Best Tool Bags in 2021 (Review + Guide)

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Overview

You might be a frequent reader on our site or a new visitor, but if you’re here, it’s likely because you have built up a respectable tool collection and are thinking, how can I port this around as efficiently as possible? Today we will be taking a look at the best tools bags in 2021.

Sure, toolboxes have their place at your home, but it doesn’t really help you much when working on a job outside or helping your parents with small repairs at their house. 

Tool bags are something we’ve probably all used and taken for granted. A good tool bag gives you the confidence to carry around heavy items securely, in an organized fashion. A bad tool bag can leave you with ripped handles and frustration finding the one tool you need. 

That’s why we’ve decided to help out. There are lots of things to consider when purchasing a tool bag. These include number of pockets, material quality, types of zippers, size and intended use, and finally, different carrying options.

Don’t worry, we’ve reviewed 5 options on the market and given our recommendations. Furthermore, we’ve included a buyer’s guide to help you make the right decision and see what features the best tool bags on the market have.

In a rush?  See below for our top picks for the best tool bags in 2021….

Best Value – DEWALT DG5543 16 in. 33 Pocket Tool Bag

Best Budget – WORKPRO Close Top Storage Tool Bag, 18″, Black/Red, W081023A

Best Professional Pick – Klein Tools 55421BP-14 Tool Bag Backpack, Heavy Duty Tradesman Pro Tool Organizer / Tool Carrier with 39 Pockets and Molded Base

Best Tool Bags with Reviews

DEWALT DG5543 16 in. 33 Pocket Tool Bag (Best Value)

The first product on our list is the Dewalt DG5543 16in tool bag. Dewalt is a well-known manufacturer known mainly for their high-quality tools which prioritize durability and effectiveness. 

We have to say, Dewalt did not disappoint with this product. The DG5543 tool bag is made with heavy duty poly fabric that is meant to last years. As a general comment, I personally have a similar Dewalt bag I bought years ago and it’s still standing up to the test of time. This product seems like it would too.

The tool bag features a pop-open design and large interior compartment to allow for easy access to tools. With 13 interior pockets and 22 exterior pockets for a total of 33 pockets, this represents a medium of the pack pocket amount. For most people, this should be more than enough organization for your tools. Remember, it’s not about carrying all your tools, just what you need for the job on hand.

The tool bag has reinforced corners, edges, and includes bottom base pads for added wear resistance. At 3 pounds, this bag actually represents a lighter option on the list, which is surprising, given the durability and quality. One thing to note is the tool bag is on the smaller side when compared to other options on the list.

A nice feature was the added adjustable shoulder strap for easier carrying. This represents an additional feature compared to other “handbag” type tool bags. However, we have noted some reviews online that say the shoulder strap can be prone to tearing over time. 

You shouldn’t be worried about the handles tearing however, those suckers are reinforced, believe me.

Overall, if you want a well-priced, highly durable option with a good number of pockets, this bag is for you. That’s why we choose it as our best value option on the list. We should be transparent, however. If you’re a professional, you’ll probably want something a little more heavy-duty and larger. 

Specifications:

Dimensions: 13.8 x 4.5 x 19.3 in

Weight: 3 lbs

Pockets: 33

Material: Heavy-Duty Poly Fabric

Pros/Cons:

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Highly durable, built to last
  • Lightweight 
  • Good amount of pockets

Cons:

  • Shoulder strap can be prone to failure over time
  • Professionals will probably want something a little more heavy-duty or feature heavy
  • On the smaller side

WORKPRO Close Top Storage Tool Bag, 18″, Black/Red, W081023A (Best Budget)

The next product we reviewed on the list is the WORKPRO Close Top Storage Tool Bag which represents the best budget option on our list.

Like the Dewalt DG5543 tool bag, this product has a wide-open mouth for easy access to any stored tools. Furthermore, it also has bottom pads to protect against wear and tear. Additionally, the tool bag features a rubber foam bottom that keeps the bag sturdy and protects your tools against drops. We obviously don’t recommend dropping your bag, but it’s nice to know your tools might be protected from accidents. At 2.44 pounds, this bag is on the lighter side as well. 

