When you’re in the thick of a project and getting into that woodworking groove, the last thing you want to do is put down your work, step away, and get the equipment you need. That’s why having a toolbelt that can hold all of the tools you plan to use for your jobs makes projects smoother, more manageable, and more enjoyable.
After some extensive, on-the-job testing, I put together this list of reviews for my favorite tool belts, as well as a buyer’s guide to help you choose the product best suited for you.
Best Tool Belts – Top Picks
BuildEazy.com may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Occidental Leather manufactures high-quality, 100% leather products designed for builders and tradespeople.
This tool belt lives up to Occidental Leather’s promise of a durable, well-made product that’s made in the USA. The leather is beautiful, thick, and rugged, so I’m confident it will stand up to tons of abuse at your job site.
It weighs in at six pounds, so it’s a bit on the heavy side, especially when it’s full of your tools. However, it’s very comfortable, and I found that I can wear it for several hours a day without any trouble.
It has 24 tool pockets and holders, giving you plenty of room for a variety of equipment, including a hammer, screwdrivers, tape measure, and much more. You can fit the wide-open pouches with a variety of tools, so you’ll be able to customize your setup quite a bit. It has just enough room without being too cumbersome.
This belt comes with a lifetime repair service for stitching and rivets, so you can purchase with confidence that it will hold up through years of use.
It is very expensive, but I find that it’s well worth the money, especially since it’s likely to last for years.
- Very durable
- Made in the USA
- Comfortable enough to wear for extended periods
- Includes 24 pockets and tool holders
- It fits plenty of equipment without being too bulky
- It comes with a limited lifetime warranty
- Excellent quality
- It’s a bit heavy
- It’s very expensive
ToughBuilt – Tradesman Tool Belt Set
ToughBuilt specializes in durable equipment made for heavy job site use, and they still manage to offer comparatively low prices.
This belt is made of durable nylon that seems very strong. The nylon is six layers deep and has sturdy rivet reinforcement. It feels reasonably durable, but I doubt it will stand up to as much abuse as a high-quality leather belt. Still, the quality is excellent, especially for the price.
It weighs just 4.77 pounds, and the inside of the belt is heavily padded. You’ll be able to wear this for hours on end through long jobs and barely notice it.
The belt size is adjustable from 32 to 48 inches, and it includes two pouches and two of ToughBuilt’s signature ClipTech hubs. These allow for effortless customization of where your tools hang and the types of pouches and equipment holders the belt can carry. This makes the belt great for adapting to different jobs and requirements.
The holders are spacious without being overly bulky, and you can always swap them out for other hubs if needed.
ToughBuilt includes a limited lifetime warranty, so you can purchase with confidence that it will stand up to the job at hand. Just make sure you register the product within 30 days of purchasing it, as the warranty won’t be activated if you don’t.
This belt is very affordable and will fit into most woodworkers and tradespeople’s budgets. The customization, warranty, and quality make it an excellent value.
- Very strong and durable
- Relatively lightweight
- Padded inside for excellent comfort
- Adjustable size and tool positioning
- Great for a variety of jobs
- Holds plenty of equipment
- Includes a limited warranty
- Very affordable
- Not as durable as leather options
- Requires registration to activate warranty
AWP HP General Construction Leather Belt Flip Pocket Tool Rig
AWP HP specializes in tool belts and accessories designed with comfort and durability in mind for on-site construction performance.
This belt is made of soft, durable leather that feels like it will hold up to years of use and heavy tools. The rivets are solid, the stitching is beautiful and secure, and the double clasp for securing the size keeps it safely situated while you work. I’m confident this belt will handle just about any job with ease.
It weighs 4.61 pounds, so it’s on the lighter side of leather belts. It’s reasonably comfortable, but it can dig into your hips a bit if you’re using it for hours at a time. Luckily, it includes D-rings for use with suspenders.
It’s ideal for carpenters because it has medium-sized pockets for holding fasteners right at your side, and it has two large rings for hammers. You can comfortably carry a framing hammer and a trim hammer for use on any project you may be tackling.
The tool holders slide easily on the belt for effortless adjustment. You can remove them from the belt and reposition them if needed.
