The Stanley DIY Workforce Tool Box: A Happy Ending

This is a collection of articles about the greatest tool box I've ever owned, the Stanley Workforce Tool Box/Organizer.

If you've been following along over the past year, then you're familiar with my quest for the best DIY toolbox. And during this journey, the best tool box was found, lost, replaced, re-replaced with a different box, replaced again, and then finally returned home to once again to take it's place as the best tool box.

To make it easier for you to find the exact information you're looking for, I've laid out the story of the Stanley tool boxes in four sections. You can choose to either read this in its entirety or simply click on the specific article title listed in the Table of Contents below.

  • The original article: "Quest for the Best" is about the original Stanley's Workforce tool box organizer.
  • The second article: "Quest for the Best Part II" is about Stanley's changes to the box, it being discontinued, and then it being replaced with something totally different.
  • The third: "Sighted and Captured" is about the three replacements tool boxes I recommended as a substitute for the discontinued original Stanley tool boxes.
  • The Bottom Line is the latest news on the re-release of the original Stanley Workforce Tool Box/Organizer.

Once gain thanks for your input and patience throughout.

And a big thanks to Stanley for continuing to provide us with great DIY tools.

Tool Boxes, Quest for the Best.

Here’s the problem. We all have a tool box or two around the house, right? But no matter which cool tool box we buy, it only ends up as a pile of tools in a box. You know, totally disorganized, heavy, taking up too much space and you can't see what’s at the bottom of the pile. Well, a cardboard box could do just as well.

You may even own one of these popular tool box styles.

Cheap Red Plastic Tool Box

Cheap Plastic Tool Box

3 Drawer Red Metal Tool Box

3 Drawer Tool Box

5-Drawer Roller Metal Tool Chest (red)

Metal Tool Chest

Even if you have a multi-drawer tool box that’s well organized, it's too big and heavy to lug around. Anyway, the fact remains that for the majority of do it yourself projects you only need the essential tools, not every tool you own.

I’ll bet, like me, you hardly ever take your tool box to your project, you just try taking the tools you think you'll need. Inevitably, you end up running back and forth. What a waste of time!

Here's the simple solution that will make it easier to; carry your tools to your project, find your tools, and save space and money. I know, sounds like a pie-in-the-sky dream right?

It's not. And I'm going to reveal to you an amazing tool box you'll love forever.

So here we go.

One day I was strolling through my local home center looking for a divided box to store my fasteners when I spotted a multi-section plastic organizer.

It was different from others I'd seen before. It was made of heavy duty plastic, had adjustable sections, a locking clear lid, a good strong handle and the lid closed tight against the dividers so nothing can not jump from one section to another -- even if dropped.

This tool box is only 18" W x 12.5" D x 3" H, which makes it's easy to store just about anywhere.

Stanley Compartment Organizer: Workforce 26 (top view)

Stanley Compartment Organizer: Workforce 26 (top view)

Sensing I found buried treasure, I immediately grabbed the case and started playing with it right then and there on the floor. You may laugh, but hey, I’m a tool guy! So, I bought it and headed home.

When I got home I started thinking, "Hey, I wonder if my hand tools will fit in this case?"

So I got the hand tools I use most often (the same ones in the (Essential Hand Tools PDF) plus a few others, and began arranging them in the case.

Tools inside the tool box

I was totally amazed, everything fit (even the extra tools I carry)!

Tools inside the tool box

This tool box makes it so easy to actually carry your tools to your project and quickly find the tools you need.

And get this, they're even stackable! I can't begin to tell you how much space you'll save.

But the big bonus is the incredibly low price. This tool box costs only $10 bucks! What an amazing deal.

I can't imagine how much I would have saved if I'd only found this tool box earlier. I'll bet I've spent hundreds of dollars on tool boxes over the years and none of them have been as good as this one.

DIY Tip: DIY guy's love tool boxes, specially when they're as functional and durable as this one. Trust me, it would make a great gift for your husband, Father, son, brother, etc.

