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Published Oct. 7, 2020

There’s no better way to keep your tools close by than a tool belt. You can literally carry the tools you need for any job right around your waist — you don’t have to clutter your workspace or lay tools down where they might be forgotten. You also don’t have to carry around a heavy tool bag or tool chest every time you move on the job. A tool belt is convenient, easy to wear, and keeps all of your most critical tools within arm’s reach. And tool belts come in a vast variety of different styles, fits, and arrangements. From tool belts with pockets and clips to simplified tool belts with hooks for power tools and handheld items, you can choose how much you’d like to carry based on the tool belt you buy. No matter your needs, there’s a tool belt out there that can make every task easier. We’ve picked some of the best tool belts for you to consider right here.

The Best Tool Belt

First-timers, seasoned veterans, lend us your ears: this may very well be the last tool belt you’ll ever need. Not only do you get 10 pockets for ample storage, including enough space for a cordless drill, you also get a sturdy buckle system to ensure it doesn’t fall off. This is one of the most versatile work belt models available. You can shift and mix around your pockets, which is pretty cool, and you can also attach a harness to the triangle loops along the belt’s height if you’re heading up a ladder. You get a three-piece set, you save a crazy amount of cash compared to other top models, and you get TroughBuilt’s patented ClipTech hub.

Key Features
  • Three piece set
  • Includes their Patented ClipTech hub
  • Compatible with suspenders for a holster-style work belt
  • Ten total pockets
  • Unique design lets you build it your own way
Specification
  • Brand ToughBuilt
  • Model TOU-CT-111C
  • Weight 4.19 pounds

You want your tool belt to distribute the weight around your body as evenly as possible, so you are not putting unnecessary strain on one side over another. This suspender-style tool belt is highly adjustable to minimize uneven weight distribution, and the padded style helps to reduce strain on your body. Plus, there are 20 different pockets around the belt, so you have plenty of space to put all your tools and access them conveniently. Once you have worked out where to put everything, you can access and put all your tools away with ease.

It accommodates waist sizes between 29” and 46”, so you can adjust the belt to fit your properly, reducing the chances that it is going to slide down. Another clever feature of this product is the pouch handle, which allows for easy belt adjustments.

Key Features
  • 20 pocket work apron – both large and small pockets available
  • Fully adjustable, padded suspenders
  • Belt fits the majority of waist sizes
  • Pouch handle for easy adjustments and one-hand carrying
Specification
  • Brand DEWALT
  • Model DG5617
  • Weight 2.75 pounds

Our personal favorite material for any and all tool belts has to be leather. Not only is it designed to last decades with proper care, but when it’s through a company like Occidental Leather, it’s done right. First of all, you get plenty of durability in each pocket, thanks to the padded reinforcements that properly hold the awkward weight of your tools and materials. It’s a bit heavier at nearly five pounds when empty, but it does come with triangle loops to attach a harness if you need it. This one would have made the top of the list, but we’re looking out for your wallet: this one’s a lot higher than our number-one pick, but if you’re all about going leather, and getting it done better, Occidental is your go-to.

Key Features
  • Multiple designated tool holsters
  • 4.9 lbs when empty
  • Handle design for quick carry to and from spots
  • Fantastic cafe brown leather design
Specification
  • Brand Occidental Leather
  • Model 9855
  • Weight 4.9 pounds

Gatorback isn’t inherently expensive, but it definitely brings that larger-than-life look in the best possible way. There are five sizes for multiple waistline ranges, so even if you’re thinking it’s not going to fit, they definitely have a size for you hiding somewhere. They slapped on a one-year warranty with this bad boy, but trust us, you’re not going to need it. When you get down to it, bigger belts run into bigger problems, namely sweating. This work belt comes with patented airflow technology to keep it close to you, but not causing that sweat vacuum that a lot of gents run into. Above all else, stress points along the pocket fixtures prevent this from just dragging down on your pants.

Key Features
  • Excellent and accurate sizing chart
  • Reduces sweat through airflow technology
  • Comfortable lower lumbar support helps with everything
  • Stress points are reinforced on all pockets to prevent drag
  • Backed by Gatorback’s one-year warranty
Specification
  • Brand Gatorback
  • Weight 5 pounds

Apron-style tool belts are a bit more of an acquired taste, but they definitely have a time and place. This inexpensive tool belt is perfect if you’re doing some smaller tasks around the house, like a Sunday maintenance/chore list. You can use it to hold zip ties when tending to the lawn outside, and it gets the job done. It features a straightforward design with five pockets, an excellent sizing chart with 20” between sizes to play around with, and a one-year warranty. As a bonus, it comes with the belt, not just the apron itself.