It doesn’t include a warranty, but the quality is excellent. I doubt you’ll have any significant issues that would necessitate a warranty, even with constant use.
This belt is a bit pricey, but I think the high quality, beautiful leather makes it worth the money.
- Made of durable leather
- Includes D-rings for use with suspenders
- Ideal for carpenters
- Easily adjustable
- The leather can dig into your hips if worn for long periods
- It doesn’t include a warranty
- It’s a bit on the pricey side
CLC Custom Leathercraft IP489X Suede Tool Bag & Poly Web Belt
Custom Leather Crafts offers a wide range of products designed for builders, carpenters, and other tradespeople, including tool belts, bags, and knee pads.
This tool belt is made of nylon and has a hard plastic clasp rather than a traditional belt fastener. The bag that hangs down and holds the tools is made of soft suede leather, which is both heavy-duty and comfortable. The strap itself likely won’t last as long as leather options, but it’s easily replaceable. The leather does feel very durable, so I’m confident that it will persist through many jobs.
It weighs in at just 12.8 ounces, making it one of the lightest belts I’ve ever worn. It holds comparatively few tools, so it adds minimal weight even when it’s full of tools. Despite being under a pound when empty, the nylon can get reasonably uncomfortable, especially if you’re working for long periods. I recommend wearing thick clothes underneath and only adding the necessary tools to keep the total weight down.
It has three pockets for fasteners, pencils, small tools, a hammer ring, and a loop to hold a tape measure. There’s far less room than most other tool belts, but it’s an excellent option if you just need to keep minimal equipment handy. The pouch with the pockets and rings can easily slide along the belt for straightforward adjustment.
This tool belt comes with a one-year warranty. The belt and pouch are both guaranteed to be free of defects for at least a year, so you can rest assured that your belt will be replaced if you do have an issue shortly after you begin using it.
It is one of the most affordable tool belts I tested, so it’s an excellent product for those who need minimal belt storage on a budget.
- Heavy-duty leather tool pouch
- Very lightweight at under one pound
- Easy to adjust
- It comes with a one-year warranty
- Very affordable
- The strap is made of nylon, which is less durable than leather
- The strap is made of nylon, which is less durable than leather
- It has less tool storage than most belts
McGuire-Nicholas Tanned Leather Contractor’s Apron, Durable Construction Tool Belt
McGuire-Nicholas makes products and accessories to make on-site work more manageable, including tool belts, tool bags, knee pads, and suspenders.
This tool belt is made out of beautiful, high-quality leather. It feels like it will stand up to tons of abuse, making it ideal for big jobs like framing.
It weighs just 12 ounces, so it’s very light for a leather belt without skimping on durability. The strap itself is a little thick and can get slightly uncomfortable with prolonged use, but with the right clothes on underneath, it shouldn’t be an issue for you. Unfortunately, there are no D-loops to attach suspenders.
It has five large pockets for fasteners and tools, a loop for a tape measure, and a dedicated area for pencils. My favorite thing about this belt is that it has two metal hammer loops. The metal allows you to slide your hammer in without it getting snagged, which happens with leather loops, and you can opt for two hammers, depending on your job. Additionally, it’s an excellent option for left-handed woodworkers.
The pockets and loops are fastened to the belt with rivets, so you won’t be able to adjust their position at all. This could be particularly problematic for you if you’re on the thinner side, as the tool holders may sit oddly at your sides.
The belt comes with a one-year warranty for defects, although it’s unclear what it covers exactly.
The belt offers excellent value, and it’s very reasonably priced for the quality and durability.
- Made of high-quality, durable leather
- Very lightweight
- Includes plenty of space for framing tools and fasteners
- It has two hammer loops, one on each side
- It includes a one-year warranty
- It can be a bit uncomfortable with prolonged use
- You can’t adjust the position of the tool holders or pockets
- It may not fit thinner woodworkers comfortably
Occidental Leather 9596 Adjust-to-Fit Industrial Pro Electrician
This tool belt from Occidental Leather is made of very high-quality leather. It’s not only beautiful and reliable, but it feels like it will last through years and years of heavy use. Although it’s expensive, I’m confident it will be worth the investment in the long run.
