Harbor Freight just came out with new 2nd generation tool storage products. The Harbor Freight US General Series 2 tool boxes are said to be bigger, stronger, and more stable.
AND the new 13-drawer tool boxes seem to meet the requirements to be exempted from tariffs that will be put into place, resulting from a Waterloo-petitioned US International Trade Commission investigation.
The excluded industrial grade steel tool chests and cabinets are those:
(1) having a body that is over 60 inches wide; or
(2) having each of the following physical characteristics:
(a) a body made of steel that is 0.047 inches or more in thickness;
(b) a body depth (front to back) exceeding 21 inches; and
(c) a unit weight that exceeds the maximum unit weight shown below for
each width range:
[290 lbs for a tool cabinet 40″ ≤ 42″ wide.]
Looking at the new rolling tool cabinet, it’s 22″ deep, and weighs 291 lbs. Its body thickness is not disclosed, but I would presume the sheet metal is at least 0.047″ thick.
Here are some of the Harbor Freight Series 2 US General tool box features:
- Extra deep high capacity drawers
- Heavy duty full-extension drawer slides
- Welded steel construction
- Wide wheel base
- 90° lid with gas struts on all carts
- Non-slip drawer liners
- Red powder coat finish
- High security barrel key locks
The new cabinet measures 44″ wide x 22″ deep x 40″ tall. Drawer depth has been increased to 19-3/8″, compared to 16″ for the 18″ cabinet.
They say this about the drawer slide load ratings:
Tall drawers feature 2 pairs of ball-bearing slides to support up to 80 lbs. per drawer.
So… are the shallower drawers only rated to 40 lbs per drawer?
The listed storage capacity of the Harbor Freight US General Series 2 tool cabinet is around the same as for the previous model, which is odd and likely a mistake; the new box is advertised as offering 20% greater storage capacity.
US General tool boxes have been popular, due to their size, tool storage capacity, and price points.
The new Series 2 tool cabinets offer a big bump-up in size. Going from a depth of 18″ to 22″, and drawer depth from 16″ to 19-3/8″ substantially increases what can be stored away in the drawers.
Hmm, I wonder why the drawers aren’t slightly deeper even. Maybe it’s to ensure a certain level of strength?
Curiously, but perhaps not surprisingly, the new US General Series 2 tool cabinet weighs just 1 pound heavier than required to be exempted from pending US ITC tool box tariffs. The top chest is also just 1 pound heavier than the officially documented threshold for tool storage products up to 44″ wide.
Price: $450 after coupon
Buy Now(via Harbor Freight)
The 18″ Series 1? cabinet is currently priced at $400. So for $50 more, you get a much bigger tool cabinet.
The 18″ cabinet has a 44″ overall length, but is also described as being a 42″ cabinet. On that model, the top full-width drawer is 36-7/8″.
The new US General Series 2 cabinet looks like it might have a different side handle. It’s described as being a 44″ box, with a length of 44-1/2″. The full-width drawer is also said to be 36-7/8″ wide. BUT there are a bunch of typos and mistakes in the specs list and product description, and so you can’t trust this just yet.
I’m a little confused by some of the other specs, and will reach out to Harbor Freight to see if they can clear some things up.
I wonder what will happen to the price of the 18″ US General tool cabinet once the “Tool Boxes from China” tariffs go into effect.
While many of us like larger and deeper tool boxes, an industry insider recently pointed something out to me. When you increase tool box depth, you increase the size of the cabinet, as well as the clearance needed to open a drawer.
So, hypothetically, if you increase the depth of a tool box by 4″, and the drawer depth increases by 4″ as well, the drawers will then extend out 8″ further in comparison.
The email announcement says that the Series 2 drawers are 19-3/8″ deep. So that’s a 3-3/8″ increase compared to the 18″ cabinet’s 16″ drawer depth. Thus, Harbor Freight US General Series 2 tool box has increased depth of 4″ and increased drawer depth of 3-3/8″. Combined, this means full-extension on a Series 2 tool box will require 7-3/8″ greater depth than to fully open a drawer on the smaller tool cabinet.
Here’s a good question to think about: would these tool boxes have come out if not for the whole ITC anti-dumping investigation and proposed tariffs on tool boxes imported from China? Also, if Harbor Freight did design the tool box around the tariff exemption criteria, how might have that affected its features, such as drawer sizing?
I ordered the bottom box last week, waiting on it to arrive still. A bunch of my coworkers have the older version and it’s pretty decent. I would love to buy a Snapon, Lista, Proto, Waterloo or other American box but the prices are outrageous. I think the tariff will just result in the Chinese making better boxes at the same price point and the American manufacturers still trying to sell their same product.
