DEWALT ToughSystem Tool Storage:
Modular toolbox systems are becoming a hugely popular way to store, sort, and transport specific parts of, or even the entirety of, peoples’ tool and accessory collections.
In this case, modular means that you can assemble (or disassemble) various toolbox components quickly and easily to create a kit specifically tailored to your needs.
One size needn’t fit all, and that’s one of the main benefits of these systems; they can effectively appeal to anyone and everyone.
For example, say you only needed a couple of small toolboxes to store your modest selection of tools, and you preferred the idea of a kit that could stack securely to keep your garage clean and tidy, there are plenty of modular options available.
Alternatively, if you were in the market for a kit capable of holding a much more substantial tool collection, all in a way that made it quick and easy to pick out specific tools and accessories depending on the job at hand, again, a modular toolbox system would be the answer.
And even better?
Because of their growing popularity, more and more manufacturers are diverting some of the focus of their design teams away from tools to develop increasingly innovative storage solutions and a far greater selection of accessories that are much more practical than the conventional toolboxes of yesteryear.
You’re literally spoilt for choice…
Today we’re going to be looking at one of the more popular options, the DEWALT ToughSystem.
Boasting a smart design that connects and disconnects with minimal fuss and hassle, along with a weight capacity that will impress even the most demanding of users, it’s the perfect example of brains and brawn.
Not only that, but with a wide range of accessories available including toolboxes, totes, a cooler, workshop racking, van racking, wheeled options, and even a radio, the possibilities are virtually limitless.
Sounds promising so far…
But is it the right choice for you and your tool and accessory storage needs?
Let’s find out by looking at everything you need to know about the DEWALT ToughSystem…
As with any modular toolbox system, the main benefit of DEWALT’s ToughSystem kit is the high degree of flexibility and customizability it offers.
It’s well-suited to a wide array of users as a result, including DIYers and homeowners needing a smaller kit to store a modest range of tools and accessories, all the way up to professionals needing a much larger system to hold all of their tools.
It can be as portable or as static as you need it to be too, thanks to accessories such as workshop racking or those designed to help you transport your tool collection to and from wherever the work is.
Here are just some of the things that you can use DEWALT’s ToughSystem for:
- Storing a part or the entirety of your tool collection and accessories, including the tools themselves, chargers, and batteries, etc.
- Storing fixings and fastenings including nails, screws, and nuts and bolts (and perhaps, more importantly, keeping them organized), with the ToughSystem Organizer (DWST08202).
- Keeping your most prized and expensive tools safe and secure when using the optional foam insert for the ToughSystem toolboxes (DWST1-97150).
- Protecting tools and accessories from water and job site dirt and debris when using the ToughSystem accessories that feature IP65-rated weather seals.
- Integrating your tool storage as a permanent (but removable) fixture in your work van when using the ToughSystem’s high van racking (DWST08241) or low van racking (DWST08240).
- As a better way to keep your workshop tool storage tidy and organized when using the workshop racking system (DWST08260), for example.
- Keeping food and drink cold during those hot summer months when using the ToughSystem Cooler (DWST08404).
- Keeping morale high and boredom low when using the ToughSystem Radio accessory (DWST08810).
As mentioned above, the guiding principle behind nearly every modular storage system is to give whoever is using it the flexibility to design their ideal tool storage kit with ease.
So, to help appeal to anyone from DIYers to professional contractors, and to users in virtually every construction-related field imaginable (and even some non-construction related ones, too!), the ToughSystem hasn’t been hastily designed and thrown out there without much thought and with only a couple of different accessories available.
There’s an entire range of handy storage items at your disposal.
And because of this, you can take advantage of literally hundreds of different ToughSystem kit configurations, giving you the flexibility to pick and choose the options that best suit you and your tool collection’s needs to help you build a pretty much tailor-made storage solution.
Here’s what’s available…
(Note: we don’t discuss the ToughSystem’s selection of racking accessories below. You can find out more about these further along in the article here).
Base Units / Portable Options:
We don’t know about you, but we hate lugging around heavy toolboxes.
Not all of them to be fair – mainly just the ones with (a) no wheels, or (b) puny handles that feel like they could break at a moment’s notice under the weight and strain (or worse, the toolboxes with both of these issues).
Thankfully, with the first two DEWALT ToughSystem accessories that we’re about to look at, these hassles can be a thing of the past.
You see, both the DS450 Mobile Storage toolbox and the DS Carrer come with sturdy handles and wheels to help you navigate even the most uneven or challenging of terrain, and even stairs, with ease.
Because of this, we wouldn’t be surprised if you opted for one or the other to form the base of your custom ToughSystem kit.
