Earlier this week, I posted about Ridgid’s new Pro tool boxes. Since my tool storage needs are always expanding and evolving, modular tool box setups tend to work really well for me. I already own a lot of Dewalt ToughSystem cases and Bosch L-Boxxes, and a smaller number of other brands’ modular tool boxes as well.
The new Ridgid tool boxes looked sturdy and well designed, so I went out and bought 6 of them at a nearby Home Depot. I came home with 1 cart, 2 of the medium tool boxes, 2 of the small organizer tool boxes, and 1 of the “tube” tool boxes. The Tube tool box doesn’t stack with the others, and so I’ll review it separately.
Since I plan to put these tool boxes to immediate use, I figured I should take a couple of photos now while they’re clean, empty, and all in one place. Although, from what I’ve seen thus far, my Ridgid Pro tool boxes will likely grow in numbers in the next couple of months.
All of these boxes are 22″ long. Dewalt’s ToughSystem tool boxes seem longer, but they’re actually a little shorter, with 21″ lengths. Unless I’m mistaken, that means these new Ridgid Pro boxes are the most spacious modular tool boxes on the market right now.
I normally talk about pricing at the end of a post or review, but since this one’s extremely lengthy with over 40 photos, there’s no reason not to talk about this first.
There are three sizes – a small organizer tool box, a medium sized tool box, and a large tool box cart. Prices for these are $30, $40, and $60, respectively. A complete set that includes one of each will set you back about $130, but each of the tool boxes will work well individually as standalone tool storage products.
Ridgid Pro Tool Box Common Features
Strength and Durability
It’s too soon to tell how well these Ridgid tool boxes will hold up with time, but they certainly seem to be well built.
Each of the boxes have thick walls and reinforced construction elements, allowing them to pass the sidewall “flex test” with ease. When fully loaded with tools, they don’t bulge out or twist either, at least not from what I’m seeing.
There are feet at the bottom of the two smaller tool boxes that allow the boxes to stack very neatly on top of each other.
Alignment is relatively quick and easy. Ridgid Pro tool boxes stack up about as quick as Dewalt ToughSystem cases, and appreciable quicker than fully loaded Bosch L-Boxx cases.
One of the shared features I really like is the “lid stopper” that does exactly what you think it does.
The lid stopper prevents the lid from moving too far past 90°. This keeps the lid propped open, but greatly reduces the likelihood that an empty or lightly loaded tool box will tip over backwards.
I was worried that this feature would increase the likelihood of a lid slamming closed on my fingers, but that hasn’t happened yet, and it doesn’t look like it will happen.
Side Handles and Connectors
Pivoting metal locking connectors at the sides of each box serves two purposes. First, this is how stacked boxes are connected together for transport or more secure storage.
The side latches flip up and down with ease.
When it’s not being used, the side connector folds down and clips into a stowed position. This ensures that it won’t flop back and forth unintentionally.
I own or have tested Dewalt ToughSystem cases, Bosch L-Boxxes, Dewalt T-Stak boxes, and both kinds of Festool Systainers.
Aside from the Festool T-Loc Systainers, which have a swiveling front-mounted connector, the Ridgid Pro tool boxes are the fastest to connect and lock together. They are also the fastest when it comes to unlocking and separating tool boxes.
When just talking about stacking tool boxes that connect at their sides, there’s simply nothing faster.
Second, these can be used as side handles when you really need to get two hands to move a box around. I really didn’t think these could be side handles, as they’re quite small in diameter, and assumed that the rubber grip material served another purpose. But, they’re actually great side handles.
The side handles are comfortable to grip, not to mention strong and secure-feeling. This is important because the side handles are the only way to carry the organizer upright, otherwise you have to use the sole carrying handle at the front.
The latches are metal, but they don’t latch onto metal parts.
The ribbed latch area seems strengthened, but the ribs could also just be a design feature. Either way, it doesn’t look like the lock will wear into the plastic and loosen up over time.
Maybe I’m seeing a benefit that doesn’t really exist, but the orange Ridgid-branded piece that bridges the sides of each latch seems to make it easier to get the box closed and ready to move. The way the orange latch bridge is angled, it hits the tool box first, preventing the metal loop from resting flat against the side of the tool box. This makes it easier to find and grab with gloved or bare hands.
