There’s no easy way to put it—tool theft is on the rise. The possibility that somebody’s going to get their grubby hands on your gear is always lurking right around the corner. The good news is that it’s up to YOU to protect your gear, so this is an easy problem to solve. One of the most effective ways to lower the risk of tool theft from your pickup truck is to install a secure, lockable tailgate tool box.
In this article, we’ll take a look at various types of tailgate tool boxes to suit your pickup truck or flatbed. We’ll discuss the benefits of installing a sturdy tailgate tool box. We’ll talk about keeping your tool box organized and look at which type of tool box will suit your needs best.
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Table of Contents
What is a Tailgate Tool Box?
A tailgate tool box is a heavy-duty chest designed to sit in the rear of your pickup. These storage boxes are built to hold, carry, and organize small tools and equipment—equipment that would otherwise slide around in the back of your truck, causing damage to the truck AND the tools!
They’re especially helpful because they’re close to where you would access your truck; all your stuff is actually accessible, and you don’t have to do an army crawl or an Olympic high jump to get the goods.
Primarily used by trade workers, DIY enthusiasts, campers, and hobbyists, these full-size tool boxes can be pretty pricey. The ideal tailgate tool box is sturdy, weatherproof, secure, and yet easy enough to access—but only by you, not by thieves who see opportunity in a parked truck.
As with most things in life, the price increases with durability, sturdiness, and waterproofness. Ranging anywhere from $100 to a couple thousand dollars, it’s essential to really narrow down what you’re looking for in order to get the best bang for your buck.
Tool box access varies between single-lid, double-lid, and gull-wing lid. Lock mechanisms can vary from t-handles to keys and more. Finishes include stainless steel, black-powder coating, or diamond plate varieties (those offer more durability).
To sum it up, what you’re looking for in a tailgate tool box is this:
- Weather resistance
- Easy accessibility
How Can a Tailgate Tool Box Benefit You?
Tailgate tool boxes are the preferred choice for lots of guys and gals who drive work trucks. They are versatile and come in a wide range of sizes, so they are ideal for anyone who needs to carry tools and equipment wherever they go, but the benefits go beyond just having a place to put stuff.
Like what? Glad you asked.
- Accessibility: Like we said, no NBA vertical jumps or army crawls. It’s the most basic of benefits, but it’s just such a good one. Access. Your. Tools. Easily. Need we say more?
- Less damage: By keeping your tools securely in place, a good tool box will lower the risk of tools being damaged when you hit a sharp corner or slam on the brakes. You’ll also lower the risk of loose tools (or small tool boxes) flying out of the truck and into traffic. Not to mention denting and scratching your truck bed.
- Save time and money: A tailgate tool box can save you a lot of time. Climbing into the truck bed for access and searching for items is time-consuming and hard on your knees.
- Better workflow: Save even more time by organizing your stuff. If you know exactly where everything is, you can go straight to specific items. Even tiny things like bolts and nuts are together and easy to find. A tailgate tool box can help streamline your setup.
Security: A lockable tool box keeps your tools from flying out of the truck bed, as well as deterring opportunistic thieves. (Psst. Our new DECKED Tool Box is one the most secure on the market. And even though it’s not a tailgate tool box, we solve the access problem with an innovative telescoping ladder.)
Types of Tailgate Tool Boxes
So let’s take a look through the different kinds of truck bed storage tool boxes available. You’ve got a few options to choose between:
- Rear-mounted tailgate tool boxes: Rear-mounted tool boxes sit, as the name suggests, at the rear of the pickup truck, attached directly to the tailgate. They swing down with the tailgate for easy access.
- Hitch-mounted tailgate tool boxes: Using a gooseneck trailer hitch-receiver (like those used for towing fifth wheels or horse trailers) presents unique problems for mounting a tailgate tool box. You’ll need a tool box with a V-shape, like this polished diamond tread aluminum Brute 80-RB257D Pro Series tool box or this Lund 6132 58-Inch Aluminum 5th Wheel Truck Box.
Wheel well tool boxes: Taking up potentially wasted space, a wheel well tool box goes over the wheel well so that you can make more use of every inch of the truck bed. As far as truck accessories go, these are undeniably functional and work great if you don’t have a lot to carry.
The Best Solution?
Finding automotive and truck storage solutions to tick all the boxes on your tool and equipment organizational wishlist can be difficult.
Luckily, DECKED has come up with a couple of solutions. And if we say so ourselves, these are the best solutions.
The DECKED Drawer System is custom-made to fit your vehicle and turns the bottom 12 inches of your truck bed into a secure, weatherproof storage system. Plus, it covers the wheel wells and has a 2,000 lb weight rating to give you an even bigger load floor in your truck. DECKED fits virtually any truck manufactured in the last 20 years, so whether you’ve got a Tacoma, Toyota, Chevy, Silverado, or any other type of pickup—we’ve got you covered. Covering the wheel wells and using the otherwise wasted space surrounding them, the new truck bed actually increases the usable cargo space. The solid, weatherproof drawers slide out for effortless access from the truck rear. No reaching. No jumping. No bending.
- The new DECKED Tool Box sits at the front of the truck bed and solves a lot of the problems you face with a traditional crossover tool box. It comes with an integrated aluminum step ladder. The ladder adds another easy access point at the side of the truck; it unfolds smoothly, easily drops to the ground, takes up minimal space, and telescopically folds up inside the box when not needed. Every DECKED Tool Box also comes with a blue DECKED D-Box as standard to help you organize all those bits and pieces. The D-Box is also just as secure, durable, and weatherproof.
The modular storage system makes the DECKED Tool Box and Drawer System truly customizable. They can be used together with the D-Bag, the D-Box, the Crossbox, and the DECKED Drawer Dividers to suit your needs. Fully weatherproof, the rugged construction means DECKED products are durable and make DECKED products virtually indestructible.
What About Tool Box Organization?
Got a sh*t show inside your cavernous tool box? We’re here to help.
Gather ‘round, folks! Here are some of our top tips for keeping your truck bed tool boxes organized:
- Labels: It’s no secret. Labeling the contents of your tool box makes everything much easier to find. Know where everything is at a glance to save even more time when looking for specific items.
- Foam inserts: Foam inserts can be tailored to your tool boxes and to your kit to help keep everything exactly where you left it and to protect your tools. They’re especially helpful for any fragile equipment that you want to keep safe and in top condition.
- Inventory list: Keep a running inventory list so you know exactly what you’re carrying and when you need to get replacements. This also helps with item management and avoids having to spend money buying tools you already had. (Haven’t we all been there? Where we buy a tool we think we misplaced, but it was actually just behind that thing over there, underneath that other thing next to it, and tucked in the corner next to that other thing?) Yeah. Let’s avoid that.
Properly clean and store: It saves so much time if you clean your tools and equipment correctly before putting them away. Making this a standard part of the packing-up process allows for item inspection, so if anything gets broken or is faulty, it can be noted and replaced before you need it again.
The Bottom Line About Truck Tool Boxes
Tailgate tool boxes are especially useful for anyone who needs to haul tools around and wants to save time. Easy access combined with the security and protection of your tools makes them a popular choice.
Investing in a high-quality, secure tool box is well worth it. This is especially true when you consider the cost of the equipment you carry around every day. That’s why we recommend DECKED Tool Boxes. We’ve removed most of the problems you face with traditional truck tool boxes to create what we think is the best all-around solution to help you store and access the tools and gear in your truck.
So, what’re you waiting for? There’s a DECKED Tool Box with your name on it.