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Can I Take LED Lights On A Plane Carry-On?

Whenever you’re traveling, you want to ensure that you follow the security regulations of the airports.

There’s nothing worse than standing at security, holding up the line, as you try to explain what your belongings are and potentially have them taken from you.

You don’t want to have to ditch things just to be allowed to board.

But there are some instances where you want to take LED lights onto a plane – you may intend to use them or travel without any checked bags. Are you allowed?

While it can vary by country, in most cases, you can take LED lights onto a plane in your carry-on luggage. Battery-operated lights are usually permitted, but there may be limits on battery size – passengers should check before they fly and may need special permission.

In this guide, I’ll explain:

  • Whether flashlights and UV lights are allowed on a plane
  • Whether an LED ring light is allowed on the plane
  • If battery-powered lights can be carried in hand luggage
  • Where to check what you are allowed to take with you

Can I Take A Flashlight On A Plane?

LED Flashlight close up shot

There may be several reasons why you want to take a flashlight onto a plane with you.

The good news is that you are usually allowed to.

According to the TSA, which governs security on flights in and out of the US, flashlights are accepted in checked bags and carry-on luggage.

However, that’s all the detail their website gives – and the official stance is that “the final decision rests with the TSA officer.”

So they could confiscate your flashlight if they felt it carried any risk.

Reasons, why a flashlight may not be permitted, include:

  • If it is longer than 7 inches (and could be used as a blunt weapon)
  • If it part of a multitool including a blade
  • It is a tactical flashlight with sharp edges

If your flashlight could be deemed dangerous on the flight, it may not be allowed, but if it is a simple LED flashlight, it’ll usually be fine.

But what about UV flashlights and UV nail lamps that operate as flashlights?

UV lights are under the same rules as regular flashlights, so they should be fine. However, if you are concerned, the best thing to do is to call the airline and check.

One thing to note though – if you plan on bringing a UV nail lamp because you’re a nail technician, your nail polishes may not be allowed in carry-on luggage. It makes sense to pack everything in a checked bag instead.

Although if it is powered by a lithium battery, the advice may changeā€¦more on that below.

Can I Bring An LED Ring Light On A Plane?

ring light and rosa smartphone

Many social media influencers, vloggers, tiktokers, and others use LED ring lights when filming content.

A ring light is a handy tool because it’s not too big, but it provides an even light that helps to make videos look surprisingly more professional despite their small size.

The good news for any travel vloggers or content creators is that LED ring lights are generally permitted on a plane.

If for any reason, your lights are not permitted, the best solution might be that the security team offers to ship them to your home for you while you travel onwards – but you’ll pay a hefty shipping fee for the privilege.

Are Battery-Powered LED Lights Allowed In A Hand Luggage?

AAA batteries

So, while it’s clear that most LED lights will be allowed in hand luggage, what about if they are battery-powered?

Are there restrictions on batteries? If there are, you’d either have to check them or buy batteries once you land – neither is ideal.

Well, it depends on the battery, but in most cases, you are allowed to take a battery onto a plane in your hand luggage.

It’s important to distinguish between batteries, as there are two main kinds of battery-powered lights.

Dry batteries and lithium ones.

Dry batteries are the kind you probably think of when we talk about batteries.

They’re the AA and AAA batteries you’d pick up in most stores.

Dry batteries are usually used to power flashlights or string lights if they come with a battery box attached.

Again, while it varies by carrier/country, they are usually allowed in your checked luggage and carry-on bags. The TSA permits them in both.

Lithium batteries are what you tend to find in things like USB power packs, or other built-in batteries.

If your LED light is self-contained, where the battery is built in, it likely has lithium batteries installed.

With these, you need to check with your carrier because there are different rules.

For flights in and out of the USA, the TSA guidelines state:

  • Lithium batteries with 100 watt-hours of power installed in a device are allowed in carry-on luggage and may be permitted in checked bags with special permission
  • Spare lithium batteries (i.e., power banks) that have up to 100 watt-hours are allowed in carry-on luggage only, with a maximum of two batteries per passenger
  • Any lithium battery with 100-160 watt-hours (typically extended-life laptop batteries or professional audio/visual batteries) may be permitted in carry-on only, but special permission must be acquired from the airline, and again a limit of 2 applies

There’s actually a third type of battery – lithium-metal. The most common of these that you’ll find are the small round CR batteries that sometimes power devices, although they are rare in lights.

For these, the limits are:

  • Up to 2 grams – permitted on carry-on luggage
  • 2-8 grams – permitted in carry-on luggage with special permission

So, why are these batteries allowed in carry-on luggage but not checked bags?

Well, these batteries are typically safe, but not always. There is a risk if they are damaged that, they could ultimately explode.

While the explosion would generally be small, you don’t want that tucked away in a plane’s hold.

Having it in the plane with you usually means measures can be taken to prevent an explosion – if the battery starts smoking – or extinguish any small fire immediately before it becomes a serious problem.

Where To Check What Can I Bring Onboard?

TSA handling luggage

The security organizations responsible for your country’s flights are the easiest places to check what you’re allowed to take with you on a plane – both for carry-on bags and checked luggage.

So for the US, that’s the Transport Security Administration or TSA.

They have a whole section of their website for permitted and banned items on flights.

But the airline might have its own restrictions, too – so it’s worth checking with them if you are concerned about any LEDs or other items you want to bring onboard.

It’s always worth a call before you travel, rather than risk having an item confiscated.

Final Words

The good news is that most LED lights – and the batteries that power them – are usually allowed on flights as a carry-on.

Of course, always make sure your lights meet weight and size restrictions, too – it’s no good trying to take a table lamp with you if it’s too big and too heavy!

Have you ever had any problems taking LED lights, or any light, onto a flight with you?

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