The hardness of plastics is most commonly measured by the Shore (Durometer) test or Rockwell hardness test. Both methods measure the resistance of plastics toward indentation and provide an empirical hardness value that doesn't necessarily correlate well to other properties or fundamental characteristics. Shore Hardness, using either the Shore A or Shore D scale, is the preferred method for rubbers/elastomers and is also commonly used for 'softer' plastics such as polyolefins, fluoropolymers, and vinyls. The Shore A scale is used for 'softer' rubbers while the Shore D scale is used for 'harder' ones. Many other Shore hardness scales, such as Shore O and Shore H hardness, exist but are only rarely encountered by most plastics engineers.
The Shore hardness is measured with an apparatus known as a Durometer and consequently is also known as 'Durometer hardness'. The hardness value is determined by the penetration of the Durometer indenter foot into the sample. Because of the resilience of rubbers and plastics, the indentation reading my change over time - so the indentation time is sometimes reported along with the hardness number.