What is the “AQL” (Acceptance Quality Limit)?

“AQL” stands for “Acceptance Quality Limit“, and is defined as the “quality level that is the worst tolerable” in ISO 2859-1.

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What Does AQL Mean?

AQL” stands for “Acceptance Quality Limit“, and is defined as the “quality level that is the worst tolerable” in ISO 2859-1. It represents the maximum number of defective units, beyond which a batch is rejected. Importers usually set different AQLs for critical, major, and minor defects. Most Asian exporters are familiar with this type of setting.

For example: “AQL is 1.5%” means “I want no more than 1.5% defective items in the whole order quantity, on average over several production runs with that supplier”.

How To Use The AQL Tables?

The AQL tables are incorporated into international quality standards to help ensure product quality meets your expectations.

The tables will determine the sampling size we inspect according to your order quantity and your Acceptable Quality Tolerance level (I, II, or III). The standard AQL sampling plan used by 98% of the people is level II for normal product inspections.

If your order has multiple references, we should ideally perform a level II inspection on each reference, at the minimum.

For standard order, the standard level II from the AQL gives the minimum sampling size we should check per reference if you do not want to take additional risks. If we inspect a general level II sampling size on multiple reference orders, then the sampling size is diluted and divided by the number of references, increasing the risks as the sampling size must not be representative enough. More information about:

  • How to use the AQL table.
  • Choosing the right AQL inspection level.

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