I recently had the opportunity to receive a new Craftsman Pro Series Tool Storage Combo with Smartphone Connected Locks for testing and review. It’s also described as a Smart-Lock tool box.
I had actually received 2 units. The first test sample was damaged during shipping (via freight truck), and so it was sent back and a second test unit was sent to me.
After I give you my initial thoughts, the next part of the review is a cautionary tale to not sign for freight goods without fully inspecting the merchandise thoroughly first.
The main part of the review will be sectioned as follows:
- Quality Control Issues
- Craftsman Response
- Final discussion about the current state of the combo
I was sent the 41″ 17-drawer combo unit, consisting of a top chest and bottom rolling cabinet.
- Chest (58662): 41-in. W x 21-in. D x 24.5-in. H ($730 list, $480 on sale)
- Roller Cabinet (58663): 41-in. W x 21-in. D x 42.5-in. H ($1220 list, $820 on sale)
Combo Price: $1300
I like the concept of this tool storage product family. With a top shelf height of 62″ and drawers measuring 18.5″ deep, the Craftsman Pro combo is taller and deeper than most of the other consumer cabinets on the market. The limiting factor in fitting a storage combo into a space is probably going to be width, so why not take advantage of extra height and depth for more storage space.
Rather than having a large open space on the top where’s it’s hard to use the space efficiently, Craftsman chose to add more and larger drawers.
Aside from the top compartment and full-width drawer, the chest and cabinet are divided into 2 sections. The larger section has 22″ wider drawers, which makes it easier to transfer your tool layout from a narrower cabinet, if you’re upgrading from one.
The full-width drawer is convenient for expanded layout capabilities. For instance, when I actually move my tools to this combo, I’ll be able to move all of my sockets, ratchets, and extensions to the same drawer.
Stuart’s Note: Ben’s idea is a good use of a full-length drawer. I currently have my ratchets, extensions, and breaker bars in one drawer of a 26″ wide cabinet, and sockets in another.
The actual construction of the combo is pretty sturdy. It doesn’t have an angle iron frame on the bottom like the Milwaukee cabinets, but it is still sturdily built. I measured a side thickness of 0.042″ (maybe 20 gauge) and the bottom reinforcing tracks were 0.062″ (maybe 16 gauge).
Each drawer is said to have a load capacity of 200 lbs, enough to hold almost any tool configuration you could come up. I’m sure there are exceptions, such as if you have a huge granite surface plate.
It is also one heavy set. I was barely able to tip the cabinet back upright after I installed the casters, and I had to use ramps secured to the cabinet to get the chest on top. You can see the removed drawers stacked near the wall.
There are no side handles. Take the drawers out to shed weight, and find a buddy to help you. If you have to lift the chest by yourself, find a way to do so SAFELY.
Stuart’s Note: To lift a very wide and heavy chest onto a cabinet, I turned it onto its side and used ratcheting tie-downs to stabilize the load as I pivoted it up and onto a very sturdy workbench. That’d be harder to do with this unit, as the chest doesn’t have side handles. Removing the drawers and finding a buddy or two is the better option.
When the delivery guy was rolling the boxes off the truck, I noticed one of the edges of the lower rolling cabinet’s cardboard box was damaged.
I was in a hurry at the time and the drivers were really eager to leave, so I signed the paper thinking that the cardboard box had just been ripped in transit. I’ve had boxes arrive pretty much shredded while the contents inside were just fine, so I didn’t think much of it.
When I went to put the combo together later that day I discovered that underneath the “slightly damaged” box was a huge dent in the side of the toolbox, most likely from a forklift tine.
Stuart’s Note: I’ve had tool boxes damaged in transit too, and sometimes the damage is hidden by intact cardboard sides or top panels. It’s easier said than done, but it’s best to have the shipment moved into place and unpacked before signing anything.
It’s hard to know where the damage occurred. One would think that damaged goods would not leave the manufacturer or the retailer unchecked. As no amount of packaging is going to survive an errant forklift tine, I though it had to be the shipping company’s fault, but after the quality control issues I had with the combo, I now have my doubts on who’s to blame. Maybe the damage occurred at the factory or at Sears’ warehouse, there’s no way to know.
The damage didn’t affect the operation of the cabinet, so if I had purchased the unit for myself, I might have negotiated a discount with Sears rather than go through the process of getting a replacement. But, we wanted to make sure that my review wasn’t tainted by the damage, so after discussing things with Stuart and our Craftsman contacts, it was decided that the damaged unit would be returned and a replacement sent out way.
Stuart’s Note: The last Craftsman rolling cabinet I bought had a defective wheel. During that first week or two it bugged me more than I expected. Sears couldn’t send me a replacement caster for free, but offered a 10% refund that I accepted. I wasn’t about to drag everything back to the store for 1 caster issue. There’s no reasonable partial refund amount I would have accepted to deal with a severely damaged unit.
