What Size Toolbox Do You Need for Your Silverado?
By: Brendan Soriano / January 20, 2023 in How-To
Whether you use your Silverado as a workhorse, an adventure rig, or simply as a family hauler, having adequate storage space is essential; that's where your tool box comes in. Installing a spacious box in the bed of your truck removes all the disorganization from your cab; instead, providing you with a proper storage area designated for tools, recovery equipment, roadside emergency kits, and more!
The first step of installing any tool box is selecting and ordering the right one for the job. In the following section, we'll look at six of the most common varieties.
Tool Box Types
Crossover truck boxes are a favorite amongst trades workers and DIY-ers, featuring a large interior volume to hold various tools and equipment. Rather than sitting below your pickup's bed rails out of sight, crossover boxes sit high and proud atop your Silverado's bed rails, spanning the width of the bed. For more information, click on the video link below!
The most versatile entry on the list is the portable tool box. Rather than being permanently affixed to the bed, these boxes are engineered for easy removal.
Portable boxes generally feature wheels and a pull strap, allowing you to single-handedly navigate your tools and equipment through a job site or into your home/garage. For more information, click on the product link below!
Another favorite amongst those who regularly work out of their Silverados is the side mount tool box. These boxes are installed parallel to the bedside rather than directly behind the cab. With a side-mount tool box, you'll rarely have to climb into the bed to dig around for your tools; just reach over the bed rail, unlock the top or outwards-facing door, and grab what you need! For more information, click on the video link below!
While this entry onto the list doesn't exactly install into the bed of your Silverado, it's still a viable consideration if you regularly haul a bumper-pull trailer. Trailer tongue tool boxes are engineered for installation onto–you guessed it–the tongue of a trailer. With their unique trapezoidal shape, these boxes are designed to carry a substantial amount of cargo without limiting your turning radius. Click the link below for a look at our selection of trailer tongue tool boxes.
If you aren't a fan of the appearance of a tool box but love the functionality, then a utility chest may be the product for you! Utility chests generally sit at or below the height of your Silverado's bedside, making them virtually invisible from outside the bed. Utility chests are offered in various sizes, from small to full bed width, ensuring you have plenty of room for your cargo. For a look at the utility chests we carry, click the link below!
Similar to a side-mount tool box, wheel well boxes are installed parallel to the bedside. However, these boxes generally sit below the bed rail for an unobtrusive, factory-style appearance. Depending on your preference, you can position them between the wheel-well and the cab or between the wheel-well and the tailgate.
Most wheel-well boxes feature a conveniently-located top-facing door, allowing you to easily access your tools and equipment from beside the bed. For a close look at installing a wheel well tool box, click the video link below!
How to Measure Your Silverado for a Tool Box
Now that we've outlined the basic styles, let's switch to fitment; how do you accurately measure your Silverado's bed?
Typically, crossover tool boxes fit tightly against your Silverado's bed rails, maximizing storage volume and providing a clean appearance. You'll need to consider three basic measurements to accurately measure your bed for this style.
Outer Bed Rail to Outer Bed Rail: For this measurement, measure the distance between the driver and passenger bed rails, beginning and ending at the outer edges. This measurement gives you the approximate width of the lid of your new crossover toolbox. You can give or take a couple of inches, as long as the toolbox has enough surface area to securely rest atop the rails.
Inner Bed Rail to Inner Bed Rail: This measurement is very similar, only this time, bring your tape measure inboard, so the measurement begins and ends at the inner lip of the bed rail. This measurement gives you the maximum width of the box’s main cargo area–the portion that sits below the bed rail.
Bed Depth: Measure from the lowest point of your Silverado's bed floor to the top of the bed rail; this measurement gives you the maximum height of your box’s main cargo area.
Portable tool boxes only require a little measuring, especially if you don't plan to keep the box in your Silverado's bed at all times. To verify fitment, measure the length and width of the interior of your Silverado's bed. If the portable box is smaller than this measurement, you're all set!
Traditionally, side-mount tool boxes all feature the same depth and height, with the only variance being length. To determine which side mount box is right for you, measure the length of your Silverado's bed, starting at the bulkhead and ending at the tailgate. After determining the length of your Silverado's bed, select the size which best suits your needs!
Note: vehicles equipped with a 5.5 ft long bed are not compatible with 72-inch models.
Skip your Silverado for this measurement and head to your bumper-pull trailer! For this measurement, determine the position where you'd like to mount the box on your trailer's tongue. Next, measure the longest width between your trailer's rails (typically closest to the axle) and the shortest width between your trailer's rails (typically closest to the hitch receiver). Compare these measurements to available trailer tongue boxes, ensuring the box is wide enough to mount in the allotted space but narrow enough to preserve full maneuverability while towing.
Similar to measuring for a crossover tool box, measuring your Silverado's bed for a Utility Chest consists of a couple of basic measurements.
Inner Bed Rail to Inner Bed Rail: Measure the width of your Silverado's bed, starting from the inner edge of one bed rail and ending at the inner edge of the other. This measurement gives you the maximum width of your tool chest.
Bed Depth: This measurement is optional but recommended to ensure the best aesthetics. Measure from the bed floor to the top of the bed rail; this measurement gives you the maximum height of your toolbox, without extending above the bed rail. We recommend staying below this height if you prefer a sleek, unobtrusive appearance.
Typically, wheel-well tool boxes aren't vehicle-specific; instead, they're engineered for use on various applications, ranging from compact to mid-size to full-size pickups. A wheel well box should fit perfectly in your Silverado regardless of bed configuration.
Note: some higher-trim Silverados come equipped with bed-mounted power inverters and lighting; in these cases, you may face mild clearance issues.
Check out our bed length cheat sheet here to avoid breaking out the tape measure!
Choosing the Right Tool Box
So which style of tool box is right for you? The answer varies depending on several factors, including your usage of the truck, your planned cargo, and your preferred aesthetics.
If you plan to hard-mount your tool box but prefer a subtle appearance, consider a wheel well box or utility chest!
Consider a crossover box if you dig classic styling with plenty of storage!
If the practicality of easy removability entices you, consider a portable tool box!
If you regularly work out of your Silverado, you'll likely prefer the easily accessible and minimally invasive side mount box!
And If you'd prefer not to take up space in the bed but regularly tow a trailer, then a trailer tongue box will serve you well.
Choosing the correct truck tool box can be easy. With the help of this guide and your new-found knowledge of styles and fitments, you'll be ordering a new box for your pickup in no time! And for a vast selection of tool boxes, check out our inventory here!
See More Chevy Silverado 1500 Articles Here...
Join over 2 million RealTruck people
Get exclusive savings, insider information, and the latest RealTruck articles sent straight to your inbox.