One of the biggest hassles of working on a car or truck is the multiple trips to the toolbox to grab a new wrench, longer screwdriver, extra sockets, or even a magnet to recover the bolt you just dropped into the abyss of the engine compartment. Traveling from shop to shop like we do, a consistent trend is the mechanic's utility cart. An installer would look over the installation instructions, grab a ton of tools, place them on his cart and then head over to the truck to handle the suspension lift, header install, brake upgrade, or other task at hand. Not only did it save valuable time going back and forth to the main toolbox, it also limited the level of frustration from constantly starting and stopping. Seeing so many different brands and types of mechanic's carts got us wondering, which one would be best for the home do-it-yourselfer?
After a few trips to our local tool retailers and a few clicks online, we ordered five mechanic's carts topping out at $250*. Major players are battling in this month's Truckin Tough and with several different styles tested, we're certain the victor will prove worthy of your hard-earned dollars. Testing included a combination of objective (number of drawers, maximum weight, features, mobility) and subjective (drawer smoothness, overall design, lid functionality) tests, as well as value, ease of assembly, and warranty. Once testing was complete, our winner was clear. If you're tired of going back and forth from truck to toolbox, or if you simply want a quality toolbox to store your most-used tools, check out the results and make your own decision.
Toolboxes constantly go on and off sale, and in an attempt to show a multiple of brands and styles, we took into account the sale price and allowed those tools that were on sale to be evaluated.
1. US General Pro 700-Pound Capacity Five-Drawer Tool Cart 95272
$185.00 (with Truckin coupon $164.99)
It's difficult to overstate the incredible value the US General Pro five-drawer tool cart, represents in the tool world. You get super-strong 14-gauge steel, five storage drawers of varying depths, and gas struts for the lid, which can support 176 pounds. The bright-red powdercoat was tough yet looked good, and for under $200, you get a legitimate mobile workstation and not just a little cart. It was the clear-cut winner of this shootout.
2. US General 580-Pound Capacity Four-Drawer Tool Cart 95659
$153.99 (with Truckin coupon $99.99)
Taking home the Silver Medal in this contest was the little brother to the five-drawer cart the US General four-drawer cart. With the Truckin magazine coupon, we picked up this cart for under $100. That's an incredible value when you realize it comes with liners for every drawer (including the bottom shelf and top covered area), can hold up to 580 pounds, and it has dedicated storage for extra-long screwdrivers or pry bars. We think it's one of the best purchases a gearhead can make for less than $100.
3. GearWrench XL Two Drawer Tool Cart 83152
$699.99 (on sale at time of purchase for $249.88)
Don't let the MSRP of nearly $700 scare you; we picked up this GearWrench XL tool cart from Eastwood for $249.88. That's an awesome sale price for a box loaded with pro-grade features such as lockable thermoplastic rubber casters that can support up to 880 pounds, drawer lock/unlock lid lever, Trigger Lock drawer system for a natural pull operation, and Auto Return, which snaps the drawers closed once it reaches the final few inches. The full-polished lacquer powdercoat was tops in this test, but despite the high-end appearance, it couldn't overtake the value proposition of the US General carts.
4. Craftsman Three Drawer Ball-Bearing Griplatch Utility Cart 59740
$349.99 (on sale at time of purchase for $244.88)
Craftsman is notorious for seasonal sales and dropping the prices of its toolboxes and carts way down to home DIYer prices. This cart impressed us with the Grip Latch drawer mechanism, drawer lock/unlock lid lever, and overall storage rating of 750 pounds. What dropped it to 4th Place in this test was damage it received in shipping, difficulty we faced when assembling it, and the lid's inability to stay closed unless it was locked.
5. Torin Work Cart with Top Toolbox TC311
Going into this shootout, we had high hopes for the uniquely designed Torin work cart, but after evaluating it, we had a hard time saying good things about it. Underneath the sliding top compartment are two small drawers that were barely deep enough to hold wrenches. Speaking of the sliding top, the two lower drawers cannot be opened without the top also being opened, which means if you're using the top as a work bench and need to gain access into the drawers you're in a world of hurt. Also, at 350 pounds of storage capacity, it was the weakest of the test and the overall dimensions include the small can holders on the side, which misleads you into thinking the box is larger than it is.