Written By
Published Aug. 28, 2018

A good tool bag can be an extremely useful investment. Not only does it store and protect your most useful tools, it is also incredibly convenient. Often times we don’t have the luxury of a fully equipped home garage to drive our vehicles into every time we want to work on them.  This could be because the vehicle is parked elsewhere, or more likely we simply don’t have a fully stocked garage to pull the car into in the first place.

That’s where a good tool bag comes in. It lets you bring your tools directly to the vehicle, all in one convenient package. When you’re done, they provide a neat storage space to keep all your stuff together. The best tool bag will provide years of useful service for just a few bucks. In this guide, we list some of the highest quality bags on the market and give you everything you need to choose the right one.

The Best Tool Bag

Our first product comes from Stanley, a name that is of course very well recognized for creating high-quality tools. Here, that classic name and yellow branding have been applied to create a tool bag that is one of the most popular on the market – but what features have been packed into it to help it attain that lofty status?

First and foremost this is a relatively simple and straightforward design – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What we have is a very well constructed bag with soft sides that allow for a little expansion – after all, we all have those annoying longer tools that won’t fit into rigid boxes. A nice, solid base that is made of rubber foam compliments that flexible construction. It protects against sagging when you have lots of tools inside and also provides a cushioned base to protect the tools when the bag is placed down onto the floor.

The carry handles are cotton padded for a little extra comfort, whilst there are enough pockets and pouches – both inside and mounted externally – to provide ample storage for smaller tools, fastenings, nuts, and bolts. A price tag well below 20 bucks is phenomenally good value too, and whilst it may be a simple design it does everything it sets out to do.

Key Features
  • Soft Sides, Solid Base
  • Cotton Padded Handles
  • Rubber Foam Base
  • Additional Mesh Outer Pocket
Specification
  • Brand Stanley
  • Model STST70574
  • Weight 11.2 oz

From one instantly recognizable brand, we move straight onto another with our second product on the list, this time from DeWALT. However, where Stanley has brought a design of tool bag to the market that stood out for its simplicity, DeWALT have gone the other way. This backpack style of bag is packed full of features – lots and lots of features.

First of all, there is the sheer diversity in storage space that is available here. 48 internal plus 9 external pockets and pouches add up to a total of 57 individual storage areas – an incredible amount of segregated space. You should, therefore, find space to tuck away just about any tool or attachment in your collection.

Construction is nice and rugged with padded handles or adjustable shoulder straps providing two ways to transport the kit. The base has durable pad feet to prevent abrasion and prolong product lifespan. As if that wasn’t enough, DeWALT have topped off the design by including a built in LED light that runs on an internally mounted AAA battery power pack.

They have literally thought of everything in this feature packed bag – though be aware that with a price a little under 100 bucks you are certainly paying premium money for a premium product here.

Key Features
  • Backpack Style Design
  • 57 Pockets
  • Built-In LED Light
  • Padded Carry Handles & Adjustable Shoulder Straps
Specification
  • Brand DeWALT
  • Model DGL523
  • Weight 5 lbs

This is the first, but not last, bag on our list that is considered an Electricians tool bag. Don’t worry though that name just means it is of a style that’s intended for use by electricians – but it is equally at home carrying mechanics tools too.

What makes an electrician tool bag different from a regular one? Well for one thing if you know any electricians (and we do) they have to carry a lot of tools and kit. Not only that, but a lot of those tools and pieces of kit are small and fiddly. That means that an electricians tool bag is overflowing with lots of little pockets – this one boasts no less than 39 – to store all those bits and pieces.

It’s also a nice sturdy bag with a molded bottom to increase carry capacity, prevent sagging and provide a nice solid base when you place the bag onto the floor. Another nod to the intended audience of the bag is the protective, molded pocket mounted to the front. It is designed to protect safety glasses but could be used to store anything that’s a little delicate.

Key Features
  • 39 Pockets of Storage
  • Protective Safety Glasses Pocket
  • Extra Tall for Longer Tools
  • Molded Bottom
Specification
  • Brand Klein Tools
  • Model 55421BP-14
  • Weight 6.05 lbs

If you have a big toolset that you need to find a home for, you should certainly take a look at this monster bag from Custom LeatherCraft. It has no less than 50 – yes 50 – individual pockets and pouches ensuring that you should be able to find a home for every tool in even an extremely comprehensive tool collection.

