What is AQL ?

2024 / 03 / 14
If you’re importing consumer products and working with a third-party inspection company, you probably know that AQL is an industry-standard sampling method. It helps you determine two things, first, how many units the inspector should check, and, second, how many defective units are allowable during the inspection.
AQL‘ stands for ‘Acceptance Quality Limit‘, and is a method used by many businesses to check a random sample from the production batch of their products and confirm that the risk of bad quality is relatively low.
In ISO 2859-1, the AQL is defined as the “quality level that is the worst tolerable.” 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, and I accept a certain amount of risk that I make the wrong decision based on the imperfect information coming from checking only a sample of the whole batch”.
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