Any self-respecting HVAC technician knows that their tools are the core of their career and an extension of their talents. Not only must you care for the tools and keep them in good repair, but you must also transport them to and from the job site with ease, care, and without being over-encumbered.
This article will look at HVAC tool bags, belts, and backpacks, reviewed, compared, and examined. We will cover the best options for you, when to use which type, and how to pick the perfect tool carrier.
Why Do Technicians Need a Quality Tool Bag?
A quality tool bag is more than just a place to toss your tools. The tight carrier will be comfortable to carry. It will have separate compartments. Every tool will have a home in the bag, easily accessed and readily available.
Not only will the right tool bag keep you organized, but it will also hasten your projects. You won’t need to search for tools or worry about leaving something in the truck. You can complete your tasks faster, increasing your productivity and value to your company.
HVAC Tool Bag, Belt & Backpack Buying Guide
Before you go buy any tool bag, there are several things you should think about first. Let’s find out what those things are.
There are 3 main types of tool carriers, bags, belts, and backpacks. Each one has its own set of pros and cons, so it is worth deciding which one you want (or why to choose one of each).
Bags give you the perfect mix between ease of access and capacity. Tool bags are ideal for working outside, on the ground, where you can keep your tools safe and within reach. Belts offer more accessibility but have less carrying capacity. They are ideal for doing work at heights or on a ladder when you need your hands free and can’t rummage through a bag.
Backpacks aren’t as easy to access but offer a lot of carrying capacity. Weight is also diminished because they spread it out over your shoulders and back instead of a single arm.
They make tool carriers from a variety of materials, with canvas and leather being the most popular. You want to weigh the cost of high-quality materials, versus the added weight they may bring.
Going for a lighter material may save you money upfront, but they rarely last as long as more durable materials. Finding the right balance is ideal.
You may not think about it often, but ergonomics will play a big part in your everyday workflow. The more natural the bag is to carry, the less hand strain you will experience. Hand fatigue, as well as abrasions on your shoulders, can be avoided with an ergonomic carrier.
Bags and backpacks should have enough space for your daily tools. They also need to be compartmentalized. Having a space for your tools, hooks, clips, and pockets. They also need space for washers, screws and bolts, or even nails.
Belts have compartments for all of these, though there isn’t a lot of room for smaller bits. A single pocket or two may be sufficient for individual jobs, though, which is helpful.
We are always in the search for more, or better. Your tool bags need not be featureless, either. Now you can find bags with LED lights built-in, USB charging cables, even Bluetooth speakers.
You will pay more for added features, of course. But sometimes, having your music on the job site will help the day go by faster, which is always worth a few extra bucks.
Price & Warranty
The price will be a deciding factor as well. You will want to have a high-quality bag or belt. Staying cheap will only cause you to make more frequent purchases. It is better to spend more upfront for a high-quality item that will last.
Some will also come with a warranty. Before you buy, though, you should read all the terms of the warranty carefully. Some will require specific steps to activate the warranty (keep proof of purchase, register online, etc.). You will also want to know the warranty length and claims procedure.
10 Best HVAC Tool Carriers Reviewed
Without anymore fanfare, here is the list of the 10 best HVAC tool carriers, reviewed, compared, and ordered for you.
1. Veto Pro Pac TECH-LC
Our Top Pick
|Storage||61 total pockets, D rings, tape ring, tape loop|
|Load-Free Weight||7 pounds|
|Material||Denier Nylon, Molded Polypropylene|
Veto makes bags and packs for many working professionals. The Pro Pack TECH-LC is an upgrade of the LC bag, with new designs for the electrical and HVAC technicians. Our top pick offers you more than 60 pockets and compartments.
The durable and rugged design is not only eye-catching but functional. You will get compliments with this bag, but you will be more productive as well. They rivet the molded polypropylene handle to the PVC infused nylon and has an ergonomic rubber grip.
If your bag gets too heavy, you have the option to attach the padded shoulder strap to one of the six D-rings on the bag. The poly base is waterproof and won’t wobble. Even when the bag is open and you go in and out getting your tools, the bag stays put.
