Makita has brought more of their MakPac modular tool boxes, organizers, and a cart to the USA.
Makita MakPac launched more than 8 years ago, in mid-2014, with the products strongly resembling first-generation Tanos and Festool Systainers, but with some distinctions.
These newly available Makita MakPac products appear to be teal-colored Festool Systainer products, which was not true for other MakPac tool boxes.
Tanos and Festool currently offer third generation Systainer tool boxes and accessories. They switched from the original quad-latch system to T-Loc back in 2011.
Here are all the new Makita MakPac SKUs that have popped up at retailers:
- Rolling cart – $94 (Buy it at Acme Tools)
- Small tool box – $49 (Buy it at Acme Tools)
- Deep tool box – $59 (Buy it at Acme Tools)
- Cantilever tool box – $89 (Buy it at Acme Tools)
- 4-drawer Sortainer organizer – $150 (Buy it at Acme Tools)
- 5-drawer Sortainer organizer – $177 (Buy it at Acme Tools)
- 6-drawer Sortainer organizer – $159 (Buy it at Acme Tools)
- 12-drawer Sortainer organizer – $168 (Buy it at Acme Tools)
The design is dated, but the pricing is appealing.
Festool’s 6- and 12-drawer Sortainers are $185 and $199, respectively, compared to Makita’s pricing of $159 and $168.
Festool products are often excluded from retail promotions, but the same isn’t true for most Makita SKUs, which means you might find better pricing on occasion.
Systainer tool boxes are not as durable as Dewalt ToughSystem or Milwaukee Packout products, but they’re smaller and usually more portable.
Original Systainer, Sortainer, and MakPac tool boxes and storage products have a somewhat clunky latching system compared to more modern designs. Two latches close a case, and four connect one case on top of another. In contrast, modern T-Loc Systainers have a single rotating latch.
Still, these MakPac products might make for decent standalone tool boxes or portable organizers.
The tool totes and cantilever tool box connect together via just two side latches.
The rolling cart seems to be nicely price for legacy Systainer users, assuming it’s perfectly compatible (why wouldn’t it be?).
The cantilever tool box is priced at $89 before any discounts, which is just slightly less than the Festool version when I reviewed it 9 years ago. At the time of this posting, the Festool cantilever tool box is $109 (buy it at Tool Nut).
At least $20 less for what looks to be an identical product, but in Makita-teal? It seems like there should be a catch, but if so I can’t find it.
That all said, I would not hesitate to buy any of these if they suited my needs – and they would, if I had not already purchased the Festool/Tanos equivalents.
Looks like stuff from the 90s. Reviews on Amazon are from Germany so I’m guessing that the reason it exists is for a market where they gained dominance and never progressed. I now know that Klein means small. Klein Werkzeug. Small tool.
Hideous and expensive! Why? Why? Why? Has no one in Japan ever seen Packout, ToughSystem, or even LBoxx? Even Rigid and Husky’s offerings are nicer and more robust looking. It baffles me why they made this. Isn’t this more expensive than Packout or ToughSystem? …plus it looks very indoor-use only. I am confident I can leave a Toughsystem box out in a rainstorm and it’ll be fine (if closed correctly)….same with a packout. I definitely don’t feel that way with these.
It looks a more expensive Tstak competitor than something to compete with Packout or Toughsystem.
Less expensive than Tanos/Festool.
Indoor-only? Well, the MakPac and Tanos/Festool products I’ve used can handle some abuse, just not as much as ToughSystem or Packout.
This is better than L-Boxx, except perhaps in interlocking, in which case it’s a tie for both. L-Boxx and original Systainer-style latches are clunky but workable.
These are not “leave out in a rainstorm” products.
In what way are these better than L-Boxx’s? Do they use a better plastic than L-Boxx’s ABS? I personally was incredibly disappointed with my Bosch L-Boxx’s, with the handle breaking off of one and the bottom latching plastic breaking off the other.
Latching/unlatching a stack of loaded L-Boxxes is a bigger hassle.
I’ve cracked pieces off of Systainers, and wouldn’t say they’re more durable. Bosch L-Boxx latches seem flimsy, but I haven’t had too many issues outside of a couple of factory defects.
I haven’t broken any L-Boxx top handles that I can recall, but I don’t trust them a lot either, and so I use the side handles for heavier loads. I try not to carry tall stacks of Systainers.
