Can You Bring an Electric Toothbrush on a Plane?

Given how popular electric toothbrushes are, you’re more than likely to want to take your electric toothbrush and toothpaste with you when you go on holiday. You may be used to how well it cleans and just don’t want to give this up for a cheap toothbrush that is just going to get thrown away at the end of your trip. However, given that an electric toothbrush contains batteries, there are many rules surrounding the best way to transport these and where they need to be packed. This can become even more confusing when the specific rules vary depending on the country you’re travelling through.

can you take an electric toothbrush on a plane

Why Wouldn’t You Be Allowed to Take an Electric Toothbrush in Carry-On Luggage?

Unlike many other items where the instructions aren’t as clear, such as curling irons, perfume or aerosols, an electric toothbrush is generally considered ok to take in your carry-on luggage. In fact, given that your electric toothbrush will generally contain a lithium metal or lithium ion battery it is considered better to carry it in your hand luggage.

Even though in some countries you can place your electric toothbrush in the hold, it is advised that all personal items containing batteries should be carried on your person and that they are removed from your luggage and put into the trays to go through the scanner. In much the same way you would for your laptop, tablet, cell phone, any other batteries or portable chargers.

The main reason you may be denied passage with your electric toothbrush in carry on is if the device isn’t charged. If requested, the security officer checking your bags may ask you to switch the toothbrush on, and if the battery is dead, they may prohibit you from taking it through. So always make sure to charge it up before you leave to prevent something like this from happening.

So, Can I Bring an Electric Toothbrush on a Plane as Carry-On Luggage?

Generally, the answer to the question of if you can bring an electric toothbrush on a plane is yes, but there are a few caveats and special instructions to take into consideration depending on where you’re flying from. So, it’s always wise to double check before travelling to avoid any nasty mistakes at the airport (especially given electric toothbrushes can be quite an expensive purchase).

USA – What Does the TSA Say About Electric Toothbrushes?

The information on the TSA’s website is actually slightly confusing as they say that electric toothbrushes can be taken in both your carry on and hold luggage. This is mostly down to the battery types and comes with specific instructions that devices containing lithium batteries should be taken in carry on. This is because lithium batteries can pose a fire risk when packed in the hold. Most modern electric toothbrushes contain lithium batteries, so therefore you will be required to take your electric toothbrush in your carry-on bag. If it runs on AA batteries for example, you can store it in any place.

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/electronic-toothbrush

The UK – What Are the UK Government’s Regulations Concerning an Electric Toothbrush in Hand Luggage?

The information provided by the gov.uk website isn’t quite as straightforward on the rules for traveling with an electric toothbrush. They are not explicitly mentioned in their list of items with special concerns, and instead, the information can be found in their ‘items containing batteries’ section. This still doesn’t mention electric toothbrushes, but you can deduce that the information that applies to electronic cigarettes and similar is the same for electric toothbrushes.

‘Content of Lithium metal batteries must not exceed 2 grams. Lithium-ion batteries must not exceed a Watt hour rating of 100 Wh’. It also suggests you will not be able to take your electric toothbrush in the hold, and it should be taken in your carry on.

https://www.caa.co.uk/Passengers/Before-you-fly/Baggage/Items-that-are-allowed-in-baggage/

Europe – What Are the EU’s Guidelines Regarding Electric Toothbrushes?

The EU doesn’t list electric toothbrushes specifically as a prohibited item on their website, and therefore, it suggests that you will be fine to travel with your electric toothbrush in both your carry-on and the hold. Though if your toothbrush was expensive, it is always best to air on the side of caution and travel with it in your carry on, if possible.

https://transport.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2016-09/info_travellers_hand_luggage.pdf

Australia – Does the ABF Have Laws About Electric Toothbrushes?

The Australian Border Force (ABF) have no specific recommendations for whether you can carry and electric toothbrush on a plane, but it is not included in their restricted items. With this in mind, you can assume that you are fine to travel with your electric toothbrush either in the hold or in your carry on. If in any doubt, we’d advise you travel with it in your carry-on, to avoid any costly problems at the airport.

https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/travelsecure-subsite/Pages/Items-you-cannot-take-on-plane.aspx

New Zealand – What Are the CAA of New Zealand’s Rules About an Electric Toothbrush?

The website of the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA) state that electronic devices, including an electric toothbrush with the battery installed can go in either your carry on or checked baggage. Any spare, loose batteries must be stored in your carry-on baggage. For carrying your electric toothbrush in the hold, they state that any batteries inside a device carried in checked luggage must be properly stored to prevent inadvertent activation and must be completely switched off. We’d advise you to carry your electric toothbrush, if possible, in your carry-on baggage to avoid any problems at the airport.

https://www.aviation.govt.nz/passenger-information/what-can-i-bring/show/spare-lithium-batteries

Canada – What Does the CBSA Say About Electric Toothbrushes?

