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Locksmithing 101 | Lock Hardware Grades 1,2, and 3

As a locksmith, you should be familiar with hardware grades, particularly lock hardware grades. If not, I'm going to go over the three of them. Talk a bit about each one of them, and then I want to tie it together to explain why this is so important for the security professional.



Door hardware grades are classified into Grade 1, Grade 2, and Grade 3. They came about by two organizations coming together and developing a set of standards that a lock has to go through to be put in one grade over the other. Those two organizations were the ANSI, the American National Standards Institute, and the BHMA, Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association.




 Lock hardware grades from American National Standards Institute


What they did for door hardware is they developed a set of tests that the lock has to go through in order to be put in the proper grade. Those five tests are Strength test, Cycle Test, Security Test, Material Evaluation, and then a Finished Test. All five of those are great when I was going through those and looking at them like, you know what, one that stands out to me over the others is the Cycle Test.

learn about lock hardware grades

I think that's closest to the real world that we live in. When a lock gets put on a door, in my opinion, if it's not going to pass along the Cycle Test, it doesn't matter the strength per se of the lock, or the security of the lock, or how great the finishes is. It is because that lock is not going to be on that door for very long. What I found interesting are the cycles that the grades had to go through to pass. These cycles I'm going to go over are the minimum standards. Grade 3 has to go through a 200,000-cycle test. That doesn't mean the lock could go to 500,000 to pass that test, but it had to pass the 200,000 cycle test to be approved for a Grade 3.

Grade 3 locks

While Grade 2 has to go through a 400,000-cycle test, which is double over the residential lock.


 grade 3 vs grade 2 locks


And to top it up, Grade 1 must go through a million-cycle test. So, to me, the difference between a Grade 2, a light-duty commercial lock, and a Grade 1, a heavy-duty commercial lock, is considerable. It's over double of the Cycle Test between a Grade 2 and a Grade 1.




 grade 1 hardward locks


It got me thinking that the residential is standard. Still, when it comes to commercials, that's a massive difference between the cycle tests, and I think that's important for us as security professionals. That when we're out replacing hardware, we have to think through. I know there's a tendency to put Grade 2 locks on; they are a little less expensive than they're decent locks for sure, but when you think about the cycle tests, Grade 2 and Grade 1 have to go through's a vast difference. I think it's essential for us to make sure that we're putting the right lock on the right door. And by knowing that cycle test, I hope it really will help you make good decisions when it comes to putting the right lock on the right door. That's it! Thank you, guys, and we'll see you next time!



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