Harbor Freight has launched a new Bauer modular tool box system, and they encourage users to “compare to Milwaukee [Packout]”.
Not to mince words, this is no Milwaukee Packout competitor. The Bauer tool boxes have extremely lightweight load ratings, such as 25 lbs for the small tool box and 60 lbs for the rolling tool box.
Milwaukee Packout tool boxes can hold up to 75 lbs, and their rolling tool box is rated at 250 lbs if weight capacity.
So while Harbor Freight encourages shoppers to “compare to Milwaukee” on price, the Bauer tool boxes don’t compare on even ground with respect to features, construction, or specs.
This is still an interesting product line.
Harbor Freight describes the Bauer tool boxes as “incredibly rugged.” They also emphasize that their 5 options allow for “over 50 storage configurations.”
At the time of this posting, there are just 5 Bauer modular tool box and organizer options:
- Small tool box w/ 6 removable parts cups: $30
- Storage tote: $20
- Large tool box: $40
- Rolling tool box: $70
- 12-compartment parts organizer: $35
The pricing seems a bit high, as a 3-piece system built with a rolling tool box with small and large tool boxes would come out to be $140.
The Craftsman Versastack combo (with organizer instead of tool box) is $90 at Lowe’s, and the Craftsman Tradestack launched at $169 at Lowe’s. There’s also the Ridgid Pro tool box system 3pc combo, currently $119 at Home Depot, and a Hart Stack system that’s $89 at Walmart.
With Harbor Freight so focused on how their lower pricing compares to “competing” systems, one would think they would have been more conscious about how their pricing actually compared to true competitors’ modular tool box systems.
There are some interesting and notable features. The Bauer parts organizer, for instance, is said to be IP65-rated watertight and dustproof. All of the tool boxes look to have metal latches.
I’m a little hesitant about Bauer’s side latches, which are used to lock stacked tool boxes together. Maybe the images give a false sense of scale, but it looks like there is a tiny finger loop built into a sliding tab. It’s hard to say without seeing and feeling it in person, but this doesn’t look very user-friendly to me.
It’s unclear as to whether Harbor Freight has a broader lineup in mind for Bauer, and it will be interesting to see where they go with this. Maybe their more premium brushless motor Hercules cordless power tools could be bundled with Bauer tool boxes? There’s plenty of potential.
It’s always good to have more tool options, but how does Bauer differentiate from all of the other modular tool box systems currently on the market?