Key Features
  • Fantastically cheap
  • Five pockets in total
  • One-year warranty, backed by Dickies
  • Canvas construction w/ reinforced pockets
  • Custom fit adjustments in a 20” range
Specification
  • Brand Dickies Work Gear
  • Model 57026
  • Weight 9.6 ounces

Dewalt is one of the most-trusted brands in America when it comes to tools, tool storage, and killer work belts. While they’re not as flashy as Stanley and other high-hitting companies, they know their market, and know you’ll keep coming back for more. This belt features a classic black and yellow design, 31 total pockets for insane storage space, and a Dri-Lex padded liner along the interior to cut down on sweating. We’ve put a cleaning guide for nylon belts in the buying guide below, but just know that nylon is one of the easiest things in the world to keep clean and properly maintain. Dewalt sits in the middle of budget pricing, because they simply refuse to cut down on quality to meet some market standpoint on the price tag. Buying a tool belt for the long haul? Here you go.

Key Features
  • 31 pockets in total
  • Zippered pocket for security
  • Padded with 6” of Dri-Lex liner
  • Six pounds empty weight
  • Top quality nylon construction
Specification
  • Brand Dewalt
  • Model DG5650
  • Weight 6 pounds

Short, sweet, and to the point: CLC did the unthinkable and made a killer hybrid between nylon and leather. While you usually have to go one way or the other when it comes to materials, they put the main strengths of each in a single belt that’s fitted to last you for years. There’s a decently wide range in sizing, anywhere from a 29” to a 46” waistline, with a ton of pockets. You get 17 in total, either of them being main tool/large pockets for high capacity storage. It’s a simple formula: easy to maintain nylon, top grain leather, and a bit of a cushion for your back when you kick the boots off at the end of a long work day.

Key Features
  • Eight main pockets w/ nail and tool slots
  • Tpp carry handles for moving around the jobsite a lot easier
  • Sizing between 29” and 46”
  • Made of ballistic nylon and top grain leather; nothing can stop it
Specification
  • Brand Custom Leathercraft
  • Model 51452
  • Weight 4.51 pounds

This camo-inspired suspension belt is exactly what you need when you’re hoisting yourself up high in the rigs. The harness gives you full range of motion while sticking close to your shoulders and is enhanced by the padding along the top and the interior of the belt. There’s more than enough space for everything you need, thanks to these high-capacity bucket pouches. Even though it looks daunting, it’s actually under five pounds when empty, and with the harness you’ll barely feel an extra ounce around your hips. For those medium-tough jobs, the ones that keep you on your toes, Bucket Boss turns the tables.

Key Features
  • 70% elastic for maximum contour
  • Steel buckle system keeps it fully stable and sturdy at all times
  • Excellent capacity on those pouches
  • Partially made from 2-ply poly for enhanced durability
  • 4.7 lbs empty weight
Specification
  • Brand Bucket Boss
  • Model 85035
  • Weight 4.7 pounds

This heavy-duty tool belt is designed for quick and easy access to your tools, and the pockets are tapered to allow you to get your hands in and out.

As for putting the belt on, you can adjust the suspenders to fit properly over whatever attire you are wearing. They are made to both hold and distribute the weight as evenly as possible to prevent strain and fatigue from becoming an issue.

Key Features
  • Tapered pockets for easy tool access
  • Designed to hold and distribute weight well
  • Easy carry handle design
  • Adjustable padded suspenders
Specification
  • Brand Custom Leathercraft
  • Model 1614
  • Weight 4.85 pounds

The GlossyEnd 11 Pocket Heavy Duty Construction Tool Belt is a great option for anyone who wants a lot of storage room. This tool belt includes a whopping 11 pockets, giving you the space to store everything from hammers to small fasteners and parts. It offers versatile storage, with five nail and tool pockets and six smaller pockets for pliers, pencils, gauges, and more. There are even two steel loops attached to this tool belt specifically for holding hammers. You’ll have everything you need right at your waist when you don this handy belt.

