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Craftsman AXS Cabinet.jpg

Details about Craftsman’s new storage system, the AXS, were scarce when we introduced it to you almost 8 weeks ago as digital bling. But now that it’s officially released, the full specs are out — and the AXS storage units are making appearances at many Sears locations. I think that this storage system offers a number of cool features, but whether or not it has earned its description as the “cutting edge of tool storage” remains to be seen.

To refresh your memory, the 6-drawer chest comes with a 12V car-style adapter plug — which really can be handy at times. There’s also an LCD display on the chest which seems to provide radio controls, calendar information, and the temperature. Sears calls this display a multi-functional LCD digital information center, so hopefully it provides more information than can be found on a $15 travel clock radio.

The 7-drawer roll-away, on the other hand, is somewhat more appealing, with a load capacity of 1200 pounds, a slide-out lighted worksurface, and a 6-outlet 120V power strip.

Both the chest and roll-away come with 27″ wide self-closing ball-bearing drawers which can hold 75 pounds each. In addition, you get a Master Lock One-Key Locking System, which allows one to adjust the lock to accept the same key — or most standard house keys — for both chest and cabinet. Finally, you get the option to choose among many different color combinations and patterns, though some color schemes will drive up the price.

The AXS combo is on sale this week for a cool $1,000, or available separately for $430 (chest) and $570 (roll-away).

Personally, I think this storage system screams “gimmick”, and would rather get a lot more bang for my buck. But quite a few of you chimed in when we first posted about the AXS, and now that further details have been released and display models are available for firsthand evaluation, we’d love to hear your opinion in comments.

Craftsman ALX [Sears]
Press Release [Business Wire]


33 Responses to Hot or Not? Craftsman AXS Tool Storage

  1. Patrick says:

    Are you kidding me?

    “Hold on a sec while I reboot my toolbox”

  2. Evan N. says:

    Not. My father in law gave me his old Craftsman toolbox from the ’70s when he got a new one recently, which I repainted; and I’m sure my dad will give me his some day. I’m a fan of simplicity, and the old style toolboxes have served well for what seems like 100 years. I bet Boyd might like this though, this is definitely a “Boydster” of a tool box.

  3. Old Donn says:

    Not. Too pretty, too many bells & whistles. Anyone who’d buy this is the same guy who won’t put anything in his pick-up bed because it might get scratched. Seriously, a toolbox is also a tool. It’s going to get it’s fair share of abuse, accidently or on purpose. Craftsman has a lot of more functional boxes for the same money.

  4. Kif says:

    Looks like an excellent place to store “Rubber-Maid” tools!

    Ever since I was a kid it seems tool chests were simple red boxes with drawers; no matter who made them. (Not counting ‘machinists chests’ made of wood or steel with a wrinkle finish) If that was too boring people put on those car-toony Snap-On stickers inspired by Rat Fink. Now were suffering this trend to make God-honest garage storage look like designer kitchen appliances, probably with the intent of luring guys who skew more to Bobby Hill than Hank Hill.

    Seriously, I think my generation (I’m 36) was raised in a manner that de-valued the shop. I was lucky to get two semesters of woodworking as electives in high-school. Auto shop wasn’t even an option. Maybe if it was still available today the hot-rodding hobby wouldn’t have been taken over by guys who highlight their hair and take their cars in to have the chip reflashed before even learning what the four-strokes are.

    The days when every guy had a cherished collection of hand-worn tools from foundries across the rust-belt, tools that were used to finish seasonal tasks such as fixing storm windows and adjusting chokes seem to be over. Apparently, people who don’t really need tools can’t appreciate them for what they are. People who don’t need tools need to be entertained by their tools.

  5. Mopardude says:

    Depends! To me some of the gimmicky features might be of use to me. Like the built in power and the lighted work surface. It would all depend on how functional these actually where and if they stood up to abuse. Also from the pic it looks like there is a lot of plastic on this box possibly and that is definately not cool with me.

  6. Harry says:

    Not even lukewarm. I saw one of these in the local Sears the other day. I was not impressed just slightly amused. There’s alot of plastic, the set seems small with shallow drawers, and I’m not sure about durability. The set does draw some good ideas from things I have on my cabinets or seen on other toolboxes in shops I have worked in but, may be lacking in Sears’ execution. DC power outlets used to power that extra FM/CD player and speakers attached to larger tool boxes. I’ve seen lighting under hutches and yes even ground effects for huge cabinets but, aside from Christmas lights around the holidays and the hutch lights, I haven’t seen many lights stay. We all have surge protectors somewhere in or on the box for the chargers for cordless tools and perhaps a computer. Time is money and access to quick information makes a tech money and having your own computer is a huge timesaver. The color selection is nothing new except for perhaps Sears offering it.Anyway, some of the ideas incorporated into the Axis box are sound and can be found creatively in use in alot of today’s garages on much larger set ups. There aren’t many options for expanding the axis setup. I’m not sure who this box is designed for. I think a person would be better off picking up a Craftsman Professional model set and add the features they need/want. I don’t predict a long product lifespan for this set but, you never know what people will buy. Hell, I can see wives looking for something for their husband as Christmas closes in and they could be drawn to the display model’s purple ground effects lighting like a moth to a bug zapper.