The 100% Denier nylon won’t rip or tear, and the PVC infusion is also waterproof. The bag costs a little more, but with a 5-year warranty and enough space for all of your HVAC tools (and most of the truck you arrived in), you won’t regret the purchase for a minute.
- Rugged, waterproof design and high-quality craftsmanship
- Over 60 pockets for tools and bits
- Ergonomic carry handle
- 5-year warranty
- It can be easy to over-fill the bag
2. Klein Tools 55421BP-14
Best Heavy Duty HVAC Technician Tool Bag
|Storage||39 pockets, stainless clip ring|
|Load-Free Weight||7.5 pounds|
|Material||Nylon, molded rubber|
We know Klein for their tool line up, with extended wear and tough tools, you would expect their tool bags to be just as tough and rugged. The best heavy-duty HVAC technician tool bag is a Klein. They make this backpack from the super-durable 1680D woven nylon, one of the most robust materials made.
The molded rubber bottom gives you three and a half inches of waterproofing and stability, and the 39 pockets offer ample space to stow everything from screwdrivers and drill bits to manifolds. It has a hard plastic external pocket to store fragile items like your safety glasses.
The one downside to this bag is the confusion surrounding the warranty. Klein offers the tool backpack with a lifetime warranty, where they will repair or replace for almost any reason. The confusion comes from the wording of their warranty. Instead of saying lifetime, or outlining the exact time frame, they only state “normal life of product.”
While Klein never says what the normal life of the backpack is, we can assume that Klein will honor the warranty even 20 years from now.
With a carrying handle for quick transport and two padded shoulder straps for those longer hauls, the Klein Tools technician backpack will serve you well, no matter what you put it through.
- Highly durable 1680D nylon build material.
- Easy-see orange liner to help you find the tools in low light.
- 39 pockets total for all sized tool storage
- Lifetime warranty is confusing and may not be a true “lifetime”
3. Custom LeatherCraft 1132
Best HVAC Backpack Tool Bag
|Storage||6 zipper compartments, plastic small-pieces tray, 75 total pockets|
|Load-Free Weight||5 pounds|
The Custom LeatherCraft 1132 backpack is easily the best HVAC tool bag around. With 75 total pockets, there is a home for everything. The most challenging part of using this bag is remembering which pocket you put things in.
As long as you can stay organized, it won’t take you long to figure out how best to use this bag. There are a total of six zippered compartments. In the front pocket, you will find a small-piece plastic tray. This is where you want to store your screws, valve cores, and caps.
The lifetime warranty is more apparent than that of the Klein Tools bag. While it still says normal life, they at least tell you it is as long as you own the bag. The bag itself only weighs 5 pounds empty, and each compartment can open to a full flat, making loading and retrieval simple.
There isn’t a molded plastic or rubber bottom, so you will need to watch where you set this down at. While the carry handle isn’t ergonomic, the shoulder straps are double-padded and adjustable. Even when full, it won’t be too much to carry on your back.
- Easy to load and retrieve items.
- Rugged nylon construction
- 775 pockets and sleeves
- Comes with a plastic tray for storing small pieces
- Not waterproof
- Can be difficult to get some items out when full.
4. Occidental Leather 9850
Best HVAC Tool Belt
|Storage||24 total pockets and tool holders|
|Load-Free Weight||1 pound|
If you like having a tool belt to keep your often-used tools at hand, you will love the Occidental Leather belt. The 9850 adjust-to-fit is the best HVAC tool belt on the market. You can purchase in left- or right-handed models, with the “fat pockets” designed for easy access and retrieval to speed up your work.
The belt isn’t waterproof, but the leather-reinforced nylon is very tough. There are a few weak spots, though, and the leather-bound D-rings can easily rip off when connected to the optional suspender system.
There is a two-year warranty in case anything like this happens, and Occidental Leather is easy to work with when it comes to warranty claims or replacements. The pockets here are 10-inches deep, which are ideal for carting around your larger tools.
If you sit often, you may notice that the larger pockets tip easily and can spill the contents. If you are going to sit flush on the ground, you may want to remove the belt to prevent this.
