You can look at a toolbox in a couple of ways. Most folks start their toolbox journey in school, picking up tools here and there in sets as they go. With the Sonic Tools S9 285-pcs Toolbox, you can jump-start your professional tool journey—or upgrade your existing tool ensemble. Both the tools and the toolbox are professional-grade. This system lives up to the Sonic Tools’ slogan: Professional Tools for Professional Technicians. We can’t think of a better system for ensuring nothing gets lost—at least not without your knowing about it!
Quick SummaryWith the S9 + Tool 285-pcs toolbox, Sonic Tools delivers a toolbox with 4 foam inserts that carry some of the most common tools an auto mechanic or shop worker needs to tackle the job. Sockets, drivers, adapters, wrenches, files, hammers, and more…this 285-piece toolbox includes lots of tools. From the anti-tilt system to the easy-to-use locking casters, this toolbox even has room to let you grow your tool collection over time.
Some Background on Sonic Tools USA
We first observed Sonic Tools up close and personal at the Rolex 24 race in Daytona, Florida. Sonic Equipment is a Dutch company with over 50 years of history and facilities in the Netherlands and Germany. The Alabama-based Sonic Tools is a subsidiary of Sonic Equipment. They serve various automotive enterprises, service centers, race shops, aftermarket businesses, and personal garages.
Their forte falls in the area of toolboxes with custom laser-cut foam inserts for better tool organization. The design ensures all tools have a place—and any missing tools become very conspicuous. This helps you locate that missing 10mm socket or 3/8-inch extension—because you actually know it’s missing in the first place!
Sonic Tools S9 285-pcs Toolbox Overview
Open up a pre-filled Sonic Tools S9 285-pieces toolbox and what immediately jumps out is the incredible organization of the tools. Also, Sonic Tools picked, in our opinion, the right tools for this kit.
With a Sonic Tools foam tool insert, you get to stop looking for your tools and simply grab what you need. The sockets don’t roll around…you don’t need to hunt for the right size box wrench. It’s all right there—and perfectly labeled in the laser-cut foam.
The locking drawers in the Sonic Tool S9 285-pcs toolbox have always impressed us. Like all their toolboxes, you can only open a single drawer at a time. As you can imagine, tools weigh quite a bit. Open up two or more drawers in a toolbox and you could easily tip over the box, causing a serious injury. By only allowing one drawer to open at a time, Sonic Tools adds a truly Pro-level safety feature that we appreciate. This goes double when I’m working with people who may not have prior experience with this particular danger.
The pre-filled S9 + tools toolbox ships on a pallet with plenty of packing around it to protect the edges. The 5-inch casters (two swiveling/locking) also come pre-installed. In less than 10 minutes we had the shrinkwrap off all four foam tool trays, the towel bar installed, and both can holders mounted to the sides of the toolbox.
Tool and Toolbox Build Quality
We’ve been using tools from this particular toolbox for several weeks, but have also used tools from a Sonic Tools S10 toolbox and a basic Sonic Tools S9 toolbox for several years. While you can order the S10 tool box in Grey, Red, Blue, or Black, the S9 toolbox only comes in a Medium Grey. We like the glossy finish and it and the 304 stainless steel top clean up easily. All of our Sonic toolboxes have also, so far, avoided noticeable oxidation. The two 5-inch swivel casters lock and unlock very easily via your toe, and the entire box moves easily around the shop’s concrete floor as needed.
The drawers slide open easily—even when filled with heavy tools. There is a positive click when the drawers close, and the ball-bearing slides make for a smooth, confident open and shut. The included keys lock and unlock all drawers for security.
A side shelf/box easily holds aerosol paint, cleaner, or lube cans and bottles. You also get a place for an extra-large roll of paper towels. The top of the box includes hard-rubber side trays that work very well for holding small parts while you work.
Comparing to “Other Brands”
Pro mechanics love their tools—and they have very strong opinions about what makes them great. Certainly, the “tool truck” business model has been around for quite some time. Depending upon where you work, however, it can involve some waiting for warranty replacement. Many businesses may not have a regular tool truck stop. Others may be a weekly stop, but if the tool truck comes on Thursdays and you break a ratchet on Wednesday… Also, there’s never a guarantee your replacement tool will be on the truck that week or month. As you can imagine, the existing system has some inherent flaws, and many tool users are increasingly going online for warranty support.