Quality Control Issues
When I received the first cabinet and started taking it out of the box, I noticed that the styrofoam inserts used to secure the tool chest and cabinet were meant to be used on smaller cabinets. When I received the second replacement boxes from Craftsman, they still had the ill-fitting styrofoam inserts.
Another issue I had with the packaging was that the staples on the pallet scratched the unprotected paint on the bottom of the lower cabinet. The first damaged rolling cabinet had three spots where the paint was scratched. While the second replacement only had one area that was scratched on the bottom, it was again caused by a proud staple on the pallet.
While perhaps not a big deal to some, this is unexpected and disappointing when talking about a $1000+ tool storage product.
Two of the four threaded inserts for the side handle had burrs that prevented proper assembly. I had use a tap to clean up the threads.
Cabinet and Chest Alignment
As I was attaching the upper chest to the lower cabinet I could not get them aligned. There was not enough adjustment in the bolts fastening them together to bring them into alignment.
Stuart’s Note: I noticed the same with an in-store demo unit when I visited the local Sears in November. It was severe enough that I took a photo.
Paint/Powder Coat Coverage
To access the batteries for the bluetooth locks, it’s easier to remove the drawer underneath, rather than reach inside and fumble around blindly. When I had the drawers out I noticed something else disturbing. The coating on the inside of the upper cabinet was splattered all over the back of the cabinet and was actually missing in one spot on the upper left.
If it seems like a I’m being a little picky about the coating on the inside of the cabinet, I might not have even noticed the splattered and missing coating inside the upper cabinet if I hadn’t already seen the flawless coating on the inside of the lower cabinet. Now that’s the kind of quality I’d expect from a $1000+ purchase.
Stuart’s Note: While we don’t expect for inexpensive storage cabinets to be painted or powder coated in areas most users will never see or access, the higher end tool storage products I’ve seen were powder coated on the inside.
Prior to testing the Bluetooth lock controls, I found that I could not lock all of the drawers in the bottom cabinet at the same time without leaning into them so the locking mechanism in the back would engage properly.
The cabinet and chest have what Craftsman calls “GripLatch.” The handle on the front of the drawer is actually a latching system. When you pull up and out on the drawer handle to pull out the drawer it unlatches the drawer. When you push the drawer back in the GripLatch catches to keep the drawer closed.
Craftsman GripLatch drawers all work in the same manner, with the entire drawer handle being a spring-action lever that releases hooks on the ends of the drawer that interacts with catches built into the chassis.
One would think that if a drawer is latched you could trust that it would actually lock that drawer when you turned the key, but what I found is that I would lock the cabinet and then be able to pull out several of the drawers.
Stuart’s Note: There is a little movement allowed in my Craftsman GripLatch units. The top chest has a lid-connected locking bar type. I lift the lid, pull out the drawers a little bit, close the lid, and then close the drawers. They latch but don’t lock because the lock bar is already lowered. (I do this so that I can open the drawers without opening the top lid.) BUT, my GripLatch storage units are designed differently than this Pro Series units. With an independent locking system found on these Pro Series units, there should NOT be any movement. For this Pro combo, latched should mean “lockable.”
When it was finally time to test the Bluetooth locks, I was in for a huge surprise! I put the batteries into the holder for each lock and the locks started an initialization routine. The lower cabinet lock took a lot longer to finish the routine though.
I paired the app with each of the locks, which involves naming the cabinet and entering in a serial number for each lock. After I got both locks entered in, I tried locking the lower unit. The actuator started spinning in the lock direction, but wouldn’t stop. It kept going before stopping suddenly, and it twisted the lock to where the outside lost alignment with the inside, making it impossible to insert the key.
I used a large screwdriver to turn the lock back into alignment so that I could insert a key to unlock the drawer, but as soon as I did the motor inside started turning in the lock direction again. I could insert a key, but couldn’t turn it, as the motor was spinning in the opposite direction.
I left the key in so the lock wouldn’t rotate out of alignment again. When the batteries died, the key had become trapped in the lock. I couldn’t turn the lock back into neutral position without applying enough pressure to break the key (or so I thought). I couldn’t get into any of the drawers in the lower cabinet!
Stuart and I had a long conference call with the Craftsman engineering team. They were very concerned about all the issues we brought to their attention. The product manager went as far to say that this product was their “baby” and they wanted to make any problems right. Not just for us, but for any customer.
After I described the locked cabinet problem to them, they told me to just force the key, it shouldn’t break. While I was on the call I was able to muscle the key back into the neutral position and remove it, but I didn’t have enough strength to turn the key to unlock the cabinet. So after asking if it was okay, I grabbed the key in a pair of Vise-Grips and was able to force the lock open – but not without bending the key pretty good.
