Due to the events of the past couple of decades in aviation, security at airports has risen, and for good reason.

These security measures ensure that you and all the other passengers get to their destination safely.

Rules and regulations enforced by airlines directly affect what you can and cannot take on a plane. 

You might be aware of the most common things you cannot take on a plane (especially in carry-on) like, liquids over 100mL, sharp objects (like knives), guns, flammable items etc.

Then there are some more vague things like electronic components, tools and instrumentation. 

Can take electronic components and tools on a plane?

The answer is yes, but they could cause some confusion with aviation security. While they do not have exact guidelines for some of theses items, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of taking them on the plane.

Obviously there are different guidelines for different airports and airlines, but, there are some common rules among them. 

Also, when it comes to luggage, you have the option of checked-in and carry-on. However, with some items, you are prohibited to take them through carry-on. 

This article will not concentrate on one particular airport/airline rules and regulations, rather it will cover the general guidelines on what you should take via check-in or carry-on luggage.

Checked baggage vs Carry-on

Whether you are travelling near or far, you will need to pack all your essentials and take them with you.

Taking your things via checked-in baggage or carry-on all depends on your situation.

You might be moving to a new country and need to take all your things with you, so choosing checked-in baggage is your best option.

Or, you might just be going for a week holiday where you only need a few things. Carry-on is your best option here.

What’s the difference between checked in baggage and carry-on.

Can you take electronic components on a plane?

Checked-In Baggage

Checked in baggage is baggage that you hand over to airport staff when you check-in for your flight.

Checked in luggage is ideal when you are moving to another country or going for an extended vacation, and need to take a lot of your personal belongings with you.

The typical weight allowance for checked in baggage ranges from 15kgs to 30kgs (all depending on the airline you are travelling with). The average weight is 20kg. 

Also, depending on the airline you are flying with, checked in luggage is included. On some budget airlines it is not, and you do have to pay extra to get checked in. 


Again the need for checked in baggage will depend on your situation. 

But, checked in luggage does have its advantages. Here are some of them:

  • Higher weight allowance
  • You can pack items in check-in luggage which might not be permitted on carry-on
  • Once you have checked in the bags you do not have to worry about lugging them around 


Here are some of the disadvantages of check-in baggage

  • Sometimes have to pay extra to have check-in luggage included in ticket
  • Possibilities of the Airline losing your bags

Carry-on Baggage

Carry-on baggage is ideal for short trips and vacations. You might only need essentials and a few items of clothing. Or, you might be able to travel for long periods of time with few things.

You do not hand over your carry-on bags to staff when checking in, but take them with you on the plane where you can store them in the overhead compartments above your designated seat.

The weight allowance for carry-on luggage ranges from 7kgs – 10kgs. Again, this all depends on the Airline. However, the standard weight tends to be 7kgs.

Generally, everyone is entitled to carry on luggage and no extra fees have to be paid.


Here are the advantages of carry-on bags:

  • Airline cannot lose your bags
  • Do not have to pay extra
  • Avoid having to wait at baggage carousel to get your bags


Here are some disadvantages:

  • While the airline cannot lose your bags, you have the responsibilities of not losing your own bags
  • Certain items are not permitted to be take on carry-on luggage

General guideline of what is not permitted on a plane

Whether you’re travelling within your own country, or overseas, countries have different rules and regulations when it comes to what you can take on a flight.

So, while restrictions might vary from country to country, there is a commonality of certain goods that are prohibited on a plane.

Most of these items are not allowed to take as carry-on luggage, however, you can pack these items in your checked-in bags.

Sharp Items

Items that include cutting implements such as knives, box cutters, letter openers, scissors, and  tools such as screwdriver, hammers etc.

Sporting Goods

Sporting equipment such as club-like items that include baseball bats, pool cues, golf clubs, lacrosse sticks, brass knuckles, cricket bats, boomerangs and more. 

Flammable items

Items that include lighters, box of matches, explosives, corrosive or toxic items.


Firearms and weapons of any kind are prohibited, as well as replicas and toys

Aerosols and Liquids

Items that are not medicinal or toiletry and exceed the 100mL limit

Lithium Batteries

Spare of loose batteries are not allowed in checked in luggage. The batteries need to be installed in the electronic equipment they power. 

However, they are permitted as carry-on luggage as long as they are protected against damage and short circuits. 

Batteries that exceed specifications of 160Wh or 8g lithium content are prohibited as either checked-in or carry-on luggage. 

While this list is not an extensive list, these are the most common things you cannot take through carry-on.

You can check them in if you have checked-in bags. Spare lithium batteries however, are not allowed as checked-in baggage.

Electronic Devices

The good news when it comes to your electronic devices is that you are allowed them on as carry-on.

As long as the batteries are securely installed in them, and they do not exceed the specification of 160Wh or 8g lithium content.

