During one of my recent trips to Home Depot, I saw the workers there assembling one of the brand new 46″ Milwaukee Tool Chests……fast forward about 30 minutes, and they had it fully together and on display. Right off the bat the first thing that I noticed was how sturdy it was — much more-so than your typical run-of-the-mill “store brand” boxes that we have all seen/owned. A week later I was back at Home Depot loading one up, and drove home ready to put it to use in the workshop. I have moved multiple large (40″+) Husky brand boxes, and the Milwaukee easily weighs double of one of them. We set it in the driveway, attached the casters, and wheeled it inside.
Some of the more important/unique features that I could see that it had were things like the 2 independent power strips (one on the top box & one on the bottom), the boxed wall construction, soft-close drawers, and easy lock/unlock casters.
The top lid folds up and gives you over 10″ of clearance to store larger items like chargers, drills, or socket trays. Because there is metal pegboard attached to the rear of the top storage area, I added two “shelf mounts” and ran a section of 3/4″ plywood across it —- giving me a charging shelf where I was able to place 6 chargers (Bosch,Milwaukee, Ryobi, Ridgid, Dewalt, & Makita) all side-by-side with enough clearance to still shut/lock the lid & also keep extra batteries stored underneath and space for drills in front of it.
The casters are 5″ high, and feature a unique locking/unlocking mechanism that does not require you to “pull up” on the release to unlock the wheel.Instead they have two levers side-by-side, and if you press down one it locks the wheel & when you press the other it unlocks the wheel & resets the lock lever.
The only complaint that I have about the casters is the fact that they do not have zerk fittings (grease fittings) & if/when you want to add additional grease, you are going to have to use a grease needle attachment VS just attaching the grease gun to a fitting. Not a huge deal, but it is one extra step.
The drawers are easily removed to service/grease/clean them, and this is especially useful when routing the power cords out the back of the box. I also found that this was very useful when swapping the lock cylinders to make the top/bottom boxes have the same key & the independent locking drawer having a unique key.
The top & bottom box do not come from the factory with matching locks, but the cylinders are the same —- in 10 minutes with a couple wrenches/sockets, you can easily move the additional lock from the top box to the bottom one & really improve the key situation (carry 1 key VS 2 keys).
The locks are a tubular design & will be a very secure lock that almost no one can pick like a standard cylinder lock. Also, unlike a standard box, the top box can lock the drawers without the lid being shut. Most of the time you close the lid & it lowers a bar in the rear that snags all the drawers to prevent them from moving —- the Milwaukee 46″ actually has the same locking mechanism on both the top & bottom boxes & each drawer in instead stopped from opening by tabs raising in front of both the left & right slide rails to prevent the drawers from opening.
Each drawer is rated at a minimum of 100 lbs of weight, and the bottom two drawers on the bottom box have twice the number of rails & those load limits increase to 200 lbs/each. I weigh roughly 180 lbs, and I stood in one with no issues/bending/damage. All of the drawers feature something called “soft close” which is very similar to what you will find of high-end kitchen cabinets. This allows you to shut the drawer 90% of the way as you normally would, and then the soft close mechanism takes over & literally pulls the drawers in fully at a very low speed that prevents your tools from banging around and/or damaging the box.
Overall I think that this is an excellent deal for a “pro-sumer grade” box. Homeowners, DIYers, Electricians, Plumbers, Handymen, Light-duty mechanics will all get a lot of great use out of it — and I think that the only group that may have issues would be professional mechanics since the drawer configuration is not well suited for them. Typically mechanics will have numerous longer tools (extensions, breaker bars, ratchets, prybars, etc) & since the Milwaukee 46″ only has one full width drawer, I do think that may be a problem for someone in a shop setting — if this is their only box. However, coupled with a nice rolling work cart & a prybar box on the side, it really may meet their needs also.