  7. Pencilneck says:

    I never though a tool box could “jump the shark” but here we are. I’ll be keeping my Waterloo toolbox (a real Waterloo, not rebranded). The pull out work self is really another way to say, “storage space wasted”. A wall clock will tell you the time and you can see if from across the shop. The temp is only going to be “too hot” or “too cold”…. my tool box isn’t needed for me to figure this out.

    This was something designed by marketing, not people with dirty hands.

  8. Steve O says:

    NOT. Maybe for some teenager to store his playskool tools.

  9. Martin says:

    I still think the Costco stainless boxes are the best deal anywhere. Functional, rugged, look good and inexpensive when compaired to other brands.

  10. Mel says:

    I’m with Martin on this – I have a Craftsman set that’s 20+ yrs. old, and 2 of the stainless boxes from Sam’s Club. No way does this compare to either.

  11. Update: The LCD info center provides the day, date, time, temperature, timer, and alarm function. Also, under cabinet blue lighting seems to be a standard feature.

  12. Bryan says:

    I just saw this at my local Sears store yesterday. It was cool looking enough that I paused to check it out. But, honestly, the biggest impact it had on me was making me realize what a good deal the old-fashioned red tool cabinets really are.

  13. Old Donn says:

    I checked one of these out the other day and I must say, it is a slick item. It didn’t change my mind, it’s still a “Not” but it sure does look good.

  14. Antonio says:

    Maybe it would sell better in the kitchen appliance section.

  15. sarah says:

    Thanks guys! I just bought this for my husband for his bday. Being a stay at home mom of 4 kids. I thought I had really purchased the mother load of tool chests. I hope he doesnt check out this website. Its so true though how it appealed to a “womans” eye. I was so overwhelmed by all of the other ones and thought it was the best. Whoops. I guess I will soon find out if he agrees with all of you.

  16. Jim Rankin says:

    I have to admit, I clicked through every one of the 42 color combinations at sears.com, but I can get a 27″ “Heavy Duty Plus” Clarke stack at Menards for about a third the price.
    I figure I can tape some glow sticks to the bottom of it if I really want “accent lighting” on the mobile cabinet… 8 hours later, when the glow sticks die out, I will probably have had my fill of the effect anyhow.

    I applaud Craftsman for breaking the mold, but I’m just not sure about an Omnibot Tool Box. There’s some buzz going around about their automatic digital MIG Welder… now THAT, I’m looking forward to!

  17. Correction: Under cabinet glow is not included, but available as an optional accessory for $30…

  18. Squatch says:

    HOT. If any body wants to read a real review from an actual customer and not some tool dorks, you’ve found the right review. I have recently purchased a customized AXS, its candy apple red with chrome drawer fronts and completely kick’n chick’n. I’m not gonna say the AXS box is the end all beat all tool box but some of you guys have no clue what you’re talking about and are just spouting off in an attempt appear knowledgeable on the subject. I mean come on “Hold on a sec while I reboot my toolbox”, we are talking about a digital clock/thermometer, a work light, and a backlit nameplate (gee that sounds complicated). Or how about “I’ll be keeping my Waterloo toolbox (a real Waterloo, not rebranded)”, just so you know…a Waterloo box is a great box and usually cheaper that a Craftsman, Kobalt, or any other brand that they build for, but they are all essentially the same box. And as far as the plastic goes its actually really tough plastic, plastic tops are very common in the industry and are plus because of the added storage and it acts as a bumper. The plastic drawer trim are very durable and I won’t think twice about bouncing a wrench off one. Don’t get me wrong, some of you guys are level headed consumers, and you know who you are. But a good chunk of you are just “tool snobs” and are going to find something to complain about no matter what. This type of box is the future of tool storage, and it’s the first of a new breed so don’t be so critical. You have to give Sears and Waterloo credit for being innovative enough to break the mold with a box like this. I mean nearly everything we buy these days is tied to some piece of technology, it’s everywhere. I can’t wait to see the next generation of AXS. The purpose of writing this is not to tick off some of the other guys; I want to make sure that the average Joe that checks out these reviews doesn’t get the wrong idea. The AXS box is a great box, it will allow you to be more efficient when you’re in the garage or shop, it’s very functional, its modern, and its will look completely awesome in your garage. In fact the only down fall is that it’s gonna make the rest of your stuff look like crap! Especially if you have one of those stainless boxes that are covered with grinder marks and defects (by the way are made in CHINA). Is it more money? I guess it depends on you point of view and your vocation, what is you time worth? Do you want to “class up” your work area? I personally like a clean and organized work area. Is this a professional mechanics box? My first thought was no, but after I thought about it I realized it could be really useful. This would be great to roll right up to whatever vehicle you’re working on, with the USB adapter you would have you laptop right there on a stable platform along with the power strips and I actually think the LCD screen is very useful. The bottom line is that I am happy with my AXS box and hope anyone considering buying one will give it some thought, if you do I think you will spring for the AXS.

