Leather is considered by many as the best material for making tool belts mainly because of their strength and durability. The best leather tool belt can last many years of service, especially when they are well taken care of.
If you are thinking of replacing your old dusty canvas tool bag with a shiny new leather one, you need to know how to shop for one. The main reason why you need to be careful when shopping for tool belts leather is that they cost quite a lot of money.
You can expect to pay upwards of two hundred dollars for a high-quality tool belt that will surely last many years. However, it does not mean that the most expensive tool belt is the best. Many are economically priced while still providing excellent quality.
However, there are also cheaply-made ones in that list that do not typically last a month of use. You need to know what to look for in work gear to make sure that you will not be wasting money. This belt buying guide to leather tool belt will teach you all of the things that you need to keep an eye out for when buying a new leather tools belt.
Once you finish reading this, it is almost guaranteed that you will be getting more than your money’s worth once you decided to buy your very first leather tool bag.
Table of Contents
- Best Leather Tool Belt Reviews of 2020
- 1. Style n Craft 98434 Top Grain 4-pc. Pro-Framers Combo
- 2. Occidental Leather 5089 LG Seven Bag
- 3. Leather Gold Framer’s Rig Tool Belt
- 4. DEWALT DG5433 Tool Bag
- 5. McGuire-Nicholas 803-E Leather Tool Rig
- 6. R Dawg Suede Leather Tool Bag
- 7. Occidental Leather 5070 Pro Drywall Pouch
- 8. Style n Craft 98444 Framer’s Combo
- 9. Custom Leathercraft 21453 Heavy-duty Leather Combo System
- 10. Nemean Leather Heavy-duty Tool Pouch
- 11. Estwing 94744 Leather Tool Apron
- 12. Leather Gold Leather Tool Pouch
- What is a Leather Tool Belt
- How Does a Leather Tool Belt Work
- Types of Leather Tool Belts
- Why Do You Need a Leather Tool Belt
- Buying Guide
- Care and Maintenance
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Leather Tool Belt Reviews of 2020
1. Style n Craft 98434 Top Grain 4-pc. Pro-Framers Combo
The first item on our list of tool belts is made entirely from top-grain cowhide, making it very durable but still flexible and soft. The leather is oil-tanned, which gave it its dark brown color. This is probably one of the prettiest tool belts I have ever had the pressure to use.
Being made of tough durable leather does not mean anything if the Dickies work belt is not built properly. This belt is stitched together using high-strength nylon thread, which is colored to contrast against the dark brown colored leather.
Another feature that I liked is the good number of pockets that this waist belt has. There are a total of 17 pockets. These provide more than enough space for all the basic tools that I need to do most household repair tasks.
The belt itself is three-inches wide, making it very comfortable to wear. Also, because it is quite wide, the weight of the tools is evenly distributed. This prevents this choice for tools belts from digging into your skin and causing discomfort.
2. Occidental Leather 5089 LG Seven Bag
This is yet another great leather tool apron from Occidental Leather. This is one of those tool holders made using only high-grade top-grain cowhide leather. This means that it has nice surface texture and high tensile strength. Aside from this, this belt is also quite cut and abrasion-resistant.
All kinds of Occidental Leather tool belt can be seen being made in the United States. This means that their construction went through the toughest quality control testing there is. You can be sure that this tool belt will last for many years. For instance, the seams are reinforced using copper rivets, so you can be sure that they will not fray.
Another neat thing about the design of these leather carpenter pouches is that the hand specific pockets are located where you can easily reach them. For instance, the holder for the steel tape measure is located on top of the right hip pouch where you can easily reach it (if you’re right-handed).
The belt is also wide enough that it evenly distributes the weight of the tools across the hips. This pretty much acts like how a good backpack will position the weight over the center of gravity of your body.
3. Leather Gold Framer’s Rig Tool Belt
This tool belt set is made for years of abuse. This belt is entirely constructed from genuine cowhide leather that is 2mm at the thickest and 1.75mm at the thinnest part. This makes the belt soft and comfortable to wear.
Aside from using the best materials, it is also assembled with durability in mind. The belt comes with seams that are double-stitched using high-quality nylon thread. The corners are then reinforced using metal rivets to make sure that the stitches will not go undone.
This tool belt also has ergonomically designed leather nail pouches that are much better than nylon bags in terms of durability. The specific-use pockets are positioned in such a way that you can easily and quickly reach them. It only took me a couple of uses before my hands got used to the positioning of the pockets.