But do you know what, it’s not just the amount of pockets – it’s how they have been designed to fit into the bag that’s truly impressive? The side panels are zipper closed, and when you open them up you will find all the pockets inside mounted with vertical openings. That is a really neat feature that makes it easy to organize your tools, and also to know that anyone is always within easy reach.

This tool bag also a nice big central storage space that can handle the larger tools like hammers, spanners and even power tools. The whole bag has a very tough and sturdy construction too. With a price tag of around 60 bucks, this is certainly toward the more expensive end of the market – but it certainly has the design and construction to justify it.

Key Features
  • 50 Storage Pockets!
  • Large Central Compartment
  • Vertical Pocket Design
Specification
  • Brand Custom leatherCraft
  • Model 1539
  • Weight 6 lbs

Before we get into the review proper, we just need to give a virtual high five to Bucket Boss for their superb product name here – The Bucketeer. Sounds like a Z list superhero that will be making their debut appearance in The Avengers 18 in the year 2055.

Joking aside, this is actually a pretty cool little product. It’s basically a very tough sleeve style design that slips easily over an empty 5-gallon bucket – do note though that you have to supply the empty bucket. Once in place, it provides a multitude of pockets – as well as the bucket itself – to provide a wealth of storage. Since it’s a very simple design it’s also both very tough and very cheap. So cheap, in fact, it barely costs more than 10 bucks, making it easily one of the cheaper items on the list

So it’s very cheap, but also very tough and extremely effective – no wonder then it is one of the more popular designs of tool bag on the market right now. 

Key Features
  • Bucket Design
  • Extremely Durable Construction
  • Very Easy to Use
  • Great Value for Money
Specification
  • Brand Bucket Boss
  • Model 10030
  • Weight 1.3 lbs

Before we start, we should just stress that this bag is not designed exclusively for a tradesman who is 16 inches tall. This is, in fact, a very well designed – and very tough – tool bag built for just about anyone, no matter how tall you are.

The big stand out feature on this product has to be the huge central chamber. If you have a toolkit with long or oversize tools, this feature should really grab your attention. Not only that, but DeWALT have mounted a very smart snap opening to the top of the main compartment. Thus, design feature helps the bag to open extra wide, really letting you make the most of that cavernous internal space.

Aside from that this is a remarkably tough tool bag, boasting Poly Fabric material in its construction as well as rubberized feet to prevent scuffing to the base. An adjustable strap and carry handles make it easy to lug around, and 33 pockets (including the huge central one) have been included to a wide range of storage options.

Key Features
  • Pop-Open Design
  • Huge Internal Storage Space
  • Heavy Duty Poly-Fabric Construction
  • 33 Storage Pockets
Specification
  • Brand DeWALT
  • Model DG5543
  • Weight 4.2 lbs

This is not the largest of tools bags to make out the list. Or, rather, whilst it is of a pretty decent size, the inside is taken up with around 56 pockets and pouches split between 4 distinct areas of the bag. In that way, it is very similar to the electrician tool bag we looked at earlier, in that it provides a lot of small but well-designed storage spaces to take smaller tools and bits and pieces like screws, nuts, and washers.

It’s also a lovely tough bag with mainly Nylon construction augmented with high-quality stitching. The bottom of the bag has a 3mm polypropylene base.  This prevents sagging, it stops the bag tipping over and it also provides a bit of extra cushioning to the tools being carried. Speaking of being carried, the bag boasts molded, ergonomic back padding to make it comfortable during wear.

In fact, comfort really is the watchword with this tool bag design. If you have had bags before that you’ve found uncomfortable or even difficult to haul around, this could the model that solves that problem for you. It’s comfortable, it’s practical and it’s tough – it’s also pretty expensive though, but it has the high-quality design to (possibly) justify that sky-high price.

Key Features
  • Tough Nylon Construction
  • Ergonomic Back Padding
  • Vertical Pockets
  • Quick Release Clasps
Specification
  • Brand Veto Pro Pac
  • Model TECH PAC
  • Weight 9 lbs

So far the items on this list have been of pretty specialized nature. Whether dedicated tool bags with big pockets, or electrician tool bag style designs with lots and lots of little ones, every bag is clearly made to hold and carry tools.