Take my advise, the next time you're at Home Depot, go to the tool organizing isle (generally located next to the power tool section) and buy the Stanley Workforce compartment organizer. You won't be disappointed.

By the way, I went back and bought two more of these incredibly useful tool boxes, one for my fasteners and a second for my electrical gear.

It's amazing how much less space these three new tool boxes take up versus just one of my old tool boxes.

Just one more do-it-yourself solution to help you succeed with speed!

Important Update.

The Work Force 26 has been replaced with the Stanley 25 Compartment Organizer. It's the same exact box, only now branded with the Stanley name. See below photo.

Stanley 25 Compartment Organizer

Product Information:

Description from Home Depot: Workforce 25 Adjustable Deep Compartment Small Parts Organizer. Built-In Handle With 2 Locking Tabs And Lid Lock So Parts Stay In Place. Ideal Tool And Small Parts Storage And Organizer For Carpenters, Mechanics, Handyman, Toys And Hobbies.

  • Stanley 25 Adjustable Deep Compartment Storage Organizer 199-Gray/Yellow
  • 25 Deep Adjustable Compartments
  • 3 Locking Mechanisms To Prevent Spills
  • Removable dividers allow customization
  • Extra wide, built-in handle designed for gloved hands
  • Dimensions: 18-1/8 x 13-3/16 x 3-7/8 inches
  • MFG Brand Name : Stanley
  • MFG Model # : 14005
  • MFG Part # : 14005
  • SKU: 542047
  • UPC: 076174932737
  • Price: $9.98 (+ shipping)
  • Available from Home Depot.

I recommend calling ahead to make sure they have this in stock (they sell very quickly). If not, you can have them order it for you.

Update: 03/10/09

Stanley has discontinued this tool box and it is no longer available at Home Depot.

Home Depot has assigned the SKU# from this old box to a new Stanley box. IT IS NOT THE SAME AS THE OLD BOX, so beware.

I'm currently investigating a new, available, tool box and will post my finding soon.

Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Update: 03/26/09

Good news! After weeks of searching, I believe I have found a replacement tool/parts box. In fact, I found a set of three different size boxes (small, medium and large). I have ordered the boxes and will be testing them shortly.

Update: 04/04/09

I have finally received, and am currently testing three new tool boxes, similar to the Stanley. They look and work great so far.

Quest for the Best Part II

The quest for the best tool box continues. But with a happy ending.

If you've visited the site before, you may have read my article "Tool Boxes, Quest for the Best" about a great DIY tool box and it's untimely demise.

If not, here's the scoop.

I had been using this great Workforce 26 tool box for a long time,Workforce 26 Tool Box

and started recommending it to friends and family as well as all my readers and clients. Then, out of nowhere, I began receiving emails that no one could find or buy these tool boxes anywhere.

Sure enough, I went to Home Depot's website and attempted to order the Stanley tool box. When I got to the checkout portion of the process, a pop-up message said, "this Stanley tool box is no longer available".

I contacted Stanley directly and was told,

"Unfortunately, this item has been discontinued and is no longer available."

I wrote Stanley back and asked if the tool box was going to be replaced with a new item and their response was,

"There are comparable items on our website, please look under organizers."

As I had already reviewed their website for available products and found none, this was of no help.

So I went to Home Depot (the only vendor that sold the Workforce 26 and attempted to locate the tool box. And sure enough, the plastic Workforce 26 organizers were no longer available—and there was no replacement.

The Search Continues

Over the next few weeks, I kept searching for a replacement box online and whenever I was at Home Depot. Then one lucky day, a new tool box showed up on the shelves.

Stanley Compartment Organizer

As it turns out, this new tool box, from Stanley, was the same design as the Workforce 26 tool box. The only real difference was the black color and a slight change in size (the new box was larger).

Compared Dimensions:

Original Workforce 26: 18" W x 12.5" D x 3" H

New Stanley: 18-1/8" W x 13-3/16" D x 3-7/8" H

The other (and much bigger) problem was that even though this "new" box wasn't exactly the same, Home Depot gave it the same SKU (product ID number) as the old tool box. So, even if you wanted to track down any of the remaining older boxes, you couldn't because they both have the same SKU number. Genius!

