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Tool belts eliminate the back-and-forth trips from your toolbox to your project and typically have various-sized pockets that keep you organized by accommodating a range of tools that are accessible right at your hip.
While tool belts are a must-have for any serious DIYer, they aren’t a one-size-fits-all product. Each model comes with its own unique advantages that make it suitable for a particular job. To help you in the selection process, the This Old House Reviews team researched and tested the best tool belts on Amazon. Here’s a summary of our top tool belts and how each product performed.
Top 5 Tool Belts
- Most Secure: TradeGear Heavy-Duty Electrician’s Tool Belt
- Most Comfortable: Gatorback Carpenter’s Tool Belt
- Best Design: Style N Craft Pro-Framers Combo Tool Belt
- Best Value: Bucket Boss Builder’s Tool Belt
- Best for Home Use: Dickies Five-Pocket Side Tool Belt
Most Secure: TradeGear Heavy-Duty Electrician’s Tool Belt
This TradeGear tool belt is equipped with two large pouches and a steel hammer loop for carrying a toolbox’s worth of items on your waist. The tool belt uses the strength of a double-prong belt and an adjustable velcro strap to secure the belt to your waist and support the weight of your tools. To help customers find the right fit, TradeGear offers this tool belt in two equally priced size ranges: small to large and extra large to 3XL.
- 4.89 pounds (empty)
- Two pouches
- 27 pockets
- 600-denier nylon material
What Customers Are Saying
Positive reviews focused on the product’s tight fit, with customers applauding the tool belt’s adjustability and lightweight frame. Negative reviews centered around the tool belt’s large pouches, which one customer said didn’t secure tools.
This tool belt was one of the top-performing products in this review. Despite our team ordering too large of a size, the tool belt was easily adjusted for a secure grip on the waist that needed just one adjustment when walking up and down three flights of stairs.
The tool belt also offered adequate space for six different items, keeping them secure as we performed 10 jumping jacks and squats. Although each tool was secured by the tool belt, our testing did confirm the over-sized nature of the bag’s pouches, which were a bit bulky and resulted in a 0.2-point deduction. The tool belt’s durable nylon fabric showed no visible signs of cosmetic damage during testing and withstood repeated poking and scratching from a 4D nail.
Most Comfortable: Gatorback Carpenter’s Tool Belt
This tool belt from Gatorback has the features necessary to support its large, three-pouch capacity. It’s equipped with a support pad filled with breathable memory foam and includes box-shaped pouches to prevent heavy tools from weighing down the belt. To support its high-quality and comfort claim, Gatorback protects its tool belt with a one-year, defect-free warranty.
- 5 pounds (empty)
- Three pouches
- Box-shaped pockets
- 1,250-DuraTek nylon material
What Customers Are Saying
Many positive reviews commented that the tool belt’s high cost was worth the price. Additional positive reviews centered around the belt’s unique padded back support, which many said helped relieve the stress of carrying numerous tools. Most negative reviews complained about the tool belt’s small pockets, which some said were too narrow for use.
This tool belt’s memory foam support and handy side handles made it one of our top-rated products, tied with the TradeGear Heavy-Duty Electrician’s Tool Belt. While the tool belt secured tightly around our waists, its double-prong belt offered only five sets of holes.
During our tests, just one adjustment was necessary when climbing three flights of stairs, which was simple because of the tool belt’s convenient carrying handles. All tools stayed in place during the jumping jacks and squats, though our team did notice that finding the right spot for each tool was difficult. While the belt had plenty of large and small pockets, there were few medium-sized pockets available for holding tools.
Best Design: Style N Craft Pro-Framers Combo Tool Belt
Equipped with tanned leather pouches stitched using durable nylon thread, this Style N Craft tool belt is a heavy-duty product with a classic look. Designed to help with framing projects, the tool belt offers a unique tape measure pouch and a strong metal hammer holder. To add to its look, the tool belt’s pockets have a suede-like interior to contrast the dark exterior for added tool visibility.
- 4.14 pounds (empty)
- Two pouches
- 17 pockets
- Top-grain oiled leather
What Customers Are Saying
Many positive reviews came from contractors and carpenters who liked the tool belt’s size and overall quality. Additional positive reviews commented on the sleek look of the tool belt’s leather exterior. Negative reviews pushed back against the comments regarding the belt’s high quality, stating the leather felt cheap and flimsy.
This tool belt’s roller buckle and double-prong design made it easy to put on, though it did feel less secure than the TradeGear and Gatorback models. Its leather belt was thinner and provided less support than its nylon counterparts, but it fastened securely to the waist and required just one adjustment during the three-story climb despite the belt’s narrow design.
