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The Best Tool Vests for 2023

Fact checked by Andrew Carnegie

Every worker, no matter how experienced he/she is in his/her line of work, need the right tools to help them fulfill their job. Various jobs require different sets of tools. For instance, if you are in the construction industry, your tools might include drills, saws, and hammers, among many others.

If you need to bring plenty of tools at work then you might want to enjoy the convenience provided by the best tool vest. Keep in mind that while ensuring that your tools are in just one place is not an issue, bringing them and keeping them within easy reach is another story.

best tool vest

It is because you need them to be easily accessible to avoid dealing with the hassle and exhaustion that might be brought by having to carry your tools back and forth whenever you need them. With a good work tool vest, you can put your tools in just one place without having to tire yourself.

The good news is that some of these tool vests are designed in a way that they can handle all types of tools. Some are also large enough that they can store plenty of items. If you prefer smaller ones that can only carry small hand tools then you have an assurance that they are also currently available in the market.

Your choice of a tool vest is actually dependent on your kind of work. However, if you are still confused then it would be helpful for you to check out the most popular tool vests in the market today that are indicated in this article. Take a look at each short review and figure out which one appeals to you.

<strong>Top 1</strong>

JKSafety Class 2


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<strong>Top 2</strong>

Stanley FMST530201

Stanley FMST530201 Fatmax Tool Vest

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<strong>Top 3</strong>

Occidental Leather 2575


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12 Top-Rated Tool Vest Reviews of 2023

1. JKSafety Class 2 9 Pockets High Visibility Safety Vest


The next choice is the High Visibility Safety Vest offered by JKSafety, which features up to nine useful and spacious pockets. I find it delightful to get introduced to this safety vest, which also acts as a really effective tool vest because I noticed straight away how versatile it is.

It has a great amount of versatility that it is compatible with a wide range of industry applications. In fact, it does not just work as a good construction worker or carpenter tool vest but also as a tool and safety vest designed for sanitation and landscaping workers, security personnel, railway workers, emergency response teams and surveyors.

The flexibility of this tool vest does not end there because you will also be able to use it for leisure activities, including biking, motor riding, and running. The combination of materials used in the construction of this safety or tool vest is also impressive. It makes use of a breathable mesh material as well as the 300D oxford fabric material for its pockets.

You will also notice its heavy-duty zipper, which features double piping, for more integrity and security. The whole construction is amazing because it is both lightweight and durable while also being machine washable. You can also enjoy all the space provided by this tool vest.

It features nine multi-functional and roomy pockets that are all convenient to use. It also has pouches for your other items, adding more storage space. The positioning of the pockets is great as it allows you to access them with convenience.

I am also impressed with the inclusion of wide reflective strips as these promote better visibility, which plays a huge role in one’s safety.

However, I also discovered that the stitching here is not as heavy-duty as that of the others.
What We Like
  • Highly versatile as it works for both industrial applications and leisure activities
  • Equipped with a heavy-duty zipper for security
  • Lightweight and sturdy construction
  • Comes with multi-functional and roomy pockets
  • Promotes excellent visibility with its wide reflective strips
What We Don’t Like
  • The stitching is not that heavy-duty
This specific safety vest boasts of its sturdy construction, comfortable fit and sizing, great visibility, and roomy and spacious pockets – all of which make this truly worthwhile to use at work.

2. Stanley FMST530201 Fatmax Tool Vest

Stanley FMST530201 Fatmax Tool Vest

The first tool vest that deserves a spot in your list of choices is the FMST530201 Fatmax offered by Stanley. It is a solid choice for those who are looking for the best tool vest for electricians and handyman so they can keep their tools close to them. I love how handy this tool vest is and how helpful it is in boosting my productivity.

I noticed that aside from being truly functional, it also lets you use it comfortably and easily to avoid being burdened when you are trying to accomplish your job. One thing that truly caught my attention is the breathability of the material used in this tool vest. It makes use of a breathable material, which also features an air mesh.

This promotes proper ventilation. With that, you no longer have to worry about feeling too hot and uncomfortable in case you need to wear it the entire day. I also discovered that this tool vest prioritizes the safety of its wearers. Note that in a busy workshop, you are at risk of dealing with safety issues because of the frequent movements of people.

Stanley solved that problem by creating a high-visibility tool vest in the form of FMST530201 Fatmax. It is highly visible because of its reflective neon strip, allowing everyone to see your exact spot no matter how dark the workshop is. This can help guarantee your safety.

This vest also has well-spaced pockets to ensure that you can organize all your tools properly. Such spacing can lessen the risk of tool congestion. It also comes with adjustable shoulder straps, ensuring that everyone, regardless of the sizes of their body, can comfortably wear the vest.