Looking at the DS450 toolbox in detail first, it’s capable of carrying a more than respectable 88 lbs, and it comes with both side handles, and a large bi-material telescopic handle to let you carry, push, or pull it with ease.
When you add in features like the DS450’s IP65-rated weather seal to keep its content protected from even the dampest and dirtiest of job site conditions, along with strong 4mm-thick polypropylene walls and anti-rust metal latches for good long-term durability, it becomes a must-have accessory for anyone investing in a ToughSystem kit.
Next up is the DS Carrier, which is shown in the image above.
Unlike the DS450, it isn’t designed to carry ToughSystem accessories stacked one on top of the other, but rather it uses handy folding rails to carry each storage item separately instead.
The main benefit? Using rails provides gaps between each accessory to let you move each item independently, as opposed to the DS450 where you need to remove the top items before being able to remove those sitting below.
You can also use the DS Carrier as a tote plate to carry other items, for example, bags of cement, by folding the accessory brackets out of the way for maximum flexibility.
Another way that the DS Carrier differs from the DS450 is in the material of its body, as it uses metal as opposed to the DS450’s polypropylene plastic construction.
Because of this, the DS Carrier features a significantly higher carrying capacity of 176 lbs on each of its carrying brackets, 265 lbs on its tote plate, and 175 lbs overall when used on stairs.
No modular tool storage system would be complete without a range of toolboxes, and with ToughSystem, you’ve got four to choose from (in addition to the DS450 box discussed above).
To be honest, there are more similarities than differences when it comes to the four options shown above.
They all feature the same 4mm-thick polypropylene wall construction for added strength and impact-resistance, weather seals to keep your tools dust and moisture free, anti-rust metal latches, strong top and side handles for more carrying options, side latches to allow stacking one on top of the other, and rails for when you want to use them with the DS Carrier.
Where they differ is in their respective sizes and their carrying capacities.
Here are the details for each type of toolbox:
|DS130 Tool Box|
|DS150 Small Case|
|DS300 Large Case|
|DS400 XL Case|
Totes are ideal for when you need quick and easy access to bulk storage items, for example, spray cans or cable reels.
Made from the same 4mm-thick and durable polypropylene as most of the other accessories in this list, you have two options to choose from including a standard tote, and one with a carry handle that’s ideal for taking by itself to smaller jobs that you don’t need your entire ToughSystem kit for.
Both options feature handy internal slots for inserting dividers for better organization.
They also both feature the same 44 lbs carrying capacity, are the same size (length: 21-7/8″ / width: 12-7/8″ / height: 10-7/8″), and each one is capable of being stacked above or beneath most other ToughSystem accessories.
Organizers / Drawered Storage:
Toolboxes and totes are great, but they aren’t ideal for storing fiddly accessories like fixings, fastenings, and drill bits, for example.
Yes, some of the DEWALT ToughSystem toolboxes feature smaller compartments and dividers, but, in general, these are still primarily designed for tools and so they’re often too big to keep hundreds of smaller items secure and organized.
You could choose to leave your fixings and fastenings in their original boxes in your toolboxes, but with a lot of vibration and movement, and in particular heavy tools banging into them, they tend to break up leaving you with hundreds of tiny items mixed in with all your other stuff.
And who wants to waste time and energy hunting through and pulling out the entire contents of your toolboxes to reach that one type of fixing you know you have but can’t seem to find?
Enter the ToughSystem’s Organizer and pair of drawered units, the easiest way to store, and most importantly, keep organized, any smaller tools and fiddly accessories.
For example, both the Organizer and DS250 Drawer Unit feature removable cups for keeping small parts separated, while the Organizer’s clear lid makes it super-easy to see its contents without needing to go to the hassle of opening it up.
Last but by no means least is DEWALT’s selection of non-tool related accessories.
Firstly, there’s the Cooler which is capable of retaining ice for an impressive five days to keep drinks ice-cold and refreshing regardless of the working conditions you come across.
The Cooler is fully stackable with other toolbox accessories, and it even features dust and water resistance for hygiene purposes along with a handy bottle opener and two can holders.
Finally, you can say goodbye to boredom on the job site thanks to the ToughSystem’s Radio + Charger accessory.
Fully stackable, this durable and highly portable speaker features awesome sound quality through either its radio functionality or wirelessly through Bluetooth® connectivity to any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or music device up to 100-feet.
Not only that but with its built-in charger, you can ensure that job site productivity doesn’t dip thanks to its capability of charging 12V MAX and 20V MAX DEWALT power tool batteries that sell separately.