Speaking of pockets, this tool belt has ten wide open pockets that are in two main pouches. These pouches can be slid over the belt so that you can choose the most comfortable position for you. Once the belt is tightened, the pouches will remain in place.
4. DEWALT DG5433 Tool Bag
This tool bag has enough pockets for most contractors. There are more than enough pockets and hoops for all the basic things they will need. For instance, there is a heavy-duty loop that can hold a pry bar or a hammer. You can also use the nail holder for nail sets, pencil holders, and others.
I like the convenient carry handle attached on top of the tool belt. This makes carrying the tool belt more convenient because it prevents the contents of the pockets from spilling out. This handle also makes adjusting the belt easier.
It is also very convenient that the pouch can be slid over the belt. This is nice because I can slide the pouch to the front if I will be working standing up. I can also slide it to the side if I need to crouch down. This feature also makes this tool bag usable by both left and right-handed people.
Although the two-inch belt itself boasts of a nylon construction, the pouch and pockets are made of high-quality top grain leather. The seams are double-stitched and closed off using metal rivets to doubly make sure that this tool belt will last for many years.
5. McGuire-Nicholas 803-E Leather Tool Rig
First of all, let me just say that this is a nice-looking black leather tool belt. The belt is made of top leather while the pouches are made of oil-tanned split leather. The dark brown coloration of this best tool belt option gives it an elegant and sophisticated look.
The seams of the pouches are double-stitched and can carry a lot of weight without any issue. The ends of the stitches are further reinforced by metal rivets to ensure that this tool belt can withstand a lot of punishment while remaining in one piece.
The pouches have wide openings to make grabbing the contents much easier. If you are used to the tool belt, you can grab your tools even without glancing at it. This may not seem like much but having the convenience of working on a task without having to pause to browse through your tool belt is always a good thing.
This product also has metal hoops that are made for when you want to use a shoulder strap along with it. Using a belt strap in the shoulder will make it easier for you to carry around heavier tools without straining your back.
6. R Dawg Suede Leather Tool Bag
The thing that I liked the most about this belt is how adjustable it is. First of all, it can fit waistline range of 32” to 42”, so many people will have no problem fitting into it. The belt itself is made of heavy-duty nylon and is about two inches wide. It closes using heavy-duty fully adjustable plastic side-release buckles.
The pouches are made of thick cowhide leather. The average thickness is 1.6mm. This provides pockets with lots of extra tensile strength. They are also highly resistant to punctures and tears. If you take good care of this belt, it can serve you for many years to come.
I also like that the pouches are not fixed in place. It allows me to place the pouches in front, at the sides, or slide them to the back so I can crouch down easily. There is a total of 11 pockets in this tool belt. This number is enough for regular contractors but will still be lacking if used by roofers or framers.
7. Occidental Leather 5070 Pro Drywall Pouch
Before you give this extension leather carpenter bags a hard pass, you need to know that this is meant for professional drywall installers or lathers (the people who install the base for the drywall). This is the reason why there are so many specific tool pockets.
There is a pocket for a level, utility knife, saw, and other typical tools that a drywall installer might need. All of them are placed strategically and organized in such a way that you can easily pick them up when needed.
Just like with most of the Occidental Leather individual bags, this pouch is made entirely of high-quality, top-grain cowhide leather. This provides the pouch with a lot of strength and durability. You can be sure that this will last more than just a couple of years.
Of course, it does not matter if the tool bag was made from the finest leather. If the overall construction is lacking then it will just fall apart. This is not the case with this pouch. All the seams are stitched together using heavy-duty nylon thread and reinforced with metal rivets.
8. Style n Craft 98444 Framer’s Combo
The very first thing that I noticed about this tool belt is that it is made of thick and tough top-grain leather. Just by looking at it, you can immediately tell that it will last for a long time.
Another thing that I liked about this tool belt is that it has a lot of pockets, 19 to be exact. If you are a framer, you will be happy to use this belt as this will have plenty of storage space for everything that you will need for the job.
The pouches in this tool belt can be slid around on the belt. This makes it so that I can find a comfortable position for them. You can place the pouches at your sides or slide them to the back so you can crouch without the contents spilling out.
The pouches also have carrying handles. I like this because it lets me carry the belt around the site without spilling the contents on the floor.
