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Bracing. The tool cabinet on the left has extra bracing under the top and on the sides of the case. The cabinet on the right isn't reinforced quite as well.
heavily loaded with tools. But you won't have that problem with the industrial cabinet. That's because the drawers ride on roller-bearing slides. So they slide smoothly even when fully loaded.
Casters. If you plan on rolling your tool cabinet around the shop, one feature you'll want to pay attention to is the casters. The casters on the higher-priced cabinet feature large, rubber wheels that turn smoothly and can roll over power cords and other obstacles. The less-expensive cabinet has hard, plastic casters that are smaller and tend to get hung up on items littering the floor.
Locking Mechanism. To keep tools secure, both tool cabinets have locking drawers. The lower-priced cabinet uses a metal bar that slips into slots at the top and bottom of the cabinet to prevent the drawers from being opened. But it wouldn't take much to cut through the bar with a hack saw.
The lock on the industrial cabinet is mounted inside the case, so it's harder to overpower. And another nice feature of this particular cabinet is that you can leave one drawer open and still lock the others. Then when you (or your neighbor) returns a tool to the cabinet, simply close the open drawer and it will lock automatically.
Fit and Finish. One other thing I noticed when comparing these two cabinets is the difference in the overall fit and finish. Open one of the drawers of die consumer-grade cabinet and you'll notice that the edges of the sheet metal are sharp
▼ Locking Drawers. A locking mechanism on the inside of the chest (upper photo) is more secure than an exterior lock (lower photo).
ribbing. And this is really important to how well the cabinet will hold up over time (left photo above). Light-duty cabinets can sag and rack, which in turn affects how well the drawers fit in the case.
Drawer Slides. Speaking of drawers, the drawer slides are another area where you'll notice a difference. In the photos above, you can see there are two basic types of drawer slide.
The consumer-grade cabinet uses metal friction slides which are less expensive to produce. They work, but they can bind and stick, especially when the drawers are
Catch on back of drawer fits j in slot '
and unfinished. But on the higher-priced cabinet, the sheet metal edges are rolled over to provide a smoother, stronger edge.
There's also a difference in the paint jobs on the two cabinets. The industrial cabinet has a powder-coated, "wrinkle" finish that's durable, and hides fingerprints and smudges. The less expensive cabinet has a painted finish that scratches easily These may sound like minor details, but they are the kinds of things that make the higher-priced cabinet a pleasure to use.
Value. So the question is whether or not an industrial-quality cabinet is worth the extra money. The answer really depends on how you'll use the cabinet — and your budget. Tool cabinets designed for industry standards can withstand years of heavy use. In a factory setting, a tool cabinet can be rolled around up to a mile a day.
But most homeowners may only move their tool cabinets a few feet a year — to sweep underneath them. If that's the case, a less expensive tool cabinet might just be the perfect choice; providing secure, organized storage for all your tools. And that will leave you with some extra cash in your pocket to buy the tools to put inside the cabinet. A
Large, rubber casters (upper photo) allow a tool chest to roll smoothly on uneven surfaces.