Best Truck Toolboxes

Updated January 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best truck toolboxes

Whether you use your truck for leisure, work, or both, a toolbox is a great addition. It’s perfect for a contractor’s tools during the week and for camping gear, fishing rods, or rifles on the weekend. Those we’re featuring here are fixed in place, which maximizes the space available and offers better security than those that just rest on the truck bed.

Given their versatility and the number of different trucks around, it will be no surprise that there are many choices when it comes to truck toolboxes! It’s not just a question of whether it’s the right size for your truck; you’ll also want to think about what the toolbox is made from, where it’s positioned, and how it’s installed.

The BestReviews team has been looking at every available option so we can deliver our usual thoroughly researched advice. Our recommendations cover a variety of styles and prices, and the following guide explains the important features in more detail to help you find the right solution for your truck.

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There’s often some flexibility with fit but be very careful and make sure the toolbox is designed for your vehicle. Just because the manufacturer calls it “universal” doesn’t make it so!

Buying guide for Key considerations

The two main areas to look at are construction and size and fit. There are several additional features we’ll also cover below.

Construction

There are a few steel toolboxes around, but the material is heavy and more difficult to fabricate, so they aren’t common. Most are made of either plastic, typically high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or aluminum.

HDPE: This plastic is easy to form into just about any shape you can imagine. It’s relatively light, low cost, and fairly durable. The only real drawback is the level of security it offers. A decent lock provides some protection, but a pry bar will soon have it open. Also, plastic toolboxes usually have a maximum load limit.

Aluminum: This metal is much more resistant to attack, and several manufacturers focus on theft prevention with full-length or hidden hinges and locks (frequently steel) that are resistant to tampering or drilling. Aluminum isn’t quite as easy to work as HDPE, but you can still find a wide variety of toolbox shapes. Aluminum is also a little more expensive, but it’s highly resistant to rust, so it should be equally durable. Additional coatings are sometimes provided, which add further protection.

Size and fit

Saddle toolboxes: These are also called cross-bed or crossover toolboxes and are perhaps the most common. These stretch across the width of the truck bed, just behind the cab. As with any truck toolbox, it’s vital to check that a particular model matches the dimensions of your vehicle. Small differences from one year to the next can be important here. These toolboxes are not usually the full bed depth, so you can still fit in some items that measure the whole bed length. Depending on what you need to carry, that could be important.

Side-mounted toolboxes: One of these is a good choice for those who want to retain the full length of the truck bed and plenty of depth. These can be longer than the saddle type, though they tend to be shorter front to back. Because the lid faces outward, they’re accessed from the side with you standing beside the truck, which can be very convenient. For large carrying capacity, it’s possible to combine a saddle type with two side-mounted toolboxes. In this case, it’s very important to check sizes.

Topsider toolboxes: These are a version of the side-mounted toolbox designed for flatbed trucks.

Underbody toolboxes: These are fitted beneath the bed. Space can be tight, so particular care is required when checking the size of these. They feature one or two large front doors, which is useful if you have heavy items that would be awkward to lift over the top of the truck bed. However, substantial brackets are needed to hold these toolboxes.

Wheel well (wheel arch) toolboxes: These fit at the far end of the truck bed, between the wheel arch and the tailgate, and are mounted on a hinge so they can swing out across the bed for easy access. They have smaller capacity than other types, though they use space that might otherwise be wasted. Like side-mounted models, these toolboxes retain the full bed length for carrying items.

In all cases where the toolbox fits within the bed area, check whether a bed rug or plastic bed liner has any impact. One might cause problems, particularly with wheel well toolboxes.

Auto-lift struts are a very useful addition, so you don’t have to lift the lid or hold it with one hand when trying to put things in or take them out.

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Features

Capacity

Toolbox capacity is often quoted in cubic feet, which can sound impressive, but many people struggle to relate that to actual space. Always look at the dimensions and at whether things like hinges impinge on that space. Several models have internal trays, though usually only one or two, which might come in handy.