Sonic Tools starts and ends online. No tool trucks needed. They cover all tool storage and individual hand tools under their Lifetime Warranty. It’s supported by a 24-hour online tool exchange. The way this works is you log into the site with your user account, provide the part number and a photo of the broken tool, and Sonic processes the claim within 24 hours, shipping the new replacement part via UPS Ground. If they want the old part back, they’ll include a return UPS shipping label. That means that if you live in California, you might have to wait up to 4-5 days to receive your tool. Not bad—and you’ll wait less if you live closer to Alabama.
The quality of these tools is top-notch. Our team couldn’t detect anything that would indicate they wouldn’t last as long as comparable ratchets, sockets, drivers, etc from Snap-on, Mac Tools, and others.
Checking Out the Included Sonic Tools S9 285-pcs Tools
We love the Sonic Tools S9 285-pcs toolbox and its organization. The tools inside, however, make or break the experience. Having used a majority of the products, the following are our thoughts that highlight what we think of the various tools.
Ratchets and Sockets
We used the ratchets and sockets the most, of course. Sonic Tools places a nice thick handle on their ratchets. At first, we thought they looked a tad bulbous, but over time we’ve grown fond of being able to grasp them easily with oily hands and not lose our grip. The handles have also lasted a good long time without ripping apart. The finish and mechanism have also held up well. They range from 45- to 72-tooth, and I liked that Sonic included a flex head with the 1/4-inch set.
We’ve torqued these sockets and extensions pretty good when replacing wheels on a 2015 Ford F-150 and working on various projects around the shop. The 1/4-inch set came in handy when redoing some 12V wiring to upgrade a truck stereo system. Sockets include a little bit of knurling for a better grip. We again noticed that Sonic uses a hex-shaped head on their extensions, allowing you to get a bit more leverage when needed (or grab a wrench if you’re trying to make clearance).
A healthy amount of Allen and Torx bit sockets came in handy more times than I care to count, and we liked the little extras such as the disc ratchets and universal joints.
Wrenches are very particular and each mechanic has his preferences. If you like totally polished wrenches, you’ll turn up your nose at Sonic Tools’ models. If, however, you want something that won’t easily slip out of your greasy hands, the textured surfaces of their open, combination, and offset wrenches will fit the bill. I fall into the satin wrench category myself, having had my hands slip plenty of times on smooth wrenches. These wrenches may not look as “sparkly” when you clean them up, but they’ll stick a bit better in your hands. While some manufacturers give you a choice, Sonic Tools currently has no polished options as far as we’re aware.
Screwdrivers and Other Hand Tools
I’ve grown accustomed to the Sonic Tools triangular handle design. They are comfortable to use and provide plenty of torque. Sonic hardens the tips of their drivers, so they hold up well under tough use. The screwdrivers also seemed to clean up well. We really liked the inclusion of a 16-in-1 ratcheting screwdriver. It features multiple double-sided bits stored in the handle and a reversible shaft to let you swap between as many as four bits within seconds.
The addition of hammers, files, and chisels—not to mention a whole host of wrenches and pliers, makes this a very well-rounded toolset for any mechanic or shop owner.
Tool by Tool
The 285-piece S9 Toolbox includes four laser-cut foam tray inserts filled with tools. Here is exactly what you can expect to find in this set:
Tray 1 – Chisel, Hammer, Pliers, File Set, 23-PCS – MEDIUM
- 7” Combination Pliers
- 8” Long Nose Pliers
- 8” Bent Long Nose Pliers
- 7” Diagonal Pliers
- 10” Waterpump Pliers
- 10” Locking Pliers
- 7.5/8.6” Grip Chisel (190/220MM)
- 6/7/8/8.2” Grip Pin Punch (150/180/200/210 mm)
- 7.3” (185mm) Grip Taper Punch
- Machinest Hammer
- Stoning Hammer
- 5m Tape Measure
- Utility Knife (w/extra blades)
- Flat File
- Half Round File
- Round File
- Triangular File
Tray 2 – Combo Set 3/8”, 1/2″, 101-PCS – MEDIUM
- 3/8” 6 pt Flank Sockets: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22
- TX Sockets: E4 E5, E6, E7, E8, E10, E11, E12, E14
- 3/8” Hex Bit Sockets: 3, 4, 5, 5.5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
- TX Bit Sockets: T15, T20, T25, T27, T30, T40, T45, T50, T55
- 3/8” TX TP Bit Sockets: T15H, T20H, T25H, T27H, T30H, T40H, T45H, T50H, T55H
- 72T Disc Ratchet
- 3/8” 45T Ratchet
- Extension 3/6/10” (75/150/250 mm)
- 3/8” Universal Joint
- 1/2” (f) x 3/8” (m) Adapter for Ext.
