When you have a tool in hand it means there’s a job to be done. You don’t have time to waste looking for tools or climbing up and down a ladder. Work becomes easier when everything you need is on hand and kept in order, right? That makes a tool bag one of the best investments you can make, whether you love DIY jobs at home, or if tools are part of your day job. The best tool bag that’s comfortable and has a smart design can transform the quality of your work & how quick you get things done.
Our review is focused on helping you find the best option for your unique application. Here’s an important tip: not all bags are the same, and you need one that aligns with your practical needs but also personal preferences. When you find that perfect bag it streamlines your workflow. The tools you use and how you perform your work determine how many pockets you need, the dimensions it must have and how heavy a bag you can cope working with. We review it all to help you make an informed decision.
Top 7 Tool Bags Review 2020
We took all of the bags below and gave them to DIY enthusiasts to put through some rigorous, real-life testing. This article turned all their feedback into an easy to use reference. Do you want to scan through our table, or read in depth reviews? Or perhaps you don’t know what you need yet – that’s when you turn to our buying guide. Whatever you need, we hope this article helps you in your search for the best tool bag out there!
DEWALT Lighted Tool Backpack DGL523 – Editor’s Choice
- Type: backpack
- Number of pockets: 57
- Dimensions: 8.5 x 7.4 x 4.5 inches
- Weight: 5 lbs
Extra features: LED light with 3 levels of light output, base pad feet reduce wear and abrasion
With 48 pockets on the inside, you should find a space for each of your tools. And yes, some spaces are large enough for bigger tools such as drills or even an extension cord. Just plan tool placement well. The stacked design means over filling one pocket may prevent you using the one attached to it. Also pack wisely so you can easily close your bag.
The other nine pockets on the outside are meant for the tools you need most often, so you don’t have to open your bag each time.
We love that the LED light allows different output levels and positioning. Whether you need it to light up inside or outside the bag, you’ll be prepared. The maximum output of 39 lumens is quite impressive, so you can work effectively even in low light areas. The sturdy backpack design is beneficial here too. It’s easy to angle the light towards your work area, without risk of the bag toppling over.
It’s relatively compact and lightweight, so make sure it’s big enough for your application. Still, it’s big enough to fit a laptop. This makes it a practical option for IT technicians, not only DIY enthusiasts.
One feature to monitor is the zipper setup. The zippers aren’t waterproof and may malfunction with heavy duty use.
Overall, this is a smart option for almost any scenario.
- Comfortable to carry
- High number of pockets
- Strong LED light included
- Reasonable size
- Inside and outside pockets
- Caters for large tools too
- Zippers may malfunction
- Zippers not waterproof
- May be too small for some
CLC Custom LeatherCraft 1539 – Best Holdall
- Type: holdall
- Number of pockets: 50
- Dimensions: 18 x 7 x 14 inches
- Weight: 6 lbs
Extra features: heavy duty fabric and zippers
This bag looks appropriate for almost any application. It has pockets large enough to keep documents safe and even looks stylish enough for the corporate world. However, the multiple pockets—50 in total—prove its relevance for storing your tools. A few are located on the exterior for easy access.
The large design means you can carry most of your power tools in one go from now on. The interior has ample space for this.
The design isn’t only aesthetically pleasing, but practical too. It will impress expert handymen with its smart pocket design: zip open side panels to reveal multiple compartments of varying sizes. This enables easy access, without tools falling out if you move or bump the bag. It’s sturdy enough to stand by itself and won’t easily topple over.
The deep center pocket is great if you’re in a hurry and simply want to drop your equipment inside and go, ensuring there’s no risk of tools falling out. The smart design also means you don’t have to zip it closed to keep everything inside.
When you’re on the move you can opt for handles or a shoulder strap—both are comfortable thanks to some padding.
It’s not the lightest bag on our list, but this is expected based on its size and features. The heavy duty poly fabric is extremely durable, so this one will last you a long time.
- Size appropriate for power tools
- Looks stylish
- Easy access to tools via side panels
- Heavier than some other bags
DEWALT Tradesman's Tool Bag DG5543 – Best Travel Bag
- Type: holdall
- Number of pockets: 33
- Dimensions: 16 x 5 x 13.8 inches
- Weight: 3.6 lbs
Extra features: reinforced corners, edges, and rubber base pads
Here’s another option from the respected DeWalt brand. This time it’s a holdall and, like the backpack, it doesn’t disappoint. We love how it pops open when you open the top zipper. This provides easy access to the interior where you’ll find ample space for most of your tools.
