Are hand tools allowed on planes? (Everything You Need to Know)

Different hand tools

Yes, many hand tools can be checked or brought in as a carry-on.

Preparing for the TSA Check

Decide whether you will bring your handtools in a carry-on or checked bags. Consult with your airline and see if they have any specific rules or regulations when it comes to the number of bags you can bring.

Another important point to consider is the weight of the bags. Some do not allow bags over a certain weight. Others will give you an extra fee. No one likes having to pay out of pocket for unanticipated expenses, so organizing your luggage before you embark will help you feel calm, cool, and collected.

Finally, many airlines have dimension rules as well. Their dimensions will be listed on their website. Many also have a way for you to measure up your bag to make sure they fit the necessary dimensions at the gate.

TSA Regulations on Handtools

Being ready ahead of time saves you time and also prevents any unnecessary stress while flying. Arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight in order to give yourself plenty of time to check in, find your terminal, and also get through security. Being properly prepared before you fly helps save you time and money in the long run, as you avoid any potential problems and are ready to get to your destination!

The Transportation Security Administration enforces the policies that millions of travelers deal with on a daily basis.

You may be surprised that there are laws and regulations regarding the types of handtools you can bring on a plane as well as the types that you can bring.

Being well informed prior to flying will help you be able to fly safely and avoid any uncomfortable situations. No one wants to be throwing their expensive collection of tools away in order to be able to get on the plane!

While these guidelines are the official ones that are endorsed by the TSA, it is ultimately their decision whether they allow you to travel with something or not. Doing your due diligence will certainly help you while you are traveling. There are many factors to consider. Being a responsible tool owner and having everything organized correctly will be a big help when you are traveling with your handtools or power tools on an airplane.

Things to Consider

Batteries cannot be checked. Spare batteries need to be carried on. If your tools use batteries, then it is important to know. The airline must first approve lithium batteries with more than 100 watt hours to bring in your carry one. You can bring one spare battery that does not exceed 300 watt hours. Also, you can bring two extra batteries that do not exceed 160 watt hours each. Power banks and charging cases must also be checked in. Battery terminals must also be protected from short circuiting. Some ideas on how to do this include putting tape over the terminals or leaving it in their retail packaging.

If you have any questions whatsoever about whether or not you can travel with a certain tool, contact the airport and let them know your concern. Sharp objects in general are not allowed on an airplane. This means your saw, razor, and any other sharp object must be put in your checked baggage.

However, many experts recommend that you check all of your tools so as to keep everything organized and to avoid any worries.

Prohibited Items

While you can bring many of your important tools with you, there are some that are not allowed on an airplane, either carried on or checked.

Many engine-powered tools are prohibited from being taken on the plane, either carried-on or checked. If the engine has any residual fuel in the tank, even vapors, then it cannot be brought on the plane. Brand-new engine tools like chainsaws, generators or trimmers may be brought on the plane because they don’t have fuel in them.

Handtools on Carry-Ons

The strictest regulations apply to handtools brought in carry-ons. Be sure to bring out your measuring tape—there are size restrictions that apply to bringing your favorite handtools on an airplane with you.

The official guidelines state that handtools seven inches and below are allowed on your carry on luggage. This measurement is the total length, end to end, of the tool when it is assembled correctly. To protect yourself and your belongings, be sure to know this ahead of time and pack any hand tools that you have safely.

If your handtools exceed this length then the tools need to be checked. Smaller tools like wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers can be carried-on. Handtools like bottle openers may be carried on as well as checked in.

Checklist of Whether your Tool can be Checked or Carried On

If you have a specific tool in mind, or more than one, compare with this list to see if you can bring it with you on the plane. Being prepared will help you to have a more enjoyable and relaxing trip free of any unwanted hassle with the TSA.

Tools that can be brought in with no problem, as long as they are under seven inches, are a multi-tool without blades, wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers.

Drills cannot be carried on and must be checked. Drill bits must also be checked in and can’t be brought on the plane. Nail guns, hammers, and mallets must also be checked.

Butane curling irons may be carried on if they meet the specific length requirements. They contain a butane tank and because of this they may not be checked in due to airline safety regulations.

Cattle prods cannot be carried on however they may be checked. Corkscrews with no blade are permitted in carry ons and checked baggage.

Crowbars are not permitted on airplanes. They can be checked to be safely transported. Other work tools like laptops and tablets may be carried on the airplane. Duct tape can be carried on as well as checked in.

No engine powered tools can be carried on. Check with the airline ahead of time to be able to bring it on a checked baggage. Kitchen tools may also be flown with if you know the right rules. Blenders can be checked in. Cutting boards can also be checked in. Utensils such as forks and spoons can be carried on the plane, but knives need to be checked.


As well as bringing tools, you may be concerned with bringing hardware on a plane with you. Items such as nails and screws are certainly part of anyone’s toolbox, and you might be concerned with they will be able to fly with you. The best advice is to check them because they are sharp. You may be able to carry on nuts and bolts, but it really is a better idea to keep all of your hardware together to keep things organized. There are many affordable tool boxes available for your tools so you can bring them with you.

Traveling with Powertools

If you are traveling with power tools, either battery-powered or electric, then you need to check them.  The general rule of thumb is all power tools must be checked, whether they are battery powered, corded, or engine powered. If you have any questions about traveling with your power tools be sure to contact the airline before your flight. Get their answer in writing so you can protect yourself when it comes to being time to get on the plane.

Travel Tool Box

What many people decide to do when traveling with their tools is to purchase a “travel tool box”. Some people also get a “TSA lock” in order to protect their tools. The TSA takes no responsibility for checked items and many people want to protect their valuable investment.

As all tools can be checked in and only the small hand tools can be carried on, a travel tool box for the airplane is a great idea. However, you should run into few issues when flying, especially if you are organized. Contacting the airline ahead of time to ask about how to fly with larger, engine-run tools may also be a good strategy if you are unsure about whether or not you can fly with it. Many people fly with tools daily and it is totally possible to do it as well.