- Deep pockets for holding larger tools
- Can be left or right-handed
- 24 pockets and sleeves for tools and parts
- Suspender attachments aren’t durable
- Pockets can tip when you sit.
5. Veto Pro Pac MB Tool Pouch
Best HVAC Tool Pouch
|Load-Free Weight||0.75 pounds|
Veto makes another appearance on our list, and for a good reason. The Pro Pac MB tool pouch is a great bag in its own right. Constructed of high-quality Denier nylon, the pouch attaches to any external D-ring of all Veto bags for quick access and ease of use.
This bag/pouch is large enough to house 10 pockets for your meters, valve core tools, screwdrivers, and caps. Anything you need to quickly access or diagnose an HVAC system (except for your hoses and manifold) will fit nicely in this pouch.
Larger tools that the HVAC technician needs daily may not all fit. However, if you use this pouch in addition to a Veto Pro Pack bag, you can load it with what you need for a specific job and leave the larger bag behind.
Unlike the larger bags, his pouch isn’t waterproof. Though the PVC-infused nylon makes it weather-resistant, there isn’t a reinforced bottom or molded poly to make it waterproof. With its smaller size, though, you can easily hang it from your belt or place it on the workbench, and it won’t get in the way.
- Highly durable Denier nylon construction
- Quickly attaches to any Veto tool bag
- Large pocket area for everyday tool storage
- May not hold HVAC tools that are needed for all jobs
6. Bucket Boss 10030
Best HVAC Tool Organizer Bucket
|Carrying Type||Bucket Organizer|
|Storage||30 pockets, 3 loops, tape loop|
|Load-Free Weight||2 pounds|
|Material||600 Denier nylon|
When it comes to bucket organizers, there is nothing like the original. The Bucket Boss has 30 pockets to take advantage of, and it will fit most 3- and 5-gallon buckets. The organizer fits around the lip and is even suited for a padded lid, so you can also use it as a stool.
The Bucket Boss is the best HVAC tool organizer bucket for all technicians. The organizer leaves the bucket open so you can store parts (or water bottles!) and carry it with you wherever you go. There are 3 tool loops on the inside for your larger tools like hammers, and if you want to transport your charging hoses, they will fit nicely inside without getting kinked.
The 600 Denier nylon is tough, though not as tough as the 1680D of our top pick. The folded seams on the bucket edge are tear-resistant, so the weight of your tools won’t compromise the durability.
The ergonomics will depend on the type of bucket you use and the handle it comes with. Though most shop buckets aren’t designed with organizers in mind or regularly carrying around, the handles, generally thin, hard plastic, can be reinforced with tape, padding, or by wearing gloves.
- 30 pockets for storing a lot of HVAC tools.
- Lightweight and easy to install
- Lightweight and easy to install
- Some tools may be too large for the shallow pockets.
7. Fieldpiece HVAC Tool Bag BG36
Value For The Money
|Storage||Zippered pocket, adjustable space and tool rings inside.|
|Load-Free Weight||2 pounds|
If you want the best value for the money, then the Fieldpiece HVAC tool bag is your answer. This budget-friendly bag is rugged, durable, and sturdy. The bottom is weatherproof and stable. It doesn’t tip over, even when you are rough with it.
The shoulder strap is adjustable and is double-padded for comfort. What is unique about this bag, though, is the magnetic closure that prevents your tools from falling out when you set it down or knock it over. However, when the bag is full, while you carry it on your shoulder, it has been known to pop open.
The zippered pocket on the outside gives you quick access to your most needed parts. Inside the bottom of the lid has elastic rings to hold wrenches, screwdrivers, or sockets. You can adjust the internal compartment to keep various sized tools and instruments as well. The padded walls will prevent your tools from damaging your more sensitive devices.
You can put your tools, monitors, meters, and screens in the same bag where they remain safe. With a 1-year warranty, your peace of mind can stay safe too. Fieldpiece is dedicated to their customers and will go out of their way to make sure it satisfies you.