It seems the tariffs are meant to keep out the Chinese-made junk that doesn’t compete with high quality U.S.-made toolboxes anyway. Now China will ship better quality products made with government subsidies and they will still sell cheaper than U.S.-made products. These tariffs only give U.S. manufacturers and incentive to start making junk since there will be less Chinese competition on the low end.
Whiskey and wood
Buying American made junk that employs Americans and circulated money through our economy is still better than buying Chinese junk that sends our economy overseas and employs Chinese workers, plus not everyone wants a tools chest that can hold 45,000 pounds, for me, the cheap husky units work fine, I’d rather buy a us made one though!
Though I am less inclined to buy junk regardless of origin. I think most of us would rather take US junk over China junk any day of the week given similar price range.
It’s not so clear however when we have to choose between American made junk vs Chinese made of decent quality given the same price range.
Yes but if you are anything like me you can find deals on the used market for better proces and higher quality. Case in point I purchased a full top and bottom bluepoint with 2 mac side cabinets and a snap on roll cart for $1000. The real kicker was that the gentleman was a body man and sold me the boxes FULL of his tools. Health prevented him from doing the job any longer. I sold 25% of the tools and made my $1000 investment right back.
The Husky I’m looking at for a lower price actually has a higher load rating per drawer though the chest only has nine drawers compared to HF’s with 13. Marked down to $248 right now.
The notion that China sells at a deep discount to their actual costs is a popular belief. The reality is that China has vastly increased its wealth and power by actually making things cheaper and more cost efficiently than does the United States. That is why they can afford to invest billions in American government treasuries and other forms of our debt. China makes money on what it sells here.
Every US made toolbox that isn’t a truck box isn’t just junk. Its utter freaking garbage not worth the effort it would take to fill with tools.
The old harbor freight boxes were the best thing you could get without getting on a truck and stepping up an order of magnitude in price.
And they just got better. These boxes are actually built with a frame and good slides. Not a garbage u-channel and flimsy, usually not even fastened, much less welded or riveted on slides.
Not true, but you do need deep pockets to get superior quality.
I’m glad you mentioned the additional space and clearance needed for the Series 2 box. That is my concern as many of the houses in my area have narrower garages due to smaller lot sizes. While I’d like the additional depth, the Series 1 boxes are about as deep as I could get by with. Will the Series 1s be phased out?
I don’t know, but that’s something I can ask.
Well Crap. They don’t have the Series 1 top chests or side cabinets on the website anymore. That really sucks for those of us that have the old style!
Called the local stores and nobody has the Series 1 either, and warehouse is empty. That’s really disappointing. It seems like there’s no way to get the old style attachments.
Is there going to be a series 2 56″ and 72″ chest as well or just the smaller?
Yes, the series one has been discontinued. I’m actively looking for the top part.
They are not selling series 1 anymore. Stores sold off theirdisplay models last month
I like the 18″ deep cabinets for the clearance reasons mentioned above. Note that the 56 and 72inch cabinets that have the 18″ depth are still for sale. They do fall under the tariff exemption guidelines.
I’m selling my series 1 boxes in CA if you’re interested
I read that the shallow depth allows them to put 3 wide in a shipping container.
The interior width of a shipping container is 90-92″, depending on the length of the container. That means that the depth of three cabinets would not matter, but an inch or two on the width, could. Two 44″ wide boxes are 88″ before the packaging, so the box could only exceed the width by 1″ on each side before the maximum width of a 24′ container was exceeded. If you packed them with the narrow side out, four 18″ boxes, with 1″ of packaging on each side would be 80″ and four 21″ boxes, with the same packaging, would be 92″ wide. You can’t put more 18″ boxes in and the 21″ boxes would be a more efficient use of space.
Sorry, due to a previous career, I am a nerd about shipping. 🙂
Aren’t they on pallets?
Saw and touched the “NEW” boxes at HF yesterday, and I have 2 “OLD” bottom chests at home to compare. Depth increase is noticable, especially in the large bottom drawer – it looks like it would hold A LOT. However as noted, the extra depth compounds into a extended drawer needing a lot more open space in front of it.
Fit and Finish look better than my older “krinkle” finished ones.
Impressed? Yes, especially at the $450 price point for the lower chest
Would I buy one? Yes, if I had the space
Will I buy one? No, my current chests are in front of my vehicles, and I need the floor space of the narrow old style.
Also on the phase-out question. I have always wanted one of their 26″ cabinets and am starting to really need to storage. Do you think this will go away as well? Any chance of a closeout deal?
Latest catalog shows the 26″ mixed in with the other Series 2, so it might be getting the update. It’s listed at $399.