One issue, though, is that there is a high chance for your tools to fall out from the pockets when you bend over.
What We Like
  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear
  • Highly visible, thanks to its reflective neon strip
  • Comes with well-spaced pockets, promoting proper Some tool belts
  • Fits everyone with the help of its adjustable shoulder straps
  • Breathable and well-ventilated
What We Don’t Like
  • Tools stored in the pockets are prone to falling out when you are bending
With its high-quality and breathable material and great design, this Stanley handyman and electrician tool vest is on its way towards helping you become a more efficient and productive worker.

3. Occidental Leather 2575 Oxy Pro Work Vest


In case you are shopping for a high-quality and dependable tool vest with pockets, then the 2575 Oxy Pro Work Vest from Occidental Leather will surely get you covered. It is mainly because it is equipped with plenty of pockets. In fact, it carries around 28 pockets and tool holders that I find very convenient and hassle-free to use.

What I like even more about the pockets in this work vest is that they are positioned well while also boasting of proper spacing. Each pocket is also designed in a way that it can accommodate various tools. You can even find special pockets designed to hold pencils, screwdrivers, notebooks, and tape measures, among many others.

Aside from the pockets, there are also several attaching points and loops, providing more than enough room for all your tools. I also like how this work or craftsman tool vest is made in a way that you can strap it to your body without feeling extreme discomfort even when you are working during hot weather.

I think it is because of the open design implemented by Occidental Leather at the back. Such an open back design makes it possible for your body to cool off, preventing the hot climate from bothering you. I am sure that you will also love the 3-inch strong leather belt integrated into the vest as it aims to offer back support.

You just have to tighten the belt so you can minimize back pain and improve your comfort level. It also comes with straps that are easily adjustable, giving you the perfect fit and making you feel truly comfortable while doing your job.

I like the intuitive left-handed design implemented into this product because it promotes productivity.

However, you might feel an initial discomfort, though, it will go away after several uses.
What We Like
  • Comes with 28 pockets, providing more than enough room for your tools
  • Boasts of the open back design, making it more breathable
  • Easily adjustable front and back straps for a perfect fit
  • Applies an intuitive left-handed design
  • Durable and long-lasting
What We Don’t Like
  • Causes some initial discomfort
To conclude, I find this product a great alternative to the traditional pouch or belt systems used by a lot of workers considering how well-made it is and how intuitive its design is.

4. JORESTECH High Visibility Tool Vest


You can also pick the JORESTECH High Visibility Tool Vest known for being ideal for any project or job you have. This means that whether you are looking for a carpenter’s vest, a construction tool vest, or one designed for electricians, you will be able to find this amazing product suitable for your needs.

One incredible thing about this tool vest that I am sure will greatly satisfy you is the use of the Cordura nylon material for its construction known for being extra heavy-duty. I am also very thrilled to see that it is filled with features that make this tool vest truly remarkable.

Among these are its multiple pockets and pouches designed to hold all your tools in a place where you will never have a difficult time reaching for them. The pockets and pouches are built to be roomy and spacious to prevent difficulties in making your tools, like nails, flashlight, and hammer fit.

All the pockets, pouches, clip points, and gear loops are also positioned in a way that you can access them effortlessly, thereby boosting your security. It is also possible for the zipper closure in the front to make your items secure. As for the sizes, you can rest assured that you will not have a hard time finding yours because it fits the majority of users.

It even comes with adjustable side straps so you can make adjustments when necessary, thereby letting it fit your body size perfectly. In terms of visibility, expect this product to provide a solution with its two reflective strips found at the back and its orange or neon green trim.

One issue with this tool vest, though, is that it lacks the breathability present in a couple of tool vests already discussed earlier.
What We Like
  • Equipped with easy to adjust straps to get the perfect fit
  • Highly visible, thanks to the two reflective strips built into the item
  • Comes with a zipper closure for security
  • Spacious and roomy pockets and pouches
  • Extra heavy-duty construction, thanks to the Condura nylon material used
What We Don’t Like
  • Not that breathable
Despite that, the JORESTECH High Visibility Tool Vest does what it is intended to do and that is to help you become a more efficient and productive worker while also keeping you safe all the time.

5. Bucket Boss Canvas SuperVest


I am sure that you will also fall in love with the Canvas SuperVest offered by Bucket Boss. Primarily constructed out of heavy-duty Duckwear canvas material, this utility or tool vest has the perfect combination of comfort and durability and serves as an excellent substitute to the conventional or traditional shop apron.

It is equipped with 14 pockets that offer more than enough space to carry all your work tools and stuff. It also comes with two pockets at the bottom – both of which are built to be adjustable and removable to assure you of a customized and comfortable fit. You do not also need to worry about strain and pressure on your shoulders.

