ISTA 3A Individual Packaged Products Shipped Through A Parcel Delivery System

ISTA 3A: Package Integrity Testing of Product Packaging Less Than 150 lb

ISTA series 3A package testing provides general simulations testing for packages weighing less than 150lbs. As an ISTA and ISO 17025 certified lab, we realize the importance of simulation testing. Meeting the ISTA series 3A requirements can be difficult. We understand the challenges and guide companies through the process.

Keystone has a reputation for helping customers achieve their package certifications. When packages do not meet the requirements, we assist with finding solutions. Keystone Package Testing partners with customers to achieve package compliance. Lastly, we provide comprehensive reports shortly after the completion of the testing.

Request a quote to receive testing services customized to your specific needs. Have a question about procedure 3A testing? Contact us and we will determine the best course of action.

Summary of ISTA 3A Integrity Transportation Testing

ISTA Procedure 3A is a simulation test for individual packaged products shipped weighing less than 150 pounds. This package test standard is designed for packaged products for parcel delivery system shipments. This test is designed for four different types of packages. These packages are commonly distributed as individual packages either by air or ground. The types include standard, small, elongated, and flat packages.

ISTA 3A packaging standards are defined as any packaged product that does not meet any of the other definitions for standard small, flat or elongated packaged products. These can include traditional fiberboard cartons, plastic containers, wooden containers, or cylindrical containers.

Small Packages

Small packaged products are defined by size and weight. They cannot exceed a volume of 800 cubed inches and have the longest dimension of 14 inches or less. ISTA 3A also requires small packages to weigh 10 pounds or less.

Flat Packages

Flat packaged products must have the shortest dimension of eight inches or less. The next longest dimension is four or more times greater than the shortest dimension. The volume must be 800 inches cubed or greater.

Elongated Packages

Elongated packages have the longest dimension of 36 inches or greater. They also must have both of the package’s other dimensions each be 20 percent or less of the longest dimension. If a packaged product qualifies as both flat and elongated, it must be tested as if it is an elongated package.

ISTA 3A Transportation Integrity Testing Procedures

ISTA 3A requires one test sample to be tested unless the product is considered to be fragile or liquid. A fragile product is an item that could easily break when dropped without protective packaging.

Examples of fragile products include:

  • Ceramics
  • Clay
  • Electronics
  • Glass
  • Porcelains

Liquids are defined as semi-liquids and solids that can become liquids if exposed to temperatures over 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

ISTA 3A test drop heights may vary per package.

Below outlines the test sequences defined in the ISTA 3A shipping testing standard.

Sequence #Test CategoryTest TypeFor ISTA Certification
1Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1Temperature and HumidityRequired
2Atmospheric Conditioning TEST BLOCK 1Controlled Temperature and HumidityOptional
3Shock TEST BLOCK 3DropRequired
4Vibration TEST BLOCK 4 & 7 for Standard TEST BLOCKS 5 & 7 for Pails and Short CylindersRandom Vibration with and Without Top LoadRequired
5Vibration TEST BLOCKS 2 & 8Random Vibration Under Low PressureOptional
6Shock TEST BLOCK 9DropRequired


ISTA 3A Packaging Integrity Testing Laboratory

Keystone Package Testing is an ISTA certified test lab with extensive knowledge with e-commerce package testing. With significant experience in the testing of ISTA 3A packages, Keystone assists shippers throughout the testing process. Our quotes are timely and affordable. We have ample equipment, ensuring that job scheduling can occur in a short time.

When testing challenges arise, our engineers and technicians can assist with making recommendations in changes to packaging material and package design. Our package test reports are concise and completed expeditiously after the test program is complete.

Contact us when you are ready to receive expert ISTA 3A transit testing.


Other ISTA Standards:


Interested in the EMC/EMI, climatic, dynamic, shielding effectiveness, or IP Code testing of a product? Follow the corresponding links or for more information.