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Travel Tips Tuesday: Safely Packing Batteries for Your Trip

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

If you’re traveling on vacation this summer, you’ll most likely need to bring some batteries along, whether they’re for your camera, personal electronics or other battery-operated equipment. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has implemented safety guidelines for batteries being transported on airplanes designed to prevent fire-related incidents from occurring. TSA works closely with the FAA on potential aviation safety and security issues, and TSA security officers are trained to identify potential safety and security battery-related threats in carry-on and checked bags.

Here is the breakdown on what batteries are allowed and prohibited in carry-on and checked bags, along with some packing tips for safe travel with batteries:

Batteries Allowed in Carry-on Bags:

  • Dry cell alkaline batteries; typical AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt, button sized cells, etc.
  • Dry cell rechargeable batteries such as Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Nickel Cadmium (NiCad).
  • Lithium ion batteries (a.k.a.: rechargeable lithium, lithium polymer, LIPO, secondary lithium).
  • Consumer-sized lithium ion batteries [no more than 8 grams of equivalent lithium content or 100 watt hours (wh) per battery]. This size covers AA, AAA, 9-volt, cell phone, PDA, camera, camcorder, Gameboy, and standard laptop computer batteries.
  • Up to two larger lithium ion batteries (more than 8 grams, up to 25 grams of equivalent lithium content per battery) in their carry-on. This size covers larger extended-life laptop batteries. Most consumer lithium ion batteries are below this size.
  • Lithium metal batteries (a.k.a.: non-rechargeable lithium, primary lithium). These batteries are often used with cameras and other small personal electronics. Consumer-sized batteries (up to 2 grams of lithium per battery) may be carried. This includes all the typical non-rechargeable batteries for personal film cameras and digital cameras (AA, AAA, 123, CR123A, CR1, CR2, CRV3, CR22, 2CR5, etc.) as well as the flat round lithium button cells.

Batteries Allowed in Checked Bags:

  • Except for spare (uninstalled) lithium batteries, all the batteries allowed in carry-on baggage are also allowed in checked baggage; however, we recommend that you pack them in your carry-on bag whenever possible. In the cabin, airline flight crews can better monitor conditions, and have access to the batteries or device if a fire does occur.

Prohibited Batteries:

  • Car batteries, wet batteries, or spillable batteries are prohibited from both carry-on and checked baggage unless they are being used to power a scooter or wheelchair. If you need to pack a spare battery for a scooter or wheelchair, you must advise the aircraft operator so that the battery can be properly packaged for air travel.
  • Spare lithium batteries (both lithium metal and lithium ion/polymer) are prohibited in checked baggage.

Packing Tips for Batteries:

  • If you’re traveling with spare batteries in addition to the ones inside your devices, consider placing each battery in its own protective case, plastic bag, or package, or place tape across the battery's contacts to isolate terminals. Isolating terminals prevents hazards due to short-circuiting.
  • If you must carry a battery-powered device in any baggage, please package it so it won’t accidentally turn on during the flight. If there is an on-off switch or a safety switch, tape it in the "off" position.
  • Check out the Department of Transportation’s spare battery tips page for more information on safely packing spare batteries, and this FAA webpage for more information on permitted and permitted batteries that includes helpful photos.

Battery Chargers:

  • You can pack battery chargers in carry-on and checked bags. If the charger has an electrical cord, be sure to wrap it tightly around the charger.
  • Don’t pack regular batteries in a rechargeable battery charger. Non-rechargeable batteries are not designed for recharging, and become hazardous if placed in a battery charger.

Safe travels!

TSA Blog Team


Submitted by Unknown on

Thank you! I am bringing home spare batteries in my carry on luggage and spare alkalines in my check in.

Submitted by Tribs on

Correct. I respect individual opinion but there is a place for it.

Submitted by Ed Dobson on

We want to pack a Coleman CampVac rechargeable air mattress inflator in our checked luggage. According to the specs it has a lead acid, sealed rechargeable battery. Is this Ok to take?

