Can I Take a Soldering Iron on a Plane?

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Ever since 9/11

Airline regulations have changed. What you can or cannot take on board with you is severely limited and in some cases are not allowed in your checked bags either. These new regulations make it hard to know what you can or cannot take with you on your next plane trip.

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How to Use a Soldering Iron

If you want to take your soldering iron with you on your next trip just continue to read this article. It gives you the information you need to make the effortless of a problem.

The definition of a soldering iron

You may know that a soldering iron uses heat to melt the solder so that it can flow easily over the pieces you need to join together. The iron consists of a metal tip that heats up and an insulated handle.

But, the airlines and TSA have other terms they use to describe a soldering iron. One of those terms is soldering equipment which keeps the descriptive term close to the actual purpose of the iron.

The other term is heat-producing items which are far too generic a term to understand that TSA or the airlines are actually talking about a soldering iron. In either case when you bring your soldering iron to the airport the rules governing where and how they are packed are basically the same for check baggage and carry on baggage.

The main rule to watch out for is to make sure the sharp tips and other pointed parts are wrapped in such a way, the security people checking your bags will not get cut.

The rules for soldering irons in carry on bags

What is allowedWhat is NOT allowed
Soldering iron must be no longer than 7 inches when fully assembledSoldering irons 7 inches or longer must be put in your checked bags
Battery operated soldering items must have the batteries and heat-producing elements removedSoldering irons that do not have removable batteries or heat elements
The battery must be packaged in a DOT approved container or its original packageA butane powered soldering iron and it is not allowed in checked bags either
Any gas-powered soldering iron that has not been cleaned of its gas
Unprotected spare batteries

Those soldering irons that do not have protection against accidental operation


**Each airline and airports have their own rules as well. Other agencies that have their own special rules are the DOT, FAA, and the TSA. You will need to check with each one to make sure it is safe to fly with your soldering iron.

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The steps you need to take to get your soldering iron on an aircraft

It may be better to leave your soldering iron at home and buy a new one at your destination. It isn’t just the rules you have to worry about but the opinions of the different groups you will encounter before and after your flight.

Here are the steps you need to take to get permission for your soldering iron:

  1. Check with the TSA- they will give you all the guidelines and safety steps you need to take
  2. Check with the airline- call them up and see what they have to say about bringing your soldering iron on their aircraft. They will give you their rules and safety steps as well
  3. Check with the airport- this is both the departure airport as well as the arrival airport. There is no one rule that fits everyone’s regulation and each airline and airport may have some differences in their regulations.

If you can’t fly with your soldering iron

There will be times where you won’t be able to fly with your soldering iron or equipment. It happens as there is a lot of leeway in how the rules are set and applied. When this happens you have 2 choices to select from.

  1. Rent or drive– if you are denied bringing your soldering iron with you then you can drive your car to your destination. Or if your wife needs the vehicle while you are away, you can rent a car and achieve your goal.
  2. Leave the device at home– if you can’t meet all the regulations you are left with no choice but to leave the equipment at your home and buy new soldering iron and equipment when you arrive at your destination.

When in doubt

One piece of good news is that some if not most airlines are following the TSA regulations so there may not be a lot of different rules to follow and meet. Chances are you should have no problem bringing your soldering iron along with and if in doubt put it in your checked bag.

If you are having a problem with all of these or meeting any of these regulations keep in mind that what is ordinary items to you can be dangerous weapons for others to use. To help you understand, many of those items have symbols on them warning about the possible dangers.

Sadly, soldering items is not one of those items unless it has butane as its power source. Here are a few of those symbols to watch out for:

  1. Flame- tells you that the contents are highly flammable
  2. Skull and crossbones- tells you that the contents are poisonous
  3. Hand and test tube- tells you that the contents are corrosive
  4. Pin in a circle- compressed gas
  5. The exclamation mark in a red diamond- tells you the contents are an irritant
  6. The explosion in a triangle- tells you the contents are highly explosive

Some final words

It is best to be safe rather than sorry. If you do not meet the regulations then the TSA will most likely take your soldering iron and equipment and toss it in the garbage. That act will mean you will end up paying more money on the other end for a new set of equipment.

It takes time to learn all the rules and package your soldering iron up right but it is worth it in the long run.

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