clock menu more-arrow no yes

The 5 Best Tool Bags (2021 Review)

A tool bag is a simple way for DIYers to secure their most needed tools and accessories in a single location. In this review, the This Old House Reviews team outlines the five best tool bags on Amazon and how they perform during our in-depth testing process. The products included in this article are available at various home improvement stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

Best Tool Bags

Tool bags come in multiple sizes and offer a variety of pockets to hold the tools necessary to complete a range of DIY projects. In addition to providing convenient storage, tool bags help homeowners stay organized by keeping different tools grouped in easy-to-reach compartments.

To help you find a tool bag that best organizes your tool arsenal, the This Old House Reviews team tested five of the best tool bags on Amazon and scored their effectiveness based on a series of rigorous tests. Here’s a look at our top recommendations and how each tool bag performed during testing.

Best Value: DEWALT 33-Pocket Tool Bag

DEWALT 33-Pocket Tool Bag

This affordable DEWALT tool bag features a large zipper and spacious interior that make it a great option for any handy homeowner. The 33-pocket tool bag has a combination of interior and external pockets to store and organize your tools and accessories, and the product is equipped with abrasion-resistant rubberized feet to help extend its life.

Key Features

  • 33 pockets
  • Polyester fabric
  • 3 pounds when empty

What Customers Are Saying

This DEWALT tool bag received an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars from over 2,600 customer reviews, which is in line with the average rating of 4.8 stars across all five tested tool bags. At the time of this review, 97% of customers rated this product 4 stars or more.

Positive reviews centered around the tool bag’s heavy-duty design that includes stitched handles and pockets. Additional positive reviews complimented the product’s large storage space. Negative reviews mentioned the poor quality of the tool bag’s included shoulder strap, with some customers saying it broke after a few uses.

Our Experience

This DEWALT tool bag was one of the top-performing products we tested. Despite the product’s rugged design that made opening and closing its compartment difficult, the tool bag excelled in every one of our testing categories.

The tool bag’s rubberized feet absorbed the shock administered through 50 repetitive drops, showing minimal cosmetic damage, and protecting the stored tools. Although the tool bag didn’t contain a designated location for storing a hammer, it created a space for the tool to lay flat within the bag without disrupting the other pocketed tools.

The tool bag also secured each one of its tools while it was carried up and down three flights of stairs, and its adjustable shoulder strap helped during transportation.

Our Score

Metric Score
Metric Score
Durability 5/5
Ergonomics 5/5
Mobility 4.5/5
Overall score 4.8/5

Most Portable: Klein Tools 14-Tool Backpack

Klein Tools 14-Tool Backpack

Coming in a backpack design, this tool bag conveniently stores 14 tools and additional accessories with its 39 multi-sized pockets. The tool bag features two carrying handles for spot-to-spot movement and a molded bottom to pad the tool bag and its contents from impact shocks. Additionally, the tool bag offers a unique molded front pocket for securing fragile items and contains a bright orange liner for quick tool identification.

Key Features

  • 39 pockets
  • Ballistic weave
  • 6 pounds when empty
  • Limited lifetime warranty

What Customers Are Saying

This Klein Tools backpack received an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars from over 1,700 customer reviews, which is equal to the average of 4.8 stars across all tool bags in this review. Ninety-five percent of customers rated the product 4 stars or more, with just 2% of customers giving the product 2 stars or less.

Satisfied customers mentioned the product’s easy-to-carry design, with many stating that it took the stress off of their hands and made transportation a comfortable experience. Unhappy customers mentioned the product’s unreliable zippers and said that they had difficulty zipping them after continued use.

Our Experience

Despite this tool bag’s scratch-prone exterior, it was a top-performing product that proved its durability during the mobility and drop tests. Its hard rubber bottom, while adding a bit of weight to the tool bag, helped the product withstand repeated impacts during testing. Additionally, the backpack’s orange interior helped simplify the process of storing and unloading tools.

Though the product’s backpack design narrows the width between its included pockets, all tools and accessories were able to fit inside its zippered compartment.

Our Score

Metric Score
Metric Score
Durability 4.6/5
Ergonomics 4.5/5
Mobility 5/5
Overall score 4.7/5

Best Design: Carhartt Legacy Tool Bag

Carhartt Legacy Tool Bag

Made of durable polyester, this lightweight Carhartt tool bag provides the right amount of storage space with 17 exterior pockets and 10 interior pockets. Its triple-stitched pockets, internal metal frame, and abrasion-resistant base give it a durable design that’s built for most working conditions. Additionally, the tool bag is available in brown or black to fit your style preferences.

Key Features

  • 27 pockets
  • Polyester fabric
  • 2 pounds when empty
  • Limited lifetime warranty

What Customers Are Saying

This Carhartt tool bag received an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars from over 400 Amazon customer reviews, which is slightly above the average rating of 4.8 stars across all tested tool bags. At the time of this review, this product had the highest customer rating, with 99% of customers rating the product 4 stars or more.

