We knew that Craftsman was coming out with a new Pro System of tool boxes, and now not only is there a name, but images and information as well.
Introducing: Craftsman TradeStack, a new modular tool box system. At this time, only a 3pc combo set, model CMST60420, has been revealed so far.
(Thank you to Ahmed and Matthew for all of your help, information, and efforts!)
Thanks to Ahmed’s scans of a product card, we know that the Craftsman TradeStack products, at least those we know about, are made in the USA.
Ahmed ordered the Craftsman tool box tower from Lowe’s and provided first impressions:
Craftsman TradeStack kind of looks like the Dewalt Toughsystem 2 but has the automatic locking mechanism up front. It also includes a base plate you can add to the box to mount Versastack boxes and tool sets.
To start off, this is the Craftsman TradeStack 3pc tower. This is the only SKU we’ve seen so far.
Craftsman TradeStack Tower Components and Dimensions
- TradeStack/VersaStack Adapter
- 19-3/4″ x 11-1/8″ x 2-1/3″
- Suitcase (Small Tool Box)
- 21-3/8″ x 14-1/2″ x 6-3/8″
- Deep Tool Box
- 21-3/8″ x 14-1/2″ x 12-1/8″
- Rolling Unit
- 22-1/4″ x 18-1/8″ x 23-5/8″
It’s interesting that, instead of side latches, there is a single automatic latch in front. Craftsman says that this provides for automatic stacking and also one-touch release. The latch looks to be quite wide and easy to use.
Each TradeStack tool box has a weather seal. The tool boxes are dust and water-resistant to IP65 standards.
Craftsman TradeStack Suitcase (Small Tool Box)
At the top, you have a small tool box.
All of the tool boxes are described as being 22″ in length, making them the same length as most Dewalt ToughSystem tool boxes and organizers.
Inside, the smaller Craftsman TradeStack tool box has 6 removable and lidded organizer cups, and room for hand tool and accessory storage.
Craftsman TradeStack Deep Tool Box
In the middle of the tower sits a large tool box with removable tray. This doesn’t have to be in the middle, you can configure the small and large tool boxes in any way you please. If or when these tool boxes are available separately, that will give users additional customization options.
Both the small and large tool boxes have an 88 lb maximum weight capacity. This matches the load capacity of original Dewalt ToughSystem tool boxes.
Craftsman TradeStack Rolling Tool Box
Next, we have the rolling tool box, equipped with 7″ wheels and a removable tray.
The rolling tool box has a handy extension cord holder built into its frame. And, according to the sales card scan (thank you again, Ahmed!), the top handle also has an integrated tool clip holder for mounting tools such as tape measures, and possibly pouches as well.
At the bottom, a molded footrest allows for easy tilting for moving a heavy tool box stack.
The rolling tool box has a 132 lb weight capacity.
From the side view of the tower, it looks like each tool box has molded handles, but there aren’t any folding or protruding side handles. We can also see what look to be rail guides, presumably for an eventual wall-mounted shelving unit or similar type of rack or accessory.
Craftsman TradeStack Adapter
The TradeStack tower comes with an adapter that can be used to connect various Craftsman VersaStack (or Dewalt TStak) products to any TradeStack tool box.
The TradeStack adapter can be stowed inside the rolling tool box when it’s not in use.
With the TradeStack adapter, you can connect VersaStack tool boxes, power tool accessory cases, or VersaStack-compatible tools sets.
While I have not yet seen these new tool boxes in person, there are some features that stand out to me.
First, this looks to be a dedicated Craftsman solution. Whereas VersaStack was adapted from the Dewalt TStak modular storage system, TradeStack looks to be unique.
The tool boxes’ load ratings are similar to that of the original Dewalt ToughSystem tool boxes, which is a good thing. There are no side handles here, aside from what look to be molded recesses, which is good or bad depending on your preference.
The shape of the side panels suggest there will be a mounting accessory with side rails. Maybe these contours are merely decorative, but I’m hoping there’s a functional purpose.
It’s difficult to tell whether the latches are made from plastic or a combination of plastic and metal. But, as long as they’re strong enough to provide for the specified load ratings, that’s not something I’m really concerned with. Strength and ease of use is what’s important.
There are subtle indications – or absences – that suggest Craftsman TradeStack products will be more economical than the Dewalt ToughSystem products. As mentioned, there are no side handles. There also don’t seem to be any pressure equalization valves. This isn’t something I used often on my Dewalt ToughSystem products, but they did come in handy once or twice.
As modular tool boxes are often used as less expensive alternatives to Pelican cases and other such equipment cases, pressure equalization valves can come in handy. Perhaps the weather sealing isn’t strong enough to cause problems?
The automatic latch sounds wonderful. Speaking about my own preferences, a front-located unlatching mechanism is what makes Milwaukee Packout products superior to Dewalt ToughSystem, and Festool Systainer superior to Bosch L-Boxx.
Front latch accessibility doesn’t matter as much in mobile situations, but having to unlatch boxes from both sides can be awkward and difficult in situations where there might not be a lot of side clearance. Being able to unlatch and remove a tool box from the front has been so much easier and less frustrating for me.
There is a LOT to potentially like about the new Craftsman tool box system, and a lot to be hopeful for. I think that the VersaStack adapter, and including it with the tower, is a great idea. That way you can bridge the two systems together, especially as Craftsman keeps coming out with VersaStack-compatible tool bags, tool sets, organizers, and other accessories.
This tool box system might not perfectly align with my needs and wants (yet?), but I find myself very eager and excited, not just about these options, but to see what’s coming next.