A Timeline of Every Modular Tool Box System

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The modular tool box system market exploded in recent years, with the number of brands and product lines doubling.

More options are always good for tool users, as competition drives brands to innovate, iterate, and launch better products.

I put together the above timeline to include all of the major modular tool box systems, but there are even more.

Amazon, for example, has an exclusive “beyond by Black & Decker” tool box combo, and Purdy has a combo tower for painters. I don’t consider those products true systems, and so I didn’t include them in the timeline.

2010: Bosch L-Boxx

Bosch Sortimo L-Boxx Tool Storage and Organizers

Bosch wasn’t first – it was preceded by the Festool Systainer system.

On that note, Bosch L-Boxxes – and others – licensed IP from Festool’s parent company. You’ll find this bit of information molded into the tool boxes themselves. The same is true for the Makita MakPac tool boxes that resemble Festool and Tanos’ first generation 4-latch Systainer tool boxes.

The Bosch L-Boxx system was very different from Festool’s system, featuring self-actuating side latches. The tool boxes were also far more affordable.

The L-Boxx is part of the BS Systems company a joint venture between Bosch and Sortimo.

2011: Dewalt ToughSystem

Dewalt ToughSystem Tool Storage System

Dewalt announced their ToughSystem modular tool box system at a NYC luncheon media event held by Stanley Black & Decker’s hand tools and storage team.

It launched with just 4 products – 3 sizes of tool boxes, and a rolling cart that allowed for immediate access to any of the attached tool boxes.

2011-2012: Festool T-Loc

Festool Systainer T-Loc

When I bought my first Festool power tool in 2011, it came with a T-Loc Systainer.

They definitely shipped in mid-2011 though. I know this because the green T-Loc latch was missing from my circular saw case. I ordered through Tool Nut on Amazon, and called them up on a Saturday morning. They told me to look at the bottom of the tall box, and there I found that the latch had simply popped off during shipping.

Festool USA’s website says the T-Loc Systainers launched in 2012, which might be when the tool cases were first available separately.

2012: Dewalt Tstak

Dewalt Tstak Tool Boxes

Dewalt quickly followed up and launched a line of smaller and more economical tool boxes under the Tstak name.

They also launched a separate line of Pro organizers. I recall asking the product manager if they would also be launching ToughSystem or Tstak organizers, and they said they wouldn’t.

Dewalt now has Pro organizers, ToughSystem organizers, and Tstak organizers, as well as an adapter that allows for cross-system compatibility.

2014: Ridgid Pro Gear

Ridgid Pro Tool Box Stack

The Ridgid Pro Gear system, exclusive to Home Depot, was pivotal in expanding interest in modular tool boxes.

The tool boxes were well-made – but not quite on-par with Dewalt – and more affordably priced.

Users beyond construction industries and similar started to pay attention.

2014: Makita MakPac

Makita MakPac Tool Box

Makita launched their own MakPac line, which closely resembled Festool’s earlier generation Systainer tool boxes.

2016: Husky Connect

husky 22in connect rolling tool box system

Home Depot launched the Husky Connect system, with lower pricing that seemingly targeted DIYers and consumers.

2017: Milwaukee Packout

Milwaukee Packout Tool Storage Family

Milwaukee Packout changed the game.

There were just 8 products at launch – a rolling tool box, 2 sizes of hand-carryable tool boxes, 3 tool bags, and 2 organizers.

Honestly, I initially thought the system was well-designed, and I welcomed the forward-sliding latching system, but I thought the pricing would be prohibitive.

When initial inventory kept selling out that first holiday season, that’s the first sign Packout was going to change everything.

2018: Craftsman VersaStack

Craftsman Versastak Rolling Tool Box Combo

The VersaStack system offered slight improvements over the Dewalt Tstak system, and brought over a couple of options that had previously only been available in Europe.

2019: Dewalt ToughSystem 2.0

Dewalt ToughSystem 3pc Tool Box Combo Set from Individual SKUs

Packout seemingly prompted Dewalt to do better. They updated their tool box system with automatic side latches, insert trays, and half-width tool boxes.

2020: Metabo MetaBox

Metabo MetaBox Tool Box

MetaBox is compatible with older-style Systainers.

We haven’t seen much from the line in the USA.

2021: Hart Stack

Hart Stack Modular Tool Box System Combo

Hart launched a modular tool box system exclusive to Walmart stores.

2021: Craftsman Tradestack

Craftsman TradeStack Tool Box Combo Hero

Craftsman launched their TradeStack line. It was originally a Lowe’s exclusive, but can now be found at other Craftsman retailers.

The TradeStack tool box system is smaller, but does offer user-friendly features.

2021: Ryobi Link

Ryobi Link Tool Box Combo Rolling on Stairs

Ryobi Link came to Home Depot.

Ryobi LINK Modular Tool Storage System

The system launched with a single 3pc rolling tool box combo and wall-based storage products and accessories.

2021: Harbor Freight Bauer

Harbor Freight Bauer Modular Tool Box System

Even Harbor Freight stepped foot into the modular tool box market.

2021 saw the introduction of 4 new systems from major brands. Aside from Ryobi Link, there wasn’t a lot of innovation driving ideas and integrations forward.

2022: Kobalt CaseStack

Lowes Kobalt CaseStack Tool Box Tower with Attachments

Lowe’s launched Kobalt CaseStack. While the tool boxes weren’t revolutionary, Kobalt was first to tout external attachments.

CaseStack products were impossible to find until the holiday season.

2022: Flex Stack Pack

Flex Stack Pack Tool Box System with Mounted Accessories FSM110

Flex launched the Stack Pack system, featuring externally-mountable accessory rails.

The accessory rails are screwed into the tool boxes’ corner bump guard rails.

2022: Ridgid Pro Gear 2.0

Ridgid Pro Gear 2 Modular Tool Box Product Family 2023

Ridgid upgraded their tool box system slightly but in significant ways, offering wall-mounting as well as a detachable hand cart.

The detachable hand cart can be used with any of the brand’s XL-sized 2.0 tool boxes, including drawer tool boxes.

2023: Klein Mod Box

Klein ModBox Tool Box Combo Combo Loaded

Klein ModBox advanced the idea that you can attach tools and gear to the outsides of a tool box.

The system features quick-attach accessories and has electrician-friendly features, such as a way to transport conduit benders.

2023: Husky Build-Out

Husky Build-Out Tool Box Product Family at Home Depot

Husky launched a more modern-featured tool box system that also provides the means for external attachments.

2023: ToughBuilt StackTech

ToughBuilt StackTech Tool Storage System Product Family Teaser

ToughBuilt launched their StackTech line at Lowe’s, and also provided a glimpse into their huge roadmap of expansion products and accessories.

StackTech does things a bit differently.

What’s in Store for 2024?

With so many different brands and options now available, differentiation is increasingly important.

Why buy Flex over Packout or StackTech? Why buy Klein ModBox?

Does Kobalt CaseStack offer anything you can’t get from other brands?

The more successful brands will be focusing on 3 areas:

  • Innovation
  • Expansion
  • Integrations

From the teasers I have seen and the hints I have been given, big things are coming, and not just in 2024.

Looking at the launch timeline above, you would be right to think that the market is a bit saturated; we’ve seen 9 brand new tool box systems in the past 3 years alone.

However, there’s still enormous sales potential, and every brand will be competing for a place in your work truck, van, workshop, garage, or hobby room.

The next couple of years are going to be interesting.

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