It is because of the padded straps in this utility vest. I noticed that Bucket Boss integrated extra padding into each shoulder strap to make users feel comfortable while working and preventing strain and pain from hampering their movements. Such padded shoulders also work in alleviating the total weight carried by the pockets due to the heavy tools.

I am also in favor of the full mesh back used here because it is breathable and moisture-wicking. Another viable reason why I love this tool vest is that it features elastic sides that guarantee a more versatile fit. Making adjustments to this vest is also easy plus I discovered that each pocket is sensibly and appropriately sized.

The lightweight canvas material used in its overall structure is also impressive because unlike other materials, it is not that stiff. The web hammer loop featured in this tool vest is also something to look forward to.

However, I find the hem used on the pockets prone to tearing.
What We Like
  • Sensibly and appropriately sized pockets
  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear
  • Features a full mesh back, which is both breathable and moisture-wicking
  • Promotes a versatile fit, thanks to its elastic sides
  • Padded shoulder straps to prevent strain and discomfort
What We Don’t Like
  • The hems are prone to tearing sooner than expected
Still, most wearers of this item appreciate its handiness and overall quality, making it a truly convenient and strong solution if you want your tools to be within easy reach.

6. Radians SV55-2ZGD High Visibility Vest


Another fantastic choice is the Radians SV55-2ZGD High Visibility Vest. It is mainly built for people who are holding jobs in the construction and field engineering industries. It is a nice and well-built vest holding most of the features you need for a more convenient working experience.

I personally admire the heavy-duty woven polyester used in creating the front part of this vest combined with the polyester mesh back because this resulted in a structure, which is capable of withstanding even the roughest working situations. The fact that it makes use of polyester mesh material at the back also means that it is highly breathable.

It has a few pockets with just the right sizes to store most of your frequently used tools. It even comes with pockets for a paint can or water bottle. The cargo pockets found in the lower front are also amazing because they feature flagging tape grommets for more security and comfort.

In terms of visibility, I think that this Radians tool vest does not disappoint. It is because it is known for its high visibility brought on by its 2-tone reflective stripes that help make you more visible, especially in low lighting environments, making you as safe as possible in such situations.

It is lightweight, so there is no need to worry about its heavy weight interfering your movements. The collar of this tool vest is comfortable, too.

The stitching is not that durable, though, which is one of its flaws.

What We Like
  • Heavy-duty woven polyester and polyester mesh used in its durable construction
  • Can withstand rough working conditions
  • Features 2-tone reflective stripes to make you visible, even when you are in low lighting environments
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Comes with several pockets with just the right sizes
  • Breathable
What We Don’t Like
  • Not that durable stitching
To conclude, this tool vest serves its intended purpose really well, so buying one and bringing it at work is surely an intelligent move on your part.

7. NoCry Professional Canvas Work Apron


If you want to have an easier time organizing your tools and making them easier to access then investing in the Professional Canvas Work Apron offered by NoCry is probably the best decision you can make. With its sixteen tool pockets, you will never have a difficult time organizing your stuff.

It allows you to safely and quickly organize your tools, including screwdrivers, pliers, pencils, hammers, screws, and knives. One quality that I truly love about this work apron from NoCry is its versatility. It is versatile that using it for a number of projects is possible, including gardening, home improvement, arts and crafts, woodworking, and grilling.

It is also suitable for the needs of various workers, including electricians, machinists, carpenters, and those who are involved in lawn care and cleaning. I personally love the combination of materials utilized in constructing this tool vest. It makes use of the strong and sturdy 600D oxford canvas, which helps make the item durable and waterproof.

Combine that with its double sewn straps and you will instantly sense its extra strength. This item is heavy-duty, too, allowing it to last no matter how rough and tough your work is. It is even known for being resistant to tears, abrasion, and cuts. It also works for both men and women no matter what their heights and body sizes are.

It is because of the built-in adjustable straps, including the waist strap, which you can just adjust to fit you well. The short cut used in this item also promotes utmost convenience when it comes to moving around at work.

I love the built-in quick-release buckle because I noticed that it is easy and uncomplicated to fasten, too.

The only thing I dislike about this vest is that it seems to be lacking in breathability.
What We Like
  • Suitable for a lot of projects and applications
  • Strong yet comfortable oxford canvas construction
  • Comes with double-sewn straps, making it a lot stronger
  • Can withstand tears, abrasions, and cuts
  • Features adjustable straps for a much better fit
What We Don’t Like
  • Not that breathable
Created with comfort, protection, quality, and durability in mind, I am sure that buying this NoCry work apron is a decision that you will never regret.

8. Under NY Sky Tool Apron


The last product that is worthy of my recommendation is the Under NY Sky Tool Apron. I am genuinely impressed with how this tool apron is constructed because it actually makes use of the heavy-duty and sturdy oxford canvas. This material makes this item as durable and tough as possible, allowing it to withstand anything that is thrown at it.

