Which Tool Belt Material is Best?

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Professional tradesman and DIY enthusiasts who are looking for a tool belt that will really last, offer maximum utility, ease of use and of course, real value for money, the choice of material the tool belt is made from is a major consideration. Tool belts are generally made from different types of leather, suede or a synthetic fabric construction.
Synthetic & Leather Tool Belts
The material you finally select is the one that will ultimately provide the best solution for your individual needs; this will of course largely depend on the type of work you do and where it is done. Personal preference, image and the everyday comfort may also play an integral part of the decision making process. There are a number of alternatives within the leather category, historically considered by many as the optimum tool belt material.
Premium Cowhide Work Belt
Widely considered 'the best' material for tool belts, aprons and rigs is oil tan leather which is full grain cowhide treated with blends of oils and waxes that further increase the already long life qualities and make it suitable for really heavy-duty outdoor use in all weathers. This weatherproofing makes the tool bag a great choice for builders and roofers who are regularly exposed to the elements and carry a variety of weighty tools with them.
The next level down from oil tan is top grain leather; buffed on the grain side making it soft and supple whilst still maintaining exceptional strength, and featuring suede on the reverse side. This combination has great puncture resistance, is extremely comfortable to wear and favoured by many carpenters and dryliners for their choice of tool belt.
The third option in the tool belt leather range is a hide product, tanned and then processed to create a suede finish on both sides to offer superb resilience and flexibility. These tool belts are usually less expensive and are a good economy choice which is Ideal for indoor use, this is the entry level low-cost alternative for many trades and home use.
Lightweight Tool Belts
All of these options have the characteristic of gradually moulding to body shape over time, making them increasingly comfortable to wear, however, possible downsides do exist. Leather is a relatively heavy material, adding weight to the tool belt even before anything is carried. It also needs to be cared for if it is to provide the maximum service life and should be avoided if working where contact with chemicals is likely.
Manmade alternatives offer the advantages of being fully waterproof and lightweight, but still very tough. They also require less maintenance than their leather counterparts. These tool belts are usually made of polyester or nylon fabric woven from high-density fibres. Varying fibre and total fabric thicknesses or weave compositions are available, giving ever increasing puncture-resistant properties if needed.
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