For something to be modular, it needs to be able to be built up from standardized parts that are able to fit together easily in a variety of different configurations.
In the case of ToughSystem, these ‘standardized parts’ are the accessory types that are shown above.
When it comes to fitting together easily, DEWALT’s kit features a simple yet hugely effective mechanism to make it as quick and easy as possible to add or remove Tough System accessories.
There are two different options as shown in the images below.
Firstly, if you’re using the DS Carrier, the running rails featured on nearly all of the accessories slide easily onto the carrier’s holding plates (see the first image).
Alternatively, if you’ve opted for the DS450 Mobile Storage box instead or any of the other accessories that feature the yellow clips on their side, it’s a case of stacking one on top of the other, and closing the yellow clip until it locks securely into place (see the second image).
It’s as simple as that.
As great as the ToughSystem’s high degree of customizability and how easy it is to add and remove various accessories to and from your storage kit, these are just a couple of items in a long list of things that help it stand out against the competition.
Just as important?
All of the various features that combine to give you the peace of mind that it’ll be able to handle the bulk of whatever you can throw at it during regular usage.
- It’s clearly built-tough given the 4mm-thick reinforced structural foam walls used on the majority of accessories, helping provide them with good impact resistance to withstand the bulk of the inevitable knocks, bangs, and scrapes that they’ll experience.
- The all-metal latches of the various toolboxes and cases provide even greater durability, giving you the confidence that you’ll still be using these accessories in years to come.
- The toolboxes are both dust-tight and water resistant thanks to their IP65-rated weather seals, helping protect the items you’re storing against severe weather and job site/workshop dust and debris.
- You can secure each of the toolboxes with padlocks using the built-in eyelets for added security.
- Integrating your tool storage as a permanent (but removable) fixture in your work van when using the ToughSystem’s high van racking (DWST08241) or low van racking (DWST08240).
- You can be confident in your ToughSystem’s ability to handle heavier tools and accessories thanks to the generous weight capacity of each component (see a detailed list of maximum weight capacities here).
- You can enjoy added peace of mind of the ToughSystem’s capabilities and durability thanks to the Limited Lifetime Warranty that covers all accessories.
There’s a reason why we feature so many DEWALT products on ToolCrowd.
In our experience, they just work. No fuss. No hassle.
We’re not alone in thinking this either.
Ask any DIYer or professional contractor to reel off a list of their favorite tool companies, or the manufacturers whose products they trust the most, and don’t be surprised if DEWALT consistently appears on or near the top of most peoples’ answers.
We’re happy to confirm that the ToughSystem more than lives up to DEWALT’s stellar reputation, too.
Yes, it’s often outshone by the Milwaukee PACKOUT system when they’re pitted against each other, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook it, especially if you’re looking for something a little (actually, a lot!) more affordable.
The fact remains, it provides more than enough weight capacity to suit even the most demanding of users, it’s durable enough to handle the bulk of any knocks and bangs it’ll inevitably experience, and many of the accessories feature weather seals matching the IP65-rating used on the PACKOUT system, all while being considerably cheaper too.
There is arguably a better selection of accessories available with the ToughSystem than any other modular kit on the market too, giving you heaps of flexibility and even more bang for your buck.
So, regardless if you’re a DIYer looking for a small storage kit to hold a few tools and accessories, or a professional contractor needing a much larger system that you can transport to and from the job site, the DEWALT ToughSystem has you covered.
Still not convinced? We’ve included a summary of the various advantages and disadvantages of the DEWALT ToughSystem below to help you make up your mind.
- You can get started with ToughSystem more easily and cheaply thanks to DEWALT’s combo kit which features three of the most popular accessories.
- There is a virtually limitless choice of accessory configurations owing to how many ToughSystem accessories are available.
- Adding or removing each accessory couldn’t be quicker or easier thanks to the secure yet straightforward clips and rails that can be used to connect the various kit components.
- You’re free to use each accessory either separately or as part of a larger ToughSystem kit.
- The DEWALT DS450 Mobile Tool Box can be used as the base of your ToughSystem configuration, and it features big wheels and a large telescopic handle to make it easier to transport.
- Each ToughSystem accessory combines sturdy materials and smart design features to make them as tough and durable as possible, for example, using a 4mm-thick robust structural foam outer material for better impact-resistance, as well as anti-rust metal latches where appropriate.
- Many of the ToughSystem accessories feature IP65-rated weather seals to provide better protection against rain and job site dust and debris.
- The ToughSystem Organizer (DWST08202) boasts removable storage cups for added convenience, as well as a clear polycarbonate lid for extra strength and visibility.