They thought the malfunction of my Bluetooth lock and the drawers not staying locked was due to the misalignment of the locking mechanism. It was also very possible that the cabinets not aligning to one another could be a sign that the cabinet was racked and the locking mechanism was out of line. They said that absolutely when the GripLatch was engaged the drawers should lock.
The malfunction could be due to the fact that the Bluetooth locks were initially designed to continue trying to turn the lock until the locking bar dropped 100%, where as in reality the bar might not drop completely until you try to open a drawer or shake the cabinet. Newer firmware has changed this behavior.
The PM assured us that they are working on better packaging and that they would follow up immediately with the factory on the rest of the Q/A issues.
After the call, I updated the firmware for both locks using the application on an iOS device, rather than my phone, since the app for Android version doesn’t have that capability yet. As of now, the Android app is lacking quite a few features that the iOS app has, such as configuring the proximity locking feature.
Prior to the firmware update, the cabinet lock would engage unintentionally sometimes, even when I was standing right next to it.
I have to say that this experience has soured me on electronic locks in general. I had been thinking of upgrading our entry locks with some connected locks. The convenience of not having to fumble for keys and being able to grant and revoke access to the house was appealing. I had never thought about how wrong things could go. I’ll be sticking with keyed locks for now.
Which is to say that I’ll gladly test out the Bluetooth locks on the second replacement combo, but when it comes time to store my tools for long term testing, the batteries are coming out of the locks, even if they are working perfectly. The meager benefits are not worth the risks of not being able to access my tools when they are needed.
Here are the answers to a few questions Stuart had in his first post:
Where are the side handles? On the conference call we learned that it was decided that “Pro” grade cabinets don’t get lifted or moved around very much. In fact, the upper cabinet is designed to be bolted to the lower cabinet with four bolts.
Since side handles are rarely used, they thought the look of the streamlined sides would be more appealing to users.
Do the units have to be connected to an AC power source to maintain proximity lock controls? The locks are entirely powered by 4 AA batteries (8 batteries total for the combo). You also get keys as a backup.
Again, I do like overall concept and design of the cabinet. It is decently constructed, and taller with deeper drawers for more efficient use of space. But until Craftsman deals with the quality control issues, there’s no way I could recommend that anybody buy this combo.
This isn’t the last say on this cabinet. I have another replacement coming that should hopefully include some new quality control procedures the Craftsman team said they would implement.
Cabinet Price: $1220 list, $820 on sale
Chest Price: $730 list, $480 on sale
More Info (Top Chest)
More Info (Roller Cabinet)
More Info (Combo)
Craftsman was only able to provide one test sample, and so we decided that Ben should tackle the review. With all these issues, and the hassle of multiple freight deliveries and pickups, I don’t regret that joint decision. Then again, all that effort and hassle translates to climbing costs on my end, and opportunity costs for Ben. Our patience is wearing thin, but we’re trying to be understandable.
When I finally found these Pro Series Smart-Lock tool storage combos at the local Sears, I noticed several things. First, they are really tall. I had a hard time reaching the top lid to close it. I’m under 6′ tall, but not short by any means. A drop-down handle assist would have been nice.
If Craftsman is able to spare another test sample, I’d try to wire the thing up with a bigger battery pack and then connect some type of motor or linear actuator to help close the lid.
Still, that top compartment wouldn’t be very useful to me. I can’t easily reach anything in the back area. The same with the top drawer – I would have some difficulty accessing smaller tools from anywhere but the front of the drawer.
Sears has been comparing these new Pro Series tool boxes to Snap-on tool storage products.
Craftsman Pro Series Tool Storage is 1/3 of the price of comparable Snap on Heritage Plus Series Tool Storage. Guaranteed!
I find it easy to believe that the Craftsman team designed the product to compare with Snap on at a fraction of the price.
They are proud of their design, and from our phone call it was clear that they care about it.
My thoughts are that the design is good. There are things I might not like, but those are preferential. Care went into all aspects, and hearing that the app and tool cabinet firmware will be updated on an ongoing basis is optimistic.
They said that there’s contact info through the app. Send an email through the app, and it goes directly to the team. They want to hear suggestions for future features or improvements.
This isn’t a gimmicky product, it’s an innovation that they worked hard on, and one that stands a reasonable chance at becoming very popular.
I asked a tough question – why change how the drawers are attached to the slides? On my couple years-old Craftsman units, the slides are removable without the use of any tools. On this unit, the slides are removable for potential replacement if needed, but there are also rivets that would need to be drilled out. Why? Because it helps prevent side-to-side play, contributing to a more rigid drawer.
It was a good answer, but also showed me that the Craftsman team knew their products. That is not always the case with private label brands.
