AQL - An essential part of quality control when importing from Asia

What is AQL and how does it affect quality control?

When importing products, especially from Asia, quality control is crucial. An important part of this is the concept of 'Acceptable Quality Limit' (AQL). In this blog we will delve deeper into what AQL means, how it is applied, and why it is so important for importers.

What is AQL? 

AQL stands for 'Acceptable Quality Limit', a statistical measurement tool used in quality control processes. It determines the maximum number of defects that are considered acceptable during a random sample of a product batch. AQL helps importers decide whether to accept or reject a batch of products based on the quantity and severity of defects found.

Why is AQL important?

AQL is crucial for importers because it helps balance two risks: the risk of accepting a 'bad' batch and the risk of rejecting a 'good' batch. AQL allows importers to determine what level of defects is acceptable given the nature of the product and market requirements.

How is AQL used? 

An AQL test involves taking a sample of the product batch and inspecting it for defects. The results are then compared to the pre-established AQL standards. If the number of defects within the sample falls below the AQL limit, the batch is approved. If it falls above this, the game is rejected.

Different levels of AQL

AQL levels vary depending on the importer's requirements and the nature of the products. Common AQL levels include 1.0, 2.5, and 4.0. A lower AQL level means stricter quality controls, while a higher level allows for more defects.

AQL in various industries

AQL is used in various industries, from clothing and toys to electronics and medical equipment. The AQL levels chosen may vary depending on the quality requirements and standards in each industry.

AQL and your company

It is important for importers to choose the correct AQL level for their products. This depends on factors such as market expectations, the cost of the product and the importance of the product for the end user. The stricter the AQL, the higher the quality requirements and therefore (probably) the price of the product.


AQL is a fundamental aspect of quality control when importing products. Understanding and correctly applying AQL can help minimize risks and ensure product quality. As an importer, it is important to work with an experienced and reliable partner who can help implement effective AQL-based quality controls.

  Are you looking for expert support with your quality control processes?

Contact Westwood for sound advice and support in your import activities. We can help you organize quality controls, audits and much more.

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