Top 8 Best Tool Bags
By | Last updated: April 27, 2021
best tool bags

There are occasions when a sturdy canvas or cloth tool bag is handier than a cumbersome metal toolbox. Hitting a bump with the latter in your trunk or truck box results in a crashing sound not heard since the implosion of The Sands nearly 25 years ago.

It helps to buy a tool bag whose length exceeds that of the longest item you’ll be carrying, which is why we’ve listed – when available – the sizes of these bags. Please keep comments about length to yourself. Look for lots of pockets, helping to keep items organized rather than rattling around in the bottom of the bag.

And, if all else fails, you might be able to use it as an airline carry-on. If regular air travel ever becomes a thing again, that is.

1. WORKPRO 16" Top Wide Mouth Tool Bag with Water Proof Rubber Base

This tool bag is made from a polyester fabric which is said to provide excellent durability and reliability while also reminding you of your days with Disco Stu. The double fabric with stitching over the entire body makes the bag extremely tough and long-lasting, according to the seller. It seems there would be little need to worry about this tool bag getting damaged or breaking while in use.

An internal metal frame should keep this thing from hiding that tool you’re trying to grasp one-handed. There are 8 pockets inside, 13 outside, and 8 belts for versatile storage of tools and accessories. This means your gear will stay organized, leaving behind the days of frantically pawing and digging to find that 10mm socket. Total size: 16.5” x 13.4” x 9.6”.

Pros/Extremely high customer ratings, many pockets, waterproof base
Cons/That waterproof base won't fold up
Bottom Line/Get it and go

2. Milwaukee 6-Pocket Heavy Duty Canvas Tool Bag

This brand hawks a wide variety of tool bags, ranging from this unit you see here to semi-solid side cases designed specifically for their line of cordless power tools. This one, thanks to its shape and abundance of pockets, can easily double as a tool bag if you’re on the go to a roadside call.

There should be plenty of room in this thing for a raft of essential car wrenching tools, even if that’s not its intended design. Priced under twenty bucks, it’s difficult to go wrong here if you’re looking for a quick and cheap way to haul around a few tools. Total size: 13” x 6” x 8”.

Pros/Price, brand name, it's bright red
Cons/Technically not for automotive tools
Bottom Line/Look past its intended purpose

3. G & F Products Heavy-Duty Mechanics Tool Bag - Government Issued Style

We’re not sure if the ‘government-issued’ label on this tool bag is a good or bad thing. If it’s of the mythical $300 toilet seat ilk, fine. If it’s of the same quality as the pothole repairs out in front of our office, that’s not so reassuring. According to the reviews, though, it seems to be the former, not the latter.

Priced just a coffee over ten dollars, this bag measures about 11 inches long which is slightly shorter than the two bags featured so far. There is a quartet of pouches on the exterior, great for keeping those sockets from getting lost in the bottom of the bag. The large brass zipper looks baller, if you care about that stuff. Total size: 11” x 7” x 6”.

Pros/Plenty of reviews praising its durability
Cons/Make sure it's big enough
Bottom Line/:Give yer junkyard run a military feel

4. Amazon Basics Tool Bag with Strap

Bezos & Co. seem to put their name on everything, don’t they? If we ever do one of these posts on mud flaps or underhood insulation, they’ll probably have an entrant for those as well. A couple of options are available here, with a larger 16-inch bag offered alongside this 12-inch tote.

Its dull grey and black coloring assure that you won’t care about it getting dirty. There are 26 pockets in total, including ten on the inside. The material is described as ‘600D Oxford cloth’ and received good durability reviews. A wide zippered opening permits easy access to tools. Total size: 12” x 5.5” x 7.9”.

Pros/Appropriately priced, plenty of good feedback
Cons/That infernal branding
Bottom Line/Put some microbrewery stickers over the logo

5. DEWALT 33-Pocket Tool Bag

Like the Milwaukee brand, DeWalt would love it if you bought its tools to fill this bag. There’s nothing keeping us from using it as a handy tool bag, of course. No fewer than thirty-three pockets line this thing, along with one flap-covered pocket with hook & loop closure.

Abrasion-resistant rubber feet sound like something you’d find on a set of power armor in Fallout 4 but actually appear on the anterior side of this bag in a bid to keep it from wearing through prematurely. An adjustable shoulder strap rounds out a good and useful package. Total size: 13.8” x 4.5” x 19.3”.