I hope you could see now why this review required so many images. There are simply too many minor but nevertheless impactful features to point out.
Padlock loops poke through each of the latches, should you want or need them.
The latches on the sides of the large tool box cart are larger than on the other boxes, making them even easier to open and close.
Water and Dust Seals
You’ll be seeing the rubbery seals in several of the following photos, but it’s still worth a mention. The thick seal should greatly reduce the possibility of getting dust, moisture, or other contaminants inside your closed tool boxes.
Ridgid Pro Small Organizer Tool Box
The one downside about the organizer tool box is how it can only be carried vertically. I suppose that the absence of a top handle leaves more space for tools and supplies, but top handles are a convenience every other brand offers on their smallest tool boxes.
The first time you open the organizer tool box up, you’re faced with three compartments.
I initially thought that the partitions were built-in and permanent, but they’re not – they’re simply thick dividers. Each of the end sections has room for three included parts bins. You can remove the bins or dividers as you please to best configure the storage compartment for your needs.
I removed the bins in one of my Ridgid Pro organizer tool boxes, but kept the dividers in place. This allows me to separate and hold a good amount of hand tools, than if I was just with the tiny center section. I could always add one or two bins back to the box, but I probably won’t.
Despite my minor gripe about there not being a top handle, I really like the size and shape of the front handle. Plus, the mounting points are multi-pronged and extra-thick. When carrying a loaded tool box, there’s no significant flexure or signs of potential weakness in the handle.
The large finger and hand groove makes it easier to open the lid. It’s minor touches like this that are really helping me to like the new Ridgid Pro storage lineup.
Another nice touch is the inner lid panel, which have grooves that align with the removable bins to remove spillage during transport.
I wouldn’t trust the inner lid to prevent things like #2 washers from travelling outside their bins, but it seems like a great built-in lid solution for most construction supplies and materials.
There are a couple of clips around the inside of the box, which seem to hold the moves-if-you-touch-it inner lid. I thought that this means the inner lid is removable for users who want a little more space and who don’t make use of the anti-spillage bin and build-in lid design, but I couldn’t figure out a way to get the inner lid past their retaining clips.
Buy Now(via Home Depot)
Ridgid Pro Medium Tool Box
I expect a lot from a $40 tool box, and the Ridgid Pro delivers. Even loaded up with tools, it’s quote comfortable to carry. Although I am much enamored with Dewalt’s large ToughSystem case, I like that the Ridgid Pro is about $14 cheaper. These boxes are also easier to connect together than Dewalt’s, which is a big plus.
The medium tool box shares a lot of the same construction elements and design features as the smaller organizer box, such as the lid-opening notch.
It’s the same size as two organizer tool boxes stacked and connected together.
The inside of the box is fairly Spartan, which is a good thing. There’s a ~2/3 width hand tray with no built-in partitions or dividers.
The sidewalls aren’t too cluttered with structural ribs or hand tray supports, maximizing the space that be used for tools and gear.
This box is a useful size, and seems to be worth its full $40 price. As with the other Ridgid Pro tool boxes, the medium model feels strong and sturdy. Its lid is built with extra reinforcements that boost its weight capacity rating from 25 lbs to 50 lbs.
Buy Now(via Home Depot)
Ridgid Pro Gear Cart
The Ridgid Pro Gear Cart is a very nice tool box, either as part of the system or when used separately. Since it’s both a large tool box and cart component that works with the other tool box sizes, the design is a little different.
Since the cart is built with large all-terrain wheels that are mounted at the sides of the tool box, it doesn’t take away too much from the storage volume, and the wider wheel base also increases rolling stability.
The wheel treads aren’t made from soft rubber, but they’re not made from slick hard plastic either. They’re made from a semi-hard type of plastic. Ridgid calls them all-terrain wheels, but I would describe them more as suitable for most terrain. There’s also not a lot of ground-to-tool box clearance to comfortably roll this over very rocky or uneven terrain.
When you undo both side latches, the entire lid lifts away. There’s no obvious way to tether the lid to the tool box, but it’s large enough that you’re unlikely to misplace it. If need be, you could tie some paracord or rope between the alignment loops, which mate with the notches between the handle uprights, and the handle.
