Most trucks are highly practical vehicles, but there’s nothing practical in tools rattling recklessly all around loose in the truck bed, damaging themselves and the truck. There’s nothing practical in leaving your expensive equipment out there in open, vulnerable to both weather and theft. A truck bed tool box resolves these two problems by ensuring a secure space where tools stay put and are firmly locked up.
There are different types of tool boxes, designed for serving different purposes and for different truck models. For instance, the mounting style and size of the tool box determines the room left open in your truck bed, which in turn affects the type and size of cargo that a truck can carry. Prospective buyers must understand different types of truck bed tool boxes available as well as tips for choosing the best tool box for any need.
Types of Truck Bed Tool Boxes
There are different types of truck bed tool boxes depending upon the place they attach to the truck, the material they are made of, their finish, and ultimately their lid configuration. Available features, such as whether or not there are trays and shelves inside the box. Besides looking at the standard variations, it also makes sense to mention some specialty tool boxes that are available for your specific needs.
Mounting style refers to where and how the tool box attaches your truck, and it would be helpful if you consider this first because it can have a big influence on the space available in your truck bed. We are discussing below the most popular mounting styles, each with some description and important features to keep in mind while shopping.
Spans across the entire truck width and sits behind the cab. Does not extend to the floor and rests on beds sides, leaving bed space below it.
Simple, standard low cost design design; allows for storage space right below the tool box.
This tool box sits immediately behind the cab on the floor of the truck, and does not rise from the bed sides.
It does not hinder rear view and can easily fit under a tonneau cover. It does not limit your available floor space in any way.
A pair could be mounted or it could fit on either rail. Attaches to the side rail, one along either side and usually does not extend to the floor.
Takes minimal space and is easily accessible when standing next to the truck.
It sits gently on the sliding rail system so that box can be moved easily.
Easy to move and access.
Attaches firmly to trailer post.
Takes up absolutely no room on the bed; does not obstruct rear view.
Attaches to the tailgate and swings down with it.
Easy to access and does not take up much space.
Keep in mind that mounting styles that fail to reach floor leave sufficient room for storing and sliding cargo underneath the tool box. The chest style tool box will take up most floor space, while other mounting types are designed to leave bed floor open.
Materials, Colors, and Finishes
Usually truck bed tool boxes are made using aluminum as it is lightweight, does not corrode and is durable. Older toolbox designs come with steel painted in a corrosion resistant finish and are much more sturdy than aluminum. Stainless steel toolboxes have corrosion resistance of aluminum, but are expensive. Many boxes are made using hard plastic. Usually these toolboxes are in metallic or neutral color. While and black powder coatings are used to protect steel boxes from any corrosion. Metallic toolboxes have stamped surfaces (raised diamond pattern).
Lids and Other Features
Truck tool boxes can have double, single, or gull-wing lids. Double lids are exactly similar, but divided like a cabinet. Single lids open along the side, and gull wing lids are also divided, but open at a hinge inside the box rather than along its side.
You also need to consider whether the box that is to be installed needs drilling bolt holes in the truck, how securely it locks, and whether lid opening is manual or pneumatic. Some tool boxes include dividers, shelves, and trays inside, while others may use a open plan. Choose boxes with one piece bottom, as they are much stronger, heavy-duty gaskets that help keep elements out. Pneumatic lids have dual gas cylinders to ensure easy opening.
Specialized Tool Boxes
Some specialized tool boxes are slowly gaining popularity. They are designed to fit between the tailgate and wheel well, since this place is otherwise difficult to fill. Underbed tool boxes work well for dump trucks and flatbed utility trucks by keeping boxes entirely out of the way of cargo. Some tool boxes are designed by manufactures as pet carriers, best option for all those who want to transport large number of dogs or cats for long distances in a safe way. Dogs can be flung out in small accidents or can leap out of the truck if they’re not properly confined for travel.
All in all, choosing the right tool box involves consideration of the size of objects to be stored in and also the type and size of cargo to be carried in the remaining truck bed. You also need to make sure it fits the truck bed. Large tools such as chainsaws or mattocks need an undivided tool box with one lid, while different types of grocery bags can be easily stored in a divided box equipped with gullwing lids. All those who have tonneau covers may have to contend with chest boxes and others that are not firmly mounted on the sides of the bed. Also consider budget, as most affordable toolboxes are made using aluminum, while expensive ones are made using stainless steel with reliable waterproofing.