8 Best Tool Vests | May 2017

8 Best Tool Vests
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Best High-End
★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★★
We spent 36 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Sure, you can try and carry all your gear around in the pockets of those beaten up old cargo pants, but we wouldn't recommend it. Instead, invest in one of these quality tool vests, which come in a variety of sizes and styles and feature a range of useful pouches for storing all your equipment. They'll let you hold more stuff than a tool belt, and more evenly distribute the weight, too. Skip to the best tool vest on Amazon.
8
The Stanley FMST530201 FatMax incorporates a number of handy features, including a nice mesh lining, a zippered front, and a convenient top carrying handle, so you can pick it up and toss it into the back of your truck. Its adjustable shoulder straps are a nice plus, too.
  • removable modular tool pouch
  • rear hammer hanging loop
  • tools may fall out if you bend over
Brand Stanley
Model FMST530201
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
7
Made from a leading name in power tools, the Makita P-72089 Worker's Vest is a great choice for carpenters who don't have to carry a lot of tools, but want quick access to those they need. It features a mesh window on the back and four size-adjusting straps on the sides.
  • bright blue shoulder straps
  • quick zippered opening and closing
  • fairly expensive option
Brand Makita P-72089 Worker's
Model P-72089
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
6
Its open back and under-arm design makes the Occidental Leather 2500 Stronghold ideal for use in hot climates, since it won't suffocate you with unneeded material. A three-inch-wide leather belt with a quick disconnect buckle gives you added support around the waist.
  • all straps are fully adjustable
  • 18 pockets for tools and cell phone
  • may feel awkward at first
Brand Occidental Leather
Model 2500
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
5
The C. K Tools MA2729 Magma boasts a stylish design, but that doesn't mean it isn't functional as well. Fourteen pockets offer a place for all your equipment, including your mobile phone, and reflective orange striping ensures you're visible in low light conditions.
  • mesh lining adds breathability
  • id holder on front
  • very durably built
Brand C.K. TOOLS
Model MA2729
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
4
The highly versatile ToolUSA NB-10196 Hawk is a must-have for the outdoorsman who likes to carry lots of stuff. It's made of lightweight yet durable nylon, with eight open and closed-top pockets, and two metal clips for holding a variety of gear.
  • great for camping and fishing
  • reinforced shoulder areas
  • very affordably priced
Brand ToolUSA
Model pending
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
3
Though pricey, there's really nothing the Vest Tech High Visibility doesn't have. Tons of front and back pockets, an eye-catching orange color and reflective tape, and even a built-in hydration pouch make this vest suitable for any environment.
  • ideal for professional contractors
  • built-in back support belt
  • also comes in black
Brand Vest Tech
Model VESTTECHTOOLVEST
Weight 4.1 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
2
If you're a carpenter or blacksmith in a busy workshop, your going to want the Bucket Boss 80450 SuperVest. This superlative quality model is made of 19 ounce Duckwear canvas and covers the whole torso area, protecting you from sawdust and flying debris.
  • mesh back and shoulders
  • web hammer loop
  • removable bottom pockets
Brand Bucket Boss
Model 80450
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
1
The Occidental Leather 2575 Oxy Pro is packed with more pockets and holders than most users will ever need -- but that also ensures you're never without the right tool. A unique holster bag even allows for quick and easy access to your favorite power drill.
  • front buckle keeps it secure
  • evenly distributes weight
  • models for left- and right-hand use
Brand Occidental Leather
Model 2575LH
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

The Best Way To Have Tools On Hand

Any experienced contractor, mechanic, plumber, carpenter, electrician, or the dedicated DIY enthusiast will tell you that you simply must have the right tool for the job. When you try to complete any given task with a tool not fit for the job at hand, you risk damaging the tool and ruining your project.

A pair of needle nose pliers has no more business trying to grip a nut or bolt than a flathead screwdriver has being jammed into a Phillips screw, to name two of the more common examples of misused tools. When you use the wrong tool, you risk not only poor execution of the task at hand, but in fact might make more work for yourself by damaging the hardware or materials you're trying to work with.

It is with good reason that each profession has tools tailored to meet the needs that arise in their specific field. While an auto mechanic may use dozens of socket wrenches daily, these same tools might be next to useless for a carpenter, for example. Regardless of which tools you use in the course of your work or your hobbies, how you store and access your tools is an important part of their use. When you take the time to establish proper tool storage systems, you will always know where the items you need to use in your work are at a moment's notice. If you always do your work in the shop (or in your own garage or basement) then using a tool chest or drawers is a fine way to manage your hardware.

If, however, you are a professional builder or a plumber or electrician who makes regular service calls, you need to be ready with a mobile tool management system. The tool box has been the go to way for people to store and organize their tools for generations, but even a tool box can make quick and easy access of tools difficult, as the items in the box often end up jumbled about.

The best way to give yourself easy access to your tools -- and to distribute the weight of carrying all those items at the same time -- is to use a good tool vest.

Choosing The Right Tool Vest

Some tool vests are ready to accommodate everything from a cordless drill to an array of full sized hammers; others are decidedly smaller and are only suitable for hand tools like screwdrivers and pliers. The right tool vest for you is the one that puts the tools you use most often close at hand.

If you only tend to work with a few tools for most projects, then by all means get a simpler, lower priced tool vest. Many can be had for around twenty dollars that are more than adequate for light professional work or for the DIY hobbyist.

However, if you are a general contractor who tackles all sorts of projects, or if your specific line of work merits the use of myriad tools, you may want to consider treating yourself to a tool vest that costs a hundred dollars or more (some options cost more than two hundred dollars, in fact) but that can hold dozens of tools of varied size. A great tool vest will last for years and years of regular use, so consider its purchase an investment in long term convenience.

Don't overlook your own needs in terms of comfort and safety when buying a tool vest. Breathability is important if you work in a warm area or if you tend to sweat easily, and proper support is important for this long hours spend working.

Using Your Tool Vest

As with most aspects of life, so too is with the tool vest: safety and moderation are critical. If you try to put too many tools in your vest, you will not only weigh yourself down, but you will also end up with a cluttered and disorganized vest that makes accessing your tools a hassle instead of an easy process. It's alright to need a toolbox or tool chest as a backup storage system for those tools you use less frequently. Make sure to prioritize the tools you use the most commonly as the first ones you assign a place in your tool vest.

Always make sure to take advantage of any adjustment points your tool vest features. Making sure your vest is snug and secure on your body will maximize your comfort while reducing jostling and bouncing that might cause a tool to fall out of the vest. As a vest will tend to loosen throughout the course of the day, it's a good idea to tighten and readjust the straps from time to time, especially if your vest is heavily laden.

Take the time to clean your tool vest from time to time, ideally laundering it in a washing machine if its care instructions approve that cleaning method. If need be, wiping the vest down in general and spot cleaning problem areas will suffice as well. Regardless of how you clean your tool vest, it's important that you take the time to do so. From the sweat likely to build up on it every day to the spilled paint, solvents, and other liquids, a tool vest is exposed to lots of substances that can dirty it and that overtime can weaken the material.



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Last updated on May 23, 2017 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.


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