Recently I have begun the path to getting my contractors license and am rigging out what was once my wife’s van, a 91 Toyota Previa, and turning it into a contractor van.
I’m a cabinet installer and trim carpenter and a lot of my work is in the same development, so getting from house to house in a timely fashion is very important. Every trip I take back and forth from my van costs my employer, and now that I am getting my license, myself money.
Foreseeing this efficiency problem of lugging several tool boxes in and out of my van, I started looking into toolbox systems.
I came across this comparison video first…
I don’t have any Bosch tools, so I really wasn’t attracted to that option, and the Festool stack is spendy spendy. I’m sure some day I may find myself in the Festool camp, but the budget just isn’t there right now.
So I ended up deciding on the DeWalt Tstak system. They were the cheapest, and I already had a few DeWalt tools in my tool chest, so it was the most likely choice. I have always been a fan of the DeWalt line of tools. It’s quite unpretentious. They are generally worth what you pay for them, and they always do the job.
I don’t have all 6 different boxes, I haven’t gotten the deep drawer box, but I have enough of them that I feel like I can give a pretty accurate review.
They do stack together well, each box will set into corresponding grooves of the one below it, and the yellow plastic locks flip up and secure them together. The snapping locks do seem like a weak point, and I’m sure over the years these locks will probably break. If they do, I can always bind the whole stack together with a ratchet strap but I have a feeling they will last for several years if I treat them nice.
The deep box is pretty much what it says it is. It has a few power tools nested in the base area and I keep their supplies in the tray. There is a lot of room in this box, much more than I thought it would have, so I’d say I’m pleased with it. Each of the boxes has a little space for you to label the boxes and they come with slips of paper to label them with. I guess I might use them as time goes on and I add more boxes, but for now they sit blank.
I was expecting this to be a disappointment. But I quickly grew to love it. The drawers aren’t very tall so don’t expect to get even medium sized items in. I can barely fit my finish putty tins in them. They fit, but sometimes they get caught between the drawer and case and jam it up.
The drawers do have ball-bearing guides and they can be slide out all the way to clean out behind them. And the dividers are adjustable, you can slip in or out a few tray dividers to get the divisions the right size. I cut one of the non-removable dividers out with a razor to get my stain pens in one tray.
I really like this case, its my goody box. The individual bins are removable revealing compartments below to store items. I keep longer screws that I rarely use. The bit holder by the front of the handle work ok, the bits always fall out and wander around the inside of the case when I carry it by the handle, a mild nuisance. Also one thing I noticed about all of the cases that hinge at the back, they have a steel bar that the hinges pivot on, way better than the pure plastic hinging on the cheaper tool boxes out there.
This wasn’t an item that I originally planed on purchasing, but it’s become one of my goto boxes. I keep my general install tools in it, and when I bring the full stack in for an install it’s my top box. I do like the compartments in the lid. It’s big enough for smaller hole saws, screws, spade bits…
This is another item that I wasn’t planning on getting. I figured I could save a few bucks and use a dolly to wheel in and out the boxes. I quickly figured that unless I modified my dolly, the boxes were often in danger of slipping off the dolly or being damaged. So I pulled for the cart, and I’m glad I did. Its both strong and light, the locking castors keep it from rolling around in the van. I don’t trust the wheels to not mar a finished floor, but if the floors are covered it makes it easy to move all my tools from room to room. And with the deep box attached it makes a great rolling stool.
The Tstak toolboxes feel like a beta line of toolboxes that DeWalt put online to see how they get used, and who uses them. They are a great choice for both a hobbiest looking to get organized, or a handyman/contractor looking for a portable option for keeping his/her tools organized and accessible. I hope that DeWalt continues to develop it. I often see their other toolboxes at Home Depot, and am hoping to some day see that the Tstak will be available off the shelf soon.