Tool rolls vs tool boxes: Which is best for your tools

When it comes to protecting your tools, we all have our little preferences. Some prefer the classic metal tool boxes while others go for the plastic hand-carry tool boxes we’ve grown familiar with over the years.

Whatever your preference might be, there’s one decision to make that often cuts opinion in two. Should you go for a tool roll or is the trusty tool box a better option? Our article goes through the advantages of each to help you make the best decision for you. Take a look!

Advantages of a tool roll bag

They’re often lighter than tool boxes

If you’re stuck for space and you need a more space-friendly solution, then tool rolls are discreet and easily stowed away. As sturdy as tool boxes are, they can be fairly bulky and take up a lot of space. Also, they add to your overall load which might not be what you want if you’re usually carrying lots of weight in your van.

Tool rolls are still heavy duty and will do the job of protecting your tools. Made from a durable canvas, you can rely on a tool roll to keep your tools safe.

You might get more storage options

In the average, everyday tool box you’ll probably get a pull-out compartment or drawer, and then a deeply-set area where you can bung everything else in. Simple, yes – but if you want more storage options for a wider variety of tools then a tool roll is the recommended choice.

Tool rolls will give you numerous pouches and pockets for you to securely stow away your tools. While tool boxes arguably give you more security with a lock or clasp mechanism, it’s not so handy for carrying around the job site and reaching for the tool you need there and then. With a tool roll you can do just that (it’s even better if it has a belt function!).

A tool roll can give you more customisation options

Like we said, a tool box will keep everything safe and secure but beyond that your options may be a little limited. With a tool roll, you can be a little more versatile. You can implement an extension cord onto a tool roll, and if you have a belt then you can also take power tools with you. Whether you have a belt or adjustable shoulder strap for your tool roll, you likely won’t get as much expandability or customisation with a tool box.

Potentially better protection for smaller items

Although your tool box will have internal compartments for smaller items like nails etc, tool rolls are often better for storing the slightly bigger (but still fairly small) items that do not so easily fit into a tool box. Items like gloves, water bottles and other things you need immediately will clip easily onto a tool roll or tool belt, whereas they likely won’t fit into a tool box without leaving the top up or removing everything from within (which isn’t a viable solution).

They’re often more portable

It’s already been mentioned but it does deserve its own section. Tool rolls and other tool bag variations are often infinitely more portable than toolboxes. Whether you’re working in a tight space and need a shoulder strap/belt for easy and instant access or you’re constantly moving from one area of your jobsite to another, the portability aspect will serve you well.

Advantages of tool boxes

Now that you have the advantages of buying a tool roll/tool bag, we’re going to run through some of the advantages of tool boxes. Regarded as the most essential bit of kit for all trade professionals and DIYers, there are many reasons why some of us have never gone beyond the tool box.

If durability is a priority, tool boxes are best

In the tool roll vs tool box argument, what you get from tool rolls’ convenience you often lack in durability. When it comes to overall durability and strength, you can’t go wrong with a reliable tool box. If, for you, durability and tool protection are at the top of your priorities, we recommend you go for a tool box. Over time, the seams on a tool roll can come apart (something that obviously won’t happen with a tool box!).

Also, tool boxes are foolproof for tool safety and general usability

There’s not much that can go that wrong with a tool box. With a tool roll strapped to your waist, any distracted DIYer can easily slip a tool through the wrong loop and end up with a swollen toe. What’s more, you can leave your toolbox unattended for a little while if you have a good lock on it (e.g, you’re carrying goods from your van to the jobsite and haven’t got round to lugging your toolbox yet). In terms of tool safety and the very real threat of theft, tool boxes are the recommended option.

More opportunity for custom foam products

One major thing that tool rolls do not provide is the opportunity to customise your setup with our DIY Foam products. This is a vital addition to any toolbox, giving you the flexibility and freedom to customise your toolbox and have your tools organised, right where you need them.

Where else are you going to sit?

As an added point to the aforementioned durability section, if you find that you often sit on your tool box when taking a breather then you’re not alone. Lots of people do it! If this is a habit you got into a long time ago, and your toolbox can take your weight, then who are we to say anything?! This is something you of course won’t get with a tool roll.

You have more waterproof/weatherproof options

While you can get waterproof tool rolls, there are far more tool box options that have better waterproof and water resistant ratings. If you often find yourself bombarded with rain while on the job then getting a waterproof tool box is potentially your best option.

Complete your setup with unique foam inserts

Should you choose to go with tool boxes, why not complete your setup with our range of foam case inserts? You can also order inserts sized specifically for your tool box and tools. Simply enter your dimensions into our DIY Foam calculator and we’ll give you an instant quote. Once the order is completed, we’ll have your inserts with you in no time at all.

Once they’re with you, take a look through our Foam Tutorials section for all you need to know about the process. In the meantime, be sure to take a look at our blog and get in touch if you’d like to speak with one of our team.



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