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When you are on the job and find yourself reaching for the same items over and over, a tool belt is the perfect convenience for keeping everything right at your fingertips. They are definitely a different kind of wearable accessory, but tool belts, too, come in different styles and designs to fit the occasion.
From a basic belt with pockets for a few hand tools to the other end of the spectrum where a harnessed belt will let you carry even a power drill, the purpose of the right tool belt is to keep the equipment you need within easy reach. Some belts include accessories like detachable loops for holding a hammer and adjustable pockets and pouches that can be moved around for easy retrieval. From the bargain rack to designs that take it up a notch, we geared up to look for tool belts that offer the most comfort and convenience. Keep reading for the top tool belts available today.
Best Overall: Bucket Boss 3 Bag Tool Belt
You may think a traditional tool belt is nothing more than a few pockets hanging off of a belt, but this top pick is anything but traditional. Taking a modular approach to its design, the Bucket Boss 55135 will allow you to wear the belt with an extra degree of support and comfort if you need it. The included suspenders can help take the weight off of your hips, making it easier to wear the belt longer without experiencing discomfort.
The modular design extends to the carrying capacity of the belt as well. Two large pouches and several pockets are all adjustable on the belt. Use whichever pouches/pockets you need and place them anywhere on the belt. This setup will give you the ultimate potential in customizing your tool belt to your exact liking.
Best Traditional: DEWALT Small Electrician's Pouch
If you are looking for something with a more traditional look and feel, the DEWALT DG5103 is the tool belt that offers the most. Using a central, large body divided up into a variety of pockets, you can easily position the tool bag around the belt. The primary pocket is large enough to hold large tools like a flashlight or electrical tape. Keep the bag to your side so it's out of the way or place it front and center so you can see your tools and parts as you work.
The belt also comes with several convenient loops and sleeve pockets to place around the main bag. The loops will hold large hand tools like hammers and screwdrivers, while the smaller pockets are perfect for nuts and bolts that are easy to lose.
Best Basic: Dickies Work Gear 5-Pocket Single Side Tool Belt Pouch
True budget seekers will love the Dickies Work Gear 57026 for its no frills approach to saving money on a tool belt. With a simple set of five pockets in a side apron form, you will have the most basic setup for keeping your tools near you at all times. In addition to the pockets, the belt also has a loop for a screwdriver-sized tool, a pocket for pliers, and two small slip pockets for small parts.
Despite the low price, the tool belt is made to take the weight of heavy tools. The belt is made of webbing that stretches with the weight around your hips. The plastic buckle is designed to take high impacts so you don’t have to worry about damaging the belt with unintended swings.
Best Small: Custom Leathercraft Suede Tool Bag & Poly Web Belt
Even small, quick projects can benefit from a tool belt. Even if you aren’t on your feet all day, working on a massive construction site, it can be handy to keep whatever tools the project calls for close by. The Custom Leathercraft IP489X is an affordable, simple tool belt for the occasional weekend or repair project where you can save some time not having to pace back and forth to your tool box.
Three pockets provide you enough space for small tools and parts like nails, pliers, pencils, etc. A leather side loop will hold a single hammer or tape measure. The entire belt is made of suede leather which makes it durable for normal uses. For something that won’t weigh you down, this is a great option.
Best Large: TR Industrial 12 Multi-Function Belt Tool Holder
On the opposite end of the size spectrum, a large tool belt like the TR Industrial 88021 will provide you enough space to carry around almost anything you need for long projects. This one is ideal for large worksites or multi-day projects where you need to minimize the number of times you visit your tool box.
The pockets can even handle cordless drills, hammers, screwdrivers and other common tools you will use almost constantly. To handle the additional weight, the belt strap is made with a two inch, durable webbing that stretches for additional comfort. The primary pocket sections can be positioned around the belt so you can adjust the tool placement to your liking.
Best Drill Holster Tool Belt: Custom Leathercraft Deluxe Cordless Poly Drill Holster
While most tool belts have a loop for something small like a hammer, a specialized option like a drill holster can make certain projects easier on your body. A drill holster looks like an old fashion gun holster, keeping your drill right at your side for easy access. The Custom Leathercraft 5023 not only gives you a dedicated spot for your drill, it also comes with several outer pockets for the drill bits, screws, and other small parts you need.
Made from polyester fabric, the tool belt is strong enough to hold the weight of many common types of power drills. A safety strap fits above the holster to secure the drill when not in use. Unhook the strap for instant access to the holder.
Best Suspension Rig Tool Belt: Milwaukee General Contractor Work Belt
Need the ultimate amount of storage and flexibility? A suspension rig tool belt offers the maximum in how you set up and use a tool belt. The Milwaukee General Contractor Work Belt acts as an entire harness that fits comfortably around your shoulders and waist. The design divides the weight of the tools up so no single spot on your body begins to feel weighed down as you work.
The design of the belt is customizable, offering 24 organization pockets of various sizes. There is also a hammer loop that you can position anywhere along the main belt. There is even a plastic lined, puncture resistant pocket to hold sharper objects like knives safely while you work.
What to Look for in a Tool Belt
Wearing any type of carryall on your person for long periods of time can be exhausting and cause strain on your body. That's why comfort and a good fit should be the first consideration when choosing a tool belt. Look for a belt that tightens securely around your hips without slipping when tools are added. Are the pockets and pouches easy to access and the tools easy to remove and replace? If your project requires heavier tools, does the belt include supports like suspenders, a shoulder strap, or a reinforced back? The right tool belt should be easy to put on and wear for several hours at a time without wearing you out.
Consider the types of jobs where you are most likely to need your tools close at hand. Choose a tool belt with a design adequate to store them all within easy reach. Different projects often call for different kinds of tools, and you can find belts specifically styled for electricians, carpenters, plumbers, and other trades. A tool belt that includes detachable pockets, pouches, and loops will give you more versatility to organize the belt for a specific job.
A tool belt should save you steps by eliminating the need to return to your toolbox every time you require a different item. It's likely, though, that you will still have to do some moving around no matter what project you're working on. You need a tool belt that allows you to walk, climb a ladder, or maneuver into a tight space. The ability to move items on the belt to allow for more freedom of movement will make wearing it more comfortable and easier to use in many different situations.
How do you wear a tool belt?
Most tool belts are designed to fit and fasten around your hips comfortably without slipping or throwing you off balance. Some may include suspenders or reinforced support to more evenly distribute the weight and ease pressure on your back and hips. Pockets and pouches should be attached in such a way to allow for even weight distribution. It's always a good idea to try the belt with some added weight to check for comfort and ease of use before purchasing.
What tools go in a tool belt?
The type and size of belt you choose will determine how many and what kind of tools you will be able to carry on your person. Some tool belts are styled for specific jobs like electrical, carpentry, and plumbing and are made to carry the tools of those trades. The basic tool belt usually holds hand tools like wrenches and screwdrivers with a pouch for small hardware and a hammer loop. Options move up from there to include capacity for large items, including some small power tools.
What are tool belts called?
When searching for a product to carry your tools on your person, you might also look for tool bag, tool apron, or tool pouch. Tool belts can also be named for specific types of construction, as with an electrician's tool belt, a carpenter's tool belt, or a plumber's tool belt. Many tool manufacturers include a brand name tool belt styled to work with their products, so you can also try searching under the brand name of your preferred tool company.
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Barbara Gillette is a Master Gardener, herbalist, and beekeeper who maintains numerous organic gardens along with five out-buildings and a large country home. She contributed additional research to this article.