ISTA 3A Package Testing

ISTA Procedure 3A package testing is the standard for testing packages less than 150 pounds. This package test standard is designed for packaged-products for parcel delivery 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 a small, flat or elongated packaged product. These can include traditional fiberboard cartons, plastic containers, wooden containers or cylindrical containers.

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

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

Elongated packages have a 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. It is important to note that if a packaged product qualifies as both flat and elongated, it must be tested as if it is an elongated package.

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

ISTA 3A test drop heights may vary per package. Examples of fragile products include ceramics, clay, electronics glass and porcelains. Liquids include liquids as well as semi-liquids and solids that can become liquids if they exposed to temperatures in excess of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Included below are charts that outline the test sequences for each of the four package types defined in the ISTA 3A shipping testing standard for package validation and ISTA 3A certification:

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

Keystone Package testing is an accredited 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 entire testing process. Our quotes are timely and affordable and we assist with designing test plans. We have ample equipment, ensuring that job scheduling can occur in a short period of 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: