Milwaukee came out with their small bucket-sized tool box a year ago, and I’ve been testing it for a while since then. They also offer a larger tool box, as well as a new 10-compartment organizer tool box. I have nothing but good things to say about Milwaukee’s tool boxes.
As soon as the USA-made 13″ squarish tool box arrived, model 48-22-8010/MTB1400, I loaded it with tools and supplies and hauled it around. It’s a good size for a mish-mash of hand tools and small power tools, as you could see in Milwaukee’s product photo, below.
The box comes with a small divider for the bottom compartment, a removable hand tool insert, which also serves as a taller divider, a tray that rests near the top of the box, and a sturdy lid.
The lid doubles as a seat, and also has a v-groove that holds pipes in place for quick cutting.
When I tested it with tools, I loaded the box with a couple of pliers, some screwdrivers, a 12V-class saw, an 18V drill, a big roll of duct tape, and somehow I also fit in a small extension cord. But that was Day 1, when I first received the sample. I had loaded it with whatever tools were at arm’s reach.
While I’m still talking about the basic features, I should mention that the lid is fully removable, but can be docked on the side of the tool box for safe keeping. I sometimes forget all about this feature.
One thing I really like is how the lid can be locked in place. With the lid on the box, swing the handle all the way to one side of the box to lock the lid in place, and then swing it back to the other side to unlock it.
When first using the box, figuring out which side to swing the handle to was a trial and error process. Now, I look at the holes at the corners of the lid. The one that’s red is the side that locks in, the one that’s clear is the one that’s unlocked.
There are also arrows on the side of the handle, by the pivot point, which clearly show the lock and unlock directions, but nobody seems to notice them. It can be funny to watch someone try to open the box for the first time.
When the handle is in the upright position, such as when you’re carrying the box, the lid is also locked in place.
Okay, so how have I been using this box? As you might have gathered from the title, I’ve been using it to haul baby gear around, mostly for all-day and overnight trips.
A day or two after I received the test sample, we went travelling with our infant son. I think it must have been an overnight trip, or at least an all-day visit to out of state family. We were trying to find a bag or box big enough for formula bottles, drinking bottles, diapers, wipes, baby butt ointment, cloth diapers for random usage, toys, a baby book, a changing pad, spare clothes, and probably some other stuff.
Previously we had used an empty bulk pack diaper box, but it had gone missing. Maybe we recycled it?
I was going to grab one of my backpacks, but then I saw the Milwaukee work box, just sitting there. I dumped out the tools and loaded it up with baby gear.
The small divider creates a compartment that’s perfect for lining up a couple of 8 oz. formula bottles. The larger compartment is perfect for diapering needs, empty baby bottles, and other misc. stuff. Things that belong together, such as spare clothes, diapers, and teething toys, are all in Ziploc bags. Wipes are separate, and sometimes in the top tray, as they’re useful beyond their obvious purposes.
The top tray is useful for smaller stuff, such as a roll of disposable diaper containment bags, hand sanitizer, and things like that.
I LOVE this box. It’s absolutely fantastic for hauling baby gear around, and I’d use it in a heartbeat for hauling tools around too. It’s large enough to hold plenty of stuff, yet small enough to be comfortably carried. It’s also organized enough so that I can find what I need, when I need it, which is extremely important at times.
It fits in the trunk of our SUV, and when the cargo compartment is too fully loaded, I can easily wedge it between front and back seats. Although I’ve got the bottom a little scratched up now, it’s plenty durable. It fell out of the cargo compartment once, or rather I accidentally knocked it out, but thanks to the locking lid, nothing spilled out.
I was never a fan of carrying tools or supplies in a 5 gallon bucket, and although I tried it once, bucket organizers aren’t my thing either. Because of that, I was a little hesitant about the size and form factor of this 13″ square-shaped tool box. But as soon as I am done using it for day trip and overnight baby gear, I will very likely repurpose this tool box for tools and supplies. Or, maybe it’ll follow my son and become a toddler box. After that, who knows?
There’s no limit as to what these boxes can be used for. At the recent Milwaukee media event, there were a couple filled with sand and used as tent pole anchors. This past weekend, I was tempted to use mine as a cooler.