The WORKPRO tool bag is made from polyester. All though the heavy duty 600 denier fabric does give a highly durable finish to the tool bag, this will not have the same durability as other products on the list. 

With 6 internal pockets and 7 external pockets for a total of 13 pockets, this represents a lower on the totem pole option as far as number of pockets go. This just means less organization, but doesn’t stop you from holding less tools per say. 

Like the Dewalt above, the WORKPRO has a shoulder strap that is pretty convenient for moving around. Also, like the Dewalt, some users have stated the shoulder strap tears prematurely. 

Overall, this represents the best budget pick on our list. We should note, this bag is for low to medium weighted tools. It doesn’t have the same durability as other options on the list. For most small jobs or the DIYer, it should be just fine. Just make sure to not use this for heavy use. 

Specifications:

Dimensions: 18 x 9.5 x 8.7 in

Weight: 2.44 lbs

Pockets: 13

Material: ‎Polyester

Pros/Cons:

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Lightest tool bag on list
  • Nicely sized
  • Still made with good quality

Cons:

  • Only 13 pockets, affecting potential organization
  • Only good for light and medium weighted tools
  • Shoulder strap at risk of tearing prematurely
  • Not for professional use

Klein Tools 55421BP-14 Tool Bag Backpack, Heavy Duty Tradesman Pro Tool Organizer / Tool Carrier with 39 Pockets and Molded Base (Best Professional Pick) 

The next item on the list is the Klein Tools 55421BP-14 Tool Bag Backpack which represents our top professional option.

If you’re a handyman, contractor, or just want something heavy duty with all the features you could ever hope for, this product is for you. The main drawback of this product is maybe getting jokes about how you’re going back to school; as the tool bag is a backpack type model. Seriously, the majority of the negative reviews we found online were about school jokes so if you have a tough skin, that’s a pretty good “only” problem to have. 

This high quality, high durability product is made from 1680d Ballistic Weave, which has amazing strength. There are a ton of great features which set this tool bag apart. When you’re buying something more expensive, it’s all about the small little things, which really add value. The bag includes a hard, molded front pocket that protects safety glasses. Additionally, the bottom is also fully molded. You can put this thing down in water or dirt and have confidence that your tools will be safe and kept dry. 

Everything is ultra reinforced. Unlike the first two options on the list, which may have some shoulder strap issues, these shoulder straps are built solid. They are anchored securely to the rest of the bag. This product was clearly designed to hold heavy weights on your back for easy transportation. 

The 55421BP-14 Tool Bag Backpack has 39 pockets which lands it in the middle of the list of the products reviewed. However, each pocket is built with intention – difference lengths, widths, heights. It’s clear they wanted a pocket for every tool. Another added benefit of using a taller backpack type tool bag is the ability to hold very tall screw drivers or similar tools vertically and securely. 

The only real drawback we have heard about is the eventual wear and tear on the zippers. The zippers are made from very hard plastic, intentionally, to take a lot of abuse while keeping functionality. Correspondingly, they may fail after years of constant use. 

Overall, this is a fantastic option for a DIYer who take takes on many projects or any professional out there. Obviously, you don’t get quality without cost, this tool bag is a more expensive option on the list. Make sure you see yourself actually using the tool bag enough to justify the cost. Otherwise, you’re just better off with a lower cost bag on the list.  

Specifications:

Dimensions: 14.5 x 7.25 x 20 in

Weight: 6 lbs

Pockets: 39

Material: ‎ ‎1680d Ballistic Weave

Pros/Cons:

Pros:

  • Very high quality
  • 39 intentioned pockets
  • Very durable
  • Can carry heavier items
  • Very easy transportation of tools
  • Larger in size

Cons:

  • More expensive item on list
  • Zippers may be prone to eventual failure

CLC Custom LeatherCraft 1539 Multi-Compartment 50 Pocket Tool Bag

The fourth product we reviewed is the CLC Custom LeatherCraft 1539 Multi-Compartment 50 Pocket Tool Bag.

This is another “handbag” type model with a shoulder strap for easier transportation. Similar to the other “handbag” type models on the list, it was a wide mouth opening for easy tool retrieval. The heavy-duty double-zippered top closure on the 1539 tool bag helps keep stored tools secure when on the move. The 1539 tool carrier features a heavy-duty poly fabric body and poly ballistic trim and binding, which is extremely strong and durable. 

