If you are in the market for an electricians tool belt, then you will know there are hundreds out there. But with so many to choose from, which one is right for you? When buying an electricians tool belt there are a number of factors you need to consider. You may value quality and durability. A belt that can withstand the unforgiving environment of the job site. You could prize customization or long-term comfort. You may just want to look good while at home doing that DIY you promised your partner a year ago. Whatever your needs are a great tool belt is designed to make your life easier, and in that spirit we got the belts in our hands and compiled a list of the best electrician tool belts on the market and reviewed them, to help find the right one for you. We have also included a handy buying guide to help you further.
|TradeGear Medium Electricians Combo|
|Occidental Leather 5590||6 lbs||4.6/5|
|CLC Custom Leathercraft 1608|
(Best for the Money)
|GatorBack B240||5 lbs||4.3/5|
|Klein Tools 55427 Tradesman Pro||4 lbs||4.0/5|
Coming in at number one is the TradeGear Medium Electricians Combo. Some will claim that your belt absolutely has to be leather. Especially the older head’s on the job, but that would be doing a disservice to the improvements that synthetic materials, specifically, nylon has made in recent years. Now not only are belts made from nylon the most durable on the market, the increased comfort from the lighter material means only a hard-headed fool would discount a nylon tool belt.
What makes this belt stand out is it’s an all-rounder, it excels in every department. It has over 27 compartments and 2 large pouches, more than enough to keep your tools close and tidy which cannot be said for all the belts we reviewed.
This belt was also designed in partnership with GatorBack, who is one of the leaders in comfortable belts. Now if you have ever used a leather belt, even the more expensive ones you’ll have suffered from the chaffing and digging in that these belts can cause, the patented GatorBack design combats this, it has a memory foam back which has a nice thickness to it that makes it very comfortable to wear for long periods of time. It is also designed with air ventilation in mind to maximize comfort, and of course, again it being nylon it’s far lighter than a competing leather belt. There is one drawback that must be noted and that is this is not an adjustable belt, you will have to size your waist and get the appropriate belt. And remember to get your waist size while you’re clothed! Unless you expect to be on site buck naked. Having said that this belt comes in 5 different sizes so there should be no problem finding the correct one for you.
All in all a great belt, at a great price.
Occidental Leather are one of the leading belt makers in the world, and it’s not hard to see why. As soon as we got the Occidental Leather 5590 in our hands we were impressed with the quality of the leather and how great it looks. The leather is thick to reduce discomfort, and you can tell it is of the highest quality, a product which will last a long time, and with the length of time this product will serve you it’s great to see that it has an adjustable belt so it stays a perfect fit, even if you gain a few pounds.
In terms of functionality, the belt comes with a glut of compartments, 37 in total making sure you have a dedicated space for everything you will need. While this is handy, we had problems fitting in our bigger tools, this did become less of a problem with prolonged use as the leather gradually loosened up. The two largest pockets are nylon which reduces the weight considerably, though some will be put off that the belt is not exclusively leather. It also lacks a tape measure clip which seems a like an oversight on an otherwise overall fantastic product.
Note when purchasing this product, as it is leather, care must be taken when the product arrives. It will feel tight and the pockets might not have as much leeway in them when putting in your tools. Use a leather conditioner, and oil the leather. After a few days, it will loosen making it more comfortable to use.
The Occidental Leather 5590 is a great electricians tool belt, and with the high grain leather used you know this product is going to last, however, the difficulty we had getting it to store our bigger tools means it can’t take the top spot.
This belt really surprised us. CLC have a policy of keeping the price low and the feature list high and this belt really ticked all the right boxes. Let’s start with the good. This is a 4-piece electrician’s combo rig tool belt with 28 separate pockets, the belt is a padded, single roller buckle belt. It’s similar to the TradeGear in that this uses synthetic material. In the case of the CLC they have chosen to use polyester, and while very light it won’t be as durable as the nylon. However it is a very comfortable fit, and that is due to two key quality of life features that this belt has that few others on the market, especially at this price, do. First, this belt comes with its own 4 point suspender system. So no longer will you need to go out and buy a separate pair of suspenders, and hope they can take the weight of a fully loaded tool belt. Second, the belt can fit anyone from the waist size 29 to 46! This could potentially be used for multiple people increasing its usefulness.
Other small details that really made us smile were the zipper on the largest pocket. No longer will your tools go flying across the boot when you throw it in the back of the van. The cordless drill pocket also showed us that CLC meant business. There is no tool on the market you can’t have close to hand with the huge pockets that come with this belt.
The only drawback with this belt is the use of polyester. This belt will not last as long as the Tradegear or Occidental Leather, however, it is far cheaper than both of these, making it absolutely fantastic value.
On paper, the GatorBack B240 has a lot going for it. It has the same patented back support technology seen in the TradeGear belt and at when we first got our hands on it we were asking if there was much difference at all. After some use though, the differences really became quite apparent.