It weighs in at 5.25 pounds, which is relatively heavy for an empty tool belt. Fully loaded, the belt can easily approach 15 pounds. However, it fits very comfortably, and it includes D-loops for use with supportive suspenders.
The soft leather on the back is comfortable, but it can get rather hot if you wear it for extended periods, especially if you’re working outside in high temperatures.
It has numerous pockets for tools, testing equipment, and pencils, and a metal spool holder that’s great for wiring. I expect it will fit just about any tool an electrician will need on the job. Best of all, it doesn’t feel bulky, and it distributes the weight nicely. There is a hammer loop in the front in case you need to attach outlet or switch boxes to studs during a job.
Unfortunately, the pockets and tool holders are affixed to the belt permanently, so you won’t be able to adjust their position or swap them out to customize.
The belt comes with a limited, two-year warranty that protects you from damage due to defects. The warranty, along with the durability, makes this an excellent option for long-term use and reliability.
It is very expensive, and although I wish it were adjustable and customizable, I still feel that the quality and the fact that it’s made with electrical work in mind make it worth the money.
- Beautiful, high-quality leather
- It has D-loops for use with suspenders
- It’s relatively comfortable
- It holds everything an electrician might need on the job
- It includes a limited, 2-year warranty
- It’s rather heavy
- It can get hot with prolonged use
- The pockets and tool holders aren’t adjustable or removable
- It’s very expensive
Dickies 5-Pocket Single Side Tool Belt Pouch/Work Apron for Carpenters and Builders
Dickies is a well-known and respected brand name for all things trade-related, including tool belts, bags, and clothes.
This tool belt comes with a nylon strap and a heavy-duty canvas tool holder. The clasp is made out of hard plastic, and all of the components feel like they will last quite a while. However, they aren’t as durable as high-quality leather and likely won’t take as much abuse.
The materials are very lightweight, and the entire belt weighs just over a half-pound at 9.6 ounces. The strap can get pretty uncomfortable if you wear it for long periods with thin clothes underneath. However, it’s effortless to take on and off, so you can quickly unclasp and set it aside if it does start to dig into your hips.
The canvas bag is situated on one side, so it has much less storage space than most other belts I reviewed. It’s ideal for small jobs or those that require few tools and fasteners, and it can be a great option for wearing around your workshop to keep tools off of your project or workbench. It minimizes bulkiness while still providing quick access to essential tools.
You can fit most common tools and fasteners in the five pockets. However, the biggest downside to this belt is that there is no hammer loop.
The belt adjusts from 32 inches all the way up to 52 inches, and you can effortlessly move the tool pouch to a comfortable position by sliding it along the nylon strap.
It comes with a one-year limited warranty that covers product defects, so you can be confident in your purchase.
This tool belt is highly affordable and provides good value for the money.
- Very lightweight
- It isn’t very bulky
- The size and position are highly adjustable
- It comes with a one-year limited warranty
- It’s very affordable
- Not as durable as leather options
- The strap can get uncomfortable with prolonged use
- It has much less storage space than most belts
- There is no hammer loop
Task Tools T77250 Weekend Warrior Apron with Polyweb Belt
Task Tools offers a wide range of affordable but high-quality tools and accessories for work on-site and in the workshop.
The tool holder on this belt is made out of soft leather that feels very durable. The strap is a durable polymer belt with a hard plastic clip for easy donning and doffing. I’m confident it will hold up to several years of abuse, even if you plan to use it on a daily basis.
It weighs 1.15 pounds, which is very lightweight for a leather belt. It’s exceptionally comfortable, so you’ll likely have no problems with wearing this for extended periods.
The pockets are a little bulky when they’re full, but they have a reinforced, thick leather rim around them that will resist sagging when you place heavy tools inside. In addition to the pockets, the belt includes two hammer loops, one made of metal and one made of leather.
There are no pocket dividers to make tool separation plausible, so it’s not ideal if you need to keep a variety of equipment easily distinguishable. However, it has a small pocket right in the front that’s great for keeping fasteners away from your tools and easily accessible.
