Cool Tools: Portable Storage

Bosch stackable storage www.boschtools.com

Easily movable storage boxes or container systems on work sites provide secure, convenient places to store tools and material, enabling personnel to work faster and more efficiently.

Simple metal or composite boxes are readily available from equipment supply sources and home improvement stores, but several manufacturers of electrical tools and equipment have developed lines of storage containers with shelves, drawers and modular storage systems designed specifically for workers in the electrical industry.

Bosch Power Tools, Farmington Hills, Mich., for example, offers a line of organizing systems that includes stackable tool and accessory boxes: the L-Rack and L-Boxx systems, which are designed for versatility and customization and are easy to transport and move within a job site, said Jocelyn Cronin, product manager.

“Each system can be used in combination with its heavy-duty folding cart and dolly,” she said. “The L-Dolly features Bosch’s Click and Go System that allows users to click and store tool boxes on the dolly. We also offer custom insert trays for these systems that accommodate 12V and 18V tools, corded tools and accessories.”

“The ability to customize each of these storage systems makes it easy for electricians to keep their tools organized at their base of operations and easily select and transport the tools for any given job,” she said.

“The L-Boxx comes in four different heights to accommodate different tools, provides front and side handles, has easy-to-engage comfortable locking clips, and is water-resistant. Different custom insert trays allow organization of tools and accessories.

“The L-Rack has convenient single-click stacking and can be expanded for additional storage or to create a custom organization system,” she said.

Cronin added that significant durability improvements have been made to all Bosch storage systems, including clips and handles, and the brand’s storage systems are competitively priced to provide maximum value.

Greenlee, Rockford, Ill., has mobile storage products that come in various sizes to suit different needs and feature optional casters for easy mobility on site, said Chelsea Grochocki, Greenlee product management specialist.

Greenlee
Greenlee field office storage box www.greenlee.com

Greenlee’s chest boxes and cabinet boxes are staples on job sites across the country, she continued, because of their longevity and also because they are made in the United States.

Mesh cabinets are designed with 48 individual compartments and high-visibility mesh screens on three sides, making them ideal for everyday use on job sites or in prefab shops, Grochocki said. Flat-top style boxes are useful for storing tall, bulky tools that are otherwise difficult to find space to fit.

Many Greenlee storage options are incorporated into portable work stations.

“Greenlee offers a mobile workbench that features the same level of security, durability and functionality as our storage boxes,” Grochocki said. “We also added a heavy-duty work surface and built-in chain vise to the top, which are particularly beneficial for training centers and prefab workstations. “We know how critical it is to our users to have reliable storage and security on job sites.

“Our Workhorse Mobile All-in-One Workstation includes a 90-degree conduit checker, extra space for hand tools or accessories, and is compatible with multiple bender and threader models.

“In addition, Greenlee offers an entire line of field offices that give contractors a mobile and secure storage solution while incorporating tech-ready features, such as monitor mounting brackets,” Grochocki said.

Klein Tools, Lincolnshire, Ill., offers an array of storage options that include tool boxes and bags that have evolved into higher-capacity job site storage.

“New products in this category offer higher standards of versatility and comfort,” said Scott Rabe, product manager at Klein. “While there still is a place for a hard-sided, single-compartment toolbox, new materials allow manufacturers to incorporate pockets and dividers in boxes and bags to help keep everything organized and within users’ reach.

klein
Klein rolling tool box with work top www.kleintools.com

“Recent trends show increasing interest in modular storage that allows professionals to grab only what they need for specific applications. In addition to their go-to bag or tote for the most-used tools, they will also have a ‘truck bag’ or modular system that holds tools they use less often or for specific purposes.

“Electricians do not want to waste time and energy while they’re working. Having to search for the right tool, repair damaged tools or lug around awkward bags means less productivity and more frustration,” he said.

Electricians want bags that can carry all the tools they need while maintaining portability, Rabe continued.

