Can You Bring Lock Picks on Planes?

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Lock picking set kit on white background
Image source: Wikimedia

Carry-on bags

Yes, with conditions

Checked luggage


Rules for Flights in the USA

On United States flights, lock picks are allowed under certain restrictions. If you pack them in hand baggage, your lock picks must be under 7 inches / 17.7 centimeters. In theory, all types of lock picks are permitted onboard, including hooks, rakes, key extractors, combs, and tension tools as long as they comply with this size limit. Yet, for their sharp edges and potential weapon appearance, airport security personnel might label your lock picks as dangerous. And even if they are TSA-approved, the airport security agent has the final say on letting your lock picks board the plane. Passengers should pack them in checked baggage whenever possible.

Rules for Flights in Other Countries

Canada, Europe, Australia

In CanadaEurope, and Australia, authorities don’t list lock picks as banned, but they are generally considered working tools and are allowed on planes. However, in some provinces of Canada (British Columbia., Saskatchewan, and Alberta), states of Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia), and European countries (Poland and Hungary) there are restrictions against lock picks. Travelers should familiarize themselves with the destination’s local laws regarding these tools. Even if they have small blades, pack your lock picks in checked baggage whenever it’s possible, as they could be considered sharp weapons in hand baggage.

United Kingdom, New Zealand, and India

In the United KingdomNew Zealand, and India, lock picks aren’t specifically mentioned, but they are generally allowed in hand and cargo baggage as long their blade comply with the hand tool’s blade size requirements for carry-on. But, since lock picks could be considered weapons, it’s best to pack them in checked baggage.


On Chinese flights, lock picks aren’t mentioned as banned or allowed items. However, it isn’t clear if their possession is legal in the country. Passengers should avoid traveling with lock picks unless they are required for their profession. When they do, they should pack them in checked baggage.

Sources: For writing this article, we took information only from official sources, like airline regulators, government websites, and major airlines. If you want to confirm that our information is accurate and up to date, click on any of the links mentioned above. We linked out to where we found this information for each country.

Disclaimer: The final decision of whether you can bring lock picks on planes always rests on the security officer. Some airlines also have additional rules that may be different.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bringing Lock Picks on Planes

Are all types of lock picks allowed on planes (hooks, rakes, key extractors, etc.)?

In theory, all types of lock picks are allowed on planes in the United States. TSA allows lock picks in hand and cargo baggage as long as these tools are under 7 inches / 17.7 centimeters. So, hooks, rakes, key extractors, combs, and tension tools are welcomed onboard. However, the TSA agent at the airport makes the final call on allowing them to go through security, and more often than not, lock picks trigger a security alarm and are labeled as sharp weapons. This means you’re better off packing lock picks in hold luggage.

Are lock picks considered dangerous items on airplanes?

Although they are officially allowed, often lock picks are considered dangerous items on planes in the United States. Lock picks under 7 inches / 17.7 centimeters are officially allowed by TSA in hand and hold luggage. But, usually, their shape (particularly hooks), raises concerns when going through airport security. Anything sharp that might be used as a weapon is forbidden from boarding the plane. Even if lock picks are TSA- approved, if a TSA agent believes they are dangerous, they won’t go beyond the security checkpoint.

Are electric lock-picking guns also allowed on planes?

Electric lock-picking guns are allowed in planes in the United States with restrictions. Although a normal lock picks set is TSA-approved, an electric lock-picking gun has a resemblance to a real firearm and is therefore banned from carry-on. You should pack lock-picking guns in checked baggage exclusively when traveling in the United States.

Is carrying lock picks legal?

Overall, lock picks are legal in the United States. Although the laws vary per state, in general, having a lock pick is lawful. What is illegal is to use them to commit a crime. In Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, and Mississippi, carrying a lock pick set might be troublesome, as the local laws restrict its use. But, for the most part, carrying lock picks is perfectly legal in the US, as long as you don’t use them for criminal purposes.

Should I declare lock picks in my luggage?

Generally, you don’t need to declare lock picks in your luggage when traveling in the United States. Lock picks are permitted in hand and cargo baggage and unless an agent flags them as possible weapons, they don’t represent a major threat. You don’t need to let the TSA agent know you’re carrying them unless you’re asked about it after screening. If you buy your lock pick set on an overseas trip, then you do need to declare it, along with the other things you bought during your trip.

Should I pack lock picks in hand or checked luggage?

In general, it’s best to pack lock picks in checked baggage. Although lock picks are approved in hand and cargo baggage if they are under 7 inches / 17.7 centimeters, their sharp edges make them prone to be flagged as potential weapons. Pack your lock pick set in a fabric or “leather in your checked baggage to prevent causing any harm to your belongings or airport personnel.

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