Over at Milwaukee’s recent media event, they had their new ball bearing tool storage combo on display. (Check out the rest of my Milwaukee media event new tool previews here.)
I don’t have the space to review one of these bad boys just yet, but hopefully that’ll change in coming months. In the meantime, I took the opportunity to kick the tires a little bit.
Both the top chest and bottom cabinet are 46″ wide and about 18″ deep, so it’s a fairly large unit.
Buy Now: Combo, Chest, Cabinet (via Home Depot)
The top compartment isn’t huge, but it’s a good size and certainly not unusably small. It’s a lot taller than on other tool storage chests, which is good or bad depending on your preference.
The pegboard insert could prove to be useful, but there must be awfully lot of empty space if you’re going to be able to reach any of those tools.
The largest drawer on the right-hand side of the roller cabinet has removable power tool organizer. By “power tool organizer,” they mean “cordless drill and impact tool” organizer. Seems like a nice feature, and if you don’t it, take it out. I’m *pretty sure* that the organizer tabs are all removable.
Built-in AC power is always nice. I forgot to check out the length and quality of the cord. Oops. There’s also a power strip built into the top compartment.
I’m pointing at the lock as a reminder. Why? The top chest and bottom are not keyed alike, even if you buy them as part of a combo.
BUT, the chest comes with a main lock and a separate independently lockable drawer. You can swap out the lock cylinder from the independently lockable drawer with that of the roller cabinet. That way, the chest and cabinet will lock with the same key, but the independently lockable drawer will be lockable with a separate key.
This kind of makes up for how the chest and cabinet locks aren’t keyed alike in the combo. Maybe.
One of the drawers is a pull-out work surface.
I should mention that the drawers and their ball bearing slides were a little wobbly compared to what I’m used to, but they were also empty.
And it doubles as a covered storage drawer for a laptop/tablet/etc, or simply more tools.
Don’t like the covered drawer? Drill out the rivets and remove the cover. BAM, it’s a regular tool storage drawer.
A reinforced frame is good, but “industrial casters?” Aren’t all caster wheels of this size industrial? Or is there a consumer application for heavy duty caster wheels?
They are quite nice, though.
Press the “on” lever to engage the brake.
There, it’s engaged.
Press the “off” to disengage the brake.
The “on” lever the pops up.
It gives you a clear indication of when the brake is on and off, and was pretty easy to use – easier than plain Jane casters.
The bottom edge of the cabinet has a bumper guard.
The cabinet has a tubular handle, but was surprised me was the connector bracket that fastens the chest and cabinet together with a little more stability.
Included work surface mats were thick and cushiony.
The new Milwaukee organizer also made an appearance.
Overall, I was impressed with the thought that went into the design of the chest and cabinet. The features all contribute to a well-rounded and functional system.
Can I recommend it? Not with certainty. I really need to load one up with tools to be able to properly evaluate it. I do think it’s safe to say that this presents one of the best values around.
User reviews seem to be great so far as well. At the media event, one other blogger/reviewer said something to the tune of isn’t this the best tool chest ever? I don’t think I’ve seen better for $800*, meaning this is a great value, but I’m not sold on it yet.
Buy Now: Combo, Chest, Cabinet (via Home Depot)
*We originally saw them listed at $300 for the chest, and $400 for the cabinet, but they’re now $349 for the chest, $449 for the combo, and $798 for the combo. Maybe the price will go down again around holiday time?
Update: The price is back down to $300 for the chest, $500 for the cabinet, and $700 for the combo, as of 11/10/2015.
They’re out of stock now, but I was told that the storage products aren’t seasonal and should be coming back to Home Depot shortly.
P.S. This is the last of my Milwaukee NPS15 new tool preview coverage, save for maybe a summary.
What is unfortunate about this box is Milwaukee is not manufacturing it. I do not recall who is but I believe it is Jobbox. As I understand it, Milwaukee was approached by them to make a tool chest that was red and had the Milwaukee logo, and Milwaukee said OK as long as it had certain features like the cordless tool organizer and charger mounting points. The back side of this deal was made with Home Depot so now independent dealers will not have access to this unit. This is unfortunate if you have a dealer you like doing business with.
Does it really matter if “Milwaukee” manufactures this? All of their cordless tools and the majority of their hand tools are manufactured in Tech Tronic Plants in China,
What’s next at ToolGuyd? Stuart, thanks for the exhaustive review of Milwaukee tool developments and offerings. Very interesting! This expanded perspective of Milwaukee’s developments and marketing thrusts, just makes me wonder how and what the other manufacturers are doing to increase, if not maintain, market share (so they can survive). I look forward to hearing more on the subject in future ToolGuyd postings!
David the engineer
I bought 4 of these combo sets for my shop. THE GOOD: I was impressed when I saw the combo with the price ($698 at home depot). The weight capacity is 1800 lbs. The ball bearing drawers are smooth and self closing after reaching a certain point. They come with drawer liners which is a nice feature and added value. THE BAD: They are not made in the USA (Vietnam). Poor weld job on the frame and the clips that hold the combo together are a joke. THE BOTTOM LINE: I recommend this tool storage combo. They are equal quality to units selling for twice the price. If you are going to put a lot of weight in the unit, the weld joints can be easily rewelded and the combo can easily be secured together better. Simple tasks for someone with the skills and well worth it for the savings.