That all said, there are failures, and some serious ones.
The Pro Series tool cabinets are Assembled in America with Global Parts. I don’t quite know what that means. Which are the global parts? The drawer slides? The chassis and drawers?
Regardless, some of the problems Ben encountered are not isolated to the test sample.
This is the misalignment that I mentioned seeing at the local Sears’ demo unit.
For a top chest to be bolted to a bottom cabinet like that… it’s just unacceptable. Ben’s unit had minor misalignment in comparison.
Ben’s unit seems to have a lockbar assembly or installation issue. It’s hard to tell. As the Craftsman team pointed out, a misalignment in one part of an assembly can snowball and compound, affecting other aspects.
My instinct is that the production was rushed a little bit, to get these storage products in stores and fulfillment warehouses in time for the 2016 winter holiday shopping season.
They hit the sales floor right at or before the first week of November, because that’s when I saw a demo model, and an associate said he just put it together the other day.
It’s hard to say “we do NOT recommend that anyone buys this at this time,” but that is indeed how we both feel.
The problems plaguing this product are not expected or acceptable on a $1,000+ tool storage combo.
The good news is that the design seems strong, and the Craftsman team is by now fully aware of the issues Ben has experienced. I’m guessing that they might have also heard from early adopters who encountered similar or other issues.
With thought and care going into the product’s design, the hope is that the Craftsman team can sort things out with the factory.
In my opinion, and keep in mind I have 0 experience regarding factory and production setups, this is what needs to be done:
- Complete inspection of manufacturing and assembly processes to isolate the source of quality issues
- Improved quality control and assurance
- Improved packaging for shipping
- Recall of all unsold products for inspection
As you might know, Craftsman is not a manufacturer. They work with OEMs to produce all of their products, some being unique and others being Craftsman exclusives.
I have not been able to determine the likely OEM for these products. Waterloo? Edsal? Viper? Which other tool storage brand with USA-based facilities could be the OEM partner here?
I hope that we can give you an update in 1 month. If Ben or I receive another test unit for evaluation and review, we’re insistent that it comes from the production line, as opposed to being cherry-picked or specially inspected.
If you’re in the market for a $1,000+ tool storage combo, don’t rule out Craftsman’s Pro Series product family, at least not yet.
Product launches don’t always go as planned. Keeping in mind that there are some aspects of the design that I don’t think would work well for me – but maybe I’d get used to or grow to favor them – it’s best to withhold judgement for now.
Ben and I are in complete agreement – we can NOT recommend this at all right now. I perhaps would not be so open to adding the “right now” bit if it were me having to deal with multiple issues and sample shipments.
I believe that Craftsman and their OEM partner can get things right. Now, we just have to wait and see what happens.
Update: See the Review Follow-Up Here
Thank you to Craftsman and Sears for providing the review sample unconditionally.
I appreciate that y’all don’t just write them off completely, but that you also evaluated the team/brand’s commitment to getting it right! I wonder how/if they will address these issues with early adopters? For me, the Milwaukee tool storage options are the most appealing at the price, in not quite ready to give craftsman a chance yet, we will see what happens with the new developments as the sale goes through!
so who here is the actually maker/developer? I think that’s the bigger question since it’s a craftsman named product who is it really?
I like some of the ideas of it but sounds like a solid pass based on these discussions. I know I don’t want that bt locking system. Maybe a passive BT thing to tell me it’s locked or not – but not to drive a motor to lock it.
Look forward to review 2 or however you guys continue with this.
Our Sears had a nice variety of cabinets set up this year for Christmas. This was there, the black one with red tinted handles discussed recently here was there and many standard red combos as well. I thought I’d prefer this one the most to be honest. I’d seen an ad for it in one of my hot rod or drag racing magazines awhile back and had been interested in checking it out. I think at a sprint car race (Craftsman sponsored) last year there was advertising on it as well. I’d assumed it was a Waterloo unit. Maybe I was wrong.. Oddly though, I found myself liking the new black one the most. I just preferred the drawer layout. And really, my favorite layout was still on an old school style red combo they had set up. I’m pretty sure it’s a Waterloo one. I just preferred some of the features and the look of the new black one. If I could have combined the two somehow I may have bought one to add to my older Waterloo unit. My least preferred toolbox they had there was this professional one. I didn’t examine it close for misalignment issues but I really just didn’t like the layout. I also found it odd they called it ‘professional’ as I thought the term had been done away with and they were bringing back the ‘industrial’ name for everything pro/high end again. They really need to settle on one term or the other and stick with it. All of my older Sears-Craftsman power tools say Industrial. I do have a set of Professional pliers and such as well from more recent history. Now we have new Industrial ratchets again. Kind of confusing marketing.