The box is strong, durable, and versatile, not to mention conveniently sized. We’re going to use it for years to come, for transporting tools, baby gear, and who knows how else it’ll be used.
How would you use this tool box? For tools? Job supplies? Or other kinds of things, like baby gear?
Buy Now(via Home Depot)
Thank you to Milwaukee Tool for providing the review sample unconditionally.
It’s an awesome task-based tool box. I use mine for my polishing gear. M12 polisher, pads, all of my waxes, polishes, and light abrasives all stand up in the bottom. If I need to work on a headlight, grab the box. If I need to clean some rust off my cast iron shop equipment or wax them up, grab the box.
interesting. The only thing I can think of missing – and it’s an easy fix – is some sort of strap, shoulder harness something.
I use a backpack and ours in now 9 months. the divider thing is a good idea. I have a division of supplies in the pack but not hard dividers perse.
Nathan–In the fourth photo, I see two holes at opposite corners of the lid. I was about to suggest you could attach some kind of strap to them to carry the box on your shoulder. However, upon reflection, that would twist the box so that a corner would be bumping into your waist or thigh with each step (ouch). They should have positioned the holes in the middle of two opposite sides of the lid to prevent that from occurring.
I use a bucket with a seat-lid for drills and a few other tools that go place to place all the time. The thing I like most about that is that you have a seat as part of the deal. I use the seat all the time instead of killing my knees by kneeling. Because of the seat feature, I’ll take a look at this next time I’m in Home Depot. My only criticism of the design is that people don’t usually carry that many screwdrivers in a kit like this, usually just one with interchangeable bits. Unless they are doing specialized jobs, of course. I’d rather see one with places for a variety of tools, or perhaps one with interchangeable modules.
The modular approach sounds like a superb idea, at least on the surface. I agree that it would be a great thing. Things like that however often fall victim to the general logistics of production, sales, space on store shelves, etc.
If they offered such items though, I’d definitely be interested.
Probably should win “The Most Useful Tool of The Year” award, for all the uses it can be put to. Like everyone else, I’ve used a 5-gallon bucket to haul things around and, while it works, it’s uncomfortable because of the thin wire handle assembly they have. This one spreads the weight out over a more substantial handle (that won’t bend or come loose). The lid makes a nice seat when you need it, and storing the cover on the side was smart. I also like the divider and tool-holding sections in it. The 13-inch-on-a-side dimensions give it adequate space inside to carry a reasonable amount of stuff. All that, and the squarish shape stores more easily.
I like my Veto Pro Pac LC bag, but it’s a nightmare to carry around when loaded. It’s also very expensive; this costs about one-fifth as much. While it won’t hold as much, it makes more practical sense than many other portable tool bags/carriers for small jobs. Perhaps they’ll introduce more dividers and tool holders for it, to answer the needs raised by users.
On a related note, I’ve found that my Milwaukee tool belt is perfect for carrying my pet ferret when I go grocery shopping.
Bought this a couple weeks ago for my growing collection of M12 tools and other Milwaukee accessories. I was hesitant at first, because of the price, but like most Milwaukee products, it’s worth every penny. Especially after I realized that it’s waterproof. Most of my tools are kept outside, usually covered by a tarp over my bench and patio table. Many of my smaller items are kept in various tool boxes and tubs. The little tiny lip that runs around the side of the lid is perfect at preventing water from seeping in. I learned this after accidentally leaving this out during a massive storm last week. Water everywhere … except the box. My only regret is not dropping the extra $10 for the 26-inch version.
I have been wanting one . My knees are shot , so a short stool is preferable to kneeling.
I have yet to see one in Canada , and have a reasonable fear of shipping costs .
If I run across any , I’ll prolly get two or three of them , they sound like an ideal way to organize subsets of tools /parts/fastenings .
I wish they had been around back when I used to do a bit of lock smithing .
Does the lid have an o-ring seal? Can you use it as a stepstool?