I have largely moved towards ToughSystem and then to Packout for heavy duty use. I tend to use my Systainers for project-specific tasks where I move them around one by one, or in short stacks for certain tools + accessory bundles. When I need groups of tool boxes, Packout and similar systems are better.
Once I finish converting over from Bosch L-Boxxes, I’m never going back. But Systainers or MakPac such as above will see continued use. For what I use my drawered Sortainers, or cantilever tool boxes for, there’s no better alternative yet. The open totes are useful too, especially with the central handle, but they’re a little more replaceable in my opinion.
I’ve thing I like about the L box is that have the option to have a case with removable boxes. I thought about buying one but I went with a really good Plano tackle box instead.
Almost all my Bosch-branded L-Boxxes (maybe 7-8) have one or the other side of the protruding top latch (“arc”?) at least half cracked off. And half have a crack or two on the top. They’re all relatively old though. I do not think I have any other system boxes with anything other than cosmetic damage.
I think these are really designed more for the interior trim carpenter and not for the 75 story commercial jobsite worker lugging around rotary hammers, commercial grinders, etc.
Just my thought.
Not everyone needs oversized expensive boxes capable of handling being dragged through the dirt and kicked off buildings. The systainers are very high quality and made for environments that are clean, and I’ m not saying these are the same quality. How many packout boxes or toughsystem have multiple drawers like that? Seriously, go check out everything Tanos offers.
Agreed – I’ve never been tempted by Packout since the you lose 25% of the exterior volume to super thick walls and bumpers and stuff.
These systems are way too big and heavy for finishing trades. Lighterband smaller boxes like tstak and sustainers are more appropriate for these kind of jobs.
it really looks like toolboxes from the 1990’s.
should pair really well with a vintage youtube channel
I absolutely despise the latches on these boxes. I don’t even stack them and latch them in the second position as if they were stacked. That’s the only way to get enough leverage on the latches to comfortably open them.
I don’t get the strategy. If these are new production and not something found in mass in warehouses near Fukushima, why build new to an old design? I can’t believe material wise it’s cheaper to build the clunky latch system? If anything more latches would be more expensive. It reminds me when I sat in a management/marketing meeting at the time IBM pentium computers were cutting edge. The group think consensus in this company was to sell the older 3-86s and 4-86s computers they were stuck with to the Chinese, thinking they could still sell these to them at high prices. I said,
“ the Chinese are going to want the best stuff at that price. And they will find the notion insulting.” The company went ahead and tried and made no sales.
I think they bought the old plastic molds on sale from festool and made then in teal
Tanos continues to make these models for Festool; they are likely making these for Makita, similar to what they do for other brands.
This is the first time I’ve seen any of these particular products under any brands other than Festool.
To maintain compatibility with the MakPac tool boxes they’ve been selling for years?
The organizers are differentiated from other Festool Gen 2/3 Sortsiners, and it looks like the tool boxes are all original and T-Loc compatible, meaning they’re current tech.
I applaud them for sticking with their design, it works, they have a user base of whatever size, so backwards compatibility for existing users is I would say crucial. Else face serious backlash etc. May be a hard sell for the average consumer. But I’m sure there’s plenty of prosumers and pros who like the product. Nothing good would come from alienating them.
A lot of bitching in these comments. People must live under a rock. These have existed for many years internationally. I bought the small and deep tool boxes from Amazon Germany years back for the total same cost or less to have shipped to the US. The cantilever box is the same yet cheaper than Festool version. These are all good tool boxes but I do agree that the old style latches are frustrating to use. Standard T-loc boxes will always be the best Tanos created. Newer Sys3 boxes were committee engineered and few people like them.
Agree 100% with your statements!
Packout and friends are great on a new construction job site where there is space and danger on all sides.
I can see smaller and more delicate boxes working better in repair situations where you have less room and more finished surfaces to keep clean.
There’s good plastic (soft?) and bad plastic (hard, brittle). My last makita box was bad plastic and the latch was not easy to unlatch. I am assuming this is cheap plastic so off to ebay I go.
Is this the “New Adventure Awaits” adventure we’ve been awaiting?
No, this is a quiet expansion that popped up at retailers.
Probably would have been better to title this in such a way that it’s obvious these are just now being made AVAILABLE in the US. These have existed for many years pretty much every else in the world. Nothing is being launched, not a new product, just finally getting past whatever licensing crap that prevented these from being sold here.
This is the first I’ve seen of these.
They’re new to me and new to USA retailers.