Submitted by New Yorker on

Very useful article per batteries. Cleared up some confusion after reading about it in newspaper.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Can I put my sealed free lead acid (power supply for a desktop) on the carry on or should be checked bag? Thanks!

Submitted by Esther on

I will be traveling to Puerto Rico in the next few weeks and would like to take batteries for persons there. Would I be allowed to take a carry on entirely filled with batteries or would they not let me go through? Thanks!

Submitted by Devin on

I find some of the info confusing regarding batteries. Im flying home to St.Thomas in the Virgin Islands, our house blew away in Irma.... we are attempting to bring rechargeable batteries for power tools with us with tools....the restrictions on the batteries seems to both say that they are ok and I have no idea...Im also trying to bring a car starter in my carry on for a friends car in st. thomas.....please help

Submitted by Anderson, Lynn, MA on

My mother in law is considering bringing a set of cordless drill with Lithium-Ion batteries to Brazil and She's in doubt if that would be allowed on carry on bags?

Submitted by Hurrincane Reco... on

Can we travel with lithium ion batteries for recharable drills, etc etc

Submitted by Dan on

Can I fly with 20v lithium ion battery (2.5ah)for power tool?

Submitted by What? on


Submitted by Clyde Long on

Apparently, you can bring your device, but no way can you use it on the plane. They suggest emptying your tank(I am not a vaper so I don't know what that is) too as it might leak due to the pressure changes. I hear you cannot charge your device either as it is considered fire hazard.
Try and use one onboard and you will probable face the same federal charges as if you lit a ciggy.

Submitted by Elizabeth Valle... on

How many Dry (C & D)batteries are allowed in a checked luggage?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I would say check with the FAA on stuff like that. They actually post useful and interesting stuff.

Submitted by Nancy on

Can you check a sealed portable car battery jumper with your luggage?

Submitted by Mr French on

see two conflicting

Batteries Allowed in Carry-on Bags:
•Up to two larger lithium ion batteries (more than 8 grams, up to 25 grams of equivalent lithium content per battery) in their carry-on. This size covers larger extended-life laptop batteries. Most consumer lithium ion batteries are below this size.

VS (same page)

Prohibited Batteries:
•Spare lithium batteries (both lithium metal and lithium ion/polymer) are prohibited in checked baggage.

Submitted by Tom on

I'M flying to Boston I have a e-cig machine .is it OK to have .what do I need to do.

Submitted by West Cooper on

E-cigs are ok to carry with you, you may carry it on with you in a pocket, or in your carry on bags.

TSA Blog team

Submitted by RF on

This was a very helpful article. Thank you. My question expands on your information but I'm about to need to travel with a phantom 4 pro, with 3 batteries, one inside the drone, for work. Should I expect problems going through security?

Submitted by Ellen Gould on

I have purchased a portable oxygen converter which uses lithium batteries for my husband and is it safe to carry in the checked luggage in an international flight ?

Submitted by Licks on

So what you're saying is, if they're installed in a tool, for instance, rechargeable batteries can't overheat and burst into flames, as opposed to being uninstalled. Ok, we get it. No, we really don't. As I recall, all those exploding phones and hoverboards they kept showing over and over on the news had their batteries installed when they spontaneously ignited.

Submitted by Licks on

Why don't you make this a little harder for the traveller to decipher? (sarcasm) "up to 25 grams lithium content..." Where do you find that information on a rechargeable battery? Answer: nowhere.

When you concoct these unnecessary regulations, does anyone at TSA run them by an average person not affiliated with TSA and who doesn't speak government gibberish to see if they are easily understood and applied? Rhetorical question, don't need an answer, already know the answer. Hell no!!! We are the all-knowing and all-powerful TSA.

Submitted by Licks on

Do what that one guy did and remove all your clothes.

Submitted by Pierre on

So many hateful people posting here.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Batteries pose a hazard. This blog is to help travelers prevent problems ahead of time. Rather than trying to fix it after it is too late.

