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ToughBuilt introduced their new StackTech modular tool box system in the biggest way possible, with core initial offerings that would be immediately available, and a roadmap of dozens of near-future add-ons and attachments.
I have been testing ToughBuilt StackTech tool boxes and accessories, and am ready to share some feedback.
In this post, I will briefly go over the good, great, and less than perfect aspects of the StackTech system.
Overall Impressions on the Modular Tool Box System
The StackTech tool box system is incredible.
It’s an absolute effortless joy to attach one StackTech tool box or organizer to another. All of the tool boxes and organizers more or less self-settle into position, with just a nudge to help things along.
The tool boxes are easy to open, quick to stack, and I think the external attachment system is going to leave others in the dust.
It seems that ToughBuilt thought everything through and got nearly everything right.
Every single product arrived perfectly intact so far, and I cannot say the same about other brands’ tool storage products. Tool boxes will get dinged and scraped, but I prefer to be the one marring up new gear.
There are some compromises. This is a heavy duty system with some weight to it.
It’s a good thing then that ToughBuilt has numerous mobility options on the way.
You also cannot attach a full-width tool box on top of half-width organizers or tool boxes. I always place half-size organizers, bags, and tool boxes at the top of a modular tool box tower, making this a moot point for me.
There’s a bright side to this too – the tool boxes’ top lids have a mostly flat surface with raised edges, providing a place to put tools or parts down temporarily.
All of the full-width tool boxes and organizers have suitcase-style handles on the fronts, and also two side handles. There are no top handles.
The side handles seem unnecessary, as the side ledges are deep enough for comfortable vertical lifting – at least in my experience. However, the side handles are great for pulling a tool box out of a cargo bed.
I sometimes fit tool boxes into my SUV in a Tetris-style manner for packing efficiency, and that’s when grabbable front and side handles definitely come in handy.
Lastly – and this one surprised me – you can stack the tool boxes in either direction. The tool boxes open from the front, but can be stacked facing the front or back of a stack.
What I’ve Been Testing
I have been testing all of the StackTech products shown here, except for the smaller tool bag.
Here’s what is now available as part of the first wave of products:
- Small Tool Box
- Large Tool Box
- Rolling Tool Box
- Compact Tool Box
- Organizer Case
- Compact Low Profile Organizer
- 16″ Tool Bag
- 18″ Tool Bag
ToughBuilt StackTech Rolling Tool Box
Pros: Lid stays up even when handle is extended, large all-terrain wheels, extending handle can be easily removed for more compact transport or storage.
Removing the extending handle is easy, and it’s just as quick and easy to reattach it.
Cons: None so far.
ToughBuilt StackTech Small Tool Box
Pros: Includes removable divided trays and closed organizers (2 each), 3 grab handles, more spacious than I expected.
Cons: None so far.
ToughBuilt StackTech Large Tool Box
Pros: As with the other StackTech tool boxes, the large case is easy to open and fits a lot of stuff. Stacking and removal are easy, which isn’t always the case for larger tool boxes when fully loaded.
Cons: Includes a removable tote, but a vertical hand tool organizer or similar might have been nice.
ToughBuilt StackTech Organizer Tool Box
The organizer is split into two sections – one with (8) deep removable parts bins, and a divided section with 4 compartments. The small and large dividers can all be removed.
Pros: You get a mix of compartment options, with 8 bins and removable dividers.
Cons: You get a mix of compartment options, with 8 bins and removable dividers, marketing sticker on the clear lid is difficult to remove cleanly.
If you want all-removable bins, or a fully divided interior, you’re out of luck.
ToughBuilt StackTech Compact Organizer
Pros: Fixed grab handle, 6 bins with 6 dividers create useful compartments for small parts.
Cons: Less secure closure, marketing sticker on the clear lid is difficult to remove cleanly.
Given the low profile organizer’s narrow height, it has different latches for both securing the lid and releasing it from other tool boxes in a stack.
If you are carrying just the organizer, and knock it into something, and the top latch is bumped in just the right spot at the right angle, the lid can potentially open and spill the organizer’s contents.
To help avoid that, carry it so that the clear lid is facing inwards towards your body.
ToughBuilt StackTech Compact Tool Box
Pros: Collapsing top handle, comes with a removable tote and internal dividers.
Cons: Not as comfortable to carry when fully loaded with heavier tools and supplies.
ToughBuilt StackTech Tool Crate
Pros: Strong handles, easy connectivity, minimal wasted space.
Cons: No internal divider, but it’s easy to go the DIY route.
ToughBuilt StackTech 18-inch Tool Bag
Pros: Built as well as ToughBuilt’s other tool bags, but with StackTech connectivity, features internal partition and pockets, hard base feels very durable.
Cons: No built-in ClipTech attachment point, and it’s not clear where one might go.
The StackTech 3pc tool box combo is one of the best I have ever tested.
In my opinion, the ToughBuilt StackTech system is one of the top 5 modular tool box systems today.
Their first StackTech tool box with drawers is expected to launch next Spring, and I am definitely looking forward to it. They are also launching a 4-wheel cart, work surface, and convertible hand truck. More drawer tool boxes and add-on attachments are expected to launch next summer.
The ease with which StackTech systems connect to each other is unprecedented.
While there are some imperfections, such as with the shallow organizer’s lid closure, the system seems designed with user-friendliness in mind.
It’s as if ToughBuilt looked at all of the complaints about every other tool box system on the market and said “let’s fix that.”
There are only a couple of modular tool box systems with external attachments, and ToughBuilt’s approach is looking to be best.
By this time next year, if even half of ToughBuilt’s roadmap launches on schedule and without any surprise problems, StackTech has the potential be one of the top 3 modular tool box systems, and even in the top 2.
What I’m Looking Forward to
I have realized that rolling tool boxes and portable cases aren’t ideal for my primary use in a workshop. I do move tools and supplies around, usually from a storage room to my workspace, or from my workspace to my office. Sometimes a large tool box or two travel with me off-site.
For most of my needs, crates, drawer tool boxes, 4-wheel rolling dollies and bases, work tops, and other workshop-type tool boxes and accessories work best. ToughBuilt has quite a few on the way, and I’m really excited to see how they compare to other brands’ systems.
I lamented to ToughBuilt that Lowe’s website was only letting me order 1 additional crate beyond the single test sample they sent me, and so they sent me another, along with a couple of the first wave of add-on accessories.
I’m sold on the StackTech system.
Lowe’s updated their website, and so I ordered 5 more this week without hesitation, taking advantage of their holiday season “buy more, save more” promotion.
I use modular crates in two ways – for temporary projects, and for dirty bulky tools and supplies, such as vacuum hoses.
Or, if I’m working on a big or complex project, I’ll use crates to hold various parts and components as they come in from different vendors. For temporary storage, the open lid makes it much easier to scan for and collect what I need.
I plan to buy one or two 4-wheel dollies, and then more depending on how much I like the drawer tool boxes.
I might buy more of the small and large tool boxes as well. What has me sold on those is the easy latching, easy removal, and single – but secure-feeling – lid latch. I’m holding off until 4-wheel dollies are available.
I am deeply impressed with the initial products, and am excited for ToughBuilt’s next StackTech product launches.
Thank you to ToughBuilt for providing test samples of the entire first wave of StackTech products.