Shown above is a generic magnetic parts tray. This particular image is of a Titan 3pc set I found on Amazon, but there are many others like it, and they’re sold almost everywhere mechanics or automotive tools are sold.
Magnetic trays are often circular or rectangular, and they provide you with a convenient and secure place to store fasteners that you don’t want to lose track of during a task or project.
If you read the title carefully, you might have noticed that I said magnetic cup, not tray.
This is a Hazet magnetic parts cup. I wrote about these before, and you can buy one for yourself for ~$18 and change. I have yet to find better pricing on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.
If you want to save a little money, you can buy something similar from OEMTools on Amazon.
I compared the Hazet and OEMTools parts cups, and I prefer the Hazet for no particular reason. The construction is only slightly different, and I convinced myself that the Hazet was worth the small premium. In other words, I prefer the Hazet, but there aren’t any objective reasons for me to recommend it over the OEMTools version.
There are also now a couple of new brands selling similar products on Amazon for even less than the OEMTools version, but I like to stick with brands that I know.
Back to the point – magnetic parts cups are better than generic magnetic parts cups and trays.
Whether you call this a cup or a bowl, its benefits are clear.
First, I really like the footprint over magnetic trays. These cups are 6″ in diameter, and so they’re not too small, and the side walls help them to hold more without risk of the contents spilling out.
Second, these cups can be secured to vertical magnetic surfaces, such as the side of a steel cabinet or tool cart. This greatly increases its versatility, as it means I don’t have to give up any horizontal working surface. Sure, you can almost do the same with traditional parts cups and trays, but parts can start to slide if they’re not directly over a magnet. Magnetic strength can be a concern here too, but the sidewall will physically stop fasteners from sliding out in most situations.
The magnets are fairly strong, and I like that I don’t have to worry about the rubber-encased magnetic base or plastic cup construction scratching or dinging anything.
Are these better? I certainly believe so. Could I be wrong? Sure – I’m open to the idea. Tell me why in the comments section.
Whether you agree with me or not, maybe we can at least agree that it’s good to have options.
While we’re on the topic of magnetic parts holders, I also like this new style of collapsible parts tray. I have a 2-pack of the Craftsman version, and sometimes wish I went with the EZ Red 3-pack. If I had to pick just one style, it’d be the Hazet or OEMTools cups, but the different styles tend to complement each other.
I still have an older plain-style Craftsman-branded magnetic parts tray around here somewhere. I’ll probably never part with it, unless it falls apart, but I have definitely found myself using the plastic Hazet cup quite a bit more, even for non-magnetic parts and fasteners.