As any person in the building trade can attest to, the secret to success lies with the tool belt. Obviously knowing a thing or two might also help, but having a reliable, comfortable tool pouch or belt that provides easy access to everything you need is right up there.
Occidental, Makita and Dewalt are leading the charge with premium leather belts, equipped with more pockets than you can shake a spanner at, but there are plenty of cheaper fabric alternatives too. We've ranked the 10 best tool belts for electricians, carpenters and more on Amazon and eBay, set to give you a head start on learning your trade or upgrading a worn-out belt.
Tool belts are known to have a far-reaching variance in quality and design. This simple buying guide will help you figure out which belts are better left at the shop and which deserve a place on your hips. With intended trade, material, pockets, features and size all influencing the effectiveness of a belt's outcome, it's advised to investigate each aspect before you buy.
Every tradesperson needs to be free to work without restrictions while using their hands at all points of the day. That's why it's so important to find a belt to sufficiently house your tools and hardware while allowing for quick access and freedom of movement.
While a fair proportion of tool belts are all-purpose in design, some are purposed for either carpenters and framers or electricians and technicians specifically. Obviously, there are a million and one other trades out there, but for the most part, those other trades will either suit a standardised tool belt or one of these two varieties.
A very easily recognised inclusion that sets a carpenter's tool belt apart is, of course, a hammer loop. Tool belts for electricians will skip on the hammer holder, focusing instead on larger, more centralised pockets to allow for easier movement in tighter spaces.
Tool belts are predominantly constructed from either leather or synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester. To make sure you find the right tool belt for the job, honing in on material and construction will give you peace of mind when making the final nail-and-hammer decision.
Leather is widely considered the premium choice of material for tool belts. Through being hard-wearing, durable and long-lasting, leather belts have and always will be the first choice for all types of tradespeople.
However, just because a tool belt is made of leather, that doesn't necessarily mean it's top quality. Watch out for inferior leather tool belts at suspiciously cheap prices. These cheaper alternatives will quite often be made of thin leather that'll end up in the skip quicker than you'd like to know.
Tool belts that are constructed from nylon and polyester will generally be lighter than leather belts. This can be a true saviour for the youngest and oldest of the building trade who want to keep it as light as possible while working.
The same can be said for leather options, though – just make sure the quality is there and you should have no problems getting along with a nylon or polyester tool belt.
While they are both synthetic fabrics, nylon is known to outperform polyester by having stronger thread and being more water-resistant. This extra strength is what gives nylon a higher price tag to match.
Not every tool belt is made equal. Some brands like to focus on price before quality, while others only create products of the highest quality but the extra cost will be passed on to you.
Two clearly identifiable elements that spell out quality where leather belts are concerned are double stitching and reinforced rivets. If a brand has spent more money and time reinforcing a tool belt's stress points, then it's very likely the belt will perform well and last a good and honest while.
When in the market for nylon and polyester, be sure to check the denier count of the belt's fabric. Referring to the thickness of the individual thread, the denier count will be a good indicator of quality through durability and weather-resistance. Typical denier counts are 600D, 1200D and 1600D, with 1600D being the most hardwearing.
Whether you're a tradie who likes to be equipped with everything or you're someone who favours keeping it light and nimble with just the bare bones strapped to you, knowing how many pockets each belt comes equipped with will lead you to tool belt wearing heaven.
There's no point in rocking up to a job site with a brand new tool belt that's brimming with tools you don't need. You need to be prepared for anything the day can throw your way, but you also don't want to be carrying around unnecessary tools and weight.
Tool belts can come equipped with anywhere from 5 to 25 pockets, which can make deciding sometimes harder than it needs to be. With each pocket suiting a particular tool or piece of hardware, consulting a workmate or friend in your industry to see what they run is never a bad idea.
Otherwise, a good amount that should give any tradesperson ample storage space is between 12 and 18 pockets. This is seen as a fairly safe sweet spot that shouldn't leave you without in times of need nor be over-stocked with useless pockets.
Now that the air of confusion surroundings pockets has been accounted for, it's time to look specifically at some of the other tool-holstering parts. From hammer loops to tape holders, knife sheaths and clips, finding that perfect belt could come down to a key feature or two that only you can identify.
One useful feature for many types of tradespeople, however, is suspenders. Helping to transfer weight from your hips to your shoulders will relieve lower back stress and hopefully minimise any work-related injuries.
Though usually found on higher-end products, another one to look for is additional lower back support across the back half of the belt. With increased padding and wider hip-bearing sections of a belt, you should be feeling a million dollars as you work the day away in comfort and style.
The last note of concern before you're let loose to peruse the top 10 is the always important – yet sometimes overlooked – sizing issue. With most trades influencing the particular build of the people who work in them, you want to make sure your belt is up to scratch in terms of your physique.
A large proportion of tool belts will come with a range of waist sizes linked to them. This measurement is always mirrored by the standardised measuring system for trousers in inches.
