Best Tool Belts for Carpenters, Electricians, and Handymen

Tool belts are one of the most important helpers you can have on the job. They act as a second pair of hands, putting everything you need within reach wherever you are. However, locating the best tool belt for the job is like all good help – hard to find.

The good news is that we’ve done a lot of the legwork for you. The following tool belts are among the best out there for both professionals and the everyday handyman.

Our 4 Favorite Carpenter Tool Belts

 ProductMaterialPocketsWaist Size
best-carpenter-tool-beltOccidental Leather 8089Leather/Nylon1629" to 54"
gatorback-tool-beltGatorback B145Leather/Nylon1626" to 49"
best-tool-belt-suspendersDeWalt DG5617Nylon2029" to 46"
bucket-boss-50200-reviewBucket Boss 50200Nylon12Up to 52"

Our 4 Favorite Electrician Tool Belts

 ProductMaterialPocketsWaist Size
occidental-leather-electrician-tool-beltOccidental Leather 9596Leather2232" to 40"
top-technician-tool-pouchVeto Pro Pac TP4Nylon/Leather20n/a
gatorback-electricians-beltGatorback B240Nylon2726" to 49"
best-cheap-electrician-beltCLC Custom Leathercraft 1503Polyester9n/a

Carpenter Tool Belt Reviews

Quite a few carpenters work out of their toolboxes and spend almost as much time fishing for items as they do actually working. A good tool belt will have all of your nails and key tools within arm’s reach – even when on an extension ladder.

#1 – Occidental Leather 8089 M OxyLights Framer Tool Belt Set

best-carpenter-tool-beltThis contractor grade seven bag framer set has plenty of storage in several easy-to-access compartments. Additional loops allow you to carry hammers and other large tools without cluttering pouch space. The entire rig has a total of 22 pockets and holders and is made up of industrial abrasion-resistant nylon (pouches) and leather (belt and holders) for incredible durability.

Each tool bag is padded and two-ply to ensure they don’t lose their shape, even under heavy use. Additionally, the base is a 3-inch ranger work belt,and the three attachment modules can be removed or rearranged to make a better personal fit.

left-handed version

One of the most amazing things about this made-in-the-USA belt is just how many survive for a decade or more. There’s space to add a few additional holders, although most people find the included storage provides plenty of room. While a bit pricey, the durability and versatility of the 8089 make it perhaps the best framing tool belt currently on the market.

Tool placement will always be an issue for some people, as no belt is perfect. The good news is that you can rearrange the components to better suit your needs. The bad news is that some tools will still be tough to grab if you have larger hands.

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#2 – Gatorback B145 Carpenters Triple Combo Belt

gatorback-tool-beltWhen thinking about tool belts, comfort usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Gatorback’s B145 proves that the top tool belt doesn’t need to be a test in endurance. A patented air channel design and ultra-breathable foam backing help keep you cooler on a hot day. The extra padding also means you feel less strain from full bags.

Comfort doesn’t mean sacrificing durability, and the B145 is poof. All stress points on this 1250 DuraTek nylon belt are both riveted and bar tacked. The pouches also have an interior plastic lining to help them keep a box shape that stays open. All told, there are a total of 16 pockets.

This belt has plenty of space in the larger pouches, making it a great choice for working away from the toolbox. The default setup is easily rearranged to help you put every tool in an ideal spot. Best of all, owners of this belt confirm that it really is one of the most comfortable tool belts to wear.

Despite being comfortable overall, a few people have found the material to be too coarse for them and had to add softer material to the backs of the pouches. Beyond that, the biggest complaint is with the small pouches being sometimes too small for the intended tools.

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#3 – DeWalt DG5617 Combo Apron Tool Belt and Suspenders

best-tool-belt-suspendersThis combo apron tool belt has yoke-style suspenders to make even a full load of tools feel lightweight. The tool belt suspenders have Dri-Lex 5-inch padded shoulder straps for increased comfort, and a patented pouch handle means both easy adjustments and carrying.

Storage also isn’t an issue with this belt, as it has 9 main pockets (including a dedicated speed square pocket), 11 smaller pockets, carabiner, zippered storage pocket, hammer loop, padded cell phone holder, and utility knife pocket.