The tool belt is made with superior materials to ensure durability even after many uses. It’s crafted with heavy-duty grade 600D polyester fabric, and rust-proof rivets offer reinforcement to strengthen the pockets and the belt’s ability to hold heavy items. The belt itself is made out of poly web material and is adjustable to fit a wide variety of waists — it can expand from 33 to 52 inches. You’ll have no problem wearing this tool belt and the tools you need whether you’re a professional or working on home projects.

Key Features
  • Adjustable and able to fit waists from 33 to 52 inches
  • Includes 11 pockets that can hold tools and parts of all sizes
  • Includes two steel loops for hanging hammers
  • Quick-release buckle makes donning and removing easy
Specification
  • Brand GlossyEnd
  • Weight 1.05 pounds

Best Tool Belt Buying Guide & FAQ

Trying to decide between the top tool belts we’ve listed here? With so many great choices, you have a lot of options. And each one offers something unique. To ensure you find the right tool belt for your needs and your tools, our buying guide will answer your questions and offer help as you navigate all of the different options. You’ll find the best tool belt with the right storage and convenience with these tips and suggestions.

best tool belt

What to Look for When Buying the Best Tool Belt

Every tool belt is different, with a different fit, different storage options, and different benefits. While all are belts worn around your waist, the pockets, tool hanging features, and other slight differences can impact whether or not any given tool belt is a good fit for your needs. So, when you’re shopping around for the best tool belt, you’ll want to make sure to carefully consider certain features. Here are some of the most important aspects to consider.

  • The Fit – Tool belts come in a number of different styles, and each style offers a different fit. Some are slim and meant to slide right through your pants’ belt loops. Others are thicker and are worn more like waist bags. Some tool belts are meant to hang loosely, while other options are adjustable and offer a tight fit. You’ll want to consider the fit of any tool belt, as this will directly affect how many tools you can carry, how heavy your tool belt can be, and your comfort. Look for tool belts that can be adjusted to fit your body and your shape. You want a tool belt that’ll stay in place — and one that won’t distract you while you work.
  • The Belt’s Empty Weight – You should also look at the weight of a tool belt. You could call this the “empty weight”, or how much the tool belt weighs without a single tool in its storage spots. The lighter a tool belt is when empty, the more comfortable it’s likely to be. A light belt ensures you can add tools (and extra weight) without immediately feeling weighed down and uncomfortable. Heavier belts will feel cumbersome before you even begin adding your tools.
  • Comfort – The first two aspects can directly affect how comfortable a tool belt is to wear. But you should also look closely at different details that can determine whether or not each tool belt you’re considering is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Factors like the material, how the tool belt is meant to be worn, and any padding or cushioning can help you determine whether it’ll be comfortable against your body. You can also look at aspects like the number of pockets and the storage space. Larger, roomier tool belts offer to hold more tools, but that may not be ideal if you’re looking for comfort above all else.
  • The Storage Space – As we mentioned above, the amount of storage space a tool belt offers is well worth considering. It’ll affect your comfort level — but it’ll also affect how many items you can carry with you. Tool belts can offer hanging loops or straps for various types of tools, and they can offer pockets of all sizes for smaller tools, fasteners, and other parts or accessories. Consider what you’ll be carrying the most often, and assess different tool belts to see if they can hold your most critical items. Look at the number of pockets too, and consider whether or not you’d like open pockets or closed, secured pockets.
  • Durability – Lastly, look for signs of durability in every tool belt. You can determine how tough a tool belt is based on its material. You’ll want a tool belt that’s constructed from a material that won’t be prone to rips or tears. Keep daily use in mind too. Will the material sag, stretch, or become worn from the weight of your tools? Is it built to withstand professional-level applications and use? The toughest belts are typically made from nylon or leather. You can also look at details that strengthen a tool belt and its material, like rivets, reinforced stitching, and metal fasteners.

Why Should You Wear a Tool Belt When Working?

There’s no denying it: tool belts are popular because they’re incredibly convenient. And if you’re wondering why you’d want to start wearing a tool belt, convenience is the answer. What other accessory allows you to keep the items you use most frequently right at your fingertips? You’ll never have to be without your tools, and you can forget about frustrations like climbing down a ladder each time you need a part or tool. You also eliminate the potential problem of laying tools and parts down, then moving away from them while you work.

In addition to convenience, tool belts also save you time. You won’t have to pull tools out of a bag or carrying case. You also won’t have to dig around or look all over your workspace each time you need another nail, a different tool, or accessories like pencils, notepads, measuring tapes, or levels. You can work more efficiently, and with fewer interruptions, if you have everything you might need right at your waist in a tool belt. 