9. Custom Leathercraft 21453 Heavy-duty Leather Combo System
As with all of the products that come from CLC, this tool belt is also made of heavy-duty, high-quality, top-grain cowhide leather. With proper care and maintenance, it can last for many years while still looking like brand new.
This tool belt also comes with easy handles. These handles promote ease in making adjustments on the belt. These are also helpful in making the tool belt easier to carry when not worn around the waist.
This Customer Leathercraft tool belt is also fully customizable. I took out one work apron and replaced it with that meant for drywall installation. CLC Custom Leathercraft sells profession-specific CLC custom pouches so that you can make your tool belt fit your needs.
I love that this tool belt has plenty of pockets and storage. There is a total of 18 pockets including reversed nail pockets and a large one that you can use to hold a speed square. There is enough room in this belt for almost everything that you will need.
10. Nemean Leather Heavy-duty Tool Pouch
This is one of the best leather tool bags made with the expert tradesman in mind. This is constructed from high-grade top-grain leather, which is inherently tough and durable. This pouch can take a lot of abuse and still ask for more. If you want something that can last many years, then I am sure that this will be it.
I also like that this pouch is handcrafted in the USA. All seams are made using high-quality nylon threads and further strengthened by using metal rivets at the ends. You can be sure that no matter how many tools you cram into the tool bags, the seams will not pop.
This pouch is also perfectly balanced and centered. Regardless if you are right or left-handed, you will find that this pouch will allow you to reach for your tools easily. I love the hammer loops attached at the sides of this pouch. They are thick and made of full grain cowhide.
11. Estwing 94744 Leather Tool Apron
One of the things that I liked about this particular tool belt set is that the belt is made of full-grain cowhide, so it is almost guaranteed to last a couple of years. The pouches are also made of split leather for strength and flexibility. Just looking at the whole thing, you will get a sense of just how durable it is.
Another thing I like is that there are large metal rivets on all the stress points on the belt. For instance, you can find metal rivets at the ends of the stitching. This prevents the stitches from unraveling.
I also like the double-pronged roller buckle in this tool belt. It made it a lot easier to wear and adjust the fit of the belt. Because of the double-prongs, the belt will not twist due to the weight of the belt’s contents.
The pouches and their main pockets are also ergonomically designed so that the wearer can easily reach the tools and/or materials that he needs. For instance, there is a pouch for the measuring tape that is in the center of the belt. You do not have to feel around looking for the tool. You just know where they are.
12. Leather Gold Leather Tool Pouch
This is a good nail pouch as it has five large and deep pockets that can carry lots of nails and a couple of basic tools. This makes it comparable to the popular brand Bucket Boss. This is an ideal extension pouch for carpenters or framers. Ever since I added this pouch to my belt, I have yet to find myself without nails while working on my tasks.
This pouch is made of durable split leather and top-grain leather – both of which are tough and durable. However, because of the heavy-duty construction using heavy nylon strings, this pouch will most likely last years.
It is also nice that this can fit in almost all sizes of tool belts. I have been using one that is three inches wide and this tool pouch has no problem fitting. This pouch is also perfectly balanced so it can be used by both right and left-handed carpenters.
What is a Leather Tool Belt
As the name suggests, this is a tool belt that is completely or mostly made of real cowhide (or any other animal hide) leather. Leather, usually cowhide, is the most popular material for making tool belts mainly because of its natural toughness and durability.
As an addition to its many benefits, leather has a good weight to strength ratio, so tool belts made out of it are pretty lightweight. Aside from that, tool belts made of leather can last for several years with proper maintenance.
Many people have had their leather tool belts for so many years yet these items still look none the worse for wear. This is the biggest reason why people like to buy high-quality leather tool belts. If they are lucky, it will be the first and last belt that they will ever need.
How Does a Leather Tool Belt Work
Tool belts work by allowing the craftsman to have all his tools always within arm’s reach. This is better than having to rifle through a full toolbox. This becomes even more important if you have to work in a precarious position and you have no way of bringing your toolbox with you safely.
This is the case with carpenters who specialize in framing or roofing. They need to have all their tools at their side so they do not have to go up and down ladders when they need to get something from their toolbox. Using a tool belt makes them even more productive as they can work continuously regardless of their location.