You’ll keep everything in order thanks to 20 exterior pockets and 13 inside. The unique features such as the flap-covered pocket outside and a zippered one inside help keep personal or sensitive items out of sight & safe from dust. Some users prefer more pockets on the inside, but this is up to personal preference. The ones you get are appropriate in size to store a range of popular DIY accessories.
All your tools are kept safe thanks to it being manufactured from heavy duty poly fabric, as well as the rubber feet below. These are abrasion resistant and you’ll see all the corners are reinforced which means less tearing than on some other designs.
This hold-all allows for hand carrying, or slinging it over your shoulder. The latter is adjustable so you can ensure optimal comfort and it’s padded—less pain, even if you’re carrying a heavy load. Despite its larger design, it’s lighter than some similar bags, which is very welcome if you’re carrying power tools.
- Ample storage space
- Popup design for easy access
- Sturdy and durable
- Covered pockets
- Limited interior pockets
WORKPRO 16-inch Tool Bag – Best Portable Holdall
- Type: holdall
- Number of pockets: 21
- Dimensions: 16 x 11 x 8 inches
- Weight: 1.72 lbs
Extra features: waterproof molded base, padded handle
Much of why this rates so high on DIY experts’ shopping lists is because the WORKPRO brand uses such strong fabric. The durable 600D polyester fabric means this bag will last you quite a while. Even with regular, heavy duty use—being prodded with sharp objects and undergoing a lot of friction—this bag doesn’t easily tear or disintegrate.
The same applies to the handle and strap as they’re heavily padded. This makes it more comfortable to carry too. Once again, you can easily carry items in your hands after simply slinging this across one of your shoulders. As a bonus this is lighter than many of the tool bag options on this list.
The plastic, waterproof bottom adds another protective aspect to the bag. Your tools won’t easily deteriorate or rust because of absorbed moisture. It can also absorb some shock if your bag should fall.
But, you want to know if this works as well as it protects, right? Yes, it does. You have many pockets – not as many as in the DeWalt backpack – but 13 exterior pockets help keep most of your favorite tools within easy reach. Inside, the eight additional pockets help keep order, without making the bag bulge too much with excess fabric. The pockets’ dimensions are appropriate for average-sized tools and accessories, though it would have been even better if they were deeper. You also have eight belts to use for storage.
One nifty design feature which protects tools from pressure, also makes it simpler to use – the sturdy framework helps the bag keep its form when open, so you can easily rummage inside.
We also love the bright blue colors, adding some style to the workplace.
- Padded handle and strap
- Durable design
- Multiple pockets
- Light weight
- Shallow pockets
Klein Tools Tradesman Backpack 55421BP-14 – Best Protection
- Type: backpack
- Number of pockets: 39 pockets
- Dimensions: 20 x 14.5 x 7.25 inches
- Weight: 6 lbs
Extra features: tall interior pockets allow for long tools
We took a look at yet another backpack and this is one with quite a striking look, thanks to its orange fabric design. The bottom is one of the most impressive features as it’s fully molded to provide protection from moisture. It also lifts the rest of the bag off the floor to prevent water or dust clinging to it. This helps keep your bag cleaner for longer.
The pocket design caters for almost any item you need to take to the work site. There are 39 pockets of varying sizes, including zippered pockets. Don’t rummage inside for small, personal items—these pockets give easy access and keep objects separate from the tools.
The few exterior pockets can house your favorite tools, but everything inside can be accessed super easy: just open the bag’s sides completely, flare open the two halves and all your tools are revealed. If you know your tools and stay organized, it’s easy to see which tools are missing before you pack up.
It’s worth noting that this design specially incorporates long pockets. You’ll easily find appropriate storage for large screw drivers.
This is one of the heavier options on this list, but the backpack design makes it easy to carry. When you carry it on your back you won’t easily get fatigued. It’s a durable bag made of 1680d Ballistic Weave fabric, and it will serve you well for a many years to come.
Once again, the shape, durability and size make this appropriate to carry your laptop, if that forms part of your work.
- Durable bag
- Smart design
- Comfortable carry options
- Many, different sized pockets
- Molded bottom
- On the heavy side
Stanley STST70574 – Budget Pick
- Type: holdall
- Number of pockets: 9
- Dimensions: 12 x 5.1 x 10 inches
- Weight: 1 lb
Extra features: rubber foam bottom, lifetime warranty
Stanley is known for exceptional tools and the brand’s knowledge of their clientele helped them design this very practical holdall-type tool bag.
