Bosch L-Boxx tool boxes, made by Sortimo, worked great as Systainer alternatives.
L-Boxx cases are fairly strong and robust enough for portable and long-term storage and organizational needs, and affordable too.
Around 10 years ago, this was the best option available.
They aren’t weather-sealed, which caused minor problems for me over time, but I blamed myself for not protecting the contents better.
Bosch sent me a few test samples, and I then bought a lot. I took advantage of Amazon’s holiday season deals, especially on L-Boxx organizers, which were heavily discounted at times.
My collection steadily grew for a couple of years. I don’t recall the final tally, but I believe I had more than 80 at one point.
I purchased my last Bosch L-Boxx products in late-2013, with the exception of cross-functional Sortimo rails and sliding drawers.
I used my vast collection of Bosch L-Boxxes for daily and long-term storage over many years. The modularity worked perfectly, for a while.
10 years ago, I had limited space, and prioritized what I kept close at-hand.
It wasn’t perfect, but it worked.
I shuttled L-Boxxes back and forth between work and storage areas.
One L-Boxx, for example, held my spare circular saw, miter saw, and jig saw blades. Others held my pipe and tubing tools, metal forming tools, rotary tools and accessories, and so forth.
If I wasn’t working on an electronics project, I didn’t need more soldering gear close by.
I still use some of my Bosch L-Boxxes in this manner.
Accessories such as box clamps are still perfectly stored in L-Boxxes. If I need more than the 4 that are always kept in my workshop tool cabinet, I bring out my L-Boxx full of box clamps and their pieces.
They kept me well-organized.
However, they’re no longer working well for me.
Over the past few years, I have been greatly reducing my number of Bosch L-Boxxes for the sake of greater efficiency.
I cannot say that I have been perfectly pleased with my Bosch L-Boxxes over the years either. Shown here is one of the two latches found on every box.
Here it is, open.
I could never trust my L-Boxxes to hold a lot of weight. These thin plastic latches feel as flimsy as they look. They held alright, but can bend, wear, and weaken over time.
There’s a workaround. I don’t carry heavy L-Boxx cases by their top handles, I carry them from their side handles or from the bottom. Where’s the benefit in that?
As I move from L-Boxxes to drawers, industrial bins, and other tool box systems (mainly Milwaukee Packout), I have been unwilling to repurpose the L-Boxxes for new tasks. There are far better tool boxes nowadays.
The side latches work well to auto-connect one L-Boxx to another, but only if they are perfectly aligned.
It’s not effortless to align L-Boxxes together for stacking. If you don’t get everything just right, you have to lift the box and try again. And again. And again.
This has been my greatest frustration with them, so much so that sometimes I give up and simply rotate a box 90° and leave it unsecured across the top of a stack.
There is a perfect load weight and stacking height at which it’s quick and easy to connect L-Boxxes together. If you’re not at that sweet spot, which has been a frequent occurrence for me over the years, it’s a hassle.
I considered building a rack for them, but never committed. I built a rack to hold my industrial bins a few years ago, and I had doubts that an L-Boxx rack would work as well.
My L-Boxxes have become inefficient for my needs, and I don’t like using them anymore. I put up with them as long as they were reasonably efficient.
I have been clearing space for drawer systems, and so that’s what I’m moving more towards – drawers and shelves.
I will likely keep a tower or two of Bosch L-Boxxes for specific storage needs, but I can’t say I would buy them again today.
Storage needs change, and I am realizing that it’s better for me to recognize this and be more flexible over time.
With respect to portability, I have been spoiled by Festool Systainers and Milwaukee Packout tool boxes and organizers. Even Dewalt ToughSystem cases has proven to be easier to use. I can get to the bottom of a stack of heavily loaded Packout tool boxes in a fraction of the time as with L-Boxxes.
I started moving away from Bosch L-Boxxes 2-3 years ago, as I rearranged their contents into drawers and other types of bins and storage systems.
I didn’t want to give away or donate any of my L-Boxxes at first, but my stack of unused boxes kept growing. It didn’t make sense to store empty tool boxes I no longer needed and couldn’t imagine needing in the future, so off they went.
I will likely end up donating all of my L-Boxxes.
