Best Tool Bags

Updated February 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

17 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
128 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Shopping guide for best tool bags

Last Updated February 2019

Tool bags are designed to help you carry tools efficiently, but with the right tool bag, you get a lot more than that.

The best tool bags organize your collection of tools, keep them shielded from moisture and damage, and allow you to carry them comfortably to remote job sites.

What’s more, because you’ll always have the right tool on hand for the right job, you may actually be able to shorten the amount of time you spend working.

Those who work on the go may have a tool chest in a pickup truck. Pairing the chest with a tool bag is convenient because you can load a few tools from the chest into the tool bag, carrying them with you wherever they’re needed.

Tool bag design

The design of your tool bag is an important consideration. There are standard tool bags, totes, backpacks designed for tools, and shoulder tool bags.

Standard tool bags

The standard tool bag is one of the most popular designs. It has multiple pockets of different sizes on the exterior of the bag, providing easy access to the tools you use often. It has an interior section that you can securely shut as needed. The interior may have pockets or compartments, making it easy to sort and organize tools. You can carry a standard tool bag with hand straps or a shoulder strap.

Tote tool bags

A tote-style tool bag may be hard-sided or soft-sided. It looks like a box with a handle on top. The interior of most tote tool bags opens fully so you can grab items, but this configuration doesn’t necessarily protect them from inclement weather. Some people find it difficult to organize tools with this design.

Backpack tool bags

With a backpack-style tool bag, you can spread the weight of the bag across both shoulders thanks to the two straps. This style of tool bag doesn’t usually have a large number of pockets, however, and organization can be challenging.

Shoulder tool bags

This type of tool bag has a shoulder strap rather than hand straps. A top flap, which secures with a latch, zipper, or Velcro, protects the items inside. These bags have several interior and exterior pockets. Some are padded for added tool protection.

Pockets aplenty

With 50 pockets in the Custom Leathercraft tool bag, you can organize your tools perfectly. Few other tool bags can match the number of pockets in this bag. You can personalize how the tools are stored, making it easy to find the exact item you need quickly.

Tool bag features

  • Storage capacity: Large tool bags can accommodate dozens of tools at once. These bags may have a large interior area to store a drill or circular saw. Notably, the larger the tool bag, the heavier it will be.

  • Padded base: A padded panel at the bottom of a tool bag serves several purposes. Should you drop the bag, it gives the tools inside a bit of cushioning. The padded base keeps ground moisture from seeping inside the bag. A sturdy padded panel allows the tool bag to maintain its shape as you carry it rather than folding in on itself.

  • Pockets: Pockets play a key role in the organization of your gear. Pockets on the exterior of the bag allow you to access tools quickly. Pockets on the inside organize tools while protecting them from inclement weather. Tool bag pockets may be open, or they may close via a Velcro strap or zipper. Some pockets can hold nails or screws.

  • Weatherproofing: Fabrics that resist rain or snow are ideal if you need a weatherproof tool bag. These fabrics keep your tools safe from moisture, allowing them to last longer. Look for a bag that is touted as waterproof, bearing in mind that even the toughest fabrics could eventually be soaked by water. If you need a bag for plumbing or another activity near moisture, opt for one with a rubberized bottom.

  • Wheels or feet: Wheels are a nice feature for heavy tool bags. In the absence of wheels, a tool bag may have plastic feet on the bottom. These feet will lift the bottom panel off the ground, keeping the fabric dry.
EXPERT TIP

If you plan to work with your tool bag outdoors, choose one made of waterproof materials. You never know when the weather will change in the middle of a job.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

A tool bag with a reinforced bottom panel makes the entire bag sturdier. Without a reinforced bottom, the bag may fold in upon itself.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

For added efficiency, seek a tool bag with D rings for attaching carabiners. You can then clip items to the exterior of the bag for quick access.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tool bag prices

Tool bags are relatively inexpensive pieces of gear, but it’s still important to pay attention to the features in each bag in order to get a good value.

Low-priced tool bags cost $10 to $20. These bags will be on the small side and are most useful for simple fix-it jobs around the home. Most don’t have a large number of organizational pockets. There may be one hand strap.

Mid-range tool bags run from $20 to $50. These tool bags often have shoulder straps and hand straps, so you can carry them whichever way is more comfortable. They are often on the larger side, and many have ample pockets for organization.

Expensive tool bags that cost $50, $100, or even more tend to be larger bags with dozens of pockets. If you need a waterproof bag made of tough materials, you’ll find the greatest number of options in this price range. For the money, you are likely to get a bag with a sturdy bottom panel that helps the bag maintain its integrity when placed under stress.

A good budget choice

This tool bag from Stanley isn’t the largest available, but it’s durable and comes at a great price. It has a padded bottom section, allowing the bag to retain its integrity as you carry it. If you need a lightweight bag to carry the essentials only, this is a great choice.

Tips

  • If you regularly only use a couple of tools at a time, a tool belt may actually be a better choice than a tool bag. However, if you carry many tools at once, a larger tool bag is probably the right choice.

  • If you plan to carry screwdrivers, chisels, or other sharp tools, choose a tool bag made of thick fabric. You don’t want sharp-edged tools poking through a thin-walled tool bag, causing tears. Alternatively, you could opt for a hard-sided tool box.

  • Strongly consider a bag with a shoulder strap if you’ll be carrying large tools. The straps allow you to carry the bag more comfortably, especially over long distances.

  • When you buy a new tool bag, you may spend quite a bit of time organizing your tools inside it. However, you may find after using the bag several times that you need to reorganize. Sometimes it takes a few tries to find the most efficient organizational pattern for a tool bag.

Other products we considered

During our research, we found a few other tool bags with really useful features. The Rothco G.I. Mechanics Tool Bag looks great with its camouflage color scheme. It’s inexpensive and also small, so it won’t work in all situations. A similarly priced tool bag that holds quite a bit of gear is the McGuire-Nicholas Collapsible Tote. It has 14 pockets and folds down completely flat when it isn’t in use. If you need a heavy-duty tool storage option, the DeWalt Lighted Tool Backpack Bag has 57 pockets. It includes backpack-style straps and a built-in light. If you have a lot of large tools to carry, the Workpro 16-Inch Wide Mouth Tool Bag is a great option. Its interior space is huge and the base is made of waterproof fabric, which comes in handy if you need to place the bag on wet ground.

Worried about carrying too much weight? Consider a tool bag with wheels; you can roll it wherever you need it. Or, consider a backpack-style tool bag. The backpack straps will help you balance the weight across both shoulders.

FAQ

Q. What’s the best way to organize my tool bag?

A. As a general rule, you should place the tools you use most often in the exterior pockets of your tool bag. That way, you can access the items quickly. Place your heaviest items in the center of the bag in the main section.

Q. How do I avoid overloading my tool bag?

A. Overloading is a common problem with tool bags. You might toss in a few specialty tools for a particular job one day and then forget to remove them. Do this a few times, and the tool bag is overloaded. To avoid this issue, make a point to go through your tool bag after every third or fourth job. Any tools you didn’t use in the past few jobs should be removed and stored more permanently.

Q. What is the best material for a tool bag?

A. Tool bag material should be lightweight yet durable. Canvas and nylon are two popular choices. You may see some leather tool bags for sale, too. These bags tend to be pricey, and you’ll have to give the leather a little TLC now and then.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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