Looks very cool and, as a Milwaukee fan, I’d have to consider this whenever I upgrade from my current Craftsman set. The one I’ve always seen and liked is the similarly-sized Kobalt unit at Lowe’s with a built-in fridge/Pioneer stereo. Those features seem kind of cool but kind of a waste of tool space at the same time. Any thoughts there?
I bought to top chest at the local Home Depot (in California) on closeout. $199.00. The staff couldn’t believe the price when they scanned it. They don’t stock it anymore and you can’t find it on the website, either.
I bought the combo for less than 300, it was the last one and it was missing the lock key for the top box. I didn’t know what the price was until they scanned it as well. I felt like I stole it. I asked for a manager to check the price and he said that was the price and to have a good day.
What is a good price for a good Cabinet?
This is apparently a pretty good cabinet if you look at what you are paying for it.
But if, like in my case have to send it across the Atlantic.
You can’t use them existing electrical connections.
And in addition, pay at least twice the price for it.
Is it worth it?
Here, we do not use this type of tool storage so much.
So they are difficult to find a good and cheap one here.
What to do?
I would so much like to see it in reality, in my garage.
Bought one of these as Father’s day gift to myself (my boy is only 1yo). I’ve been very happy with it.
It’s attractive and was easy to assemble. It rolls well, the casters lock easily. The drawers feel good, although they don’t have individual locking tabs. And the self closing mechanism is a bit hit or miss. I’m still figuring out my tool organization, but I’ve been pretty happy with the drawer proportions (and the included liners are nice).
I haven’t fully loaded it up yet, but the quality seems good for the price. It’s much better than the equivalent priced Kirkland Signature or Harbor Freight units IMHO. It’s no Snap-On, but I can’t justify those prices.
FWIW Stuart, this box is actually what brought me to your site (which I now visit daily). I was researching it and came upon something you’d written a few months ago comparing it to the DeWalt boxes HD cleared out last year.
Looks good…….but i would like big M to make some decant clip to gether boxes like say Bosch L box….the stranded blow molded cases are not well thought out ether …i wanted a case to hold a impactor and a drill and THREE battery’s but can not find 1…so a get the BIG case to fit impactor drill and a torch thinking it will have space at the bottom of the torch ..err no ..although thier is space to take 3 extra bats (so 5 in tot) if they made cutouts for them , as it is the case is full of wasted space ..
I’d like to see this website get behind work truck setup options. Things like best aftermarket tool box setup (weathergaurd, jobox) versus best utility bed (royal, skaug) versus shelving in vans and box trucks. I love all the reviews relative to working out of a shop however my career is of a mobile nature.
I’m mobile as well what set ups have you found to work best for you?
Cute Tool Box! You can give me one for Christmas!
Perhaps not as fancy but I love my harbor freight toolbox – I think it’s probably the best value for your dollar.
Looks like on HD.com these are listed for $800 for the pair but I see people in other places referring to the price at below $700. Did they increase the price? I’ll prolly pick on up and get rid of my cheapo Craftsman boxes if I can find this one for around $700.
Hmm. In my original preview post, it was $700 for the combo (https://toolguyd.com/milwaukee-ball-bearing-tool-storage/). Now, each component is $50 more and the combo totals $800.
Maybe this is due to rise on costs, or is a way to adjust to supply/demand constraints? Maybe the combo will go back down to $700 around the 2015 winter holidays. It’s hard to say, as Milwaukee and Home Depot are having a hard time keeping it in stock.
When I bought it on Father’s Day, it was marked “Special Buy”. I didn’t think that meant “sale” because the boxes had never been in-store before, but sounds like it was a sale.
I am a big fan of Milwaukee products but I checked this out in Home Depot and my reaction was simply, “it’s OK”. Not a bad box but nothing really special either. I see it as equivalent to the higher end HF boxes or the Dewalt’s and would probably buy solely on price if choosing between the three.
Industrial casters usually mean using polyurethane instead of tpr’s. Not all big casters are meant for industrial and the price difference is huge due to differences in materials of frame/”tire” and quality of bearings. No idea if milwaukee actually uses industrial casters though.
Saw this in the store, and it’s a nice box. But the thing that kills it for me is all of those deep drawers — they’re just a waste of space. I’d much rather have more smaller drawers. I hate to say it, but I’m probably gonna go with the Harbor Freight unit instead.
It seems crazy how well these tool chests keep their value. I have been looking for a tool chest used on Craigslist, but the prices are almost as much as the new ones. Oh well, I guess that means it is a sound investment.
Nice options you don’t see elsewhere. Still, I believe the HF cabinets to be the best deal around. They are built like tanks and the fit and finish is right up there with some of the big names.
Can the 46 inch top box be fitted with UK plugs
No, I don’t think so, but you *might* be able to replace the entire power strip unit.
That’s up to the user to figure out.
OR, get a 3rd party power strip, preferably one that comes with magnetic mounting, and attach it to the side. It won’t be as pretty, but it’ll work.
Or just by plug adapters
It’s a 110V 15A device, designed for North American electrical standards. A plug adapter could be dangerous or damaging.
Will that make them dangerous it you put plug adapters in
Because they’re designed for USA line voltage, not 220V.
Will thay be making them in the UK or not
Where do I find this cabinet and top unit I am in England and though I have seen pictures of them I have not found a place to purchase I m
have only found second hand item my dream cabinet. Any one ideas please
You can’t even get this in the USA anymore.