But what if you want something a little different? What if you want a non-specialized bag, something without 10,000 pockets? If you want a simple bag then take a look at this offering from Custom LeatherCraft – frankly, you will struggle to find a more straightforward design anywhere.

That’s not to say it’s missing out on any useful features of course. For one thing, these are tough bags all right, with reinforced bottoms to take the weight of packing a full tool selection. The handles are also of a durable, weave style construction that again should be able to stand up to the rigors of hauling tools.

All in then a very simple but very effective design for a very attractive low price. Oh, and it’s a two pack as well, with one large and one medium sized bag combining to provide a product with simply phenomenal good value for money.

Key Features
  • 2x Bags
  • Reinforced Bottom Panels
  • Durable Carry Handles
Specification
  • Brand Custom Leather Craft
  • Model 1107
  • Weight 3.2 oz

This old school, military-inspired mechanics bag looks awesome! In a world of Poly-Fiber, Plastic and Nylon construction in tool bags it’s awesome to see a company bringing an alternative to the market. Just because it’s old-fashioned doesn’t mean it’s not tough though. This bag is made of heavyweight cotton canvas, which, ask your Grandpa for verification here, is actually a very tough and hard wearing material.

We have a lot of practical features built into this bag too. The central compartment is huge with plenty of space for individual, larger tools. 8 internal and 2 external pockets provide additional storage options for smaller bits and pieces, whilst the handles are nice and wide for a little extra comfort.

Do bear in mind that canvas is not very water resistant, so don’t go dumping this down in puddles or leaving it out in the snow. That said, it remains a very well designed, very well built and very interesting looking tool bag that is certainly different from the bulk of designs out there today. It also costs a shade under 15 bucks too, so it is frankly amazing value too.

Key Features
  • Canvas Outer Shell
  • Large Internal Space
  • 8 Internal Pockets
  • Full-Length Zipper Closure
Specification
  • Brand Rothco
  • Model 10634
  • Weight 1.2 lbs

So far on this list, we’ve looked at pretty traditional style bags – traditional at least in terms of how they are carried around. Whether backpack, bucket or traditional style we’ve tried to mention the straps where possible, as they will have a big impact on how comfortable the bag is to carry.

But what if you don’t want straps? If you’ve been sat there thinking, well that padded hand hold is great and all, but I kind of wish I didn’t even have to carry the thing at all, then voila – this could be the tool bag for you.

As you will see in the image above as well as looking like it has a grinning face (trust us, stop what you’re doing, go look at the bag again) the big standout features are those big old wheels mounted to the rear of the bag. Those wheels, along with the extendable handle, make for a tool bag that is going to be very easy to move around irrespective of the weight of tools you’ve packed inside.

And you can pack a lot in too. There are 24 pockets dotted throughout the bag, but the most impressive is the central compartment. It is huge, big enough to take a range of tools and it’s even got an orange trim, so smaller bits, and pieces stand out better so you can find them easier.

It’s not cheap at around 150 bucks, but if you have a large load of tools you need to move as easily as possible this bag could be worth the investment.

Key Features
  • Wheel Mounted Design
  • 24 Pockets of Storage
  • Huge Interior Space
  • Removable LED Light
Specification
  • Brand Klein Tools
  • Model 55452RTB
  • Weight 19 lbs

Even though some bags have frankly cavernous internal storage areas, they are held back by small openings. To us, that is the mark of a poorly designed tool bag, that the manufacturer has gone to the effort to give you a nice big storage space – then dropped the ball and not given you the ability to access and use it properly.

That is not a problem you are going to have with this tool bag design from WORKPRO. It has a wide mouth design that is so wide it could even rival your mother in law, giving outstanding access to the internal storage space. This bag can happily swallow up big tools (again, just like your mother in law) whilst it also boasts a very tough construction, complete with a rigid and waterproof plastic base.

There are padded carry handles and a shoulder sling to help you haul it around, it has a nice understated blue and black design and includes various mesh pockets and pouches for a little extra storage. All that for a price tag of under 20 bucks help explain why this is one of the more popular tools bags around right now.

Key Features
  • Huge Opening Wide Mouth
  • Rubber Foam Bottom Mesh Storage Pockets
  • Rigid Plastic Base with Rubber Feet
Specification
  • Brand WORKPRO
  • Model FBA_W136007A
  • Weight 1.72 lbs

Milwaukee is a company with a solid reputation for producing high-quality power tools. They’ve also been stepping into the accessories market a bit more lately, and this rugged tool bag is one of their newer entries. Obviously, you get that highly recognizable Milwaukee styling including the deep red coloring and the iconic thunderbolt decal.