I like the reinforced and safe design showcased by this tool apron, too. It is even built in a way that it can protect you from flying debris and spills. It is equipped with ten big and well-reinforced pockets so you will not have a hard time finding enough space for your stuff.

This tool apron also features seven additional slots for the secure organization and storage of your tools. Some of the tools that you can store here are hammers, knives, pencils, blades, screws, and scissors. I love the exclusive magnetic patch in this product, too, because it works in holding small tools securely, like pins, bolts, nails, and screws.

I love the ergonomic design of this tool vest because it promotes comfort while guaranteeing the even distribution of weight around your shoulders, thereby lessening your risk of experiencing neck pain. It has fully adjustable straps so you can adjust it based on what you feel is most comfortable for you.

Combine that with its quick-release buckles and you will surely enjoy the convenience of closing and opening it quickly and easily. It is also one of the most versatile tool aprons/vests today as it perfectly suits a number of workers, including but not limited to painters, woodworkers, electricians, contractors, carpenters, gardeners, and machinists.

However, it is quite stiff during the first few uses, though, but you can resolve this by breaking it in.
What We Like
  • Ergonomically designed for comfort
  • Comes with adjustable straps for a comfortable fit
  • Sturdy and heavy-duty canvas construction
  • Distributes weight evenly
  • Versatile as it suits the needs of workers
What We Don’t Like
  • Quite stiff at first
The Under NY Sky Tool Apron is an amazing tool vest designed to help organize your stuff and make the process of completing your tasks faster considering how it makes your tools easier to access.

9. Holmes 10-3530-MHBLK Tool Vest


Another high-quality tool vest compatible with various tasks that you need to do every day is the Holmes 10-3530-MHBLK. I find it remarkable because it has several fully functional and valuable features that promote ease in fulfilling your daily tasks. I am so impressed that this Holmes tool vest carries a safe and secure reflective design.

Note that several work sites require their workers to wear high visibility safety equipment and gears. Fortunately, Holmes fulfilled that requirement by fitting a reflective material in the body and shoulders of its tool vest. This makes it visible all the time, contributing a lot to your safety.

I am so pleased with the built-in removable tool pouch, too, because the option to remove it when you are no longer using it promotes ease or movements as well as flexibility when trying to fulfill small and simple projects or jobs. It also promotes easy access and organization with the multiple tool pouches and pockets built in.

I find the mesh-based back of this tool vest helpful in boosting your comfort, too. It is because the mesh material is highly breathable as it guarantees proper airflow. If you frequently use a tape measure then I am sure you will enjoy the nickel tape measure clip included in the item.

It is because it promotes ease in using your tape measure without reaching into pockets, which many find cumbersome. It also assures users of a better fit with the help of its adjustable side strap and shoulder straps.

As for its flaws, I could not find anything except for the somewhat unattractive design of the front pocket.
What We Like
  • Comes with a safe and secure reflective design
  • Guarantees better mobility and flexibility, thanks to its removable pouch
  • Allows you to organize and access your tools with ease
  • Highly breathable, thanks to the mesh material used in the back
  • Ensures a comfortable fit with the aid of its adjustable side strap and shoulder straps
What We Don’t Like
  • Somewhat unattractive front pocket
To conclude, this Holmes tool vest is a solid and incredible choice for anyone who needs to wear a work gear, which is equipped with multiple tool compartments for easy access to their most commonly used tools.

10. Vest Tech High Visibility Tool Vest


You can also enjoy the premium quality and flexible construction showcased by the Vest Tech High Visibility Tool Vest. It is amazing because it works well for commercial and construction applications and is compatible with the needs of most workers, including surveyors, construction workers, and electricians.

I super like its 1280 D nylon construction because it turns it into a strong and unique vest. Another reason to like this tool vest is that it works almost similarly to tool belt suspenders because it makes it possible for you to hang down plenty of tools. It is because it comes with more loops and hooks than enclosed pockets.

With this specific design, I am sure that grabbing your tools will be much more convenient and easier because there is a lower risk of wasting time getting lost in extremely deep and spacious pockets. I am also glad that the manufacturers made it a point to distribute the weight really well.

It works in taking off the weight from your hips and lower back and distributing it evenly on your upper torso. This prevents you from experiencing pain and discomfort due to the weight of your tools while still enjoying easy access. I like the numerous tool loops and sleeves built into the vest as it allows hassle-free storage of various hand tools.

You can also take advantage of the eyelets installed at the bottom part of the vest so you can further customize it to certain tasks. Furthermore, there is a back support belt, which provides additional security, especially if you need to lift heavy objects. It also allows size adjustments found in the front and at the sides for a customizable fit.

It also boasts of its high visibility design, which guarantees additional safety.

