Prep-Free Packaging (PFP) / Over Boxing 

Tier 3 of Amazon’s packaging pyramid is Prep Free Packaging (PFP). These are products that cannot be shipped on their own because of their size or packaging. Any package with dimensions smaller than those listed below must be shipped in an Amazon box. This method is also referred to as over-boxing. The difference between standard packaging and frustration free packaging is if the product will have to have any prep work done by Amazon. The individual product packaging must still be ISTA 6 certified. Amazon tier 3 PFP is optional at this time for those small packages but they do still qualify for ISTA 6 certification.

Region Length Width Height
NA 6” (152.4mm) 4” (101.6mm) 0.375” (9.5mm)
EU 8” (203.2mm) 4.72” (119.9mm) 0.375” (9.5mm)

Unlike Amazon Frustration Free Packaging (“FFP”) or Ships In Own Container (“SIOC”), the PFP only offers vendors one benefit. This benefit is a reduction or removal of Amazon Chargebacks. To compare the benefits of each of the packaging tiers Amazon offers, please visit our Amazon Package Certification Overview.

Overboxing presents a number of unique challenges. To address these challenges, Amazon partnered with ISTA to create the ISTA Boxing standard. ISTA is the International Safe Transit Association and the authority on package testing standards.

This standard was written to test products weighing 70 pounds or less that are being placed in a larger container. It is common for to place these items into a larger shipping container with other individual retail packaged-products. The products are then cushioned with dunnage (air pillows or Kraft paper).

Amazon SIOC packaging, Amazon certified frustration free packaging and other consumer goods package tests seek to address issues within the amazon distribution channel. The ISTA standards will apply to both individual parcel package tests and palletized loads. 

Amazon Over-Boxing challenges the products and their packaging. The objective is to determine a package’s ability to withstand motions, forces and conditions of this transportation. The testing is completed by placing the test item, a hazard item and dunnage in a larger box. The hazard item is a block made of hardwood or metal. The block is .75 inches to one inch wide by six inches high. The length is at least eight inches longer than the second shortest package dimensions of the length, width and height. The long top edges of the block are rounded. Below is a chart that includes some of the amazon package testing protocol. Amazon prep free packaging and ISTA 6A testing could include amazon drop tests, inclined impact tests, drop tests, and vibration tests.

Sequence Number Test Category Test Type Test Level For ISTA Amazon Certification
1 Atmospheric Preconditioning


Temperature and Humidity Ambient Required
2 Atmospheric Conditioning


Controlled Temperature and Humidity Temperature and Humidity chosen from chart Optional
3 Shock


Drop 9 Drops Required
4 Vibration Test


Random Overall Grms levels of 0.53 Required
5 Shock


Drop 8 Drops Required
6 Integrity


Leak Test 8 hours Required for Liquids ONLY

An analysis of the package and product is completed after testing. The acceptance criteria for ISTA testing requires the product be fully functional in its intended use. If there are liquids, no leaks can be present. Any tamper-evident applications cannot be compromised. All seal integrity must be intact. All secondary packaging that is considered part of the product has no serious damage, scratches or indentations. It is important to note that the hazard products, dunnage or tertiary packaging are not to be considered in the acceptance criteria.

Most test types require one product sample to be tested. This must be a normal off-the-shelf product and not a golden unit. If the product is considered fragile, additional samples are required. Fragile items are defined as items that could easily break or could leak during the distribution process. Common examples of fragile items include glass, ceramic, porcelain and clay. Liquids include semi-liquids and solids that can become liquid at temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Televisions and monitors are not considered fragile for testing purposes. However, these items have additional testing requirements. When multiple identical samples are tested, all samples must pass all tests.

As an ISTA certified lab, Keystone Package Testing can meet your package testing needs, including ISTA Boxing. By providing quick turnarounds, competitive pricing and engineering assistance, Keystone Package Testing has become a leader in the amazon certified packaging testing and transit testing industry. Receiving a quote to complete Over Boxing testing is as easy as completing our online quote form. If you aren’t sure which ista test type is best for you, take our free online quiz. 

Are you ready to certify your products for Amazon? Contact us to work with a package testing expert. Keystone has been named to Amazon’s APASS network which means that we are an apass lab, certified to test to all amazon package standards. Our engineers understand the requirements and make sure you are not over testing. There are opportunities to certify multiple ASINs with one test. Talk to our experts to develop a streamlined ista certification package test plan and receive a professional and affordable quote. Then, your products can ships in certified frustration free packaging. Let’s get started!