This tool bag features 50 pockets. You heard that right, that’s 50 well-intentioned pockets for all the tool organization you could hope for. At 50 pockets, this tool bag represents a top tier number of pockets out of the bags reviewed on the list. Given the amount of pockets and how they’re organized, this is a great tool bag for electricians, which have lots of small pliers or similar tools that they use on a daily basis. Overall, this is a well sized bag. 

To move on the negative, the bag is 6 pounds, which represents a heavier bag on the list for the “handbag” type models we reviewed. We have also read about bad water absorption so be careful to not leave this bag outside. Too much water absorption can lead to tool damage. 

Finally, we did read some reviews about the shoulder strap breaking over time and being of poor construction. This seems to be a common theme amongst all “handbag” type tool bags so just be aware that you may only be able to use it as a handbag one day. 

Overall, we found this bag to be in of similar class to the Dewalt DG5543. It’s very durable, has lots of compartmentalization and is generally a high-quality product. However, do we think the extra cost for the 11 extra pockets warrants buying this model over the Dewalt? Answer is no. 

Specifications:

Dimensions: 18 x 14 x 7 in

Weight: 6 lbs

Pockets: 50

Material: Heavy-Duty Poly Fabric

Pros/Cons:

Pros:

  • High quality product
  • Lot of compartmentalization – 50 pockets!
  • Nicely sized
  • Great for electricians

Cons:

  • Shoulder strap can be prone to failure over time
  • Zippers may be prone to failure over time
  • Water absorption can damage tools

DEWALT DGL523 Lighted Tool Backpack Bag, 57-Pockets

This final tool bag we reviewed on the list was the DEWALT DGL523 Lighted Tool Backpack Bag. As mentioned before, Dewalt is known for their quality craftmanship, making high quality and durable items. This bag fits the mold perfectly. 

Similar to the Klein Tools Backpack that we reviewed, the main drawback will be getting back to school jokes. In terms of utility and quality, this product was a beautifully constructed bag.

Made out of heavy-duty poly fabric, this bag is extremely durable. Similar to Klein model above, its backpack shape has advantages in how you organize and store your tools. The backpack model also makes transportation a breeze. 

At 57 pockets, this product has the most amount of pockets on the list. Not surprisingly, this tool bag should be able to store and organize most tools you throw at it. Again, the number of pockets makes this a great option for any electrician. 

A nice added feature is the built-in lights to help you with those dark basement repairs. Overall, the number of pockets and built-in lights were nice, detailed, intentioned features. Given the number of pockets, weight capacity, backpack design, and built-in lights, this is a great option for professionals. 

The only actual negative thing we heard aside from the back-to-school jokes is that the zippers may be prone to failure over time. This really seems to be an issue across all products however. High friction and use items will always be prone to failure so in some ways, this is unavoidable. 

To conclude, we think this option still comes second to the Klein Tools Backpack. You do get more pockets and you do get the added in lights, but we don’t think it’s worth the extra money comparatively speaking. The lights are a nice feature but if you’re frequently working in the dark, you’d probably prefer something that puts off more light or is better placed (like headgear lighting). In that sense it’s a bit gimmicky. 

Finally, we just like the added features of the Klein Backpack better. We think the form molded bottom and glasses case are better additional features than the additional pockets and lights. Ultimately, you might favor Dewalt’s features over Klein’s but that’s a decision only you can make.  

Specifications:

Dimensions: 8.5 x 7.4 x 4.45 in

Weight: 4.6 lbs

Pockets: 57

Material: Heavy-Duty Poly Fabric 

Pros/Cons:

Pros:

  • Very high quality
  • Lot of compartmentalization – 57 pockets!
  • Very durable
  • Can carry heavier items
  • Very easy transportation of tools
  • Larger in size
  • Great for electricians

Cons:

  • Most expensive item on list
  • Zippers may be prone to eventual failure

Buyer’s Guide for the Best Tool Bags

What to Consider When Choosing Best Tool Bags

When looking for the best tool bag, it may seem like an easy choice as you don’t really think much of a bag. It has to carry your items, without breaking. But there’s actually a lot more to think about. There are different types of models, materials, pockets, costs, weight capacities, and sizing. 