The cart comes with a removable hand tool organizer that hugs the inner contours of the rear.
With the accessory removed, you can see that the wheels and handle don’t really take up too much of the storage cart’s storage space.
As with the other tool box sizes, you get a nice integrated dust and water seal.
The seal material is pretty flexible and rubbery, which should make for a good connection.
A metal locking bar can be stored in the lid of the cart.
The locking bar slides through notches built into the left sides of all Ridgid Pro tool boxes. Multiple hole locations allow you to lock things down regardless of which tool boxes you have stacked on top of the cart.
The locking bar can be used with one medium tool box and one organizer, or multiple organizers.
One thing to note is that the gear cart is a couple of inches wider than the other two Ridgid Pro tool box sizes. This two smaller boxes are 13.7″ wide, and the cart is 18.3″ wide. This extra width, combined with the extra height, gives the cart tremendous storage capacity. This helps to balance the small amount of space given up to accommodate the built-in wheels and handle.
The handle is made from telescoping steel tubing, and feels like it could handle some rough use.
With one medium tool box and an organizer stacked on top of the cart, there is enough clearance to wrap your hand comfortably around the handle.
I walked out of Home Depot with an additional medium tool box and organizer stacked on top, and the handle was accessible, but only with a non-wrapping underhand grip. This means that you’re pretty much limited as to how many boxes can be rolled around using a single gear cart.
What I like about the handle is that it collapses so neatly.
I will probably order one or two of these gear carts, but not necessarily for use as part of Ridgid Pro tool box stacks. The gear cart is sturdy and spacious enough on its own that it makes for a versatile rolling tool box that can be used by itself.
Buy Now(via Home Depot)
Gear Organizer: 22.2″ long x 13.7″ wide x 6.5″ tall, 3.8 gallon storage volume
Tool Box: 22.2″ long x 13.7″ wide x 12.4″ tall, 9.5 gallon storage volume
Mobile Gear Cart: 22.2″ long x 18.3″ wide x 18.9″ tall, 14.8 gallon storage volume
These tool boxes are made in Israel.
According to the UPC code, it seems that these are made for Ridgid and Home Depot by Keter. Thanks Fred for deciphering the number code! However, Keter doesn’t seem to offer anything similar in their product catalog, indicating this could be an exclusive Ridgid design.
If you can’t already tell, I’m really impressed with the new Ridgid Pro tool boxes. It’s too soon to discuss their long-term durability, but they are definitely, strong, sturdy, and exceptionally user friendly.
It may be a little silly to describe these boxes as user friendly, but they are. It seems as though every single minute detail was well thought and planned out.
What really sold me on the Ridgid Pro system, and what convinced me to buy a couple of extra boxes instead of just one of each, is how easy it is to connect and disconnect multiple tool boxes from each other. I’ve used all types of modular and connectable tool boxes, and find the Ridgid Pro boxes to be easiest and quickest to stack and interlock.
The tool boxes are made from some kind of impact-resistant resin. There is minimal flex, with strength and sturdiness rivaling even Dewalt’s ToughSystem offerings. I wouldn’t quite compare Ridgid Pro build quality with Pelican cases, but they’re leaps and bounds better than the thin plastic found in lesser non-modular individual plastic tool boxes.
One thing I don’t quite like is the California Proposition 65 this product and dust created by its use may contain chemicals, including lead, known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm and wash your hands after handling warnings. There might be softeners in the hand grips and maybe Ridgid didn’t feel like evaluating the risk potential.
Overall, these tool boxes are great tool organizers and storage products. I’ve loaded half of them up already with hand tools, cordless power tools, and a lone corded drill. When loaded up, the tool boxes are quite manageable.
One benefit of the Ridgid Pro system, compared to others, is how the large tool box is also the gear cart. This not only saves the expense of having to buy a separate cart or dolly, but it allows for simpler stack-and-go transport. There are less components that you have to connect and keep track of.
These boxes will be used to ferry tools to and from storage, my workspace, and off-site testing and work locations. After loading them up and moving them around a couple times already, I think they’ll do quite well with professional users in rough and demanding usage environments.