Opening

A top opening is probably the most popular, but “butterfly” lids that hinge in the middle and open from either side provide a convenient alternative.

You’ll quite often find automatic struts/lifters are fitted to the lid, which is great if your hands are full, but how they are positioned varies. It’s not normally a problem, but if you’re going to carry bulky items, you may want to look at the amount of space the struts take up.

Installation

Pay particular attention to how the toolbox is fitted. Clamps may be included but often are not. J-clamps are common, which are quick to fit and you only need a wrench. “Universal fit” often doesn’t live up to the name. Look out for comments like “additional hardware may be required.” You need to check that carefully.

Latches

Latches and locks vary considerably. Two are usually better than one, and we like both to lock. Some truck toolboxes have a single-twist or push-button system in addition to the latches, which lets you open the box more quickly when it’s not locked.

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Did You Know?
 Many truck toolboxes fit over the bedsides, but a few sit below. As a result, they can be used with several popular brands of truck bed cover.
Staff
BestReviews

Accessories

Sticker: American Vinyl “No Tools” Sticker
Thieves are known to target contractor vehicles. A couple of these stickers that read, “No Tools Are Left in This Vehicle Overnight,” might help put them off. While it’s no guarantee your toolbox won’t be broken into, it’s a useful visual deterrent that costs just a few bucks.

Alarm: Wsdcam Wireless Vibration Alarm
Although primarily designed for motorcycles and bicycles, this compact device is ideal for fitting to your truck toolbox lid. The 113-decibel volume should be enough to put off all but the most determined criminal. Sensitivity can be adjusted to suit your environment.

Toolbox liner: Reizen Tech Heavy-Duty Toolbox Liner
This roll of slip-resistant material, which measures 18 inches by 24 feet by 3 millimeters thick, is great for stopping your tools from banging together and getting damaged, and it reduces those annoying rattles when you’re driving. It’s easy to cut and washable, and if you don’t like it, Reizen will give you your money back!

Mounting bolts (J-clamps) are often not provided. It can be very frustrating if your truck toolbox arrives and you can’t install it. Check what you need when ordering.

Staff
BestReviews

Truck toolbox prices

Inexpensive: The cheapest truck toolboxes we found are plastic models that sit behind the wheel arch. Small models start at around $120 each. Aluminum cross-bed models start at around $250.

Mid-range: The largest selection costs between $300 and $600. This is where you’ll find just about every style we’ve mentioned. Those that fit under tonneau covers are around $400.

Expensive: From $600 to $1,000, you’re paying for large toolboxes with easy-open features and full weather protection.

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A wheel well toolbox can be a great use of the dead space at the rear of your truck bed, and it means you don’t lose any length for carrying items.

FAQ

Q. How secure is a truck toolbox?

A. Some are definitely more secure than others! And it doesn’t just concern general construction, which we covered above, but also the kind of latches and locks. The bigger and more solid the better. Multipoint locking is a bonus. However, as any law enforcement officer will tell you, anything can be broken into eventually if the thief is determined. Where practical, try not to leave your truck in a vulnerable position. If you can, remove valuable items from the truck when it’s parked overnight.

Q. Are truck toolboxes waterproof?

A. It depends on the level of waterproofing you expect. It’s certainly worth checking owner feedback. Most toolboxes are pretty good, but prolonged exposure to bad weather could cause problems. If it’s important, look for a model that has weather strips or seals fitted. They will wear out eventually, and they could get damaged in heavy industrial or construction environments, so keep an eye on them.

Q. What’s the difference between a truck toolbox and a camper/RV toolbox?

A. Although the same description can be used for both, we consider a truck toolbox to be one that is designed to be fitted to your truck, at least semi-permanently. A camper toolbox might look similar, be made of the same material, and be lockable, but it’s really just a big storage container. It usually has handles to make it easy to lift in and out of the vehicle.

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