I will say that I finally saw these in person recently and they did feel solid. Much stronger than the typical craftsman ones.
I too have a Craftsman top and bottom. I have the same locking issues on the top cabinet as Stuart experiences. I would say that mine may be a little worse. I think that some of the griplatch mechanisms in the cabinet are slightly off. I’ve been meaning to file them ever so slightly, but never really got around to it.
I would say that having to open the top lid to access drawers in the top unit is a pain in the butt. I don’t know how typical that system is, but it made me really rethink how I organize everything in there.
You guys really write great reviews. I really appreciate the amount of detail that went into this.
Regarding the problem Bluetooth lock I think that’s bad engineering period. The bluetooth, the actuator are complimentary features. Engineering 101 say that complimentary features shall never break the main functionality ever. So there should be mechanical build in that in case something goes wonky with the actuator the key should always be able to override it.
On the other hand, those small mechanical safety are not something that can be designed overnight. They would need plenty of prototype to come up with something solid. In short the engineering cost is high while most buyers might not appreciate the engineering that goes on something as simple as a Bluetooth lock.
At the very least they should have a manual power cut off somewhere. That would be the easiest to design/implement. The fact that they didn’t even thought of that scream bad engineering to me.
Overall, I think the Bluetooth lock idea is a bad idea to begin with for this level of cabinet. To be able to come up with something that work reliably one would either have to pay the engineer cost and/or production cost. It’s hard to put a number on the actual cost to come up with such item. But I would say it’s not insignificant to come up with a solid bluetooth lock. It’s one of those feature that very few would appreciate even if it’s done right yet would frustrate most if something goes wrong. Personally I think most user would appreciate a lot more if those cost went somewhere else such as better packaging, better reinforcement or better QA…
Totally agree about the locking system. At home, the only benefits I can see for it is to keep kids away from your tools and make it hard for a burglar to get the tools out of the cabinets. As for on the job, in a small shop it could help to prevent someone “borrowing” your tools without your permission or just outright theft, but is that really an issue and like you said is it worth the added cost.
I’ve been looking at this and the slightly cheaper Masterforce ones from Menards. The Menards ones also have the ability to add a matching side locker and/or side cabinet to expand it. Currently I’m looking in the 41″ wide range with a wide top drawer on the rolling cabinet. I want to root for a craftsman box, but I’m having trouble justifying one at this point. Now if only you’d do a Masterforce review.
Get the Masterforce, you won’t regret it! I have the 46″ 11 drawer bottom chest and love it. The only thing I would maybe do differently is get the 36″ bottom chest. It has 2 shallow drawers on the bottom that replace one deep drawer on the 41″, 46″, and 56″. I think the shallow drawers are more useful. I have a lot of wasted space in my deep drawers.
Thanks. I want some depth for my circular saw, trim router, and my cordless tools so I don’t mind deep drawers. What I can’t seem to figure out based on the website is how deep the 56″ model is. Based on the webpage description is shows the depth (front-to-back) as being 20″ but the PDF diagram shows the same measurement as being 17″. If the 56″ model is really deeper then I’ll spend more for that, otherwise I’ll go with the 41″ and then add the side cabinet later. I don’t like how the 46″ has all medium width drawers (except the wide top).
I’ve played with the Masterforce toolboxes in store for quite a while. Most of them seem like the same quality as the earlier Husky boxes in the same price range (not the all black ones). I was considering getting a few of the middle boxes about 6 months ago.
If you can wait a few months, see if the one you want goes on sale. I’ve seen Menards knock $100 to $200 off depending on the box in a sale. At the very least wait for a week with the 11% rebate, I guess this week counts.
Wow, sounds like you just described why Sears is going under and going fast. Anyone that would buy into that after your review has some of the same screws loose that this unit has. For them to send you a review unit that was that bad is mind boggling to say the least. Sears was at one time a good solid company but those days are gone. Good bye Sears.
I agree. Menard’s is really bringing some competition with not only that but much of their Masterforce line. Tools, saws etc..
Maybe some of the Masterforce line is okay, it depends on the specific tool. the Masterforce line is a mish-mash of a bunch of rebranded products and different manufacturers. Hmm…kind of like Craftsman I guess.
For instance I found that the Masterforce straightedges are identical to Swanson.
isn’t masterforce sold by someone else also? I say that because those of us south of the mason dixon line do not have menard’s.
wish we did though.
Exactly. Maybe with the sale of Craftsman they will get back to where they used to be. The leadership of Kmart/Sears are just killing two of Americas store chains. I began questioning Sears when they were caught in the auto repair scams.
I saw these at a local Sears mall store last month and simply thought of it as “gimmicky”. Bluetooth? Come on. It’s not even perfect for music streaming in the iOS world. And what about service after Eddie Lambert guts the rest of Sears Holdings?
