Sonic Tools S9 Toolbox Review
The Sonic Tools S9 toolbox tools are solid, and the foam insert system remains one of our favorites. Add in an excellent warranty, 24-hour replacement service, and easy financing options, and you've got a compelling alternative to Snap-on and Mac Tools.
Configure Yours at Sonic Tools
We’re not unfamiliar with Sonic Tools. We spent some time with them at the Rolex 24 race in Daytona. We also reviewed the Sonic Tools S10 toolbox, which definitely left a good impression. Having good toolboxes may be a requirement for the automotive professional and auto mechanic, but even those who aren’t Pros can benefit from spending their money wisely. While the tools are just as important as the boxes, this particular review has more to do with the actual Sonic Tools S9 toolbox. We were curious to see how it compared to the slightly higher-priced S10.
Sonic Tools makes everything from the simple hand tools and socket sets, to small and medium toolboxes, to large tool cabinets. They sell everything direct to the consumer—a huge departure from the tool truck mentality common in the industry. To help smooth out (or familiarize) the buying process, Sonic also offers financing up to $8,000 with a 5-minute approval process. On top of that, they offer a 24-hour turnaround service and a lifetime guarantee on their tools. You may need to snap a photo of the broken socket or tool, and they’ll get a new one in the mail to you the next day. I know mechanics that have to wait a week for the tool truck to make its rounds (particularly in more rural areas).
The other thing that’s great about Sonic is that they deliver their tools shrink-wrapped in laser-cut SFS foam inserts. These inserts fit perfectly into their toolboxes and each spot is labeled for correct tool. The philosophy is that you won’t lose your tools because you will immediately know if a piece is missing—and which one you need to locate. Our Sonic Tools S9 toolbox came with three fullwidth inserts. We loved that we didn’t have to fill them ourselves from a loose bag of parts.
Editor’s Note: This review originally published on March 12, 2018.
Sonic Tools S9 Toolbox Features
The Sonic Tools S9 toolbox matches the interior drawer size of the S10, but does a few things to save some money ($250). First, they slightly reduced the depth of the toolbox and height. The S9 measures 40.4 x 33.8 x 20.9 (HxWxD) to the S10’s 41.2 x 34.6 x 22.6 (HxWxD). The S9 is only available in dark gray with plastic corner bumpers. You can order the S10 in any of 4 different colors (black, blue, gray, and red).
As you might tell, the shrink-wrapped Sonic Foam System (SFS) tool trays represent the focus of the S-series toolboxes. To us, this makes for the best customization experience we’ve yet seen. If you check out the Sonic Tool website, the ordering system presents you with over 56 different full sized trays for each of the 8 draws. Just there you have over 1.4 trillion possible combinations! Factor in the 1/3-sized trays and that number grows exponentially.
Can You Get Me the…
As I teach my kids about tools I see two distinct realities. First, the Sonic S9 Toolbox helps me train them to know what tools are and how to put them back after the work is done. Second, my kids might grow up as tool-snobs—looking down their nose at a drawer full of loose tools with disdain. Not everyone can afford an S-series toolbox, so hopefully, we can instill in them a hard dose of reality before we set them loose in the world.
Using the Sonic Tools S9 Toolbox
Above all, the Sonic S9 is portable. The 5-inch casters have two that swivel and lock, making it simple to move around the shop. Given the stainless steel top and how easy it positions, we found ourselves bringing it alongside projects rather than traverse the shop each time we needed another tool. When you lock those casters, the weight of the box helps keep it in firmly place. Unlocking with your toe proved equally simple.
I love the way the drawers open and close smoothly. The Sonic Toolboxes also come with a nice anti-tip feature. It prevents more than one drawer being opened at one time. This may not seem important, but when you’ve got a couple heavy drawers opened to full-depth, it doesn’t take much to topple over a several-hundred-pound toolbox. The drawers also lock into place when they shut.
On the right side of the Sonic Tools S9 sits a built-in trash receptacle and a hanger for shop towels.
Sonic Tools S9 Toolbox Specs & Features
- Drawers: 7 x 2.4 in. tall + 1 x 5.5 in. tall
- Anti-tip drawer blocking mechanism
- Auto-return ball bearing slides
- Powder coated steel w/ABS top deck and corner guards
- Front safety lock w/folding keys
- 2 x Integrated can holders
- Integrated paper towel holder
- Integrated trash bin
- Rubber 5 in. casters (2 braking swivel casters)
- Weight (empty): 185 lbs. (84 kg)
- Static load capacity: 881 lbs. (400 kg)
- Drawer capacity: 88 lbs. (40 kg)
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 40.4 x 33.8 x 20.9 in. (H1027 x W859 x D532 mm)
Sonic Tools Quality
Between changing out blades and belts on lawnmowers, to setting up testing rigs for our many power tool shootouts, and repairing various projects in the shop, the Sonic Tools S9 toolbox got quite a workout. We started off our S9 tool box with the following 26-inch SFS foam inserts:
- 61pc 1/4″, Screwdriver, Wrench Combo Set ($375)
- 65pc 3/8″ & 1/2″ Combo Socket Set ($500)
- 14pc Pliers, Chisel, & Hammer Set ($300)
At this point, we’ve experienced the durability and general usefulness of most of these tools. Having used the S9 for several weeks—and the S10 toolbox for nearly two years, these tools are built to last. We’ve torn apart engines and carburetors, built countless metalworking projects, and even used them to repair a 50′ bucket truck.
Our particular Sonic S9 tool box would run you about $2,675 loaded with our three SFS foam inserts. It’s an easy comparison that the equivalent system from Snap-On would easily run you more than $5,000—and that’s with no foam insert system. While financing with some of the tool truck brands may be “easy”, looking into doing it yourself—and saving a ton of money in the process—might make a ton of sense. This is especially true if you’re just starting out and need to build up your tool portfolio.
With their lifetime tool replacement warranty and fast turnaround, I can easily recommend purchasing the Sonic S9. In fact, if you can swing it, their other toolboxes are just as compelling.
Check out the entire lineup at www.sonictoolsusa.com.