DeWalt’s reputation for quality doesn’t end with tools, as evidenced by this belt. Owners claim it’s comfortable, roomy, and perhaps the best carpenter’s tool belt overall. While this isn’t a cheap tool belt, the price is well worth it.

There seems to be a problem with two different qualities of belt being sold. Some individuals are receiving quality metal connectors for the suspenders, but others appear to be getting cheap plastic ones. Try to verify you aren’t going to be getting the latter by purchasing this product through a reputable retailer.

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#4 – Bucket Boss 50200 Builder’s Rig

bucket-boss-50200-reviewWhile it might seem like a small tool belt compared to some of the others in this list, the 50200 is perfect for a handyman, contractor, or even a plumber (although many of the latter prefer carrying a bulky toolbox).

Built to be abused, this belt features a blended material, 600d poly material ripstop, steel buckled belt with monster grommets, and a heavy web hammer loop for even the largest framing hammers. 12 large-capacity pockets can carry a wide range of supplies and are adjustable to help fit the things you want with you.

This is an excellent tool belt for the price, and holds up really well under constant use. Many handymen modify the pockets to hold smaller items, although this isn’t essential for getting your money’s worth out of this rig.

While there’s no issue carrying most of your tools, there aren’t enough hoops for some of the bigger items, such as a cats paw. Also, this has a big belt that might need additional holes added for smaller waists.

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Electrician Tool Belt Reviews

While carpenters have a lot of large tools and sharp objects to carry about, electricians have a variety of smaller tools and components. An electrician tool pouch is thus smaller and more compartmentalized than a carpenter’s pocket.

#1 – Occidental Leather 9596 Electrician’s Tool Belt

occidental-leather-electrician-tool-beltThe 9596 is probably the best leather electrician’s tool belt available today. Adjustable for the perfect fit in both belt and bag position, the belt features tool pouches designed with electricians in mind. Individual holders allow you to keep all of your pliers and other tools neatly organized and instantly accessible.

Not only does this rig have plenty of space (there are a total of 31 pockets and holders), but first-time owners have been surprised at how comfortable it feels. A few of the pouches seem more aimed at carpenters, making this great as a general-purpose tool belt for handymen and plumbers. Best of all, the belt holds up well to abuse, making it a great pick for both professionals and amateurs alike.

It seems counter-intuitive, but while this belt is fully adjustable, the pouches cannot be removed. This can pose a lot of problems if you need your tools arranged differently or would prefer a different pouch setup. For this reason, a lot of owners get their’s customized to suit their needs at a good leather or shoe repair shop.

Also, according to the manufacturer, the tool belt can be adjusted for a 32″ to 40″ waist size but numerous users just outside that size range noted that it fit them just fine.

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#2 – Veto Pro Pac TP4 Technician Tool Pouch

top-technician-tool-pouchThis technician’s tool pouch has all the space you’ll need for on-site jobs. An 8 inch electrical tape strap, meter pocket, bit extension pockets, 2 D-rings, belt slot for hands-free carrying, detachable rubber grip handle, nylon plastic belt clip, and a total of 20 pockets inside and out make this bad boy probably the best electrician’s tool pouch you’ll find.

Add to that the ability to add a shoulder strap and a 5-year limited warranty, and the TP4 is an all-around winner.

This is a wonderfully durable tool pouch that has quickly become the primary go-to for many of its owners. In rare instances where there was an issue with shipping, VETO PRO PAC’s support team has consistently proven the company matches the product for reliability.

While the TP4 has plenty of space, it might not be big enough for some models of tools. There are also no dedicated pockets for pens and markers, which a few have found frustrating in an otherwise great pouch.

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#3 – Gatorback B240 Electrician’s Combo Belt

gatorback-electricians-beltThis heavy duty ventilated work belt uses Gatorback’s patented air channel design for increased comfort and breathability. As with all of their products, the B240 is riveted and bar tacked along every stress point to provide maximum durability.

A Pro-Comfort back support belt comes complete with an 18-pocket electrician’s tool pouch, tape chain, and 9 pocket fastener tool pouch to add versatility for contractors (a total of 27 pockets overall).

