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TSA Approved Tool Box – Ultimate Buyers Guide To TSA Regulations And Safety

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I saw a guy just the other day flying with his tools for work. It was a TSA approved tool box. With the TSA regulating everything from toothpicks to guns, it’s no wonder a toolbox is also regulated. When I saw him, of course, I had to ask all kinds of questions. Then I had a thought: I bet there are a ton of people who want to know all about flying with tools.

Tools cost a fortune, and I know the last thing I would want is to have them confiscated because they are in the wrong kind of box or do not comply with TSA rules.

In this article, I will cover the TSA rules and regulations regarding a TSA approved tool box and review four of the top tool boxes suitable for air travel. I will also provide a list of items that can not be taken on a plane, along with weight and size recommendations.

So, together, let’s dive into the world of TSA approved tool boxes.

TSA Rules Quick Look

But first, let me quickly list some TSA regulations to be aware of to help choose a case. The TSA says tools 7 inches or shorter can be in a carry-on bag; anything longer must go in cargo-checked luggage. Removable lithium-ion batteries go in carry-on bags. Power tools go in checked luggage. See the lists below for clarity.

Quick Overview Of TSA Approved Tool Box (Updated List)

Here is a quick overview of my top pick of four unique TSA approved tool box.


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Pelican 1560


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tsa approved tool box gator


Gator Molded Flight Case


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B&W GO Wheeled


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Gator Lightweight Flight Case


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A Deeper Dive Into Each TSA Approved Tool Box

We looked at a quick overview, but now, let’s dig deeper. What makes each one of these a good choice for storing tools for flying?

Our Top Pick (Med size)

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Pelican 1560

Pelican 1560

Pelican has protected equipment since 1976. They have a reputation for the best protective cases today.

The Pelican 1560 is renowned for its durability. It is constructed with ultra-high-impact structural copolymer, making it crushproof, dustproof, and watertight. The layered pluck foam, included with the case, adds protection. This beauty also has TSA approved locking latches.

The handles are of a different color than the case, making it easy to identify the case on a conveyor belt. It has a retractable trolley handle and polyurethane wheels, making it easy to move through the airport.


Versatile to protect more than tools

19.92″ x 14.98″ x 9.00″ (43.9 linear in)

Auto equalizer valve

Lifetime warranty


Weighs 17 lbs empty

I may need to pay extra for over 50 lbs

Best Small Case

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Gator Molded Flight Case

Gator Molded Flight Case – Small

Gator designed a compact, lightweight, yet sturdy tool box. It’s perfect for those who need to carry a smaller set of tools and want to keep their luggage light.

Gator’s small flight case is a TSA approved tool box constructed of durable military-grade Polyethylene. Its wheels and adjustable handle make it easy to maneuver. The interior features four-inch-thick layered dice foam to protect your equipment.


Available in various sizes

11.88 lbs, 20x15x9inches

TSA approved lockable latches


Easily tips over when opened to load

It has a cloth lining that may get dirty

Best Organization

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B&W GO Wheeled

B&W GO Wheeled

For those who love to keep their tools meticulously organized, the B&W International GO Wheeled is perfect. This TSA approved toolbox is made of Durable polypropylene with pro-cut foam inserts and pocket boards.

The telescopic handles and wheels make it glide smoothly through the airport.


Dustproof, waterproof

Combination and key locks

Fully customizable

20.3×17.5×10.2 inches, 15 lbs


Locks are not TSA approved

Some say it is not as durable as other cases


Best Big and Tall Jobs

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Gator Molded Flight Case

Gator Molded Flight Case – Large

This beauty will hold a ton of tools with its ample space, robust protection, and thoughtful features, making it stand out in large toolboxes.

Made of proprietary HPX²™ Polymer, this case is 40% lighter than other cases. It is the Cadillac of all tool cases, with smooth gliding wheels and an adjustable telescopic handle. It is also crushproof, dustproof, and waterproof.

An automatic pressure equalization valve balances internal pressure and prevents water from seeping in. Each lock has stainless steel protectors and a lifetime limited warranty to back it all up.


32.58×18,4×11.02 (exactly 62 linear inches)

Empty weight 14.06 lbs

Two padlock holes for TSA approved locks

Made in the USA


Customizable foam not included

A bit pricey

Check with the airline for luggage size before traveling

Understanding The TSA Guidelines

Now that I have lined out four beautifully functional options, let’s delve into the specifics of a TSA approved tool Box. Understanding the TSA guidelines that govern the transportation of tools and other equipment helps you navigate the airport easily.

TSA Regulations For Tools In Checked Bags

TSA has specific rules and regulations about what can and cannot be carried in checked and carry-on luggage. According to TSA regulations, most tools can go in checked bags. However, there are some exceptions.

list prohibited in checked

This is not an all-inclusive list, but it may help those traveling with a TSA approved tool box knowing what can go on a plane and what cannot.

Checked Or Carry On?

Can Go In Checked Or Carry On2
Must goIn Checked2

Packing Lithium Ion Batteries: Do’s And Don’ts

Lithium-ion batteries, often found in power tools, have specific packing guidelines. They should be put in carry-on luggage, not checked bags. A lithium-ion battery poses a fire hazard, so it should never be packed in a checked bag.

TSA Size And Weight Limit For A TSA Approved Tool Box To Check

The TSA does not impose a weight limit for checked bags. However, most airlines have a weight limit of 50 pounds per bag. The size limit for checked bags is typically 62 linear inches (length + width + height). Bags exceeding these limits may incur additional fees.

You can find the exact weight and size requirements for a TSA approved tool box on each airline’s website. Please check before you head to the airport.

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Frequently Asked Questions About TSA Approved Tool Boxes

Navigating TSA regulations is a full-time job, especially when traveling with tools. We’ve compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about TSA Approved Tool Boxes.

Can I carry my tools in my carry-on luggage?

While some small tools are allowed in carry-on luggage, most larger tools must be packed in checked baggage. Tools over seven inches long or that can be used as a weapon are not allowed in carry-on luggage. It’s always best to check the TSA’s official website for the most up-to-date information.

What happens if a tool box is not TSA approved?

If a tool box is not TSA approved, it may be subject to additional screening. Sometimes, a tool box may need to be a check item. To avoid this, ensure your tool box complies with TSA regulations before you travel. For a checked tool box, make sure it is no larger than 62 linear (height + length + width) inches and has TSA approved locks.

What should I do if my tool box is lost or damaged during travel?

If your tool box is lost or damaged during travel, contact your airline immediately. They have a process for filing a claim. It’s also a good idea to take pictures of the tool box and its contents before traveling, as this can provide evidence to file a claim.

Additional Resources

If you are looking for more tutorials, walkthroughs, and troubleshooting on TSA, here are some additional posts about TSA:


A TSA Approved Tool Box is not mandatory, but it can save time and hassles when traveling by air. Remember to pack tools efficiently and handle any issues promptly.

Happy travels, my friends.

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Laura Fuller

Hello, I am a luggage and travel fanatic. With a vast knowledge of TSA regulations, I am here to assist you on your journey. Please join me, and together, we will navigate the world of travel. From TSA and air to cruising the high seas, we will explore the best accessories and tips for smooth travel.

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