The majority of tool belts offer a wide variety of waist sizes in the 32" - 48" range, though some brands do use the S, M and L system. If the latter is the case, it's a smart idea to consult any sizing guides offered to ensure a good fit.
Now that you've wrapped your head around the defining parts of a tool belt, surely you're ready to choose which one you want to wrap around your hips. From premium leather belts with twenty-three pockets to lightweight polyester options with just eight, this top 10 has something for every tradesperson to get on the job site with.
|Type||Builders, joiners, carpenters, DIY|
|Extra Features||Tape measure clip, two hammer loops|
|Belt Sizing||32" - 48" waist|
|Total Weight||640 g|
|Construction||Basic rivets, stitching|
|Extra Features||Steel hammer loop, stainless steel tape measure clip|
|Total Weight||450 g|
|Material||Oxford canvas polyester|
|Extra Features||Key ring clip|
|Total Weight||228 g|
|Extra Features||2 steel hammer loops|
|Belt Sizing||One size|
|Construction||Double stitched, reinforced rivets|
|Extra Features||Steel hammer loop|
|Belt Sizing||32" - 52" waist|
|Total Weight||1 kg|
|Material||Polyester canvas pouch, nylon belt|
|Construction||High combined 1680D denier count, double stitching, riveted|
|Extra Features||Shoulder strap|
|Belt Sizing||50" waist maximum|
|Total Weight||570 g|
|Extra Features||Padded suspenders, hammer loop|
|Belt Sizing||29" - 46" waist|
|Total Weight||2 kg|
|Construction||Reinforced rivets, galvanised washers|
|Extra Features||Hammer loop, fixings pouch, extra back support|
|Belt Sizing||28" - 48" waist|
|Total Weight||1 kg|
|Material||Polyester, leather on high friction areas|
|Construction||High denier count -1200D|
|Extra Features||Drill holster, ergonomic padded belt with breathable mesh|
|Total Weight||1.66 kg|
|Material||Premium top grain leather|
|Construction||Copper reinforced rivets, double stitching|
|Extra Features||Steel hammer loop, no spill tool holder system|
|Belt Sizing||S, M, L, XXL, XXXL|
|Total Weight||2.5 kg|
Leather Tool Belt
2-Pouch Tool Belt
19-Pocket Tool Belt
Utility Waist Belt
Leather Tool Belt
Tooltime® Professional Leather Tool Belt
20 Pocket Tool Belt
Made in the USA From the Highest-Grade Premium Leather
Extra Belt Padding Will Enhance Your Working Experience
Makita Have Put a Clear Stamp of Quality on This Distinguished Tool Belt
Included Suspenders to Increase Weight Distribution
Ideal Waist Bag With Belt for Electricians and Technicians
Unmatchable Quality for the WrightFits Price
Smart, Heavy-Duty Leather That's Built to Last
Single-Pouch for Electricians and Technicians on the Move
Budget Polyester Pouch With a High-Vis Trim
A Cheap Yet Effective 20-Pocket Tool Belt
|Type||Carpentry, framing||Carpenter's apron||All-purpose||Carpenter, framing||Electrician, technician||All-purpose||All-purpose||Electrician, technician||All-purpose||Builders, joiners, carpenters, DIY|
|Material||Premium top grain leather||Polyester, leather on high friction areas||Leather, nylon||Synthetic fabric||Polyester canvas pouch, nylon belt||Buffalo leather||Leather||Oxford canvas polyester||Polyester||Synthetic fabric|
|Construction||Copper reinforced rivets, double stitching||High denier count -1200D||Reinforced rivets, galvanised washers||Unknown||High combined 1680D denier count, double stitching, riveted||Double stitched, reinforced rivets||Reinforced rivets||600D||Basic rivets, stitching||Double stitching|
|Extra Features||Steel hammer loop, no spill tool holder system||Drill holster, ergonomic padded belt with breathable mesh||Hammer loop, fixings pouch, extra back support||Padded suspenders, hammer loop||Shoulder strap||Steel hammer loop||2 steel hammer loops||Key ring clip||Steel hammer loop, stainless steel tape measure clip||Tape measure clip, two hammer loops|
|Belt Sizing||S, M, L, XXL, XXXL||-||28" - 48" waist||29" - 46" waist||50" waist maximum||32" - 52" waist||One size||-||-||32" - 48" waist|
|Total Weight||2.5 kg||1.66 kg||1 kg||2 kg||570 g||1 kg||1.15kg||228 g||450 g||640 g|
If you're looking to fill your newly-acquired tool belt, we've got just the thing. Featuring plier, screwdriver and all-in-one tool kits, you can rest easy knowing your belt will be well-stocked from the very first time it graces your hips.
Knowing you'll be spending most of your working life in a tool belt, it certainly pays to find a trustworthy and comfortable tool-holstering companion. We hope tour buying guide gave you the necessary knowledge that made picking a product from the top 10 as easy as one, two, bang!
Author: Connor Macanally
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