- The Cooler accessory (DWST08404) is capable of retaining ice for five days thanks to its commercial-grade PU foam insulation and freezer-style lid gasket.
- Each of the ToughSystem’s toolboxes feature padlock eyes for lockable security.
- A Limited Lifetime Warranty covers all of the various DEWALT ToughSystem components.
- The ToughSystem’s weight capacity is lower than other comparable modular toolbox kits, for example, Milwaukee’s PACKOUT system.
- DEWALT only offers hard-storage accessories for the ToughSystem, as opposed to Milwaukee which manufactures both hard- and soft-storage options for their PACKOUT system.
DEWALT TSTAK vs Tough System
DEWALT offers not just one, but two different types of modular toolbox system; the ToughSystem and TSTAK.
Each has its own range of accessories and customizability options, but it’s important to mention that you can’t use TSTAK accessories with ToughSystem ones and vice versa.
So how do these two platforms compare, and which one should you ultimately invest in?
Let’s find out by looking in-depth as the DEWALT TSTAK vs Tough System…
(Scroll table if needed)
The TSTAK system has a reasonable selection of accessories including a clear-lid organizer, a variety of different toolboxes, drawered units, and a few items to improve portability including a cart, a trolley with a telescopic handle, and a mobile storage box with wheels.
There are no soft-storage options, and in general, the selection of accessories is more limited than with the ToughSystem kit.
With DEWALT's ToughSystem, you get access to a massive range of hard-storage accessories, for example, toolboxes, tool cases, an organizer, drawered storage, totes, a cooler, and even a radio accessory.
There are also a couple of wheeled base unit options and various types of racking, however, there are no soft-storage items available.
There is a TSTAK starter kit available.
It comes with three of the most popular accessories including a deep storage box with wheels (DWST17820), a clear lid organizer (DWST17805), and a long-handled toolbox (DWST60404).
Click here to check it out.
It's easy to get started with ToughSystem thanks to DEWALT's combo starter kit.
The only disadvantage is that it's slightly limited given that it only contains toolboxes, including a 22", 17-gallon mobile toolbox (DS450), a tote toolbox (DS280), and a regular toolbox (DS130).
You can check it out on Amazon here.
Whereas DEWALT ToughSystem components are manufactured from 4mm-thick polypropylene, the TSTAK's components feature 3mm-polypropylene instead which makes them lighter, but also less strong and potentially less durable as a result.
The various toolbox accessories do feature metal latches for added durability, however, while the Organizer accessory also features a clear polycarbonate lid for both strength and visibility.
Most of the ToughSystem's hard-storage items are made from 4mm thick structural foam for better impact-resistance, and they feature things like metal latches for better durability.
The Organizer accessory also comes with a clear polycarbonate lid for both strength and visibility.
The TSTAK system's weight capacity is likely to be more than adequate for most users, although the capacity of some components is quite a bit less than comparable ToughSystem items.
For example, here are the weight limits for a few of the most popular accessories:
If you're looking for the highest weight capacity possible, a DEWALT Tough System is probably a better choice versus a comparable TSTAK storage configuration.
Here are a few comparable items to allow a like-for-like comparison:
Most of the TSTAK's accessories are made from 3mm-thick polypropylene, which will still provide a good level of impact resistance, but not to the same degree as the ToughSystem components.
Also, unlike the ToughSystem range of accessories, none of the TSTAK components feature an IP65-rated weather seal to minimize the risk of moisture or dust getting inside them.
As mentioned, most of the ToughSystem's hard-storage accessories are manufactured from 4mm-thick structural foam to help provide them with good impact-resistance.
They are both dust-tight and water resistant thanks to their IP65-rated weather seals, helping protect the items you're storing against moisture and job site/workshop dust and debris.
(They aren't fully waterproof, however).
You can choose from pretty much hundreds of different kit configurations thanks to how many TSTAK accessories are available.
There's a virtually limitless choice of accessory configurations available thanks to the wide variety of ToughSystem accessories, and you're free to use either of these either separately or as part of a larger kit.
The TSTAK system offers a good level of portability, especially when using the deep box with wheels (DWST17820), or the trolley accessory (DWST17888) as the base of your kit.
Accessories like the 'TSTAK I - Long Handle' (DWST17808), the 'TSTAK VI - Deep Box' (DWST17806), and the open tote (DWST17809) to name a few also feature sturdy handles to make them easier to carry.
One area where the TSTAK falls down in terms of portability is that it doesn't offer the van racking solutions that are available for the DEWALT ToughSystem kits.
The ToughSystem has clearly been built with portability in mind.