The “what if I need them again?” mentality is hard to shake. But, if that happens, I can go with Dewalt Tstak instead of L-Boxx for smaller modular tool boxes on a budget. Their smallest tool boxes are $22 each (at the time of this posting, via Amazon).
The only benefit to L-Boxx these days is that Sortimo offers van-racking solutions and accessories.
I once envisioned adding a small cart with slide-out drawers to my workshop, for my L-Boxxes to go back and forth as different projects required. That would be a good implementation for these tool boxes and organizers. And, I have parts organizers with the same footprint. But, even if I do that, I’ll need far fewer L-Boxxes than I currently have.
I would not buy these again today; there’s a reason I bought my last L-Boxx products 10 years ago. They were a hassle to use then too, but aggressive discounting and affordability made up for it.
I feel bad about saying goodbye to my Bosch L-Boxxes, but not really. With every box I donate, I move closer to being done with them for good.
Don’t have that many L-Boxxes. Do have enough to have gotten frustrated with how they are built, stack, and can be used.
I have the Systainers which came with my Festool purchases but have settled on ToughSystem and Packout to carry everything which isn’t Festool.
I bought into L-Boxxes way back, I think because of reviews I read here and because I was gifted a 12v Bosch kit that was in an L-Boxx. I did this before Dewalt and Milwaukee really came out with anything. I don’t regret investing into the L-Boxx solution, but I probably would have chosen a different solution if I started this only a couple years ago.
It’s honestly too bad that they are big and bulky and will cost so much to ship. I’d be interested in adding to my setup and would be happy to buy some from you.
As you mentioned , unfortunately way back we didn’t have much choice , and they were actually pretty good especially since other boxes like Stanley and other brands didn’t have anyway of locking boxes together.
But since I’ve bought into them over a decade ago. It would be kinda expensive to switch out dozens of boxes at a time.
If you have more boxes left over. I definitely would be interested in buying some.
Would be nice to get into the packout or flex boxes , but to costly
I am in the same L-Boxx situation. I have some, and I liked them well enough, but I have found the Packout solution more useful. The problem I had with the L-Boxx was it was a good storage system but it wasn’t mainstream in the US. We didn’t get all the accessories as readily as they did in Europe. You could still get them if you knew which websites had what. But it’s not as easy as going to Home Depot and buying Packout. I had the same problem with Dewalt’s Toughsystem too. More of those offerings are showing up on store shelves, but they are also not as Packout or Tstak. So now I’ve relegated my L-Boxxes to specialty tools, like an L-Boxx for computer tools or networking tools, and I switched to Packout for everything else. Added bonus those sort of specialty tools don’t weigh as much stuff for construction or plumbing (in the Packouts) so it helps deal with the problem of L-Boxx not being able to support the weight.
And speaking of European tool storage, for the love of God Milwaukee, please bring the black Packouts to the US.
One system does not fit all. unlike battery systems.The Bosch boxes have a far higher interior to exterior volume hence a far superior solution to packout for fasteners as an example. Packout makes ineffecicent use of the cube as do may others though they benefits in other areas. Crazy to abandon such an effective solution.
They’re inefficient and incredibly clumsy.
If putting them in a shelf, extra space is needed for the latching nubs on top.
On the inside, bumps and protrusions make it difficult to fully utilize the volume.
Why stick to a solution that isn’t working well for me?
I’m questioning the inefficient assertion. Packout is as inefficient as it gets ie ratio of external cube to internal accessible cube. Many others are equally inefficient. As i noted the Bosch may be inefficient for some some use cases but for fasteners as an example it would be far superior to any packout.
No reason to stick with a solution that isnt working for you but i will be interested to learn whether the successor you choose turns out to actually be more efficient.
I’ve been moving to Packout for some things I’ve used Bosch L-Boxxes for, but not most. For direct switching, Packout boxes are easier to unload and restack. And if I need to carry a heavy box, say equipment moved from a larger L-Boxx to a compact tool box or shallow full-size tool box, I know the Packout handle will hold up.
I like the L-Boxx size, but that’s about it these days.
The deeper Bosch boxes are even mote finicky to restack.
I have been fighting with these tool boxes for years. The wasted time and effort adds up.
But my usage habits have also changed. If I’m gathering items from a couple of boxes, it’s easier for me to switch to drawers and grab a tote to fill and transport in one go.