First off, it’s impressive how light this bag is, making it ideal for construction sites where you move around all the time. Its portability is in part because it’s one of the smaller designs on this list, so make sure it’s appropriate for your application. It will hold basic tools such as hammers, screwdrivers and additional accessories or a drill. However, it’s not designed to house all your power tools at once. This bag has multiple exterior pockets for easy access to your much-used items. One of them also has a flap, so your personal items such as a wallet or mobile phone can be out of sight, as well as protected from debris or dust.
Note that this is specifically designed to carry in hand. The handles are padded so they’ll feel comfortable no matter how many times a day you grab hold of it to move it to a different location. The simple design provides a smooth exterior with minimal chance of anything snagging on objects in your work environment. Note, however, that you need to angle the zipper just right for easy closing.
It’s not waterproof, but sufficiently water-resistant to keep your tools dry under normal conditions and even light rain. The design makes it appropriate for various applications, even storing general tools for the home, shooting range or on your boat.
- Very light
- Comfortable to carry
- Multiple pockets
- Covered exterior pocket
- Not very big
- Zipper design can improve
McGuire-Nicholas Collapsible Tote – Best Home Bag
- Type: tote
- Number of pockets: 14
- Dimensions: 15 x 7.5 x 9.8 inches
- Weight: 2.2 lbs
Extra features: collapsible, padded handle
This is quite a unique design and the only one of its kind on our list. If you’re looking for easy access, this tote could be your ideal solution. The center storage area isn’t covered, making it easy to reach tools without any hindrance from flaps, zippers or covers.
Inside you can still keep order thanks to 14 webbed loops spaced along the inside walls. It’s not as easy to slip tools inside loops as pockets, but this design is an innovative space saver, which keeps the tote light and prevents it from seeming cluttered.
Alternatively, you can use the 14 pockets on the outside. We think the many different sizes are innovative and add to the smart design. Both large and small accessories can fit snug to prevent them falling out.
The unique handle makes it extremely comfortable to carry around, even more so than some padded fabric ones featured in this article. It’s made of tubular steel which will hold even if you’re carrying heavy loads. Added to this is that it’s lightweight, which creates the perfect combination if you’re looking for a tool bag to carry for long periods of time. This is a compact design, so you won’t fit large power tools as well as other accessories. However, the shape and size make it possible to carry two at a time if you do need to take all your tools at once.
The versatile design makes this appropriate for general home use—any items you need to carry around—or professional use, such as on construction sites.
- Compact design
- Ultra comfortable handle
- Pockets of various sizes
- No pockets inside, only loops
Finding the best tool bag for your tools can be overwhelming. Even though it seems simple at first, the variety of bags available on the market means that there is something out there for everyone. In this buying guide, we have highlighted the most important features that you need to pay attention to when making the right choice for you.
Reasons to purchase a top-quality tool bag
The benefits of a tool bag are endless. It’s everything from a time-saver to a money-saver, since it protects your tools from damage. It makes life super convenient and is a great alternative to ensure order if you don’t have space for a large tool cabinet. However, you’ll only enjoy these benefits if you invest in a high quality product that won’t break, let in water or become a nuisance thanks to a lack of smart design.
Do you see the value of top of the range items?
Now you just have to find the ideal one for your application. These features should be on your priority list.
Features to consider when looking for a tool bag
A quick glance at the bag you consider, or simply reading the specs, can give you insight into these features. The effort of looking for these features can save you money and frustration in the long term.
Type of bag
There’s no clear winner here, as you must determine what works for you. But don’t take the first one you see. Take your time to test different types so you know yours is relevant to your preferences and application:
- Backpacks: As mentioned in our DeWalt DGL523 review, the benefit is how comfortable they are to carry, but their capacity may be limited.
- Standard holdall bags: Ample space and with a padded handle or strap they become carry-friendly.
- Bucket bag: They have great capacity and may suit the space you have available in your car or work area.
You can also consider tote designs as shown with our McGuire model, or even wheeled bags if you know you’ll be carrying heavy loads.
Number of pockets
In terms of pockets, it’s not always the more the better, as you may simply want to carry a few power tools in a well-protected tool bag. List what you need to place inside yours and find a tool bag that caters in terms of number & size of pockets.
Tool bag size
If you only have a few tools to carry around, a large bag will be unnecessarily cumbersome. Pick an appropriate size that will keep all your tools, while still allowing the bag to close easily. Once again, making a list of the tools you want to take with you is an ideal first step.