On a positive note regards shipping of large roller cabinets I ordered two (don’t laugh!) large stainless steel Kobalt brand boxes from Lowe’s last summer and my experience with their (from Vietnam if I recall correctly) packaging and delivery setup is very different.
(Yeah I know their kinda weird boxes but they’re for my model railroad paraphernalia and looks are kinda paramount).
Anyways. They arrived on wooden pallets and they were off loaded into my building and the two Lowe’s drivers and I examined the strapped down packaging very carefully. Not a single mark. Then and get this(!) they stayed to help me totally unpack them and then gentle flip them on their sides so we three could install the casters and test everything out before they packed up the shipping materials and left.
That’s some decent service. No?
Maybe it’s just that I’m in Portlandia but I dunno.
thoughtful HONEST reviews like this are the reason i check in with this site. it is so easy to find BS tool reviews out there and it is a comfort to have y’all here. i want to hear the bad along with the good and i will make my own decisions. thanks stuart and ben!
i have no interest in bluetooth locking mechanisms. seems way too gimmicky for me. i really do not need nor want to use my phone to unlock my tool box. seems silly to me, especially if my hands are shop dirty at the time. i do not want another method to make me more reliant upon my phone. i really do not want to waste the money on a toy lock that i won’t use.
my shop storage setup echoes more that of adam savage’s style than that of the singularly located auto shop mechanic setup. i have lots of smaller, area-specific storage setups that relate to the job being done there and i don’t need to lock them up. i do not need to have all of my tools located in one large box setup that i can lock. a neighbor of mine is a retired auto mechanic. he has the massive, snap-on rig in the back of his garage. he told me once that in the trade they refer to these boxes as “war wagons.” i suspect it may be a reference to quartermastering supplies in Conestoga type wagons that can be moved when the front moves. there is a crack in cement now in his garage floor and it starts just under one of the front wheels of the war wagon. some serious weight in there.
my next big storage purchase, after i have squirreled away enough of my lunch money, is to buy a couple of those milwaukee 60″ work stations.
i am waiting for them to come up on sale. i will throw away the peg board (not a peg board fan.) for me the added countertop and the low, long running storage is ideally suited to my needs and my shop.
hey, stuart and ben – thank you for the time and commitment to honest, and fair minded reviews. good on yuh!
I’d love to pick up a 60″ workstation, but I’d like to see a couple hundred slashed off the price first. I’m on the edge on building my own custom or picking one of those up.
I’m also watching for the Trinity 48″ Stainless Steel Workbench to come back to Costco stores.
Wow poor craftsman . Honestly this is sad to see . Good honest review .
What I find most shocking. The Styrofoam inserts being the wrong size . And broken to fit . That reeks of junk workmanship . Bluetooth locks lol .
The Smartlock is not so smart…there are things that should not be smart.
Nothing is more simple than a key.
It´s like the smart modes on some new drills, you should be smart not the drill.
Yesterday I ordered the 52 inch pro series combo. Today I read this. VERY NERVOUS……
I you are having it delivered, make sure you unbox and inspect it before you sign.
Then before you put any tools in it, make sure you update the firmware of the locks using an iOS device. After you put the batteries in, keep the upper drawer out so that if something happens you can always remove the battery.
With the updated firmware you shouldn’t get locked out.
Most of the issues I found (with the exception of drawers not locking) are not show stoppers, only really disappointing for something in this price range. Hopefully your experience goes well. Let us know.
This is a good review. It’s also an accurate representation of every experience I’ve had with Sears in the last two years. I saw these elsewhere online and automatically assumed there was some flaw or gimmick. Craftsman has just eroded my trust so much that I wouldn’t even consider looking at this unit.
My local Sears had these on display back when the first article about these appeared, and my initial impression still stands after multiple trips to the store and checking them out more than a few times. They are just so friggin’ TALL. I have a Craftsman Premium griplatch unit, one of the tall ones with 8 bottom drawers and the extra deep top chest, and this thing towers above it. I agree with Stuart, the top shelf and top drawer are just not very usable to someone of even above average height, and shorter people are going to need a step stool or a ladder. I get that they wanted to put in more storage space, but these boxes are WAY too tall. At least with the Milwaukee/Dewalt/Porter-Cable/Husky/Kobalt boxes, the top shelf is about at head height for an average person and the top drawer is about the right height were you can see into it without needed to get on your tip-toes or step up on something.
While the construction is ok, and about on part with the top-end Husky chests, it’s also kind of obvious that these are still thinner sheet metal and the Bluetooth locks and not the overall construction is the main selling point. As shown by the issues in the article, the use of Bluetooth is not just gimmicky, but a detriment to the usability and reliability of something as basic as the main storage unit for your tools. That’s too bad. I would rather Craftsman have skipped the Bluetooth stuff entirely and just made a heavier-duty lock that uses a traditional key. We all know that a lock on a tool box is just a deterrent and you aren’t going to stop anyone that really wants to break in and use a pry bar or power tools.