I’m also reworking my spaces to be able to do minor tasks where lesser-used tools and supplies are stored.
Besides durability, draws, large boxes for large tools the biggest factor that makes packouts worth every penny is the removal and stacking access from the front. Every tool box manufacturer missed the boat on this. Side latches are a pain in most situations.
There’s a reason why Milwaukee and Ridgid pretty much have the lion’s share of the market with plastic toolboxes.
They’re sturdier, some have gaskets for mild weather sealing, better hinges and latches, etc.
I invested in about 10 cases and about 8 drawer units in 2018 and have really liked them. I also have two stacks on their 4 wheel rollers which have been good. But I agree with a lot of your points. The latches seem to be flimsy especially when compared to other brands. It’s amazing to see the incredible progress and competition in tool box systems in even the last 5 years. But my biggest complaint is that Bosch has just seemed to pull a significant amount of energy out of the North American market and focusing more on European markets. DeWALT, Milwaukee, Ryobi and many other brands here seem to be out pacing Bosch in a huge way which is a bummer since I invested so much in their 12v and 18v lineups about 10 years ago. Those tools are still working well but sometimes I wish I had invested in Milwaukee. Also I am happy to buy a few L-Boxxes from you if you want to ship to Colorado. The may be too much of a hassle for you though.
I’ve some DeWalt containers and don’t like the way the metal latches snap at your fingers. Guess they figure we always were work gloves? And Makita’s boxes, those slideup side latches are also knucklers. WHO thought of the bad design? Accessibility? I need a stackable that lines up easy, attaches easy, opens easy and locks to prevent theft and accidental opening in transit.
I know, beating dead horse but, Dewalt STILL sells a flooring nailer but no storage for it.
I have 2 L-Boxx 1A’s and 5 L-Boxx 2’s on their L-Dolly. They sit off in a corner of the shop housing things like Bosch jig saws, their 12V router and planer – plus jig saw blades and inlay tools. I have one of the 1A’s separately (in a storage closet) holding Spax screws. They work well enough – but I would not choose them again. As others have said – the connections from box to box in the stack is finnicky and the latches are flimsy.
On a somewhat related noted- I got an email today from Toolnut advertising a buy more save more on Packout
There is no perfect box system. I have some Packout, they are sturdy but too heavy empty let alone full. Packouts have a huge amount of plastic more-so than other options, lots of wasted space due to the grabs and such. I have close to 20 systainers from classic, T-loc to newer Sys3. The T-loc has been good, very lightweight empty and decent for small to medium hand/power tools but the boxes can’t take heavy abuse. I have maybe a dozen L-boxx of all sizes, shapes, drawers etc. They are ok but as said already a pain when connecting and disconnecting. I have a true hatred for any tool box that is black inside because items disappear; that is after 25 years of production photography where every case, lighting, stands, grip gear, camera, lens, accessory is black on black on black, hard to find things quickly.
Tstak/Versastack along with a little Packout sprinkled in. I mostly run the Tstak single drawer units and the larger Versastack for the larger tools. I’ve vowed to stick with some compact only packouts. Nothing bigger than the half width cases/charger/vacuum, etc. The full size Packout stuff is just too large and heavy for my box truck set-up.
When Bosch offered “kits” consisting of one of their cordless tools and a L-Boxx, it was a great value proposition. I purchased additional L-Boxx units when there was n opportunity to add them at a discounted price. They are pretty sturdy and fit their intended use well. I really like(d) the insert trays to hold the tools, batteries, etc. Likely their highest, best purpose is for containing tools and schlepping them to and from the job site. I’m not likely to do field work any more so they serve me as a means to organize the tools. It is nice to have a tool and its most used accessories in a single box so you don’t have to run from the second floor down to the basement.
BTW- i noticed that you stored yours on wire shelving (as do I). You will be happier with your L-Boxx if you can find wire shelving with wires that run from front-to-back rather than side to side. Also happier if you can get enough extra shelves so that only ONE box per shelf.
While I have a few Festool tools, their boxes are certainly suitable, but I wouldn’t say they were “better” than the L-Boxx, but they too have their place. What I do like about both the Bosch and Festool units is that they are relatively compact / efficient considering the particular tool that they contain. One thing I like is their pull out shelf that is made for the Festool boxes. It’s pretty slick and not too expensive compared to the labor/ materials needed to make your own.
