxxes individually for easier retrieval.
While not as robustly built as Dewalt’s ToughSystem cases (reviewed here), L-Boxxes are surprisingly tough. The plastic is somewhat impact resistant, but I would not trust them to survive 6-foot drops onto concrete when fully loaded. They are weather-resistant, but not waterproof.
I was concerned by how light and slightly flexible the plastic latches feel, but they hold very securely. If they don’t fail on a fully-loaded L-Boxx-3 or -4, it is highly unlikely they will fail down the road.
Early on I encountered several incidents where L-Boxxes arrived with missing side handles. The Bosch product manager I spoke with believed this to be due to distributor warehouse handling. Bosch has since redesigned the product packaging to completely enclose each L-Boxx case. I am happy to say that every one of the ~50 L-Boxxes purchased or received in the past 8 months arrived in perfect shape.
Versatility and User Experience
This is my most-used size, and I find it to be great for 12V tools, smaller 18V tools, and hand tools. The smaller size allows for more focused organization.
Here’s what I use some of them to hold:
- Bosch 18V drill and impact driver (gosh that was a crazy-good deal!)
- Portable tool kits (mainly Wera driving sets)
- Bosch corded hammer drill
- 4V cordless screwdrivers (since built-in Li-ion batteries cannot go to non-environmentally-controlled storage)
- Dremel rotary tools and larger accessories
- Plumbing tools, tubing tools, cutters, and clamps
- Hand files and rasps
- Loc-Line tubing and attachments
I have many -1A’s, mainly because for a time they were priced lower than -1’s. I removed the bins out of most -1A’s, but kept the foam inner lid padding to help provide an additional layer of protection. Two L-Boxx-1As are used for infrequently used testing fasteners and specialty PVC fittings.
Although L-Boxx-2’s are only 1.5″ deeper than -1’s, I find them to be much more spacious. Their side handles are deeper as well, which makes fully loaded cases easier and more comfortable to carry with two hands.
- Complete Craftsman Bolt-On system
- Woodpeckers square clamps (14), right angle clamps, miter clamps
- Loc-Line 2.5″ vacuum hose components and attachments
- Fein MultiMaster and dust port
- Oscillating tools and accessories (whichever are being tested at the moment)
- Pop riveting tools, nutsetting tool set, nibbler tools, sheet metal specialty tools
- Duplicate screwdrivers and hex drivers
- Bosch jig saws and blades
I also used two L-Boxx-2’s for woodworking tools (measuring, layout, chisels, planes, specialty), but have since moved these tools out and into a new rolling tool cabinet.
I use this size for larger tools, such as grinders and sanders, as well as bulkier supplies. There is no front handle, so you cannot carry -3 cases briefcase style.
- Foredom flex-shaft tool system and handpieces
- Recent power tool accessories sets samples for use in new tool testing (2 bird, 1 stone)
This size is large enough for some circular saws, but it can be hard to fit them in.
Fully-loaded, an L-Boxx-3 can be quite heavy. I tend to use -3’s for power tool and accessory combinations or small cordless combos, rather than filling them all the way up with tools.
These are great for bulkier tools as well, such as cordless band saws.
These cases are tall enough to fit circular saws and complete cordless combos. I don’t have many of these, and tend to use them mainly for supplies or infrequently used/tested combo kits.
I would sooner use a Dewalt ToughSystem case than fully load up an L-Boxx-4. Fully-loaded, the L-Boxx-4 becomes somewhat uncomfortable to carry and move around. Plus, it can be a hassle digging a small tool out from the bottom of the case.
I have several Festool Systainers in approximate L-Boxx-3 and -4 sizes, but they came with purchased Festool tools. That’s really how they should be used – for individual bulky tools plus attachments and accessories – and not loaded to the brim.
I haven’t tested this size and haven’t bought any. I can’t see myself purchasing one of these anytime soon, mainly because the prices are quite high. L-boxxes are not exactly cheap, but the -3D costs ~$59 PLUS the cost of an “optional” drawer or i-Boxx organizers. Depending on how you configure it, an L-Boxx-3D combo will cost between $88 at the least and $157 at most.
If I did use an L-Boxx, I would likely configure it with empty i-Boxx72 enclosed trays.
The dolly is made from tough plastic and the casters are high quality. Attaching the casters takes just takes a few minutes with the included 7mm hex key.
All of the casters are free-swivelling, and two have wheel and swivel locks. I bumped into a dolly-mounted L-Boxx stack while one of the wheels was locked, and ended up mangling up the swivel lock real bad. Oops. That’s not to say they’re fragile, but don’t crash into or force a locked L-Dolly.
The wheel material is a semi-soft rubber that should work well on a variety of floor materials. The wheels are large enough that they can handle rough terrain quite well, but it might tear them up a bit.
If I know I’m going to be moving a short stack of L-Boxxes on rough terrain, I use a Magna Cart ($30-35 via Amazon). The load capacity is only 150 pounds, but that’s plenty enough for a couple of L-Boxxes.