OK, stay with me on this because what happened next was unbelievable. Stanley discontinued the new box even before they stocked the shelves!

So the "quest for the best continued once again."

Not The Same Tool Box

So once again I returned to Home Depot. I wanted to see if I could find any of the old Stanley tool boxes they might have left in stock. When I inquired at the counter I was told they had plenty. Plenty?

Well they did have lots of boxes, but it wasn't the same tool box!

Black Stanley organizer with fixed compartments

This new organizer has fixed center compartments, making it unsuitable as a tool box or as a truly customizable parts organizer.

Dead end.

So, the mission for the last six weeks or so has been to find a suitable replacement for the original Workforce 26 tool box/organizer, and great news, I've succeeded! You can find my full recommendation, and a direct link to order your DIY tool box or organizers at DIY Best Tool Boxes

If you have a minute, please let me know what questions, problems or suggestions you might have, as well as your DIY successes.

Continuing to help you succeed with speed.

New DIY Tool Box Sighted and Captured

After months of searching, the hunt is for the best tool box is over.

After an exhaustive search and thorough testing here are the tool box organizers I've found to replace the Stanley Workforce tool boxes.

These new toolbox/organizers come in three sizes to accommodate all your storage needs.

They're made of heavy duty plastic, have adjustable sections for easy customizing, a clear lid to see all your tools or parts, a good strong, wide handle, and the lid closes tight against the dividers so nothing can not jump from one section to another--even if dropped.

And, they're stackable, so you save tons of space.

Large Tool Box / Organizer

This large tool box will easily hold all the hand tools you use most often, plus a few others. Now it'll be easy to carry your tools to your project and quickly find the tools you need.

20" W x 12-5/8" D x 2-5/8" H // Cost: $22.99 each Order Here

Best Large Hand Tools Tool Box

Here are the same tools from The Absolute Essential Tools Every Do-It-Yourselfer Must Own PDF laid out here, plus a few more.

tools in box

Check out the PDF for a full list of the essential tools every DIY'er should own.

Now, here's all those tools neatly stored and ready for easy transport.

tools in box

It's just amazing how many tools can be stored and easily accessed from one tool box.

You can stack three of these boxes in the same space as one regular tool box. Definitely one of the best do-it-yourself tool box/organizers you'll find, buy, and happily use.

Medium Tool Box / Parts Organizer

The medium organizer is great for holding fasteners, electrical gear, technician tools, or whatever you need to keep sorted and transport securely. Great size!

Note: All the yellow dividers are removable.

15-1/2" W x 11-5/8" D x 2-1/2" H // Cost: $17.99 each Order Here

Best Medium Tool Box / Parts Organizer

Small Tool Box / Parts Organizer

I use this smaller organizer to hold my stainless fasteners, and other specialty items. Perfect fit!

Note: 9 total compartments-1 full, 2 lg, 2 md, 4 sm.
12-7/8" W x 9-3/8" D x 2" H // Cost: $9.99 each Order Here

Best Small Tool Box Parts Organizer

DIY Tip: DIY guys and gals love tool boxes, especially when they're as functional and durable as these. Trust me, this would make a great gift for any DIYer you'd like to make smile.

You can order your DIY tool box organizers through this Direct Link

And Yes, I did talk to the manufacturer and they reassured me that these boxes will not be discontinued anytime soon. So get organized and you too will succeed with speed.

Update: 05/05/09

The new DIY Best Tool Box and Organizers have been tested and are ready for your approval and purchase at DIY Best Tool Boxes. Thank you once again for your patience.

Update: 09/20/09

Stanley has been in contact in the last couple of months and told me that the Workforce toolbox/organizer with be re-released in October of this year. I'll let you all know when and where just a soon as Stanley let me know. Hang in there, and thanks for your patience.

THE BOTTOM LINE 10/21/09

Great news! I have just been advised, by the Stanley product manager, that the original Workforce tool box/organizers (14006) have been re-released and will be available at Target stores to start. Stanley promised to advise me of other locations that the box will be available at ASAP.

