Best Tool Belts for Electricians
Hand tools need a place to live. Enter the tool belt or pouch. Since there will be days a tool belt is strapped to your body for 8+ hours, the best tool belts for electricians have to be high in comfort and durability. You also want the ability to stay organized, having your most needed tools right at your fingertips.
In this article I share my picks for the top 5 best electrician tool belts, shed light on what to look for before purchasing, and name the overall winner for most people.
Tips for keeping your prized collection of tools organized is covered too. For a list of tools for apprentice to master electricians, check out my big tool guide.
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Top 5 Picks for Electrician's Tool Belts
For those of you who want to dive right into our top 5 choices of best tool belts for the electrician, we provide the chart below.
Which Tool Belt is Best For Me?
If you're an electrician on the hunt for the best tool belt, look for one specifically designed for the electrician. This way, your unique tools have a precisely designed space. You won't have to scramble and dig around for what you need while on the job site. Stay better organized, and know exactly where a needed tool is located to save time and avoid needless frustration.
Let's take a look at the most important factors to consider.
- Comfort and Support
- Ability to Keep you Organized
- Durability - also known as Quality!
A. Comfort and Support in Tool Belts
Not all tool belts are made equal. If you want to attain a higher comfort level while carrying a load of tools, keep the following in mind:
- Buy a padded belt. Every belt needs a breaking-in period, but you'll be a step ahead with padding to protect your hips and back.
- Be careful of large buckles. They can dig into your stomach when bending over.
- Double check belt size. Some belts are single-size (One size fits all). You could run into problems if you're on the small or large end of the listed sizing. You will not be comfortable with a bag falling off your hips or one you can barely buckle.
- Belts with adjustable pouches offer more versatility. The ability to slide the pouches to different positions on your waist can relieve pain points. It's also nice to customize the precise place you want your bags to hang. These are also great for left-handed electricians. (That would be me!)
- Weight of leather is heavier than nylon. Some electricians prefer nylon for the lighter weight, while others report the difference is negligible. Because quality leather is more durable than nylon, you need to decide which is most important to you: carrying less weight or longevity of the product.
Find that "sweet spot" where your tools are not placed so loose that they fall to the bottom of your pouch, but not so tight it takes extra time just to pry your tool out and jam it back in.
Consider a Suspension System
If you get back or hip pain, consider investing in a suspension system to disperse the weight of a tool belt.
There may be days you prefer to use a suspension system for your tool belt. These distribute some of the weight to your shoulders and relieves pressure off your hips and lower back.
Experts estimate that up to 80% of the population will have back pain at some point in their lives. Do what you can to stay in the other 20%.
B. Keep Your Tools (and your day) Organized
Keeping your tools - and life - organized is a highly individual matter. What works well for me or others, might not work for you.
Everyone has their own system for organizing their stuff. You will develop your system of organizing job tools over time.
Mine is this -
I have a tool belt with two pouches. The right-side has most of my hand tools: pliers, strippers, screw drivers, etc. My left-side pouch has less compartments and larger pockets. This is ideal for wire nuts and larger stuff like tape measure, torpedo level, electrical tape and so on.
Since a tool belt can get heavy, I keep only the tools I use most in the pouch. Everything else goes in a tool box or tote. Many days I am able to work off of a rolling cart.
Here are some things to consider in organizing your tools for the day:
- Work as light as possible. Carry only the tools you need for the job. Your tool belt doesn't always need to be fully loaded. Plan ahead then switch out tools for the next job.
- Get a belt with carry handles and hook placement. There are times you can set your tool belt on a cart or hang it from a ladder.
- Use Distinct Systems. Carts, totes, trim-out bags, and even work pants are all viable options depending on your job for the day.
"Since a tool belt can get heavy, I keep only the tools I use most in the pouch. Everything else goes in a tool box or tote."
Unless your boss requires the constant use of a tool belt, you may find it best to have various systems of organizing your tools depending on the job at hand.
For example, if you're working residential, tool belts can be problematic at times. Home owners can get pretty nervous if you're walking around their "fine china" with hammers and drills protruding 6 inches from your hips. In this case, it might be feasible to use a tote-bag or apron.