  19. Squatch,

    Your input is very appreciated. It’s extremely hard to find people who have purchased these boxes since they are well above the budgets of most consumers, and have only relatively recently been released.

    On a personal note, I think that a lot of us would love to see an AXS in action. Please consider posting some photos of your setup in the flickr pool if it’s not too much trouble.

    I have stopped by my local Sears a few more times to chat with a tool guy there and handle the AXS to see if my opinion has changed. From what I have gathered by handling the display model, the AXS may not be as bad as I originally thought.

    However, that’s not to say that the AXS is a great product and the mold of things to come. If Sears stripped off some of the “flash” they would have a much cheaper, more practical product within reach of more consumer-level budgets. I don’t think that anybody would doubt the storage abilities of the AXS. My problem with the AXS is its high pricetag, as well as the way Sears has been promoting it.

    To me, the fact that the AXS isn’t selling well is indicative that there is something wrong with the features, the pricetag, the marketing, or a combination of the three.

    Sears seems to have its target audience completely wrong. They keep focusing on the flash and not the function. I’ve even seen an ad on yahoo which made it look like the AXS was a glorified piece of furniture.

    There are a few things about the AXS that have helped soften my opinion on it. By no means would or could I go out and purchase one at this point, but it *may* be worth considering if I were in a professional shop.

    The AXS has nice sized drawers, but plain steel chests of the same 19″ depth can be had for about 50% of the cost. My biggest hangup is that the AXS doesn’t seem to be worth a thousand dollars. If its pricetag drops by at least 10-20%, sales of individual chests and roll-aways would increase, as well as complete sets as well. With better sales, maybe Waterloo and Sears will keep on working towards improving this “revolutionary” style of tool storage designs. Like Squatch, I’m eager to see a second generation of “modern tool storage.” With hopefully lower R&D costs, and a better sense of what people want, it will likely include a few improvements.

    My personal belief is that one’s personal tool storage setup should not cost more than the value of their tools. If one has greater than $1000 in tools, then they are probably experienced enough to choose whatever product suits their needs. From the Sears’ current marketing strategy, it seems that the AXS is aimed at folks with less than $1000 in tools, which is why I wouldn’t recommend it too quickly.

  20. Mike says:

    I work in a garage full time, bought the axs recently, and have nothing but good things to say. Works great, love it, strong as an ox!

  21. Alex says:

    If you want a glowing review, just ask Popular Mechanics, they gave this box an award in their automotive section. One of the salesmen at Sears actually pulled out a drawer and stood in it to show how durable the drawers are. It’s a slick box, built tough, but it does scare a lot of old-fashioned people with how it breaks the mold. With power through side outlets, an alarm clock to keep you on schedule if you lose track of time, a worksurface that you can light with LEDs, and a plethora of other features that take time to learn and appreciate, I say it really is a HOT item. Waterloo industries and Sears did well in collaborating to make this.

  22. Kevin says:

    I am one of those associates that stands on it. I’m also the same associate that jumps up and down on the Craftsman Professional 36″ wide cut mower deck to show the welding quality and kicks the Kenmore Elite Grills to show the stainless steel durability.

    One of the fun time perks of working at Sears. 🙂

    Kevin T. Pace
    Customer Solutions Consultant
    Lawn & Garden Department
    Sears Store #1295, St. Petersburg, FL

  23. Kevin says:

    I have a different sort of story. I got this chest for $299 because an associate marked the price wrong during a sale. I saved $700!

    This box is awesome. I CONSTANTLY work on my cars and it is built like a brick house. The digital readout stuff is used to let me know what temp it is in my garage and I use the timer so momma doesn’t get mad that I spend too much time in the garage.

    Drawers are smooth and I have no problem putting my snap-on tools in this box. My buddies think its cool as well.