Pros/Plenty 'o pockets, 4.8 out of 5 rating from nearly 4,000 people
Cons/Slightly more expensive than most, very narrow
Bottom Line/You get what you pay for

6. Stanley 12-Inch Soft Sided Tool Bag

Getting in on the accessory game to prop up the tool side of their business is Stanley. Its tool bag is a foot long, just like your favorite sub sandwich, making it ideal for carrying hand tools and other small items. A shoulder strap is absent but the seller makes sure to point out the dual handles are padded for comfort.

A rubber foam bottom keeps the bag sturdy, protecting contents from hard falls and drops. In other words, your gear should be protected when you lose your grasp running towards that complete MX-5 that was placed in Row 17 just this morning. Use the outer mesh pockets for storing personal belongings to which you frequently need access.

Pros/Seemingly well-made, good price
Cons/No shoulder strap
Bottom Line/Collapsible utility

7. CLC Custom 2-Pack Combo

As noted advertiser Ron Popeil – who’s still alive and kicking at age 85 – used to say: “but wait; there’s more!” This listing from the ambiguously-named Custom Leathercraft company includes two utility tote bags for less than the price of most single units on this list.

The larger of the two is 14 inches long with the smaller one measuring just two inches shorter. Many customers remarked that they use them as carry-ons for motorcycles or ATVs, good for slinging in a GoPro and other items. Despite its name, the bag is not made from genuine leather. Total size: 14” x 5.5” x 6” and 12″ x 4.5″ x 5.5″.

Pros/Very affordable, two for the price of one
Cons/Some durability complaints
Bottom Line/For $20, set your expectations properly

8. Carhartt Legacy Tool Bag

This bag leans more towards the carpenter arena than the car mechanic’s but, given its durability ratings and size, might be a good left-field choice. It’s a durable tool bag with a zippered main compartment and 10 interior pockets. Several sizes are available; we’re profiling the 14-inch option here.

There is an internal metal frame, rugged zippers, aggro stitching (that’s the first time we’ve ever combined those two words), and is made of a sturdy synthetic fabric. There are larger models available with a load-bearing, abrasion-resistant molded base for those who need greater support for heavy tools and gear. Total size: 14” x 9” x 10.5”.

Pros/Great workwear brand, 99 percent of over 500 reviews are 4- or 5-star
Cons/Very expensive
Bottom Line/An interesting alternative

Tool Bag FAQs

Why are you taking this so seriously?

Because neglecting and abusing one’s tools as an adult ranks up there with leaving your bike out in the rain as a kid – it’s unnecessary, it’s damaging, and someone’s likely to be very disappointed in you. This time, though, the person disappointed is going to be yourself when you pick up your tools and find them all rusty.

Is there any difference between all these?

So it would seem. As with some things in life, it does seem that you get what you pay for with these types of tool bags. The twofer deal listed here is fine but, for $20, know what you’re getting – a sentiment which appears to be backed up by the real-world reviews. Compare that to the stout Carhartt bag at the end of this post, a unit that costs over fifty bucks but has one of the best aggregate consumer ratings we’ve ever seen from a decently large sample size.

Any other advice?

Not really; it’s a bag. Look for one that has enough pockets for your intended purpose and is longer than the biggest tool you’ll be frequently schlepping around. Read the reviews and buy the best one that your budget will allow. After all, popping for a $50 bag once is better than having to buy three $20 bags over time because they wear out or the zipper breaks.

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: StudioBakac / Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

7 Comments on “Best Tool Bags: In the Bag...”

  • avatar

    Logcabinlooms likes his Carhartt:

  • avatar

    Do not buy a bag that’s black on the inside. You won’t be able to see your stuff in bad light…which is most of the time when using a tool bag.
    That’s more important than the number of pockets.

  • avatar

    I work on IT/telcom and ive had the Workpro bag for a couple years now and its been great for my tools.

  • avatar

    I’ll take the Carhartt. Love external pockets on toolbags.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Some really large toolbaga post here regularly

  • avatar

    CLC makes a bigger one that has zip down sides. way more pockets than needed :)

  • avatar

    Have a tool bag in the back of my SUV just as big as the Dewalt bag above with the same side pockets. Packed to the gills with tools, bits of wire, wire twists, tape measure, etc. Thats why I bought a WeatherTech liner so I pour out the contents without soiling the carpet liner while looking for the Phillips head that fell to the bottom of the bag.

    Entertained the idea of getting a small tool box on wheels, but this would be counter productive. That’s the whole idea of having a tool shed in the back yard.

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