How to choose between a tool belt or a tool vest

If you want to know about the latest innovations in the exciting tool industry, ask those who know the most about it – and we’re not just talking about the innovators themselves.  Rather, it’s the people who spend the most time up, out and about earning their daily living by wielding their all-important tools in tool belt of the trades in their skilled and experienced hands.  But it’s when those tools are not necessarily in those hard-working hands that we want to talk about today. Because the tradies know that how they’re wearing those impeccably organized. And secured tools when they need to reach for them the most is just as important as the tools per se.

The buzz on the worksites these days is often in the form of a debate: tool belt or tool vest?  The obvious benefit of both, of course, is that actually wearing your tools frees up the hands and arms completely to safely and efficiently get up ladders, trees, buildings and structures before getting to the real work – eliminating the need for those productivity-sapping back and forth trips whilst keeping everything safe and secure on the journey.  But which option wins the day?

To get the answer, we’ll have to break it down into categories that both the tool belt and the jacket-like tool vest share:

1. Weight

We’re not really talking about overall weight here, because it’s really the tools that tip the scales in both cases.  Rather, we’re talking about weight distribution for the wearer.  With the vest, the weight of those tools is fairly evenly distributed across the upper body, but the tool belt concentrates. The load at a lower centre of gravity, relieving extra strain on every manual worker’s weak spot – the lower back.

2. Comfort & protection

In sheer size, the tool vest is significantly larger than the belt, so when you add in the often heavy tools. The wearer is acutely aware of the load even if it’s quite well distributed.  A key advantage of the heftier wearer coverage is some helpful extra protection from scratches and bruises. But it will be less comfortable than a belt when the temperature rises.

3. Practicality

If the particular job involves little more than climbing a ladder and starting to reach for those tools. A vest and all the available and convenient storage capacity and options will feel rather handy indeed.  On the flip-side, the upper body coverage adds bulk that will make working whilst bent over. Or even crawling through a tight space or lying on the ground a lot more difficult than with a waist-mounted tool belt.

4. Variations

Although the tool vest’s body coverage seemingly opens up more space and creativity for tool storage configuration. It’s just a fact that the variety in the more established and popular tool belt category is about. As vast as the sheer number of workers who use them according to their own personal preferences.  It also has to be said that while a bad-fitting tool vest could be either uncomfortable. Impracticable or even unsafe, as long as that tool belt will clip up, it’s basically good for any user.

Tool belt vs tool vest: What’s the verdict?

So what’s the verdict: does the tool belt or the tool vest win the day?  Ultimately, the choice will be a personal one, determined not just by personal preference but also by the specifics of the real-world applications that differ so vastly.  In many cases, busy and intrepid tool users will have a favourite tool belt and a favourite tool vest to fit the most appropriate occasion. So we think the best move is to ‘test drive’ as many varieties as you like the look of.  To get some further industry guidance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experienced tool and tool accessory specialists.

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