Would a Tool Cabinet Hutch Fit Your Needs?

Harbor Freight US General Tool Cabinet Hutch

What’s your take on tool cabinet hutches, which are enclosed space add-ons that sit on top of mobile workbenches, roller cabinets, and other such base units?

Harbor Freight launched new hutches as part of their US General Series 3 tool storage line. That, and the height of the Husky Pro Duty tool cabinet I have been reviewing has got me thinking about the pros and cons of hutches.

Hutches are generally less expensive than top tool chests, and they still provide some added tool storage, usually in the form of a back panel pegboard or similar.

They also provide an easy way to mount light strips and magnetic mounting accessories and holders.

Harbor Freight US General Series 3 Roller Cabinet with Top Hutch Door Closed

Most hutches I have seen come with fold-down doors so that you can secure their contents.

I see hutches as a way to transform a tall mobile workbench into more of a workstation.

The worktops of taller roller cabinets, as I have been learning, cannot really be used to do work on. Instead, they’re great places to stage your tools or place parts and equipment over the course of a project or task.

In that respect, top hutches extend the capabilities of a workstation. They put more tools close at hand.

I can see how they can be beneficial.

It’s not for me, though.

I have tested a wide range of tool storage products over the years, and have found that pull-out shelves and work surfaces, enclosed or lockable laptop drawers, and other such features can be restricting.

Top hutches aren’t as restricting, and allow for some customization, but they still enclose the work surface on 3 sizes and limit the clearance on top.

The way I see it, unless I need a secure and lockable top compartment, I can achieve much of the same benefits using shelf risers, similar to those found on technician workbenches, DIY pegboard or slatwall back panels, and various tabletop tool organizers.

Lighting is all but essential when adding a hutch to a tool cabinet, because they block light from 3 directions.

I think they can be a great idea in certain environments. Hutches also help make large-footprint roller cabinets look tidier.

There’s also the question of what else might be used in lieu of a hutch. Maybe a tool chest? I have found that tool drawers can get cumbersome above a certain height. At shoulder or eye level, for example, back panel and pegboard tool holders work better than drawers.

What’s your take on tool box hutches? Are there added benefits that I seem to be missing?

I can see how they’re beneficial for specific user needs, but they seem specialized, rather than a worktop accessory anyone can use.

I do like top cabinets, however, either wall-mounted or part of a system.

Rousseau Metal Vertical Drawers and Cabinets

Top cabinets, such as in this Rousseau setup, give you some of the benefits of a top hutch, with fewer restrictions.

See Also: What do You Think About Vertical Drawers?