Though traditionally wood, most modern tool boxes are metal or plastic, and come in a large variety of sizes. Take a quick look at some of the different tool boxes on the market today.
Historically, tool boxes were made of wood and often had an open design, but today most are made of metal or plastic and have a hinged lid. Inside there is often a removable tray with a handle. Both of my sons have their own tool boxes, both plastic. My younger son’s box has two smaller compartments built into the lid which he can access from the outside where he likes to keep a small assortment of basic nails and screws handy. But to me, it seems like a tool box should be made of metal, and for no particular reason than that is what I associate from my childhood.
Metal tool boxes seem more sturdy than their plastic counterparts. Many of these portable boxes can get quite deluxe. Besides a hinged lid, some have multiple drawers. The lid usually just opens to a shallow compartment, and then there are two to five drawers below. I can see the advantage to this in that it forces your tools to be more organized. I know that when I go and dig out in the tool box, once I remove the inner tray, everything below always seems to be in a jumble. Drawers would stop this jumble, everything would have its own space, and things could be categorically organized. Such as screw drivers in the top drawer, then wrench etc.
If these portable tool boxes do not have enough space, then you move up to the deluxe tool chests on wheels. It seems to me that these are mainly desirable if you use your tools fo a profession, such as a mechanic. Though, there are some neat tool chest / tool box combo’s where the top tool box can be removed for greater portability.
Another type of box that is normally used professionally are job site tool boxes. These are like a large metal chest designed for storing power tools, and even these can sometimes come with the removable top tray. These are perfect for securing expensive tools on the job site without having to take them home every night.
I have noticed in the last 20 years that the all in one tool sets have become popular. These sets typically come in a plastic case where everything snaps securely into its own spot. These are often marketed to home owners and women (get it in pink!). I think that these serve a good purpose, and are great for the non-DIY person. At least they have some tools to do a few basic things around the house.
Even as a home owner, I personally prefer traditional metal tool boxes where you can hand pick what brand and type of tools you want to own. But this is especially important for craftsman who need special tools for their trade, such as carpenters, machinists and jewelers. But you have to decide what type of tool boxes work best for you and your personal situation.