The Best Tool Bags for DIYers and Pros
A tool bag is a lighter weight and more portable alternative to a tool box. Ahead, learn more about tool bags and what differentiates them, and get the details on our top-favorite picks among the best tool bag options available.
Once you start building up a tool collection, you quickly start running into storage issues. You might have a tool box already, in which case, you’re well aware of its shortcomings. Tool boxes are tough, yes, but so prone to disorganization that the bottom can easily become a black hole of screwdrivers, hammers, and other common go-to tools.
The best tool bag options, on the other hand, are carefully designed to provide as much organization as possible while being lightweight for easy toting. They’re also durable—a tool bag made from a quality material (e.g., doubled-canvas, nylon, or polyester) can last a lifetime!
The trick is to choose one suitable for your needs, whether you’re a handy homeowner or an industry pro. Read on to learn what to look for in a tool bag and to learn why we the below are some of our favorites!
- BEST OVERALL: WORKPRO 14-inch Tool Bag
- BEST FOR LIGHT DUTY: Klein Tools Canvas Tote
- BEST FOR HEAVY DUTY: Dickies 20-Inch Work Bag
- ALSO CONSIDER: CLC CustomLeather Craft 50-Pocket Multi-Compartment Tool Bag
- BEST FOR PROS: Carhartt Legacy Tool Bag 14-Inch
If you have a lot of small hand tools, meters, and gadgets, you don’t want them all piled up at the bottom of your tool bag. For you, the more pockets, the merrier—and the less messy. The best tool bags have plenty of storage options for keeping your gear stowed away properly and safely—leading to more efficient workflow and better end results.
Often on a job site, you’ll find yourself reaching for a tool or putting one away with one hand. A tool bag with a floppy opening will make this frustrating, if not impossible. So get yourself a tool bag with wire or metal frame reinforcing the opening of the main compartment. This allows for one-handed opening and closing. That frame will save a tremendous amount of time and keep you from laying tools on the ground or accidentally dropping them.
Thick nylon, canvas, and polyester are all excellent materials for the main construction of a quality tool bag. They’ll withstand a lot of weight and sharp tools won’t poke through the sides. Rubber makes a top-notch base for a tool bag due to its durability and non-slip attributes. Inexpensive bags made of cheaper materials like faux leather and low-grade nylon are bound to rip prematurely and end up costing you more in the long run when you have to replace them.
Zippers and Buckles
There’s no sense organizing a tool bag if everything falls out of it when you drive off the job site. These bags are meant to be closed and secured, so make sure the bag you choose uses a high-quality zipper or buckle system. Look for large, nylon zippers with pull tabs that you can operate with a gloved hand. As for buckles, look for traditional bags with metal buckles and leather straps, which will hold up well over time. If you prefer more lightweight buckles, go for durable nylon over plastic.
Size and Intended Use
Tool bags come in all shapes, sizes, and styles—some are tailored toward particular trades while others are general catch-alls—in sizes commonly ranging from 14 to 24 inches. That’s why it’s important to consider the type of use your bag is likely to see before you buy one. If you’re headed to a job site every day with a lot of large, heavy tools, a 14- or 16-inch bag with a 50-pocket main compartment won’t be much good; you’ll need a 20- or 24-inch bag with fewer pockets and ample room for large tools. Conversely, if your tool bag serves as a caddy for carrying tools from the garage to the house, you’ll find a smaller bag with lots of storage pockets best suited to your needs.
The best tool bag options have large handles with over-molded rubber grips, rolled nylon handles, or a leather sleeve. These are all comfortable options when you’re hauling a heavily loaded bag for any distance. For larger bags, look for shoulder straps with thick padding to keep them from digging into your shoulder. Avoid thin, flat straps that put a lot of pressure on a very small area, sure to hurt your hands and cause fatigue. A thin strap will also slow you down since you’ll have to frequently stop and change your grip to manage discomfort.
Our Top Picks
1. BEST OVERALL: WORKPRO 14-Inch Tool Bag
Looking for a small, lightweight bag in which to store your gear? Check out the WORKPRO 14-Inch Tool Bag. It features polyester construction, a rubber foam base for waterproofing and extended durability, and two carrying options—padded handles and a padded shoulder strap. The bag also boasts two zipper pulls, which when positioned in the middle of the zipper make for ultra-easy one-handed opening—an impressive, pro-style feature. That said, the WORKPRO probably won’t hold up to the rigors of a construction site, so keep it to DIY and home use only.
2. BEST FOR LIGHT DUTY: Klein Tools Canvas Tote
This heavy canvas throwback has a classic design, and while it doesn’t sport any fancy features, it delivers considerable durability. The bottom is leather-reinforced and the leather handles have been rolled, stitched, and riveted. The opening is braced by a heavy-duty metal frame and is kept closed with a set of thick leather straps and metal buckles.
3. BEST FOR HEAVY DUTY: Dickies 20-Inch Work Bag
The Dickies 20-Inch Work Bag, made of durable canvas with a polyester interior lining, is designed to be strong and lightweight. It boasts a large center compartment—large enough to accommodate a few power tools—and there are eight outside pockets for small tools and hardware as well. The built-in shoulder strap is a nice touch, which makes toting a heavy load of tools less of a burden.
4. ALSO CONSIDER: CLC CustomLeather Craft 50-Pocket Multi-Compartment Tool Bag
If you’ve got a lot of smaller tools and require some serious storage, this tool bag from CLC CustomLeather Craft is a worthy option. It has a zippered flap on either side that opens to reveal lots of pockets, plus a center pocket large enough to lug quite a few power tools at once. The CLC bag, lightweight yet rugged, is constructed of heavy-duty nylon and polyester. It boasts two carrying options: a pair of rolled and padded nylon handles, as well as a shoulder strap with a cushioned pad. The only downside is the clips on the shoulder strap, which are prone to bending open when the bag is overloaded.
5. BEST FOR PROS: Carhartt Legacy Tool Bag 14-Inch
This 14-inch tool bag features a total of 27 pockets, a metal frame to keep it open, and a heavy-duty padded strap for easy carrying when it’s loaded down. This no-frills, no-nonsense, heavy-duty tool bag can be a great choice for electricians and HVAC technicians who need to bring a bunch of small tools and a drill or two to a job. The Legacy’s center compartment is large enough to hold a drill and a screw gun at the same time, as well as a couple of spare batteries. The one sore spot: The 14-inch bag lacks a rugged rubber bottom, but the 16-inch size has one.