Best tool bags 2021: a place for every tool, and every tool in its place

There’s no need to lug your bottomless box of odds and ends with you. Tool bags allow you to take the bare necessities to your job

The best tool bag 2018

The best tool bags feature plenty of compartments that you can use to organise your tools. From sections for spanners and wrenches to pockets for drill bits and spare nuts and bolts, they should allow easy accessibility when it comes to picking the right tool for the job. 

How to buy the best tool bag

The interior design and the exterior material are the key factors in choosing the best tool bag. The best materials for tool bags are poly fabric, nylon and canvas. These strong materials should be able to withstand the weight of your tools, and put up with being lugged around a building site. A strong indicator of fabric strength is the denier level-the best tool bags will have a denier of 600 or higher. If your work takes you outside, you may want to look at our third pick, the Carhartt Legacy Tool Bag. Made from rain defender polyester, it will protect your tools from potential water damage. 

Other things to consider are: the size of your tool bag - you’ll want to make sure that you can fit in all the tools you may possibly need for the job; the handles - because you don’t want them digging into your hand every time you have to move your tool bag; and whether it has shoulder straps, just for that extra level of comfort. 

We’ve come up with a list of the top 5 tool bags featuring the biggest hardware brands including DeWalt and Stanley. 

The best tool bag 2018

1. Stanley FMST FatMax Open Mouth Rigid Tool Bag

A strong all-rounder made from 600 denier fabric

Best for: Access to tools
Handle type: Rubber grip handle
Size: 50x29x30cm
Material: Denier fabric
Reasons to buy
+Polypropylene bottom for protection against moisture+Open mouth design for easy access
Reasons to avoid
- Not completely waterproof

Made from 600 denier fabric and featuring a strong polypropylene bottom, this great value tool bag is the perfect buy for the everyday building site. On the outside of the bag, there’s large pockets to keep essentials, while inside, there’s a large cavernous space to fill with bulkier equipment. One of its most useful specifications is its open mouth design, which allows full access to the tools inside and makes it easier for you to find the thing you need. Featuring a padded shoulder strap and ergonomic rubber handle, it should be comfortable to carry around with you as you go about your tasks. 

DeWalt 179209 Pro Open Mouth Bag

2. DeWalt 179209 Pro Open Mouth Bag

Carry your spirit levels and your saws with you, too

Handle type: Steel bar handle
Size: 50x29x36cm
Material: Polyester
Reasons to buy
+Open mouthed for maximum space+Waterproof space
Reasons to avoid
-No way to close the bag

While more expensive than our first pick, this tool bag is a touch bigger and comes with more scope to carry your necessities. With a saw compartment, space to put drills and batteries, and even a means to carry your spirit level, this bag will allow you to carry around your bulkier tools as well as your smaller bits and bobs. It features an open mouth, so you have easy access to your tools, but there’s no means to close the bag up when you’re not using it, so you may have to keep an eye on other people ‘borrowing’ your tools.  

Carhartt Legacy Tool Bag 16-Inch

3. Carhartt Legacy Tool Bag 16-Inch

Made with water repellent fabric, this is the ideal tool bag for outside workers

Handle type: Handle and shoulder strap
Size: 41x25x27cm
Material: Rain defender polyester
Reasons to buy
+Fully waterproof+Abrasion resistant base
Reasons to avoid
- External pockets aren’t particularly deep (for larger tools)

It’s not the biggest bag on the list and it is the most expensive, but, it’s fully waterproof, hard wearing, and provides ample space for all your tools. Carhartt describe the bag as having 23 exterior pockets and 11 interior pockets, plus there’s the cavernous section where you can place your bulkier tools. For additional strength, the bag features an internal metal frame and the base is abrasion resistant- ideal for shifting it around messy building sites. Smaller and bigger sizes are available, if you don’t think 16 inches will suit your needs.  

Stanley 195611 Fatmax Tool Backpack

4. Stanley 195611 Fatmax Tool Backpack

If carrying a tool bag is too inconvenient, try a backpack instead

Handle type: Shoulder straps
Size: 36x46x27cm
Material: Reinforced canvas
Reasons to buy
+Removable divider for organisation+Space to store a laptop if required
Reasons to avoid
-Can be fiddly to find tools at the bottom 

Not all construction workers use a vehicle to get to work, and can you imagine the safety hazards involved with tackling a ladder one handed, heavy tool box in the other? This is where this tool backpack comes into its own. With plenty of compartments, an optional divider and comfortable padded shoulder straps, this is the ideal tool bag if you’re looking for ultimate convenience. It still features the reinforced base of the classic tool bags, and it’s sturdy so it won’t slump or fall over mid-use.  

MAKITA Tool Bag for LXT400

5. MAKITA Tool Bag for LXT400

Buy a bag that stands out on site

Handle type: Standard handles
Size: 60x36x60cm
Material: Rugged ballistic nylon
Reasons to buy
+Large +Easily recognisable
Reasons to avoid
- No internal dividers

Whether you use it to carry all of your battery powered tools or your plastering kit, this Makita tool bag provides ample room for all of your gear. With plenty of exterior and interior pockets, some of which are designed to house spare batteries, you should be able to keep everything organised. While there is some complaint that there are no dividers in the middle section, for those looking to pack in as much as possible, this very large tool bag is the ideal choice, and with a rigid railed base, shouldn’t break under pressure either! 

Stanley 16-inch Open Tote Bag

6. Stanley 16-inch Open Tote Bag

Cheerfully priced, this is a good quality tote bag for packing up all of your tools

Handle type: Handle, shoulder strap
Size: 25x48x35cm
Material: Denier fabric
Reasons to buy
+Heavy duty+Reinforced base
Reasons to avoid
-Smaller in size 

This is the ideal tool bag for casual workers or DIYers, as it’s smaller, but equally as hardwearing. With a cavernous inside to keep all of your bigger tools and some external pockets for smaller items, this is a good all-round bag that won’t break the bank. While the tool bag features both a handle and shoulder strap, the compromise is in the ergonomics, as it doesn’t feature any rubber or metal support.