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Recently, one of the mechanics at my local shop got himself a brand new Snap-on box with a top hutch, and I got a little jealous — ok, a lot jealous. It’s big, blue, shiny, and completely lust-worthy.

The five thousand dollar buy-in is steep for most, but you’re really buying the Snap-on name and quality. A box like this will last through many moves from house to house, from shop to shop — and all the while it’ll hold a ton of tools without sagging or faltering like a few department store toolboxes might. Plus, you can always expand or adapt this versatile box to suit your circumstances.

Only the buyer can say whether the Snap-on box is worth the uber price difference. But most of us can agree, this box is mighty good looking — even with all the drool stains on it.

Rolling Toolbox And Top Hutch [Snap-on]


28 Responses to Snap-on Toolbox Envy

  1. Chris says:

    It’s definitely worth the price. Your buying a box that will last you a LIFETIME. As Craftsman products continue to decline to the k-mart level, you have to look at the big dollar stuff(Snap-on, Mac, Matco and Waterloo) if you want quality.

  2. seaphoto says:


    I enjoy this blog quite a bit, but it has been loading very slowly, even with my DSL connection – almost 3 minutes today, most the right (digg.com) side. Other sites I visited today are loading properly, so you may want to check with other readers to see if this is a problem for them as well.

  3. Rob says:

    Loads fine on my comcast 6MB connection.

  4. Fred says:

    Loading OK.

    You guys do seem to want to spend a lot of my money.

  5. fred says:

    Knack and Greenlee field boxes for my work crews – but 2 old Kennedy Kits roll cabs, and tool chests in my own shop. I thought that Waterloo used to make the boxes for Sears (and maybe Kobalt/Lowes) – but I guess that’s now been farmed-out to China. The K-Mart / Wal-mart mentality seems to be that the mass market is where the profits lie – and the mass market cares less about quality than about price. It seems to be the same thought that I hear about Harbor Freight tools (“gee they look the same as … – but cost so much less)

  6. seaphoto,

    I spend a lot of time on the site commenting and posting, and it can get frustratingly slow sometimes. I noticed that you posted during the end of lunchtime in the Mountain Time Zone and the beginning for Pacific. All the Toolmongers are on their lunch break lusting after tools. That’s part of the problem.

    You could also try the RSS feed, that way you just get the posts and you don’t have to wait for the other stuff to load. That’s how I read most blogs. Unfortunately, you don’t get the comments on the RSS feed, so if you want to see them you have to load the page anyway.

  7. Gary B says:

    Interesting is the mark up Snap-On trucks charge everyone. We purchased these through the Government rep at half the price and I’m sure they still made a bundle on this. According the the rep, there is a 40-45% distributor mark up for the street prices.

  8. Zathrus says:

    Benjamen — you can get the comments via RSS too. There’s a link at the very bottom of every page that gives the Comments (RSS) feed for everything on the site.

    I spend a lot less time refreshing Toolmonger now!

    fred — I don’t question that there’s generally a significant quality difference between HF and top-of-the-line tools, but the reality is that for non-pros it generally doesn’t make enough of a difference. And in some cases there is literally no difference — it’s the same manufacturing plant spitting stuff out to the exact same tolerances, and it’s just a question of what nameplate gets put on the tool that determines the markup.

    I’m not about to claim this is true for tool boxes; but I seriously question the prices that SnapOn, Mac, etc. charge for their stuff. You can certainly get the exact same quality for a far less price; the big thing that Snappy, Mac, etc. provided was superior service and coming to your door… but if other posts on this site are to be believed (and I simply do not know; I’m not in the business), then the service is long gone and the coming to your door is just as easily replaced by FedEx, UPS, etc. overnight service with far lower costs to boot. Or you can buy the higher-end quality stuff at HD/Lowes if you need it Right Then (presuming it’ll do the job; which it may or may not).

  9. Jeffrey says:

    We looked at Snap-On, Matco boxes for our new shop but ended up getting the PROTO. They had all the same specifications, weight per drawer, lifetime warranty, etc but without the almost absurd prices. The commercial or industrial counterpart to Snap-on and Matco had a much better price than the truck guys. We tried to look at Mac but their corporate never got back with us. In the end, neither could come close to price Proto quoted at the same level of quality. Due to insurance and legal aspects, we now supply the tools and boxes for our techs rather than have them bring in their own. All the tools are laid in foam and etched and the tech is responsible for their own inventory. Lose it and you buy the replacement though the dealerships national account. We even allow our techs to purchase for their own use on our employee discount and we’ve not had any losses. Proto has been very responsive for warrantly and in almost all cases, the replacment is delivered the very next day – yet we’ve had very little issues on this side as well. We also get more work from our guys since the tool vendors are no longer allowed in the service bays (another insurance litigation) and only show up before and after business hours.

