The US General Tool Cabinet: A Customer’s Journey

Harbor Freight Tools has a number of popular bestsellers in its catalog. The floor jacks, the gas engines and the generators, for instance. If there were any which could be considered the crowning jewels of the company, however, it would have to be the U.S. General tool cabinets and carts.

Not long ago, a Garage Journal forum member, who uses the name, “Mister Moose,” shared with his group his own personal journey in the hunt for the perfect tool cabinet. Hell-bent on being thorough, he shopped several hardware stores, most of the time coming away disappointed. Here are a few observations he made along the way:

  • Sears – “All the floor models are overpriced, underbuilt disappointments. I’m fine with their hand tools, but the chests and roller cabinets are not worth the price, not by a long shot. The tool chest buyer at Sears should be publicly run out of town.”
  • Home Depot – “Nothing to see here. Worse than Sears.”
  • Tractor Supply – “They carry 2 lines, Jobsmart, and Masterhand. Jobsmart is just like the Sears ball bearing series, except it’s black, and the slides are smaller… Masterhand is better… The really odd part is that they are priced the same. That’s right, you can get cheapo drawers and slides or decent ones for the same money at the same store. The 26 inch 8 drawer base is $329, and the 40” 12 drawer base is $499.”
  • Lowes – “I wouldn’t spend the $610 on the 41” model.”
  • Matco – “Just to compare to a higher end tool truck box, I measured up a 40” Matco box at a mechanic shop I do business with… It is a very deep breath to pay the extra tool truck price… and you won’t have to peel the name plate off in shame. You will however pay dearly for that name plate. This whole name plate shame thing really should stop if in fact HF has built a high quality box and offers it with no expensive commissioned salesman in a truck to the vast unwashed masses of us garage folk.”

Exhausting other avenues, he turned his attention to the US General 44″ 13-Drawer Roller Tool Cabinet (“Otherwise known as the favorite child of a large percentage of Garage Journal members”) at Harbor Freight Tools. At least he was honest about how he got to Harbor Freight:

“I hadn’t even considered the place until I started reading good reviews here.”

A big thanks to the folks at The Garage Journal! It didn’t take long for him to spot the US General tool cabinet’s quality and value (great photos, BTW!):

“Lower drawer with double slides, riveted to drawer. Look at the left side upper edge, the rolled over reinforcement is visible. Lesser drawers don’t have this. Also, look at the drawer front. Both the top drawer pull and the lower edge of the front form a structural girder that allows more weight before deforming.”

“The 14 pair roller bearing cage. Full double wall construction.”

“The steel wheel caster with polyurethane tire. You can also see the other style casters on the 56” and the 5 drawer cart. Look at the dual angle iron supports & perimeter angle iron welded to the cabinet, and compare that to the ‘U’ channel visible on the 5 drawer cart.”

In the end, it came down to either the Kobalt 27″ or the Harbor Freight “44, which were (not quite) in the same price ballpark:

“Hmmm. Better construction, and 63% more storage… This is a no brainer. I bought the HF 44” box.”

To read the customer’s full review, complete with great pictures, measurements and observations, click here. Also, make sure to sign up with Harbor Freight Tools for tons of exclusive coupons and discounts!

Take your own journey for the best tool cabinet or tool cart to suit your needs: function, quality, price. Don’t be surprised that, like Mister Moose, you’ll find yourself the proud owner of a U.S. General unit.

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