First off let’s be clear the belt is very comfortable, GatorBack have designed an incredible back support system and it really is no surprise other belt manufacturers pay to use this in their own products. This belt is fantastic to wear for long periods of time, the air ventilation system is great and you really feel the benefit.
What ultimately lets this product down is just about everything else with it. The product simply does not stand up to the rigors of daily work. The rivets feel cheap and flimsy, we had one come off on the second day of use, the stitching is not up to the standard required and it feels like the product is going to fall apart at any moment, on top of that the velcro is thin and wears quickly to the point that we feel it would need replacing within weeks.
The GatorBack B240 has 18 pockets when they are not falling apart, which while not the worst of the five belts we tested, isn’t great either.
The one and only saving graces of this product is the one year manufacturer’s warranty provided by GatorBack, and we feel if you purchase this product you will probably find yourself using it sooner rather than later.
If you are a fan of the comforted afforded offered by the GatorBack back support system and also want a great tool belt, we feel you would be better off with the TradeGear Electricians Combo.
Klein tools have one of the best reputations in the industry for tools and a wide variety of different construction products, with this in mind we were very excited to get our hands on the Klein Tools 55427 Tradesman Pro. However, let us just state from the outset that this belt, by way of design leaves a blot on that reputation. By the end of our time with this product, we found ourselves asking, ‘what were they thinking?’
The first mistake we noticed was that they have decided to use these large pouches with no compartmentalization, this means your tools will lay loose inside the pouch and if you sit down they will fly everywhere, also having your tools laying on top of each other, in a large pocket is useless for quickly finding what it is your looking for. They also have added a measuring tape holder, which can be used to measure while the tape is held in place on the belt, but frankly, it is over-engineered to the point of being useless because you can’t measure most things accurately from this sort of angle.
The material also uses nylon and while better than the GatorBack in quality, is nowhere near the TradeGear. Added to that the velcro wears even faster than on the GatorBack, which we didn’t think was possible. It also lacks the GatorBack back support, so all in all this belt really has very few positives.
We were struggling to find something positive to say about this product so all we will say is you can customize the number of pockets that sit on the belt meaning as you change your equipment you don’t need to be carrying any extra weight, but with the lack of compartmentalization it doesn’t really help much at all and from a company that has the reputation that Klein has, it is really disappointing and is simply not good enough.
Now we have the reviews out the way, if you are still unsure what belt to purchase then this handy buying guide is going to help you narrow down the options. In it, we will detail the different factors that you should be thinking about when you are looking to buy the best electrician’s tool belt for you! Remember, price doesn’t always equal quality and ultimately the decision you make is going to be based on how you will use it. So let’s look at the different factors that you will want to consider to make an informed choice.
First up is the comfort. It’s vital to have a belt that is comfortable and is fitted to you. A belt in time will become an extension of you and your work and if it doesn’t fit it will quickly be dumped to the side and not used as intended. With that in mind, there are a couple things to look at with any belt purchase. Make sure you correctly size your waist. Don’t do it without the clothes on that you would wear while on the job! You will find that you need a larger size once you have that shirt on. Also, check to see if the belt you have chosen has holes along to make it easily adjustable? It may well fit perfectly at the beginning but over the years your weight could change, this is something to keep in mind when considering what belt to purchase.
The use of suspenders is also important. A great pair of suspenders will help distribute the weight more evenly across the belt which will keep your back from getting strained when you are using the belt on a regular basis. It will also allow you to wear the belt looser, and this increases comfort. All the belt’s we reviewed will allow you to use suspenders, the CLC Custom Leathercraft 1608 even coming with its own rig. The weight of the belt will affect comfort as well, simply put, a nylon belt is lighter than its leather counterpart and so will be easier for long-term use.
Another thing to look out for is how your tools sit within the belt, you don’t want them digging in to you as you crouch down, and also keep in mind that any leather belt will need a period of breaking in so initially you might think that your tools aren’t sitting very comfortably within the belt but within a few weeks the pockets will loosen and will be much more usable. Remember if you decide to go with leather, use a leather conditioner, which will keep the leather good and speed up the breaking in time.
Ultimately where comfort is concerned. The design and shape of the belt are the most important factors. The two belts we reviewed that used the GatorBack back support system was by far the most comfortable. They had large padding, and with the air ventilation system, you didn’t find yourself getting excessively sweaty while using it. Great for long-term use. The Occidental Leather also felt great and with prolonged use, the leather will really hug your body.
Durability is key when deciding what belt to buy. If you need a belt for everyday use or even if it’s going to be used occasionally it’s vital that when you do go to use it, the belt has not deteriorated to the point of being a hindrance to your work rather than a help.
When we are talking about durability we are really looking at two factors. The material used and how well it has been put together.
Tool belts can come in a number of different materials. It used to be that belts were exclusively leather and many still swear by a leather belt. However in the last 10 years more and more belt manufacturer’s have switched or produce alongside their leather products, belts made with synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester. The advantage these materials are they are far lighter, cheaper for the consumer and are beginning to match leather for durability. As a sliding scale consider leather the most durable, with polyester being the least with nylon managing to capture the best of both worlds.
