The Best Tool Bags for DIYers and Pros
Get organized with the best tool bags on the market.
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 purchase one that matches the kind of work you do, 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 chose these five as the best tool bags for DIYers and pros.
- BEST OVERALL: WORKPRO 14-inch Tool Bag
- BEST FOR LIGHT DUTY: Klein Tools Canvas Tote
- BEST FOR HEAVY DUTY: Dickies 57033 20-Inch Work Bag
- ALSO CONSIDER: CLC CustomLeather Craft 1539 50-Pocket Multi-Compartment Tool Bag
- BEST FOR PROS: Carhartt Legacy Tool Bag 14-Inch
Key Shopping Considerations
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.
The Best Tool Bag Choices
1. BEST OVERALL: WORKPRO 14-Inch Tool Bag
Homeowners and DIYers who need a small, lightweight bag to keep their gear in place without taking up an entire garage shelf will love 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 for a budget-friendly tool bag. 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
If you like to pay homage to the generations of craftspeople that came before, then Klein Tools has a tool bag for you! This heavy canvas throwback is the original tool bag, renowned for its quality and durability, with a leather reinforced bottom and two rolled, stitched, and riveted leather handles. The opening is braced by a heavy-duty metal frame and is kept closed with a set of thick leather straps and metal buckles. While you won’t get fancy features or a plethora of pockets for organization, you will get virtually bombproof durability. This bag has been around and tested by hard-working men and women for a long time, so you know it’s tried and true.
3. BEST FOR HEAVY DUTY: Dickies 57033 20-Inch Work Bag
Haul everything, regardless of weight, with the Dickies 57033 20-Inch Work Bag. Built from durable canvas with a polyester interior lining to be strong and lightweight, it boasts a huge center compartment that will accommodate a drill, reciprocating saw, circular saw, and even a few batteries. There are eight outside pockets for small tools and hardware as well. The Dickies 57033 beats a traditional tool box for two main reasons. First, a box large enough to hold the same amount of gear would be far heavier. Second, this bag’s got a dependable shoulder strap to make toting a load of tools less of a burden. The only thing we’d improve upon is adding more exterior storage compartments.
4. ALSO CONSIDER: CLC CustomLeather Craft 1539 50-Pocket Multi-Compartment Tool Bag
If you’ve got a lot of smaller tools and require some serious storage, the CLC Custom LeatherCraft 1539 gives every tool a home and keeps them all organized. 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 is constructed of heavy-duty nylon and polyester, making it lightweight yet rugged. It boasts two carrying options; a pair of rolled and padded nylon handles and 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
Trusted by hard-working men and women for years, Carhartt calls its tool bag the Legacy for a reason. 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. Any pro will appreciate this no-frills, no-nonsense, lightweight yet heavy-duty bag, and it’s especially ideal 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!).