This tool belt held all six tools in place during testing but placed third among all tested products for organization because of its hard-to-reach pockets, which were positioned towards the back of the belt. The tool belt displayed no signs of damage after testing but received the second-lowest score during the scratch test because of its fragile, suede-like interior.
Best Value: Bucket Boss Builder’s Tool Belt
Bucket Boss’ affordable tool belt has a lightweight design and contains two adjustable pouches with reinforced bottoms. The one-size-fits-all belt expands up to a 52-inch waist and is equipped with two hammer loops to accommodate various-sized hammers. Along with its customizable size, the belt’s pouches are adjustable, allowing you to position them to suit your preference.
- 2.4 pounds (empty)
- Two reinforced and adjustable pouches
- 600-denier polyester ripstop material
What Customers Are Saying
Many positive reviews commented on the tool bag’s durability and its lightweight design. Negative reviews complained about the belt’s sagging pouches that decreased mobility.
The Bucket Boss tool belt had plenty of space for storing tools, but it was extremely difficult to fit around the waist. The tool belt comes in one size only and is designed to shorten or lengthen based on need. During testing, we needed to shorten the belt, which took several minutes because of its difficult-to-move buckle.
Once the belt was adjusted to the correct size, it fit well around the waist. During testing, however, the belt began to sag when we walked up three flights of stairs and had difficulty holding tools during the jumping jacks and squat test. Although the tool belt’s pockets were unable to hold tools as well as other models, the tool belt did tie for first in the durability test, proving the quality of its heavy-duty material.
Best for Home Use: Dickies Five-Pocket Side Tool Belt
This compact tool belt from Dickies is lightweight and easily fastened to the waist with its adjustable buckle. The tool belt comes with enough space to fit five small tools and is a suitable product for quick and small jobs around the home. Additionally, the tool belt comes with a one-year warranty to protect your purchase.
- 9.6 ounces (empty)
- Five pockets
- Canvas material
What Customers Are Saying
Positive reviews applauded the tool belt’s design, which many said was easy to put on and secure small items. Negative reviews expressed disappointment over the tool belt’s minimal carrying capacity, with some reviewers complaining about the lack of a hammer loop.
This Dickies tool belt lacked the capacity and design to stack up to the other larger tool belts in this review, but despite it ranking the lowest in each category, the tool belt was effective in its own way.
During our three-flight stair climb, the belt was unable to hold onto every tool, dropping four of the six tools. However, this wasn’t because the pockets were designed poorly but because the tool belt just didn’t contain enough room to hold the larger tools we used during testing. As we carried out the squat and jumping jacks test, we found that the tool belt could secure up to three tools and a few smaller items, which is what it’s designed to do.
Before purchasing a tool belt, it’s important to understand how the features and qualities of a product affect its user experience. Take a look at these four important factors.
Tool belts come in a variety of materials, with some of the most common being polyester, nylon, leather, and canvas.
Polyester and nylon tool belts are typically grouped into the same synthetic material category. Synthetic materials like polyester and nylon are lighter than leather but are oftentimes less durable. Many tool belts today use multi-layered synthetic material to increase durability, seen in both the Gatorback Carpenter’s Tool Belt and the TradeGear Heavy-Duty Electrician’s Tool Belt.
Leather tool belts are thicker than nylon, polyester, and canvas models, but they’re usually more expensive and heavier. Additionally, while leather tool belts have a nice appearance, they can show cosmetic wear and tear easier than their polyester or canvas counterparts.
Canvas is used in many tool belts, including the Dickies Five-Pocket Side Tool Belt, because of its thickness and lighter weight. Thick canvas isn’t as durable as leather, but it can withstand damage better than a thin polyester material.
The capacity of a tool belt is closely tied to its number of pouches and their size. If you’re looking for a tool belt that can hold a wide variety of tools, look for a multi-pouch tool belt like the Style N Craft Pro-Framers Combo Tool Belt. However, if you need to carry just a few tools around the home, a one-pouch tool belt like the Dickies Five-Pocket Side Tool Belt may be a better option.
While the pouches of a tool belt are closely tied to capacity, a tool belt with plenty of room and no organization can make for a stressful day. Before purchasing a tool belt, think about the tools that you need to carry. If you need to carry a variety of small and large tools, look for a tool belt that has small, medium, and large pockets so that different-sized tools can be secured. If you need to carry only a few small tools, a tool belt with a couple of same-sized pockets should work.
