Types of Truck Bed Tool Boxes
Pickup trucks are designed to be very practical, but there's definitely nothing pleasant about the tools rattling in a truck bed while driving. There's as well nothing good about leaving equipment and other stuff out in the open, making it vulnerable to the extremes of weather and, even worse, theft.
A truck bed tool box allows everyone to enjoy the best of both worlds as it provides space for storing and organizing the gear while keeping it securely locked up. In fact, there are several types of truck bed tool boxes that are custom designed for truck models and specific purposes. For instance, the size as well as mounting style of a box helps determine how much room remains open in the truck bed. Each and every prospective buyer should keep in mind different tool box types as well as a bunch of useful tips for getting the appropriate accessory for individual needs.
Actually, truck tool boxes vary in the manner of installation, in materials and finishes applied, as well as the lid configuration. There are also several other things to bear in mind, particularly, whether or not the tool box has trays and shelves inside.
In fact, each mounting style refers to where and how a tool box installs, and it's a nice idea to consider it first because of the direct influence on how the rest of the truck bed will be utilized.
The most popular types are listed in the table below:
Installs behind the cab; spans across the vehicle's entire width; rests on the bed's sides and doesn't extend to the floor, leaving enough bed space below. Simple design; often low-cost; allows for enough storage space below the tool box
Attaches to a side rail; can fit on either rail or even a pair can be mounted (one along either side); doesn’t extend to the floor.
Takes up little space; is rather easy to access when standing next to the truck
Installs behind the cab on the truck bed's floor; doesn't rise above the bed sides.
Fits under a tonneau cover (if there' one); doesn't obstruct the rear view, though limits the available floor space
Attaches to the trailer post (if there is one).
Takes up no room in the bed itself; doesn't obstruct the rear view
Sits on a sliding rail system (the box can be easily moved)
Easy to access and move
So, there are the mounting styles that leave the bed floor open and thus allow for sliding and storing cargo underneath the tool box. The chest style, however, is the one that takes up the most floor space.
Materials, Finishes, and Colors
Most ruck bed tool boxes are constructed of aluminum since it's lightweight, durable, and resists corrosion. Older designs, however, use steel that features a durable, corrosion-resistant finish as well. Steel boxes are stronger than aluminum ones, but if the paint is nicked, the box is likely to deteriorate sooner or later. Some tool boxes are stainless steel, combining excellent corrosion resistance of aluminum and impeccable strength of steel. As a rule, stainless steel tool boxes are rather expensive.
Also, some tool boxes can be manufactured from hard plastic: though they're not as durable as the ones made of steel or aluminum, these accessories are still popular among truck owners.
For the most part, tool boxes come in either a neutral or metallic color. Black/white powder coatings protect the box from premature corrosion. Metallic refers to leaving either stainless steel or aluminum unpainted, just polished to shine.
Lids and other features of tool boxes
Tool boxes feature either a single, double, or gull-wing lid. The first type simply opens along the side, just like a door in a house. Double lids are almost the same, except divided like a cabinet, so that one half of the tool box is open, while the other one is closed. The last type, gull-wing lids, come divided as well, but they usually open at a hinge inside the box rather than along the side. Other features that should be taken into consideration are whether a tool box installs without modifications to a vehicle (e.g., drilling bolt holes), how secure its lock is, and whether lid opening is manual or pneumatic. There are tool boxes that come with dividers, shelves, and trays inside, while others use an open plan. Opt for boxes with a single-piece bottom, since these are more robust, and heavy-duty gaskets, as they keep rain and moisture out. As a rule, pneumatic lids feature dual gas cylinders to ease opening.
Tool Boxes for specific purposes
Nowadays there are several different tool box designs that are growing in popularity by the day. Some boxes fit precisely between the vehicle's wheel well and tailgate (otherwise, this irregularly shaped space is pretty difficult to fill). Underbed boxes are more suitable for flatbed utility trucks as they keep the box out of the way of cargo. Those who are planning to transport dogs long distances safely and in comfort, are welcome to go with truck bed boxes. These are specially designed as pet carriers, preventing dogs leaping out of a truck bed as well as keeping them safe in minor accidents.
by Timothy Zahl on