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Updated June 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
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.Read more 
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best tool belts

Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer, part-time handyman, or professional builder, you know the importance of keeping your tools organized and within reach while you work.

Most tasks require moving from one place to another and stopping to locate important tools only wastes time and detracts attention from the work at hand. This hassle is easily solved when you strap on a tool belt stocked with your most-needed tools.

But you may be wondering how to choose the best tool belt to match your specific needs. Tool belts come in different materials, with different configurations of pockets and loops. Some are designed to carry everything you might need, while others hold only a few tools.

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A tool belt with adjustable pockets is ideal for anyone who needs to carry different tools for different projects.

Types of tool belts

Tool belts are designed to help you keep your tools handy and organized while you work. Constructed of rugged materials, with various pockets and loops, tool belts come in a variety of styles for everyone from the do-it-yourselfer to professional. It doesn’t matter if your top priority is lightweight design or the number of pockets, you can find a tool belt that is comfortable with the features to suit your needs.

If you’re a professional, chances are a tool belt that works perfectly for the weekend DIYer won’t work for you. Conversely, if you need a belt to tote tools for hobbies and household projects, you don’t need a large, heavy-duty design.

Practical for professionals

Anyone whose livelihood depends on tools knows that only the best, most durable tool belt will do. Professional-quality belts come in different styles, with some pockets and bags located on the hips and others in front. If this is the type you need, look for deep pockets, including some with wide openings.

"A top-of-the-line leather tool belt is a good choice for professional electricians and builders. It can hold many large, heavy tools and will last for years."
STAFF
BestReviews

Designed for DIY

Whether you’re mending a fence, doing repairs around the house, or fixing a leaky faucet, you aren’t likely to need a heavy belt with lots of deep pockets. Look for these features.

  • Lightweight.

  • Flexible.

  • Made of nylon or canvas.

  • Shallow pockets.

  • Apron style.

Works for woodworkers

Woodworkers need easy access to gauges, pencils, and T-squares, and some belts are designed with these items in mind. If you work with wood, look for these features.

  • Lightweight.

  • Flexible.

  • Made of nylon or canvas.

  • Pockets for woodworking tools.

  • Apron style; some extend to chest for easy access to tools.

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Expert TIp
Be mindful to organize the belt with the most used items up front, placing them on the left or right side as appropriate.
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert

Tool belt features to consider

Fit

You want a tool belt that fits your individual needs, and you want a tool belt that fits your body. Keep these features in mind when looking for a comfortable tool belt.

  • Thick or Thin: Think about the bulkiness of the belt.

  • Heavy or Light: If you’re uncomfortable carrying excessive weight, or you have hip or leg issues, a heavy tool belt may not work for you. Conversely, a light belt may not be strong enough to carry the tools you need.

  • Adjustable or Not: You want to adjust the belt closures so the fit is comfortable. If your weight tends to fluctuate, or you’ll be wearing the tool belt with different types of pants, you might want a belt that is more accommodating. Snap closures are handy but less adjustable than buckles.

"Many canvas tool belts are made by hand with quality construction and attention to detail."
STAFF
BestReviews

Material

Most tool belts are made of leather, nylon, or canvas. Knowing the pros and cons of each will help you decide which will work best for you.

Leather

  • Pros: Durable enough for heavy-duty tasks. Suitable for professionals. Molds to your shape with use. Deep pockets for large, heavy tools.

  • Cons: Pricier than other materials. Bulkier and heavier than other materials. Needs breaking in for optimal comfort. Not ideal for all DIYers.

Expert Tip
If you choose a leather tool belt, condition the leather with oil so it is more flexible.
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert

Nylon

  • Pros: Lightweight. Almost as durable as leather. Flexible. Easy to clean. Ideal for electricians.

  • Cons: Lacks structure required by some contractors and builders. Less durable than leather (loose seams, fraying). Not as “professional” as leather, but worth considering.
     