A good tool belt is not just one that provides you with enough pockets for tools and materials. It should also make it easier for the user to gain access to its contents. Many top brand tool belts these days are ergonomically designed so that the hand that uses a particular tool will be able to get it without any difficulty whatsoever.
For instance, a right-handed carpenter would have the slots for his/her pencils near the top of the pouch on his right side. Also, most tool belts come with provisions for suspenders. If you are just using the tool belt alone and you place heavy tools and materials inside the pockets, you will be putting too much strain on your lower back.
It is because your lower back will be carrying most of the weight. With suspenders, most of the weight will be distributed equally over the shoulders and placed almost directly over your body’s center of gravity. This will make carrying heavier loads easier.
Types of Leather Tool Belts
There are several different types of leather tool belts with each of them having their own particular sets of uses and benefits. With that said, it would not be fair to say that one type is better than the other.
Tool aprons – Tool aprons are tool belts that have pouches permanently sewn or built into place. This means that you will not be able to change the configuration of the pouches nor can you remove pouches to make room for more.
However, the good thing about these kinds of tool belts is that they tend to last longer as there are no movable parts. You might find that most experienced carpenters use this kind of tool belt because they are as tough as they need them to be.
Expandable tool belts – These belts tend to start with the base belt, which is usually a wide leather belt that gets up to three-inches wide at the back. You can then add as many pouches of different kinds as you wish.
You can add small pouches if you need extra mobility or larger pouches with deep pockets for increased carrying capacity. The nice thing about this kind is the almost infinite amount of customization. You can choose whatever size pouch you want, or choose pouches and accessories that pertain to your particular profession.
Hip tool belt – These are smaller than the average tool belts. Usually, these just have enough room to hold basic hand tools and a handful of nails at the most. This type of tool belt is commonly used by people who like doing household DIY repairs, weekend warriors mostly.
Most contractors also use this if they only need to do light work or if they are just doing inspections. This is a great choice if you will not be using that many tools and if your main concern while doing a task is mobility.
Suspenders – These are not truly a type of leather tool belt but more of an accessory to enhance its carrying capability. Tool belts with suspenders will allow the user to carry more tools and materials without straining the lower back.
When you use a tool belt, most of the weight is carried by your lower back and hips. This is fine as long as you do not carry stuff that is too heavy. However, if your job requires the use of heavy tools, like hammers and the like, then you need to attach suspenders to your belt.
This can help ensure that most of the weight gets lifted off your lower back and distributed evenly across your shoulders. Also, most suspenders come with a cell phone holder for easier access.
Why Do You Need a Leather Tool Belt
Why would you need a tool belt when you already have a toolbox with you? For some professions, like some mechanics, using a tool belt is considered a luxury and not truly necessary for their job. However, for carpenters, framers, and other people who need to work often above ground level, having a tool belt is of the utmost importance.
Convenience – The first reason why you would need a leather tool belt is that it makes the job so much easier. Even if you are working on the ground floor of a house you are building, it is much easier to reach into your tool belt for a certain tool rather than walk over to the other side of the room and browse through your toolbox.
Having a tool belt will allow you to keep a continuous rhythm while working. You will not miss even a single beat because you have all the tools that you need right at your hips.
Safety – If you are a framer, then you will often find yourself in precarious positions, like on the roofline of a house. Electricians and carpenters also have to deal with this kind of problem. When you are standing on top of scaffolding and you need a certain kind of tool, would you go down and back up just to fetch it? That would be too tiring.
You might think that you can just carry around your toolbox but the answer is no. Have you ever tried climbing a ladder with just one hand? It is very difficult and dangerous. With a tool belt, you have full use of both hands so climbing up and down ladders and scaffolds will be a lot easier.
Also, if you accidentally bump your toolbox and it hits someone below, that person is in big trouble considering the weight of your tools and if there are any sharp pointy objects in your toolbox.
Work efficiency – When you have a tool belt, you no longer have to get another worker’s help to hand over tools and other things that you have in your toolbox. You already have all the tools you will need on your person.
You don’t need to shout at whoever is on the ground at the time to go and fetch something from your toolbox. They can just go ahead with whatever task they are assigned to do.
You will surely discover many other reasons why you should use a tool belt, but the ones mentioned above should be enough to convince you to get one. You will discover for yourself how life-changing it is just to use this product.
The thing about leather tool belts is they are very expensive. The price can go up depending on the brand and the materials used. To make sure that you will not be wasting your hard-earned money on a tool belt that does not perform up to your expectations, here is a quick buying guide that you can use.