Most tool belts have a two-prong metal buckle, velcro, or a plastic buckle to fasten the belt around a user’s waist. Two-prong metal buckles are found on most tool belts because of their longevity and adjustability. Velcro is rarely seen by itself on a tool belt, though models like the TradeGear Heavy-Duty Electrician’s Tool Belt use velcro and two-prong metal buckles for added security. Plastic fasteners are easy to adjust but are less durable than other models. Typically, they’re only seen in around-the-home tool belts like the Dickies Five-Pocket Side Tool Belt.
To choose five tool belts for this review, the This Old House Reviews team searched Amazon for top-performing tool belts, taking into account each product’s total number of Amazon reviews, overall rating, and Prime eligibility. From there, we tested the tool belts by putting each product through a series of tests that measured four unique metrics: comfort, durability, pocket ergonomics, and organization.
A tool belt should have adjustable features that help it secure properly to your waist when stocked full of tools. Tool belts are typically secured using a combination of materials like velcro, clips, or belt loops. Not only does a tool belt’s fastener material affect how easily it can secure to your waist, but it also affects how it feels when tightened.
A quality tool belt should be able to withstand the constant wear and tear inflicted by the tools and equipment it carries. Well-made tool belts are constructed with heavy-duty fabrics and quality features like double-layered pockets to offer customers a lasting product that can withstand the poking and constant weight of items like hammers, nails, and screwdrivers.
Pocket ergonomics refers to the usability and efficiency of a tool belt’s pockets. While some tool belts have more pockets than others, the true test of a quality tool belt lies in its pocket’s ability to keep tools secure.
An effective tool belt can not only carry the tools you need to complete a job, but it can do so in an organized and logical manner. To accomplish this, many tool belts contain pockets, clips, or loops designed for specific tools.
To test the comfort of the tool belts, we wore each product while standing, walking up and down three flights of stairs, and performing 10 squats. During our test, each tool belt contained a hammer, two screwdrivers, one pencil, a pair of pliers, and 25 4D nails.
We measured the durability of each tool belt through two tests. The first test was conducted simultaneously with the comfort test. As we walked up each flight of stairs and performed squats, we checked each pocket for visible signs of indentations or scratches from the tools. The second test was a scratch test, which consisted of scraping and poking a 2.5-inch nail 10 times along every pocket of each tool belt.
We measured pocket ergonomics by testing how well each tool belt kept its contents accessible through the following three tests: walking up and down three flights of stairs, doing 10 jumping jacks, and squatting 10 times. As our final test, we looked at each tool belt’s pockets to see if there was a suitable pocket, clip, or loop for each of the following items: one hammer, two screwdrivers, one pencil, a pair of pliers, and 25 4D nails.
We used the comfort, durability, pocket ergonomics, and organization metrics to score each tool belt. Here’s how we calculated product scores.
We scored comfort by docking 0.2 points for each readjustment made during testing. For example, if a tool belt required one readjustment while standing, three while climbing stairs, and four while doing 10 squats, we deducted 1.6 points.
The tool belt that contained the least amount of indentations and scratches after testing received 2.5 points, while the second-best received 2.1 points, the third-best received 1.7 points, and so on. During our scratch test, the tool belt that contained the least amount of scratches, holes, or visible damage received 2.5 points, while the second-best received 2.1 points, the third-best received 1.7 points, and so on.
Scoring each tool belt’s pocket ergonomics was two-fold, as points were awarded or deducted based on each tool belt’s ability to contain its tools and keep them in their original place. We deducted 0.5 points for every tool that fell out of the belt during each phase of testing, with a maximum of a 2.5-point penalty. We also deducted 0.5 points for every tool that remained in the tool belt but didn’t stay properly secured within its original place, with a maximum of a 2.5-point penalty.
We scored organization by confirming that each tool belt had a suitable pocket, clip, or loop for one hammer, two screwdrivers, one pencil, a pair of pliers, and 25 4D nails. If a tool belt didn’t have a proper place for an item, or the space provided wasn’t sufficient, we deducted 0.5 points for each item without a suitable home.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you wear a tool belt?
The proper way to wear a tool belt is with the buckle in the front and the pouches at the back or side. This prevents any tools from poking you while you work, increases mobility, and allows for easy adjustment of the buckle.
How do you take care of a leather tool belt?
To clean a leather tool belt, take a dry rag and wipe the empty pouches and pockets clean. After that, use a damp rag to scrub the inside and outside of your tool belt. Once you’re done cleaning, let the tool belt dry and apply a leather protector to the belt to prevent excess water and dirt from penetrating its surface.
Are tool belts bad for your back?
Tool belts can get heavy when full of tools and strain your lower back and hips. To ease the strain on your back, evenly distribute your tools throughout the belt to spread out the weight or try a suspender attachment to distribute some of the weight to your shoulders. Additionally, take breaks while working to give your back time to rest.
Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team
This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.
We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.
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