This is the second tip in a series of five to help select the correct tool board.

#2 Location

Where you decide to put your tool board can have a big impact on whether it is used correctly or not. Consider putting it at point-of-use, as close to where the work is being performed as possible – even within arm’s reach. If the tool board is located across the room or some distance away from where the associates use it then there is a low probability that they will retrieve the correct tool needed and put it back when they are done with it.


Think about which tools are used most often and have those at ready access. Tools used less often can be stored in remote access. Basically, if you use it every day have it within reach. If you use it less often consider another location. Also, consider proper ergonomics. Make sure the employees do not have to reach too far or in an uncomfortable way to get the needed tool.

We will cover #3 “Size” next time.

To see Tip #1>> Select the Board Type

You might ask yourself “What’s there to know about tool boards?” Having the right tool board that is useful is the key to having the right place to hang your tools. In this series, I will give you five tips for choosing the proper tool board. The first thing to do is to determine if a tool board is really needed. If you can get away with a single tool at a location, just use that. If the tools have to be covered or protected, consider a tool drawer or cabinet. Making a large tool board just so that things look nice might just be a waste. The essential element of a useful tool board is that people use it and put the tools back when they are done.

The five sections in this series are:

  1. Select the Tool Board Type
  2. Location
  3. Size
  4. Hooks
  5. Labeling and Color-coding

Let’s dive in to the first tip.

Tool Board Selection Tip # 1 Select the Tool Board Type

There are three main types of tool board materials: 1) wood, 2) plastic, and 3) steel. Each has its pros and cons.ToolBoardTypes


Wood pegboard are those familiar ones you see at the home building centers. These are usually sold in sheets (2’ x 2’ or 2’ x 4’) and can easily be cut to size on a table saw or with a circular saw. Mostly they come in two colors: white or brown. These tool boards have a lower load rating than plastic or steel, but are also cheaper. Wood pegboards are not resistant to oil, grease or other liquids so they aren’t used in a food grade or clean room environment. If you need something for occasional or light-duty use, this could be your answer.


Plastic pegboards offer the flexibility of the wood tool boards that they can be cut to any size. The load rating is higher than the wood boards and they are resistant to many liquids. These are great for medium-duty situations.


Steel tool board have the highest load ratings and with that they also cost more. The boards cannot be cut to size because of the box construction. The steel boards are usually powered coated and resistant to oil, grease and other liquids. You can also find stainless steel boards and hooks that are great for food grade or clean room applications. If your tools are heavy or if you have a rough environment, steel tools boards are the way to go.

I will cover theses other tips in the upcoming posts.

  • #2 Location
  • #3 Size
  • #4 Hooks
  • #5 Labeling and Color-coding

Thank you to everyone that participated in our poll regarding time wasted searching for tools. Here are the results.

Greater than 50% of the respondents said that more than 15 minutes is wasted per day (per employee) searching for tools.
Time Wasted Searching for Tools Infographic
That time adds up quickly. Let’s say you have five technicians losing 15 minutes per day searching for items they need to do their work, which equals 75 minutes per day, or 735 hours per year. If you take the 735 hours at $20 per hour, that is equivalent to losing $7,500 of productive time(1).

A simple way to reduce this waste of time, effort and dollars is to get the tools organized. Something as easy as using Tool Tracer Peel and Stick Tool Shadows can reduce the time lost searching for items. Check out Tool Tracer at 5S Supply.com.

Note (1): Based on 5 days per week and 52 weeks per year. Feel free to use your own number to complete your calculation.

Please help us with another quick, one question poll “Does Floor Marking Improve Productivity and Safety?” We will share the results. And please share the poll with your co-workers and colleagues!