The pouches on this belt are meant to be used, and a lot of professionals swear by them (and not at them), despite occasionally wearing through one. The comfort and reliability overall is great, and veteran electricians have reported them lasting many years under heavy abuse.

The tape chain seems to be a weak point on this belt, with several consumers reporting breakage after moderate use. A few others have also complained about problems with rivets popping out over time.

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#4 – CLC Custom Leathercraft 1503 Electrical Maintenance Pouch

best-cheap-electrician-beltThe last entry on our list is something of a contradiction to the others. This small tool pouch is designed to be a durable, yet lightweight addition to any rig. Made of 600D polyester, the pouch contains three internal pocket sleeves and six external pockets (9 pockets total), as well as a detachable electrical tape sling.

A loop and heavy duty clip on the back provide two ways to attach the pouch to your tool belt, or you can run a shoulder strap through to make it easy to carry solo on spot jobs.

This cheap little pouch is surprisingly durable and has served its owners on a wide variety of tasks. The ability to carry only the tools you need most make this pouch a hit with maintenance workers. The smaller overall size means it also makes an excellent addition to your existing rig.

Numerous customers have had problems with the zippered flap. In a few cases, there was a problem with the zipper itself, but the most common complaint was that the flap itself was very awkward and wouldn’t close properly over longer tools.

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FAQs

Buying a good tool belt can be a lot harder than it first seems. This is due in no small part to the fact that Hollywood often portrays handymen with very basic rigs. Once you start shopping, however, you can be easily overwhelmed by the difference in professional belts. The following tips will help you find the best rig for your needs.

What to Look for in a Tool Belt

While everyone’s different and will prefer a different belt, there are a few simple guidelines you can follow to help ensure your final choice will be a prudent one. The following are a couple qualities that all tool belt owners will want to look for:

Comfort

Unless you plan on wearing the belt empty, you’re going to want something with a bit of padding or that can fit well over clothes. The more weight you add, the more the belt will be digging into you, so having that extra protection can make a long day seem a bit shorter.

Customization and Reorientation

The world loves to pretend that lefties can use things the same way as righties, but this just isn’t true. Always aim for a tool belt that allows you to swap out or orient the pockets so that things will always be where you need them when you need them. The default orientation should never dictate how to wear your tool belt.

Dedicated Pockets

Just having a lot of storage isn’t good enough if you can’t also have some organization. A good tool belt will include dedicated pockets or loops to house important tools – such as tape measures or pliers.

Weight

You don’t want to have a tool belt that’s heavy even when empty. The best tool belts will be lightweight but sturdy, and heavier ones will have good attachment points for suspenders.

Leather vs Nylon

There is a lot of ego involved when people are asked whether nylon or leather is better. Many feel it’s more macho or professional looking to use leather. Others feel nylon is more comfortable and gives a cleaner appearance than wear-stained leather does.

At the end of the day, however, it seems that many professionals use a combination of the two materials or will choose which material based upon the type of job they’re performing. Test them both out and decide which (if not both) is best for your own personal needs.

Tool Belt vs Tool Pouch

Depending upon who you talk to (and what profession they have), you may be told to stick to a tool pouch instead of a tool belt. This isn’t necessarily bad advice, although you need to consider the types of job you’ll be performing before picking a tool pouch over a full belt.

Tool pouches are similar to the pouches on a tool belt, but are larger and designed to be carried by hand. It’s always safer to use a belt when working on ladders, roofs, or other places you can’t bring a full toolkit.

Conversely, tool pouches are better for tight spaces where the belt becomes too bulky. This is one of the reasons plumbers tend to prefer pouches to belts.

How to Soften a Leather Tool Belt or Pouch

One of the things that can make nylon preferable to leather is the fact that it breaks in much faster. However, you can use a few methods to soften up a new leather rig – and they can also extend the life of the material.

One of the easiest methods is to give the belt and pouches a quick rub down with some isopropyl alcohol, followed by a thin layer of Vaseline. Allow the Vaseline to soak in, then wipe the leather clean and allow it to dry before use.

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