In like manner, if you are doing trim out work, grab a tool apron and pouch filled with only the tools you need for that job.
Given these points, as I said before, you will develop your own way of organizing over time. There are plenty of options.
Just for Fun! - OCD Organization
(not for an electrician on the job site)
C. Quality & Durability in Tool Belts
Not only do you want your tool belt to be comfortable, you want it to last. It will take a fair amount of abuse, and plenty of stabbing and poking from tools.
Leather is well-known for being a durable product and will outlast other material. But, did you know that leather can have varying levels of quality? Keep this in mind when purchasing a leather toolbelt.
If you want the best leather available, I would go with the Occidental Leather company. They have a reputation for the highest quality leathers available.
Some electricians prefer nylon. It is less weight to carry.
I'm a firm believer that you get what you pay for. If you already know the system of tool organization that works best for you, then by all means buy the best quality belt or bag that you can afford. You really will save over the long-run. (For example, $300 divided by 25 years is a lot less money than $50 every other year for 25 years. We're talking $300 vs. $650)
If you are an apprentice and just beginning, then I would go less expensive until you really know how you prefer to work. A quality item left idle is not a good investment.
Our Tool Belt Reviews
And the winner is..?
I find that the TradeGear Combo Tool Belt is the best value for the electrician for several reasons:
- Tough quality Nylon stands up to a fair amount of abuse
- Plenty of features specific to the electrical trade are included.
- Ratio of price vs. quality is good
The most important thing you should take note of is the ratio of price and quality.
If money is not a factor, then I do suggest one of the Occidental Leather choices. They are top of the line and well worth the price.
For most, this TradeGear Tool Belt will provide the electrician with a comfortable belt and tough bags with plenty of pockets. I also like the same quality value in their suspenders.
Take weight off of your back and hips with a suspension system. Suspenders help to evenly distribute the weight of your tools, and should reduce or eliminate lower back pain caused by wearing a tool belt for long periods of time.
Here are some great choices of tool belt suspenders.
Occidental Leather makes extremely comfortable, first-rate quality products, and these suspenders are no exception.
You'll get an adjustable padded and contoured yoke to help relieve hip and lower back pain. This yoke-style not only keeps the straps on your shoulder, but is specially lined to wick away moisture.
The loop attachments are included in case your belt does not have suspender rings. (Beware if you have fixed bags; the loop attachments made need some improvising on your part to fit your belt.)
Bonus points for being made in the USA!
These padded yoke-style suspenders keep the straps on your shoulders where they belong.
Constructed of high quality 1680D ballistic polyester, you'll get a front pocket and accessory loops to carry extra items. Adjusts for sizes 36 inches to 48 inches.
TradeGear partnered with GatorBack Contractor Pro for these tool belt suspenders.
The thick foam shoulder pads are adjustable and air channels provide ventilation. If you prefer to work without the shoulder pads, they are completely removable.
Made from the same durable material as their tool belts along with sturdy metal rings.
Tool Belt Accessories
Now comes the fun part! All the extras to make your tool belt work to its optimum performance for you.
Fits perfectly with our tool belt winner. Slide the pouch onto your belt with the attached loop. Fits all standard tape measures.
The high quality leather of the Occidental Leather tape holster is the perfect home for your tape or FatMax. When broken in, even the 30' Fatmax will slide in and out smoothly. (Get the XL for a 35' Fatmax.)
I like that the high-mount keeps your tape from bouncing and fits up to a 3" work belt.
The extra-long and wide clip stays put! Occidental Leather always uses top quality leather. The leather needs a breaking in period, but this holster holds a 35' tape or Fatmax.
If your toolbelt needs loops to attach suspenders, these are the best you can get. Made of premium leather, the quality is spot-on and are made in the USA! The loops fit almost all belts up to and including 3" wide. Steel D-rings and rivets.
Ahh! Extra cushioning for your hips! Occidental Leather Hip Buddies thread onto your 3" work belt to bring relief to sore hips.
Get cushioning and distribute the weight of your tools over a larger area.
Steel D-rings quickly attach your suspenders.
A great way to hold your cable ties. The Rack-A-Tiers Tie Lips clips right to your belt and holds various sizes and types of cable ties.