However, one thing I dislike about it is its somewhat expensive price.
What We Like
  • Compatible for the needs of most workers in the commercial and industrial industries
  • Guarantees a customizable fit
  • Safe to use, thanks to its high visibility design and back support belt
  • Assures users of even weight distribution, thereby promoting comfort
  • Ensures the hassle-free storage and organization of your tools
What We Don’t Like
  • Somewhat expensive
Still, the quality is amazing and it has plenty of convenient and functional features, so spending a bit more for this item is surely worth it.

11. Blaklader US Utility Vest


The next vest to check out is the Blacklader US Utility Vest. I personally like the combination of materials used in constructing this vest, which include polyester, cotton, and mesh fabric used in the front and back. It is built to showcase a European fit and ensures that it is snug enough to keep wearers safe.

I am particularly pleased with the double-zipper construction implemented into this utility vest because I discovered that it makes it more convenient to wear your vest over bulky clothes and sweatshirts. The double-zipper is expandable, which is a good thing if you intend to bundle up with your heavy and bulky clothes during the winter.

It also has most of the pockets and compartments you need for your items. You can find pockets for your phone and pen. There are also nail pockets in front and at the back. In addition, you will be pleased to know that it is also equipped with a side hammer loop. With all these pockets, loops, and compartments, it is safe to say that it can hold all your tools effortlessly.

It is a comfortable piece of tool vest, too. I think it is because it has mesh panels that make the whole item more breathable. I am also satisfied with its compact design, which is still capable of holding a lot of things.

It is lightweight, as well, so you can rest assured that it will not interfere with your movements at work in any way.

However, one downside I noticed is that its cellphone pouch or pocket does not fit some mobile phone units, like the Galaxy S8.
What We Like
  • Boasts of a snug fit for comfort and safety
  • Truly comfortable, thanks to the breathable mesh panels included
  • Compact and lightweight but still having plenty of room for your stuff
  • Can securely hold your items
  • Equipped with a double-zipper construction
What We Don’t Like
  • The cellphone pocket is not compatible with some mobile phone units
Overall, this is a good utility vest, which fulfills its promise of helping you hold your work tools close to you when you are doing a particular job so you can boost your productivity.

12. Occidental Leather 2535 Tool Vest


I am also very thrilled to introduce the Occidental Leather 2535 Tool Vest to my readers. It is because this compact tool vest serves as an effective carrying system for all your tools equipped with just the right number of appropriately-sized pockets and tool holders.

I am so impressed with the open-back and extensive design used here, which is quite similar to DEWALT tool vest products. I like this design because it guarantees both comfort and functionality. I am also particularly pleased with how this tool vest guarantees a more balanced weight distribution.

Combine that with proper airflow and you get a breathable and comfortable tool vest, which you can wear for a long period without the risk of overheating. It features a lot of pockets, so you no longer have to worry about where you can store your stuff. It even boasts of its large and roomy interiors.

The durability of this tool vest is also on point but without compromising its ability to offer comfort. It even takes pride in its ergonomic design, even distribution of load, and complete freedom of movements.

In addition, it has an intuitive left-handed design, promoting a more productive work experience.

However, it is quite expensive, though, you will never regret shelling more money for this item because of its quality.
What We Like
  • Comes with plenty of appropriately-sized pockets and tool holders
  • Features an open-back design for comfort and functionality
  • Promotes a balanced weight distribution
  • Proper airflow guaranteed, making the vest as breathable as possible
  • Ergonomically designed while allowing you to move freely
What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive
Basically, this tool vest from Occidental Leather has most of the things and features workers are looking for from this product, so it is indeed a smart decision to invest in it.

What is a Tool Vest


When your project needs more storage space than what a regular tool belt can offer then you need to check out tool vests. A tool vest is just what it sounds like. It is a vest that has multiple pockets, pouches, and loops while also being designed to carry different kinds of tools.

Are tool vests better than tool belts? It depends on your personal tastes. However, if you will be basing your decision on practicality, then yes, a tool vest is better. If you are used to using a tool belt, then switching over to a tool vest might seem awkward at first but give it a few more trials and you will see that it actually grows on you.

Tool belts, especially when weighed down with a dozen or so pieces of equipment, will start sliding down your legs, often taking your pants along with them. In addition, tool vests distribute the weight of the tools over your shoulders, making them easier to carry around.

Tool vests also have the added benefit that you do not have tools jangling over your legs when you walk. Everything is in their rightful place. Of course, you can add suspenders to your tool belt to make weight distribution much better.

However, it is hard to find suspenders that provide enough padding to prevent the belt from digging into your shoulders and chafing it. You might not feel it at first, but after a couple of hours working with the wrong suspender-type tool belt, you will start feeling a lot of discomfort on your shoulders.