It’s not just appearances with this bag though, as it is a very, very tough tool bag. Just about everything has been reinforced on this design. So the side handles are reinforced with metal fastenings. The bottom of the bag is reinforced with extra thick material to prevent sagging and to keep out water and dust.

Internally, the bag is just huge with a massive central storage section designed to be filled to the brim with larger scale tools and multiple accessories – that is why you really need all those reinforcements to the handles and the base because this bag is designed to carry a lot of stuff.

Key Features
  • Tough Canvas Construction
  • Reinforced Handles
  • Reinforced Bottom
  • 6 Interior Pockets
Specification
  • Brand Milwaukee
  • Weight 2 lbs

Bucket Boss is back and do you know what, we really like their designs. Whilst their previous bucket tool bag was pretty much a sleeve to slot over an empty bucket, this is more of a tote tool bag. It also comes fully assembled, so no need to stockpile empty 5-gallon buckets for this model.

As before this is the very simple design of the tool bag. Everything is open for easy access – though it should go without saying this is not going to provide any weatherproofing or protection from the elements. Bear that fact in mind however and what you will have is an extremely tough and very effective design on your hands.

Obviously, that big central space is a real eye-catcher and will provide an area to chuck in larger hand tools. Aside from that, Bucket Boss has also managed to squeeze in 23 individual pockets and pouches to provide even more storage options. The carry handle is metal for added durability, whilst the foam padding makes it easier on your hands.

This is a very simple but very effective design that, as a cherry on top, has a very attractive, very low price tag.

Key Features
  • Excellent Mixed Material Construction
  • Rubber Foam Grip Handle
  • 23 Pockets
  • Extremely Durable & Easy to Use
Specification
  • Brand Bucket Boss
  • Model 70012
  • Weight 2.25 lbs

The penultimate item to make our list is this product from Craftsman. All in all, this is one of the simpler designs of tool bag on the list, with not many of the features you will find on more premium models. That being said, if you are looking for a very cheap, very effective and very straightforward model of the bag this could be the one for you.

The first thing to note is there are no internal pockets, just one open space. That will frankly suit some people more than others, but if you are the type of person who happily throws all their tools and bits and pieces into one area then you are going to love this. There are 6 external pockets – 3 solid material, 3 mesh – to add a little organization, but this bag will best suit people who operate in a state of organized chaos.

One thing you do save by trimming off the extras is money. We have a price tag here of barely over 10 bucks. That is really good value for a well-built design of tool bag that may be extremely simple but is also extremely effective.

Key Features
  • Low Price
  • Simple Design
  • 6 External Pockets
  • Reinforced Base
Specification
  • Brand Craftsman
  • Model 9-37535
  • Weight 14.4 oz

We finish our extensive journey through the best tools bags on the market with this little number from Carhartt. The most eye-catching features are those very well placed external pockets. There are no less than 18 of them, and if you are the type of person who doesn’t enjoy rummaging inside a bag for a tool, this could be a winning feature.

In addition, the bag has a very, very tough construction. It is made of a very strong synthetic material that is both tough and water repellent. It has been built with triple stitch style construction too, and it also boasts an internal metal frame and an abrasion resistant reinforced bottom. It’s extremely durable, is what we’re trying to say.

It’s not cheap, clocking in with a price tag in the region of 40 bucks. It is however designed to last a very long time, giving useful service for many years to come, making this bag a particularly useful long-term investment.

Key Features
  • 17 Exterior Pockets
  • 10 Interior Pockets
  • Triple Stitched Construction
  • Internal Metal Frame

Best Tool Bag Buying Guide & FAQ

Wow, that was a big list! The thing is, as we were putting it together, we just kept coming across more and more high-quality tool bags, we literally could not trim the list down anymore.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, read on for our comprehensive buying guide. It should give you all the information you need to narrow down your choices and help you select the right tool bag for you. We’ve also put together our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions out there about these very useful accessories.

