The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said extremists were seeking "innovative methods" to bring down jets.
Bombs could be hidden in laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players and electronic games, it said.
The measure will affect nine airlines operating out of 10 airports.
Large electronic devices will only be allowed on board in checked baggage. Phones are exempt from the new rules.
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The nine airlines affected are:
- Royal Jordanian
- Egypt Air
- Turkish Airlines
- Saudi Arabian Airlines
- Kuwait Airways
- Royal Air Maroc
- Qatar Airways
- Etihad Airways
US officials said the airlines had been given 96 hours, beginning at 07:00 GMT on Tuesday, to ban devices bigger than a mobile phone or smartphone from cabins. They said the ban had no end date.