The 10 Best Tool Vests
This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in August of 2015. 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 kinds of equipment. They'll let you hold more stuff than a belt, and more evenly distribute the weight, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best tool vest on Amazon.
The Best Way To Have Tools On Hand
While an auto mechanic may use dozens of socket wrenches daily, these same tools might be next to useless for a carpenter, for example.
It is with good reason that each profession has tools tailored to meet the needs that arise in their specific field.
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.
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.
It's alright to need a toolbox or tool chest as a backup storage system for those tools you use less frequently.
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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