I have the smooth red 26″ ( series 1?), got it for $269.99 at a parking lot sale a couple years back. There hasn’t been a single day that I’ve regretted it, it was and still is one of the best boxes out there for the money. Nothing at Sears, Home Depot or Lowes even came close to the quality of the HF at this price point.
I’ve been eying the 26″ stack as well and it is totally gone from their website. Both product IDs turn up no results. I so wanted that due to the space saving and narrow drawers for smaller hand tools.
if you didn’t already you should see if your store has any left because they appear to be phasing out the 26″ as a top/bottom combo set and are going to sell them separately at $280 for the bottom and $180 for the top
I think you meant substantially, not substantial. Great find though. I really want one of these. It seems like a really good price!
Thanks, fixed it!
The rating seems really low, 80lbs for a 4 rail drawer? Assuming that large top drawer also has 4 rails…that’s a large drawer to only hold 80lbs. 80lbs means you can’t put your socket sets in there if you have enough to fill the drawer. With the depth, I think you’d go over filling it with just about anything. Hopefully it’s a misprint because otherwise it sounds pretty darn good.
I can’t find the max weight each drawer can hold. I went to HF website and even downloaded user manual. I see that the box as a whole can hold 2640 lbs which works out to 203 lbs. per drawer if all drawers were equal but I assume the drawers with two rails have a higher rating than those with one.
The 2640 lb work load is kind of deceptive…it includes the total load when you add the side box, locker, and top box. I added up the max load and weight of these three items and get 1598 lbs. Subtract that from 2640 and you get 1042 lbs max load for the bottom box. Divide that by the number of drawers (13) and you get 80.2 lbs per drawer.
Unexpected result of tariffs – imports get better, still kick ass on price… Waterloo’s entry level boxes still suck. Great! 🙂
Laid eyes on one of these today by coincidence. My initial impression was that these looked nicer than the old model. I don’t believe the drawers had latch, though. But I never liked the cheap drawer latches on the previous model anyway.
If they really wanted to get competitive they’d make a version with a “roll down top” like Milwaukees or Huskys I think Dewalt makes some to I looked at lowes at the kobalt a with the roll down top but the height really wasn’t enough to store anything practical that is want to store there that’s y I ended up going with Milwaukee I looked at harbor freight thinking I’d get a better deal but it was going to cost me more for the full set up and still not have a roll down top that I was looking for
These new US General boxes sound good and their great prices make them very appealing. Like most of my tool purchases, I’d love to read a ToolGuyd detailed review before they would be considered by me. Hint… Hint!
The only thing holding me back before was the depth. Now I have no excuse.
The us general boxes are always getting good reviews, And they are very reasonable, price wise. I think they will sell a lot of them.
You can also see this depth change with the new husky mobile workbenches that are 24″ deep (spring black friday sale actually has them cheaper than their 18″ counterparts). I expect to see a lot more of the boxes going deeper because of the tariffs.
I just wish I could get on black to match my other toolboxes… Not a fan of red.
Haven’t checked my local store yet, but according to my latest flyer, the 26″ and 44″ are available in black, blue, and red, while the 56″ is available in black and red. The 72″ is still red only.
The 72″ red only really annoys me
I called the Corp office. They are coming in colors in feb/March I been told
Looks like our local ad has started listing the blue and black 72″ boxes.
Harbor Freight already made a better box than any of the competition at their price point. Looks like they will continue to do that with an even better capacity. I don’t know why everyone focuses on Milwaukee, Husky, and Kobalt when Harbor Freight has always put out a superior product, in my experience at least.
Maybe its because when you mix your gems in among the rhinestones and the glass its hard for some folks to take HF seriously. Then too their are folks who are enamored with having the Dewalt or Milwaukee name on their toolboxes. In our shops – we had Lista and Vidmar – and I was happy that neither brand seemed compelled to emblazon their name in oversized letters.
I’m no HF guy, but they make good tool boxes for the price. I just can’t buy non American products.
So what are you Buy
I don’t know if it’s been mentioned but they got rid of the plastic locking tabs on these boxes for the draws. Now only the 56″ and 72″ rollers have those. Kinda disappointing in that regard. The draws don’t really have anything keeping them from accidentally opening on this box either. I played with it a bunch in the store today. Fine if it’s not moving around at all in your garage but otherwise I’d say a downgrade from the previous box depending on how you look at it (if you weren’t a fan of the plastic tabs then you’ll be happy).
The previous version of this box never had the plastic locking tabs to my knowledge – had to be the 56/72″ or the rolling cart to get those. My 44″ box that I bought new ~4 years ago only has detents, no locking tabs and I thought they’d always been that way.
It will be interesting to see if they update the 56″ and 72″ boxes. Also, I can understand the inventory savings to stock only one color, but . . . I have to think that Black would ultimately outsell Red. Seems like the Black and Blue Carts sold out quickly, but maybe just because they were new.
i’m guessing this is why Menards phased out their old Masterforce boxes in favor of much deeper 24” models.