I’ve been looking for a Pelican style case that is tall like this for my r/c transmitter and a few other pieces of essential field gear. This looks nice and I’m pretty sure my radio and all the stuff I’d like to put in there with it would fit. I’m kind of excited. But given that my radio is worth about $1k, I would really like it to have a waterproof lid.
There is no O-ring seal. I would consider the box somewhat water resistant, although I haven’t tested its extent, but definitely not waterproof. It might keep out water from a light drizzle, but I wouldn’t trust its resistance beyond that.
There’s a graphic on the lid that says DO NOT STEP.
Don’t stand on the tool box. First, it presents a tip-over hazard. Second, the box wasn’t designed to support a person standing on it with one foot or two.
Please don’t stand on ANY tool box, unless it’s designed for such usage and to rated to support such weights. It’s risky and ill-advised.
Think about the weight distribution when you sit on a tool box. Your butt spreads your weight over a large area, and your feet will likely touch the ground, meaning your entire weight isn’t on the tool box. When you stand on a box, your weight is much more concentrated, even more so if you put more pressure on one leg than the other. And when you’re stepping up, all of your weight is placed on one foot.
Maybe the tool box can support a person standing on it, but the maker will NEVER recommend such usage unless there’s a big enough safety ratio and eliminated risk of tip-over.
Think about a child or adult sitting on your lap. Then think about them standing on your lap. Your comfort level will be very different.
Finally checked it out at the store tonight and I think I agree that it would be wobbly to use as a stepstool. However, I think it would work well for my r/c gear. I just wish they had integrated SOMETHING into the inside of the lid. I figure, I could make my own dividers and add some foam to protect my radio and batteries.
I am a little concerned that it will become really heavy when fully loaded and a pain to lug around. In some ways, I wish it had wheels and one of those telescoping handles but experience tells me that they would never put wheels on it that were large enough to actually run over rough terrain and if they did then it would become stupid heavy.
Drew–I would strongly suggest you NOT use this as a step stool. It’s designed to carry tools, not to stand on. If you take a look at the picture, it’s rather tall in comparison with its footprint. It also does not have any feet or outriggers to stabilize it. It’s a lightweight plastic structure that would probably deform and collapse under that kind of stress, sending you to your local emergency room. If you need a step stool, you probably ought to buy one.
I agree. Trust me, using tool boxes, tool drawers and cardboard boxes are NOT meant for support human weight. Unless you enjoy injuring yourself and paying a king’s ransom at an emergency room, use this for only the intended purposes.
Little Giant manufacturers made in USA (of global components) ladders and there several companies that make USA made step stools if you want one that is USA made such as this Milwaukee product.
This is very off topic, but in the even Stuart might see this, is there any chance there will be a article about Harry J Epstein 2015 which is today?
I’m assuming that neither of you actually have one of these and that both of you are very clumsy.
Also, in the description, it says that “The lid doubles as a seat”. So, I believe that that it could hold human weight.
Finally, who goes to the ER after falling 16″?
This gave me a laugh.
I frequently stand on my mobile tool trolley and have never fallen off it. I also climb ladders. And stairs.
Anyway, over here we have free medical in case I do fall the 400mm to ground from it.
Drew–I won’t speak for Stan regarding your comments. I’ll limit my response to just my thoughts on this.
I’m no more clumsy than the next guy, but that’s neither here nor there. The item is not meant to be used as a stepladder or other device to reach things. Somewhere in the use instructions the lawyers included the warning that the tool box is not to be used as a ladder or step stool. Yes, it will support your weight sitting, but keep in mind that: 1) only about half of your weight is on it while you’re doing that, and 2) your legs are likely splayed outward (with your feet planted firmly on the ground), which helps to stabilize the tool box.
If you were using the tool box as a stepstool, the base is slightly smaller than the top of it, making it susceptible to tipping over. When you’re standing on it, you’re probably on one foot or reaching farther out than you should be (as many do on stepladders, which are far more stable). The box will likely tip as your weight becomes unbalanced on the lid, causing you to fall off of it. As you’re falling, you may catch yourself and land upright, averting injury.
However, if you don’t, and there are tools, lumber or other debris in your path, you may injure yourself as you fall into them. If you’re working in an area with concrete or asphalt underfoot, you may fall backwards onto those surfaces and sustain a broken wrist or head injury. Remember, it’s an accident; no one knows what the outcome will be until it’s over.
