Tool Packaging - Cases, Bags and Pouches Buying Guides

Power Tool Packaging – Cases, Bags and Pouches


Power tool packaging can come in the form of cases, bags and pouches. For some tools, one type of packaging may be better than another. We analyze the three most common styles that tools are shipping with today’s tools, and we break down what we like and dislike about each.

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Rectangular Zippered Tool Storage Bags

rectangular zippered tool bagsWe’ve complained in the past about these cases, which seem to accompany the latest 12V tools from both Bosch and Craftsman and seem to defy logic. They are perfect for people who, well, don’t use their tools all that often and don’t mind the hassle of straps and velcro over a nice blow mold case or even a zippered storage bag. For the rest of us, it’s a hassle to store tools in them and they offer very little protection (you can’t just toss one of these into your truck without any regard to where it lands). In short, we absolutely loathe these bags and wish manufacturers would stop using them. We tend to throw ours out, opting instead to buy a standard tool bag with a single zippered top. Here are the pros and cons tabulated based on our experiences:

Pros

  • Each component is held secure

Cons

  • Not stackable (safely)
  • Cannot (typically) store tools with bits
  • No accessory storage
  • Cumbersome to use
  • Very little protection

Blow Mold Cases

blow mold tool casesThese are by far the most common case provided with new tools today, especially in the realm of cordless products and corded power tools. These cases are custom-molded to fit the tool and hold it securely, often with room for accessories such as blades or bits. The downside to this type of case is the tendency for certain manufacturers to make them a bit too exact, which eliminates the ability to include accessories and makes the power cables very difficult to store without keeping the case wedged open. When a blow mold case is done correctly, however, it’s a fantastic way to keep your tools protected and give you a way to stack and transport your tools without fear. Here are ur pros and cons for this type of tool package:

Pros

  • Excellent tool protection
  • Custom fit for easy storage of your tool
  • Stackable & easily transported

Cons

  • Potentially restrictive in space
  • Can add unnecessary bulk & weight

Zippered Top Tool Bags

zippered tool bagsTool bags with a single or double zippered top resemble doctors’ bags. These are becoming increasingly popular among manufacturers, possibly because they are less expensive than blow mold cases and can be duplicated across multiple tool lines without customization. These bags are typically pretty durable and do offer some protection based on their inherent design, which is triangular with a tendency to deflect away from the contents. Since they are an open bag, they offer ample storage for accessories, but may not include the required space for storing a tool with its blade or bit inserted. This last factor is more up to the manufacturer as well as the tool. We like these second only to a well-made blow-mold case. In some cases we find these actually easier to throw into a work van, especially if you have one with shelving and racks to accommodate tools in this manner. Another thing to understand is that many manufacturers are using this (correctly, we believe) as a solution for multiple tool kits and bundles. The pros and cons of this type of case are pretty much self-evident:

Pros

  • Ample room for accessories and cord storage
  • Typically robust with heavy-duty zippers and ballistic nylon
  • Very portable and lightweight

Cons

  • Only minimal tool protection
  • May restrict storing tools with blades or bits

So which type of tool case is best? Well, that’s a loaded question. For one thing, it’s not like manufacturers offer more than one type for each tool. If anything, this article is going to show you the trends of what’s going on and make you more vocal in your purchases. Perhaps with enough consumer feedback manufacturers will make changes and begin paying attention to the true needs their customer have with respect to tool storage. In our opinion, flat rectangular zippered tool bags belong in the trash can. They are useless and should never be made. They barely hold the tool in question, ignore the need to keep accessories on-site and offer almost no protection. They are flimsy and don’t stand up on end, making them difficult to even place on a shelf. 12V cordless products from Craftsman, Ryobi and Bosch are most notable for shipping tools in these cases. Shame on them. Milwaukee’s 12V tools come in a blow mold case. Their 18V products ship in large zippered tool cases. Dewalt ships most all their tools in custom blow mold cases.  Here is a cool (non-exhaustive) breakdown of who (typically) ships using what type of storage:

  • Zippered Top Tool Bags: Milwaukee combo kits, Ridgid combo kits, Hitachi 12V, Makita combo kits, Porter Cable combo kits
  • Blow Mold Cases: Just about every manufacturer’s corded tools, Milwaukee M18 tools, DeWalt 12V/18V, most pneumatic finish/roofing nailers, Makita 18V, Craftsman 19.xV, Porter Cable 18V, Ryobi 18V, Ridgid 18V, Bosch 18V
  • Rectangular Flat Zippered Bags: Craftsman 12V, Bosch 12V, Ryobi 12V

Power Tool Packaging Conclusion

One thing to keep in mind with power tool packaging is that they can come in the form of cases, bags and pouches. For some tools, one type of packaging may be better than another. is that you can always go out aftermarket and purchase a top zippered tool bag to store your tools. We find this to be an excellent method of compensating for the useless of those rectangular monstrosities that ship with some of the newest 12V pocket tools. It’s also a perfect solution for when a tool comes with no case, or when you want to break up a combo kit. In addition, some professionals like bags over blow mold cases because they offer some friction, and do better on the shelves of work vans than do their plastic counterparts. Its a small investment and in the end let’s absolutely remember – it’s the tool that you should shop for, not the case.

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