Travel Tips

5 min read

TSA's Verdict: Packing Flashlights for Sky-High Travel

Ever been in a dark plane cabin and wished for a beacon of light? Let's illuminate the rules on packing flashlights for your next high-flying adventure!

Tobi Miles
July 31, 2022

You may find yourself packing all the essentials for travel when packing your carry-on. You may bring various products that are your everyday household items, such as nail clippers, toiletry items, and even a flashlight. But some things can’t go through security, so can you bring a flashlight on a plane?

It’s okay to bring a simple flashlight on a plane in your carry-on bag or your checked luggage. You can bring your typical household flashlight less than 7 inches on board a plane. Flashlights longer than 7 inches must go in checked baggage. If it is a tactical or industrial flashlight, the TSA may confiscate it per its rules.

The TSA always has the last say on whether your flashlight clears security checks. You will want to check with the TSA agents if your flashlight is permitted at the security checkpoint. Additionally, packing batteries can be challenging since they will take up extra space in your carry-on.

A Quick Look At The TSA’s Rules For Flashlights 2022

The TSA has special instructions and rules for taking a flashlight through security. A flashlight is a very common utensil that many pack for various reasons and protection. The TSA does have tips and tricks on how to get through security with ease.

  • You can take a flashlight in your carry-on or personal bag when traveling.
  • Packing a flashlight in your checked luggage is also acceptable.
  • The flashlights you bring on a plane or in your carry-on must be shorter than 7 inches in length.
  • You must pack any flashlight longer than 7 inches in checked luggage.
  • Any flashlight of tactical, military, or defensive use will be confiscated or deemed unsafe for flight.

Is It Okay To Bring A Flashlight On A Plane?

As long as a flashlight falls within the 7 inches or less, you can bring it with you on a plane. If you have a longer flashlight, you must pack it in checked luggage. To bring a flashlight on a plane, it must be approved and checked at security via x-ray.

Can You Bring A Tactical Flashlight On A Plane?

If the flashlight you bring is military grade, tactical, or built for defensive purposes, you may not bring it. TSA security and airlines abide by all laws and will not allow weapons on a flight. A tactical flashlight is best packed in checked luggage or left at home.

Do I Have To Take The Batteries Out Of A Flashlight Before Going On A Plane?

If your flashlight has lithium-ion or removable batteries, you must take them out to go through security. Batteries can be potentially hazardous, and you should remove them and place them in a separate bag within your carry-on. At security, you should put the bag of batteries, flashlight, and other electronics in the bins.

Related Read: What Does 100 ml Look Like?

What Are The Restrictions For Packing A Flashlight In My Carry-On Bag?

If you have a rechargeable flashlight and can’t remove the batteries, the TSA prefers you carry it on. This allows for good screening and security to clear it before a flight. Lithium-ion rechargeable flashlights are safer on the plane in your carry-on than in checked luggage.

If you have a flashlight in your carry-on, as stated before, it must measure less than 7 inches. The TSA places this measurement to ensure flashlights travel safely and properly aboard a plane in carry-ons. The average flashlight size is 3”-7”, so you should have no problem finding one for travel.

If your flashlight has removable batteries, you may be asked to remove them before going through security. This will allow additional screening to ensure all batteries are clear for travel. Along with batteries, you will need to know other restrictions for travel.

Flashlights with defensive mechanisms from a stunning feature, alarm, sharp appendage, or taser won't be allowed in a carry-on.

Related Read: How to Choose an 18x 14x8 Bag

Can The TSA Take My Flashlight?

If the TSA does not like the look or style of your flashlight, they do have the right to take your flashlight. If it is meant to look concealed or has a sleek look, the TSA may deem it unsafe. The TSA, by law, has to follow all federal laws and upholds all airport security to enforce rules and regulations.

If the flashlight is jagged or has broken glass, then the TSA can also designate it as unsafe for travel. The TSA security agent gets the final call.

Will A Flashlight Set Off A Metal Detector?

The metal detector will go off if you have a flashlight on your person. This will require you to empty your pockets and do additional scanning. If a flashlight is in your bag and sets off the metal detector, it may be the batteries.

It is customary to remove the batteries and place the flashlight in the bin outside of your bag. Any metal flashlight, batteries, or electrical device will set off the metal detector.

Can You Pack A Flashlight In Your Checked Luggage?

If your flashlight is longer than 7 inches, packing it in your checked luggage is the best option. However, packing the flashlight may mean you have to carry any batteries with you in your carry-on. If your flashlight is industrial and heavier than your average flashlight, then your checked bag is safer.

Whether international flights or domestic ones may also determine if you can carry a flashlight. Airline restrictions vary on whether you are traveling to South Korea or Punta Cana on how you can travel with flashlights. Checking with TSA and your chosen airlines can answer any questions.

Related Read: Can You Bring Powder on a Plane?

How Should You Pack A Flashlight?

As stated before, any basic flashlight less than 7 inches can go in your carry-on bag. Tactical or military-grade flashlights must go in your checked luggage. You must take all spare batteries and extra lithium-ion rechargeable batteries onboard in your personal carry-on bag.

These batteries can pose a fire risk if transported in the hold with checked luggage. Following these packing tips will ensure that any and all questionable or dangerous flashlights are safe.

Still Not Sure If You Can Bring A Flashlight On A Plane? Ask the TSA

If you are still unsure about packing a flashlight on your travels, check out the TSA website. You will find the answer by clicking the top link or search bar. You can also search for specific items and flashlights to see if they are permitted through security.

If the site is not helpful, you can go to the support button and chat online or on the phone. When you reach a representative, they will help you search on the website or answer your question directly. You can also find answers at the airport along with the TSA website.

As you walk through security and check your luggage, you can bet that the TSA agents will help. Most airline agents and TSA agents are there to help you have a smooth trip from check-in to the terminal. If you have any questions or concerns, you can get them addressed while in security or before your flight.

Related Read: Can You Bring an Umbrella on a Plane?


When it comes to planning a trip, there are a few essentials and household items you may bring with you. Most passengers will and do bring flashlights with them in their carry-on bags. The TSA does not have a problem with most flashlights so long as they are shorter than 7 inches.

Most industrial or tactical flashlights can’t go through security due to potentially dangerous incidents that can occur. If the TSA sees your flashlight as a hazard, you will be asked to remove it. The TSA can confiscate it if it is sleek, suspicious, built for defense, or broken.

You should pack your flashlights according to size and TSA regulations. If you have any questions, you can check the TSA website for assistance or ask an agent at the airport. You can rest assured that someone will be happy to answer all questions when necessary.

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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