Decked Truck Tool Box Review: The ladder makes all the difference

·7-min read

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These days having an empty truck bed is a rarity. Whether you own a tonneau cover, a cap, a tool box or drawer system, the bed of a truck can be more easily utilized with an accessory or two. Truck tool boxes have been around almost as long as pickup trucks. They’re a great way to haul your gear and keep it safe from the elements as well as tool thieves.

When I think of a truck bed tool box the first thing I think of is the glossy, metal, diamond plate variety, usually accompanied by rust in the bed. Thankfully, that’s not at all what you get with the Decked box. Let’s start from the top. The lid is injection molded and made from a high-impact resin that the company says is impervious to both dents and punctures, and while I didn’t take an axe to it the week I was testing it out, I didn't take it easy on it either. It feels sturdy without being too heavy, which is exactly what I like to see when it comes to my tool boxes. 

DECKED Truck Tool Box With Ladder - Starts at $899.99

In addition to being dent-proof, the lid, more importantly to me, fits seamlessly over the base, making it watertight. For someone who likes to keep their fly-fishing gear in their vehicle so I can get out on the water at a moment’s notice, this is a nice feature. For those who carry thousands of dollars worth of tools to a job site every day, it is a necessity. I filled the tool box up with gear, sprayed it with a hose and left it outside during a thunderstorm without any water getting inside. Not letting water inside also means that water will not escape, so if you, say, leave your damp waders and wading boots in the box for days at a time, they will not dry. In fact they will become moldy and gross and require a cleaning. Or so I have heard. You have been warned.

Not every single part of the Truck Tool Box is plastic. The hardware is made of aluminum and steel, each of which have been anti-corrosion treated, for those of us who live in the rust belt.  

Once you open the lid to the Truck Tool Box, which is easily done by pressing a plastic button on either side, you are met by two removable inserts: a blue D-Box, a 20.5" x 17.5" x 8" tool box that will hold up to 50 pounds of tools or whatever else you throw in it, and, on the driver’s side, what Decked refers to as a Snack Tray, a gray tray that fits the end of your tool box for all of your most used items. Speaking of the driver's side, that’s where the lock is. It’s simple to use and works well. I had a friend attempt to break in using various keys and picks to no avail. On the passenger side of the tool box is the ladder. 

On one hand you might be thinking that a ladder in a truck tool box is an obvious accessory to have. After all, who wants to have to climb in the bed of their truck, assuming said bed isn’t full of junk, just to access the middle of a tool box? On the other hand, I’ve never seen this before. This is one of those times where there’s been a problem that almost everyone who owns a truck has had and yet, until now, there has been no solution. 

The ladder folds out relatively easily and can handle multiple heights (more on that later), which is nice for those truck owners who would like to change the height of their truck down the road, or if you have parked on uneven terrain. 

The Truck Tool Box is surprisingly large. Even though it doesn’t go all the way down to the bed, just in case you need to lay sheets of plywood or drywall down in the back of your truck, it still holds 9.83 cubic feet of equipment or 278 liters for our metric friends out there. Considering the amount of backpacking gear I attempt to fit in my 40 liter bag every weekend, that’s a lot. At the top the box is 18.2 inches wide, though that narrows quite a bit when you take the ladder into account, down to 13.5 inches. Length-wise on the interior the box comes just short of five feet at 59.9 inches and the depth is 17 inches.

All of that size was more than enough for me to throw a paddle board pump, two camping chairs, two life jackets and three river tubes in it without breaking a sweat, or removing the D-Box. Thanks to the limited depth I was also able to slide two paddle boards underneath the box and secure them in the bed.

The Decked Truck Tool Box isn’t without its drawbacks, however. The lid of the tester I had, which was installed for me ahead of time, had a habit of hitting the rear tail brake light of the Nissan Titan XD it was mounted in. Over the week I had it, it didn’t do any damage to the light itself, but that was probably due to the fact that I realized it day one and gingerly opened the lid from then on. With repeated use, I would be worried about damage to my truck. 

The second issue I had was one of ease of use. The integrated ladder, while my favorite part of the tool box outside of the seemingly indestructible construction, took me a bit of time to get used to. I made a point to use the ladder every day I had the truck and at the end of the week its operation still felt a bit clunky due to multiple extendable parts moving around at once when you grab it. That being said, this is definitely a nitpick and it didn’t take away from the convenience of using the ladder one bit. I also didn’t feel that way at all when putting the ladder back into the box, so it may just be something you get used to with more time.

So that finally brings us to the price. The Decked Truck Tool Box with the ladder starts at $899.99, with price being dependent on which truck you’re installing it in. The tool box that fits the Titan I was testing was a hundred dollars more, coming in at $999.99. With another $50 or so in taxes and free shipping, that comes to around $1050, which admittedly is a lot for a tool box, ladder or not. Other plastic tool boxes can be found on Amazon for a third of the price, though with no integrated ladder, no interior removable tool box, no lifetime warranty and, at a third of the weight, much less durability. There is no arguing that the Decked option is a far superior product. 

That being said, the Decked Truck Tool Box doesn’t scream “value” in ways that other products from the company do. Take the Decked Drawer System for example, which at $1,449 is $450 more than the tool box but offers more capability and better organization options, including two lockable, bed-length drawers, good for a 200 pound payload each. When the bed is closed, you can’t see the drawers, just the 2,000 lb payload-rated, raised top deck, which is less of a draw for would-be tool thieves, and it doesn’t get in the way of any cover you may already have for your truck. Not to mention the drawers hold more, 12 cubic feet for a standard length bed compared to 9.83 cubic feet for the truck tool box.

None of that is the fault of the Decked Truck Tool Box. I just happen to think that drawer systems are a better way to organize and securely store things in the bed of your truck. Even Decked agrees with me, referring to a truck tool box on their own site as a “giant black hole.”

With fewer moving parts, less ease of use and less capability than a drawer system, I would expect the Truck Tool Box to be priced a bit lower than it is. That being said, if you’re looking for the best truck tool box on the market, your search is over. The Decked Truck Tool Box will outlast you, probably outlast your kids and surely outlast your truck.

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