“Tools are heavy and come in all shapes and sizes. Having tool storage that keeps tools organized so that they are easily found and stands up to the abuse of an active job site is a must. Popular choices include backpacks that fit comfortably over the shoulders, and wheeled tool bags that can carry even more but can be moved easily to and from the job site,” he said.

Newer tool storage options also provide the necessary protection for sensitive meters, data equipment, laptops and tablets, which means professionals don’t have to worry as much about inadvertently damaging expensive equipment.

“Durable backpacks can be zipped shut and thrown over the shoulder to climb a ladder, and wheeled tool bags can be easily rolled off the job site. It’s all about matching the storage option with professional needs,” Rabe said.

Klein added to its line of drawstring canvas wall bags with 17- and 22-inch versions with reinforced bottoms with 100-lb. capacities. There are double-locking carabiners to securely hoist the buckets. The drawstring provides quick access to tools, but it is secure, giving users a piece of mind that their tools won’t fall out as they move around.

Milwaukee Tool, Brookfield, Wis., offers a modular storage system with storage organizers/containers, portable work carts, tool pouches and backpacks.

“Modular storage is popular for its versatility, and versatility is paramount when it comes to storage for electricians,” said Matt Vargo, group product manager. “The Milwaukee Packout system is a completely customizable storage system for the shop, job site and when transiting that allows electricians to adapt it to their needs.”

Milwaukee
Milwaukee Packout modular storage system www.milwaukeetool.com

Packout is a multifootprint system that allows tool boxes, organizers, totes, bags and more to easily stack and lock together in different configurations. It has grown to more than 25 storage products since it was introduced three years ago.

The base has 9-in., all-terrain wheels with a metal through-axle and industrial-grade extension handles. Tool boxes and organizers in the system are also constructed with impact resistant polymers and IP-65 rated seals. The Packout system has organizers, totes, shelving and more. Tool pouches and soft storage include an electrician’s pouch, work belt and zipper pouches and backpacks. Organizers/containers come with eight small and two large bins that are removable and mountable. Forty-inch work carts are made of steel.

“We recently introduced a customizable work top to the Packout system,” Vargo said. “It features a fastener-ready design so users can attach vises, chargers and a variety of other items to the top of the stack. The ½-in. marine-grade wood top provides a durable work surface.”

The various tool boxes, organizers, totes and bags, each with individual storage features, are available separately from the system.

Additionally, Milwaukee will soon introduce a racking kit with two racking shelves and two 20-inch lengths of vertical E-Track to give users options to attach and mount racking shelves to a variety of surfaces including work vehicles, garages, shops and more, Vargo said.

“Durability is extremely important in storage products,” Vargo concluded. “Everything needs to be thoughtfully designed to ensure it can withstand harsh job site environments. Milwaukee maximizes durability by using premium materials such as 1680D ballistic material, high-impact resistant polymer, as well as molded bottoms and metal reinforced corners for increased impact resistance.”

Stanley Black & Decker, New Britain, Conn., offers professionals and tradesmen a diverse range of storage and work facilitation products that include tool boxes, mobile toolboxes/chests, organizers, toolbox systems and soft storage products.

stanley
Craftsman VersaStack wheeled lockable tool box www.craftsman.com

“This family of products offers everything electricians need for storage,” said Boaz Sarfati, Craftsman group product manager for storage. “Included are an open tote bag, tool bag and organizer for customized storage of tools and accessories as well as carrying large tools or a large volume of hand/power tools. Having a rolling toolbox allows easy mounting and mobility for electricians that are on the road or on a large job site.”

The new Craftsman VersaStack System has a variety of modules and components, with wheels for convenient maneuverability, and totes for easy access of tools in tool boxes in a variety of sizes for customized storage.

“Drawer units are available to easily store and provide to access tools and small parts, organizers, and two soft bags with optimal storage possibilities. We also offer a radio and a cooler, all of which can be stacked to one another so that transporting the units is easy and convenient. Most modules are water-resistant and rated IP-54,” Sarfati said.

About the Author

Jeff Griffin

Freelance Writer

Jeff Griffin, a construction and tools writer from Oklahoma City, can be reached at up-front@cox.net.

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