Best tool bags 2019

Find the perfect soft storage to keep your kit and car tidy with our pick of the best tool bags on sale

If you need to carry tools in your car, a tough bag is generally cheaper than a metal or plastic toolbox, and their material construction is less likely to damage your car’s interior. In addition, softer handles and a shoulder strap mean they should be easier to carry, too.

Size is important, with the capacity of your car’s boot and whether you want to carry an emergency kit or something more complete being important factors. Pockets both inside and out are useful for smaller items, as well as for keeping awkward shapes, such as cans or multimeters, separate and easily accessible.

How we tested them

Divide and conquer is important when it comes to tool storage, so we looked for plenty of pockets. Exterior pockets with sealable flaps to prevent stuff falling out gained extra marks. A bag that stays open makes life easier when you’re working and those with a hard base won’t sag when carrying heavy loads.

We tested two tool kits; one for emergency use, and a fuller version for more comprehensive car work. We marked how well the tools fitted, in addition, to build quality, size, comfortable handles and straps, as well as value.

Verdict

The Stanley Rigid bag balanced price, capacity and practicality for the win. Our budget buy option was the Silverline, and where more space is needed, the VonHaus Roller would do the trick.

  1. 1. Stanley 16-inch Rigid Multipurpose Tool Bag
  2. 2. Silverline Hard Base Tool Bag, Hard Floor 268974
  3. 3. VonHaus Rolling Tool Bag SKU 3500067

Reviews 

Stanley 16-inch Rigid Multipurpose Tool Bag

Price: Around £30Contact: www.halfords.comSize: 44.7x26.2x25.1cmRating: 5 stars

We liked the plastic base, which was actually a tray extending around 30mm up the sides of the bag. The twin-zip top featured a neat document wallet, and on the outside, the front and rear had three pockets, one of which included a velcro flap. Inside, the four pockets were a bit shallow, but at either end was a series of open loops ideal for screwdrivers and spanners. The bag can’t be squashed into smaller spaces and it takes up the same room regardless of contents, but it coped with all our tool selection and was of good quality at a reasonable price.

Buy now from Amazon

Silverline Hard Base Tool Bag, Hard Floor 268974

Price: Around £12Contact: www.silverlinetools.comSize: 40x20x30cmRating: 4.5 stars

A basic bag from Silverline, with eight internal and 10 external pockets, although none of them had covers. The bag didn’t feel as solid as some rivals, but the material did the job and the strong plastic base proved useful as tools were added. Overall the bag was a good size for our smaller kit, and it was only one of two to feature a velcro grip to bind the twin handles together. It was the cheapest on test and best-value price per cubic metre. Although there were bigger and more expensive options, this makes the Silverline a great budget buy for emergency or occasional use. 

Buy now from Amazon

VonHaus Rolling Tool Bag SKU 3500067

Price: Around £43Contact: www.vonhaus.comSize: 47x28x42.5cmRating: 4.5 stars

Looking like an airline carry-on, only the Draper offered more usable storage. Of the 11 exterior pockets, we particularly liked the central one with the flap, which was deeper than most. The inside pockets were also deep and we were impressed by the corner pocket designed for cans. Predictably, the bag swallowed all our test tools with plenty of room to spare. And even when it was full, the extendable handle and twin rear wheels made it easy to get from car to workplace. Not cheap but good value and, for shifting a lot of kit, it’s our choice.

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Stanley 16-inch Open Mouth Tool Bag

Price: Around £20Contact: www.halfords.comSize: 44.7x27.5x23.5cmRating: 4 stars

Stanley’s cheaper option was a conventional bag, which had similar space and mimicked the outer pocket design of our winner, with six external pockets, one of which had a velcro flap. We liked the strong, 600-denier material, hard plastic base and open mouth. Inside, the wider pocket took longer items such as spanners, while the three others held smaller items. It handled the smaller tool kit easily, but couldn’t get it all in without creating a ridiculous squash. Being about mid-range for capacity and price, it also sits about midway in this test. 

Buy now from Amazon

Sealey AP513 500mm HD Tool Storage Bag

Price: Around £43Contact: www.sealey.co.ukSize: 50x24x32cmRating: 4 stars 

There were no flaps, but the nine exterior pockets on this large bag were all deep and useful. An unusual design saw each side fold out from a central section to reveal plenty of space and deep pockets, some with elasticated straps. A can strap, textile tether and document wallet were included, and while it was weighty, at 2.9kg, it stowed our entire toolkit.

Buy now from Sealey

Draper Contractor’s Tool Bag 40755

Price: Around £42Contact: www.drapertools.comSize: 63x28x35cmRating: 3.5 stars

With a capacity twice that of our winner, space wasn’t an issue with this monster. The exterior pockets were deep, with the front three having securing flaps. We liked the grippy rubber feet that will help stop it moving around in the boot, but it really could use a plastic base, because it sagged awkwardly when fully laden.

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VonHaus Heavy Duty Tool Bag SKU 15-250

Price: Around £13Contact: www.vonhaus.comSize: 39x20x26cmRating: 3 stars

This well-made little VonHaus bag was light, at 680g, but with a tough feel. It was cheap on a price-per-capacity basis, but it was the second smallest here. We could fit our emergency kit, but it couldn’t get near with the fuller set. It also lacked pockets, with just two inside and four outside; none were very deep but two had sealable velcro flaps.

Buy now from Amazon

Sealey AP301 300mm Tool Storage Bag with Multi-Pockets

Price: Around £22Contact: www.sealey.co.ukSize: 30x20x25.5cmRating: 3 stars

We liked the thick material and were surprised that Sealey claimed 30 exterior pockets. However, they were in rows, so filling one would limit space in the next. Inside, the 10 pockets could handle smaller items, but few tools. It was the smallest bag we tried – a quarter the size of the Draper – but it was the most expensive per cubic metre. 

Buy now from Amazon

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