Guidelines for ISTA Test Procedures

The first step is getting started…

1. Test the Package

It is recommended that you use a regular laboratory performance test.

2. Know Your Distribution Environment

Find out more about how products move, including the variety of channels used to ship your products. Use this knowledge to reduce exposure to the hazards of distribution. 

3. Continuously Review and Improve

Distribution hazards change, as fo packaging materials. Review and re-test often.

4. Stay Up to Date

Technologies and advancements are always happening. Make sure to stay up to date on the requirements for your specific industry, or hire a laboratory to do so for you.

The need for package testing arises from the fact that packages are responsible for protecting and securing the product within during transportation and on the store shelves. Package testing is essential to ensure that the package can withstand various environmental conditions, such as temperature changes, humidity, and mechanical stress, without compromising the integrity of the product. Additionally, package testing helps identify potential issues such as leaks, breakages, or tampering that could impact the quality and safety of the product. Overall, package testing is crucial in ensuring that products reach consumers in good condition and meet regulatory requirements.

Testing Objectives

A screening test would be used to avoid serious problems in shipment, usually damage to the product. Screening tests can give the recipient confidence: 

  • Simple and inexpensive to perform

  • widely available and accepted

  • utilize simple equipment

  • accommodate known and suspected severe hazards

Types of ISTA Tests

ISTA 1A, ISTA 1B, ISTA 1C, and more...

This series challenges the strength and robustness of the packaged product. These tests are useful in accordance to the screening tests. Many companies use these tests as a benchmark over time to determine progress or lacktherof in testing, design, and the engineering or the packaged product. 

ISTA 2A, ISTA 2B, ISTA 2C, and more...

This series considers tests with at least one element of 3 Series type General Simulation performance tests, such as atmospheric conditioning or mode-shaped random vibration, in addition to basic elements of a 1 Series type Non-Simulation Integrity test.


This series is designed to provide a laboratory simulation of the general damage-producing motions, forces, conditions, and sequences of environments of transit. These are applicable across a broad set of circumstances, such as a variety of vehicle types, handling exposures, temperature, etc.


This series is a general simulation test with at least one element of Focused Simulation, such as test sequence or test conditions linked to actual known distribution. 


This series are Member Performance Tests. The tests are tests created by ISTA members or by ISTA in cooperation with a member company.


  2. ISTA Over Boxing

  3. ISTA Mixed Case Simulation

  4. ISTA Parcel Delivery System

  5. ISTA Tier 3

  6. ISTA Tier 6

  7. ISTA 6-SAMS Club

  8. ISTA 6-SIOC

  9. ISTA 6-Over Boxing

  10. ISTA 6-Mixed Case Simulation


This series of tests are used in the development of transport packages They can be used to compare relative performance or two container designers, but are not intended to evaluate the protection afforded packaged-products. 

Guidelines for ISTA Test Procedures

Having guidelines for ISTA (International Safe Transit Association) test procedures is important for several reasons:

1. Standardization: Having guidelines ensures consistency in testing methods across different companies and industries. This allows for accurate and reliable comparison of test results and ensures that products are tested under similar conditions.

2. Quality assurance: Following standardized test procedures helps ensure the quality and integrity of test results. It helps reduce errors and variability in testing, leading to more reliable and trustworthy results.

3. Cost-effectiveness: Standardized test procedures help companies save time and resources by providing clear guidelines on how to conduct tests efficiently and effectively. This helps streamline the testing process and reduce the risk of errors.

4. Compliance: Many industries require products to undergo specific testing to meet regulatory or customer requirements. Following standardized test procedures helps ensure that products are tested in accordance with these requirements, reducing the risk of non-compliance.

5. Safety: Testing procedures are designed to ensure the safety and integrity of products during transportation and distribution. Following standardized guidelines helps identify potential weaknesses in packaging and allows for improvements to be made to enhance product safety.

Overall, having guidelines for ISTA test procedures is crucial for ensuring the quality, reliability, and safety of products during transit, leading to cost savings, regulatory compliance, and customer satisfaction.

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