If you have read the reviews above you will know that some of the belts on the market are not well put together. The rivets become loose, the stitching isn’t up to the rigors of the job site and velcro can become worn. You want to choose a belt that is going to withstand day to day use. Leather tool belts are potentially the longest lasting, there are different qualities of leather so keep this in mind when you are purchasing a belt. Leather doesn’t equal quality. Top grain leather is the highest grade of leather. It is extremely durable and will last a long time will the proper care. You will find more leather belts made using a soft suede leather. This leather is lighter and but will not be as durable as a similar full grain belt. Some of the belts are made of bonded leather, which is stiffer and not nearly as durable.
Nylon products are now a viable option when you are buying a belt, and we really feel this is where you should be looking. They can compete with leather in the durability stakes. However, they are more likely, depending on the belt to have the poor stitching and rivet problems. That is why it is so important that you make sure when you get your belt, you give it a good looking over. Check the thickness of the material. Check the stitching too, is it single or double stitched? Double is preferable. Check the rivets are secure and not likely to fall off. Check for defects and don’t be afraid of sending back any product that doesn’t meet the grade.
A couple of hints and tips to keep your belt in good condition is only ever carry the tools required for the job and if possible, empty the belts contents after each work day into a toolbox or separate bag. Also be careful with sharp tools ripping into the bottoms of pockets.
A point to remember. Your tool belt is meant to be a durable piece of equipment! So don’t treat it like a newborn baby! If you have a belt that is poorly designed and put together and your afraid to throw it down or stuff a tool quickly into the pocket because you’re worried it’s going to fall apart, then it’s no good. That is the sign of a poorly made tool belt, and one you will quickly grow tired of and find yourself replacing sooner rather than later.
When it comes to your belt, you want a belt that has plenty of space and is able to carry all the tools you need for the job. A tool belt with many compartments is key to keeping your tools neat and tidy, and as you get using your belt more often, where your tools are stored on your belt becomes second nature. In time you will be able to easily reach for that screwdriver or drill bit, without even looking down, saving you time.
Some belts are over-engineered, tape measure holders, overcomplicated hammer holsters. Whether you think these things are necessary is up to you, we feel that simpler is better. Give us a comfortable belt and a lot of pockets, with numerous compartments and we’ll work it out, but it’s all about personal preference.
Customization of the tool belt is something that will give you greater freedom. Many belts allow the adding and taking away of bags. Meaning you can have as many tools as you need at your disposal or on the flipside reduce the weight and only having on you what is necessary for the job at hand. Also if you’re left-handed make sure that the rig you pick up is ambidextrous or you will find yourself in some uncomfortable situations, you are in luck though as more and more manufacturers make their belts ambidextrous.
You will also want to be able to move the belt around your waist to give you the space to work. Be careful some belts feel more comfortable being moved than others, for instance, the velcro Klein Tools 55427 Tradesman Pro would become very loose and sometimes fall off when we attempted to move it round to our backs, which makes it a pretty redundant piece of equipment, if rather than sitting around your waist, its instead laying against the wall.
Make sure whatever belt you buy will easily take an added pair of suspenders, this cannot be stressed enough, it helps with weight distribution which helps alleviate the strain on your back.
Keeping safe during work is of vital importance, here are a few hints and tips to keep you safe in regards to your tool belt.
Make sure sharp tools don’t rip through pockets and won’t dig into you when in different motions.
Wear suspenders. The distribution of weight is key to reducing strain on your back.
Sometimes take the suspenders off. Suspenders transfer much of the strain from your back to your shoulders but give your shoulders a rest from time to time as well.
Only carry the tools needed for the day.
When dealing with electricity do not attempt to do any job that you aren’t fully qualified to do. No tool belt will help you in this situation.
We hope the buying guide and the reviews of the best electrician tool belts have provided you with the information needed to make an informed purchase. Whatever belt you decide to go with remembering that this is something that you will be using personally day to day and ultimately it’s what you need in a belt that matters most. With that being said our top pick is the TradeGear Medium Electricians Combo. We cannot recommend this belt enough. The GatorBack support system means it is by far the most comfortable belt, and it is made to a very high standard, the double stitching on the pockets and the rivets feel built to last. It ticks all the boxes in regards to durability and comfort and it comes in at a fantastic price. You really can’t go wrong with the TradeGear Medium Electricians Combo.
If you’re looking for a bang for the buck, then you should check out the CLC Custom Leathercraft 1608. When we first got this product in our hands we were shocked at just how much it had going for it. A sturdy nylon belt with lots of little extras, such as the zipper, to keep your tools from going everywhere. Most importantly though was the inclusion of their own bespoke suspenders, once set up correctly they made this belt an absolute joy to use. A fantastic belt at an unbeatable price.
So there we have it! The top 5 best electrician tool belts on the market and a helping buying guide to working out what is best for you. There are many factors to consider when buying a tool belt, it is used so often and every day making the correct purchase is key. So we hope that having read this the choice about what belt you should get has been made easier.
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