A tool belt is an essential piece of equipment for any worker. Tool belts come in a variety of material, such as cloth, nylon and leather. While some people like nylon belts, we prefer the leather and wouldn't use anything else. They last longer, are more durable, and you don't get nails or other fasteners poking you on the side. All in all, we just feel they are a better investment.
We were very excited when we spoke with the owner Chris at Graber. While they make a lot of other products, we were especially interested in their tool belts and pouches. We spoke with Chris and we had to get our hands on one of these belts.
Graber started in 1974 in Grabill, Indiana. Over the years Graber has been known for a lot of things, but when people hear the Graber name, they know it means quality. With everything they design and craft, quality is their number one concern. Their tool belts, pouches, and cases all come with a one year warranty. There are a lot of things to like about their products, such as: American made, American Hide, Chrome Oil Retan process, thicker leather and oil and wax edges, to name a few.
Graber belts are made from tough and long-lasting Bull hide. While most belts on the market are 10-12 oz., Graber is 14+ oz., which means the belt is thicker and will last longer. Another plus is the oiled and waxed edges. If you have noticed on your tool belt that you bought from a local hardware center, the belt deteriorates rather quickly. One reason is the sides are still exposed to the environment. Graber solves this problem by hand oiling and waxing every belt and every edge. Graber uses a Chrome Oil Retan which provides strength and durability with out the traditional weight you would expect from a leather belt and pouch. Over all, the way Graber creates their products suggests they truly believe in quality, and having the best quality belts and pouches around.
When we received our belt, pouch, and cell phone case (We will review the case in another posting) in the mail we were very excited. Right from the start we could see the quality and the craftsmanship that goes into the belt and pouch. The first item we noticed was the soft leather. When we picked up the pouch, we expected it to weigh a lot, as most leather pouches do. To our surprise, it was very lightweight. This is due to their process, as they use the Chrome Oil Retan. Even though it was new, it felt like that old baseball glove you have that fits perfect. The rivets are solid and we know this will provide years of durability. The lip on each pocket is thick and will also last without wearing out.
The Graber tool belt is all leather. The belt buckle is all metal and has two prongs to hold the belt in place. Our belt has ten different positions. So in the summer time you can make it a little more snug while in winter time with the extra cloths, you can loosen the belt up and still have it fit very nice. Graber will send the size that is right for you.
Our pouch has 10 pockets and uses a three tier system. They also make another 10 pockets and other 8 pockets with other features. As we noted above, this pouch is put together by strong rivets that will last a long time. One item we li is this pouch is not stiff, it is all ready flexible to fit you. The stitching that holds the pockets to the pouch is very thick. Also, we like the lip of the pockets, they are thick and will provide a long life as you will be putting tools and fasteners in and out of this pouch on a constant basis.
We tested the belt and the pouch. There is not a lot to test to a belt and pouch, but we still ran it through some test to find out more about the quality and durability. For the belt, we could see by the construction that it was made with quality in mind. We did take the buckle part and smack it on the concrete ground a bunch of times to see if we could break it or the rivets, but as we assumed, it held up great.
When testing the pouch, we tried to rip out the rivets by pulling on the pockets, which is more abuse then anyone who is properly using a tool belt will every create. The stitching and the rivets help up with no problems at all. The next item was the hammer holders. We had one person hold the belt and another pull on the hammer to try and break the loop, but we didn't have much success. The last item was throwing tools into the pockets to try and pierce the leather. Well, we all know leather is extremely tough, so we had no luck with this either, didn't even break the rivets.
Now you might be asking yourself, why wouldn't I go to the local home center and buy one of their belts. Well for a couple of different reasons. First, this is a nice two piece system, the belt and the pouch. Most have them as one piece. There are numerous advantages of a two piece system over a one piece. For instance, with a one piece system, you will have a hard time finding one to fit you as nice as the pouch. With a two piece system you have the freedom to move it around, so if you want the pouch towards the front you can move it there. If you prefer to have the pouch towards the back you can move it there also. One great feature with a two piece is when you are climbing a ladder, you can move the pouch towards your backside so it doesn't get in the way or get caught on something on the way up the ladder. Another great feature with a two piece system is if something breaks, or you need to replace an item, you are only replacing that item, not the whole belt. The biggest reason to go with a quality tool belt and pouch like Graber is the way they create a quality product. Quality rivets and leather. The Chrome Oil Retan process makes the belt strong and durable, but with out the added weight. These are only a small sample of reasons for why we are recommending Graber belts and pouches.
Over all, if you are looking for an incredible tool belt system, we would go with Graber. They are the highest quality and made to last. We have worn a lot of belts over the years, but none have been crafted as well as the Graber system. You are not going to get a better fit anywhere else, at least we haven't found one.
For those electricians or plumbers who might be looking for more loops and pockets, Graber will be launching their new line in early 2009 that will fit your needs. Currently you can buy Graber products direct from Graberharness.com.