The iconic image of a construction worker generally includes a belt heavily laden with tools and other items used on the jobsite. What may be less iconic and well-known is the fact that not only are electricians construction workers but they too often rely on belts to hold their tools.
Still, with construction being such a large industry with numerous fields, not all tool belts serve each profession equally. The demands that an electrician faces are different than those that a general contractor might. As such, the tools and tool belt an electrician needs differs from other construction workers.
With all of the different types of tool belts available and even different electrician’s tool belts, it can be difficult distinguishing one from the other. That is why we have put together a list of the 6 best electrician’s tool belts. Then, we provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can find the right electrician’s tool belt for you.
|TradeGear Medium Electrician Combo Belt & Bags||1250D Nylon||27||5||Belt|
|Occidental Leather 5590 M||Leather & Nylon||37||6||Belt|
|CLC Custom Leathercraft 1608||Polyester||29||1||Harness|
|CLC Custom Leathercraft 1614||Polyester||20||1||Harness|
|OX Tools Four Piece Framer's Rig||Leather||22||1||Belt|
|Occidental Leather 5036 LG |
TradeGear Medium Electrician Combo Belt & Bags – Best All-Around Value Electrician’s Tool Belt
TradeGear is a bit of a unique brand on our list in that it is the only one which does not specialize in tools or tool belts. This is not to suggest that TradeGear is without specialized knowledge, though. In fact, TradeGear makes a number of different construction-related products. By that, we mean that all of the products TradeGear manufactures and sells are ancillary to construction work, but none of them are truly considered necessary components.
That being said, the TradeGear electrician’s tool belt is an interesting product in that it does most of the things you look for well, even if it does not have any specific stand-out features. For example, this is one of the tool belts on our list that is not made in part or entirely out of leather. While leather is prized for both its durability and workability, TradeGear attempts to circumvent this issue by using one of the best fabrics available.
One of the downsides of this construction is the fact that the nylon material and the plastic inserts will never conform to the shape of your tools like a leather pouch would. While it may take time to work and mold a leather pouch into the proper shape, it will end up perfectly suited to your arrangement. The nylon structure of the TradeGear belt will always remain somewhat stiff and open. While this may make it easier to retrieve your tools, it also allows them to fall out when climbing or crawling.
Occidental Leather 5590 M Commercial Electrician’s Set – Most Compartmented Electrician’s Tool Belt
Founded in 1980 in Occidental, California, Occidental Leather is widely known as one of the premier manufacturers of top-of-the-line jobsite tool carrying products. This specialization over the course of decades has allowed Occidental Leather to hone and refine their product line, making it appealing to all types of workers in the construction industry.
Keeping that in mind, this tool belt is definitely not intended to carry any power tools like some of the other electrician’s tool belts we saw. Moreover, the Occidental Leather 5590 does not have a specialized clip for a tape measure – though you could arguably clip most tape measures to the exterior of one of the larger pockets. Still, as tape measures are important to electricians and a dedicate clip for one is common to an electrician’s tool belt, it does seem like an odd oversight.
Another odd quality about this tool belt is the fact that it is made out of mixed materials. As the name might suggest, Occidental Leather specializes in tool carrying products that are made out of high quality top grain and full grain leather. While the belt and one of the pouches of the Occidental Leather 5590 fit this bill, the pouch with the larger compartments is actually made out of nylon. Aside from the fact that nylon is not nearly as durable as leather, it seems odd that the pouch with the larger compartments – likely used to carry either a load of fasteners or heavier hand tools – is made out of the less durable material.
CLC Custom Leathercraft 1608 – Most Comfortable Electrician’s Harness Tool Belt
Unlike Occidental Leather, Custom Leathercraft does not specialize exclusively in tool carrying accessories. Still, CLC is definitely more focused on the accessory market in the construction industry, more so than TradeGear anyway. That being said, CLC manufactures more types of clothing accessories for construction workers than it does tool carrying products, though its philosophy when manufacturing any of its products remains the same.
With that in mind, the CLC 1608 definitely makes some waves in its design. This is one of the few electrician’s tool belts we saw that is actually a harness system.
Many of the other electrician’s tool belts may offer a place to clip a suspender or harness rig, but the CLC 1608 is the first one we noticed that actually provides this harness system to you for free.
This is important, because the CLC 1608 is also one of the least expensive products we reviewed.
That being said, the CLC 1608 is not going to be for everyone. Despite the fact that the tool belt suggests it can fit anyone with a waist size between 29” to 46”, consumers who are a bit shorter review that the CLC 1608 does not fit them properly. In fact, one of the biggest review complaints for men under 5’10” is that the pouches end up hanging below their waists, negating some of the weight distribution and comfort. Still, for taller people, this is easily one of the more comfortable electrician’s tool belts.
In order to serve well numerous types of electricians well, this tool belt features 29 different compartments, including a pouch with a zippered top to prevent spillage when crawling through narrow passageways. Unfortunately, this does not prevent the polyester fabric it is constructed with from failing after extended use. The metal rivets, clips, and even the zipper are also known to give way under heavy loads over time.
CLC Custom Leathercraft 1614 20 Pocket – Best Budget Electrician’s Tool Belt
As is their philosophy, Custom Leathercraft prides themselves on producing a quality product at a reasonable price. In that vein, CLC does not try to go for the glitz and glam of other brands that add a number of additional features which most people will not use, nor does the company use top-of-the-line materials which can increase the cost of their products. Instead, they are a humble company that makes humble products which serve their function well, if not better than the best.
To that end, the CLC 1614 follows this trend faithfully by providing a quality product at an extremely low cost, which does not wow you with a bunch of bells and whistles.