All of the tool loops and pockets are affixed permanently with rivets. As such, you won’t be able to adjust how they hang on your legs, and you can’t swap them out for other options.
This tool belt comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, as well as a promise that it will outlast and outperform other belts. This is the biggest reason I feel that this belt is the best for holding heavy tools.
The belt is extremely affordable, so the fact that it comes with a lifetime warranty and satisfaction guarantee makes this an excellent value for the money.
- Extremely durable
- Very comfortable
- The pockets are reinforced to hold heavy tools
- It comes with a lifetime warranty and satisfaction guarantee
- Very affordable
- Pockets are a little bulky
- No pocket dividers
- You can’t adjust the pocket position or arrangement
Real Leather Kids Tool Belt for Kids Woodworking Children Carpentry Carpenter Tool Apron for Boys and Girls Young Builders
AllwaySmart Kids makes education-based items for children interested in learning skills and expanding their minds.
This belt is made of genuine leather, and it feels quite durable despite being made for children. I don’t think it will stand up as well as the adult-sized belts I tested, but it’s an excellent option for kids looking to follow in their parents’ footsteps and learn about carpentry.
It weighs just 14.9 ounces, so it’s light enough for children to wear comfortably, even when it’s holding tools. The nylon strap and leather front don’t have padding, but I expect that it wouldn’t be too uncomfortable for kids, especially since you won’t be loading it with heavy tools.
It has seven pockets for hand tools, fasteners, and measuring devices, as well as two hammer loops to appeal to right-handed and left-handed children. The bags are small, making them a bit less useful than larger belts, but they should work nicely for kids.
The pockets aren’t adjustable at all, as they are riveted to the leather. However, the strap is adjustable from 21 to 30 inches, so it’s ideal for kids of all sizes above six years old. The belt is fastened with a quick-release, making it easy for kids to take on and off by themselves.
This belt doesn’t come with a warranty, but I think it’s worth the very affordable price even without it.
- Made of genuine leather
- Reasonably comfortable strap
- It has plenty of space for tools and fasteners
- Not as high-quality as adult-sized belts
Tools belts may seem like a simple purchase, but the right belt can improve your woodworking experience greatly. Make sure to keep the below factors in mind when deciding on a belt.
Why Do I Need a Tool Belt?
Tool belts may not be absolutely necessary, but they do drastically improve your efficiency and can help avoid injury. Whether you’re working on a small project or a much larger carpentry, plumbing, or electrical job, having your tools within reach at all times helps you stay organized and focused, ultimately leading to less working time.
A properly sized and positioned tool belt will prevent you from distractions, which can help avoid injuries. Your equipment sitting at your waist also means less bending down to get the tool you need, which can reduce the chance of back pain.
Check out the video below for more information on how useful tool belts are for tradespeople:
What to Look for in a Tool Belt
There are a few factors to pay attention to when shopping for a tool belt. These can make the difference between the ideal belt and one that hinders your job more than it helps.
Tool belts are generally made out of oiled leather and suede, heavy synthetic materials, or lightweight synthetic materials.
Oiled leather and suede belts are generally the highest quality, will last the longest, and typically look the nicest. The leather can get a bit hot against your skin, but these belts usually are the most comfortable. Not all leather is the same, and higher-quality, more durable leather will typically be more expensive and all but indestructible.
Heavy synthetic materials like canvas, multi-layered polyester or nylon, and synthetic leather (pleather) are less durable than leather belts. However, they still tend to last through some job site abuse and are significantly cheaper than authentic leather belts, on average.
Tool belts made of lightweight polyester, nylon, or other synthetic materials tend to be the most affordable, but they’re also the least durable. They likely won’t last as long as the other types of belts.
Carrying Considerations and Weight
When it comes to tool belts, quantity matters! Belts come with a varying number of pockets for hand tools and loops or hooks for hammers and other equipment. Some belts are ideal for holding just a few tools and fasteners, while others are equipped to carry just about any instrument you’d need for large-scale carpentry jobs like framing.
