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Once you have a collection of tools, you need someplace to stash them. For some people, that means a toolbox. For others, it’s a tool bag. While the choice ultimately comes down to preference, there are quite a few reasons you might prefer a tool bag to a box.
Tool bags are lighter, which is a major issue if you carry your toolset with you while working. Plus, they take up less space than a bulky box, another big issue for those with limited storage space. And many DIYers like being able to easily see and grab tools as they need them, which a tool bag makes easy.
Of course, tool bags come in a variety of sizes and styles. Some have multiple pockets, which makes it easy to organize your tools. Some are open in design, while others have zippers or fasteners to close the pockets. Some have frames, and others are soft. Some are geared towards specific professions or types of tools, while others are general purpose. And finally, there are tool bags made of different materials, including leather both real and faux, nylon, polyester, and canvas.
To simplify your decision, we researched the top tool bags available today, and then whittled the choices down to best in various categories. Here are our favorite tool bags.
Best Overall: Custom Leathercraft 1539 Multi-Compartment 50 Pocket Tool Bag
For a large, durable tool bag that checks all of the boxes, we love the Custom LeatherCraft 1539 Multi Compartment Carrier. This polyester tool bag can handle all of your tools and it won't stretch out or break.
A spacious inner compartment serves up space for power and hand tools that can be awkward or bulky. The large exterior compartments unfold to reveal 50 pockets for bits, handheld screwdrivers, and other tricks of the trade that can get lost in the bottom of a cavernous bag. The zippered side panels give you extra storage space and you won't have to worry that something will fall out. Plus, the padded should strap will help prevent back and should pain, especially if you tend to carry heavy power tools.
Best Budget: WORKPRO 16-Inch Wide Mouth Tool Bag W136007A
If all you need is a lightweight tool bag to keep your tools organized and near at hand while you work, then there’s no need to break your budget for a pricy bag with all the bells and whistles. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for something less than you’d like. The WORKPRO 16-Inch Wide Mouth Tool Bag has a lot of great features for such an inexpensive bag, and it’s sturdy enough to last for years if treated properly.
Made of rugged 600-denier polyester, with a rigid plastic base and padded sides, this is no flimsy bag that will tear easily. It has a sturdy internal metal frame to provide extra support and prevent sagging or drooping, even when heavily loaded with tools. The frame also holds the “mouth” of the bag wide open when desired so you can easily grab what you need without having to root around inside the bag.
There are pockets galore–13 on the bag’s exterior, eight on the outside, and an additional eight belts to secure wrenches, pliers, and other long tools. Padded handles and an adjustable shoulder strap make the bag easy and comfortable to carry, and a double top zipper keeps the whole thing securely fastened when not in use.
The bag measures 16 x 11 x 8 inches.
Best on Wheels: Klein Tools Rolling Tool Bag
If you're constantly moving from one location to another, a tool bag that has wheels might be the best pick for you. While it's not exactly lightweight (it weighs 19 pounds), this tool bag has a reinforced metal frame and can store up to 100 pounds of tools, making it one of the most durable rolling bags on the market.
This tool bag has a ton of pockets to keep your tools organized, and the wide mouth cavity allows you to store bulkier items such as power drills and extra tool batteries with ease. Plus, the bright orange interior makes your gadgets super easy to find. No longer will you waste your time searching for tools in a dark bag. Other notable features include a telescoping handle and oversize wheels, which allow this rolling bag to handle rough terrain and rain-slicked surfaces.
Best for Carpenters: Occidental Leather 9850 Adjust-to-Fit Fat Lip Tool Bag Set
This well-designed, very comfortable, durable tool bag provides easy access to all different kinds of tools–not just those used for carpentry. It may be more expensive than other options on the market, but it's big enough to hold all of your tools and it will last for years.
It's crafted from high-density neoprene and commercial nylon and has a leather FatLip that runs around the bag to keep the structure from sagging. The ample interior has 24 pockets for a wide variety of tools and a 10-inch deep main bag for larger items. The deep pockets allow you to store sharp tools easily, so you can grab them quickly and won't have to worry about snagging the tool on the bag’s material or punching a hole through the seams.