- Lightweight and easy to load
- Weather-resistant bottom
- Compact design for easy transportation
- Magnetic closure can pop open when carrying
- D-ring on strap isn’t very secure
8. Milwaukee 48-22-8200 1680 Denier
Best Backpack Tool Bag For HVAC With Laptop Sleeve
|Storage||35 pockets, laptop sleeve, D-rings|
|Load-Free Weight||4.5 pounds|
|Warranty||Limited lifetime warranty|
With digital components, Bluetooth monitors, and other smart home devices, having a laptop with you on a call is more and more common. For these technicians, the best backpack tool bag for HVAC techs with a laptop sleeve is crucial.
Being able to protect your laptop while still transporting your tools can make or break a service call. The Milwaukee 48-22-8200 is what you are looking for. Not only does it have high-quality construction, but it also has enough space for just about everything, even your laptop.
Heavy tools, manifolds, and even your charging hoses will fit comfortably inside the 35 pocket interior. Your gauges and meters will fit in the side pockets, and the double-padded shoulder straps make transporting the bag comfortable.
The base is sturdy and waterproof. However, it can tip over since it isn’t a broad base. Getting your tools loaded is simple with the wide-open mouth and zippered compartments. The limited lifetime warranty will help you rest easy with your investment, too.
While it isn’t as rugged or durable as our top pick, it weighs less and has a better warranty. If you need a laptop compartment for your work bag, Milwaukee has the answer.
- Separates your tools from your electronics or laptop
- Waterproof bottom
- Holds larger tools and components
- Not many small pockets for screws, cores or parts
9. DEWALT DGL523
Best Tech Tool Bag With Led Light
|Load-Free Weight||4.7 pounds|
The DeWalt DGL523 backpack is a co-op build. Designed by Custom LeatherCraft (makers of our #3 pick above), DeWalt brings craftsmanship and brand name to a rugged backpack made for the HVAC professional.
The base of this backpack is a high-quality rubber that also has rubber feet to help minimize wear and tear and prolong life. The pack is made to be at the worksite with you. The 35 lumens LED can point down into the bag to help you find your tools quicker. It is also adjustable and will help illuminate your work area if needed.
The light runs on two 3-A batteries, which come included. You also get a 3-year warranty to help you rest assured any issues will be handled right away. While the canvas and nylon build isn’t the most durable on the market, you won’t have many problems crop up. All seams are folded, and double sewn for longevity and added weight.
You can load the pack up with all of your tools, and it disperses the weight across the entire bag. The padded shoulder straps can clasp to aid in weight distribution. You need not worry about finding your flashlight in the dark with the DeWalt backpack; you won’t need a flashlight at all.
- Adjustable LED light can point at work area or into bag
- Sturdy base with feet to minimize wear and tear
- 57 total pockets for storing anything you need
- Not as durable as other backpacks on this list.
10. CLC Custom LeatherCraft 1528
Best Multi Compartment Carrier
|Storage||22 pockets, plastic parts tray, clip rings|
|Load-Free Weight||4 pounds|
|Warranty||Limited lifetime warranty|
Rounding out our best-of list is another entry from Custom LeatherCraft. This bag is a non-collapsible square base tool bag. It has a wide, square-body build to prevent being knocked over. With 22 total pockets, you can store all manner of tools inside and along the outer edges.
It also comes with a plastic parts tray for your screws, bolts and valve cores. The easy-carry handle is ergonomic and won’t promote hand fatigue. If you do get tired of carrying it around, though, you can use the included shoulder strap.
Like all CLC products, this comes with a limited lifetime warranty. For the life of the item, not the owner, CLC will repair or replace the bag should anything go wrong because of regular use or craftsmanship defects.
The design has changed, and a lot of customers coming back to purchase a new one find they don’t like the design. The difference is that this bag used to have a zippered compartment on the bottom where the plastic storage tray was located. Now the bottom compartment is gone, and the plastic tray takes up an external pocket space.
- 22 pockets with enough space for large items
- Extra storage tray is ideal for caps, cores and screws.
- Won’t tip over
- Older design is more popular (storage on bottom)
Types of HVAC Tool Carriers
There are various types of tool carriers beyond the big three. Let’s take a brief look at the different types.