  10. Julian Tracy says:

    These days, you can get your pick of Snap On or Matco boxes – some like new on Craigslist for an average of 1/2 – 2/3 off the truck prices.

    While I realize that it’s usually not a happy occasion that somebody is feeling the need to sell off their stuff – it’s gonna come down the line anyways, and if I was in the market – I’d find a used one.

    Of course, I’m riding a 1991 Warrior, a 1989 Banshee and just picked up a 1978 Yamaha Dt125 – so I’m in the habit of spreading my money around and making it work harder for me.


  11. Old Donn says:

    Pro or not, who wouldn’t like a Snap-on box? Or MAC, Matco etc. Trouble is, you’d have to fill it up with Snap-on tools, which means 2 or 3 times the price of the box alone. You can’t fill it with Harbor Freight stuff. That would be like having a date with the Playmate of the Month, and taking her to White Castle on the handlebars of your bicycle.

  12. ToolFreak says:

    I’ve never, ever understood the appeal of oversized rolling tool chests..well, other than showing off how much money you have to waste on tool storage that costs about as much as the overpriced tools you’re storing. You’ve got 3 inch deep drawers and guys laying wrenches barely 1/4 in high in them and the whole rest of the drawer is empty! The box could have many more shallow drawers and be half as big and still store the same amount of tools. While they’re great for easy access to wrenches, sockets, etc. most of these things are rather poorly designed for common tools. Some of the Craftsman/Waterloo boxes have semi-shallow 1-2″ deep drawers which make more sense, and MAC has made some cheaper models that come with tools that fit rather nicely into the drawers, but in general, I find these boxes are mostly empty space.

    I have noticed the loading times increase as well, usually it’s all that stuff on the right side and the digg.com junk. It’s mostly annoying since I have to wait while each part loads before I can scroll…otherwise it snaps back to load if I start before it’s done. It’d be nice to have a verson of the site without all that.

  13. BigJohn says:

    I never understood the fascination most auto mechanics have with tool boxes. It’s nothing more than a big metal box with drawers. Yes, you want something that will last a long time and sturdy to hold the things that will make you money but I’ve seen people go near broke – claiming it will save them time and money…to do what? Go in debt buying more tools?

    I can see going head over heels to have the badest and sleekest car to impress the ladies but to watch mechanics literally ruin their credit to impress the guys…we’ll frankly, I’d be worried about their motives.

    I believe that 2/3 of the shop is in deep debt with the tool trucks and living paycheck to paycheck just to compete with other techs over their tool boxes.

    I bought my ole Mac Tool Box 18 years ago and it’s still going strong. Even though we’ve not seen a Mac man in ages, the box is still holding up and doing what it’s supposed to do. Fortunately, my brother-in-law works for Snap-on industrial so I get a substantial discount on my tools. He’s still a jerk (which I think is a prerequisite for Snap-on Distributors) but I can’t complain about his prices. And knowing what I know now about their mark-up, if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t buy Snap-On.

    But back to tool boxes…they are what they are and for me, I buy the tools I need, have a hefty savings account, a house that’s paid for, two paid for cars in the garage and tools that make me money to spend on other things.

  14. pencilneck says:

    BigJohn: The more space you have in a tool box, then the more room you have to spread the tools around in the box. Less tools in a given space make it easier to find X tool rather than having to dig though a pile of tools in a smaller box. If a tech is living paycheck to paycheck, then maybe they are not in the right line of work.

    I think Snap On has great tool boxes, but they are just way over priced. I’ve got a Waterloo Magnum series MG4612 that I purchased years back. You can find them at Amazon for under $2000. My tool box is every bit as good in terms of quality at Snap On boxes but more bang-per-buck.

    What I would REALLY like to have is a box that is at least 46″ wide, about 30″ deep and be nothing but full width drawers. The top full width drawer is great, so it only stands to reason nothing but full width drawers would be the best tool box ever!

  15. Rob says:

    I have a small collection of waterloo boxes myself

    2 really nice ones that I bought 5 years ago while working in the car audio
    world as a installer and 2 others that are just cheepies and one over seas box that is pretty nice I think into I have 3 top chests 2 roller cabs and one mid chest and I still don’t think I have $1000 into them and my 2 nice ones are trax boxes I did how get a good deal becasue one top chest was missing a handle which cost $14 to order from waterloo through the shop I bought the box at

    but I find now that I have have a totaly new trade and many new tools
    I need to probably replace my smaller roller cab with some thing a little
    better as I have now a rediculous amount of tools

  16. Bart'sDad says:

    Just out of curiosity, how many Toolmongers out there actually work in a trade and USE your tools everyday to put a roof over your head and feed your family? I know my tools make me money. I depend on them performing to put food on the table. Experience tells me that right tool and a quality tool very seldom fail. I have a substantial investment in quality tools and in order to protect that investment I also have invested in what I believe to be the most secure, most efficient, longest lasting storage units out there. It has been a work in progress over the last few years selecting the right combo of storage units to get a secure and efficient use of drawer space,but the end results make it worth it in the end.