This nifty little gadget saves time to keep you more productive.
Tool organizers come in many forms. I suggest some of the items below for the times you need something other than a tool belt. Since not everyone likes to work in the same way, I'm sure you will appreciate some and pass-up others.
Tool Carriers and Totes
This is one nice tool bag for the electrician or contractor. The design and quality of this bag is up to snuff.
- Padded metal handle covered in rugged polyester fabric stands up to wear
- Sits wide-open to easily find what you need
- Pockets for drill bits, wire strippers, crimps, screwdrivers, etc.
- Plastic parts tray with lid included
Practical features and rugged fabric make this a solid choice.
This DeWalt tool bag features a large interior compartment that pops open for easy access. You will get 20 exterior pockets and 13 interior pockets including one zippered pocket. Constructed of heavy-duty poly and ballistic poly fabric to survive drops, pokes, and kicks.
The bottom has four base pads to protect from wet and dirty conditions. This bag should last you a good long time and keep you organized to boot.
If you want your tool tote to last a lifetime, then you will want to invest in this beauty from Occidental Leather. It is described as a work of art. Well thought out with features such as:
- Leather strap to hold electrical tape
- 16 Screwdriver loops
- 9 center compartments
- 6 outside pockets & 6 outside loops
- Upright design keeps tools standing for easy access
- Reinforced bottom
- Made in the USA with quality workmanship
Although it's pricey like most Occidental Leather items, regular oiling/conditioning of the leather should help it last a lifetime.
Need a hands-free method of transporting your tools? This thing is padded: large pads on back give extra comfort, carrying handles are padded, and wear pads help protect the bottom. Organize your tools with a total of 57 pockets. A highlight is the LED 3-level light that illuminates wide areas or close-up work. The light rotates so you can see inside the backpack as well.
If you frequently find yourself a hand or two short, then this may be the tool bag for you.
It ain't pretty, but I can't do without my rolling cart. I just throw everything I need on this - tool belt, drills, buckets of wirenuts, wire, saws and more - and I have what I need easily transported. The best part is having easy access to my tools and supplies. Of course it doesn't work in every situation, but I do use this most days. If looks matter to you, check out the Excel 300-pound capacity cart.
Electrician Trim-Out Belts
Work lighter and smarter when doing trim-out work and other concise jobs. Get a padded belt, a pouch and drill holster to finish the job in high gear. With just the essential tools for the job of installing plates and switches you might just make it home in time for dinner. An apron (pun intended) can help as well.
A great set-up for the electrician, this pouch has two main compartments and three smaller pockets along with six large screwdriver holders and a tape chain. It consists of a double layer of ballistic polyester. I always appreciate a handle, so I'm all in on this one.
Add this cordless drill holster to your trim-out belt and be ready to get the job done quickly. It holds most T-handle drills and has multiple pockets for complete drill bit organization. I like that it is not overly bulky and has double-stitching all around the holster.
The last thing you will need for your trim-out gear. This 3" padded belt fits waist sizes 29" to 46" and has a roller buckle.
Electrician Tool Aprons
There are certain jobs where a tool apron is a better and lighter alternative over a tool belt.
This is a nice tool carrier to add to jobs such as trim-out work. It wears well due to the 18-oz. duckwear canvas. Thirteen pockets keep your tools and supplies nicely organized and the quick release belt fits waist sizes up to 52".
This is a popular apron to keep your tools up-front and easily accessible. Since it has 16 pockets and 2 hammer loops, you will be well set up for jobs such as trim-out. The length makes bending and kneeling easier.
Honestly, this will not appeal to most electricians, but if you're having back issues, you may want to consider this full bib apron. It has padded shoulders and is durable with 18 oz. duckwear canvas. Thirteen pockets on the waist and 3 on the bib give plenty of room for your tools.
Forego a tool belt and still have your tools right at your fingertips. Work pants are not for everyone, but if you want to try this method of carrying tools this pair of pants features:
- Reinforcements of 100% Nylon Cordura
- Reinforced knee pockets
- Two hanging front tool pockets with angled corners and double bottoms
Here's to a great tool belt and staying organized. Do you have a unique setup or something you found that works great for you? Fill us in!
The Electrical Guy