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5 Steps to the Carton Drop Test

Published: 22 May 2015 01:36:28 PST

carton-drop-testHow important is packaging to your product? Maybe you’re a buyer that doesn’t have much concern over the artwork and appearance of the packaging. But when it comes to receiving your finished products in good condition, the right packaging is crucial.

We know that different cartons are used to protect different kinds of goods. Likewise, different standards are used to check the durability of shipper cartons. But how does your product inspector verify packaging durability? The answer may be simpler than you think. In this article, we’ll tell you the five?steps for the carton drop test that you can do anytime anywhere.

Carton Drop Test

The carton drop test is usually performed on a full master carton by dropping the carton a total of 10 times from a certain height. This process simulates the shipping environment during which packaged goods may be subject to all kinds of falling, swinging, shaking, etc. After dropping, the inspector can see how the carton itself holds up during shipping and forecast any potential damages that might occur during shipping. Professional product inspection companies often employ the carton drop test to evaluate the quality of packaging.

Carton Drop Test Protocol

There are multiple standards used for the carton drop test. Many entities have their own standards, such as the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), which are slightly different from each other. InTouch inspectors use ISTA 1A as the standard that we follow. This test applies to packaged product only and does not simulate shipping conditions like moisture, corrosions, and etc. Below is a brief test procedure:

Step 1: Select a packaged carton from the master cartons as testing sample. If you’re carrying out testing in a factory, it’s important to choose a carton at random.

Step 2: Find a suitable testing area with a flat and hard floor.

Step 3: Drop the carton from the selected height 10 times from different sides. The standard for drop height for the test varies based on carton weight.

Drop Height Standards:

Package WeightDrop HeightPackage WeightDrop Height
1-20lb30 inches1-9kg76cm
21-40lb24 inches10-18kg61cm
41-60lb18 inches19-27kg46cm
60-100lb12 inches28-45kg30cm
101-150lb8 inches46-68kg20cm

Carton Orientation:

Sequence #OrientationSpecific face, edge or corner
1Cornermost fragile face-3 corner, if not known, test 2-3-5
2Edgeshortest edge radiating from the corner tested
3Edgenext longest edge radiating from the corner tested
4Edgelongest edge radiating from the corner tested
5Faceone of the smallest faces
6Faceopposite small face
7Faceone of the medium faces
8Faceopposite medium face
9Faceone of the largest faces
10Faceopposite large face


Step 4: Open the carton and verify the condition of products and packaging inside the carton. Separate any damaged packaging.

A carton FAILS the carton drop test?if any of?the following are found after the?drop:carton-drop-test-intouch

  • Damage to export cartons.
  • Damage to inner/retail boxes.
  • Deformation, scratches, dents or other damage to products inside.
  • Products are not?functional or have?problems related to functionality.

Step 5: Adjust the carton drop test if necessary. Some buyers may find the testing needs to be done from a greater height or from different angles. You may want to experiment with different standards to make sure you’re confident in your product packaging.


The packaging your supplier uses to ship your product can mean the difference between receiving a quality product in new condition and a damaged product that’s unsellable. The carton drop test is a standard part of final product inspection. Make sure that your product inspectors are carrying out a carton drop test on-site at the factory. They should be documenting the result of this testing each time they submit an inspection report.

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