Can You Bring Tools In Your Baggage?

If you're an avid DIY enjoyer and a frequent traveller, you may be looking to take some tools on your next flight. Maybe you're flying across the country to move, and need to assemble something when you land. Whatever the reason, rules surrounding tools can vary.

Can I take tools in my baggage? Yes, however it's not as easy as just slipping them into your bags. Sharp objects can only be taken as checked baggage, and must be securely wrapped and fastened to avoid injury to baggage handlers. Other rules also apply, depending on the tool.

Can You Bring Tools In Your Baggage?

If you are looking to take a tool as carry on baggage, there are some rules to follow. Carry on bags do not permit bladed tools which may be used as a weapon, so take a tool without blades. Secondly, the tool must measure less than seven inches from end to end, according to TSA regulations. 

If you're really desperate to take your carry on bags past a security checkpoint, then we suggest a multi - tool. Provided it has no blade, you may be able to take it with carry on baggage subject to extra screening and checks by airport security staff. 

Hand Tools

Hand tools are best placed into checked luggage, using a travel tool box. Affordable tool boxes designed for travel tend to be light weight, so you don't need to worry about extra baggage fees or costs from taking your bike tools. 

Hand tools can be taken as carry on baggage, unlike butane powered tools or battery and engine powered tools. Naturally butane powered tools pose a security risk, especially in a pressurized environment, so you are better off taking just hand tools. 

Normal baggage should be more than enough to bring your tools, as passenger baggage tends to be quite generous. This is so passenger baggage can include plenty of clothes or other normal baggage items from vacations, as well as souvenirs.

However, it also helps you bring some heavier tools. Luggage with hammers for breaking apart rock formations for example, can be used. While you wouldn't transport a piece of rock on a plane as it is ridiculously heavy, taking a hammer to break a bit of rock on arrival is normal. 

Your carry on baggage will be subject to an x-ray machine, so be sure to not pack any inappropriate content. Plenty of service techs and airport staff have seen their fair share of inappropriate content, so stick to carrying just tools and fishing rods. 

Power Tools

Electronic devices face all kinds of restrictions, and power tools fall under this umbrella. These tools and their associated drill bits and extra batteries must be stored in checked baggage. This is a requirement for the security check, as the bulky size of power tools makes them impossible to take into the cabin. 

Similar to large hand tools, cordless drills are not among the most common items in airline baggage. As a result, you should always wrap and prepare your tools carefully to avoid accidents, and proper packaging can prevent leaking batteries, which may start fires. 

Power Tools

Retail packaging is best kept on your electric drills, power banks, and any hazardous materials you may be transporting. Hazardous materials used in construction however are likely to be restricted, and not permitted onto the flight for safety reasons. 

When using air travel, additional restrictions may apply to your battery powered tools. We'll discuss the role of batteries and your battery powered tools later, but be aware of these surprise guide lines. Other tools of trade jobs, not necessarily construction, also have rules.

Transporting medical devices for example can be difficult, as x-ray screening of luggage is common in most airports. A travel tool box may help you move sensitive equipment, if you really need to do so. 

Bladed Tools

Security screening officers will not let you take blades in your carry on luggage. The reason for this is obvious, your carry on luggage could then be used as a weapon. To prevent endangering the lives of passengers and the risk of a hijacking, blades are forbidden. 

However, if you want to pack box cutters you can take them in your checked baggage. Depending on security checks, if your blades are sheathed, properly wrapped to avoid accidental injury, and otherwise well cared for you should get them onto the plane. 

The one exception to this rule? Scissors. The screening process for scissors only requires them to have blades shorter than four inches, and then you can take them on board the flight. Like any restricted air travel item, you will be subject to additional screening if you do take scissors. 

Taking your baggage after screening is no issue, provided the security agent doesn't stop you. If the security agent does stop you for any additional equipment, then you may be asked to leave behind the item violating airline restrictions. 

Airline safety regulations exist for the safety of everyone, and it is the duty of an airport security official to enforce the applicable safety requirements. Airline size limits for blades and tools may vary, depending on the country as well, but the previously mentioned rule of thumb applies to all American flights. 

Batteries for Power Tools

Battery leaks in tools and cellular phones are a serious security concerns for an airline, as they can cause fires. If you are transporting a heating element, this can also be the source of flames. While some flammable liquids like lighter fluid and pepper spray are banned from flights, fire can still get out of control. 

Batteries for Power Tools

Camping equipment, arts equipment, alcohol, all these flammable materials can get onto a plane. As such, it is best to wrap a spare cartridge or battery in your checked luggage, much like a bladed tool. This will limit leaks, and save the plane from an emergency landing.

Fires in a pressurized atmosphere like a plane cabing can be totally disastorous. Applicable safety requirements will apply to the airline during check in, and you can keep an eye on batteries in your hand luggage. If it produces smoke or grows abnormally warm, alert cabin crew. 

About this Guide

Written By Alex
Last Updated On July 10, 2022
Reading Time 
6 minutes
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