Anyway, the whole idea is to work safe, and go home at the end of the day with everything intact. All I can do here is appeal to your sense of self-preservation and hope that you’ll do the right thing. The rest is up to you.
I’d listen to Steve R if I were you. When I was younger I made the mistake of standing on a bucket while doing work. Trust me, toolboxes are NOT meant to be used as a stepstool unless stated so on the box.
Ultimately, this is your choice and if you want to potentially injure yourself, I am not going to stop you. Just don’t blame Milwaukee or anyone else if you end up in the ER. I am not to be a “safety Sam” but there comes a point when common sense needs to be exercised.
Truth of the matter is most of us probably have engaged in a risky activity at some point in our life and most of us have come out in one piece. The key thing is “most”. Do you want to be that 1% statistic?
So I find it totally uncalled for and unacceptable to make fun of other for doing the right thing for their own safety. It’s not about being clumsy or not. It’s about when a tool is being used for something that it wasn’t intended for the associate risk usually grow much greater.
Life is all about taking risk. So do as you may. But if you make a habit of taking unnecessary risk then I am certain sooner or later you will find yourself inside the 1%.
Earlier today I learned the term “death by misadventure.”
I guess that it can be modified to say “injury by misadventure,” where injury is sustained and attributed to an accident due to dangerous risk taken voluntarily.
If someone chooses to stand on a tool box that’s not meant to be used as a stepstool, it’s a willful risk. It’s best to minimize how often one takes willful risks, as an accident is bound to happen eventually.
We all know about the folly of youth, where we feel that “none of that will happen to me.”
Some people never learn or grow out of that phase. They are the reason there are warning labels on blow dryers that tell us not to use them in the shower.
This guy is going to stand on his box, and probably crack an elbow or worse when he tumbles.
I can’t promote a sale event that nobody tells me about. I don’t have the time to check GJ as much as I’d like, and didn’t learn about that post and the event until it was too late.
Stuart, ultimately this is your blog and your rules, but to be fair, the date of Epstein Day was July 11th this year, not July 4th as “usual”.
Given popularity of your blog, I figured I’d share the Harry J Epstein link here as this does relate to tools and if supporting a family owned business and ideally supporting American manufacturing that day matters to oneself, this is the day to celebrate all that.
Will: I miss the era in America where if you caused the accident and this could have easily been prevented with common sense, you didn’t blame/sue others, especially manufacturers. There was a time when grown adults took responsibility for their actions and moved forward.
Yet, I also believe in letting others do what they want if they are spending their own hard earned money. That being said, if you buy a product and use this incorrectly, that is your choice. However there are consequences in doing so and one of several consequences is injuring yourself. There is a reason why pretty much EVERY company provides common sense warnings on products these days and this to prevent them for being liable for any injuries or deaths.
I’ve used tools improperly in the past and I’ve seen others do this as well. Screwdrivers being used as pry bars, chisels, punches, hammers when screwdrivers are ONLY meant to remove and install screws. I’ve seen non impact sockets being used on impact drills, ratchets/pipe wrenches being used with cheater bars and the list goes on.
In the end, if safety isn’t a concern and you don’t mind potentially going to the ER, then use items improperly, but don’t any company to stand up and claim responsibility for your lack of.
How does July 11th vs. July 4th change anything?
A while back someone asked why I didn’t post about Enderes Day. And I said the same thing – I can only post about sales promos that I’m privy too. I can’t post about a salw I don’t know about, regardless as to what day it’s on.
To be frank, you post about Harry Epstein in so many random comments that I night have overlooked the sale mention even if you hadn’t posted about the one day sale in the mid-afternoon the day-of.
I wish they sold these in the UK, I would buy a couple, we can get the 26″ ones, RRP £99, or in reality £55 ish.
This is an awesome review 🙂 I saw your previous review of the box and while I like it. This really shine a different light on it. If it goes on sale I definitely will get it. It’s the same price as the other larger Milwaukee tool box and it’s lacking a seal. So I do think it can be sell at a cheaper price.
