The best tool bag
There's nothing more frustrating than wasting time searching your bag or workshop for the tool you need at that moment. The quickest solution? Upgrade your tool bag so you can always find what you're looking for.
With the wide variety of tools available, it comes as no surprise that tool bags are designed to accommodate many shapes and sizes. There are even specially designed bags to house specific tools, such as power tools, leather-crafting tools, and industrial devices.
To learn more, keep reading our buying guide, which includes reviews of a few of our favorites at the end. Our top pick, Custom Leathercraft's CLC Work Gear Multi-Compartment 50-Pocket Tool Bag, has 50 pockets to keep all your gear as organized as possible.
Considerations when choosing tool bags
Popular tool bag styles
Standard tool bags: Standard tool bags remain one of the most popular styles. They feature a series of external pockets as well as an internal pocket secured by a zipper. They're carried either by handle straps or by a shoulder strap.
Tote tool bags: Tote-style bags have a boxy design and can have soft or hard sides. These styles open to provide visibility and full access to tools. Tote tool bags are also well-designed to stand upright.
Backpack tool bags: If you have to walk around a large jobsite, consider a backpack tool bag. Their hands-free design means you can use your phone or write on a clipboard in transit. The weight of the tools is also more evenly distributed across your back.
Shoulder tool bags: Shoulder tool bags have a single strap to carry on your shoulder or an adjustable strap for crossbody carrying. These often have latch or Velcro closures to secure tools and can have padded areas to soften the bag's load against your hips.
As you compare organization and storage options in tool bags, keep in mind which tools you intend to store in them. That way, you can find one that's the right size and layout.
In terms of how tool bags are organized, expect to find a wide variety of pockets, compartments, and molded areas to hold specific tools. In addition to a series of external and internal pockets, some tool bags also have detachable storage pockets that can be removed to make room for larger tools when necessary.
If you work outdoors in the elements, buy a tool bag with weatherproof features. Some tool bags are made from water-resistant materials, which repel water, whereas others are waterproof and make sure no moisture penetrates the bag. In the event you choose a bag that isn't waterproof, you can coat it with a water-repellent spray to add a modest layer of protection.
Another important area to examine is the base of the tool bag, which should be reinforced and capable of bearing the weight of a full load of tools. You may also wish to consider a base made of molded rubber, as it's ruggedly durable and waterproof.
Small tool bags cost up to $20, but if you prefer one with more storage and organization options, expect to spend closer to the $50 mark. Premium tool bags made with waterproof material and the highest levels of organization can cost $100 and above.
Q. Are there any tool bags designed to hold computers and tablets in addition to tools?
A. Yes, but be prepared to spend big bucks on them. Because they house expensive electronics in addition to heavy tools, these bags are designed with protective, reinforced compartments to keep devices separate and damage-free.
Q. My tool bag has a strange odor. How do I get rid of it?
A. Empty out the tool bag and see if there's anything stuck inside (like food or stains) causing the odor. If not, air out the bag in a well-ventilated area and that should do the trick. Another option is spraying the tool bag lightly with fabric refresher to dispel any lingering odors.
Tool bags we recommend
Best of the best: Custom Leathercraft's CLC Work Gear Multi-Compartment 50-Pocket Tool Bag
Our take: Thoughtful design that is convenient, accommodating, and durable.
What we like: Over 50 pockets. Spill-proof design. Large central compartment to hold power tools and lithium batteries.
What we dislike: Large capacity and durable construction means it's on the heavier side.
Best bang for your buck: Stanley's 12-Inch Soft-Sided Tool Bag
Our take: Budget-friendly option for a bag that holds essential tools. Popular for home use or DIYers.
What we like: Reinforced bottom. Padded handles make for comfortable carrying. Made with durable denier fabric.
What we dislike: On the smaller side, so might not be enough as an everyday tool bag for some users.
Our take: Contemporary design featuring molded rubber base.
What we like: Nearly 40 well-made compartments. Orange lining helps you see tools more easily.
What we dislike: You need to fully open the backpack to access some of your tools.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.