Below, we shared some of the most important features the best tool bags will have. Enjoy!

Number of Storage Pockets

Always try to match the number of tools you want to carry to the amount of pockets the tool bag has. If you have lots of small tools like pliers and the like, you don’t want to constantly be fishing around the bottom of your bag for the right one. 

As a general rule of thumb, 0-15 pockets represents a small amount of pockets. If you don’t care about organization, or you only need to carry a few, larger items, this won’t be an issue. But if you’re organized or have lots of tools, this probably won’t fly. Anywhere from 15-35 is probably middle ground and what most people need. Finally, 35+ gives you confidence you’ll be able to store all your tools in an organized fashion.

Framed Opening

Framed openings can help because putting away heavy tools with a floppy opening will be hard, time consuming and frustrating. Look for framed openings as you can easily open the bag with one hand while storing the heavy tool with the other. Framed openings can also help durability and longevity of your bag. It will also make transportation easier. 

On a similar plane, also look for molded components, whether they are bottoms or smaller pockets to protect fragile items, like your glasses. These molded components can help prevent water damage or fragility damage for sensitive tools or personal items. 

Material Quality

Make sure to only buy products that have thick nylon, canvas, or polyester materials incorporated in them. They’ll make the tool bag durable and increase its longevity. They’ll also stop tools from poking holes through your bag and increase your confidence during transportation. Avoid materials like faux leather or low-grade nylon. Metal framing or molded components incorporated in the tool bag will also increase durability and save you multiple tool bag purchases over time. 

Zippers and Buckles

The most common item that breaks first are the tool bag’s zippers. This is partly unavoidable, it’s a high use, high friction, and high load item. You want to make sure all the zippers are double or triple sized and are made out of thick metal or hard plastic. It maybe won’t stop failure after years of abuse, but it will prolong it. Metal buckles are great because they’re less prone to failure than zippers, all though less common. 

Size and Intended Use

Make sure you always check the specifications of the tool bag you intend to buy. Make sure it can even hold the tools you intend to use. Sizes are commonly between 14 and 24 inches in length. Backpacks can be great for taller screwdrivers that you need to hold vertically. Just make sure you do a double check on the size of your tools and see if the bag you’re looking at has the ability to hold them. 

Secondly, think about what types of tools you need to use. If you’re an electrician and have a ton of small pliers, you’ll probably want something that is more pocket heavy with lots of small options. If you’re carrying a handful of larger tools, like a jigsaw and a hammer, you may want something with less pockets that allows you to just toss them in the bottom of the bag. 

Carrying Options

Make sure to get the type of tool bag that matches what type of transportation/use you’re going for. For example, if you’re carrying heavy loads or moving up and down a ladder frequently, then a backpack would make the most sense. 

If you using a relatively small amount of lightweight tools and you’re just moving from the garage to the basement or kitchen for small repairs, a handbag type model might make the most sense. One word of advice, if you’re going to be buying a handbag type model and it comes with a shoulder strap, make sure to read reviews about tearing. Shoulder straps are usually prone to failure for these types of bags. 

Maybe we’re doubling up here, but if you are using the tool bag to support some specialized labour like electrician work, the amounts and sizing of pockets will be very important to your decision. 

Conclusion

To conclude, we reviewed some great options for the best tool bags on the list. Before making your decision, make sure to read our buyer’s guide to give you the background knowledge you need to make the right decision when browsing for the best tool bags.  

To summarize the above article, we found the DEWALT DG5543 16 in. 33 Pocket Tool Bag to be the best value choice, the WORKPRO Close Top Storage Tool Bag to be the best budget option and the Klein Tools 55421BP-14 Tool Bag Backpack to be the best professional pick due to its high quality features. 

As always, good luck hunting!

Ryan

Ryan

Ryan is a writer for ToolboxAdvice.com. He's been a hobbyist and painter for a long time, and now enjoys teaching others. His content primarly focuses on reviews and guides for painters and construction professionals.

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