I would get it now if I didn’t get the rigid combo tool box that went on sale the other day…
If I get it I’ll use it as my EDC tool box in the car… it look portable enough and double as a seat too. Any thought on a different alternative for a small edc tool box for the car?
Thanks! I sat on it for a while – the review, although I do occasionally sit on the tool box too – because it seemed a little wrong to review the box after repurposing it for non-tool use. But I figured that there are enough parallels for the review to be helpful.
For small car EDC, I’d look at tool bags or one of Craftsman’s mini “truck boxes.” Actually, I’ll try to post about the mini truck boxes this week. They’re small hinged plastic boxes that can be stashed under a seat or in a corner of a cargo compartment. They don’t hold a lot, but they’re well sized for small tool and supply kits.
I bought four of these and a 26″ version before investing in a Ridgid modular system last month. While I have yet to fill them all, I have used them for various things. One became a general tool box; with hammer, level, tape measure, etc. One became a plumbing tool box; with pipe wrenches, Nutbusters, strap wrenches, and various other tools and supplies. Two of them were bought on Easter, and I picked up a case of beer and a bag of ice on the way home, using the 13″ box as a beer bucket (it works okay, but sweats a lot since it’s not insulated).
I’ve noticed they are back up to $30 now, but some GJ members have found them on clearance for as low as $8 elsewhere. I paid the “NLP” price of $25 for the first one, then got the other three impulsively when a local Home Depot dropped them to $19 (that particular store no longer carries them). The organizers are decent, and I’ve toyed with various configurations to maximize the utility of each box: bulk storage, vertical storage, or compartmented storage. They work really well as a seat, and having more than one means that I don’t have to constantly get up if I need another tool (sit on the plumbing box for electrical work, and so on).
The Ridgid boxes are nice, and have supplanted these as my box(es) of choice when working on the renovation project. Still, they have their uses, and the 26″ box holds most of my 18v PC tools: oscillating tool with accessory kit, drill, impact driver, circular saw, reciprocating saw, flashlight, charger, and four batteries.
Stuart, I can see how some people might get confused about Epstein Day as in the past (2012, 2013, 2014) this was held on July 4th, otherwise known as Independence Day. I talk to the crew at Epstein’s fairly regularly, so I am fortunate that I learned about this change, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have known myself.
I am not bashing you or telling you are a horrible person, Toolguy’d is your blog and not anyone else. Yes, I mention Epstein’s, but to also be frank, it’s not as if I can really mention this outside the internet as most people either don’t know about them or care. I don’t get ANY incentive for mentioning them at all, other than hopefully spreading the word about their business and how well they treat others.
As for Enderes Day, to be honest I didn’t know about that either. Believe me, I know you are just one guy and can’t do/see everything, so some information might fall through “cracks” if you will. Been there and done that, so I know there is limit on how much one is able to accomplish.
Read about the Milwaukee Warranty for power tools, batteries, hand tools and instruments. The Milwaukee 13 Jobsite Work Box is Nothing But Heavy Duty .
I bought one of these recently and it is now my primary tool box for my mechanical tools.
I have a good compact set of sockets and ratchets ( standard and metric, 3/8″drive) whose box just happens to fit perfectly in between the dividers.
Then in the middle section, I keep my M18 impact driver and M18 drill, batteries attached.
In the 3rd organiser section, I keep my pliers, vise grips, write strippers, needle nose, and channel locks and a variety of screwdrivers on one side and a full set of standard and metric wrenches on the other.
In the top tray, I have my micro wrenches- imperial and metric, a spare 4ah battery and a variety of other small tools.
Stacked bedside the top tray, there’s still enough space for a box of impact driver heads and a box of drills!
And the lid easily closes!
All in all, I find this to be a much more usefulshaped tool box than the standard type.
The only problem I’ve had is that the handle was once not placed in the correct locking position to secure the lid while the toolbox was I the back of my pickup. My fault, the lid flew off somewhere along the highway. That’s my fault, but I am disappointed that replacement lids are not available.
If anyone knows where I can get one, please let me know so I don’t have to buy a whole new toolbox.