Last week at their annual new product show, NPS17, Milwaukee shocked tool news and review media by announcing their Packout modular tool storage system.
Milwaukee Packout is, and I mean this in no uncertain terms, the most impressive modular tool storage system I have ever seen.
This is why Milwaukee’s new portable tool storage number 1 in my Top 5 New Milwaukee Tools from NPS17 post.
I was quite frankly amazed and at an initial loss for words. A lot of tool enthusiasts had wished for Milwaukee to come out with a modular tool storage system of their own, and now they have.
I will be updating our guide to the best modular tool storage systems later this year, once Packout tool boxes start hitting the market.
The new Milwaukee Packout tool boxes are many times more durable than the Festool Systainers and Bosch L-Boxxes that I won, and I would say that rival or exceed the strength and durability of Dewalt ToughSystem tool boxes.
On-site demonstrations of cinder block impact tests would suggest the Milwaukee Packout boxes far exceed the strength of Dewalt ToughSystem boxes, but I’ll feel more comfortable conducting such tests on neutral ground.
A pile of destroyed Dewalt ToughSystem tool boxes sends a strong message, but I would encourage sensibility. One media attendee proclaimed that “Dewalt will have to head back to the drawing board,” but I disagree.
Dewalt ToughSystem tool boxes have always met and exceeded my expectations, and I have ZERO hesitations about their durability in most real-life applications. To break a ToughSystem tool box like this takes a very concentrated impact strike that would likely destroy any other tool box on the market, except perhaps a Packout box or one made of heavy gauge steel.
That said, I was very thoroughly impressed with the apparent strength of the Milwaukee Packout tool boxes, and their new tool bags seemed impressive as well.
I would go so far to call the Milwaukee Packout system a game changer, and not just because of a demo that resulted in a pile of smashed Dewalt products.
The Milwaukee Packout system features exceptional versatility, and many very user-friendly aspects. For instance, every single latch that I opened and closed felt the exactly the same – something that I cannot be said for higher-end tool cases, even those from Pelican.
The repeatability and consistency, at least of the production or early production models on-site at the media event, screams of a finely-tuned and thoughtfully perfected manufacturing process.
The latches were easy to open, but closed with a strong and confident motion.
Milwaukee Packout tool boxes stack together via a new Mod-Lock design, and it is this Mod-Lock design that allows for Packout products of different sizes.
When asked about what else might be coming to the Packout lineup, the Product Manager gave a vague response, and their eyes told a story of big plans. This is only the beginning, with lots more to come.
At launch, there will be 8 different Packout products.
- PACKOUT Rolling Tool Box, 48-22-8246 ($129.99)
- PACKOUT Large Tool Box, 48-22-8425 ($79.99)
- PACKOUT Tool Box, 48-22-8424 ($69.99)
- PACKOUT Organizer, 48-22-8430 ($44.99)
- PACKOUT Compact Organizer, 48-22-8435 ($29.99)
- PACKOUT 20″ Tote, 48-22-8320 ($129.99)
- PACKOUT 15″ Tote, 48-22-8315 ($99.99)
- PACKOUT 10″ Tote, 48-22-8310 ($79.99)
Update: Slim versions of the organizer, 48-22-8431, and half-size organizer, 48-22-8436, are coming out in 2018.
The pricing is high. A 3 tool box stack, with roller cart, large tool box, and small tool box, would retail for $280 given the launch pricing. But from what I saw, you’re paying for quality. You can spend less and get a lesser product.
Who knows, maybe Milwaukee has a “Packout Lite” product line on their roadmap. But for now, this looks like it could the best modular tool storage system out there.
The plastic tool boxes are made in Israel. There are PP (polypropylene) recycling logos on the bottom of the boxes, and the product manager said they’re made from polypropylene with some “secret sauce” added in.
The boxes are impact-resistant, sealed to IP65 standards, and the tool boxes (but not the organizers) have built-in mounting locations for One-Key Tick tracking modules.
It’s quick and easy to stack and unstack Packout units, with the active part of the lock being a spring-loaded tab. Press the tab up, via a spring-loaded ring, and the pull the top box or bag forward to disengage. You can open a Packout box even with something connected to the lid, but this becomes impractical with taller or heavier top-mounted loads.
ETA: September 2017
P.S. This is intended as a condensed Milwaukee Packout introduction. Tomorrow’s post will have a full guide to the entire Packout system, discussing all of the individual products and notable features.
Update: Here is the Full Introduction to the Packout Storage System (Excessive photo warning.)
There are no public plans for special promo bundles, or cordless tool kit and Packout bundles, but we’re hopeful. After the initial launch, it would make sense for Milwaukee to produce introductory bundles of some kind.