Tool Belt Tips
A tool belt is a useful accessory to wear when doing home handy-work tasks around your home, and is particularly useful when you are working on a ladder.
You might think that tool belts are mainly for use by contractors like plumbers, electricians and builders, but they are a valuable addition to any DIY-er’s tool armory. Used properly they can save a lot of time and help you get the job done quicker.
Why Use a Belt Tool Holder?
Whatever kind of home maintenance you get involved in, there will be the need to access various tools, hardware and fasteners at any time. When these are organized and close at hand so that you don’t need to continually move between your toolbox and the work area, you save time and work far more effectively.
This is especially so when working on a ladder. You don’t want to be repeatedly hauling tools or equipment from the ground to the ladder top. That just interrupts your work flow, stops you working efficiently, and tires you out quicker.
The only downside is having to carry the weight of tools on your person, but this is more than outweighed by the positive aspects of using tool belts.
Types of Tool Belt
Tool belts either come as a complete unit where waist belt and tool holders are part of the same assembly, and which is buckled at the back, or the belt is separate and the different tool holders slide on to the belt.
Tools can be stored in pouches and pockets, loops and D-rings, some of which are designed for a specific tool such as a tape measure, a hammer or drill bits.
When you are carrying heavy tools and for long periods, the use of suspenders (shoulder straps) is advisable. These harnesses help reduce the load on your hips and lower back, and can improve comfort.
Tool belts and pouches come in several different types of material, both natural and man-made.
- Leather is the strongest. It’s stiffer and heavier than other types but far more durable. Premium grade brands such as Occidental Leather can be a lot more expensive than other types and can cost several hundred dollars. They are really good quality however, and will last for years.
- Suede is a sturdy alternative to hard leather and can feel more comfortable as it is softer. It’s not as resilient to wear from sharp edged tools as hard leather, though.
- Polyester or nylon woven fabrics are lightweight and water-resistant. They are less puncture-resistant than leather varieties. They can become more comfortable with continual use as they mold to your body shape.
Tool Belt Essentials
- Whether you are right or left-handed choose a belt that favors your dominant side. You’ll be loading the belt so your most used tools are on the side of your dominant hand, with secondary tools loaded on the other.
- Tool belts need to be comfortable as well as functional. Choosing a rig with a wide padded belt will provide more back and hip support, better comfort, and will stop the belt slipping down.
- You need lots of pockets to stow the range of tools and accessories you could be using.
- Spread the weight of a heavy tool load by using suspenders - straps going over the shoulders that distribute the weight better.
- Don’t carry dead weight. Load your belt pouches with just the tools you will need for each job. Carrying unnecessary weight puts strain on your lower back and hips, and can cause some discomfort or pain, and fatigue.
Organizing a Tool Belt
A properly organized tool belt keeps you on-task and working efficiently. This is just as important for the home handyman as for a contractor.
Only carry the tools needed for the particular task you are undertaking. You don’t want to trade away the convenience of having tools with you, for the health risk of carrying too much unnecessary weight.
Balance your tool belt so that the weight on each side is approximately the same. Working will be a lot more comfortable this way.
Use the pouches on the side of your dominant hand to organize your primary tools such as hammer, pencils, pliers, screwdrivers, utility knife. On the other side load screws, nails, bolts, drill bits and so on.
Over time you'll get used to where everything is kept and will instinctively reach for the correct location without looking. You'll find that your tool belt becomes a time-saving aid which helps make your DIY easier and more effective.