It’s best to match your belt to the jobs you plan on doing. Purchasing a belt that can hold multiple hammers, various fasteners, screwdrivers, pencils, socket wrenches, and more might be ideal for someone doing large projects frequently. However, it’s likely overkill if you’re a “weekend warrior” or just need the convenience of a much smaller belt for jobs around the house.
Belts of different materials and sizes can range drastically in weight, weighing under a pound in some cases and more than five pounds in others. If you don’t need heavy durability and options for holding a large number of tools, a lighter belt will be more comfortable and still provide the convenience you’re looking for.
Customization and Reorientation
Some belts have riveted or affixed pockets and tool loops that you can’t rearrange to your liking. Many have pockets that you can slide around on the belt to reorient your tools for convenience and comfort. Like the ToughBuilt Tradesman Tool Belt Set, others have pockets that you can relocate and add to for a truly customized setup. This is ideal for minimizing weight and bulk for smaller jobs while also allowing for the storage of many tools for bigger projects.
Check out the video below for some tips on customizing your tool belt for your work:
The pockets’ orientation on your tool belt has a significant impact on your belt’s versatility and comfort. Some come equipped with a center pocket, as you’d see on an apron. This pocket is perfect for clipping a tape measure for easy access or for filling with fasteners that you can grab without having to dig around in a larger pocket.
Many belts include hanging tool pockets over each hip, while some have just a single hip pocket. These are useful for keeping a variety of hand tools, fasteners, pencils, and other equipment that you’ll frequently need throughout your work. You may want to choose a single hip pocket for comfort and minimal belt weight if you don’t need many tools for your projects.
Most tool belts include a loop that situates your hammer along the side of your leg. Some have a loop on either side to hold different types of hammers or for convenience for both right-handed and left-handed woodworkers.
Size Adjustment and Cinching Style
Belts need to be adjustable to match different waist sizes, but they don’t all adjust equally. For example, most leather belts and some other materials have holes punched into the strap to receive the buckle post. These types of belts are limited in their adjustability and may not always fit perfectly, especially if you lose or gain weight.
Other belts have unrestricted adjustability with loops that you can tighten to any length within their size range. These styles allow you to fit your belt perfectly every time, but they’re generally made with less durable material.
Most leather belts use a metal buckle and post, which limits adjustability but is exceptionally durable. Nylon and polyester belts tend to use hard plastic clips that won’t last as long but provide freedom in sizing. Some belts include suspenders or an attachment for a harness that moves the belt’s weight to your shoulders for better comfort and stability. Suspender tool belts don’t need to be sized perfectly for your waist to be comfortable.
Matching the Trade with the Belt
A tool belt will typically suit you best if you match your belt to your trade. A belt made for your jobs will usually be optimized for the tools you use most often.
For example, you’ll see the most benefit from a carpenter’s tool belt with two hammer loops and small pockets for fasteners if you do a lot of carpentry work. An electrician’s belt will include pockets and loops for testing equipment, wire caps, and spools of wire or solder.
Tool Belt vs. Tool Pouch
Tool pouches are usually deeper and broader than the pockets on either side of a tool belt. They’re made for more significant storage on a single side of your body. I find that a tool belt is much more comfortable, given that the weight is evenly distributed from side to side.
Pouches are typically more affordable and can be very useful for smaller jobs that lend themselves to shorter wearing times.
For big jobs, frequent use, and the most comfort, I strongly recommend a balanced tool belt over a pouch. However, if you’re looking to save money or only do short work sessions every so often, a pouch may suit you well.
How to Soften a Leather Tool Belt
Leather is stiff and rigid when it’s new, so softening your leather belt will make it more comfortable, reduce the chance of injury, and will help it fit perfectly, even if it uses a buckle and post clasping method.
The best way I have found to soften leather tool belts is with jojoba oil. Begin by placing your belt in the sun for about ten minutes to get the pores to open up. Rub a small amount of jojoba oil into all leather surfaces, being careful not to get it on any suede parts. I recommend reapplying every five minutes or so until you have three or four coats on your belt.
The oil will naturally soften the leather without damaging it. Once the belt is softened, wear it for a full day of work and let it settle around your body. This process should leave you with a soft, comfortable, and form-fitting tool belt.
Check out the video below for some more tips:
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Make My Tool Belt Smaller?