Positive reviews raved about the product’s sturdy metal frame and high-quality stitching. Other satisfied customers commented on the bag’s pockets that offered enough space for several tools. At the time of this review, the tool bag received just a single one-star review, which described a customer’s frustration at receiving a stained bag.

Our Experience

Despite the lack of padded feet on this bag, it consists of the material and stitching necessary to last for a while. While this bag tied with the Milwaukee Heavy-Duty Canvas Contractor Bag for the most visible scuffing during our drop test, it ranked as one of the highest-performing bags during our scratch test, showing little indication of scratches.

This tool bag also proved to be effective in storing a variety of tools, holding five tools and 25 nails seamlessly inside its compartments. Additionally, despite the lack of a shoulder strap, the tool bag offered a convenient padded handle that reduced finger stress and helped us carry the tool bag up three flights of stairs.

Our Score

Metric Score
Metric Score
Durability 4.6/5
Ergonomics 5/5
Mobility 3.5/5
Overall score 4.4/5

Best Tool Carrier: Custom Leathercraft 43-Pocket Tool Carrier

Custom Leathercraft 43-Pocket Tool Carrier

This tool bag from Custom Leathercraft has a unique open design that gives serious DIYers instant access to their favorite tools without the hassle of zipping open compartments or unbuckling flaps. This tool carrier offers 43 pockets and has a box-shaped design that keeps its frame upright while you work. Additionally, the tool bag comes with a detachable shoulder strap and a plastic compartment tray for convenient transportation and storage.

Key Features

  • 43 pockets
  • Polyester fabric
  • 3 pounds when empty

What Customers Are Saying

This Custom Leathercraft tool bag received an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars from over 600 customer reviews, which is just below the average rating of 4.8 stars across all reviewed tool bags. Ninety-two percent of customers rated this product 4 stars or more, with just 4% of customers giving the tool bag 2 stars or less.

Positive reviews focused on the tool bag’s spacious design, with some customers saying they could fit all of their tools in the bag with room to spare. Additional positive reviews centered around the bag’s convenient shoulder strap that decreased transportation stress. Negative reviews described frustration over the size of the tool bag, which many customers said was smaller than described.

Our Experience

This Custom Leathercraft tool carrier was able to carry a variety of tools with ease and comfort, despite not having a suitable compartment for a hammer. When we performed the durability test, this tool bag tied for second with the Klein Tools and Carhartt models.

The tool bag scored third in mobility and has an adjustable shoulder strap that aided in transportation, but the strap wasn’t as comfortable as the DEWALT or Klein Tools shoulder straps. Additionally, the tool bag didn’t drop any tools while we carried it up and down three flights of stairs and stowed it in a car trunk.

Our Score

Metric Score
Metric Score
Durability 4.6/5
Ergonomics 4.5/5
Mobility 4/5
Overall score 4.4/5

Best for In-Home Use: Milwaukee Heavy-Duty Canvas Contractor Bag

Milwaukee Heavy-Duty Canvas Contractor Bag

This compact tool bag from Milwaukee can carry nails and other small accessories in its six exterior pockets and provides adequate interior space for a few hand tools. Weighing just under a pound, this tool bag is the lightest product in this review, making it a great tool carrier for small tasks around the home. Additionally, its one-compartment design gives you quick access to your tools, removing the time needed to search for stored items.

Key Features

  • 6 pockets
  • Canvas
  • 14.4 ounces when empty

What Customers Are Saying

This Milwaukee tool bag received an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars from over 350 customer reviews, which is below the average rating of 4.8 stars across all tested tool bags. While this product received a lower-than-average rating, 89% of customers rated the tool bag 4 stars or more, with just 5% of customers giving the product 2 stars or less.

Most positive reviews centered around the tool bag’s compact frame. At the time of this review, this product received just five one-star reviews, which argued that the product was too small to properly store tools.

Our Experience

Despite the tool bag’s small frame, which impacted its ability to provide a designated spot for holding each tool, the product withstood our rigorous testing, performing just as well as the other tool bags in our mobility test.

The lightweight tool bag carried all five included tools and accessories, showing no signs of damage after being carried up three flights of stairs. Additionally, the tool bag’s small frame didn’t drastically impact its mobility, as its padded handles increased comfort during testing.

Our Score

Metric Score
Metric Score
Durability 3.8/5
Ergonomics 4/5
Mobility 3.5/5
Overall score 3.8/5

Buyer’s Guide

Before buying a tool bag, it’s important to understand how the features and specifications of the product affect its user experience. Take a look at these four important factors.

Design

Tool bags come in a variety of designs that can impact the way each product is used and transported. Some of the most common tool bag designs include traditional bags, backpacks, and carriers.

Traditional tool bags are identified by their single-zipper compartment and multiple interior and exterior pockets. They’re the most common type of tool bag and are convenient because they can hold a variety of tools, with some bags including shoulder straps for simple transportation.

Backpack tool bags mirror the look of traditional school backpacks. They contain an additional protective shell, added interior space, and pockets specifically designed to hold tools. Backpack models are the easiest to carry but usually provide less space than traditional or carrier tool bags.

