Over in my review of Milwaukee’s 13″ tool box, which I’ve been using as a baby gear organizer and tote, firefly asked for recommendation for “a small edc tool box for the car.” I didn’t have to give this much thought, as Craftsman’s mini plastic truck tool boxes seem to fit the bill.
There are 2 sizes of these small tool boxes, a 17″ size, and a 22″ size. There is, or was, also a third size, which is even smaller, maybe 12″ or 14″ in length, with one latch and the absence of a handle, but I couldn’t find it in Sears’ website. Update: Found it – it’s listed as a 12″ utility case.
I’ve owned the smallest 12″ utility case and the 17″ truck tool box for a long time now, since 2007 or 2008 or so. Although originally purchased for auto use, they never made it into my car, because they’ve been quite useful for storing certain tools and supplies in my workspace. One is loaded with misc. supplies, and the other with spare Craftsman screwdrivers and pliers.
Craftsman calls these truck boxes, and they’re small tool boxes compact enough to fit under a seat or in the nooks and crannies of a cargo compartment or trunk. They’re made from Permanex plastic, a high strength, corrosion-proof, and if I recall correctly, automotive fluid-resistant material.
No, they’re not the most elegant tool boxes in the world, but I have yet to find anything else like them. These Craftsman boxes have unusually long and narrow but compact shapes, which make them pretty unique. I have yet to come across any other tool box that could fit in the spaces these could.
When I bought these boxes years ago, they were made in the USA. I’m not sure where they’re made now, whether it’s the USA or elsewhere.
Pricing: $8 for the 12″ size, $9 for the 17″ size, $11 for the 22″ size.
Buy Now(12″ Box via Sears)
Buy Now(17″ Box via Sears)
Buy Now(22″ Box via Sears)
Can you think of another small tool storage product that might be suitable for portable auto use?
To further answer firefly’s question, the next best solution for a very small portable tool kit would be zippered tool bags, such as Klein’s. Tool bags or zippered tool pouches are a very distant alternative, though. Craftsman’s mini plastic truck tool boxes offer more in the way of protection, not to mention stowability. I’m assuming it’ll be easier to fish one of these boxes from out under a seat than a zippered pouch.
I’m thinking that the Dewalt mini parts organizer might be another alternative to consider. Remove the bins, or at least some of them, and you get a compact but deep tool storage compartment with a clear lid and carrying handle. At $15 it won’t break the bank.
It seems hard to beat these at their respective price. I have an old 9-65117 (17x6x3.5) that I’ve had since 1999.
In Plastic Boxes, I see that Flambeau makes something that they call a Low-Boy (#6583H) and there is one from Stack-On (RB19-N) that gets mixed reviews on Amazon.
Amazon also has a number of small steel toolboxes from Proto, Stack-On and Excel:
I used one of these Craftsman truck boxes for years, when I had a bench seat 2-door non-extended cab pickup. It fit just right behind the seat and didn’t slide around. I think that’s the key thing about vehicle storage- it has to fit just right, be out of the way, be quiet, and most important, still be there (and not set aside last month) when you need it.
For automobiles I prefer a tool bag. Organization may suffer a bit but they are quiet and hold everything I need. I gave up on Craftsman as they blow out at the seams after a couple of years. I’m currently using this AYP bag from Lowe’s. It is much sturdier than the equivalent Craftsman, or the AYP that is $3 cheaper: http://www.lowes.com/pd_552554-1492-3L-2216_1z0zu65__?productId=50331641&pl=1
“it has to fit just right, be out of the way, be quiet, and most important, still be there (and not set aside last month) when you need it.” Totally agreed.
With a minivan I have plenty of cargo space. But I hate to leave certain thing in the trunk since they tend to get misplaced when I need to haul stuff…
About a year or two ago I saw those at Sears and these were made in the United States of America. Knowing Sears, these are probably made in China now. Similar to a vast majority of Craftsman items these days.
Mini tool boxes such as these do look helpful for emergency kit and I’ve seen others use Plano boxes as well.
I have a ton of the 12″ and 17″ boxes as well as the smaller 11″ boxes (65283, now long discontinued). They are great for making up smaller modular tool kits. The ridges on the lid mate with a recess on the bottom so boxes of the same size stack well together on shelves without falling over, but a box on the bottom can still slide out easily enough.
Maybe I should say they WERE great for this sort of thing. Not so long ago they cost 1/4 – 1/2 of what they are now charging. Sears has really gone nuts on pricing for smaller organization items like these. At $2 for the smaller boxes and $5 for the 17″ ones it wasn’t a big deal to amass a collection, at current prices I would look at other alternatives.
A tool roll is a better solution for keeping a few tools in the car at all times, at least in my opinion. They can be either rolled or folded and will fit in various nooks and crannies where a toolbox never will. Not to mention you won’t have to listen to the tools clang and rattle as you drive down the road. I think you’ve reviewed the Bucket Boss 24″ roll on here previously. It’s available through Home Depot for about $15. It’s maybe a little large for a small kit, but there are many smaller and less expensive options out there as well.