Tool vests have all of the benefits of tool belts and suspenders and more. The bottom part of the tool vests works just like a tool belt. Some models even allow you to tighten the part around the waist to secure the vest even further. If you are used to dropping your hand to the side and reaching for your tools, you can still do so with a tool vest.

Are you worried about the straps digging into your shoulders? That is not an issue with vests. It is because the shoulders of tool vests are made to be wide so they distribute the weight of the tools evenly.

Probably the only issue that people have about tool vests is that they tend to get a little warm. This is especially true if you are working late in the day and you live in a part of the country that can get quite balmy.

How does It Work

Tool vests work in the same way as tool belts. They have pouches and pockets to hold different kinds of tools and other materials. The difference is the location of the storage pouches. One problem with tool belts is that you have to tighten them quite a bit to prevent them from sliding down your leg.

If you tighten it too much then you will run into circulation problems. It is rare to actually find a tool belt that fits perfectly and is comfortable to wear at the same time. At most, you will have to go through several different brands until you find the one that kind of fits your needs.

Another problem is that most of the weight is carried by your waist and lower back. If you have chronic lower back problems, using a heavy tool belt might not be the best idea. Also, if the belt is not wide enough and does not have ample padding, it will dig into the flesh of your waist and cause some serious skin chafing.

Tool vests help solve all of the problems presented above. First of all, since this is a vest, unless you have impossibly narrow and extremely sloping shoulders, it will not slip off. A tool vest also has a securing strap at the front to keep it secured and close to your chest.

The front securing strap also prevents your tools from swinging from side to side every time you take a step. Because the weight of the tools is carried by the shoulders, you are no longer putting excess pressure on the small of your back.

You do not have to worry about the shoulders as they are wide enough to spread the weight evenly across your shoulders and not dig into your skin. Yes, you can still hang your tools on a tool vest. There are loops and pockets along the bottom, so it will still feel like you are wearing a tool belt with the weight of the tools more evenly distributed.

When you drop your hand to your side, you can still count on your usual tools to be there. The advantage of tool vests is that there are even more storage options. It has a couple of breast pockets and a couple more below them.

You can use these pockets for smaller tools and implements. For instance, you can place your pencils or marking chalk inside the breast pockets and the other pockets for nails and screws or whatnot.

Types of Tool Vests


There are actually several different types of tool vests. Which one of them should you get? You need to take into consideration where you will be using it. Note that while some are designed for heavy-duty use, there are those that are for casual use only.

Casual utility vest – This is just your regular casual vest but made using heavy-duty fabric and has pockets with tough inner linings. It is meant for those who just want a simple tool vest that can hold the basics – a hammer and some screwdrivers, nails, and screws. This is also for those interested in basic home repairs that are not too heavy.

Heavy-duty tool vest – This is a step-up from the casual utility vest. This type is actually meant for heavy use and you can definitely see it in its appearance. It is made of heavy-duty material. Others, on the other hand, are made of tanned leather, vinyl, canvas, polyester, or a combination of these materials.

This type is meant for the serious tradesperson, be it a carpenter, a roofer, woodworker, electrician, and other workers who need to use a ton of tools. It is also ideal for those who want more support and storage than what tool belts can offer.

Hi-visibility tool vest – This heavy-duty tool vest is designed for use in large construction sites. It is basically the same as the heavy-duty tool vests but made using hi-visibility fabrics. Some of them are mostly bright neon orange while others are neon yellow.

All of them have some form of reflective material so they can still be visible in low-light conditions. These vests are usually required for workers in construction sites that use a lot of heavy equipment to prevent serious accidents. Aside from being hi-visibility, these vests are also treated to be fire-retardant.

Some are also resistant to certain hazardous chemicals. They are more than just tool carriers as they also serve as essential safety gears.

Why Do You Need to Wear a Tool Vest

There are some cases when it is actually required to wear tool vests but most of the time, wearing one is just for convenience. One of the instances wherein you actually need to use a tool vest is when you are working in a major construction site, especially a project where there are multiple heavy pieces of machinery in constant operation.

The people operating the heavy machines need to know where all of the other workers are, which is why it is required that everyone in the worksite wear high visibility work clothes, including the tool vest. The tool vest not only has to hold quite a number of tools.

It also needs to be colored brightly, so they are highly visible to the heavy machinery operators. Another instance when hi-vis tool vests are needed is when you are going hunting with a group. It is actually handy when hunting because you can carry all of the gears you need without having to drag along a heavy bag.

All of your ammunition and other gears can be stored in the vest pockets, and the hi-visibility coloring makes you stand out so that other hunters will not mistake you for other animals. This vest is also great for fishing trips. You can carry the whole contents of your tackle box in your vest.

You also might need to switch over to using a tool vest if you are suffering from lower back pain since a fully laden tool belt will only make the pain worse. With a tool vest, the weight of the tools is no longer carried by your waist and lower back. It is distributed evenly over the shoulders, making it easier to carry around even a dozen or so tools.

