How To Ship Tools While Saving Money

Posted in Shipping on Mar 07, 2015, tagged with how to, moving costs, tools and equipment

How To Ship Tools While Saving Money

Whether you’re moving cross country or to another state, one of the most important items you will need when moving is your tools. The never know when a house might need some repairs, upgrades, or even a few updates—either way, you will need them, and shipping tools is often cheaper than buying new ones.

What You Need To Know when Shipping Tools

There are several things to take into consideration when shipping tools or a toolbox that you might not be aware of:

  • Sharp edges need to be protected.
  • Large and bulky tools may need to be crated.
  • Fuel needs to be drained from the motor.
  • Hazardous chemicals often limit the shipping methods available to you.

With a little research and preparation, however, you can properly ship your tools.

How to Pack Your Tools

Use the original packaging if you still have it. The original packaging will give your tools the same protection they had when they were originally shipped.

If you do not have the original packaging, use a hard case or a large Rubbermaid storage container. These can be purchased for a low cost at your local home improvement store, such as a Lowes or a Home Depot.

Place the tools inside the container and make sure that they can’t move around during shipment. You can use shipping peanuts, bubble wrap or other materials you have lying around to keep the tools from shifting, such as newspaper.

Before you can box them up, you’ll need to determine what category they fall under to figure out the safest way to pack them:

Sharp Tools

As stated above, when wrapping items for shipping you would normally use plastic and bubble wrap but sharp tools would cut right through this, so you'll need to use something stronger. A good choice for wrapping tools is leather, strong corrugated cardboard or plywood. The protection you should use depends on the tool.

  • For hatchets and hacksaws, you could place them in a stiff leather cover first. The thicker the blade, the more protection you will need.
  • A large, thick and sharp tool may need to be wrapped in plywood. You should reinforce the plywood as well as the leather with cardboard.
  • Keep sharp tools in place with strong tape so they don’t move during shipment.
  • Wrap all handles in bubble wrap.

Heavy Freight

Heavy tools and equipment, such as your tool bench or a lathe, will likely need to be taken apart. Keep any nuts and bolts in labeled zip lock bags. If you're not confident you'll remember how to put it back together, take photos and video so you can work backwards and check the manufacturer's website for instructions. Because of their size and weight, they will require crating during shipment. Crates can be custom built, but it requires a lot of research, skill, and time, so it might be worth it to find pre-made ones, hiring someone to do it for you, or finding a company that specializes in shipping this type of equipment.

Shipping Tool Boxes

A tool box is one of the best containers to ship your tools in. The tools are secure in a large heavy, protected box. You will need to make sure that any spare room in the box is filled with bubble wrap, shipping peanuts or other packing materials. Your tools shouldn't be able to move around during shipment.

Shipping companies such as UPS, FedEx and less-than-truckload (LTL) companies such as Transit Systems will require the weight and dimensions of the box. Knowing this information ahead of time will save you money when shipping a tool box.

Hazardous Material

Many shipping companies will not ship hazardous materials and others will have specific requirements. Contact multiple shipping companies and find out what their policies and requirements are for shipping hazardous materials in order to properly prepare your equipment.

What is the Cheapest Way to Ship Tools?

There are many different ways to ship tools, so you'll need to figure out which method is best for you. You can go with your local UPS or FedEx Company, you may know a local delivery man in your area and feel more comfortable knowing who you are shipping with, you could ship with a freight company for the larger tools, or there are other small shipping companies who can ship your tools to multiple locations. 


UPS and FedEx will ship your tools no matter the size. You can easily go online and schedule a pick up. You can even print out the shipping label at home.


Tools that need to be crated will require a freight shipping company. Shipping a tool box and other large tools are complicated to crate (as stated above), which is why you should ship with a freight company. Not only will you save money, but you will also save yourself a whole lot of time and frustration.

Small Shipping Company

There are less-than-truckload shipping companies, such as TSI, that will ship a tool box or a few boxes of tools. They base their quotes on weight and the size of the boxes you want to ship. This is a great option for someone shipping a few boxes of tools who would prefer to work with a small company.

PRO TIP: Ask about Shipping Insurance available through the moving or shipping company. Make your shipping company aware of any extra stairs in your house or if you live a remote location that a tractor trailer may have trouble accessing.

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