AQL Meaning in Quality Control

AQL means an Acceptable Quality Level. The AQL is a quality standard followed during product quality inspection and product quality audits. In industrial production and mass production age, product manufacturers make thousands of units for the same item. Let's say mass garment production. In a situation where the buyer needs to check the garments before accepting the order,  it is not possible to check hundreds of garments. Instead of checking all the packed garments a certain percentage of the garment lot is checked and based on the inspection result the lot is accepted or rejected.

To derive how many garments inspector needs to check out of the lot AQL system (AQL chart) is followed. The quality inspector collects samples from the whole insection lot according to the standard sample size. The inspector only checks sample size items and detects defects and defective units from the sample size.

In the AQL standard chart, it is defined that up to how many defective garments can be accepted. If the inspector founds more defective units (defects) in the sample size units than the acceptable limit, the whole lot will be rejected.

AQL term can be also defined as a statistical tool for quality inspection.

AQL meaning and AQL full form

As per another source (, AQL stands for “Acceptance Quality Level” and the abbreviation of AQL has been renamed as “Acceptance Quality Limits”. It is the limit that customer sets which are not really acceptable. Customers prefer zero defect products or services, which is the ideal acceptable quality level. However, customers arrive and set acceptable quality limits based on business, financial and safety levels.

In the AQL system, visual defects like minor defects, major defects, and critical defects are counted and weightage is given differently.  Measurement defects (out of tolerance measurements) are also considered in AQL inspection. 

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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