Best Truck Tool Box – Or Make Your Own to Fit Your Pickup Truck

An additional cab can be a tricky thing to have; it is nice to have that extra space, but nobody really wants to sit there. Thankfully, you can put that space to good use by making a tool storage box that keeps your tools in the cab and within easy reach.

Typically, the solution is to buy a truck box that can fit in the bed of your truck (click to see some great suggestions). However, this solution is not always ideal. Not only is it hard to access the box all the way back there, but it also makes it easy for others to break into. Instead, the perfect solution is to use the space behind the seats that is never properly utilized.

As an example, you can make a simple wooden toolbox in the back of the cab. By using ¾-inch plywood, you can make a basic box that can be built to the cab’s width. You can even manage space better by building shelves on the box. Top and bottom sliding drawers will help you keep more tools inside and maximize the space that you are using in the cab. This way, you will be able to store your tools conveniently inside the cab while freeing up some space from the bed of the truck.

So how do you do it?  Take a look for yourself, pretty basic but it does the job.

The best part about this modification is that you can remove unwanted seats from the back to keep your box. If you decide anywhere down the line that you want to sell the truck or revert it to its original state, you can just remove the box and reinstall the seats with no issue.

We know, you might not want to go to all that trouble, in which case, get a purpose built tool box for your pickup truck.  You can’t go wrong with any of the ones below.

Truck Toolbox Comparison Table

Buying Guide for a Truck Toolbox

Which style toolbox is best for you? What should it be made out of? Steel, aluminum, or stainless steel?  What about security and does it need to be water proof?  How do I get one which fits my truck? How easy is it to install a toolbox in my truck?

Great questions, read on to find answers to these and a whole lot more.

The Purpose of Your Toolbox

toolbox storageHaving a dedicated box or compartment for tools is not necessarily a required addition in most trucks. However, this can be a bit of a problem if you work as a handyman or have to perform any kind of tasks that demand you to carry tools around. Other than shelling out for a truck that has these options available to you, the next best thing would be to have a separate toolbox according to your preferences. You can keep your tools in a designated space safe with the knowledge that no one can damage or steal them.

If you can get a toolbox with a rubber seal, you can also keep your tools safe from dust and water. As a result, they will be safe from being damaged by the rain and will not accumulate any rust or grime like they would sitting in the bed.

A lot of toolboxes will have shelving options included as well, which will help sort out your tools. You can also keep additional equipment in the toolbox thanks to these shelves like flashlights, measuring tape, jumper cables and bottles.

Security

A toolbox is useless if it can’t guarantee the safety of its contents. This is why you need to make sure that whatever kind of toolbox you buy or build is secure. If your toolbox can be easily opened with something like a crowbar, you are almost guaranteed to lose your tools. This means you will lose your time and money. You might also be out of work for a while until you can replace the tools, which is never an ideal situation.

truck toolbox security

Another aspect of the box’s security is how well it is attached to the truck. If you have a weighty box, that in itself can be a deterrent for thieves who try to grab the box and run off entirely. Something else that can help in this regard is the mounting option for the box. Certain boxes will have floor mounts that keep the box bolted to the floor. Some boxes will also have security latches that keep the top lid locked and safe from any kind of prying. These methods will help keep your box safe from any kind of theft.

Design of the Box

Once you’ve decided on what color, material, and finish you want on your box, it’s time to decide the style and design of the box. There are many different types to choose from. Generally, you can choose between designs that look and feel nice or designs that are more functional and offer extra features.

Crossover Toolbox

Crossover Truck Tool Box

Crossover toolboxes or cross-bed toolboxes are among the more common types of truck toolboxes. They’re called crossover boxes because they cross over your truck’s bed from one side to the next while resting on the rails. Most boxes come with single lids that open backwards, but you can also find some with double lids that open to either side in halves. In double-lid designs, both of the lids close and lock separately, so you can open one side without opening the other.

These boxes are popular because they’re extremely convenient to use. You can just reach them from the side of the truck without having to get on the bed of the truck. You can just get out and grab whatever you need with ease. These boxes also sit lower than most toolboxes, so they don’t block your rear view when you’re driving. Since these boxes mount on your bed rails, they don’t have to be attached to the bed itself. This gives you the freedom to keep other things in the back as well.

Side Mount Toolbox

Side Mount Truck Box

Like the name implies, side-mount toolboxes are mounted on the sides of your truck (that is, on the rails). They’re fairly longer than other boxes, spanning the entire length of the truck bed. This can be very convenient to keep longer tools and items like crowbars, shovels and scrapers. You can use them in conjunction with crossover boxes to carry an entire arsenal of handy tools and other gear.

Sometimes, these boxes are also referred to as inner side truck toolboxes. This is because they can be accessed easily from the sides. Hence, you can save time in loading or unloading your tools.

Tool Chest

Truck Tool Chest

Tool chests are some of the most versatile options to keep your tools in. These types of toolboxes sit right on your truck bed instead of the sides. This somewhat reduces the available space of your truck bed for other things and limits your options for canopies or covers. They are much larger than crossover boxes and offer more in terms of space, which means more tool capacity.

