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Tool vault tool chest vs Snap-on tool chest

Tools chest, tool chest, tool storage. What’s the difference? Is a “tool chest” just another name for a “tools vault”?

In short, yes. A tools chest is just another term for a tools vault. The problem with this answer is that it isn’t very helpful so let’s talk about what makes these two items different from each other and what the terms actually mean.

First, let’s talk about tool chests. What do they look like?

Tool chests come in many different shapes and sizes but they almost always resemble a standard steel storage cabinet. They are usually around three feet tall, two to two-and-a-half feet deep (front to back), and up to four feet wide (side to side). These boxes are especially useful for residential use because the majority of home garages don’t have enough space for an entire fleet of cabinets or workbenches, so keeping tools in a mobile box allows them to be moved out of the way when not needed.

This means these are usually constructed with wheels so they can be easily rolled around.

What do I use a tool chest for?

This type of chest is good for holding larger tools that you only need every now and then, the gear that doesn’t fit inside your smaller cabinets at home or on the job site. Think about it this way, if you have more tools than what will fit into the cabinets at home then you’d want to store some of them in a separate box that rolls away when not needed.

There are also cabinet chests available which are basically toolboxes without wheels. These small sturdy cabinets are designed for general storage and are more expensive than their rolling counterparts because they lack mobility.

The main purpose of these chests is to keep tools organized, ensure they are working properly, and prevent them from being damaged by the elements. They are especially useful for storing delicate items that would be easily broken if not kept inside a protective cabinet.

How can I choose a good tool chest?

There are a few things that you need to take into consideration when choosing between these two brands.

First of all, your budget needs to be considered. You don’t want to go over the top on your first chest since it’s probable that there will be something better suited for your needs in the near future. If money is not an issue then by all means get yourself a snap-on tool chest and never look back but if you’re still learning what you like and dislike then getting the cheapest option that suits your needs isn’t such a bad idea either since chances are you won’t use it much until you gain more experience.

Next, consider where and how frequently do you plan on using this tool chest: outdoors or indoors? Do you have a place to store it when not in use? Do you have multiple vehicles or just one that will be used to transport the chest from one place to another? How heavy is the box, do you need something more lightweight, or does weight doesn’t play into your decision at all?

And finally, if you’re still not sure about these things then figure out what your needs are and go for something that fits most of them. It can be very helpful if there’s someone who already has experience with these brands and can help point you in the right direction, either on subreddits dedicated to hand tools or forums like ToolGuyd.


Snap-on company is well known for its line of tool chests, accessories, and other related equipment.

They are manufactured in the United States with the company headquarters based out of Wisconsin. Snap-on vending machines are available all over the world to supply technicians wherever they may be needed. The company offers a wide variety of vehicle service equipment including diagnostic systems, lifts, safety equipment, chemicals, tools, garage organization systems and so much more.

Snap-On has been around for nearly 100 years now which is an impressive feat considering all of the different competitors that have also managed to stay in business during the same time period! They are estimated to have sold over million cabinets worldwide making them one of the leading companies in the world when it comes to selling tool storage solutions.

They pride themselves on their ability to provide quality products and customer service, they keep most of their products made in the US too.

What is a Snap-on tool chest?

These chests are durable and designed with professionals in mind such as mechanics, construction workers, and electricians. Some even go so far as to say that these chests were “built like a bank vault”. Snap-on distinguishes itself from other brands by manufacturing its own line of cabinets which come fully equipped with features like stainless steel trim, Clearview plastic drawers, and vented backs (which allow sockets and tools to dry after being washed).

Snap-on Tool chests are usually tall, sturdy metal cabinets with many drawers inside. They are used for the storage of tools that are very expensive, extremely delicate, or incredibly valuable. Some specialized tool chests can even include things like built-in workbenches or other special features, but the majority are just your standard steel boxes.

Tool vault

Tool vault company is another tool chest manufacturer that specializes in mobile storage solutions with most of their products being made right here in the United States. There are many similarities between this company and Snap-on, they both have a rich history and a wide variety of products for sale online.