Carrier tool bags have an open design for easy tool access and an attached handle for transportation. While carrier tool bags can hold larger tools, they don’t close completely, which leaves tools in plain sight and makes them susceptible to falling out.

Material

Most tool bags are made of nylon, canvas, or polyester. Nylon is a strong material known for its durability and flexibility. Canvas is also a durable material that’s oftentimes double-layered to better protect against the wear and tear inflicted by carried tools. While typically less durable than canvas or nylon, polyester is used in many tools bags because it’s fast-drying and can maintain its color.

Intended Use

The effectiveness of a tool bag can be measured by its intended use. For example, a small tool bag with one pocket may not be the best for people who need to hold a variety of tools for different home improvement projects. Instead, a tool bag with side pockets, multiple zippers, and an included shoulder strap might be a better fit.

Fastener Durability

Zippers and buckles help secure items in tool bags. While convenient, some tool bags may be equipped with zippers or buckles that easily malfunction or break, so it’s important to invest in a tool bag with high-quality fasteners.

Review Standards

To select the five tool bags for this review, the This Old House Reviews team scoured Amazon for the best tool bags, evaluating each model’s Amazon reviews, overall customer ratings, and Prime eligibility. After narrowing down our top picks, we tested the tool bags on durability, ergonomics, and mobility.

Testing Metrics

Durability

A quality tool bag should be able to withstand the constant wear and tear inflicted by the tools and equipment it carries. A well-made tool bag is constructed with heavy-duty fabric and has quality features like double-stitched lining and reinforced handles to offer customers a lasting product.

Ergonomics

A tool bag should not only have enough space for tools and other supplies, but it should also contain pockets and compartments that properly secure items when moving from job to job. A tool bag with great ergonomics will efficiently use its interior space and have a designated area that holds each item.

Mobility

Mobility is particularly important for people who are consistently carrying their bag. Tool bags come in a variety of designs like backpacks and rollers to help users transport their tools more easily. Some bags even include detachable shoulder straps and handles for customizable movement.

Testing Process

To test each tool bag, we performed a variety of tests that allowed us to score each product on the following metrics.

Durability

To test durability, our team conducted two tests. First, we conducted a drop test that involved dropping each tool belt 50 times from waist height while the bag was full of tools. After each drop, we inspected the tool bag for visible damage and opened up each bag to search for interior damage. The second test was a scratch test, which consisted of scraping and poking a 2.5-inch nail along the outside of each tool bag and throughout each pocket 10 times.

Ergonomics

The ergonomics test was two-fold. During the first test, we determined if the tool bag had a suitable and accessible pocket, pouch, or loop for each of the following items: one hammer, two screwdrivers, one pencil, a pair of pliers, and 25 4D nails.

The second test measured each full tool bag’s ability to keep the tools in their respective pockets during each of the following actions: lifting the tool bag from ground level to waist height and walking down three flights of stairs to load the bag into a car trunk. This test was conducted 10 times, during which we inspected the tool bag for dislodged tools and damage.

Note: Because the Klein Tools 14-Tool Bag Backpack is a backpack model instead of a traditional tool bag, we tested it by conducting the following actions during the second ergonomics test: lifting the backpack from ground level, putting it on, and carrying it down three flights of stairs to load it into a car trunk.

Mobility

Mobility was tested by carrying each full tool bag up and down three flights of stairs and walking each model up and down a hallway three times. Note: for our tests, a full tool bag was defined as containing one hammer, two screwdrivers, one pencil, a pair of pliers, and a box of 4D nails. During the mobility test, we analyzed how easy it was to carry a full bag of tools and noted if we had to stop at any point during testing.

Scoring

Durability

The tool bag that contained the least amount of indentations and scratches after our drop test 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.

Ergonomics

The tool bag that had a suitable place for each tool received 2.5 points. For each tool that didn’t have a designated pocket, compartment, or holder, we deducted 0.5 points. After the second test, the tool bag that kept the most tools in place received 2.5 points, while the second-best received 2.1 points, the third-best received 1.7 points, and so on.

Mobility

The tool bag that was the easiest to transport during testing received all 5 possible points, while the second-best received a 0.5-point deduction, the third-best received a 1-point deduction, and so on. If two tool bags were transported with an equal amount of ease, they received the same score.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I store in my tool bag?

The tools that you store in your tool bag will vary by preference and the job at hand, but some of the most common tools found in tool bags include a tape measure, hammer, pencil, utility blade, level, and screwdrivers.

How do you organize tools in a tool bag?

Place frequently used tools at the front of your tool bag or in compartments that are easy to reach. Tools that you occasionally use can be stored towards the back of your tool bag and in more tucked away pockets. If you want to carry several small accessories, consider purchasing a small divider that can carry those items and keep them organized in your tool bag.

How do you clean a tool bag?

Use a small brush to scrub the bag’s outer shell with warm soap and water to remove embedded dirt and soil. While scrubbing, you can use a bristle scrubber to dig deep into the tool bag’s surface. After cleaning, rinse the tool bag with clean water and air dry.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.