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Can You Bring a Pencil Sharpener on a Plane?

For the past several decades, the aviation industry has been on a constant incline, offering more and more for people looking to travel a greater distance in a shorter time. With over 16 million flights handled by the FAA and almost 3 million daily passengers in the US, it’s clear that flying is a popular means of transport.

Like with any transportation, packing is essential regardless of whether you’re traveling for a day or on vacation. Creative people tend to keep their “tools” with them at all times, so if you’re a sketch artist, you’ll probably want to keep reading.

People that do a lot of sketching know that the pencil and the sharpener are two best friends and don’t go anywhere without them. With that said, what about carrying a pencil sharpener on board a flight?

The short answer is yes. TSA says that you are permitted to have a pencil sharpener in the carry-on or checked baggage. This implies for both manual and electric sharpeners, so you almost have nothing to worry about. I say “almost” because there are some exceptions, which I’ll get to in a minute.

Here is what @AskTSA has to say about pencil sharpeners:

How to Pack a Pencil Sharpener for a Flight

Packing the pencil sharpener is a simple process, no matter what kind it is. Put it in the bag, and you’re good to go, right? Yes, but not in all cases. If you’re flying with checked baggage and don’t plan on sharpening any pencils, you can put it there and don’t worry about a thing.

On the other hand, if it’s a longer flight and you want to keep yourself busy, you might want to have it at hand. I’d recommend placing it in a small pocket in the carry-on bag to be easier for you to reach it.

Can I Bring a Pencil Sharpener Through Airport Security?

Remember when I said there are some exceptions about carrying a pencil sharpener in the beginning? Well, this is one of them. When you go through security, the officer is responsible for deciding if the items you carry with you are dangerous or not.

For the most part, sharpeners are considered safe items, so you won’t have any issues with them. With that said, there may be some exceptions, so your mileage may vary. Just to be on the safe side, make sure to have the spare razors in an unopened cartridge to avoid any problems.

Can a Pencil Sharpener go Through Customs?

Technically yes, pencil sharpeners will have no problems going through customs, and you shouldn’t expect any issues. Keep in mind that this applies if you have one or two sharpeners with you and they are intended for personal use.

On the other hand, if you have 100 sharpeners in your bag, then you may need to pay taxes for them, or they will be confiscated.

Recommended Pencil Sharpener for Travel

The pencil sharpener you use at home can be in any shape and size you want. You’re not very limited on size and weight, so not many people pay attention to that.

When it comes to flying, size and weight play a huge role, so here are my two recommendations for the best pencil sharpeners you can carry in your bag. To cover a wider range of audiences, I’ll present one electric and one manual.

Best Electric Sharpener – Bostitch Vertical Electric Pencil Sharpener

Best Electric Sharpener – Bostitch Vertical Electric Pencil Sharpener
Best Electric Sharpener – Bostitch Vertical Electric Pencil Sharpener
Best Electric Sharpener – Bostitch Vertical Electric Pencil Sharpener

On the electric side of things, we have the Bostitch Vertical sharpener. This nifty little device features a SharpStop feature designed to prevent pencils from getting over-sharpened.

To ensure a long lifespan, the motor is equipped with thermal overload protection that cuts the power when it senses it’s getting stuck. Weighing a bit under 13 ounces, this may not be the lightest option on the market, but considering the size and its features, it’s one of the best.

Best Manual Sharpener – Staedtler 512 001 ST Double-hole Tub Pencil Sharpener

Staedtler 512 001 ST Double-hole Tub Pencil Sharpener
Staedtler 512 001 ST Double-hole Tub Pencil Sharpener
Staedtler 512 001 ST Double-hole Tub Pencil Sharpener

If you’re after the old-school approach of sharpening, you have the Staedtler 512 001 ST. This is a smaller and lighter option than the previous pencil sharpener, which also gives you a few extra options.

The thing that some people may find attractive is the two-hole design, meaning that you can sharpen pencils at different angles, 23 and 30 degrees. Like the electric option I mentioned, the container is translucent, so you’ll know when it’s time to empty it.

Andov Slavcho

Slavcho Andov is a part-time freelancer and full-time geek. He's a board game enthusiast, tech junkie, amateur photographer and Sith lord. Ohh...and he loves to travel.