They focus on quality as well, providing some of the best cabinets you can buy so long as you don’t mind spending more money to get them. They have more expensive cabinets than Snap-On, but there are also less expensive options available too if you’re looking for something on a budget.

What is a Tool vault tool chest?

Tool vault tool chests are similar to snap-on tool chests because they are usually tall, heavy-duty metal cabinets used for the storage of tools that are very expensive or incredibly valuable. The difference is that they don’t have a brand name associated with them. They are just generic tool storage items available for sale online and in many hardware stores including Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart, etc. In addition to being very affordable, these chests also have a few more advantages over the snap-on brand.

Differences in these tool chests:

  • Price: Snap-on tool chests are usually more expensive than tool vault brands. There are cheaper options available, but the difference in price is still notable
  • Color: Snap-on tends to have a color option of either black or silver while tool vault has more variety allowing you to pick between multiple colors like red, blue-yellow, and more. Tool vault also has a diamond plate-style chest (similar to snap-on) that comes in various shades of grey or pink (depending on your preference).
  • Drawer size & material: Both companies offer standard drawers capable of accommodating standard size tools. They both also provide an option for deep drawer rail sockets which make it easier to store some bigger items like wrenches or larger socket sets. Snap-on draws are usually made of clear plexiglass, which is useful if you intend to use the drawers for storage. Tool vault has two options here one being clear drawer fronts and another that’s painted with a white finish, both provide adequate protection against dust build-up.
  • Locking System: Snap-on chests have locks built into the interiors of their cabinets while tool vault uses padlocks instead. Some people prefer having locks built-in where others find them easier to access when mounted on the outside so it’s really down to personal preference when choosing between these two brands.
  • Finish & Warranty: Both companies have excellent finishes protecting your tools from corrosion damage, however, snap-on offers a much longer warranty which was hard to beat. However, tool vault is giving them a run for their money and match snap-on’s warranty terms pretty closely so it comes down to what you prefer more: American made or an extra 4 years of warranty.
  • Drawer dividers: Snap-on tends to include dividers with most of their drawers while tool vault does not provide any unless specified in the product description. This can be annoying if you’re looking to get rid of all the clutter inside your chest and organize things neatly, however, there are still some solutions that can give you that clean organized look even without pre-installed drawer dividers. Figuring out how to best utilize these free spaces in a way that maximizes storage without wasting space will help everything fit in a way that is easy to access and use.

    You will need to figure out how you plan on using your chest first before deciding whether or not it’s worth it for you to purchase a tool vault chest, especially if you’re only looking at the price tag since they are cheaper than snap-on brand. However, the difference in cost is still noticeable enough that giving up some of the features can be difficult.
  • Price: Snap-on chests are more expensive than tool vaults tool chests by quite a bit. The cheapest snap-on option costs around $1000 while their cheapest but also best value option is around $500. Tool vault tool chests tend to be less expensive, however, there are options both cheaper and more expensive depending on preference/need. The cheapest available option is around $600 while their most expensive option is around $1350

Which one is better for professional work?

Both of them offer a great finish that would protect your tools from corrosion and again the choice here comes down to preference.

If you prefer an American-made product then snap-on is the way to go while if you’re looking for something more affordable tool vault might be better suited for you. In either case, it’s still a good idea to compare both brands before making a decision since both of them have various options available with different price tags, warranty terms, etcetera.

Which one is better for a household?

Both of them are great for households, however, you can get tool vaults cheaper models if your budget doesn’t allow for the higher-end snap-on options.

Which one is better for beginners?

Both of them are good choices here, tool vault cheaper models can be great for someone just starting out since they still offer that same great finish and portability. Snap-on offers more options with higher build quality so it’s all up to what you prefer here.

Final verdict

Snap-on wins this comparison but only if your budget allows for the higher-end models or extra features provided by snap-on. Otherwise, a tool vault is a much better value option even though it sacrifices some features. Most people who have done their research should already know which brand they will be going with once deciding between these two companies, however, if you’re not sure which one fits your needs then I believe this was a pretty comprehensive comparison.

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