The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), an accrediting body, and the Builders Hardware/Manufacturers Association (BHMA), a standards developer, together develop and publish performance standards for builders hardware, including, but not limited to, locksets. ANSI/BHMA have set forth three different product performance grades for locksets: 1, 2, and 3. The purpose of these grades is to help identify the level of security (i.e. a measure of safety) and durability (i.e. a measure of functionality), among other things, offered by different types of locksets through a series of security and operational tests. In this post I will discuss the differences between these three grades and the intended applications for the locksets that meet the criteria for each. The information below is generalized and abbreviated. For the most up-to-date, comprehensive, and detailed standards information the reader should contact BHMA and request a copy of ANSI/BHMA standards.
1. Grade 3: Good Security
This grade offers a minimum level of security and durability. Grade 3 locksets, also known as “standard duty” locksets, are made primarily for residential applications. Bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, or any room that is not meant for public access but does not house expensive equipment or sensitive documents can be outfitted with this grade of lockset. Grade 3 knobsets, for example, must withstand at least 200,000 cycles, one set of blows at different foot pounds (i.e. two blows at 60 foot pounds), and a vertical load test of 150 pounds.
2. Grade 2: Better Security
This grade offers a medium level of security and durability. Grade 2 locksets, also known as “medium duty” locksets, are made primarily for commercial applications. Office doors, entrances to apartment buildings, IT rooms, or any interior/exterior doors where security is a concern should have grade 2 locksets installed on them. Grade 2 knobsets must withstand at least 400,000 cycles, two sets of blows at different foot pounds (i.e. two blows at 60 foot pounds and two blows at 90 foot pounds), and a vertical load test of 250 pounds.
3. Grade 1: Best Security
This grade offers a high level of security and durability. Grade 1 locksets, also known as “heavy duty” locksets, are made primarily for government and financial facilities, or any door where security is of the utmost importance. Grade 1 knobsets must withstand at least 800,000 cycles, three sets of blows at different foot pounds (i.e. two blows at 60 foot pounds, two blows at 90 foot pounds, and two blows at 120 foot pounds), and a vertical load test of 360 pounds.
Though grade 1 locksets offer the best security and durability, among other things, they are usually four times the cost of a grade 3 lockset, not to mention being bulkier and heavier. It is for these reasons that manufacturers produce locksets that meet the needs and budgets of different consumers. After all, a grade 1 entrance lockset on a bedroom door would be overkill, and a grade 3 entrance lockset on an ATM-room door would be underkill.