AQF Quality Control Blog

Inspection Process

Quality Control: Carton Drop Test

When doing inspections, one of the most common tests done by inspection firms is the Carton Drop test. By testing how durable the box is, you can see how the cartons themselves will hold up during shipment and what potential damage could be done to the products inside. The test is based off of the ISTA (International Safe Transit Association) standard.

But how exactly are these carton drop tests done?

  • The products must be checked for defects before testing to ensure normal functionality and packaging. The client ideally should define product and packaging damage criteria beforehand.
  • Using the chart below, determine what height your products should be dropped from:
  • Next, you may conduct the test by dropping the boxes on the corners, edges and faces indicated below. There are 10 different drops.

Once you have done your drop tests, how do you make a conclusion from the results? Normally, there are three different types of outcomes: Pass/Fail/Pending.

  • Pass: No damage or breakage to packaging. No functionality or safety issues found with the product.
  • Fail: Product is damaged or broken or safety issues, such as sharp edges or small loose parts, are revealed after testing.
  • Pending: Packaging including outer carton, inner boxes or unit packaging are damaged, but the product remains in tact.

Unfortunately, many factories are hesitant to allow this testing as the risk of damage to products (which they would have to replace) is present. However, having your factory agree to compulsory drop testing will help to ensure that your products are packaged in a safe way and will not be damaged during shipment.


David Fisher

I used to be AQF's Business Development Manager, leading marketing strategy. I have recently left AQF to get my MBA, but still serve as a blog contributor. I enjoy visiting China and helping clients with their Asian business and quality control strategies.

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14 responses to “Quality Control: Carton Drop Test”

  1. Rakesh says:

    We want to test our furniture product.
    Is it recommended to test the furniture with 10 side drop test, if yes which standard we can refer .

  2. Tracy says:

    Have you ever heard of a 16 point drop test on a box?

    • mm Claire Piccinno says:

      @Tracy: as far as we know, there are only 10 point drop test that are required by ISTA -1A standard.

  3. manussavee says:

    I do the drop test for corrugated carton, inner LLDPE bag with frozen Chicken. Our team wonder that after drop test, Should we see the defect at inner LLDPE bag or not? or just see the appearance of carton then compare the result with control carton. Could you pls give an advice with support reason?

  4. pranee says:

    can i use this content in my presentation

    • mm Claire Piccinno says:

      @Pranesh: you can use any content that is useful for your presentation. We invite you to mention the Quality Control Blog, as well as the link to the source of the content in order to respect our copyrights.

    • Vincent says:

      Hi, if we have 3 layer Carton box for our product. Example: 1pc box to cover the product. Total 10 piece of 1pc box include in 10pc box. Later those 20 piece of 10pc box include in 200pc carton box. What’s the suitable method to do drop test. 1pc box, 10pc box or 200pc box? Thanks very much for your advice..

    • mm Claire Piccinno says:

      @Vincent: if the drop test aims to simulate potential risks of breakage during transportation between China and your warehouse, then you should test the master carton. If you aim to check the the individual box can support transportation in case you are an e-commerce player and send your goods by courrier or normal post, then you may need to test your individual box. Feel free to get in touch with us to find our the best solution for you!

  5. Azhar Khan says:

    Dear concern,

    could you please provide the procedure of Humidity test of cartons, we are face a very big issue of wet carton,

    we want to know that how many humidity will be acceptable during carton testing.

    your quick response would be highly appreciated.

    Kind Regards,

  6. arizan says:

    If it fall under “pending”,is it pass or fail. Not sure pending for what.

    • mm Claire Piccinno says:

      @arizan: thanks you for your useful question! Pending means a lot of things actually. Every single inspection is different so the best is to carefully read the QC comment in the report regarding this test. If it concerns an AQF inspection report, you can contact Operations team: operation(@)asiaqualityfocus(.)com and your account manager, they will be very happy to tell you more.

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