Canvas

  • Pros: Lightweight. Flexible. Reasonably priced. Ideal for woodworking.

  • Cons: Prone to stains. Less durable for heavy-duty or frequent use.

"Leather is considered the premier material for tool belts, but nylon is durable, too. It’s also a good choice if you prefer a lighter, more flexible belt."
STAFF
BestReviews

Pockets

Pockets, also referred to as pouches or bags, are the most important features of any tool belt, but not everyone needs the same pocket design or configuration.

  • Deep pockets are best for large tools.

  • Various pocket sizes allow you to carry small and large items, such as nails, screws, hammers, and wrenches.

  • Removable pockets are practical for anyone who uses different tools for different tasks.

  • Fixed pockets are suitable for workers who use the same tools every day.

  • Pocket placement is an important consideration. Are you right- or left-handed? Which tools do you use most frequently? How do you want the pockets to lie on your body?

  • Some belts also have loops and holsters for quick access to tools like hammers and screwdrivers.

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Expert Tip
Wear the belt full of needed tools for a few hours so you can confirm weight and fit. Return the belt if the fit and weight are not ideal.
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert

Tool belt prices

Tool belts vary in price from $15 to $400, and what you spend will depend on the material, design, and your budget.

Inexpensive

Though you aren’t likely to find a leather tool belt in the neighborhood of $15 to $40, you will find some nice nylon and canvas options that won’t disappoint when working around the house or even in the woodshop.

Mid-range

If you’re a DIYer, you don’t have to pay top dollar for a quality tool belt. In the $40 to $75 price range, you can find a tough nylon or leather tool belt that will last for years.

Expensive

Tool belts on the higher end of the price spectrum range from $200 to $400, but these are built to last. Commonly made of high-quality leather, these belts are meant to be used in rugged conditions by professionals.

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Expert Tip
DIY belts will be more affordable and likely less durable, but weekend fixer-uppers don’t typically need the durability of a guy or gal putting in 12 hours of tough work each day.
STAFF
BestReviews

Tips

Consider these tips and tricks to help you choose the best tool belt for your needs.

  • Consider how you’ll use the tool belt. You may not need the heaviest, most expensive tool belt on the market if you’re a weekend DIYer or hobbyist. But if you make your living in the building or contracting trade, durability should be your first priority regardless of price.

  • Keep your work environment in mind. The type of material you choose will depend on where you plan to wear your belt. Leather and nylon belts are made to withstand tough outdoor conditions. Lightweight canvas is ideal for tasks around the house or in the workshop.

  • Don’t forget your hips. Just like clothing fits different bodies differently, so do tool belts. Hips change the way bags lay, so people with wide hips should consider tool belts with compartments that are situated around the waist instead of on the hips.

  • Think about the type of belt you wear with clothing. Do you generally wear a thin or thick belt? Apply your preference to the type of tool belt you choose for optimal comfort.

  • Soften a leather tool belt. Leather tool belts have a tendency to be stiff at first, but you can apply a conditioner such as saddle soap or leather cream to help make it more supple.

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Do you work construction as your job but enjoy woodworking or farming on the weekends? Keep two or more tool belts on hand, one for each activity.

FAQ

Q. I’ve had several tool belts, and the corners of the pockets usually wear out first. What do you suggest I do to prevent this from happening in a new belt?

A. Look for a tool belt with riveting around the pockets. Not only does this hardware help the pockets hold up to heavy tools but it also protects the exterior of the belt from typical signs of wear.

Q. I would like to buy a new tool belt that is sturdy but lighter than my old leather model. What’s the best material to consider?

A. Don’t discount nylon just because leather has historically been associated with hard work. Nylon is tough and lightweight, so give it a chance.

Q. What’s the best way to spot-clean the pockets of a canvas tool belt when it doesn’t need a thorough washing?

A. Small stains and marks on canvas are easy to clean by scrubbing them with an old toothbrush dipped in soap and water. Blot dry with a paper towel or clean cloth, and you’re good to go.

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