Can I Bring A Desk Lamp On A Plane? Your Guide to Travel

When planning a trip, knowing what you can and can’t bring on a plane can be one of the more stressful aspects. 

There are so many items you want to bring – but what if the TSA refuses to let them on board and they have to be left behind?

Although it may be a bit of a weird choice to pack into your carry-on, there are certain situations where you may need to bring a desk lamp!

So, can you bring a desk lamp on a plane? In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about bringing your desk lamp on your plane, including:

  • What the TSA says
  • Things to consider when bringing your desk lamp
  • Other suitable alternatives that you can bring worry-free into the plane.

Let’s get into it!

Can I Bring A Desk Lamp On A Plane? 

Yes, you generally can bring a desk lamp on a plane! 

Still, it’s best to know the TSA and airline rules that apply so you don’t have to waste time and energy squeezing your lamp into your carry-on or checked baggage – only for it to be denied boarding. 

To be safe, you can always bring alternatives such as portable LEDs!

TSA Rules on Bringing a Desk Lamp on a Plane

Before hopping on the plane with your trusty desk lamp in your carry-on or checked baggage, it’s best to scan the TSA rules and see if that’s allowed. 

TSA (Transportation Security Administration) rules are guidelines that must be followed when traveling anywhere around the world!

Carry-On Restrictions

When checking TSA rules, you’ll notice that they don’t expressly prohibit bringing your desk lamp with you aboard the aircraft.

However, it’s best to err on the side of caution. If you don’t need something during your flight, pack it in your checked luggage instead.

To be safe, bring smaller, lighter lamps that are 100% allowed in your carry-on baggage. Heavier lamps might be allowed, but it’s a better idea to tuck them into your checked luggage. 

While lights and LED bulbs are allowed in a carry-on and your desk lamp likely has either one of these two components, you should know that desk lamps tend to have a heavier base. This can injure other passengers.

In any case, the final decision rests with the TSA officer, so prepare for a physical inspection and even a couple of questions. As a rule of thumb, go for smaller and more portable lamps.

Checked Baggage Restrictions

If you’re worried that the TSA officer might have your desk lamp deplaned, it’s typically a lot safer to pack it in your checked baggage instead. That’s because there are fewer restrictions in regard to items inside your checked bag.

Generally speaking, your table lamps (regardless of their material) will be allowed in checked bags and the TSA won’t regulate your luggage’s type, size, or weight anyway.

However, it’s not a hard and fast rule; some airlines will impose their own restrictions on what items you can pack into your checked baggage, so it’s best to consult your airline before proceeding!

Battery-Powered Lamps

Here’s what you should know: airplanes and batteries don’t play well! Batteries are finicky and can cause an in-flight fire when conditions aren’t right. This is why recharging batteries onboard the plane isn’t permitted.

If you’re using battery-powered lamps, there are additional restrictions to follow. For one, check your battery type. Chances are that it’ll be made of lithium ions. If so, your battery must not exceed 100 watt-hours. 

When you breach the 100-watt-hour limit, you can’t pack your desk lamp into your checked baggage. If you need to bring it aboard, you’ll need to squeeze it into your carry-on instead.

Considerations for Bringing a Desk Lamp on a Plane

Although it’s possible to bring smaller, lightweight desk lamps on the plane in carry-on luggage, there are several factors that are important to consider to ensure a hassle-free journey:

Size, Weight, and Practicality of the Lamp

A good rule to follow is that the smaller, lighter, and more compact your lamp is, the higher the chances it’ll be cleared through security. 

Don’t bother with heavy lamps, because not only will take up too much space and weigh you down, but they’ll also likely be flagged during security checks! 

If you really need to, bring a lamp that won’t make you feel like you’re playing Legos just assembling the thing. The simpler and more straightforward your lamp is, the better it’ll be for traveling. 

Safety Concerns

There are plenty of reasons why your lamp shouldn’t be taken on board. These include potential injury to other passengers due to turbulence or the risk of an in-flight fire. 

Before packing the lamp, make sure it is in great condition and has no prior history of being a safety hazard.

As much as possible, check the wiring, cords, and bulb itself, noting any possible issues that arise. If you don’t need the light during the flight anyway, save yourself the trouble by removing the battery outright.

And, as always, check with the TSA officer whenever in doubt!

Potential Additional Issues

Aside from TSA rules, there are plenty of other issues that can come flying out of left field. For one, your airline itself might block your lamp from coming with you. 

As such, it’s important to check the airline’s regulations to ensure compliance with size and weight restrictions. 

Otherwise, you might incur additional fees and charges, or your beloved lamp may be forced to stay behind at the airport.

If you’re unsure, call and check with your airline before your flight regarding their policies on bringing a desk lamp in carry-on luggage.

Alternatives to Bringing a Desk Lamp on a Plane

Desk lamps certainly have their unique charm, and you may really need one on your flight. 

While it’s certainly a doable option, there are other more practical alternatives you should consider. These choices will offer more convenience and the possibility of worry-free travel so that you can focus on the journey instead!

Other Forms of Lighting

If you’re planning to catch up on a novel you’ve had to put aside for too long and are worried about inadequate lighting, know that airlines nowadays mostly have excellent lighting onboard. 

Most planes will have enough light for reading, writing, and virtually any other activity!

However, if it isn’t suitable for you (for instance, if you have eyesight problems), consider smaller light options such as portable LEDs that will be able to shoot straight past security without any problem at all! 

Renting or Purchasing a Lamp at the Destination

Is your lamp not so much for the journey, but for the destination? Why not buy one when the plane lands instead?

Desk lamps are usually quite cheap anyway, and it’ll provide a great excuse to look around town and do some shopping.

This strategy will save you time, money, and energy that may be incurred in the attempt to bring your desk lamp onto the plane!


At the end of the day, you can definitely bring your desk lamp onboard a plane. 

However, before doing so, it’s vital to brush up on TSA and airline rules so you don’t end up feeling frustrated about having to leave your trusty old lamp behind.

It’s also worth asking yourself whether you actually need a lamp with you in the first place. 

If you do need additional lighting, it may be better to go for surefire options like portable LED lights instead.

Whatever your reasons for wanting to bring a desk lamp on board, we hope this guide has helped. Safe travels!
John Bayly

John Bayly

John has dedicated his career to the lighting industry. Starting out as an interior designer with a specialism in lighting, he went on to found his own commercial lighting business. He now shares his expertise and passion for all things lighting with readers of