As for the questions on the manufacturer, I’d have to guess that it’s Waterloo, since they make the Posi-latch mechanism that the Craftsman Griplatch is just a renamed version of. I don’t think anyone else uses quite the same thing on their boxes, at least among major manufacturers.
Saw this model on display at a local store, and once you got past the initial impression of heavy duty, and impressive size, you started to see the flaws.
I’m not ever going to be a tall individual. I’ve accepted that the 5’5″ on my drivers license is as tall as I’ll ever get. *For me personally*, this is too tall, and I wouldn’t benefit the full value someone say, 6 foot tall person would.
The battery assembly for the Smart Lock was hanging down and wires were showing. Completely non-functional.
Fit and finish at a glance was okay, but when you looked closely, the paint \ coating actually seemed a little thinner in places, and especially in some corners.
It wasn’t as severe, but the top and bottom didn’t line up well either.
$1,000+ No way. Needs a few iterations. I’d pay $300 on clearance, scrap the electronic lock and use them in separate areas, and count myself as having gotten an incredible deal. But for even their sale asking price, no thank you.
I agree with the previous comments, this box is a perfect illustration of the problems with Craftsman and Sears. It’s priced way too high, relies on an unnecessary, problematic feature like bluetooth at the expense of basic operation, and ferchristsakes the boxes don’t even line up! I’m stunned it got the amount of attention it did. My Harbor Freight 26″ has a better paint job and the boxes align and it only cost $289! Craftsman needs to do way better than to ship a sloppy mess like this.
I went and picked up my 52″ craftsman pro series bottom rolling chest on the 19th. and picked up the matching top box on the 21st. I assembled them and put the batteries in with the drawers out. I never even upgraded the firmware and everything went fine. One of the huge reasons I wanted this Pro Series was for the Bluetooth lock. I work in a large factory and I maintain and repair robotic manufacturing equipment at this location. Being able to have my box lock and unlock its self just from walking in or out of Bluetooth range is an awesome feature for me. For all of you who laugh at this feature, or call this a gimmick I laugh at you. I have thousands of dollars worth of tools and this feature gives me a piece of mind that no other box has ever done. No more putting my greasy hands down my pant pockets fumbling for my keys. However, at the time I wrote this, the Android version doesn’t have this feature enabled yet. I have communicated with craftsman about this and they assure me they will have this ready ASAP. I am patiently waiting. For now I just lock and unlock with my phone which I check often anyways for notification etc. And yes I use my phone with greasy hands. But once the Bluetooth range locking is enabled I will be living the life.
As for the quality of the box and all those comparing this to a harbor freight box. That’s like comparing apples to oranges. There are about 7 boxes here at this location of other employees. Three of them are those Harbor freight boxes. All I have to do is push these boxes around to know the difference in quality. This pro series box is built like a dump truck. I’m not going to waste my time trying to compare the two. And the fact that it has the griplatch so that I can push it around the factory without the drawers sliding open on the corners when its unlocked is a feature I looked for when I wanted a new box. Having to lock your box every time you want to push a box around is a pain in the butt.
I’m not saying this box is perfect. The paint job inside could be much better. but if your going to be admiring the paint job inside the box while sitting down and drinking a beer then I suggest you find another line of work. I doubt this box will make it another week before it gets a long scratch on it anyways as I actually use my box. It already has greasy hand prints all over it.
The lower and upper boxes, line up rather well for me. Not perfect, but very close. Perhaps Craftsman has improved the quality since Benjamin’s combo box back in Dec 20th. All I can say is that I myself am very pleased I bought mine.
I’m actually pleased to read of a great affinity lock/unlock use via Bluetooth. My SUV does this too. Side doors and rear hatch. iPhone again though.
I just hope it holds up for you. Not the box. It’ll be fine. The Bluetooth.
Thx for posting.
I just picked up the 52″ base unit this weekend and am extremely disappointed. I would of also had the top unit, but it was damaged and rejected it at the sears store. (Probably due to the clerk putting the toolbox on it side on a dolly. Guess nobody heard of pallet jacks.) They are currently ordering me another. Anyway I’ll be promptly returning the base unit and won’t be accepting the new top unit.
Several issues I came across with the base unit include:
Packing was sub par. Same foam issue as described in the review above.
The Grip locks needing adjustment. Several drawers wouldn’t latch out of the box. This wouldn’t be too hard to fix, but someone from Quality should of found this.