Most of the time, though, I carry L-Boxxes back and forth by hand.
The wide wheel base seems to provide additional stability for taller L-Boxx stacks, but I sometimes wish it had a smaller footprint and flush sides.
Nobody seems to have the L-Cart available for sale at the moment. In any case, the L-Cart is not so uniquely designed that the aforementioned Magna Cart is not a suitable enough substitute. The L-Cart looks more durably built, and I like that it has built-in bungie cords and tie points, but I don’t really consider it a must-have.
Click & Go
The idea is that each L-Boxx can click together to other L-Boxxes quickly and easily, so that you can click them together and be on your way to or from the job.
However, clicking L-Boxxes together is not always quick or effortless. Sometimes I have to maneuver carefully or lift one side of an L-Boxx in a certain way to get the locks to engage.
I’m not saying that the design is flawed. In theory, clicking one L-Boxx to another should take 2 seconds. In practice, it might take 5 seconds.
The Click & Go system is optimized for short stacks of L-Boxxes. Increase the height of a stack, and it could be awkward to unlock cases from each other. The best approach is when you can reach downwards slightly to unlock and lift an L-Boxx in a single motion.
The Click & Go locking system is definitely quicker and easier to use than the flip-over locks Dewalt uses on their ToughSystem and Tstak cases. I thought the Dewalt Tstak system would be a great storage system to buy into, especially given their greater affordability and how they are now coming out with a deep case, organizer, and roller cart, but they are nowhere near as quick or easy to connect and disconnect.
All Bosch L-Boxxes can be connected to each other. If you have 2-3 L-Boxx-1’s or 2’s stacked and locked together, you can carry the short stack horizontally or vertically, but I wouldn’t recommend using the front handle to support heavier loads.
Latches and Locks
As mentioned, the latches are made of plastic and feel somewhat flexible. They feel plenty secure to me, enough to dissuade me from being drawn to competing products that feature metal latches. Even so, I would not trust the latches on an L-Boxx-4 that’s filled to the brim with lead shot.
Each L-Boxx can be locked closed, except for the L-Boxx-3D due to its open sides. There are padlock loops on both sides of L-Boxx lids, right near the latches. This does not provide much security, but it’s better than nothing.
In the past few months, Bosch has been expanding their selection of cordless and corded tools that are available with L-Boxx kit or insert tray options. In some cases, you can buy a bare tool L-Boxx kit for less than you can a bare tool. Add in a battery and charger starter kit, and you’re good to go.
I have always favored Bosch over other brands for my personal tool purchases, but don’t see myself making tool purchasing decisions based on whether an L-Boxx is included or not. However, if buying a new Bosch power tool, I would very much rather buy an L-Boxx kit or bare tool combo than a regular kit that comes with a blow molded case.
It’s good to see that Bosch has expanded their selection of Click & Go kits. I know some readers are also interested in being able to buy insert trays separately, but I’m happy with or without them.
L-Boxxes are more expensive than ordinary tool boxes, but they’re well worth it in my opinion. I paid full price for some when I couldn’t wait, and when I could I waited for winter holidays and pre-Father’s Day sales. Amazon often has a $20 off $100+ discount off of these cases around the holidays, but not always.
Average retail prices (as of 7/25/13):
- L-Boxx-1: $44
- L-Boxx-1A: $54
- L-Boxx-2: $49
- L-Boxx-3: $59
- L-Boxx-4: $64
Two of my L-Boxxes were purchased from Amazon as part of a special Bosch PS31 12V cordless drill/driver L-Boxx combo kit. The combo includes the PS31 drill/driver, a charger, two batteries, an L-Boxx-1, and an L-Boxx-1A. The combo is a great deal at $130, but crazy-good when it went on sale Black Friday and periodically throughout the 2012 winter holiday season for $95.
There is also a new 12V starter kit that includes an L-Boxx, 12V charger, and (2) 2.0Ah battery packs for $69. The starter kit is intended as easy entry into the 12V line for those who want to purchase a bare tool, but it is also a very appealing upgrade kit for current 12V users who can use the new higher capacity battery packs and want an L-Boxx to try out.
The L-Boxx system is an exceptionally versatile way to store, organize, and transport tools. The system was designed to be used by tradesmen and professional users who want to bring to a job just the tools they need from their shop or truck.
My needs and usage habits are a bit different than what the system was designed for, but it has worked well for me.
It took about 4 years for me to reach a breaking point where I needed to come up with a better solution to organize my tools for storage and transport. I am happy to say that I am completely pleased with how the L-Boxx system is working out for me.
I am not using L-boxxes exclusively, but I do use them for the bulk of my mobile tool storage needs.
About a third of the L-Boxxes I purchased were acquired as I needed them, and the other two thirds were purchased during Amazon’s winter holiday and Father’s Day shopping seasons when they offered $20 off $100+ Bosch orders.
Thank you to Bosch for providing L-Boxx samples for testing and editorial use.