That being said, one thing the CLC 1614 does offer which is uncommon – especially at this price point – is a harness system. While this may not be a true dual strap system like some other suspension tool belts, it does still manage to help distribute the weight a bit more evenly.
Still, following the “no frills” philosophy, the CLC 1614 definitely improve in terms of its construction. For one, this tool belt is made out of polyester fabric that does not have a denier rating worth mentioning. While the CLC 1614 will not fall apart right away, it definitely will have difficulty holding up under extended use for more than half a year. This is not to suggest that it will be unusable in that time, but chances are you will see some failures before long.
While the larger compartments could definitely hold those tools, they will not be able to keep them organized, which will simply lead to frustration and time spent digging around the large compartments looking for the tool you need. This can also be an issue with weight management as the pockets do not feature heavy duty rivets, making overloading the pouches more of a possibility than with some of the other tool belts we saw.
OX Tools Four Piece Framer’s Rig – Best Budget Leather Tool Belt
OX Tools may not have the same brand prestige as Occidental Leather in the tool carrying product market, but they are right up there with them. In fairness, much of that discrepancy has to do more with focus than it does quality. Unlike Occidental Leather, OX Tools does not specialize in tool carrying products, instead offering a whole suite of options for nearly any job, task, or profession within the construction field. As such, this can cause people to overlook the high quality tool belts the brand manufactures.
Despite starting out as a company for masonry and other stonework, OX Tools quickly entered the general construction market and took their tough-minded philosophy with them. In regards to this tool belt, that adherence to excellence shows clearly in their choice of materials and design features.
For instance, this tool belt is made entirely out of top grain leather. This makes the tool belt both durable and comfortable.
That said, the OX Tools tool belt is not going to be for everyone. For one, this tool belt only comes in a single size, and while the size ostensibly will fit anyone from a 29” to 46” waist, it does suffer from the issues that other single sized tool belts have. Specifically, people at the higher and lower ends of the size range review that this tool belt does not necessarily sias others.
Occidental Leather 5036 LG – Most Durable Electrician’s Tool Belt
Providing their quintessential product, the Occidental Leather 5036 is arguably one of the most durable electrician’s tool belts we could find.
For one, this tool belt is one of the few we saw that was made entirely out of top grain leather.
While the leather may not have been pre-treated, this choice favors longevity over comfort. By forcing you to oil the leather personally, it has already hardened tg process.
Another benefit to this breaking in process is that the tool belt will ultimately be custom fit for you. Based on where you put your tools during the breaking in process, the leather will conform to that arrangement. Once fully broken in, the Occidental Leather 5036 will offer some of the best tool gripping capabilities without any closures over the pouch compartments. So long as you do not go upside down, the tools will remain in place even if you are climbing or crawling to your work point.
Still, the pouches are not absolutely ideal. Specifically, the Occidental Leather 5036 is a tad on the low end of the compartment range with only 23 total compartments. Some have reviewed that the absence of handles on the pouches is a bit of an oversight as well. Finally, this is a fairly expensive tool belt, but you definitely get what you pay for – and you may never have to buy another tool belt again.
Electrician Tool Belt Buyer’s Guide
The type of electrician’s tool belt you prefer will depend more on the overall comfort of the tool belt than anything else. Considering electricians are often climbing and crawling to their points of work, this is arguably more important than for many other types of construction professionals.
Belt – This is the standard style of tool belt and is generally worn by most construction professionals. The belt sits around the waist with tool pouches hanging off of it. The thicker the belt, generally the more comfortable, but all belts will place the majority of the weight on the hips and lower back.
Harness – This is a style of tool belt that supplements the belt with a pair of suspenders. The goal of this type is to allow the weight of the tool belt to be distributed across the shoulders as well as the hips and back. Harnesses can either be single or dual strapped, with the latter generally providing a bit more even weight distribution and comfort.
The material a tool belt is made of will ultimately be one of the most important factors when determining its durability. While various other elements like how the belt is stitched and how the pouches are riveted will also play consideration role, there is simply no getting around the fact that the material is the biggest indicator of durability.
Leather – This is the most durable material used for tool belts. It can come in either genuine, top grain, or full grain grades. Genuine leather is made from different bits glued or welded together and is the lowest grade. Top grain is made from the top most layer of skin and combines a solid durability with a decent pliability; consequently, this is also considered the most comfortable grade of leather. Full grain is the most expensive grade of leather and is made from all layers of the skin. While it is incredibly durable, full grain leather will remain stiff even after extended use for years.
Polyester – Polyester is a synthetic fabric that is used for tool belts to cut down on both cost and weight. Considering tool belts will often carry well over twenty pounds of tools, this weight factor can be important. Still, polyester is the least durable material used for tool belts, which can become a problem if the pouch compartments rip. Polyester is the most water resistant material commonly used.
Nylon – Nylon is similar to polyester, but it is significantly stronger. Even better, nylon does not cost much more than polyester – especially not compared to leather. That being said, nylon will still suffer from similar durability issues as polyester, though it will generally take longer for that to occur. Nylon is also not as water resistant as polyester, though it will not suffer the same type of water damage that leather can.
When it comes right down to it, the type of electrician’s work you do will likely inform your decision about which is the best electrician’s tool belt. Of course, cost is also a factor when choosing a product, but the difference between great and okay in this market is larger than for some other products in the construction industry.
If you are simply going for the best all-around deal, the TradeGear tool belt combines a solid construction with a number of unique design features and a robust number of compartments all for a reasonable price. Though not leather, the 1250D nylon, nylon webbing, and plastic insert are quite durable.
Of course, if you are looking for the best leather tool electrician’s tool belt around, it is hard to pass up the Occidental Leather 5036. While it may not have quite as many compartments as some of the other tool belts, it does feature a full top grain leather construction with heavy duty rivets and a 12 oz belt.