Best for Plumbers: Veto Pro Pac TECH-LC Tool Bag
A plumber has to be able to multitask, and so should his tool bag! For a plumbers bag that checks all of the boxes, we recommend the Veto Pro Pac Tech-LC Tool Bag. It has convenient storage options and an ergonomic design that's comfortable on the back and shoulders.
This tool bag is made from 100% denier nylon, which has a thicker weight and more substantial weave. It has 53 pockets with ample room for bulkier tools, and eight smaller pockets perfectly sized for drill bits and extensions. With numerous compartments (some are even zippered), it makes it easy to find what you're looking for so you don't waste time fumbling in your toolkit.
Best Backpack: Custom Leathercraft 1134 Carpenter's Tool Backpack, 44 Pockets
The Custom LeatherCraft Carpenter’s Tool Backpack provides a unique solution for technicians, installers, and carpenters who need to climb ladders while still having easy access to their tools. It allows for hands-free tool access, whether you're on a roof, ladder, or ledge.
To organize your tools there are two main compartments: one compartment for smaller tools and a larger compression pocket that is able to fit bulkier tools like a cordless drill. The Custom LeatherCraft bag has padded back support and shoulder straps that make carrying the bag easy on your body. Finally, dual handles at the top make it easy to grab and go.
Best Lighted: Klein Tools 55431 Tool Bag with Padded Shoulder Strap and Handles
When you're working in a dim setting, having a lighted tool bag can illuminate your workspace and help you find the tools you need to get the job done. The Klein Tools Tradesmen Pro Organizer Lighted Tool Bag is a great option, as it has a removable LED light that can be positioned to face inside or outside the bag.
Not a one-trick pony, this bag has other convenient features. There are 14 internal pockets and 17 external pockets that can hold items you reach for frequently. Klein designed this relatively lightweight bag with 1680D ballistic weave and an orange interior that helps your tools stand out. The molded base protects it from water and gives it a sturdy position in precarious places, such as on a ledge, roof, or ditch.
Best for Electricians: DEWALT Electrician’s Tool Bag DG5582
Loaded with storage options and lightweight, the DEWALT Electrician’s Tool Bag was built for the hardworking electrician or handyperson who needs a constant stable of tools at the ready. Measuring 11 inches long x 10 inches deep x 17 inches high, the bag has a total of 23 pockets, sleeves, and slots to make organizing and carrying your necessities a breeze. There’s even an 8.5 x 6-inch multi-compartment plastic tool tray to sort and hold small items like screws, nuts, and bolts.
The padded nonslip shoulder strap and carrying handle are easy on your shoulder or hand. But best of all, the box-shape, stable design of the bag means that it stands upright and open on its own, making it easy to find what you need when you need it without fumbling or frustration.
Sturdiness, versatility, and size make the Custom LeatherCraft Multi Compartment Carrier (view at Amazon) our top choice for a tool bag suitable for casual DIYers all the way up to professionals. But if you want to spend less without sacrificing too much quality, the WORKPRO Wide Mouth Tool Bag (view at Amazon) has lots of storage versatility, along with a very reasonable price, although it’s not quite as durable as our top choice.
What to Look for in a Tool Bag
Most tool bags are made of nylon, canvas, or polyester, as these are all lightweight and reasonably strong. You’ll also find tool bags made of leather, but keep in mind that these bags weigh quite a bit more than their synthetic counterparts. A rubber or heavy plastic bottom on any bag is a nice feature, as it helps prevent moisture from seeping into the bag when sitting on the ground, plus it provides stability to keep the bag sitting upright.
There are tool bags that are little more than a basic pouch and others that provide multiple zipped and open compartments, clips, belts, and pockets. Consider how many tools you plan to carry, how easily you want to access them, and where your tool bag will be stored when deciding on the type and amount of storage options you need.
The best tool bags have padded shoulder straps and handgrips so you can tote them without discomfort, even when the bag is full. A wide-mouth opening is another nice feature, as it makes it easy to grab what you need quickly.