I did order a Milwaukee M-18 impact driver that came as a kit with a Packout box and while the Packout certainly appears sturdy, it is absolutely HUGE in comparison – particularly considering the size of the impact driver. Based on this, I’m not sure that I’d ever buy another Milwaukee tool/Packout combo. I’ve rarely used that impact driver, in part because I still keep it in the Packout box in which it came. Milwaukee did make a very nice small parts organizer – at a reasonable price – until it was discontinued in favor of the Packout form-factor. The ones I have mostly see duty as fastener storage – very Heavy-Duty. Their Packout versions are just too large.
The Dewalt TSTAK – also pretty durable, but the absence of a divider system make them less desirable, IMO.
The DeWalt Pro small parts organizers are very good – even better when HD has them on sale (but when they do, you have to act as stores sell out quickly). I have dozens filled with pipe fittings, electrical fittings, fasteners, etc.
All that is a lot of musing on tool storage and as I look back on this, IF your intended use is taking tools to and from the jobsite – any of these are fine. THe DeWalt will likely take the greatest abuse and protect the contents. BUT if your work is predominantly stationary, then it’s hard to beat the efficiency and density you can achieve with the deep (f-b) drawers and proper depth that you can get with Lista tool cabinets. It’s certainly the more costly option, but they are a lifetime investment.
You could also adapt roller cabinets from Harbor freight, but their drawer depth (top to bottom) is really intended for mechanics tools – with a number of shallow drawers – as it should be for that purpose. A custom ordered Lista can be had with a staggering amount of drawer, height, width & depth options. SO if you know what you are going to store, you can design the optimal solution.
The photos are from maybe 8 years ago. I stored them on shelves and L-Boxx roller carts since then.
I might build a vertical docking rack once I determine how many will stay with me.
I just got rid of everything,
Ridgid, Systainer, Bosch and DeWalt and went solely over to packout very begrudgingly.
I can’t stand the Milwaukee social media/jobsite cultists but packout is the best system.
If flex had more available I’d have gone that route but “compact” boxes and wall mounts won me over permanently.
It’s odd when I pull a Festool tool out of a packout but so be it.
Not sure if I would buy into them in the current market again but while they have a flimsy feel to them I only managed to break one box latch over many years of back and forth to job sites and that box was constantly overloaded like others boxes and I use the mainly the top handle.
That same box survived with very little damage also a prior drop out of 2-3’ on one corner onto tarmac.
But I do agree that they are sometimes tricky to stack compared to the 2 different Festool type boxes I have.
Good info. I had been considering the Bosch L-Boxx because of occasional good deals. But it’s clear the drawbacks are too great.
Same here. Started with Bosch and have moved to Milwaukee Packout, even though I use Bosch 12v and Dewalt for 18v/20v+ tools.
I miss those color coded sized sortimo organizer boxes, now it’s all just dark boxes and they will sell you a sticker to put on the edge.
Yup, it’s a shame. I need one or two more removable trays for dividing older T-Boxxes for use with shallow-depth insert bins.
As if switching to all of the same color insert bins wasn’t enough, all of the larger size bins now have slots for dividers, taking up space and making it hard to fit longer parts straight. I don’t get the logic.
It is now relatively ancient history, but we had good luck in both the Plumbing and Remodeling business with the truck upfitter that we used. So, we tried one of their Sortimo upfits for a new Step Van we bought for the plumbing business. Maybe, that was just the wrong application for guys who mostly carried their tools into jobs via 5-gallon pails. Anyway – the plastic did not hold up and (as far as I know) the business never went the Sortimo route again. The application might work better for Electricians.
I have looked at the lboxx for the lsboxx and Lrack system. But it’s so expensive for four plastic parts drawers I went to hart, a much cheaper cost and lower quality. The packout/toughsystem size are just way to big for my needs, and they don’t make what I want.
Most of my hand tools are Bosch, so I’ve picked up a few L-boxxes while purchasing new saws, etc. Since my old shop was only 500 sq ft, a stacking system like this would have gotten in the the way. My new shop is more than three times larger so now there is a need. Problem now is budget, but since I have time on my hands, I’m thinking of testing out one of the DIY plans on the internet. Going to use a story stick and templates so everything will work together
You can have efficient and weaker storage ,systainer/L-box/t-stack etc.
