You drive a van, work with tools and want to keep them safe. Do you need a site box or a van box? What’s the difference?

Site boxes and van boxes sometimes look alike and they have a similar purpose: to keep your tools and equipment safe from thieves, accidents and bad weather. These two types of boxes are both highly secure, with several features in common, but they have been specially designed for slightly different purposes. The differences come down to:

  • Where you want to keep your tools
  • What the box can store
  • Weight and portability

Where do you want to keep your tools?

If you work in a trade where your van is your ‘base’ while you visit different sites or houses, then it makes sense to have a secure tool store on your van. Whether you’re a plumber or a landscape gardener, a highly secure van box fixed to your van will keep all your valuable equipment safe and dry while you work and travel.

On the other hand, if you tend to be based at one work site for days or weeks at a time, it makes more sense to keep your equipment somewhere on the site where you can easily access it and leave it overnight. A high security site box makes it possible to do this, even where the risk of theft might have put you off leaving tools on site in the past. See our article on good places to keep a site box.

What equipment do you need to store?

If you work with hand-held tools up to the size of a large strimmer, then a van box can probably store everything you need. The largest van boxes are the full width of a flat-bed truck.

If you use large tools like jackhammers then you’ll need a large site box to store them securely. There are larger van boxes and smaller site boxes, so measure the size of your largest pieces of equipment and choose a site or van box with the capacity that you need.

If you need a safe place to store flammable or hazardous chemicals, there are several site boxes designed for this purpose. The Armorgard Chembank Chemical Vault is one example of a site box for the safe storage of chemicals that meets COSHH regulations. But Armorguard also make a much smaller version for use in a van – see the Transbank Portable Chemical Box. So if you work from a van but handle chemicals, you don’t have to invest in a bulky site box – you could get a van box for your tools and fit your van out with a specialist chemical box as well.

See our article on items to secure in a site box for more info.

How portable are site boxes compared to van boxes?

Site boxes are big and they’re heavy even when empty due to the heavy duty steel  construction that makes them so secure. Weighing in at 60-80kg plus, they’re too large for you (or a thief) to move by hand. But they are portable; site boxes all come with skids underneath so they can be moved around site easily with a forklift truck. If you’d rather wheel your site box around, our Armorgard boxes feature pre-drilled holes to fit heavy-duty castors. The castors are available as optional extras that you can attach later, or we can fit them pre-delivery.

Van boxes, on the other hand, are not really intended to be moved about like a toolbox, but to be fixed onto your van or truck as a permanent, secure place to store your tools and equipment. They don’t have skids or the option of wheels – it’s your van that makes a van box portable, not the box itself. If you have a few tools that you need all the time, you might want to carry those with you in a regular tool box and lock that in your van box when you need to leave it unattended.

Need more help deciding?

If you’ve considered where you want to keep your tools and what you need to store, but you’re still not sure what sort of box you need, have a look at our site/van box FAQ.

To find your ideal box, we recommend using the filter options on our online store to select the features you’re looking for. Browse our site and van box collections here.

Give us a call on freephone 0800 567 7549 if you need more help or advice on choosing the right site or van box – we’re always happy to help.