Using a tool vest also helps you stay organized. It has numerous pockets and pouches, more than enough to hold all of your tools and implements. You can reserve one pocket for nails, another for your measuring tape and pencil, and so on. With a tool vest, you will never lose track of your tools.

Buying Guide


Shopping for a new tool vest can be quite fun, especially when you find out that you have thousands of brands and models to choose from. On the other hand, if the sheer number of choices are starting to make you feel overwhelmed, you can drastically narrow down your choices by taking a couple of considerations to mind.

The vest’s empty weight – The tools that you will be putting into the tool vest are already as heavy as they are. Why would you want to encumber yourself further by wearing a heavy vest? When you are out shopping for a vest, pay more attention to the ones that are not too heavy.

You might like the look of that one vest that is mostly made of leather and has a lot of shiny metal buckles, but if it weighs more than ten pounds then you will regret purchasing it later. However, this does not mean that you have to get the lightest vest that you can get your hands on.

The vest may be light but it may not also be that durable. You need to find a happy medium between being lightweight and durability. For instance, there are vests made of a combination of vinyl and canvas that are quite light but can last for years on the job.

Adjustable straps – Tool vests are not like the vests that were all the rage in the 80s, meaning they only come in one size. Thankfully, they also have straps that you can use to adjust the fit. If you are a bit on the husky side, check if the vest you are eyeing has long straps so you can still close the clasps around your torso to secure it.

Now, if you are on the smaller end of the size chart, check if the vest has a strap at the back that you can adjust to make it narrower so you can close it in front securely. Speaking of straps, you will be manipulating them quite a lot. This requires you to find out if they are made of durable materials.

Breathability – Is the tool vest made of breathable materials? Remember that you will be wearing this vest for most of the workday, so it needs to be comfortable. Also, it needs to let your skin breathe. Choose a tool vest made of breathable materials. For instance, it should use a mesh inner lining, light canvas materials, and the like.

There are many vests out there that are actually meant for use in hot and humid environments, so get one of those. On the other hand, there are also tool vests that can help keep you warm but still allow your skin to breathe, preventing you from getting drenched in sweat beneath your vest even if the weather outside is a bit chilly.

Comfort – Is it comfortable to wear? Although you cannot do anything about the fit of a tool vest, you still have to check if it is actually comfortable to wear. For instance, is the seam around the neck area not itchy? Does it not chafe your skin?

Are the holes for the arms big enough for you? You need to take these details into consideration most especially since you will be the one wearing it.

Versatility – Does it have a versatile and smart design? What kinds of tools can it handle? Does it have a special strap or pocket for a claw hammer? Are there strong pocket liners so they can carry sharp objects like nails or screws without puncturing a hole in the pocket?

If you own a cordless drill that you need to carry around, the tool vest should have a tool strap that you can use to secure the heavy tool.

These are only a couple of the considerations that you need to make before you pull the trigger on your next purchase.

Care and Maintenance

As tough as tool vests are, they still need a bit of TLC every now and again. This means that you will need to give your tool belt a bit of care and maintenance if you want them to last for as long as they can. If this is your first time owning a tool vest, be aware that you are not supposed to toss them into the washing machine.

Avoid hand washing it, too. Detergents will strip away the waterproofing of the tool vest, thus making the tools you put into them prone to rusting. Instead of laundering them, here is what you need to do with tool vests:

First, empty all of the pouches – If you can, turn the pockets inside out and brush off any dirt and debris that has collected in the lining. A quick reminder, do this outside so you do not have to vacuum your floors afterward.

Grab the vest by the shoulders and give it a good shaking off – This will get rid of most of the loose dust and dirt on the surface of the vest. Wear a face mask while doing this, especially if you have asthma or if you’re allergic, as you will be releasing dust particles into the air. Turn the vest inside-out and give it another good shaking off.

Grab your vacuum cleaner and attach the smallest cleaning nozzle attachment to the hose. Vacuum the entire surface area of the vest, maybe even giving it two or three passes just to be sure.

Concentrate more on the corners and the seams as these are the places where dirt and dust like to hide. After vacuuming, take a damp, clean rag, and give the entire vest a good rub down.

Finally, grab a can of laundry sanitizer and spray it all over the vest – This will kill any bacteria and germs and deodorize the vest. If you want, you can use a sanitizing spray with a fresh scent. Allow the vest to dry for a couple of hours and it will be good to use again.

Yes, it does take a bit more effort to clean your vest since it is not machine-washable, but look at it this way, you will only be doing this once a month at the most, depending on how dirty it gets. In addition, with just a bit of effort, you can make sure that your tool vest will last for a very long time.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the most popular tool vest brands?

