If you own a business or are looking for residential hardware that is going to be receiving a bit of wear and tear, you want to get something that is going to last. With HomeHardwarePlus we refuse to get you anything less then the best quality hardware; we’ll explain different hardware grades, how to determine their quality, and to make finding the grade of hardware that’s right for you simple.
Every piece of door hardware that HomeHardwarePlus sells is labeled as either Grade 1, 2, or 3. These ratings are made by the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and are based off of strength and cycle tests that they perform. These vary based on the products that are being tested and applied grades, such as items like hinges, door closers, locksets, and more.
For all general hardware, commercial applications tend to be Grade 1 and Grade 2 hardware due to the need for durability. Residential hardware can use either types of hardware, but tend to gravitate towards Grade 3 since typically they are lower in price and more realistic for their durability needs. For commercial applications, another benefit to having top of the line Grade 1 hardware is that it has more anti-theft applications built into the hardware, whether it be a free-wheeling clutch for a lockset or a non-removable pin for hinges. Each type of hardware has its own little tricks to make it more safe and durable for commercial purposes. One important note between graded products is that you really do get what you pay for; if there is a two dollar difference between hardware and the only difference you see is the grade specification it is for a good reason. Knowing what the usage of your hardware is for and how realistically it will be put to the test is beneficial when trying to determine what graded hardware to purchase.
Oftentimes you can also determine the grade of hardware based on the “duty” of the hardware. Often for more residential items we will label things as heavy duty, medium duty, or light duty instead of by their corresponding grade. This is often for recognitions sake, but there is no quality change. It is pretty simple to correspond; heavy duty corresponds with Grade 1, medium duty corresponds with Grade 2, and light duty corresponds with Grade 3.
What kind of testing has to happen to be qualified by BHMA/ANSI?
Let’s give a quick example of a grade test. The tests for locks are among the most common since knowing the durability and lifetime of a lockset is essential for picking which product is right for you. The strength test that is performed is set to let us as consumers know how much forcible turning a lock in its original locked state can withstand. To fit the qualification and before a grade is even assigned to a piece of door hardware, the hardware must be able to withstand staying locked after a minimum amount of pressure has been applied.
- For a Grade 1 lockset, a knobset lock must withstand 300 pounds and a leverset must withstand 450 pounds.
- For a Grade 2 lockset, a knobset lock must withstand 150 pounds and a leverset must withstand 225 pounds.
- For a Grade 3 lockset, a knobset lock must withstand 120 pounds and a leverset must withstand 180 pounds.
The cycle test on the other hand is the test that is most commonly considered, which determined how many times a lock can be used/operated before it fails its function.
- For a Grade 1 lock, it must be able to operate a full cycle at least 800,000 times
- For a Grade 2 lock, it must be able to operate a full cycle at least 400,000 times
- For a Grade 3 lock, it must be able to operate a full cycle at least 200,000 times
So for a quick lockset summary:
- A Grade 1 lockset has to be able to withstand 300 lbs / 450 lbs and to complete at least 800,000 turn cycles.
- A Grade 2 lockset has to be able to withstand 150 lbs / 225 lbs and to complete at least 400,000 turn cycles.
- A Grade 3 lockset has to be able to withstand 120 lbs / 180 lbs and to complete at least 200,000 turn cycles.