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) states that devices containing lithium batteries should be taken in your carry on and not in your hold luggage. However, they also later state that a device with a Watt-hour rating of under 100Wh can be carried in both your carry-on and checked baggage, so it is best to check this with your toothbrush before travelling. To avoid any upset at the airport, it’s always best to travel with this in your hand luggage.

https://www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca/en/what-can-bring/guidelines-batteries

The Rest of the World

Each country has a requirement depending on the size of the lithium battery in your electric toothbrush – though generally, this will be under 100Wh. Generally, you should be ok to travel with an electric in your carry-on baggage or the hold, but it is worth checking with your carrier/airline before you travel.

What’s the Best Advice for Travelling on a Plane with an Electric Toothbrush?

As you can see, there aren’t always completely clear rules on travelling on a plane with an electric toothbrush. The rules generally seem to state that in most instances, you should be fine to travel with it either in the hold or carry on, but it isn’t always clear. With this in mind and given that most of the information says that you can travel no problem with your electric toothbrush in your carry on, you should take it in the carry on.

In order to get through security quickly and easily and hopefully avoid having your bags checked, you should always follow the rules provided to you by staff. This will generally mean all battery-operated devices should be taken out of your carry-on baggage and be placed in a tray/bin to go through the scanner. They may ask you to use a different tray for your devices.

It’s also always a good idea to make sure that your toothbrush is charged, as if it is flagged at security, they may want you to demonstrate it working – if it is not working or the battery is dead, it may well be confiscated and cause a costly problem at the airport.

You should be fine, but if you’re worried about travelling with your electric toothbrush and want to avoid any problems, you could consider having an electric toothbrush specifically for travel. Many electric toothbrushes can be costly, so the idea of potentially loosing this could be a real problem. Opting for a cheaper one for travel would give you more peace of mind, and you could always go with a traditional, non-electric toothbrush for your trip.

What Happens If Your Electric Toothbrush Is Flagged by Airport Security?

This is unlikely to happen when it comes to an electric toothbrush, and they are, on the whole considered ok to have in your carry on, but if you are flagged by security, it is important to remain calm. Generally, when an electric toothbrush is flagged, it may be because it didn’t look quite the same as other items going through the scanner and needs a second look.

Try to remember that the security officer is not trying to make your day harder and is simply doing their job to help protect you and other passengers. So, it is important to stay courteous and talk to them with respect. Generally, you’ll find that you’ll be allowed through quickly and easily if you’re nice – and it doesn’t cost anything. The decision is ultimately up to the officer in charge.

They may ask you to show that the electric toothbrush is operational – and this is just to show there are no fire hazards present with the batteries in the device. If your device is dead and needs charging, they may prevent you from taking it through with you.

If your electric toothbrush is confiscated, it will usually be handed over to the airline you’re travelling with, they will sometimes hold items for an amount of time, and you can possibly collect this once you return. There is sometimes a fee for this.

How to Pack an Electric Toothbrush in Your Luggage

Given that an electric toothbrush generally contains a lithium battery (though some do contain AA or AAA batteries), it is important to pack your item in the best possible way to avoid any problems at the airport.

Packing an Electric Toothbrush in Carry-On Luggage

You will likely be asked at the airport to remove your battery-operated devices from your luggage and place in a tray separately. This includes your electric toothbrush, so you should make sure that it is easy to get out of your bag. We’d generally advise that for the security process, you keep your devices as close to each other as you can so that when you get to the scanners, you can move though quickly and not hold up the line any more than you need to try to find your items. This will also help you get on your way as quickly as possible.

Always make sure your electric toothbrush is charged ready too, as you may be asked to show that it is operational and does not pose any kind of fire risk due to its battery.

Packing an Electric Toothbrush in Hold Luggage

As there is different advice for different countries and airlines for carrying lithium battery operated devices in the hold, it is generally a good idea to check with your specific airline or country of departure before deciding to pack your electric toothbrush in the hold. If you are able to pack your toothbrush in the hold, make sure that it is in good working order and charged to avoid any operational problems. Make sure it is fully switched off and try to pack it in such a way that it can’t be turned on in transit – you could wrap it in some clothes or a well packaged packing cube to avoid this.

What Are the Different Types of Electric Toothbrush?

There are currently really only two main types of electric toothbrush on the market, one includes sonic technology, and the other uses 3D cleaning.

Ultrasonic toothbrush: This type of electric toothbrush uses ultrasound to help with removing plaque and bacteria from the mouth and teeth. This usually uses a frequency of 1.6 MHz or 96,000,000 pulses or 192,000,000 movements a minute.

3D cleaning: It is said that a 3D toothbrush can provide a superior clean to that of an ultrasonic toothbrush, as it rotates, oscillates, and pulsates to break up plaque and tartar in the mouth and on the teeth.

Conclusion

Given electric toothbrushes generally contain lithium batteries, it is actually usually easier to take your device with you in your hand baggage than it is in the hold. It is always a good idea to check with your country of departure and your airline if you are unsure, or to take a cheaper one with you to travel with.

Generally, as electric toothbrushes are such a common, day to day item, it is generally seen as a non-hazardous item, and you should therefore have no problem travelling with it in your carry on baggage. Though it’s always a good idea to make sure it is charged and in good working order in case you are asked to demonstrate it’s working and doesn’t pose any kind of fire hazard.