How it fits – Before thinking about tool storage and the number of pockets, the tool belt should first and foremost fit you. The one that you get should wrap around snug across your waist but not too tightly.
It should be just enough that you can still move around without the belt digging into your skin. A leather tool belt should fit you properly or else you will suffer from chronic back problems and that takes almost all of the enjoyment out of your work.
Comfort – If you have found a belt that fits just right, the next thing that you need to turn your attention to is comfort. The belt has to be wide enough to distribute the weight of the tools properly. It should also be soft enough that you can move about easily.
Durability – Your tool belt will be going through a lot of stress and you need to get one that is tough enough for the job. You will be stashing nails, nuts and bolts, and many other fasteners in your belt, along with heavy tools so the belt needs to be up to the task.
The number of pockets – Depending on your profession, you might need more pockets than others. For instance, if you are a framer, you will need a lot of pockets because of all the different sizes of nails and the tools required for your job. This means that something that has 15 or more pockets is needed.
Care and Maintenance
Leather tool belts are fortunately very low-maintenance. They do not need too much in terms of care. However, if you want your leather tool belt to last for many years then you need to give it a bit of maintenance every once in a while.
First of all, after work, you should wipe away as much of the dust and dirt on the surface as you can. You just need a damp clean rag and nothing else. Don’t get the leather too wet or else it will get really dry and crack when it dries.
Furthermore, every couple of weeks or so, you should remove all of the contents of the tool belt. Clean it up and apply a leather conditioner on all surfaces. The leather conditioner will re-hydrate the leather in your tool belt so it retains its suppleness and flexibility.
When you will be storing the tool belt away, hang it somewhere cool and dark, preferably someplace where it does not get hit by direct sunlight.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most popular leather tool belt brands?
Various brands of tool belts are available these days but not all of them are as reliable as the others. I have tested a lot of different leather tool belts but there are only a couple of brands that I can truly say is the best.
Among those that stand out are Style n Craft, Occidental Leather, Leather Gold, DEWALT, McGuire-Nicholas, R Dawg, Nemean Leather, and Estwing. When you get a hold of these brands of leather tool belts, you can be sure that you will be getting a high-quality product.
How to break in leather tool belts?
The best way to break in leather tool belts is to just use them for a couple of days. However, if you want to hasten the process, here is what you should do.
First, mix a solution of equal parts rubbing alcohol and purified water. Get a clean piece of fabric, soak it in the solution and wipe it all over the leather tool belt. Let the solution soak into the leather. This will allow it to stretch much better.
Once the leather is dry, slather petroleum jelly all over the surface then wipe away the excess petroleum jelly using paper towels. Let the belt dry thoroughly before you use it. Aside from petroleum jelly, you can also use coconut oil or olive oil to condition the belt.
However, the continuous use of the belt will naturally make the leather stretch out and become soft and supple.
How to set up and use?
It will be up to you how you fill-up the pockets in your leather tool belt. If you’re a carpenter then you will need to designate a pocket or two for different sizes of nails. If you’re an electrician then you’ll be carrying a couple of pliers. As long as you can fit it in the pocket, you can place whatever tool you need in the tool belt.
What is the warranty?
The typical warranty specification provided for leather tool belts is around 30 days and this can cover factory defects. However, the top brands tend to provide limited lifetime warranties on their products.
Even if you have been using the belt for a couple of years, if anything as much as a seam pops out, you can send it back to the manufacturer for free repairs or a complete replacement.
Where to buy a leather tool belt?
It is better to buy leather tool belts in brick and mortar stores like Walmart and Home Depot since you can get to try them on first before buying. However, the choices there are limited and you need to be extremely lucky to find that one tool belt that is perfect for you.
On the other hand, buying from online retail sites like Amazon will provide you with hundreds, if not thousands, of options. Furthermore, you can usually find great deals and discounts when shopping online. However, you will need to wait up to a week before the item gets delivered to your home.
Even if you are not a professional craftsman, if you like doing DIY repairs on your own home then you will need the best leather tool belt. You will soon discover that having the freedom to work around the work environment with both hands being free while still having all of your tools with you at all times is liberating.
It is also very convenient. Hopefully, by now, you already know what you need to look for in a leather tool belt. I also hope that you will be getting the first and last leather tool belt you will ever wear.