Update 5/20/10

I have been informed by many of my readers that they have been unable to find these boxes at Target, except at a couple of Super Targets. I have searched the cities around where I live and haven't found any either. I contacted Stanley and Target again and they are of little help. So, I guess we're out of luck again. Maybe if Stanley gets enough request for this box they might "really" bring it back, but don't hold your breath.

Note that the boxes you see on Lowes and Home Depots site are not the original boxes. They are the new ones with the fixed center section.

Update 4/13/11

Here's an update from Denny, one of my readers, on where to buy the Stanley tool box organizers. Thanks Denny for your persistance! Larry

Hello Larry- After a lot of trying, I was able to find a source for the original Stanley 26 compartment box. I have about 25 of the ORIGINAL original Workforce26 and ZAG 26 boxes, so being able to find additional ones that stack nicely on top of my existing boxes was nice. In the past, I have tried other copies (from EBay, Summit Racing, etc) that look similar, but are far inferior (JUNK!!) and don't even stack upon one another!

I must disagree with you, however, about the Stanley boxes being "exactly" like the Workforce26. They aren't made quite as nicely as the originals were and the plastic seems to be a little more brittle...

That being said, I am still happy to have a source of genuine Stanley boxes. I bought 10 of them from Allied Electronics right here in California. Apparently, they're still easily available in Canada (Home Depot) and Europe.

They were easily ordered from Allied, and didn't take long to receive. It seems like you were as disappointed as I was to learn that the good ol' Workforce26 was no longer available, so I hope this makes you and your readers happy!

Update 9/17/11

Stanley has re-released the original tool box/organizer!

Stanley 25 Compartment Organizer

It really is the old original, and you can find it here at Lowes.
Take care and enjoy.

If you have questions about your DIY projects, just ask your personal DIY consultant. I'm here to help you succeed with speed.

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7 Comments

  1. I’m laughing out loud because I have been on a similar “quest” for the last year or so. I have a collection of eight of the old Workforce boxes which has grown as I needed it to over the years, adding one or two as I’ve added to my collection of plastic miniatures. I, too, noticed with shock and despair that Home Depot stopped selling the old boxes and tried using the new ones. I, too, was dissatisfied with the fixed compartments. What good news that the old boxes are finally available again! Looks like I’ll be headed to Target this weekend!

    • Has anyone been able to find these recently?  It’s May 17th, 2012, and I bought these on lowes.com via ship to store, but when I got there, they gave me the fixed compartment 14026 model.  Apparently in their system, the 2 model numbers have the same item number, so they can’t tell the difference.  I have never seen these in store.

  2. Thanks so much for your offering, as many people were left out in the cold when the Stanley organizer was taken off the market. I did find a website that sells a similar organizer http://bit.ly/aBvGPT The only difference is that they don’t stack very well. Other than that there’re great, and only $10 bucks.
    Thanks again for dropping by DIY Answer Guy and your valuable input.

  3. I am very interested in your research regarding the Stanley 25 compartment organiser. I bought a couple of these a few years ago and found them to be excellent. I have been trying to buy extra ones ever since, but have never found any. I will keep an eye on your site to see if you are successful in locating them again.

    • Stanley never did release the new improved model of the old box, and the new box your link shows is out there. I saw it at Home Depot a while ago. The Jegs box is just like the old discontinued Stanley box with the exception of stacking securely. They do stack, but not as securely as the old Stanley box. The Jegs box is otherwise exactly the same as the Stanley box, so I can only assume that they come from the same manufacturer. I have several at home and at work. They’re of the same quality and at only $10 bucks a great deal. Here’s the link if you don’t have it handy.     http://bit.ly/aBvGPT
      I don’t know exactly who Jegs is getting these from but I’m happy there’re available. 

  4. I still cant locate the Stanley large organizer at lowes stores or thier home page.

  5. I looked today and could only find them at allied electronics
    Stanley part #1-92-762
    I have over 16 of these boxes and I glad to find more

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