I have no evidence, but I feel like I remember seeing these sortainer style Makita boxes somewhere before, my assumption is outside the US.
Purchased the small Makita toolbox Jan 2018 from Amazon.de, bought the deep toolbox in Nov 2018 (I’m in Tennessee). They’ve had the cantilever and dolly for years. I would see them on ebay international.
The US can be last to get some Makita products normally. Australia gets new Makita long before we do, example being the entire 40V system, and most new sanders etc.. Makita Japan will have some tools 1-2 years before we do, such as impacts.
It is nice to see that these are finally state side. Don’t care for the latches but overall these are lightweight and plenty durable tool boxes for site work to home.
The only thing that these seem to have going for them is they integrate with Systainers and are a little cheaper. I have the cases that come with the track saw, the four latch system sucks to use.
I had mostly Systainers and MakPac until about a year ago when I invested in TSTAK. Frankly, I think TSTAK is better than MakPac and equal to new gen Systainers at a fraction of the cost, and the TSTAK drawer options are significatly cheaper than Sortainer and I believe larger.
While not as durable or waterproof as Packout or Toughsystems I find TSTAK/Systainer sized boxes better for getting in and out of finished houses, and my boxes are always covered outside of transporting them from truck to door.
I agree. I think tstak is a good compromise of portability and durability. Packout and tough system are so heavy and bulky. I do wish there was some more innovation with tstak options and perhaps a more robust latching system, but for the price it is well worth it.
Yeah, I’m starting to be concerned tstak will be discontinued, I’m seeing fewer dewalt options in stock and craftsman versastack while compatible doesn’t seem to have a dolly or deep drawers.
The Tstak 2.0 product sold outside of the USA is waterproof. The Craftsman organizers sold at Lowes are part of this line (they have gaskets in the tops). I don’t understand why the other versions aren’t sold in the USA, except that maybe to switch over the US tooling would be too expensive and other markets get non-US made versions.
Also outside of the US, Stanley has recently re-launched Tstak as ProStack and it features the 1.0 version. So I don’t believe there should be concern about the system being discontinued.
I’m pretty heavily invested in Tstak as I use Toughsystem only for heavier duty tools and equipment, since I generally don’t need the toughness with added weight and size. I notice in Europe that Tstak is preferred as it seems the tradies aren’t as rough with their stuff and also need smaller sizes.
I was close – figure 3 years later they’ll introduce a 40V powered cart model……
anyway neat but like most makita stuff hard pass. This looks like it would be good in a production environment or maybe a clean auto shop.
I think they look a lot like fishing tackle boxes!
I have the box from the track saw and if this is the same latch system and flimsy plastic then I would set phasers on avoid. 3 of us bought the track saw package with a “free” case. None of us had a case with all latches functional in 6 months. This seems to be an ongoing issue with makita: top quality, durable tools, crappy cases. From the children’s lunch kit that came with my impact driver to the gym bag whose wheels are falling of after the fourth site, it’s all been a disappointment. To all y’all saying this is better for finishing, I have to say tight confines and awkward positions to me speak of a need for increased durability and better engineering. I’m not impressed when I know I could huck my jigsaw at one of these things and the case would break but the tool would be fine. To me you would just be better off using tool boxes purchased at Walmart or even dollarama. Or spending your hard earned money on a system that won’t need constant replacement. As a final thought for those of you who aren’t youthful no more, do you really want a system that’s on a cart instead of a stand up dolly?
People keep complaining about the four latch system and I’m not sure why. No-one makes any attempt to modify them themselves?
Firstly, only two latches are needed to open the box. Secondly, you can easily remove the latches and file or sand a little off the each edge and they are as smooth as butter. Makita must have known about this as all the more recent ones I’ve bought the latches we never so tight you’d injure you fingers trying to open and close them.
A few years ago Amazon (and other vendors) would put these on sale for $20-$25 for sizes 1-3. Coupled with a $20 off $100 coupon they were a steal. I’m talking obviously about the standard boxes, not these.
As for durability, most of mine are used for shop organization, not jobsite use. I’ve had problems with L-boxes cracking in extreme cold weather (20°F) so don’t expect them to be bulletproof.
They are tough to unlock/re-lock. And no one should need to modify something new. I’ve their WONDERFUL, LOVE IT!, tracksaw and the case is always frustrating with one latch. You’d think it’d wear a bit to be easier. Nope.
