5 Best Tool Bags of 2023 (Tested and Ranked)

Tool bags come in multiple sizes and offer a variety of pockets to hold the tools necessary to complete a range of DIY projects. In addition to providing convenient storage, tool bags help homeowners stay organized by keeping different tools grouped in easy-to-reach compartments.

To help you find a tool organizer for your arsenal, our team tested five of today’s best tool bags and scored their effectiveness based on a series of rigorous tests. Here’s a look at our top recommendations and how each tool bag performed during testing.

For additional tips from our in-house pros, take a look at our comprehensive guide to buying tools.

Top 5 Tool Bags

  • Best Overall: DEWALT 33-Pocket Tool Bag
  • Most Portable: Klein Tools 14-Tool Backpack
  • Best Layout: Carhartt Legacy Tool Bag
  • Best Tool Carrier: Custom Leathercraft Tool Carrier
  • Best for In-Home Use: Milwaukee M12 Contractor Tool Bag

Best Overall

Key Features

  • 33 pockets
  • Polyester fabric
  • 3 pounds when empty


✔ Features pop-open design for easy access ✔ Available in 12- and 16-inch sizes ✔ Includes a padded shoulder strap


✘ Zipper may be stiff and require a break-in period ✘ Doesn’t contain a designated hammer pocket

What Customers Are Saying

Positive reviews centered around the tool bag’s heavy-duty design that includes stitched handles and pockets. Additional positive reviews complimented the product’s large storage space and ability to fit large tools. Negative reviews mentioned the poor quality of the tool bag’s included padded shoulder strap, with some customers saying it broke after a few uses.

Our Experience

This DEWALT tool bag was one of the top-performing products we tested. Despite the product’s rugged design that made opening and closing its compartment difficult, the tool bag excelled in every one of our testing categories.

The tool bag’s rubberized feet absorbed the shock administered through 50 repetitive drops, showing minimal cosmetic damage and protecting the stored tools. Although the tool bag didn’t contain a designated location for storing a hammer, it created a space for the tool to lay flat within the bag without disrupting the other pocketed tools.

The tool bag also secured each one of its tools while it was carried up and down three flights of stairs, and its adjustable shoulder strap helped during transportation.

Most Portable

Key Features

  • 39 pockets
  • Ballistic weave
  • 6 pounds when empty
  • Limited lifetime warranty


✔ Features a tape measure side clip ✔ Tall frame accommodates larger tools ✔ Orange interior enhances tool visibility


✘ Bag weight is on the heavier side ✘ Backpack layout can make access cumbersome at times

What Customers Are Saying

Satisfied customers mentioned the product’s easy-to-carry design, with many stating that it took the stress off of their hands and made transportation a comfortable experience. Unhappy customers mentioned the product’s unreliable zippers and said that they had difficulty zipping them after continued use.

Our Experience

Despite this tool bag’s scratch-prone exterior, it was a top-performing product that proved its durability during the mobility and drop tests. Its hard rubber bottom, while adding a bit of weight to the tool bag, helped the product withstand repeated impacts during testing. Additionally, the backpack’s orange interior helped simplify the process of storing and unloading tools.

Though the product’s backpack design narrows the width between its included pockets, all tools and accessories were able to fit inside its zippered compartment.

Best Layout

Key Features

  • 27 pockets
  • Polyester fabric
  • 2 pounds when empty
  • Limited lifetime warranty


✔ Offers 17 exterior and 10 interior pockets ✔ Contains an ID tag ✔ Features triple-stitched pockets to combat wear


✘ Does not include a shoulder strap ✘ Uses non-metal, polycarbonate zippers

What Customers Are Saying

Positive reviews raved about the product’s sturdy metal frame and high-quality stitching. Other satisfied customers commented on the bag’s pockets that offered enough space for several tools. At the time of this review, the tool bag received just a single one-star review, which described a customer’s frustration at receiving a stained bag.

Our Experience

Despite the lack of padded feet on this bag, it consists of the material and stitching necessary to last for a while. While this bag tied with the Milwaukee Heavy-Duty Canvas Contractor Bag for the most visible scuffing during our drop test, it ranked as one of the highest-performing bags during our scratch test, showing little indication of scratches.

This tool bag also proved to be effective in storing a variety of tools, holding five tools and 25 nails seamlessly inside its compartments. Additionally, despite the lack of a shoulder strap, the tool bag offered a convenient padded handle that reduced finger stress and helped us carry the tool bag up three flights of stairs.