Not to be argumentative, but I’m not sure anything bigger than the 12″ would fit under the seat in many modern vehicles. The seat adjusting mechanism (not to mention the motor and other wiring) pretty much uses up the space under the driver’s seat. I can see it under some non-adjustable seating, though; there’s probably more space under that type. Of course, it all depends on the kind of vehicle one’s driving (passenger car vs. truck vs. SUV vs. cross-over, etc.), and how high the seats will adjust upward. The rear seat in many sedans has no space underneath; the floor usually comes up to the bottom of the seat.
We have a larger domestic sedan and a medium-sized import; I’m concerned with adjusting the seat backward and jamming or crushing the tool box or other items stored there. I often just leave them in the trunk, for both safety and security reasons. I have a cardboard box that I put everything into, but that’s subject to sliding around on the floor. Perhaps putting some rubber or felt “feet” on the bottom will cut down on the sliding. The same could be done with these Craftsman boxes, whether they’re stored in the cabin or the trunk. The feet have a light adhesive on the bottom; a little hot glue should help keep them from releasing. That, or installing a cargo net may prevent them from wandering.
Steve, if the form factor of the cardboard box works well for you but the cardboard does not, consider a Tool Tote such as the Bucket Boss 70012. Totes and Caddies come in all sizes.
These do look like nice boxes. On the bag front, I have been very pleased with a Bucket Boss Cable and Tool Bag (which I can no longer find?) to keep my jumpers and a set of basic tools organized. I was mostly inspired by a post on the EDC forum, although I pack a small air compressor in the middle of the cables, not a box of sockets. Even with long, heavy-gauge cables and a fair pile of tools, this rig fits nicely under the rear deck of our wagon (could also go under or a seat or in the middle of the spare tire). It is compact, reasonably organized, and does not rattle. The only bad thing is needing to unload the cargo to get at it, but worth it for us to have out of the way. I originally tried a roll, but found most of my car items were too oddly shaped for it to roll up neatly, and I still needed a separate container for the jumpers.
I have a couple of these, in both sizes. Use them for storing batteries, USB cables and all kinds of piddly crap. One of the better things Sears has these days.
They look perfect for specialty tools
These boxes are pretty good for storing a small tool kit, say a ratchet, sockets, a few extensions, maybe even a 6-in1 screwdriver. You can even use a soft foam piece and cut out spots for everything to have a really sweet custom looking kit that won’t rattle around. To maximize space, some people just wrap the tools in shop rags instead, so you get a functional sound deadener. Might also be worth throwing in a few sealed packets of waterless hand soap/degreaser in a ziploc bag.
The new black 14″ Craftsman plastic tool box is a better deal if you can fit a larger plastic tool box though. It’s often on sale for $6 or so. I’ve managed to fit almost an entire Craftsman socket set (1/4″, 3/8″ and some 1/2″ drive) in there, with ratchets and extensions. It takes up about 1/5 of the space of the larger blow-molded totes that come with the tool sets. It’s not as organized, but the space savings seems worth it.
Reviewers of the 17″ and 22″ boxes state made in USA, and pic of 12″ case shows made in USA molded in.
How recent are those reviews? I know this might make some people furious that I mention this, but the Sears of today is nothing similar to the Sears our Grandfathers or even Father’s remember. Long gone are the days of going to Sears and majority of what they sold was made in USA.
Sears is seemingly changing OEM’s all the time and sometimes to a foreign manufacturer. This isn’t enjoyable to write, but modern day Sears only has “loyalty” to the shareholders and making as much profit as possible. That alone might make sense in terms of a running a business, but with amount of manufacturing facilities that shut down over the last decade and the increasing amount of unemployment, that isn’t that stellar for the blue collar workers.
Sorry if this seems cynical, but I miss the old days of Sears and this is a real shame those days are likely never to return and are now a relic of the past. But Sears isn’t all to blame, as seems that a great deal of consumers only care about price and that is it.
In addition to what Stan said, product photos and descriptions don’t always reflect COO or slight design changes.
I believe these are still made in the USA. I saw them in store just a few weeks ago, and if the COO changed it would have stuck better in my mind.
The reasons I said that I wasn’t sure these were still made in the USA is because 1) it’s true, and 2) who knows what the situation will be when someone reads this post next month, next year, or 5 years from now?
Yeah, those images might be accurate or years old. At least on Sears website and other reviews on other sites. Grainger has a way to circumvent this by stating country of origin is subject to change. I’d suggest calling your local Sears to verify in terms of verifying the country of origin of this item and others.
For me, there really isn’t much reason for me to visit Sears anymore given that much of what they sell is imported and if I can, I much rather buy this from Harry J Epstein.
As I said earlier, Sears changes OEM’s all the time. Unless you have special resources, there is almost no way of knowing when the coo or the OEM will change.
