Power banks, with their ability to recharge your electronic devices when you’re on the go, are inevitably invaluable for travelers.
So you might be wondering if you can bring a power bank on your next flight.
According to TSA regulations, you are allowed to bring a power bank on a plane in your carry on bags, but not your checked bags.
The power bank must have a certain wattage that must not be exceeded, and you are also limited in how many power banks you are allowed to fly with.
Table of Contents
- 1 Bringing a Power Bank in Your Carry on Bag
- 2 Bringing a Power Bank in Your Checked Bag
- 3 International Regulations
- 4 Airline Regulations
- 5 Pay Attention to the Power Bank’s Battery Capacity
- 6 How to Calculate the Capacity of Your Power Bank
- 7 What Happens if You Pack a Power Bank in Your Checked Bag?
- 8 What is the Best TSA Approved Power Bank?
- 9 You Can Bring Portable Chargers
Bringing a Power Bank in Your Carry on Bag
The TSA state that power banks must only be packed in your carry on bags.
The power bank should not exceed 100 watts, but if it does, you may still be allowed to pack up to two power banks that are up to 160 Wh in your carry on with airline approval.
Bringing a Power Bank in Your Checked Bag
Regardless of the wattage of the power bank, you are not allowed to pack one in your checked bags.
This is because they can pose a fire hazard when your checked bag is held in the cargo during your flight.
The power bank may suffer from a short circuit that can generate a lot of heat and start a fire.
When there is a fire in the cabin, it can immediately be extinguished or at least contained until the airplane lands.
If a fire breaks out in the cargo compartment, it may go unrealized before it grows in size and cannot be easily extinguished.
If you have an international flight coming up, you might be wondering if the rules change if you want to bring a power bank on the plane.
The IATA, which consists of 290 airlines in 190 countries and accounts for carrying approximately 82% of the worldwide travelers, state that:
- Power banks must not exceed 160 watts
- No more than two power banks are allowed to be packed in your carry on
- No power bank can be packed in your checked bag
- Each power bank must be packed in its original retail packaging or by otherwise insulating terminals, such as in a protective pouch
Generally, what the TSA says goes.
But when it comes to bringing power banks on a plane, the TSA partly defers to airlines by saying that “with airline approval”, you are allowed to carry up to two power banks with a capacity of 101–160 Wh.
This is greater than the 100 Wh that the TSA states.
Pay Attention to the Power Bank’s Battery Capacity
The battery capacity of the power bank you want to bring onboard does matter.
If the power bank is between 101-160 Wh, airline approval is needed if you want to bring it on your next flight.
If the power bank exceeds 160 Wh, it is not allowed to be packed in even your carry on bags, and must be left at home.
How to Calculate the Capacity of Your Power Bank
Many power banks only state their milliamp hours (mAh), so you might be confused if it meets TSA and airline policies.
Fortunately, the calculation to convert mAh into Watt Hours is simple.
Milliamp Hours/1000 x Voltage = Watt Hours
(MAH)/1000 x (V) = WH
What Happens if You Pack a Power Bank in Your Checked Bag?
If you pack your power bank in your checked bag, there is a danger that it will catch on fire and put yourself, your passengers, and the cabin crew in serious danger.
As checked baggage is scanned once you check it in, the power bank will be noticed, your bag will be opened up, and your power bank will be confiscated.
Hopefully, your bag will still make it to your destination once any power bank has been confiscated.
What is the Best TSA Approved Power Bank?
We recommend the Anker 325 Power Bank.
The Anker 325 provides almost 5 full charges for most phones, over 2 and a half charges for iPads, and features twin USB ports to allow you to charge two devices at the same time.
Most importantly, it meets all TSA and airline regulations for bringing power banks onboard.
You Can Bring Portable Chargers
Portable chargers and power banks are essentially the same thing, so you can bring a portable charger on a plane in your carry on bags, but not your checked bags.
Again, the portable charger you want to bring must have a certain wattage that must not be exceeded.
Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.
Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.
Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).