- 3/8” Spark Plug Sockets: 16, 18, 21
- 1/2” 6 pt Flank Sockets: 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32
- TX Sockets: E10, E11, E12, E14, E16, E18, E20, E22, E24
- 1/2” 45T Ratchet
- Extension 5/10” (125/250 mm)
- 1/2” Universal Joint
- 3/8” (f) x 1/2” (m) Adapter for Ext.
Tray 3 – Wrench Set, 40-PCS – MEDIUM
- Double Open Wrenches: 6X7, 8X9, 10X11, 12X13, 14X15, 16X17, 18X19, 20X22, 24X27, 30X32
- Combination Wrenches: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 30, 32
- 75° Offset Ring Wrench: 6X7, 8X9, 10X11, 12X13, 14X15, 16X17, 18X19, 20X22
Tray 4 – Socket and Screwdriver Set 1/4″, 121-PCS – MEDIUM
- 6 pt Shallow Flank Sockets: 4, 4.5, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
- 1/4″ 6 pt Deep Flank Sockets: 4, 4.5, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
- TX Shallow Sockets: E4 E5, E6, E7, E8, E10
- 1/4” TX Deep Sockets: E4 E5, E6, E7, E8, E10
- TX Bit Sockets: T8,T10, T15, T20, T25, T27, T30, T40
- 1/4” TX TP Bit Sockets: T8H, T10H, T15H, T20H, T25H, T27H, T30H, T40H
- TX TR Bit Sockets (5 LOBES): 10IPR, 15IPR, 20IPR, 25IPR, 27IPR, 30IPR, 40IPR
- 1/4” Hex Bit Sockets: 3, 4, 5, 5.5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
- Magnet Socket Pickup
- 1/4” Extension (50/100/150 mm)
- Universal Joint
- 1/4” Disc Ratchet
- 45T Ratchet
- 1/4” 72T Ratchet
- 1/4” 45T Flexible Head Ratchet
- 1/2” (f) x 3/8” (m) Adapter for Ext.
- 3/8” Spark Plug Sockets: 16, 18, 21
- TX Wrench, Extra Long Set 9pcs
- Hex Ball Extra Long Key Set 10pcs
- Slotted Screwdrivers: 3MM, 3.5MM, 4MM, 5.5MM, 6.5MM, 8MM
- PH Screwdrivers: PH0, PH1, PH2, PH3
- 8” Pry Bar
- 16-in-1 Ratcheting Screwdriver
Wrap It Up
When you use a truly organized toolbox like the pre-loaded 285-piece S9, it changes you. When I look at other mechanics’ toolboxes and see tools tossed loosely in various drawers I wonder how they keep it all organized. I wonder about lost productivity hunting for the right wrench and sockets. I wonder about lost money buying replacements for tools that could have been located—or are simply misplaced.
The Sonic Tool tool organization system obsoletes everything you know about what a mechanics toolbox can be. After using this and other Sonic toolboxes for years of use, not one tool has been misplaced—at least not for long. This simply isn’t the case for the rest of our tools (I’m still missing two aluminum OLFA knives in the shop!)
Value is another consideration. At $3,825, the Sonic Tools S9 + Tools 285-pcs toolbox is nothing short of a bargain. If you look up the equivalent in Snap-on Tools you could pay as much as two to three times this much—before you factor in financing costs. In fact, we’ve seen rolling cabinets from competing brands that cost more than the entire Sonic Tools 285-piece S9 set—and that’s before adding any tools!
The Sonic Tools s9 + Tools 285-pieces toolbox is a bargain at $3,825. Add the lifetime replacement warranty, and it gets even better. For anyone looking to step up their organization—or just starting out as an auto mechanic, you won’t beat this setup. Of course, if you’re ambitious, you can also pre-load the Sonic Tools S12 or even the S14 if you want even more at your disposal. All Sonic Tools toolboxes can be completely customized at any time with your choice of tool kits and inserts. There are literally thousands of potential combinations.
Check out the entire lineup at Sonic Tools.