A tool belt can also eliminate the issue of lost tools and parts. Can’t remember what you did with the fasteners you needed for your current task? Don’t know where the pliers were placed last? A tool belt allows you to drop items into pockets and storage spots right at your waist. You’ll always have them nearby — and you won’t run the risk of losing small items as you pull them out of a larger tool kit. You’ll have a handy wearable organization system right within arm’s reach.

Lastly, anyone who moves around while working will love the flexibility of wearing a tool belt. You’ll no longer need to pick up your entire tool kit when you need to move. You can climb ladders, head indoors or outdoors, and even switch tasks more effortlessly. With your most-used and most important tools stashed in a tool belt, you can do more without carrying all of your equipment. It’s particularly helpful for anyone who’s moving around all day or who wants to be able to jump from task to task in just seconds. You can even change what’s in your tool belt as you change what you’re working on, which offers even more flexibility no matter where you’re working.

Who Needs to Use a Tool Belt?

Tool belts might seem like something that’s reserved just for professionals. But these handy accessories can actually be well-suited for anyone who’s working with tools. No matter what kind of tools you’re using, a tool belt can offer convenience and increased capability. 

Absolutely anyone can benefit from using a tool belt. If you’re a home handyman, you’ll love wearing a tool belt so you can carry your tools and parts indoors, outside, upstairs, or downstairs. You can keep your most essential tools with you, which will enable you to work on a variety of projects — or even a series of similar projects throughout the house — with ease. 

If you’re a professional who works with tools daily, a tool belt can be essential. Anyone who works with carpentry, plumbing, electrical wiring, and even automotive repairs or maintenance can rely on a tool belt to carry their most essential tools. You can keep a wide selection of different parts, pieces, and equipment right by your side while you work. And you can even enjoy the convenience of adapting your tool belt for different projects and different needs. 

No matter how you work, what tools you work with, or where you work, a tool belt can offer you numerous benefits. And since there are so many different kinds of tool belts available, you’re sure to find one that’s specific enough and roomy enough to keep everything you work with in place.

Different Types of Materials Used

This is where it gets tricky to not inject personal bias. We’re going to lay out each main material that most tool belts are made out of, where they sit on the price scale, and why they’re viable choices for your next tool belt.

  • Synthetic Materials – Synthetics keep it cheap, making it a perfect choice for your first lightweight tool belt if you’re new to the job, or just looking to get your shed stocked up after buying that new house. Affordable, fairly durable, although they come with fewer lifetime expectancies than other materials. On the plus, these are an absolute dream to clean.
  • Nylon – One of the two most popular choices for a work belt material, (a lot of Dewalt tool belt models are made of nylon), nylon is simple to clean and can withstand far more than you’d imagine. Whether it’s filled with nails or beaten against the floor time and time again, nylon withstands.
  • Poly – Not as great of an option, though poly can still be fairly durable. These are often in the median price range, and offers you a lot of versatility. Fairly lightweight tool belt models are made out of poly.
  • Leather – The big leagues, leather is right alongside nylon as the most durable material for tool belts. It’s a toss-up at times, and although leather is usually a little more expensive, it’s rated to last you ten or more years. It’s all about how you take care of it, and lock in those essential oils found in the natural leather.
tool belts

Best Tool FAQ:

Q: What is a Tool Belt?

A tool belt can either sling around your waist or over your shoulders like a harness. It’s a durable series of pouches, pockets, and compartments dedicated to making your time on the ladder or under the hood of a car that much more simple. You gain access to materials you may need for your task, like screws, nuts, bolts, nails, washers, you name it. Tool belts help you save time by maximizing efficiency during the middle of your tasks. In some situations, you might run into unexpected problems, but due to having your tool belt on you, you’ll be able to overcome obstacles without leaving your post.

Q: How do I Pick the Right One?

It depends on a few things: what profession you’re using it for, what your intended use it, and how long you expect it to last. When you’re picking one for a specific trade or profession, you want to see what the expected amount of pockets and type (harness or waist belt) is according to HR or whoever is in charge of the job. In some cases, they might even be able to point you towards a specific brand or model that holds up well in those conditions. If your intended use is personal, you’ll need to think about what you’ll be doing around the house. If it’s a general maintenance tool belt, you’ll want to stick with leather, a medium amount of pockets, and there’s no need for a harness in these circumstances. Not unless you’re going to be fixing the roof on your own. Lastly, materials play a major role in how long the belt is going to last. Nylon needs to be cleaned from time to time, but leather needs to be clean carefully, have oils applied to it, and be sealed back up to lock those in and prevent cracking.

