Can You Bring An Empty Water Bottle Through TSA?

I currently live in Europe, but last summer I traveled to the US. I purchased a brand new water bottle that I immediately started to use and intended to do so on my way back home, too. So, I needed to know if this was OK with the Transport Security Administration (TSA) regulations or not.

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TSA is a US government agency that was created in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Among some other things, it is primarily responsible for screening passengers and baggage at airports with the mission of preventing similar attacks from happening again.

This is what the internet helped me to find out about TSA and water bottles:

Can You Bring A Water Bottle Through TSA?

The short answer is: yes! You can bring an empty water bottle through TSA security screening.

“you CAN bring an empty bottle. Just fill it up on your way to boarding your flight after screening. Bobby Boucher will be proud!”


The TSA actually wants to encourage passengers to bring their own reusable water bottles and reduce the amount of plastic waste. So, the TSA allows you to bring an empty reusable water bottle through the security checkpoint. You can fill it with water (using a water fountain or hydration station at some airports) or other beverages once you’re inside the terminal.

It is very important to note that the water bottle must be empty at the time of screening!

I was not sure if the material of the water bottle made any difference. I traveled with a Hydro Flask, so I searched

Does TSA Allow Metal Water Bottles?

The short answer again is: yes.

You can carry any reusable water bottle that is made of a material that can be screened by X-ray or another technology. You are good to go with a plastic or metal water bottle, less likely with glass. You will need to remove the empty water bottle from your carry-on bag and place it in a bin for screening.

Again, if the bottle contains any liquid, it will not be allowed through the security checkpoint. And what if my water changes phase from a liquid to a solid?

Can You Take A Frozen Water Bottle Through TSA?

Well, the answer is again: yes! You can take a frozen water bottle through TSA.

“Frozen liquid items are allowed through the checkpoint as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen liquid items are partially melted, slushy, or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet 3-1-1 liquids requirements.”


This quote refers to gel ice packs and not specifically frozen water bottles but it can be inferred that a frozen water bottle would be allowed. Make sure the water bottle is completely frozen when you take it through security, and keep in mind that it will start to thaw!

Also, some airlines may have their own restrictions on frozen items that can be brought on board, so it’s always wise to check with your specific airline too before you take a frozen water bottle.

I’m all for reusable water bottles but for the sake of learning more about TSA rules, I wanted to know what about bottled water.

Can You Bring A Sealed Water Bottle Through TSA?

Well, you are allowed to bring some liquid through TSA but the rule I found for the search query “can you bring bottled water through TSA” doesn’t look like it permits a sealed water bottle, or it has to be teeny tiny:

Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed


If you want to be 100% sure you pack properly, make sure you check the latest TSA rules and regulations here:

What Can I Bring? :

Also, don’t forget that there are TSA rules, airport security rules, and plane security rules which may overlap but each is designed to address different aspects of aviation security. It’s best to get informed about all regulations you may run into through your journey.

Safe travels! Cheers!

Featured image credit:
Photo by colton strickland on Unsplash

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Can You Take An Empty Water Bottle Through Airport Security?

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