Thankfully, an opportunity arose which would see me and managing editor Jonathon Klein, retool our personal workshops with garage storage systems from different manufacturers at different price points. The idea is to see what one could truly expect from an investment in a particular range. Considering I was going to tear everything apart and start from scratch anyway, they didn’t have to twist my arm to get involved.
What that involved was a full garage system from NewAge, the more economical of the two, being sent over. And now that it’s all bolted together and I can start adapting to my new garage layout, it’s time to not only introduce you all to this new project but talk through my initial impressions prior to the full review and comparison. Let’s talk about this system.
My prior system wasn’t ideal
It wasn’t much over a year ago that my setup was a gravel driveway and a tool stockpile about 50 yards away. Moving to a garage in general was a big step up, even if it was as basic of a setup as possible. I now work from a three-bay garage with one bay converted to an office.
Prior to NewAge’s system, the workspace was equipped with a small and rickety workbench with some wire shelving. It did the job, but that’s about it. Tools hardly had homes, with many being sent to overhead storage. And since the shelves were stacked with a random pile of whatever I could fit in there, it was all a massive eyesore.
I’ll admit that my organizational skills are lacking, but there’s only so much I could have done with what I had to work with. Upgrading was inevitable if I want to have a happy and healthy wrenching career.
The system I opted for
NewAge is a Canadian-based company with a long line of storage solutions for a number of applications from commercial kitchens to patios and garages. And some of you might recognize the brand as it’s partnered and regularly featured on Holmes Family Rescue.
Obviously, the garage storage systems are what we’re concerned with, and the company offers two different lines in this category; the Bold Series and the Pro Series. The Bold Series is the more economical option, with the Pro being a step up in many ways. The quick and dirty summary of what separates the lines is that the Pro series is slightly bigger and sturdier. Thicker gauge steel, larger dimensions, soft close hardware, and a number of other features, the specifics of which depend on what you’re comparing, really do separate the two. The Pro Series is generally about twice as expensive as the Bold Series but, even so, it’s much more affordable than others within the space, which is awesome.
I went with the Pro Series 14-Piece cabinet set, the reason being that it’d fit perfectly at the back of my garage with room to spare on the sides for storage of equipment that I can’t fit inside the cabinets. Customers don’t have to stick to a pre-established set like this, though. You have the option to mix and match different cabinets, drawers, and other components as you see fit. NewAge also offers 3D renderings and free consultations so you can develop an ideal setup for your workshop.
My initial impressions
The first thing I noticed was the weight of these systems. A total of four boxes were delivered with everything tucked neatly and securely into the four upright cabinets. I was not ready to set everything up when it first arrived, so I had to wrestle each 500-pound package into the workshop myself. I’m not mad. High weight is a sign of quality construction.
In total, it took me roughly 24 hours to get everything set up, which included tearing everything out, setting up anchor points for the cabinets above the workbench to anchor to, which isn’t something everyone needs to do, and bolting all the cabinets up and installing the shelves. I won’t say it’s extremely easy, but I managed to do it all myself, with basically just a drill and some hand tools.
At this point, I have yet to fill the majority of drawers and cabinets. I’m still new to something this nice and am spending a ton of time thinking about how exactly I want to utilize the space given to me.
I am a sucker for the thick industrial paint and soft close hinges and drawers, as those two elements work together to create the feeling that you’re working with a quality piece of equipment. Pair that with the red and black color combo, and the bamboo benchtop I selected, and it totally transforms the vibes of my workshop. Rather than feeling like a mechanic making due with the run-of-the-mill home garage, I actually have a space dedicated to my craft and the actual working process is much more enjoyable.
As for that bamboo workbench, it’s where the vast majority of my experience with the system has been and I’m overall pretty happy with it. My only gripes have to do with the gap between the wall and the bench itself, which has more to do with my garage and not this system. It’s not a major issue, though, as I can eventually add in a slat wall to tidy everything up while covering the gap. Everything’s sturdy and easily accessible, and I can work much more fluidly than I did with the old rickety bench.
The sheer size of the workbench is a major upgrade too, as it measures 112 inches in length. It’s awesome. The only thing I want to add is some lighting, which won’t be a problem thanks to predrilled holes along the bottoms of the overhead cabinets for that very purpose.
I do have to decide how to dedicate the storage space these systems offer, and that’s largely because you have a ton of options. The set includes modular separators for the drawers, hardware bins, a trash bin, pre-cut holes to run wiring, and anything you could imagine. So, it’s going to take a minute to figure it all out.
My future plans
I really can’t think of any criticism at this point. Granted, it’s very early on and I’m not fully acquainted with everything. Even so, it really does seem like the perfect fit for someone like myself who’s serious about working on cars and powersports equipment and doesn’t have a huge budget to dedicate to storage.
The installation of this setup also serves as the beginning of a new chapter for The Drive. We’re gearing up to bolster our gear reviews with more hands-on testing and in-depth reviews. This system will serve as the foundation on which much of that work is conducted and will be regularly featured in that content because of it.
Obviously, if we stack it up against a premium box meant for pros, you can find issues to pick it apart. The drawers wobble when fully extended, the metal might be thinner, and so on. However, the cost of this entire system is about as much as you’d pay for a single chest from a top-of-the-line brand, if even that. The savings really wash out any of those concerns. Still, I’ll wait on saying much more until I spend more time with it and can provide an honest and informed review.
Stay tuned and be sure to let me know what you want to know about this set in the comments so I can address it in the full-length review.