Remember, a large bag must be extra durable, so the added weight won’t cause tearing.
Also keep in mind the space the bag will take up. Some designs are specifically space-saving, which is ideal if you keep your gear in your car. You don’t want it to take up all the boot space if you’re transporting other equipment too.
Size obviously relates to weight, but so does:
- The fabric used
- The number of metal components vs plastic
- The amount of padding
Weight isn’t always a priority, especially if you opt for a tool bag simply to replace a stationary tool cupboard in your garage. You won’t often move it, so you can rather focus on other features when you shop for yours.
However, if your work requires you to move around a lot, or you’re a technician traveling from room to room all through the day, weight is paramount. You may have to sacrifice some size or padding to ensure your tool bag won’t cause fatigue.
Construction material and durability
Tools are usually used for heavy duty application and accidents are bound to happen. Will your bag protect your tools if something falls on top of it? Can it even withstand the impact if you accidentally drop it?
Your bag must be manufactured from light, but durable fabric, so it won’t easily tear. If you know you’ll work outside a lot, moisture and light from the sun shouldn’t cause the fibers to quickly deteriorate.
Also read reviews about all the different components such as zippers, clasps and buckles. If low quality items break you’ll lose some functionality and you’ll wish you spent a little more money the first time.
Handle and strap padding
This makes all the difference in terms of portability, especially on those days you have to carry your bag over long distances. It’s worth investing in a bag that has padding to keep your hands from being pinched or prevent the strap cutting into your shoulder. The heavier your set of tools, the more valuable this will be. Padding also prevents wear and tear, so it’s for both your benefit and the bag’s longevity.
No two bag designs are the same. Above you saw small pockets such as the ones in the WORKPRO holdall, while the Klein backpack specifically caters for longer tools. What tools do you use?
If you really want your bag to suit your preferences and improve your workflow, make sure the pockets on the outside match the tool sizes of your most often used items. By customizing your bag to your work habits your bag can help you work faster than ever before.
This is why the Klein model mentioned above makes so much sense. The bottom protects from moisture and keeps the fabric from getting drenched. When working outside instead of in an office, this is a high priority.
Remember, being water-resistant is less effective than being waterproof, so read specification information carefully.
The best tool bag options can be expensive. You’ll have more peace of mind if you opt for one with a warranty. Firstly, a proper warranty is usually a sign of quality and the manufacturer's confidence in the durability of their product. Secondly, if there’s a small factory mistake, you can exchange it for a better one so you never regret your purchase.
Accessories aren’t always prerequisites, but can make your work even more effortless and even safer:
- A light
- Hooks and clips from which to hang tape or odd items
However, don’t pick a bag simply because it has added features, unless it’s relevant to your work.
A tool bag comes out as the winning option if you often carry your tools around or transport them elsewhere as handymen do. Although they both protect and help you organize your tools, a toolbox is much heavier and less portable.
This is a definite yes. Tool bags are subjected to heavy duty use, since most tools are heavy by nature. If you opt for low end bags, you’ll replace them regularly which will be more expensive in the long run.
In addition, high end tool bags will have more features (all mentioned above) which will streamline your workflow. If you use this for your work, working faster can positively affect your bottom line.
Cleaning and maintaining your bag will depend on the design, as well as the fabric. A vinyl surface and many fabrics listed above can be wiped down with warm soapy water. It’s best to avoid harsh products such as detergents, acids and bleach. They may change the colors, but also weaken fibers..
If you want to optimize your tool use with one simple purchase, your next tool bag could be the key. We listed some of the best tool bag options on the market that feature most of what you should be shopping for.
For our experts, DeWalt seemed to take the cup once again, as two of its bags landed at the top of our list. There’s no question that the DeWalt backpack will make your tool carrying much easier than before. Even though backpacks have limited capacity, the brand still managed to add so many pockets. We were very impressed.
If you do prefer a holdall, the DeWalt Tradesman’s model is value for money whether you need it for professional or personal use. It will last you for years, making it a sure investment in keeping your tools in better condition from now on.
The CLC Custom LeatherCraft is also worth considering, especially because it looks so stylish. That’s one thing that sets it apart from the DeWalt bags. If you work in a professional, corporate environment this will improve your public image, while the bag itself will live up to your expectations.
So, which one will it be?
If you have any more questions, please share with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you. Or perhaps you have advice for someone else?