  17. neil says:

    If you want to talk about high end storage Lista is the only way to go. I have both Snap On and Lista cabinets and the Lista is far superior. Price on either sucks tough.

  18. larry says:

    We stopped buying snapon when the local industrial representative told our naval supply clerk in a company email that he was tired of all the warranty exchanges and that snapon doesn’t warranty ‘navy stupidity’. This email went all the way to our CO as well as every supply clerk in the US Navy. I agree too with what BigJohn wrote about them being jerks…this guy fits the mold. And Snap-on still has him on the payroll!

  19. Frank Townend says:

    I took my automobile-enthusiast nephew to a local BMW dealership last year for “bring your child to work day”. After learning about the automotive sales process, we stepped across the street to their new three-story repair facility. As our ‘guide’ to the visit showed us the work bays, I commented on the fifty identical Snap-on KRL tool box systems. I asked if each mechanic was required to buy their own tool chest and tools, and he said the dealership bought all fifty boxes and a full set of tools for the facility. Talk about an investment!

  20. Frank Townend says:

    …a full set of tools for each mechanic….

  21. Jessie says:

    New car dealerships buying the tools for their techs is the sign of the times. One of our GM dealerships did the same thing with SnapOn but keep in mind, they’re don’t pay the same prices as the white trucks. They purchase off the national account at a fraction of the price the truck guys charge. There are several cost benefits and it’s being driven buy legal and insurance reasons.

    In addition, the techs can also purchase their tools from SnapOn industrial at the same discount. Our local snappy is unhappy with this as they’ve literally cut him off. But the benefits far outweigh the costs. tool vendors can only show up before and after business hours and are no longer allowed in the service bays. Since most of the techs are hourly employees, we get more work out of them rather than have them being distracted by vendors or spending shopping time on the trucks.

    It was even a selling point from their industrial rep that the independent tool business has been on a steady decline with rising gas prices, the internet and new techs entering the career fully aware of the credit problems truck accounts can create.

    Add in the insurance litigation where a tool vendor got seriously injured and techs that purchase inferior tools for the job, or leave their tools under the hood of a car that’s created some of these changes.

    I know one of our competitor dealerships is doing the same through Proto so I would expect this trend to grow.

  22. SK2 says:


    I remember that email and know who you’re talking about. Let me guess…initials CW out of Norfolk? Our XO still won’t purchase from Snap On because of this and I know they’re still blacklisted in may commands. They acknowledged that he did wrong but never really apologized for his actions nor made him accountable either.

  23. Frank Townend says:

    Excellent points Jessie, thanks.

    (I tried to get my nephew to draw our guide’s attention away so I could wheel one set to my car, but no dice.) (Just Kidding)

  24. Zathrus, Thanks for the tip. I totally forgot about the comments RSS. I get all the comments for the posts I own through email. I should have know better, I run two WordPress sites myself, but again I get all the comments through email ‘cuase I own ’em.

    Like it wasn’t hard enough keeping on top of comments on all my posts, now I can watch every post’s comments. :>)

  25. Old Donn says:

    Aside to Bart’s Dad,

    You make an excellent point, but never mention what brand of boxes you’ve got.

  26. fred says:

    Re: Bart’sDad Says:

    Some toolmongers are responsible not only for making their own living – but providing an opportunity for others to do the same. We don’t use Snapon – nor do their (or other’s)tool trucks visit our jobsites.
    All of my 12 small plumbing rolling toolcarts bear the Ford nameplate. The latest one says E-350 on it. 2 of the larger older ones are Ford Step Vans.

  27. I am the Snap-On manager for the Norfolk area. If anyone has complaints or concerns about the Snap-On rep please e-mail me at william.k.patterson@snapon.com or call me at 919-921-0040.

  28. Bob says:

    I’ve been an auto tech for 25 years.I’ve owned 2 tool boxs both snapon and both overlaoded.My casters are not flat my drawers all work my paint still looks great.Snpaon boxs are build in there own factory by snapon employees,I recently was lucky enough to go on a tour of the factory.It is unreal what goes into a snapon box,and do you all know they are 100% made in usa.There tags don’t say made in usa with forgion parts.My box is filled with 95%snapon tools.It is plain to see most you guys are clueless about your tools were they are made and how they are tested.By the sounds of some of your comments I’d say that most of you have never broke 35k a year working on cars Ive made over 70k since early 90s.I hope you penny pinchers know more about fixing cars then you know about the very tools you earn your living with!!!!!!!!!!!

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