A tool pouch is a small bag that can clip on to your waistband or belt. They can also have a drawstring closure or snap closure. Pouches are useful for storing items or holding smaller parts in a single place. Larger pouches can hold hoses, manifolds, or other items.
The most popular tool carrier is the tool bag. These will have a reinforced bottom and are usually made from leather or nylon for durability. Zippered closures are normal and easy to grab carrying handles to make them highly portable. You will find a large area in the middle for your primary tools, with compartments and pockets along the inner and outer edges.
A tool backpack isn’t unlike a school backpack. They come with a single strap or double shoulder straps for carrying. These are ideal for sorting your tools long term, and you can use the pockets for your multi-tools, screwdrivers, and smaller bits like screws and bolts.
A tool belt is usually made from leather and will wrap around your waist with a buckle or Velcro closure. There will be pouches to store smaller items and rings and hooks to drape your larger tools from. These are ideal for working from heights or off a ladder.
Bucket Tool Organizers
Bucket tool carriers are common when there are multiple projects, or you need to carry tools and parts. The 1 to 5-gallon buckets are used for parts storage, and the tool carrier fits over the lip of the bucket. The tool portion will have pockets, pouches, and hooks or rings to separate and store your tools.
Tips for HVAC Tool Bag Setup
Mostly, you can set up your tool bag in a manner that works best for you. However, to help you save time and stay organized, you need to familiarize yourself with the features and locations of the pockets.
Some pockets will be deeper than others, and the deeper pockets can get challenging to find the bottom. It is best to keep your valve cores, drill bits, screws, and other small items in the outside pockets. Using the inside for your tools, you can line the edge with manual tools like screwdrivers, multi-tools, voltmeters, etc.
Your charging hoses, manifold, or other larger pieces should find their way to the center area, which will keep them in place and make the weight evenly distributed for better portability.
Essential HVAC Tools List
What should you keep in your bag? The easy answer is the tools and pieces you use consistently. Here is a list to help guide you.
- Hammer or rubber mallet
- Charging hoses
- Valve caps
- Safety glasses
- Grease pencil
- Permanent marker
- Cleaning rags
- Valve cores
- Core removal tool
- Condenser unit screws
- Multi-tool with screwdriver and socket bits
- Screwdriver (both flat and Phillips tips)
- Measuring tape
Frequently Asked Questions
Are HVAC tool bags waterproof?
A lot of the tool carriers will be weather resistant. Depending on the material, this could be natural or chemical. Some will be waterproof if they have watertight closures, but this is rare.
How can I keep moisture away from my tools?
You can use desiccant pouches inside your tool bag to help pull out any moisture. Drying your tools off and keeping them clean before storing them in your tool bag will also help.
Can I use an HVAC tool bag to store my laptop?
It isn’t recommended to keep valuable electronics inside a tool bag. There is little to no protection inside the bag to prevent breaking or damage from tools clanging around or knocking into the laptop. However, if there is a pocket large enough and you aren’t keeping any large tools in the bag, it can be done temporarily.
How long do HVAC tool bags normally last?
Depending on how you care for them and their material as well as construction, a high-quality tool bag can last you several years.
How do I clean my HVAC bag? Does it require any regular maintenance?
Most tool bags will not require any special maintenance. You can wipe them with a cleaning rag soaked in warm water. To remove grease, you can add a drop or two of dish soap. For bags that have a weather-proofing added, you will need to retreat at least once a year. Inspection of the bag should be done regularly to find and repair any tears, holes, or broken seams.
Where can I buy HVAC tool bags for sale?
Your best option to find the tool bag or carrier you want at a discounted price is through Amazon. Many manufacturers and 3rd party vendors will list sale prices to boost sales numbers through their Amazon stores. It is also the place to find last year’s models at a discount when the new models are released.
As you can see, there are a lot of options to consider when looking for the best HVAC tool bag, belt, or backpack. You need to weigh portability, capacity, and size against price, durability, and necessity.
The best HVAC tool bag for you is the one that will hold what you need to bring to the job site. If you are in doubt, we can easily recommend our top pick, the Veto Pro Pac TECH-LC. It is rugged, durable, and has an amazing capacity for all of your HVAC tools and small parts.
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