  24. If you want to store stuff in your garage, I saw this at a tradeshow. 200 pounds of 10 gage steel, highly polished paint, dual locking system and takes over 100,000 psi to rip it out. Overkill YESSS, not customizeable, but it looks so freaking cool that my tool box could withstand a CAT-5 Hurricane, I had to buy one (yes, they are a pricey, but says hand made in GA, that’s cool too). And NO-ONE you know has something like this!!!

  25. sorry, forgot…www.hurricanehutch.com. product is the Hurricane Hutch.

  26. Peter says:

    Well, looks like they killed the AXS, good for me, I picked up the 13-drawer system on Saturday for $640. Looks good, works great, and built to last 30 years of abuse.

  27. Greg says:

    I also bought this unit on sale for about 60% off. For the price I paid it’s awesome. The two lights are great for direct lighting over your tools especially in a low light garage. Smooth easily removed ball bearing drawers. Handy pullout work table for holding a half rack but not any real work. 12 to 18 beers is about as much weight as i wanna but on it. Power strip is cool but how much is a power strip $10? $50 if is says craftsmen. Clock thing is cool but its a clock what else can i say its like one of those Ironman watches with a timer and alarm. Nice to have but probably never use it. The under unit light is nice if you drop a screw. The locking system is cool. You can set the locks to accept what ever key you choose. I use my house key on both, and its easy to key. Would I pay $1200 + for this pretty boy tool box? never!!! Would I pay what I payed again? $500 ish, Yes I would. At the very least some sucker on ebay would buy it for a couple hundred dollar profit and still be way under retail. Time can only tell its true value.

  28. joel says:

    Damn why do you guy’s bash this box so bad I just got mine and love it. It’s really neat if you guy’s are and have been techs than I can only imagine that the led lighting wolud help your blinding eyes make out wether thats a 13 or 14 you are pulling out of the box and you can charge your drill batt’s on top (plugged in to the side) (sweet)!!!! man just dig your arm in crack out that wallet and be glad when you get that box into the shop. put your cool draw labels on your draws set your alarm for the 5pm countdown. Ladies get real stop downing a freakin’ sweet TOOL/box

  29. I purchased both boxes today from the sears friends and family sale for $540! I got it all set up its a great box. My only complaint wld be the depth of the drawers. As far as the stability of the box its as good if not better than any of the boxes ive seen at Lowes, Menards, or Home depot in its price range. For anyone thinking about purchasing this box go ahead and pull the trigger!!! Lastly this box is made in the USA!!!!!!

  30. I have reasently purchased one at 490 after tax and that was for top and bottom with all the bells and whistles. i was not a fan of all the electronics but it comes in handy for example the 12v outlet when my phones battery is dead i can get the car charger and i am good to go. the extra plugs on the side makes sure i don’t have to keep unplugging things cause i only have one extension cord ran. i am a machinist of over five and a half years and i like having all the smaller drawers on the top box and i have all of them loaded up including the bottom box anybody with any kind of respect for what they do keeps their tools and storage space cleaned so the plastic does not bother me. over all i have had the box for a month and i work out of it every day and i honestly have to say it is a great box. i would love a 36inch kennedy but rite now thats too high for me and i would recomend it to any one

  31. Dave Nelson says:

    I recently added the AXS tool box to my garage inventory. I am a home hobbiest when it come to mechanics, being an Electronics Technician professionally. I got a display model fully loaded with light kits and drawer mats for just over $500.00 top and bottom. I like the shallow drawers as I find digging through several inches of tools to find the right one a real pain. I also find having them laid out in an organized manner, it lets me see when one is missing and I can confirm it’s location before buttoning up a job. Kinda like a surgeon counting sponges. I really use the pull out work surface because like a lot of shops my bench tops rarely see the light of day. I fill the under section of the pull out with enough sharpies and pencils that I always have a writing tool and place to write when I need it.
    I originally thought the add on canvas top bag with the speakers was a little over the top, but finding two on clearence for 15.00 I took a chance. As it turns out it was perefect for holding a spotting scope, tripod, and all the tools necessary for gun maintenance, as well as providing music to shoot by. I found it so useful in that mode I bought several more online for my shooting buddies.
    As far as the underlighting, I have to pass through the garage to get to the pool and it is great not to have to turn on the garage ligts when coming and going to the pool at night. Would I pay over $1000.00, No, But if you can find a deal it is a great box.

  32. Donna says:

    I think your right Squash, I bought my husband an AXS and he loves it. It keeps everything more organized.

  33. Shannon says:

    My husband just got it. Top and bottom used for $450. Looks like the guy hardly used it. No bumps scrapes nada. And still had the keys. The lighted work area is awesome. Sleek lookin. Strong as hell.

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