This entirely depends on the tool belt in question. If you have a leather tool belt that is too big for you, for instance, you’re slightly more limited in terms of adjustability.
This comes down to the fact that these types of tool belts use a metal buckle and post and already have holes punched into them.
In this case, you can punch an extra hole into your tool belt with a hammer and a nail in order to make your tool belt smaller.
To do this, secure your belt to a piece of wood and find a nail that is similar in size to the holes on your belt. Line the nail up with the rest of your belt holes and drive it through with the hammer.
This is a good option if your old tool belt suddenly becomes too big when your weight fluctuates, and also means that your belt will still fit you if your weight goes back up again.
If you know you have a smaller waist size, then to save yourself the trouble of having to punch extra holes in your expensive leather belt you should make sure that you opt for a tool belt with unrestricted adjustability.
While many people consider these nylon and polyester belts with plastic clips less durable to their leather counterpart, the good thing about them is that they provide you with more freedom when it comes to adjusting the size of your tool belt.
How Do I Organize My Tool Belt?
There are a variety of different ways that you can organize your tool belt, but a lot of the time it comes down to efficiency and making your life easier.
A tool belt is designed to make your life easier, not harder. Bearing this in mind, you should always keep the tools that you use the most closest to your dominant hand.
This means that they are easy to access and you won’t need to waste time switching between sides of your belt, as your most used tools will be nearest to the hand that you’re switching out tools with.
It’s good to store tools that you use less frequently on the secondary side of your tool belt.
While you don’t reach for them as much as your primary tools, having them on the other side of your belt means that they’re not too far for you to reach when it comes to doing a job that requires them.
Do Tool Belts Hurt Your Back?
Yes, wearing your tool belt for a significant period of time can hurt your back.
This comes down to the fact that they have the capability to carry a variety of different tools all at the same time, and you’re carrying much more additional weight than you’re used to.
That being said, many tool belts come with wide band suspenders that have the ability to evenly distribute the weight of your tools across your body, therefore supporting your back as you work.
These suspenders are especially important to use when you’re working for long periods of time, as if your tools are just pulling on your lower back this can put unnecessary strain on it that could lead to injury if you’re not careful.
That being said, you should be aware that you need to replace these suspenders as they become stretched over time.
You should also be aware of how much extra weight you’re already carrying with your tool belt when it comes to carrying other materials such as wood.
To ensure that you minimize the risk of injury while you are working, you will need to make sure that you are practising proper techniques for lifting heavy materials.
This means lifting with your legs, not with your back to ensure that you are being as safe as possible.
How Do You Carry A Flat Bar On A Tool Belt?
Depending on the tool belt that you have, a flat bar can be tricky to carry in your tool belt and a challenge to fit and secure inside your tool belt’s bags. There are a few options that you can try to secure your flat bar.
For instance, some people insert their flat bar sideways into the belt loop of the tool bag parallel to their tool belt. This can help to prevent your flat bar from sliding out of your tool belt.
In addition to this, many people like to downsize the flat bar that they carry in their tool belt. Flat bars come in a range of different sizes, and some are far too long and heavy to carry on a regular basis.
However, if you’re worried about your flat bar falling out of your tool belt whilst you’re working, you should opt for one that securely fits into one of the bags on your tool belt.
Although the flat bar will still be thin in shape, opting for a shorter length that fits inside one of your tool belt’s bags means that it is less likely to fall out.
That being said, many people don’t deem a flat bar an essential tool to place in your tool belt.
If you find that you still want it nearby whilst you’re working, but don’t have the need to carry it in your tool belt, you can always keep it safe in a separate tool bag.
Conclusion: Which Tool Belt is Best?
Whether you’re a carpenter, electrician, or another tradesperson, the right tool belt can make your work significantly more comfortable and safer. Although they are utilitarian, they require a very personal choice. No tool belt will be ideal for everyone or valuable for every job.
My favorite tool belt overall is the Occidental Leather B5625 M Green Building Framing Set. It’s incredibly rugged and will likely last for many years, it’s very comfortable, and it carries an abundance of tools in a massive 24 pockets and hammer loops.