Q: What Are the Common Tools to Keep in a Tool Belt?

For the sake of answering this question, we’re going to assume you’re a Jack-of-all-trades kind of guy, and this is a basic list of all the essential tools you should have in your belt at all times. We won’t be getting into materials since those are very specific to your situation, task, etc. Let’s get into it
Flathead Screwdriver: An absolute necessity, used about 30% of the time when you run into screws.
Phillips Head Screwdriver: Your predominant screwdriver head. Better than replaceable heads on mechanical screwdrivers.
Utility Knife: When don’t you need a knife? Cutting dried spackle, sheetrock, you’ll find a use before the day’s up.
Vice Grip: One of those essentials that everyone asks, “Hey do you have a vice grip?” and hopes that somebody was smart enough to bring one.
Pry Bar: Getting a small one for your belt means you’re at-the-ready, no matter what. Though you won’t pull this one out often, it will come in handy in various situations.
Gerber Multitool: Even when you have a designated tool for the job, sometimes a multitool just gets it done better. Never hurts to have one of these lightweight pieces in your belt.
Pliers: I can think of ten reasons to have pliers on-hand off the top of my head.
Wire Cutters: More used for electricians, but also very useful to cut steel ties.
Nail Nippers: Hey, nobody blames you for putting the nail in wrong. Well, maybe the nail gun guy.
Putty Knife: I tend to use these more for scraping dried spackle than actually spackling; these come in handy when you least expect it.
Hammer: It’s the ultimate basic tool, you should always be with one, preferably a claw hammer.
Level: Most tasks call for perfect measurements and stability. Fortunately, you’re the guy with the leveler.
Tape Measure: You’ll use this twenty times throughout the workday, and that’s being modest.

Q: How Should I Take Care of my Tool Belt?

If only it were that simple. It’s broken up into two different cleaning methods, so let’s hop right into it. Between cleanliness and general maintenance, you won’t have a terribly hard time keeping up. On average you’ll have to maintain your tool belt once every year, twice per year if you’re using it in the nine to five grind.

How to Care for Your Leather Tool Belt

  • Even when you get down to it, leather is a durable material, inside and out. Empty the bag out, and ensure all dust and debris has fallen.
  • Next, take a dry rag and wipe down the entire thing, inside and out. Half of the battle is removing dust. Now it’s time to get down to cleaning.
  • Take another face cloth and add a bit of water, but nothing more. No soap, just water. Leather is naturally water-resistant, so you’ll be able to wipe this clean with little to no problems.
  • Hang it up to dry before continuing. Even if you dry it out with a few paper towels or something, it should still have six hours to air dry in a well-ventilated area.
  • Apply sealant or leather protector, and wait the recommended 24-48 hour average for it to dry before loading it up again. Clean off your tools in the meantime, so you’re not immediately muddying the belt.

How to Care for Your Nylon or Synthetic Material Tool Belt

  • You’ll have an even easier time handling this. Remove your tools, and be sure to kick away any materials that fell out.
  • Get a bristle brush, and while it’s dry, rub circles into the nylon or synthetic material. Since most of these are tightly woven and not solid material like leather, there’s a lot of air flowing in and out. This will release all the dirt, and make it breathable again.
  • Super simple ending to this. Grab a vacuum cleaner, and find the narrowest attachment you possibly have. You’ve broken up the dirt, now you need to lift it. Wetting the nylon or synthetic materials aren’t going to do you any good. Vacuum it, and you’re done, just hang it up to air out and remove any chemical scents from whatever you were storing in there.
best tool belts

 Our Top Pick

Our choice for the best tool belt is the ToughBuilt Handyman Tool Belt Set. This product earns its title as the best of the best for multiple reasons. It’s versatile and able to be customized for each wearer — in fact, you can even adjust and adapt the tool belt to suit different needs for different jobs. You can shift the storage pockets to rearrange them, and you can even attach a harness if you’d like. A total of 10 pockets offers plenty of room, and the patented ToughBuilt ClipTech hub allows for endless configuration options. Whether you’re a first-time tool belt wearer or an old pro, you’ll love the wealth of storage space and the convenience of this tool belt. This three-piece tool belt set truly offers it all, and it’ll be a tool belt that can satisfy all of your needs.

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