The bed of a pickup truck is used to transport all kinds of stuff, from fishing gear to tools and supplies for a DIY project. But after a while, all the stuff starts piling up and if you don’t have an organized storage space, you’ll end up with a cluttered mess. This is why you need to invest in a good pickup truck bed toolbox.
A quality truck bed tool box will keep all your tools and supplies organized and accessible while you’re on the go. They are especially designed to fit in pickup truck beds without any difficulty, making sure that your tools and equipment are safe and secure, no matter where the job takes you.
With so many types and configurations out there, it’s not a good idea to just pick one randomly. This post goes over different aspects of pickup bed tool boxes. We understand that each truck owner has their own unique requirements and have compiled this guide to help you decide on the right option. Whether you are a proud owner of a full-sized crew, or drive an old school single cab, here is what you should consider when purchasing a new pickup truck bed tool box.
Types of Pickup Truck Bed Tool Boxes
The first thing buyers have to decide is the type of a toolbox. Pickup truck bed tool boxes are available in several types, including crossover, side mount, underbed, and top mount. Let’s look at how each differs from the other.
Cross Bed Tool Boxes
Also known as cross bed tool box or saddle tool box, it stretches over the bed, resting near the back of truck cab on both bed rails. They run across the entire width of the truck and can carry a lot of stuff. These are also the most common truck toolbox variety too.
The notched bottom helps you fit these around the wheel wells. And they also leave some room underneath that you can use to stow other things. They are not sold as vehicle specified models, so you have to make sure you get the right width for your truck.
Side Mount Tool Boxes
Side mount tool boxes install on the side rail of your truck bed and often run along its entire length. Their notched shape may extend down the truck bed, but does not touch its floor. Think of an inverted L shape mounted on the side rail of your truck bed.
These tool boxes are sold for both left and right side rail configurations, and are popular with handymen who prefer working out of their truck. Side mount tool boxes work well with crossover beds and tool boxes with some models directly connecting with each other.
Underbed Tool Boxes
Also known as underbody tool boxes, the underbed tool boxes are different from crossover bed and side mounted tool boxes because they don’t mount on the rails of the bed. Rather these tool boxes are installed underneath the bed. They are a great choice for trucks with flatbeds or a service bed.
These toolboxes keep your tools and equipment safe without taking up the valuable bed space. You can install one along the side or the tail of the truck for easy access.
Top Mount Tool Boxes
Top mount tool boxes are also called top sider or high-side tool boxes. Looking similar to side mount tool boxes, these tool boxes merely sit on the top of the bed trail. There is no notch extending down the side rail into the truck bed. They also don’t swing upwards to open, rather their lids swing downward, opening on the outside for easy access.
These tool boxes are popularly used by builders and home repair professionals. They have a lot of storage capacity and leave plenty of space in the truck bed to load equipment and materials.
Materials used in Pickup Truck Bed Tool Boxes
The material of your toolbox is an important factor to consider as it affects the longevity and durability of the box. Common materials used for toolboxes are aluminum, steel and plastic.
Steel Tool Boxes
Steel is durable and often contains additional coats of paints to make it rust-resistant, but can be heavier than other materials. These tool boxes are sturdy, durable, and extremely weather resistant. They are usually powder-coated to prevent rusting, and can withstand strong impacts without denting.
Aluminum Tool Boxes
Aluminum is lightweight and weather-resistant, but can be prone to denting. An aluminum toolbox keeps your tools protected from rust, moisture, and dust, and is strong enough to withstand years of rough usage.
Plastic Tool Boxes
Plastic is lightweight and moderately resistant to rust, but can be prone to cracking in extreme temperatures or shocks. Plastic tool boxes are a popular choice amongst truck owners because of their lightness and affordability. They do not exert too much pressure on the truck body. Plus, act well against rust, moisture, and impacts.
Size and Capacity
Next, consider the size and capacity of the toolbox. A larger size will be necessary if you need extra storage space or plan to carry heavy tools; however, if you are looking for something more streamlined and only need minimal storage space, a smaller size would be better.
Look at the space available in your truck bed and determine how much of it you are willing to sacrifice for a toolbox. Cross bed tool boxes tend to take up more space, with the side mount ones occupying some of the bed with its notch. Top mount and underbed tool boxes usually don’t take up any truck bed. Consider the total space of your pickup truck bed and choose a toolbox accordingly.
It is also important to take into account the type of locking mechanism you want in a toolbox. A basic key lock may suffice if you are simply looking for some added security. But a more advanced combination or digital lock is required for additional peace of mind or if there are expensive tools placed inside the box. Depending on what you are storing inside, you may also want to look into toolboxes with multiple locking points for added security.
In addition to the type of lock, keep an eye on how sturdy the locking mechanism is. Is it easy for thieves to break through? Or does it have extra security features? Some truck tool boxes require complete removal of the lid before the toolbox itself can be removed from the truck.
Weather resistance is one of the most important factors to consider in a pickup truck bed tool box. A weather-resistant toolbox is able to withstand various types of weather conditions such as rain, snow, and extreme temperatures without corroding or rusting. Stainless steel or aluminum with powder coat finish are great choices for this purpose since they are highly durable, corrosion-resistant and easy to clean. Additionally, check if the lid of the tool box has a rubber gasket around the edges. This helps ensure that moisture does not leak into the interior of the box which can cause damage over time.
Make sure that the toolbox you choose has a locking mechanism designed to keep out water and dust. If you plan on using your box in more extreme conditions, consider getting one that is designed with extra channels and contours to better divert water away and reduce rust buildup over time.
Ease of Installation and Removal
Although it’s not something you’ll have to do on a regular basis, it’s still a good idea to consider how easy it is to install or remove a toolbox on the truck bed. Some models may require drilling or cutting into the bed itself for proper installation. If you are an avid do-it-yourselfer, you may want to opt for a box that can easily be installed and removed. It’s important to look for boxes that come with all necessary mounting hardware so you can get the job done quickly and easily.
For easy cleaning and maintenance, look for pickup truck bed tool boxes that have a quick release feature. This allows you to remove the box easily without having to unscrew any nuts or bolts. Some boxes may even have built-in drainage systems that help drain fluids from the toolbox when not in use. Additionally, there are truck tool boxes that come with adjustable shelves, which you move or rearrange for storage purposes.
When it comes to price, prices for pickup truck bed tool boxes range from around $100 to $1000 and even more. There is a variety of options available so you can choose one depending on your needs and what you are willing to spend.
More expensive tooxboxes may include additional features or accessories such as drawers or dividers to help organize your tools more efficiently. On the other hand, some basic models may appear more appealing if you are looking for something cheap and lightweight.
As a general rule, steel tool boxes tend to cost more, followed by aluminium, and plastic. The price comparison also says a lot about their durability. Stainless steel is the sturdiest material, so the splurge you make for it will prove to be worthwhile in the long run. Plastic tool boxes may be cheap, they cannot last as long as metallic boxes, so you’ll find yourself looking for a new one soon enough. It’s important to balance your budget with your needs in order to find the best fit for you.
Pickup truck bed tool boxes make it easy to keep your truck bed clutter-free. With so many options out there, it is quite natural to feel overwhelmed. Take out the time to compare different types, materials, dimensions, and locking mechanisms of the tool boxes you like. Doing so will help you figure out the right option for yourself. The important thing is to choose a toolbox that not only meets your needs, but that can also survive extensive use and harsh weather conditions.