And at DeWalt, I am mad that they sell a flooring nailer but NOTHING in their systems to store it. Not even a portable case! Don’t engineers …wait…oh marketing and execs make the rules. Figures.
No need to modify, just use the boxes and the latches get a lot better. The tools I use the most the latches work great and the ones I use less are still a PITA.
I am a finishing carpenter and have to pack a lot of tools. The uniform size and modularity is priceless. Time is money and it doesn’t take long for a little organization to start paying for itself.
I have gen 1, gen 2 systainers and a few tstak boxes. The gen 2 are the best but gen 1 are better than tstak. My tstaks have been relegated to only storing backup equipment in the shop.
The Makita boxes were dirt cheap on Amazon a couple years ago in Canada so I outfitted my whole tool collection and have since bought a few gen 2 boxes when I find good deals… Confident they will last the rest of my career. Just don’t be an ape about it and they work great.
I have a fair amount of Mak Pac boxes and Dewalt ToughSystem. The Mak Pac are definitely not as rugged but they’re not weak either.
What is Makita thinking with this storage? This looks so 90s, doesn’t even look like they tried attracting customers on other storage systems. Only seen New Zealand influencers use these. Hope they have something up their sleeve.
I think people are misunderstanding what these are, possibly because the article title implies they’re new.
These are Tanos Systainer models, mostly from a previous generation, and have been available for many years in other territories with Makita branding, and for even longer with Tanos and Festool branding. They are identical, apart from the colour and logo, to the Festool versions. They’re not new, Makita didn’t design them and they don’t manufacture them.
The Systainer Classic Sortainer was superseded some time ago by the T-Loc version, and the ‘tote’ style open toolbox has recently been superseded by the Sys3 SYS Tool Box. The cantilever tool box is still a current design and is listed on the Festool website.
As with all Systainers, these aren’t really designed to be kicked out the back of a van into a muddy building site. If that’s your use case, you would be better off with something more rugged.
All true, I wish Stuart presented it correctly. Too many idiots commenting with little knowledge because the post and presentation is misleading. These are ok tool boxes from several generations back in design. 4 latch Tanos systainers go back to the 90s. I have T-loc Festool systainers over a decade old. Makita is just now selling these in the US but the rest of the world has had these for a long time.
I don’t recall seeing them before, and they’re brand new at USA dealers. Sometimes “new to me and new to USA” doesn’t also mean “new to the world,” and when my fact-checking doesn’t reveal this, I can trust you guys will.
Systainers and similar tool boxes tend to draw very polarized opinions.
These are as new to most readers as they are to me (at least in Makita teal). Some people will like the designs and functionality, or they REALLY won’t. Semantics aren’t going to change that.
These particular products are also different from other MakPacs and original Systainers, which Festool still bundles with certain tools.
They’re not really different from original systainers. In fact, they ARE original systainers. It’s not just about semantics – a lot of comments here are about how dated these designs look, and understanding the origin of them helps explain that. There are also people who are wondering how rugged these are, so by explaining that they’re identical to every other Systainer, including Festool ones, helps people get a handle on their strengths and weaknesses.
As you say though, these are different to the other MakPacs, which superficially resemble the Tanos Classic Systainer (same dimensions, four point latch), but I believe are nothing to do with them.
It doesn’t help that Makita seem to insist on referring to all of their cases as simply ‘MakPac’ regardless of design.
Boxes with Tanos instead of Festool I have heard have thinner walls. Maybe Makita is using the same tactic to get a lower price tag.
All of mine are identical. Where have you heard otherwise?
I don’t know if these are any different than the Makita cases I had from about 5 years ago, but those were AWFUL! The plastic is cheap and brittle and locking latches brake. Compared to the Milwaukee cases, the Makita feels like a toy. I could literally stand on the Milwaukee cases. For my own safety, I wouldn’t even try to do that with the Makita cases.
Agreed. But when all my tools are makita, what am I to do 🙂
I agree the sustainers are polarizing. I really like mine. I have taken my Festool and worked remotely with those tools/systainers doing finish work or building cabinets on site. For that use, they are brilliant. Lightweight, keeps me organized and don’t take up a ton of space in the vehicle. In my area, most folks work out of a car/van/panel truck to keep tools from walking from the back of a pickup. in urban areas, pop ickups are often more headache that they be are worth. The bigger, heavier duty tool storage options from DeWalt, Milwaukee and Ridgid are simply too big for this type of work. I dig systainers, but I get they don’t work for everyone.