Glossary of Tool Storage Industry Terms

Understanding Tool Storage Terminology

Confused about terms you’ve encountered in the tool storage industry? Don’t be. Just look them up in our handy Tool Storage Glossary.

Glossary Sections

Tool Storage Components


Drawer Slides


Chest Lid




Tool Storage Components

Cabinet: The bottom piece of a tool storage combo with casters (wheels). Sometimes called a tool box, mobile cabinet, rolling cabinet or roll-away. Can also be a stand-alone storage unit.

Chest: The top piece(s) of a tool storage combo designed to sit on top of a cabinet. Has a lid that opens up.

Combo: A tool storage combination that includes multiple pieces, such as a chest(s) and cabinet.

Hand Box: Portable tool box made of plastic or metal.

Intermediate Chest: Tool chest that fits between a top chest and cabinet. A relatively small piece with 1-4 drawers. It is a great way to add capacity without increasing floor space.

Portable Chest: Small chest with drawers and a top handle for portability. Can be all metal or a plastic shell with metal drawers.

Project Center: Similar to a cabinet, but with a removable wood work surface and molded plastic top to store and organize small parts and power tools.

Side Cabinet and/or Side Locker: Attaches to either side of a cabinet. Drawers add storage capacity, or a locking door covers shelves or small interior drawers

Tool Center: Tool storage combo. Includes two or three pieces in one box.

Utility Cart: Designed for frequent movement to position tools near a project site. May or may not have drawers. Sometimes includes an open tray above casters for bulk storage.


Backwall: Pegboard in a framework that can be bolted to the back of a workbench. May or may not include a work light.

Leveling Feet: Can be adjusted to keep a work surface level or to prevent storage pieces from rocking on an uneven surface.

Workbench: A stationary frame and work surface designed for project work. May or may not include storage under the work surface.

Drawer Slides

Ball-Bearing Slides: Drawers are supported by metal slides that roll over a line of ball bearings. Drawers open more easily when weight is in the drawer. There are various quality levels of ball-bearing slides with a range of load ratings.

Compound Action Slides: See friction slides.

Detent: A method to hold drawers closed to prevent drawers from opening accidentally. A push-in detent holds drawer closed with a small push. Waterloo’s Posi-Latch® is a more sophisticated latching system.

Double Slides: Drawers that are supported with two sets of slides (four slides total) in order to increase the load rating.

Drawer Trim: A strip of aluminum or another material on the front of a drawer to provide a finished appearance.

Friction Slides: Drawers are supported by a slide in which metal slides over metal. Also referred to as compound action or standard slides.

Full-Extension: Drawer can be pulled all the way out, so the back of the drawer is flush with the front of the frame. Makes it easy to access contents in the back of the drawer.

Full-Width Drawer: Drawer extends the full width, left to right, of the bank of drawers.

Posi-Latch®: A patented latching mechanism that holds drawers closed to prevent accidental opening. Drawers are easily opened by lifting the trim. Prevents drawers from accidentally opening when storage is being moved.

Split Drawers: Two or more drawers that are side by side inside the frame.

Standard Slides: See friction slides.


External Locking System: Operates with a key and lock bar. The metal lock bar is manually placed in front of the drawers to hold them shut.

Internal Locking System: Operates with a key. When the key is turned, an internal bar behind the drawers drops down and holds them all closed.

Lock Bar: Manually placed in front of drawers to lock storage pieces with an external locking system.

Overmolded Keys: Metal keys with a rubber coating on the handle.

Chest Lid

Cover Stay: Hinging metal support that safely holds cover in the open position. A chest may have 0, 1 or 2 cover stays.

Cover Stiffener: Metal support inside the chest lid that adds strength and prevents the lid from twisting. Sometimes embossed with a logo.

Gas Struts: Gas-filled cylinders and piston rods that control the opening and closing of a chest lid and safely hold the lid in the open position.


Bail Handles: Chest side handles that hinge up during use and rest flat against the sides when not in use. Easier to use than recessed handles.

Recessed Handles: A metal or plastic piece that is recessed in the sides of a chest.

Tubular Steel Side Handle: Cabinet side handle shaped like a tube.


Casters: Wheels. May be pre-installed on cabinets and carts. Many sets include two locking swivel casters and two fixed static casters.

Caster Angles: L-shaped brackets under casters that add strength. Included on select models.

Caster Channels: C-shaped brackets under casters that add strength. A premium feature, adding more strength than caster angles. Included on select models.


Bulk Storage Panel: An open storage area to hold large tools and supplies. Usually accessed by a panel that opens up in a garage-door fashion. Usually found on tool centers.

Cubic Inch Capacity (Cubic Capacity): The amount of usable space inside the storage unit. Calculated differently by different manufactures.

Drawer Liner: Non-slip vinyl mat that fits into a drawer bottom to protect tools and keep them in place. Available cut to size or in uncut rolls.

Load Rating: The amount of weight that a storage piece is tested to support. Could also refer to the amount of weight a drawer can hold.

Top Mat: Mat protects the top surface of a cabinet and holds tools in place. Also reduces noise if a chest is placed on the mat.