Savvy air travelers always check the latest information from the Transportation Security Administration regarding what items are permitted in carry-on or checked baggage. The list of items people ask about is very long and comprehensive. In the unlikely event you have an item not on the list, the TSA allows you to send them a photo to get a verdict on whether you can bring the item on a plane.
How to travel with your stapler is mostly a question of what type of tool it is, how it gets its power, and whether it could be used as a weapon. Search “staplers” on the TSA “what can I bring” page, and the results are “yes,” for both carry-on and checked bags. However, nail guns are listed separately and are permitted only in checked bags. No “engine-powered equipment” containing the slightest bit of residual fuel, including vapors, is allowed. Some airlines will not allow any engine-powered equipment that has ever contained any fuel at all. Compressed gases are not allowed unless a TSA officer can confirm the canister is totally empty.
Hammers must go into checked bags and are not allowed in carry-ons. Hammer staplers aren’t on the TSA list. It would seem reasonable, however, to assume that hammer staplers fall under the general category “hammer.” If you plan to travel with one, ask TSA first and remove any staples in the tool, to be on the safe side.
Mini-staplers and office staplers don’t seem to pose a problem. In fact, a certain “fourth-floor stapler” gained international fame when cheeky UK office workers rebelled and took it first to the second floor, then to destinations around the world. They took stapler selfies (starring the stapler, showing only the hand of the person holding it) at the Ritz Hotel, the Empire State Building, Disneyworld, and a sauna in Finland.
Train travelers can check Amtrak’s list of prohibited items, which includes gas canisters and sharp objects. When in doubt, contact the train service for guidance. If you are traveling by car or truck, you still must consider safety when you bring your tools with you. Unload powered staple guns and nail guns and disconnect them from any power source or compressor. If you use tools powered with canisters, plan to obtain them at your destination rather than risking traveling with them.
If you expect to travel and need to bring your tools, plan how to travel with your stapler ahead of time to avoid delays and complications.