Or you can get bulky packout which isn’t efficient.
I have 2 tanos that my Makita tracksaw came in,and 2 more for Metabo…. and the shop has nearly 20 Festool systainers.
All 3 brands will lock to each other and are very efficient, but feel weak to me.
Besides the “red army” mentality, 99% of daily use is in packout.
For me it’s.
#1 the latch is the easiest, and the most robust of them all.
#2 from half depth half width to extra large the sizes cannot be matched.
#3 selection……drawers,hanging options,and the “cabinet” has solved the large single drawer issue.
From tracksaw (cabinet),tru-position cabinetry hardware jig /screw storage (thin full width and modified),caulking (drawers or crates),levels/fastcap 3rd hands/squares (back of the handtruck),cantilevered drawers (hanging off crates-brackets or E-track),portaband (XL box) woodshims (full half with).
Until carbon fiber costs come down,I do not see a better alternative.
I live on a 25 acre “farm” (We just have a few horses). When we first moved in, all of my tools were in my workshop building. At my old house, I had a Rigid stack for the few tools I had, but after moving to the farm I noticed that I couldn’t roll that thing for 5-10 minutes to get from part of the property where I do was doing a job. Not only that, my workshop doesn’t have a concrete floor (just pea gravel) So, I tried to just lug a tool box around. I was wasting so much time forgetting a tool, needing something different, I finally built “battle cart 1.0”, which was a huge box I built on top of a towable flat garden cart. Worked great. However, over time it just became a “box of junk and tools”, since I needed those tools in my shop. It wasn’t my “ready to go solution”.
I recently started making Battle Cart 2.0 based on the Packout system. Really, though what was going on was “I hate boxes”. Especially big boxes (Like Rigid’s) getting a tool out of the bottom of the stack was the annoying thing. Now, I’ve basically got a “towable tool chest” on some wheels. I have an electrical stack, carptentry stack, etc. Really, it’s the drawers that have come out “recently” that started this move. I was looking into using Systainers, but noticed that it’d basically just be similar problems, just more organized. Glad I went with the Packout.
I have a similar challenge, and I like your solution. Might have to give it a try! Thanks for sharing,
What you are saying about the L-Boxx are my complaints with Festool systainers. They are incredibly cheap and flimsy. They turn a horrifying yellow if out in sun for any amount of time. And too many times they left me cleaning up a mess because the T-loc was not perfectly in place even though it appeared as though it was.
I have ditched the Systainers for the pack-outs. I am not a fan of red and would have rather got the FLEX modular boxes but those are inferior to the packouts. All other boxes are inferior to the packouts. I accepted this fact after some resistance but now I am so glad I made the change.
I have Milwaukee Packout, Bosch/Sortimo L-Boxx, Makita, and Festool tool boxes. Yeah, Packout is the one that travels with me most. But L-Boxxes come, too. That’s because Bosch/Sortimo excels in one area (an area that Packout is still deficient in) and that’s in parts and tool organization. Packout organizer bins are just not efficient to use. Want to put screwdrivers or pliers or wrenches in a Packout organizer? Nope, there’s no bin long enough (even the 3d printing guys don’t make one). Works fine with Bosch L-Boxx with the right bin (Email Sortimo USA if you need a particular bin. They have lots of stuff that doesn’t show up on their website). Have a lot of small parts? Sorry, no small bins with Packout. Yeah, the thin organizers have dividers but not the full-size ones. OK, you can buy the 3d printed dividers and divided bins but be prepared to pony up. Milwaukee should offer this stuff. With Bosch/Sortimo there are lots of bins in various sizes. So, I made an adapter that lets me mount L-Boxxes on top of a Packout stack.
I had a few of the L-boxxes back when Bosch had them in several of their 10.8/12 volt tools. Pretty cool at the time but too expensive and too limited in options to make sense to me for primary use. I ended up giving them to my brother who still uses them.
Only recently I switched to Packout from a wide mix of tool boxes bags and cases. it was the drawer units that pushed me over the edge easy access to everything without un-stacking is what made it practical. I also run a huge number of Plano 3700 series organizers and two of them fit within the Packout footprint quite well. I built my own box case to hold 10, 3700 series cases and interlock with may stack of drawer unit. all of it lives in my car and serves me extremely well.