The most common electronic devices such as cameras, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, portable gaming consoles are fine to take on a plane.

Can you take electronic components on a plane?

Electronic Components and tools

Now, while airlines have guidelines outlined for common goods that you cannot take on a plane, there are grey areas when it comes to items such as electronic components.

When it comes to electronic components, there are components that are loose items such as resistors, LED’s, capacitors etc. Then you have exposed Printed Circuit boards (PCB) such as Arduinos and Raspberry Pis. 

For someone who is not familiar with electronic components, and PCB’s, they can look quite suspicious. 

While there is no rule that you cannot take these items on a plane, having them in your carry-on luggage will most likely cause an issue while going through security.

The key to taking electronic components on a plane as carry-on is to disassemble,organise,box and label everything.

If you have a bunch of resistors and capacitors, have two seperate ziploc bags or plastic containers with labels on them clearly stating what they are.

The same thing applies with an Arduino or Raspberry Pi. If possible store them in their original packaging. That way if you get stopped at security, the packaging will do all the explaining. 

If you do not have the original packaging, again store them in a box clearly stating what they are.You could even print out a picture and specifications to eliminate confusion.

Another great tip is to pack all your electronic components at the top in your bags. This way it shows you are not trying to hide anything. 

If you have the luxury of checked-in luggage, your best option is to pack everything in there.

What if you have a prototype of your DIY project?

This might be an issue as you will not be able to communicate what exactly it is you are taking. 

Again, your best option is to disassemble your project down into modules (resistors, switches, sensors, arduino, battery, etc) that you can label and communicate effectively what they are.

Electronic Tools and Measuring Instruments

There are electronic tools and instrumentation that you might need to take on the plane. 


Tools include things like wire strippers,crimpers, pliers, soldering irons etc. With the rule of sharp items being prohibited on carry-on, you are at the discretion of aviation security.

If your tools are less than 7 inches long you will be able to take them on the plane, otherwise you will have to check them in. 

Measuring Instruments

Instrumentation such as multimeters, oscilloscopes, amp meters will have to follow the similar rulings as electronic devices.

If they are powered by lithium ion batteries, the battery limit cannot exceed 160Wh. 

Most of these electronic measuring instruments come with sharp probes. Again with rules against sharp objects, they will need to be under 7 inches long.

Tips for taking electronic components and tools on a plane

Since there aren’t any clear rules when it comes to electronic components and tools, there are things you can do to make your transition through security smoother, and give you a higher chance of being allowed to take them on the plane in your carry-on. 

Store in Original Packaging

Storing your electronic components, and tools in their original packaging will be beneficial as you will be able to explain clearly to airport security exactly what you are travelling with.

You will not have to go detail explaining it either, as the packaging will be able to do that for you. It will give security staff more reassurance.

Label and package

If you do not have the original packaging, that is fine. You can still store them in a box or clear ziploc bag. Make sure to label them and give a brief description of what each item is.


When it comes to packing your electronic components and tools, make sure to pack them right at the top.

If you are pulled aside because the x-ray machine detected something abnormal in your bag, you will be able to open it up and find the contents without a problem.

Doing this also shows that you are not trying to hide anything. 


So, you have boxed and labeled your electronic components, and packed them right at the top. What else can you do to increase your chances of being allowed to take them on the plane?

Your best chances lie with communicating with check-in and security staff because, at the end of the day you are at their mercy of what you’re allowed to take or not. 

If they see that your items could pose a threat, they can prohibit you from taking them.

So, communication is key. 

You could call the check-in staff ahead of time and let them know what you’re planning on bringing. They can give you a heads up if your items are permitted.

If you don’t get to call in ahead of time, make sure to get to security early and have a chat with the staff. Again, let them know the contents of your bag. Give them a brief description of what each item is and why you need them.

This will give you a better chance of being allowed to take your electronic components and tools on the plane.

Can you take electronic components on a plane?

Why are certain items not allowed on a plane?

The past couple of decades has seen unfortunate tragedies in the airline industry. Due to this escalation in threats, aviation security restrictions from country to country have been increased and for good reasons.

Restrictions such as what items cannot be taken on board a plane. 

They have been restricted because these items have the potential of inflicting harm if they are used in the wrong way, and pose a threat to everybody on board the plane.

All these security measures have been put in place to protect you and everyone else who is travelling alongside you.


So, if you have electronic components and tools you need to travel with, you will be able to travel with them, just make sure that you follow the tips highlighted in this article.

While there are no clear rules around travelling with them, there are things you can do to increase your chances of being allowed them on the plane.

If you do have checked-in luggage, pack them in there. 

Just remember that all these restrictions are put in place to protect you and all other travelers. So work with aviation security to make your journey safer.

Can you take electronic components on a plane?