Black/blue will be out soon according to a manager at my local store. He also said some stores already have them on the way but I cannot confirm that.
I was wondering if anyone has the Series 2 that actually has the Series 2 plaque on the box. The one (44×22 chest) I just bought has no Series 2 markings or Pro markings. It just has the plain US General plaque although it is the Series 2 size.
My latest HF flyer shows GEN2 (22″ deep) 26″ (Item 64162/64163 cabinet, 64160/64161 top chest), 56″ (Item 64164/64165 cabinet, 64135/64166 top chest), and 72″(Item 64167 cabinet, no top chest shown) tool chests. I haven’t made a trip to HF yet to see if they’re in stock.
I’m certainly no tool chest expert; from looking at HF, HD, and Lowes, my feeling is that HF’s US General is a little sturdier than Kobalt/Husky, but not as innovative (e.g. top drawer is old style, no dedicated internal spot for outlet strip).
Hopefully we will see other colors for all the boxes come soon, but probably won’t be soon enough, I was originally going to go with the all black husky 54″ box, but after looking at the hf boxes, they seem sturdier, I do like the top box on the husky as well, but just wish the hf boxes came in different colors, and I am also a fan of the soft close drawers. But I’ll probably go with the hf box as they seem more expandable with side mounting cabinets and drawers. Just wish I could get black or blue, or pretty much any color other than their red.
I also feel that HF’s accessories (side cabinets and drawers) are a big plus, although note they’re only available for the 44″ wide model. Some of the various HF reviews show pictures of hacks, such as getting the new, deeper accessories to fit on the old models.
From my time at the stores, I like the way the HF drawers open & close better than the others – but I suspect that’s very personal.
I doubt the color will change, since Series I only came in red, but maybe there’s a bit of hope, since some of the new HF tool carts come in several colors.
The black and blue boxes are already in the stores here.I bought the 44 series 2 and so far am happy with them they are heavy-duty and made better than the husky and kobalt boxes.
Looks like I’ll be getting the new Series 2 44″ x 22″ chest and side cab. Hmmm, I wonder what the resale value of my ten year old 44″ x 18″ chest and side cab will be?
I’ve been wanting to upgrade to a bigger set for years, but just don’t have the extra real estate in my garage (lengthwise) to accommodate it. Now that I can keep the same length but gain the space in depth, I’m all over this.
I stopped being a wrench 20 years ago. When I had to warranty a Snap On tool ten years ago and found a truck at an auto shop only to be refused service (I wasn’t a regular on his route, no incentive for him to help me), my loyalty after spending $$$$$ shifted. My HF box has served me well for the past decade, I expect no less from the next one.
Can someone please tell me the depth of the smaller drawers from top to bottom, not front to back? I can’t find that spec anywhere.
I pulled the trigger on the 44″ lower chest, top chest, and side locker. I got everything loaded in my truck, drove it home, and set everything up. A few hours later I realized that they sold me the older version, NOT the new Series 2. Buyer beware, HF workers will not usually notify you that they are selling you the older version…they are trained to get rid of old stock first. After ruminating on whether to load everything back into my truck and return everything, I think I’ll keep what I have. The build quality is still outstanding, and I don’t know that Im really going to miss the deeper drawers. I just wish they’d discount the old stock (Though I did use the coupon for $349).
Aaaaaaand not 10 minutes after writing my last comment, Harbor Freight just released an unprecedented 15% off on all tool storage! Since I just bought yesterday, I can use the coupon retroactively!
I just purchased the brand new 26″ top HF series 2 for 161.00(A steal) to set on top of my 3 year old 44″ series 1 pro. Guess I should have checked closer on the dimensions as the new box is 4″ deeper. Not a problem I just cut 3 pieces of a 1×3 to fit on the top of the bottom box and let the top box overhang on the back side, front is flush. I still own a 40″ Snap On bottom box that I purchased new 15 years ago to the tune of 2300 bucks. I can honestly say that the HF is just as good a box for it sounds silly an 1/8th the price! If you are looking for a quality box but dont want to spend a fortune, I highly recommend it. Nothing, I do mean nothing in this price point compares.
Can anyone confirm if the series 2 56″ boxes are any different other than cosmetic?
I was told today that harbor freight is making more changes to us general “44 toolboxes and they cannot order the 14.5” end cabinet or end locker. Do you know anything about this?
I haven’t heard anything about this but will try to look into it.
I’m definitely interested in learning more about this.
I’m presently looking hard at the Series 2 44″ with the end-locker.
Does anyone know the internal width of these drawers on the 44-inch model?