Why Do Some Pickup Trucks Have a Big Locking Box In Their Bed?

Have you ever been driving down the road behind a pickup truck and noticed a big locking box in its bed? No, this trucks driver is not in the middle of a complex heist, making off with a bank safe. This box is probably a locking aftermarket truck toolbox like the ones many tradespeople install in their trucks.

What is a truckbed tool box?

A truckbed tool box is exactly what it sounds like: a weatherproof, locking box installed on a pickup truck to carry tools. You can buy a range of toolbox shapes, each engineered to fit on a different part of the truck. You can also choose from a variety of materials.

Pickup truck on a jobsite modified with a ladder rack and crossover-style in bed toolbox.
Pickup truck bed crossover toolbox | UWS

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One popular configuration of truckbed toolbox is the “crossover” truck tool box. This short and wide toolbox mounts to the furthest forward portion of a pickup bed. It often has a low-profile lid so the driver can see out their rear window. Once open, you can access its tool compartments from either the left or right side of the truck–according to FixdApp.com.

The crossover truck toolbox is engineered to be easy to install while preserving as much truck bed space as possible. You may have driven behind a truck with a crossover toolbox and not even noticed the pickup had a toolbox installed.

What is the locking box in the bed of some pickup trucks?

A chest-style pickup truck toolbox, also called a jobsite box once removed from the truck, is a large metal cube that can take up half of a pickup truck bed. This toolbox is engineered to maximize lockable cargo space. It is preferred by tradespeople who use bulky powertools or materials.

Man rolling up the tonneau cover on his pickup truck to reveal a Craftsman vault-style locking tool chest in the bed.
Pickup truck bed vault toolbox | Craftsman

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Because these chest-style toolboxes are so large, they can actually limit how well the pickup driver can see out the rear window, depending on the size of the truck. They also cut into the amount of bed space available for other storage. For this reason, some construction workers prefer to remove their rigid box and leave it at a job site if they’ll be returning daily.

One common manufacturer of these vault-size job boxes is “Ridgid.” Ridgid paints many of its chest-style toolboxes orange. If you noticed a large, orange box attached to the bed of a pickup truck, there’s a good chance that this is what you were looking at.

Tradespeople modify their pickup truck beds in many ways

Render of a Ford F-Series pickup truck with a custom utility body installed in place of the regular bed.
Pickup truck with utility body | Venco Venturo

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There are many ingenious ways to modify pickup truck beds to make various jobs easier. Some folks mount overhead tool boxes along the rails of their pickup bed. These limit visibility, but they maintain the full length of the truck bed for hauling while adding one or two large toolboxes.

Other people remove their pickup truck beds altogether to install a “stake side” flat bed. This sort of bed has removable sides to maximize cargo space. Some companies build flat beds with underbed toolboxes mounted just in front of the rear wheels.

Finally, some tradespeople who carry lots of tools replace their standard pickup bed with a “utility” body. This utility body includes a series of various metal tool cabinets.

Next, read up on the best pickup truck ladder racks or see a ranking of the best pickup truck bed toolboxes in the video below:

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