Submitted by Gail Harris on

Flying to Romania with DeWalt tool set including two 20 V lithium
Ion batteries.

Submitted by Angel Arreola on

Do lithium polymer is prohibited to carry bag?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Good afternoon,

I will be traveling on military orders to American Samoa to respond to an aids to navigation discrepancy. I have to bring a replacement aid light, Carmanah M860, which contains four 2 volt, nonspillable, lead acid batteries that are completely sealed inside a nonspillable housing. I also have to bring two rechargeable batteries for a portable Dewalt grinder and nail gun. All of these items are required to repair two aids to navigation in and around American Samoa. Other than taping the terminals on the rechargeable batteries, will this be an issue?

Submitted by Jason on

My 9v battery was consficated today because the TSA officer didn’t have to read their own website. How do I get reimbursed?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I packed an electric razor and just as I left the airport building, I heard it buzzing in my bag. It was smoking from being on, possibly even on the flight. (Damn that’s the longest that razor has ever stayed alive.) Should I just throw it away and say it got confiscated or should I just use tape to keep it from turning on?

Submitted by Eric Corbin USMC on

This is a joke ,, Kimberly j Davis after a year she denied my claim for there employees stealing out of my luggage, this was March 2017 I checked to make sure what was ok to bring by there guidelines the vapors were not even out of the boxes, the guidelines says 100 watts or less they were 40 watts, just checked and it says the same, I can say I am going to fight this , I hate bullies

Submitted by Anonymous on

I'm of on hoilday this year as always ..but deciding to take my drone but my batterys are lithium batteries is this acceptable to take in your hand luggage on plane

Submitted by Anonymous on

I think at 7 feet tall they'd be more concerned about your bandolier. And of course the response would be on the order of "rrrooowwwwwrrr!"

Submitted by Chris on

Is a 6v dry cell battery for a floating lantern flashlight allowed on carry-ons?

Submitted by RaymondActIc on


Submitted by Anonymous on

Can you bring a 12 volt power wheels kids riding toy battery in your carryon luggage

Submitted by Jason Phillips on

Can lithium batteries for cordless tools be carried on a plane

Submitted by Todd on

This is a horribly written page. Just state what can and cannot go into checked luggage/carry on. Not a stupid statement like "Except for spare (uninstalled) lithium batteries, all the batteries allowed in carry-on baggage are also allowed in checked baggage; however, we recommend...".

Who writes for you guys, first graders!

Submitted by Brian on

What about a portable battery pack for charging phones 20,000mAh size or smaller?

Submitted by Brian on

Typically any agency that publishes information for the general public will be written at about a fifth or sixth grade level so the majority can comprehend it. Just like most major newspapers do the same.

Submitted by Lisa Schwartz on

What about hearing aid batteries - any limits on those?

Submitted by Neil Resnick on

Are brand new 12V batteries allowed on an airplane? Thank you.

Submitted by Dave on

Bill Walton, is that you?

Submitted by Bob G on

Thanks for your clarification. I believe I understand that AA spare batteries are allowed in checked baggage, but preferably not installed in the battery driven device. Actually, this seems to make sense since the bags and device will get bounced around and possibly the device will turn on. That could lead to a fire hazard. So I removed the batteries from the device.

Submitted by Kody on

Yeah uhh this post is actually super helpful for me and I’m guessing for A LOT of people who use batteries in their day to day living. You seriously think millions of dollars were spent to write one post about batteries? You have issues

Submitted by Beth Shepherd on

what do you mean?What happened concerning a breast prosthesis? I have one....

Submitted by Susanne on

Exactly what I needed to know . Thank you

Submitted by CliffOnTheRoad on

If they short-out, a lot of power (watts) and heat are the result causing things to burn. A fire in the belly of the plane is hard hard or impossible to get to.

If such an event happens in the main cabin, they just open the door and throw your luggage out. :) Sorry this took 5 years to respond.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I always pack my breast implants, just to avoid any problems.

Submitted by Kate Taylor on

Thanks for the very practical information.