Other Toolbox Designs

Aside from the main types of toolboxes, there are some outliers that have designs that don’t fit in any other category. One of these is the wheel well toolbox that is designed in an L shape. It sits snugly between the tail gate and the wheel well of your truck. They are smaller than a lot of other toolboxes, which means less carrying capacity but also more free space for your haul.

L shaped Truck Tool Box

Another type of design is the fifth wheel box. It works great if you have a fifth wheel hitch for your truck.

Last but not least, we have underbed toolboxes designed for flatbed trucks. You can mount them under the bed, which stores them away nicely and frees up your bed completely.

The Right Size of the Box

Size is an important aspect that you need to consider when buying a toolbox. Differently sized boxes will work for differently sized trucks. There are usually two main sizes available: full size and down size.

Down size boxes are generally a good fit for trucks like Canyons, Rangers, Frontiers, and Tacomas. Full size boxes are designed for trucks that tend to be a bit larger like Sierras, Silverados, Titans, and Tundras. Regardless of what kind of truck you have, you will still have to measure the dimensions of your box like the length, width and depth to ensure the proper fit. If you have a popular truck, the chances are that you can easily find boxes that are already custom-fit for your vehicle.

Measuring the Truck Bed

measuring the pickup truck bed

If you have a truck that is not common, the chances are that you will have to look harder for toolboxes that work for the bed. You can still find boxes that work for the truck, but you will have to take an additional step to measure your truck bed to find the right box.

Making the measurements is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is measure your truck from the inside of one rail to the inside of the other. This will be for the shorter measurement of the box. The next step is to repeat the process for the outside of the rails. This will serve as your larger measurement for the box. By now, you should have a good range of what boxes fit your measurement.

Of course, that’s not all. Some other measurements that you need to take into consideration are the height of the truck and the distance between the wheel wells and the bulkhead (which is for the depth of the toolbox). To measure the bed height, simply measure from the truck bed to the side rails. This will prove to be important when considering boxes that have a specific height. If your box is too large, it can end up not sitting properly on the truck bed and may even block your view from the rear window of the truck.

Materials for Your Toolbox

Aluminum

Aluminum is a popular choice for most toolboxes. It is tough and maintains its form well while being cost-effective. It is also one of the lighter metals, which makes it great if you are planning on moving it around a lot. Despite being light, its strength surpasses that of steel and gives you unmatched security and durability. You will find that most aluminum boxes will be made from bent sheets in a diamond pattern. As an added bonus, your tools will also be safe from any rusting.

Steel

Steel boxes are a bit rarer to come by than aluminum boxes, though these boxes offer more sturdiness than other materials. They are also meant to last a lot longer than aluminum, provided that they don’t rust. Of course, the added weight makes these kinds of toolboxes harder to move, which will be kind of inconvenient for you but will deter thieves. Usually, steel boxes are powder coated to prevent rust, but scratches on the surface can remove it, so you have to be careful.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is more common than steel but less than aluminum. It’s a great middle option that offers the same tensile strength of steel with the rust and corrosion resistance of aluminum. They are the best option for a secure and durable box that lasts a long time. These features also make them the most expensive option which can be worth the investment.

Finish of the Box

Box finishes can be functional to provide rust resistance or purely for cosmetic purposes. Typically, you will find either powder or gloss finishing on most boxes. These can come in black, white, or any other assortment of colors. Choosing the color is a purely aesthetic decision, so it would make sense to pick whichever color speaks to you more and matches with your truck’s color scheme.

Certain boxes like aluminum boxes don’t really need a finish since they’re made of aluminum sheets. These boxes will come polished from the manufacturer, which will give them a mirrored shiny finish.

Installing a Tool Box in a Double Cab Pickup Truck

Fitting the box inside your truck isn’t necessarily a hard feat to accomplish. All you need to do is utilize a few basic tools that you probably already use. Any mounting hardware or instructions are already provided with the box, so you should have no issues there.

You might notice that different toolbox types have different methods of installing and securing them. Crossover toolboxes have a J-bolt that can be attached with nuts and washers. Likewise, other toolbox types might need red rails, which means employing the use of drills. Try to choose a toolbox that you can easily install.

Price

You’re likely to buy a toolbox that fits within your desired budget. This is why you should aim for boxes that fall within the price range you’re comfortable paying for. The trick here is to look at your needs and check which boxes meet your criteria and offer maximum value.

Toolboxes will come in a variety of designs, materials, finishes, and features. An aluminum box with double lids will be priced much differently than a steel box with one lid. You could get a basic toolbox if you only care about the bare minimum, or you could shell out some more money for something premium. It all hinges on your comfortable spending range. As long as the box’s offerings are fair for its price, you should be good to go.

Conclusion

By now, you should be well aware of the different types of toolboxes and the different aspects associated with them. This will ensure you make an informed buyer’s decision. Regardless of what toolbox you decide to go for, you should be safe with the knowledge that you tried to be as involved in the buying process as possible.

It’s no secret that there are tons of toolboxes out there for you to buy. While it can be confusing at first, choosing one is a fairly simple prospect. As long as you stick to a toolbox that fulfils your needs, fits your budget and works as it’s supposed to, you should have the perfect box you can get.  Or you could try and make your own!

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