Hardware Grades

Door locking hardware is classified by Grade.  There are three grade levels that are qualified primarily by performance as evaluated by standards created by the Builders Hardware Manufacturer’s Association, (BHMA).  Those particular standards have also been adopted by the American National Standards Institute, (ANSI).

The standard is called BHMA 156.5 and may be downloaded online.  There are many qualifications that must be met for each grade level outlined in the standard document.  Generalizing, it can be said that;

Grade 1 locks are considered Commercial Heavy Duty

Grade 2 locks are considered Heavy residential or light Commercial

Grade 3 locks are considered standard Residential duty.

Prices can range from around $8.00 for residential locks that aren’t even Grade 3 all the way up to $700.00 or $800.00 for some Grade 1 locks.  If you want to add an electronic component the price can go up from there.

Just remember that old adage, “You get what you pay for” and its corollary “You don’t get what you don’t pay for”.  If you have a high traffic residential door that gets unlocked 8 or more times a day, that less than Grade 3 lock may last for just a few months.  Don’t be fooled either by locks that proudly proclaim that they have ‘Grade 3 FEATURES’, or similarly Grade 2 or Grade 1 'features'.  Those claims don’t usually mean that they are that grade of hardware.


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