I have tried quite a few portable tool boxes with drawers over the years, and Milwaukee’s Packout is the best so far.
I’ve used Dewalt ToughSystem, Bosch L-Boxx, Dewalt Tstak, Festool Sortainer, and Milwaukee Packout. I have also handled other systems, such as Husky’s.
Shown above is a photo of my new Milwaukee Packout 3-drawer tool box, as the start of its journey home.
Even with a $20 off $200 coupon – thank you Home Depot Pro Xtra program! – it was pricey. $164. That’s… a lot.
But, this is the right tool box for my growing needs.
Milwaukee has a 2- and 3-drawer Packout tool boxes. I have one each at home that I’ve been testing out (thank you to Milwaukee for the review samples!), and they’ve been good, maybe even great.
But, they’re not perfect.
Tool boxes made from plastic, polymer blends, composites or similar materials, are prone to deflection, deformation, sagging, or binding under heavier loads.
Load up the drawers, place some more loaded-up tool boxes on top, and the drawers will be harder to open.
Plastic bends, and drawers can rub.
Milwaukee’s Packout tool box isn’t immune to this issue, but it seems to minimize it quite well. Milwaukee Packout drawered tool boxes are the best on the market, at least right now.
The issue is inevitable, and so it’s not a question of will there be flex, but how much flex and binding will there be?
I bring this up partly to express my sentiment that the Milwaukee Packout 2- and 3-drawer tool boxes are good, at least in my opinion so far, but also because I’ve seen a lot of readers asking for drawered tool boxes from other makers.
Tool box drawers are convenient, at least in theory. It’s great to be able to access tools without having to disassemble a stack of tool boxes.
But, if you have a tool box with drawers, and it’s placed at the bottom or even middle of a stack of heavy tools, those drawers are not going to open as smoothly as when the tool box is empty and by itself.
Whether with Packout or another system, there’s need to form reasonable expectations.
Just because I was disappointed by other systems, such as Tstak drawer boxes, that doesn’t mean they’re not good products. It just means that I wasn’t prepared for how much they would bind when placed in a tall stack of loaded tool boxes.
You can take measures to help reduce binding, such as by keeping drawered tool boxes towards the top of a stack, but it’s always going to be a risk with plastic-bodied portable tool boxes.
There are compromises. Loaded drawers never open and close as smoothly as when the tool box is empty and by itself with nothing on top.
I believe that this is why some brands have yet to bring drawered tool boxes to market.
If a modular tool box system is designed around certain price points, that brand might be unable to deliver a good-enough drawered unit at a price point their target customers would be willing to spend.