For example, it offers two wheeled-base options including the ToughSystem DS450 Mobile Storage, and the DS Carrier (DWST08210).
You can also add a racking system to hold your ToughSystem in place in either high-sided vans (DWST08241) or low-sided vans (DWST08240) for even greater portability.
There's no denying that the TSTAK system offers good value for money.
The fact is, the accessories aren't all that expensive, yet you still get access to a good range of them, a high enough weight capacity, bonus features such as metal latches for added durability, and the various components work together with no fuss or hassle.
We would like to see things like IP65-rated weather seals, but perhaps, in this price bracket, that's asking too much.
The DEWALT ToughSystem is quite a bit cheaper than the modular storage options from other manufacturers, for example, Milwaukee and their PACKOUT system.
This shouldn't come as a surprise though, as the weight capacity is quite a bit lower in general, and the build quality is arguably not quite as good as that with the PACKOUT system.
We still think that the ToughSystem provides excellent value for money though, thanks to its lower price and the high number of attractive features on offer.
Aside from the various base units, toolboxes, totes, and miscellaneous ToughSystem accessories that we’ve covered above, there are also several other options available to make your tool storage as portable, or as static, as you want it to be.
The first of these is DEWALT’s van racking storage solutions as shown below, which, regardless of whether you have a low- or high-sided van, will allow you to connect and various ToughSystem components using the attached brackets.
Another option is their workshop racking options, and these are ideal for anyone wanting to keep a clean and tidy workshop, or for someone with limited floor space where vertical stacking of their toolboxes is an absolute must.
There are a couple of options available when it comes to workshop racking, including a kit featuring the racking only, and another that comes bundled with the ToughSystem’s Organizer accessory to get you started.
Regardless of whether you opt for the van or workshop racking (or both!), you’re free to adjust the bracket positioning whichever way you see fit, and you can even purchase additional brackets separately to add more ToughSystem accessories if needed.
- Can you buy a ready-made DEWALT ToughSystem kit?
- 1x 22″ 17-Gallon Mobile Toolbox (DS450)
- 1x Tote Toolbox (DS280)
- 1x Regular Toolbox (DS130)
You can check it out on Amazon here.
- What accessories can you get for the DEWALT ToughSystem?
The best part? They all fit together with no fuss or hassle to make them easier to transport and store.
Click here to learn about each of the accessories in more detail.
- What’s the weight limit for each of the ToughSystem accessories?
- DS Carrier – Brackets: 176 lbs / Tote Plate: 265 lbs / Use on Stairs: 175 lbs
- DS450 Mobile Storage – 88 lbs weight capacity
- DS400 XL Case – 110 lbs weight capacity
- DS300 Large Case – 88 lbs weight capacity
- DS150 Small Case – 66 lbs weight capacity
- DS130 Tool Box – 44 lbs weight capacity
- DS250 Drawer Unit – 44 lbs weight capacity
- ToughSystem Tote (DWST08205) – 44 lbs weight capacity
- ToughSystem Drawers (DWST08290) – 22 lbs weight capacity
And for the ToughSystem racking:
- DWST08240 / DWST08241 Van Racking – 150 lbs per rack / 44 lbs per pair of brackets weight capacity
- DWST08260 / DWST08270 Workshop Racking – 440 lbs per rack / 66 lbs per pair of brackets weight capacity
- Do you need to use the DS450 Mobile Storage Tool Box or the DS Carrier (DWST08210) as the base of every ToughSystem kit?
Clearly, using either the DS450 rolling tool box or the DS Carrier as the base of your ToughSystem kit will make it more portable, but there’s no obligation to use either of these.
You could opt instead to use a couple of toolboxes mounted on top of each other, for example, two of the DS150 accessories, with the built-in handle on the top box used to carry both around simultaneously instead while they’re connected.
- How many different DEWALT Tough System configurations are available?
The kit possibilities are pretty much endless given how many different accessories there are available.
- Can all of the Tough System accessories be used on their own, or do they need to be used as part of a larger kit?
You can pick and choose an accessory to use on its own, or you can choose to bundle it with a larger ToughSystem kit if you’d prefer.
- How do the various DEWALT ToughSystem accessories lock together?
- Does the Organizer accessory (DWST08202) feature removable storage bins?
The ToughSystem Organizer (DWST08202) boasts removable storage cups to make it easier to load, unload and keep sorted whatever fixings, fastenings, or other accessories you wish to store in it.
- Can you lock the various accessories and components?
Each of the ToughSystem’s toolboxes feature padlock eyes for lockable security.
- Is the DEWALT Tough System waterproof?
- How long is the warranty period?