tool bag

How to Spot a Good Tool Bag

  • Rugged Construction. These things go through a lot, so they need a rugged construction to survive. If you are going to put smaller tools like screwdrivers and wrenches in the bag, you can get away with a lighter construction. If you need to pack comprehensive sized toolkits and/or larger tools, look for rugged materials with double or triple stitches, reinforced bases and handles.
  • Weather Resistant. You’ll know if the bag is going to get wet or not. If you need to work in all weathers choose one with water repellent features.
  • Comfortable to Carry. At the end of the day, you’re going to have to lug this bad boy around. Do you like shoulder straps on a backpack, or do you prefer handles? Pick a design you know you can carry comfortably.
  • Storage Capacity. Do you need to fit a hammer and a couple of screwdrivers in there, or a 200 piece full on mechanic set? Again, you will know best what size bag you need, so don’t buy one that’s too small to carry everything, and don’t buy one that’s so big your 5 tools rattle around inside.

Why do you need a Tool Bag?

So you’ve read through our frankly extremely comprehensive list of the best tool bags on the market up there, but you’re still not sure if a new bag is worth the investment. Perhaps you have no self-respect, and are happy to carry on toting your bags around in a dirty brown bag form the grocery store?

 If you’re still in two minds about picking up a new tool bag or not, then to our minds there are at least three good reasons why it makes sense to buy one:

  • Quick question – just how many hands do you have? We’re not doctors but we’re going to guess at most you have two. That limits the number of tools you can carry from point A to point B. Chuck them in a tool bag though and suddenly even a two-handed freak like you can carry much, much more stuff.
  • Yes, you could keep your tools in a tool chest or something similar. But that tool chest doesn’t come to curbside with you, and sometimes you don’t want to keep packing away/unpacking tools you use most frequently. A good tool bag gives you a way to organize your most used tools whilst on the move.
  • You could wrap your tools in an old blanket and chuck them in the trunk of the car. You could do that, but it would be stupid. Tools are hella expensive to buy and replace, so look after them when you’re carrying them around. A good tool bag provides the extra protection that you need.
tools outside

Types of Tool Bag

Broadly speaking there are three distinct styles of design when it acmes to tool bags, which are:

  • Standard Bag. A standard bag… well, it looks like a standard bag. Most tool bags will be of this design, and they offer the best middle ground between comfort and carrying capacity.
  • Backpack Style. Another popular style is for bags that look like backpacks. As they distribute the weight across your back, they can be more comfortable to wear. On the other hand, they often can’t pack in quite as much as a standard design of the bag.
  • Bucket Bag. Finally, we have the bucket tool bag. Yes they look a little funny and they will never be as comfortable as a backpack style, but they also extremely simple and straightforward to use whilst having the excellent carrying capacity.

Best Tool Bag FAQ:

Q:  What is a tool bag?

  A tool bag is like any other bag – it is a product designed to help you carry things. To differentiate it from other bags, tools bags are usually at least double stitched and made of durable fabrics and often have extra-reinforced bases. That helps them to be tough enough to handle carrying heavy tools.

Q:  Are any of these bags waterproof?

  Many designs are waterproof, or at least water resistant. Obviously some – like the bucket tool bag design – will be less waterproof than others. Look for designs with lots of plastic, poly fiber or nylon if you want a degree of water resistance.

Q:  How do I clean my tool bag?

  Tool bags are pretty rugged beasts, so you don’t need to be gentle when washing them – a good scrub with warm, soapy water should do the job. Also, keeping your tools clean will in turn help to keep the bag clean.

Q:  What accessories should I get for a tool bag?

Plastic liners and LED lights are some of the more popular accessories out there. Of course for us, nothing compliments a good tool bag quite like a good cooler bag, because if one bag has all your tools and another has all your beer, you’ve pretty much covered all the bases right there. handyman tool box

Our Top Pick

When we have extra big lists like this, it makes picking out the top item that bit harder. That’s why to a certain extent we’re listening to the people with this one, and giving the top pick to the Stanley 12 Inch Soft Sided tool bag. It’s already one of the most popular tool bags on the market right now and, given its extensive feature list coupled with a very reasonable price tag, it’s easy to see why.

It is, as we discussed, a design. But it also does pretty much everything you would expect of a basic tool bag, whilst also having a very tough and long-lasting construction. Add that to the very attractive low price of less than 20 bucks, and we’re happy to name it as the best tool bag on the market right now.

Sources:

  1. 10 Multifunction Tools on the Market – HowStuffWorks

MORE TO READ