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?