I have never used the Bosch modular storage system. I currently have Systainers and Tough System 1.0 (except 1 small 2.0 I was sent free). I wasn’t a fan of the L-Boxx as compared to other options at the time. Supposedly the 2nd generation L-Boxx was improved but I never really kept up with the system. I like my Tough System but I don’t travel as much with my tools anymore so the Tough System isn’t as appealing anymore. I like that my Systainers make sure everything has a place. My OF1400 has a spot for the wrench, dust adapters, collets, and even a few things you can buy extra. The inserts make Systainers a much more appealing reason to continue to use the Systainer boxes. I saw this 3d printable open source modular system called Gridfinity that if I had time and money I might look into trying. Better for small parts and not large tools. Also seemed to be better suited for a shop than a jobsite.
Stuart, I went back and read your 2013 review of these boxes. It’s like a lion who leads his pack for many years until one day someone steps in and beats the other lion to almost death before he sucks up his pride and leaves it to the younger stronger male. What a change of heart you show now that newer has come out. These new things came to be because of the versatility and usefulness of these boxes. That being said, they are long in the tooth and bosch should revisit them and make the necessary changes to “keep up with the other guys” so to speak but compared to your 2013 article a complete turn around. Just curious if you went back and read that article before writing this article? Cuz it’s almost like you’re telling your audience that you didn’t review them long enough before giving a more honest review. In fairness you did mention a few of the same concerns but followed up with these things by saying they were basically non factors in choosing to buy them. No doubt these other boxes are also more advanced but they’re also bigger, and more expensive. I’ve also never had any issues with the latches. Thanks Bosch for having the foresight to come up with such a great product for its time.
I’ve used dozens of L-boxxes for more than a decade.
Back then, there was no Packout. ToughSystem was just coming out. There was no Tstak. There was just Festool Systainers.
Packout was the beginning of the end for my affinity for L-Boxxes. ToughSystem 2.0 boxes auto-connect a LOT better than these. The same with Flex. Even Craftsman Tradestack is easier to connect and disconntect.
Even 5 years ago, there was no Packout, and L-Boxxes were still the only auto-connecting tool boxes.
I was as honest then as I am now. My frustrations have mounted over the years, and they became less tolerable when systems such as Packout are so much easier to use.
How well would the best cordless power tools from 10+ years ago perform in today’s world?
My needs and habits have also changed. I no longer need to move so many boxes back and forth. I’ve been forcing myself to make it work, which deepened my frustrations.
When is the last time Bosch or Sortimo launched new L-Boxx products?
They were fantastic solutions – among the best of very limited options. That is no longer true.
Because of all that, I see the system through two lenses. First, it no longer works well for me. But additionally, there are a lot of shortcomings compared to so many other modern options.
Maybe it can still work well for some people, but there are far fewer reasons to buy L-Boxxes than could have been said 5-10 years ago.
Maybe my sentiments towards Packout or ToughSystem 2.0 will be different 10 years from now. From what you’re saying, you expect me to refrain from sharing my present-day opinions because my future needs might be different and the competitive landscape might change?
As a homeowner/weekend warrior I’ve been slowly accumulating the $22- Tstak boxes. They don’t leave the house and are more than durable enough for me. I don’t spray mud on them like toughsystem users apparently do 😉
I like my l-boxxes and still use them, but yeah, pack out is where I’ve spent the money lately based on utility and being able to actually get the extra accessories. It’s a shame too because l-boxxes do have some better organization options than pack out.
Bosch/Sortimo had a chance to really strangle the NA market, but never really opened up the catalog of all the cool accessories/adjacent product lines (compared to the EU) to us or even really seemed interested in having a presence in the market. One example for me was trying to find extra G3 organizer bins in bulk.
I always thought that Sortimo had the right solution for small parts, and Tanos for their locking systems.
Unfortunately, having any sort of home-gamer workshop is a luxury in just about all major coastal cities, and space is at a premium.
Packout and Tough System are too big, overbuilt and the dollar/square inch ratio is abysmal.
I just want more Tanos/Tstak/Versastack-sized containers at a (pre-inflation) 25.00-40.00 price-point.
Not all of us yeet our boxes out the back of a full-size quad-cab pickup. Some of us work out of station-wagons and city “tradesman” vans.