The FedEx drop test is one of the simulations proposed by the express delivery giant to simulate potential damages that may occur during their distribution cycle. The test, which is part of a set of other procedures, allows for the optimization of packages as per FedEx standards.


Which companies need to perform the FedEx drop test?

Since 1965, FedEx relies on innovation to provide international and intercontinental urgent delivery services.

Today, the company is proposing a series of tests – dubbed ISTA-6-FEDEX – for anyone making shipments through its distribution system, to be performed prior to shipping with the purpose of simulating FedEx’s air and land transport environments.

This testing procedure was created as part of a joint effort between ISTA and FedEx to establish standards that protect loads during the distribution cycle.

This being so, in addition to a FedEx freight quote, companies will need to take into consideration the performance of these protocols before using FedEx shipping services.

Fedex drop test procedures will need to be performed when sending packages via FedEx Express, whether shipping inside the US or worldwide.

The array of tests established for this type of shipment is called ISTA-6-FEDEX-A.

  • The FedEx drop test is a part of these tests, which are performed on packaged products weighing up to 150 pounds (about 68 kilograms).
  • These procedures involve a series of tests to be performed before shipping via FedEx, which simulate FedEx’s air and land transportation environments.
  • The simulations determine the degree of protection products have while shipping, and when undergoing FedEx package handling.


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What FedEx drop test procedures are there?

FedEx drop test procedures are based on industrial data, as well as other international testing procedures and standards.

Their purpose is to offer reliable packaging tests to their customers, so that packages are ready to be enter FedEx’s distribution cycle, avoiding shrinkage in goods and economic losses.

FedEx shipments covered by ISTA-6-FEDEX-A will require the performance of drop, impact, compression and vibration tests to evaluate the integrity and protection performance of the package. The FedEx drop test, which helps to evaluate the protective ability of packages in conjunction with the rest of the tests, therefore falls within the scope of ISTA-6-FEDEX-A.

For the performance of these tests, it will be necessary to use simulation machines such as compression and vibration testers.

In every case, all of these tests, including the FedEx drop test, are described in this guide created by FedEx.

It is important to note that the application of these tests is divided into US and international shipments.

Free fall procedures

To perform the free fall procedures that compose the FedEx drop test, it will be necessary to use a drop tester.

When using this machine, packages are placed at the base – which is made of steel, flat, firm and non-resistant. Following FedEx’s specifications, the height from which the package should fall will vary based on its weight.

FedEx drop test procedures vary depending on whether the shipment is domestic or international. For international packages, a second round of drops is required, which will need to be performed after the vibration test.

Furthermore, a free fall test will need to be performed for each possible orientation, as outlined in the examples below.



drop tester procedure

Concentrated impact test procedures

Concentrated impact testing procedures need to be performed once again using a drop tester. In this case, in addition, a dense wood box needs to be used (measuring 12″x12″x12″, with a bottom edge covered by an iron corner bracket and a total weight of 21 lbs, and using a sandbag to reach that weight).

Performing the concentrated impact test implies freely dropping the package using the machine, from a steel or cement base located at 30” and over the dense wood box.


eumos 40509:2020


Bridge impact testing procedures

The bridge impact test is performed using a drop tester and a box like the one previously described.

The bridge impact test is performed by dropping the package on the box from two blocks 4” high located at opposite ends of the longest dimension of the package, and parallel to each other at the shortest edge of the package.

After performing the tests and verifying that a package complies with the outlined requirements, the package is opened and its contents are inspected.

Through these simulations, it is possible to analyze the damages caused, if any, to fedex shipments by the various hazards of the distribution cycle.

If damages were detected during any of these simulations, it is possible that the following one will not be performed. Likewise, FedEx also considers the performance of a package’s closure as a requirement.

Characteristics of machines used to perform the FedEx drop test


Characteristics of machines used to perform the FedEx drop test

In order to perform the free fall tests that are part of ISTA-6-FEDEX-A, it is necessary to use a Drop Tester.

A Drop Tester can simulate the drops or rotational impacts that may affect the goods during shipping & handling.

Safe Load Testing Technologies’ drop tester has been designed to comply with several international standards, including the ISTA-6-FEDEX-A standards.

The machine used to perform the FedEx drop test includes four different models tailored to the volume and weight of the load to be tested:

  • Model SF-DP1200 is designed to perform tests with products of up to 1500mm (59 in.) in size, weighing up to 1,200kg (2,646 lb.) and at a maximum height of 2000mm (78 ¾ in.).
  • Model SF-DP600 can perform tests on packages of up to 600kg (1,323 lb.), with a maximum drop of 1200mm (47 ¼ in.) and a package 1000mm (39.37 in.) in size.
  • Model SF-DP200 can be used to perform tests on packages of up to 200kg (441 lb.), a maximum height of 1200mm (47 ¼ in.) and a maximum package size of 800mm (31 ½ in.).
  • Lastly, model SF-DP100 is designed to perform tests with the smallest packages: up to 100kg (220 lb.) at a maximum height of 1200mm (47 ¼ in.) and maximum package size of 800mm (31 ½ in.).

All of these models can perform tests that measure flat, corner and edge drops. Furthermore, model SF-DP100 also allows for tests where packages are dropped on hazards.


Why you should choose Safe Load Testing Technologies’ Drop Tester

Safe Load TT’s Drop Tester offers several advantages to those that need to comply with FedEx drop test procedures:

  • The machine has been designed to comply with the ASTM, ISO and ISTA standards, including the protocols outlined in ISTA-6-FEDEX-A.
  • Offers a simple and intuitive use. Tests are controlled by means of a touchscreen that allows the tests to be easily managed.
  • Its cutting-edge technology guarantees precise tests and optimal results.
  • The machine offers several models tailored to different load size and weight ranges.

At Safe Load Testing Technologies we have a background of 20 years working and developing technological innovations in the packaging industry.

Throughout these two decades, we have helped companies protect their packages and comply with transport and distribution regulations. Our accomplishments include helping several companies to optimize and test packages, as well as to save in distribution costs.

Constant research is what sets us apart, aiming to offer the most precise results in transport simulation. In addition, we strive to offer personalized solutions based on the needs of each company.

To know more about the FedEx drop test and how to comply with it, get in touch with us and we will discuss how we can assist you.