Just bought the 2 larger sizes 2 days ago because of this posting. Both said made in USA. I do like them, even if they don’t fit under my seats.
Label said it was resistant to most household and auto chemicals.
I guess somethings are just too cheap to not make in the USA.
Adam, color me surprised. I would have figured Sears would have chosen a offshored manufacturer as they have done with a large majority of their products. Hopefully this stays this way for a while I just read the amount of unemployment has increased yet again this month.
This is slightly comical that Sears chooses a USA made (or mostly) supplier (Plano/Stack-On/Flambeau etc) for a small plastic toolbox, but they won’t choose a USA supplier similar to Ernst for their plastic wrench racks.
Thanks everyone. Those are solid suggestions. I need to pick up a few items at sears anyway so I’ll check them out next time I am there.
I drive a minivan that have gap between the two seats in the middle row. So I am looking for something that either small enough to fit under the driver/passenger seat or something that would fill up nicely between the two middle seats. I don’t have the exact measurement with me but I would guess the gap is roughly 16″.
@Stuart, I missed your review of the dewalt mini. Though I don’t think it will fit the bill in this instance I have been looking for a mini organizer so it will fill that need perfectly 🙂
I didn’t exactly review the Dewalt mini (yet?). If it was half the depth, I’d have bought 10-20 of them. But as they are, they’re a little too deep for how I’d want to use them. Not a bad price though, I might eventually have to try one out.
I wish Craftsman would bring back the big brother to these. I bought three, they fit hand saws great in my shop and now I want another two and they discontinued them. I have all sizes of these, they are great when you might want to put them on a surface that you REALLY don’t want to put a steel toolbox with sharp rusty corners, like car seats or carpet, or hardwood floors.
Charles, I have a tip for those sharp edges with the tool box. Carefully, you can use a file smooth out the edges or you can painter’s tape on the edges with a steel box. There is also a product known as Plasti-Dip you can use to coat the surfaces as well. I’ve seen this sold at Home Depot. If you go the Plasti-Dip route, whatever you do, use this outdoors.
I had a Sears coupon that was going to expire so I went and got the two larger size ones. I had a few plumbing tools (for diy) in a much bigger box and they ended up in the larger of the two boxes, taking up much less space. I have several larger tool boxes that just have a few tools in them. These look like just the thing, so I’ll probably get a couple more and retire the larger tool boxes. Since I now have another coupon after buying these.
Not to hijack the thread–but Craftsman still makes their traditional screwdrivers (not their cushy grip) in the USA. I went their the other day & bought a couple of sets on the Craftsman Club sale.
Those used to be made by Western Forge, but both Sears and Home Depot both changed original equipment manufacturers. Or at least that has occurred in my area. Still USA made for now. Some (not all of course) screwdrivers, wrenches sockets, plastic boxes are still USA made, but compared to back in the 1980’s and before, Sears no longer chooses as much American manufacturers as they once did.
I am not trying to “hijack” this thread either, but there still are some people out there that think most items sold at Sears under the Craftsman brand are American made and these days that just isn’t the case anymore. This is very sad, but America become more and more of a global economy and this only seems to benefit the CEO’s and shareholders. Just wish I wasn’t part of such a very small minority that cares about American manufacturing despite that fact this affects all that live in the United States.
The Shareholders won’t be benefited once Eddie gets done brankrupting Sears and completes his his asset grab. In the mean time I’m using SYW points to get whatever US-made Craftsman items I can, like Nupla made dead blow hammers, Bolt-Outs, etc.
Smart idea, as sooner or that will happen. These days, Sears might as well be a more expensive Harbor Freight with some items. I am willing to bet the people working there know the items aren’t worth much hence why the “no hassle” lifetime warranty. I sure don’t want to spend my money there, but I don’t really care what others do with their own money to be frank.
I saw these tool boxes last week for sale at sears, i believe the 12″ was $8.99. I was pretty excited to see it because you can’t really find anything like them. I Remembered my father has had one for probably over 20 years and his is nice and strong.
I use a handfull of certain size sockets and wrenches on a daily basis doing electrical, this box would be perfect for quickly finding a socket and not lugging around a huge socket set. Digging through a canvas bag gets really annoying when you need things fast.
What i did find though is this LOOKS like the same box my father has but…. the plastic it’s made from seems to be thinner and not as solid. Also the one clip that holds this thing shut appears weak and will probably self open with minimal effort.
I almost bought it but i stood there and latched it closed and opened it back up many times, the latch to me is junk. I even tried every one they had on the shelf (I think 5) and they were all the same crap designed latch. I wouldn’t feel safe from my tools taking a spill without a large rubber band wrapped around it.
The search continues….
Hi, anybody knows where I can find these boxes? Sears run out of stock and I can’t find them any other place.
No, unfortunately I think I ordered the last 2 on the planet (17″.) I got one from amazon (said only one left) and one from somewhere else that only had 1 left but hasn’t arrived yet (hope I didn’t get ripped off.)