Best Tool Carrier

Key Features

  • 43 pockets
  • Polyester fabric
  • 3 pounds when empty


✔ Features 43 pockets of varying sizes ✔ Includes an adjustable shoulder strap ✔ Comes with a multi-compartment plastic organizer


✘ Open design leaves tools exposed to the elements ✘ Lacks rubberized or reinforced bottom

What Customers Are Saying

Positive reviews focused on the tool bag’s spacious design, with some customers saying they could fit all of their tools in the bag with room to spare. Additional positive reviews centered around the bag’s convenient shoulder strap that decreased transportation stress. Negative reviews described frustration over the size of the tool bag, which many customers said was smaller than described.

Our Experience

This Custom Leathercraft tool carrier was able to carry all the essential tools with ease and comfort, despite not having a suitable compartment for a hammer. When we performed the durability test, this tool bag tied for second with the Klein Tools and Carhartt models.

The tool bag scored third in mobility and has an adjustable shoulder strap that aided in transportation, but the strap wasn’t as comfortable as the DEWALT or Klein Tools shoulder straps. Additionally, the tool bag didn’t drop any tools while we carried it up and down three flights of stairs and stowed it in a car trunk.

Best for In-Home Use

Key Features

  • Six pockets
  • Heavy-duty canvas
  • 14.4 ounces when empty


✔ Weighs less than 1 pound ✔ Features six exterior storage pockets ✔ Price point is very budget-friendly


✘ Interior compartment lacks pockets ✘ Durability is less than other tool bags in this review

What Customers Are Saying

Most positive reviews centered around the tool bag’s compact frame. At the time of this review, this product received just five one-star reviews, which argued that the product was too small to properly store tools.

Our Experience

Despite the tool bag’s small frame, which impacted its ability to provide a designated spot for holding each tool, the product withstood our rigorous testing, performing just as well as the other tool bags in our mobility test.

The lightweight tool bag carried all five included tools and accessories, showing no signs of damage after being carried up three flights of stairs. Additionally, the tool bag’s small frame didn’t drastically impact its mobility, as its padded handles increased comfort during testing.

Buying Guide to Tool Bags

Before buying a tool bag to use at home or on a job site, it’s important to understand how the features and specifications of the product affect its user experience. Take a look at these four important factors.


Tool bags come in a variety of designs that can impact the way each product is used and transported. Some of the most common tool bag designs include traditional bags, backpacks, and carriers.

Traditional tool bags are identified by their single-zipper main compartment and multiple interior and exterior pockets. They’re the most common type of tool bag and are convenient because they can hold a variety of tools, with some bags including shoulder straps for simple transportation.

Backpack tool bags mirror the look of traditional school backpacks. They contain an additional protective shell, added interior space, and pockets specifically designed to hold tools. Backpack models are the easiest to carry but usually provide less space than traditional or carrier tool bags.

Carrier tool bags have an open design for easy tool access and an attached handle for transportation. While carrier tool bags can hold larger tools, they don’t close completely, which leaves tools in plain sight and makes them susceptible to falling out.


Most tool bags are made of nylon, canvas, or polyester. Nylon is a strong material known for its durability and flexibility. Canvas is also a durable material that’s oftentimes double-layered to better protect against the wear and tear inflicted by carried tools. While typically less durable than canvas or nylon, polyester is used in many tool bags because it’s fast-drying and can maintain its color.

Intended Use

The effectiveness of a tool bag can be measured by its intended use. For example, a small tool bag with one pocket may not be the best for people who need to hold a variety of tools for different home improvement projects. Instead, a tool bag with side pockets, multiple zippers, and an included shoulder strap might be a better fit.

Fastener Durability

Zippers and buckles help secure items in tool bags. While convenient, some tool bags may be equipped with zippers or buckles that easily malfunction or break, so it’s important to invest in a tool bag with high-quality fasteners.

Our Review Standards

To select the five tool bags for this review, we scoured the web for the best tool bags, evaluating each model’s customer reviews, overall customer ratings, and Amazon Prime eligibility.

After narrowing down our top picks, we tested the tool bags on durability, ergonomics, and mobility.

Testing Metrics


A quality tool bag should be able to withstand the constant wear and tear inflicted by the tools and equipment it carries. A well-made tool bag is constructed with heavy-duty fabric and has quality features like double-stitched lining and reinforced handles to offer customers a lasting product.


A tool bag should not only have enough space for tools and other supplies, but it should also contain pockets and compartments that properly secure items when moving from job to job. A tool bag with great ergonomics will efficiently use its interior space and have a designated area that holds each item.


Mobility is particularly important for people who are consistently carrying their bag. Tool bags come in a variety of designs, like backpacks and rollers, to help users transport their tools more easily. Some bags even include detachable shoulder straps and handles for customizable movement.