After getting to my final destination from the sears store I had 3 guys help unload this from truck. To make it easier we removed all the drawers, only to find out that the bottoms of half of them were scuffed up like someone drug them across a concrete floor. They were also covered in some blue powder no idea what it was, but it came off on my hands and cloths.
The forth issue and most disappointing to me is whoever engineered the griplatch didn’t put any stoppers on the pull up latches. The result being that you can lift the latch into the drawer/crossmember (depending on which drawer it is) above it. Initially you wouldn’t notice this much except that it scuffs the paint up on the top face of the drawer where you see it if you happen to tug a little to much. This is most noticeable on the top drawer that runs across the entire 52″ length.
The Forth issue I found was that after using the base unit and opening and closing the drawers, the locking mechanism would get lazy and droop into the top right small drawers. The result being that the top drawers acted like they were locked when it wasn’t. A small tug would release them since it was just barely catching them, but you could tell there was an issue. Locking and unlocking the cabinet didn’t help. The locking mechanism would end up catching after opening and closing a handful of drawers.
These are the issues I’ve come across just from unloading the unit and assembling it. I really wanted to like this chest, considering its appears to be built heavily. I haven’t tried the Bluetooth locks and probably won’t.
They finally got one of these at my local Sears store. Overall impression was its built very solid but I was interested more in the height since you mentioned it being an issue in your review. I’m about 5-10 and thought it would have to be really tall to be an issue. Well as usual you weed right. I could barely stretch to reac close to the back of the top shelf. Can’t believe they didn’t check that. You could store some little used items to the back of the top but I really hate doing things like that especially if you pay the prices they have on these units. You could arrange things so that you could just reach them enough to remove them. An example would be to lay a drill/driver on its side with the base towards the back of the shelf. You could extract the tool by grasping the top of the tool. Again that’s experimenting around trying to overcome an issue that shouldn’t be there in the first place.
I’m also 5’10” and I really don’t have to stretch to reach the back. Maybe my arms are longer, but I don’t think I have unusually long arms.
If I get up on my tip toes and stretch, I can just reach the lid to pull it down, but that’s not how I close it, I reach around the side and pull it down from the back. I can just do it from the front, but it’s much easier if one side is clear so you can actually be on the side of the cabinet.
If you look at this cabinet with another one side by side, you’ll see they sacrifice room on the top for more/deeper drawers. Also compared to the Milwaukee 30″ this cabinet is 1″ higher off the ground (Milwaukee is 6″ and Craftsman Pro is 7″) They are using a larger castor. I’m not sure if this is a weight thing or if it’s to roll easier. But lowering the cabinet by an inch would definitely made it easier to use.
The Milwaukee 30″ has a loop on the top of the lid that you could maybe tie a rope to reach it easier. I’m really surprised the Craftsman Pro doesn’t. There are some holes on the side of the lid, but tying a rope there would interfere with closing.
Finally a possible solution to the many many complaints on these buggers.
Remove the casters: at least there’d be some chance of you (and I too) reaching across the top shelf. I know. I know. Then you’d effectively have a fixed shelving unit. Okay. So what’s a better solution to what appears to overall be yet another “Sears” thoughtless series of “design” missteps?
Boy have they moved downhill. Jeez.
Nice review on these new Craftsman pro series storage units. I wanted to buy the 52 inch rolling chest but could not find any detailed specs such as weight or steel thickness on the unit. If anyone can provide details that would be great. I did read on the sears website someone describe the 52 inch lower cabinet as weighing 175 pounds. I find that weight to be inaccurately under reported.
Do you still have a way of getting in touch with the product manager? I’ve had issues with my Bluetooth locks and sears has no clue who to connect me too.
Where did you find the serial numbers for the Bluetooth app ? I can’t seem to find it anywhere on the tool boxes I purchased.
It should be on the manuals.
Also if you take out a few drawers so you can get a look at the lock, there’s a sticker with the serial number on the bottom.
I purchased the two smart lock tool boxes (Model 707.586670) in 2018. For some reason it disconnected from my blue tooth and now I can’t open it with the key. I spoke to craftsman and they sent me to a different place and they sent me to sears. In short I was transferred 6 times. The last call told me to bring the toolbox to sears. My tool box is filled with tools and I can’t just put it on my back. Any ideas? I don’t think I will recommend this product to anyone.
I was told you should be able to force the key — that the key should be able to overcome the motor in the locking mechanism. It did work for me, but I really twisted the key as you can see in the photo I posted in the article.
I’m really not sure who would even be able to help at this point. Even if you could bring the box back to a Sears, they probably couldn’t do anything to get your tools out of the box — the person you talked to probably was working off a script.
If it were me and I couldn’t force the key, I’d probably drill out the lock or force the drawer under the lock open so I could get access to the mechanism. Yeah, you’re going to damage the box, but you need to get your tools out.