Several tool vest brands continue to emerge in the market considering its high demand with each one promising to help improve a worker’s productivity and efficiency in an instant. If you are still wondering what brands are safe to invest in then you might want to check out the highly reputable Stanley, Occidental Leather, NoCry, Holmes, and Bucket Boss.

All these brands already earned a lot of positive reviews from its customers so it is safe to say that they are indeed among those that you can trust as far as the quality of their tool vests is concerned.

What are tool vests made of?

Tool vests are made of tough and durable materials because they need to endure quite a bit of punishment with every use. The top tier ones are made mostly of treated leather. These are those that can virtually last forever if you take good care of them. Most of the other brands use either vinyl, canvas, polyester, or any combination of the three.

Tool vest vs. tool belt: what is the difference?

The main difference between the two is visible on the parts of your body that will be carrying the weight of your tools. Tool belts place the weight directly on your waist and lower back. Some tool belts are wide so as to support the lower back, pretty much like how weightlifting belts work.

Tool vests, on the other hand, like to place most of the weight on the shoulders, meaning the weight is distributed evenly, making them much more comfortable to wear and use compared to tool belts.

How to choose the right size of tool vest?

Tool vests usually come in different sizes. To find out which size fits you best, take a tape measure and measure the width of your shoulders. The result will give you an idea about what size you will get. If the vest that you fancy does not come in different sizes, check if there are adjustable straps so you can make it as small or as big as you need it to be.

Can I wash my tool vest using the washing machine?

It depends on the material of your utility work vest. Some models are machine washable, but others are not.

For instance, a safety tool vest with reflective tapes often has specific washing instructions. Other high-visibility fabrics can be machine-washed on a delicate or gentle cycle with mild detergent.

A custom leather tool vest is a bit more high maintenance. Besides soap and water, you will have to apply a leather conditioner and take it to a professional cleaning service once a year. On top of that, you need to drape it on a hanger and store it in a cool, dry place.

Regardless of the brand or fabric, check the care tag or website to learn how to take care of your woodworking vest properly.

How long does a tool vest last?

Various factors like material and construction influence the lifespan of a tool vest. Beyond that, I also observed that the weight of the tools I carry and how frequently I use the vests also put their durability to the test. For instance, loading a lightweight tool vest with heavy items can wear down the stitchings and fabrics quicker.

To give you an idea, a well-made vest can last three years or more. In some cases, it can even last a decade. That said, taking steps to clean and care for your vest can prolong the lifespan of your vest.

What is the warranty?

Each brand publishes its warranty on its website. Stanley offers a limited lifetime warranty, promising to repair without charge for defective vests. It also provides a support page on the website for anyone who needs to contact customer service.

Occidental Leather, on the other hand, has a dedicated web page detailing its warranty and repair for its line of tool vest system and tool belt system.

It will not charge for repairs or replacements of certain parts of any defective item. You can avail of this service as long as the item is not misused, carelessly handled, or erroneously repaired by a service provider unauthorized by the brand.

If you bought vests from reputable e-commerce sites or dealers, they often allow customers to return the defective items and replace them with new ones without additional cost.

Note that these warranties and services may be limited to specific countries only.

How to wear and use your tool vest?

You can wear tool belts pretty much the same as a regular vest. The only difference is that you need to adjust the straps and buckles so that when you close the vest, it fits snugly but not constricting. When loading it up with tools, put the ones that you most usually use at the side of your dominant hand.

For instance, if you are a carpenter, place your hammer, screwdrivers, and other usual tools near your right hand (if you are right-handed). On the side of your non-dominant hand, put the tools that you only occasionally use, like your measuring tape, level, and others.

How to clean?

You just need to give your tool vest occasional dusting. However, unless its tag says otherwise, do not launder it. Doing so will take away the waterproofing seals of the vest, causing stiffness and brittleness afterward. If you need to clean it, give it a good vacuuming to remove most of the dirt and dust then wipe it down using a damp rag to get out the stragglers.

Where to buy?

Ideally, if there is a big enough hardware store in your area then that is where you should go look first. It is best to actually have the tool vest in your hand so you can try it on and find out if it is the right fit for you. Trying it on in person will also give you a chance to feel the material, ensuring that it is breathable and all that.

However, not everyone is within striking distance of a big box hardware store and if you are one of them then you can always go online shopping for a tool vest. The biggest benefit of online shopping is that you have a nearly endless number of brands and models to choose from. You can also find them marked at lower prices than the ones that you find in brick and mortar shops.


Tool vests actually have quite a number of benefits over the traditional tool belt. The most obvious of course is the additional storage. You can fit more than twice the amount of hardware into a good tool vest compared to a tool belt.

In addition, the best tool vest makes it easier to carry heavy equipment as their weight is carried by your shoulders and not your waist and lower back. Now you can work all day without having to suffer from a stabbing pain going up your spine.

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