Testing Process

To test each tool bag, we performed a variety of tests that allowed us to score each product on the following metrics.


To test durability, our team conducted two tests. First, we conducted a drop test that involved dropping each tool belt 50 times from waist height while the bag was full of tools. After each drop, we inspected the tool bag for visible damage and opened up each bag to search for interior damage. The second test was a scratch test, which consisted of scraping and poking a 2.5-inch nail along the outside of each tool bag and throughout each pocket 10 times.


The ergonomics test was two-fold. During the first test, we determined if the tool bag had a suitable and accessible pocket, pouch, or loop for each of the following items: one hammer, two screwdrivers, one pencil, a pair of pliers, and 25 4D nails.

The second test measured each full tool bag’s ability to keep the tools in their respective pockets during each of the following actions: lifting the tool bag from ground level to waist height and walking down three flights of stairs to load the bag into a car trunk. This test was conducted 10 times, during which we inspected the tool bag for dislodged tools and damage.

Note: Because the Klein Tools 14-Tool Bag Backpack is a backpack model instead of a traditional tool bag, we tested it by conducting the following actions during the second ergonomics test: lifting the backpack from ground level, putting it on, and carrying it down three flights of stairs to load it into a car trunk.


Mobility was tested by carrying each full tool bag up and down three flights of stairs and walking each model up and down a hallway three times. Note: for our tests, a full tool bag was defined as containing one hammer, two screwdrivers, one pencil, a pair of pliers, and a box of 4D nails. During the mobility test, we analyzed how easy it was to carry a full bag of tools and noted if we had to stop at any point during testing.



The tool bag that contained the least amount of indentations and scratches after our drop test received 2.5 points, while the second-best received 2.1 points, the third-best received 1.7 points, and so on. During our scratch test, the tool belt that contained the least amount of scratches, holes, or visible damage received 2.5 points, while the second-best received 2.1 points, the third-best received 1.7 points, and so on.


The tool bag that had a suitable place for each tool received 2.5 points. For each tool that didn’t have a designated pocket, compartment, or holder, we deducted 0.5 points. After the second test, the tool bag that kept the most tools in place received 2.5 points, while the second-best received 2.1 points, the third-best received 1.7 points, and so on.


The tool bag that was the easiest to transport during testing received all 5 possible points, while the second-best received a 0.5-point deduction, the third-best received a 1-point deduction, and so on. If two tool bags were transported with an equal amount of ease, they received the same score.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tool Bags

What should I store in my tool bag?

The tools that you store in your tool bag will vary by preference and the job at hand, but some of the most common tools found in tool bags include a tape measure, hammer, pencil, utility blade, level, wrenches, and screwdrivers. You can also use tool bags to store power tools

How do you organize tools in a tool bag?

Place frequently used tools at the front of your tool bag or in compartments that are easy to reach. Tools that you occasionally use can be stored towards the back of your tool bag and in more tucked-away pockets. If you want to carry several small accessories, consider purchasing a small divider that can carry those items and keep them organized in your tool bag.

How do you clean a tool bag?

Use a small brush to scrub the bag’s outer shell with warm soap and water to remove embedded dirt and soil. While scrubbing, you can use a bristle scrubber to dig deep into the tool bag’s surface. After cleaning, rinse the tool bag with clean water and air dry. However, be sure to check that your tool storage bag is water-resistant before using water.

How We Selected the Best Tool Bags

To provide our readers with the best recommendations possible, we rely on several key sources of information to help guide our selection process.

Initial Research: Our research process began by generating a list of tool bags with a significant number of verified buyer reviews and an average customer review rating of 4-5 stars. We looked at positive and negative reviews alike, focusing on information from both satisfied and critical buyers.

Expert Insights: Through our years of experience, we’ve learned that listening to what others have to say is key to building accurate, well-rounded articles. To complement our in-house expertise, our team looked at reviews and videos from trusted publications and independent testers, spoke with subject matter experts, and drew insights from reader contributions.

Final Product Selection: We then began fine-tuning our list by replacing older models with the latest versions and eliminating any discontinued models. From there, we pared the list down further by comparing each model’s feature set and selecting the best-in-class options for various buyers, budgets, and scenarios.

Why You Can Trust Us

This Old House has empowered homeowners and DIYers for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement advice in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content.

Our team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content. To date, we’ve published numerous tool reviews, from cordless drills and impact drivers to tape measures and laser levels.

Once we conclude our research, we craft a comprehensive, user-friendly article of recommended products and additional information to help our readers make the right purchase.

Questions or Comments?

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.