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Power tools: carry bags vs hard cases


Arkay

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During the past few years I've noticed that manufacturers are increasingly providing zippered cloth carry bags instead of hard plastic carry cases for their tool kits (drills, saws, etc). I greatly prefer the durability of the hard cases when my tools are being transported. I also find hard cases are far easier to keep organized. I really dislike the cloth carry bags. It seems to me that the hard plastic cases would be less expensive to produce than the zippered bags. Does anybody have ideas on why manufacturers have gone to these bags? Does anybody prefer them? What advantages do they offer? I don't get it. 

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I prefer hard cases but I do have a few scenarios where I find a bag is better.

 

One is for better size, weight and portability. To store and carry a 20V jobsite blower I use a small 38cm long Dewalt bag; it's the perfect size. Because of the shape of the blower, if I were to use a hard case I would need a large tstak or large tough box just so it would fit it's height. 

 

It's just far easier to grab a small bag and chuck it on the passenger seat (try that with a large tough box). 

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I think that blow molded cases, while they offer increased protection and organization, are far too limited in terms of versatility and can be a pain to use at times.  My cases are often nitpicky when it comes to the charger cord, and what would have been a quick pack up and go often turns into wasted minutes getting the cord just right so the case closes easily.  I recall having the same issues with my corded Sawzall years ago.  Add in the lack of space for accessories and you might see where bags are favored by many.  Neither cases or bags offer much protection against the elements.

 

Some companies are offering tool kits in their modular boxes, such as DeWalt's T-stak or ToughSystem and Bosch's L-boxx.  I find these much more appealing as they offer a degree of protection (especially against dust and water) while being capable of repurposing should the owner desire.  Blow molded cases, and simple plastic or metal cases in general, are usually useless for anything other than the tool kit they originally held.  

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I would rather have a cheaper tool and no case as I never use them. I threw out most of my plastic cases.

At home I’d rather just wrap a cord around the router or drill and put it in a drawer than waste time putting it back in a case.  Same goes for work.

When I transport my tools I just use Ridgid boxes. In the wheeled bottom box I can fit my screw gun, drill, circular saw, grinder, sawzall, charger, batteries and a bunch of other tools. To me it’s just easier that way.

I never use the bags for tools.

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@Arkay I would say bags are more versatile. With blow molded cases your probably looking at a case specifically designed to fit the tool it came with and maybe a few accessories. As long as the bag is big enough or tool small enough you can fit it in a bag. I also feel bags are easier to transport. Are bags the best option. I see 3 ways to look at it: you either like bags, dislike bags, or you don't care enough one way or the other. I used to only use bags when I started getting into tools which was a reasonably good setup at the time. I later got introduced to tough system and everything changed. I won't go back to bags. I would have to have a really good reason to use one again for my personal tools. I find tough system or similar modular box systems are the way to go. They tend to require an investment but it is worth it. I feel tough system has even more versatility than bags and as much if not more protection than blow mold cases and on top of that you get more features that bags and blow mold cases don't offer like a weather seal and functionality to lock boxes together. Plus more specialty items like a radio, storage racks, and metal cart work seamlessly together in addition to the standard boxes to make one great system. The fact that it is a system is huge. You don't have to wonder if the boxes are compatible or not. 

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I hate Tstak, so hard to carry over any distance due to your arm trying to lift the weight away from your leg. 

 

Flat briefcase style cases are a win. Easy to carry, stack neatly in the van or home. Add a shoulder strap to free up your hand for opening doors is a double win! 

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4 hours ago, FlaveNico said:

Companies should just throw a bag in with the purchase of tools with a hard case. Yes I’m being greedy but I can hope.


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If companies did that, the bag's cost would be added into the price of the tool.

 

Nothing is free, somebody pays for it. Companies always pass the costs on, whether it is taxes, materials or labor.

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2 hours ago, Tug said:

I hate Tstak, so hard to carry over any distance due to your arm trying to lift the weight away from your leg. 

 

Flat briefcase style cases are a win. Easy to carry, stack neatly in the van or home. Add a shoulder strap to free up your hand for opening doors is a double win! 

just get the tstak cart?

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It depends on the tasks I am doing. When it comes to automotive tools, I have a large Craftsman rolling tool box. I tend to sort the tools by standard tools in some drawers with metric in other drawers. With sockets and ratchets I tend keep the ratchets and extensions with the standard sockets and the metrics are in a slightly smaller drawers.

 

For a long time, I tried to get a hard case with each tool and tried to store them in their cases. I have evolved to liking the modular stackable cases like TSTAKs, ToughSystem and the new Milwaukee boxes. I have several of the older ToughSystem drawer units and look forward to seeing what the new drawers will be like. I have become a fan of Ron Paulk on YouTube and seeing his various trailers and trucks as well as his portable workbench system, so there may be some ideas copied and modified from that for storage in my basement shop in the near future. Meanwhile I will probably use some ToughSystem boxes and totes to move stuff, when I have to do projects away from the basement.

 

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9 hours ago, Jronman said:

just get the tstak cart?

 

Nah, most of my work involves stairs and multiple doors to negotiate, so I try to travel as light as possible. 

 

9 hours ago, FlaveNico said:

A Butler to Carry and then hand them to me would be ideal :))))


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This! 

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I hate bags. Over the last year I've really started opting for bare tools over kits because a lot of them are coming in bags now. I also hate blow molded cases because they take up too much room. I'd rather buy the bare tool and either make room in one of my TSTAK's or buy another TSTAK. Right now they only ways I would buy a kit would be if I'm getting into a new platform and need batteries and chargers or if the cost of the bare tool is not significantly cheaper.

 

For example I want to get into the DeWalt lineup with their new tool connect tools. I don't want the case they come in but obviously I don't have any batteries or chargers yet so I need to buy the kit for $219 and I will likely buy all of the tool connect tools as kits to stock up on batteries. Once I have enough batteries I will switch to bare tools since everything is going to be put into TSTAK's anyway.

 

Another example the new GEN 2 Milwaukee M12 FUEL Impact Driver is $119 bare tool and the kit is $169. In that scenario the kit isn't worth it to me since I have batteries and chargers. However the combo kit with it and the new GEN 2 M12 FUEL Drill is $229. With the Impact and Drill both being $119 bare tool it's smarter to buy the combo kit for $9 less and get a 2.0ah battery, 4.0ah battery, charger, and bag. In that scenario I would go with the kit even though I don't really need the 2.0ah battery, charger, or bag.

 

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I like blow-molds for their inherent strength that comes from softer more flexible plastic, this is less prone to cracking on impact. However, they're only good for the tool they were molded for, so hard case is definitely best for me. 

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The good thing about bags is you can put the tool's bits or accessories in it too. With a hard case you basically end up with a hard case and a bag or another case of bits...don't know why they don't mold in a spot to carry their own bit cases inside the blow molded case, it gives you a reason to buy their bits instead of a competitors.

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i dont like bags. they dont stack on a 2 wheel buggy.

im from a time when manufacturers put their product in a steel case.

i have alot of the crypt tools in steel boxes.

don't like the plastic cases. the tool has to be positioned just so, and the cord wound a particular way to be able to close the lid. and forget about putting extra blades or whatever extra in a plastic box. think i threw most of them out

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