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What are Hardware Grades?

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

What are Hardware Grades? How is a hardware grade determined? And Why you need to know what hardware grade is in your building?

Today we are going to answer the question: What are Hardware Grades? How is a hardware grade determined? And Why you need to know what hardware grade is in your building?

We’ll also discuss what grade to use in commercial buildings versus residential properties.

At Loc-Doc Security, Our Mission is to help you protect your people and your property. We continue to share information like this to help you be informed so you can know the best solutions for the security of your property.

Hardware grades are very important to consider when selecting products for your building. Choosing the right products can make or break your buildings security.

I heard a good example of explaining grades of a product from a friend talking about camera gear for a wedding.

Consider the equipment that the photographer would use for the event. In a gear bag, you would find several high quality DSLR Cameras that cost thousands of dollars with lenses and flashes. What you wouldn’t find would be disposable cameras or portable casual cameras. Could you imagine a professional photographer using a disposable camera to cover a wedding? Although it would be quirky, the results wouldn’t be worth it in the end.

Another great example is the ratings of vehicle tires. The variety of tires for a vehicle is great but they are all measured by The UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grade) treadwear rating. This is a number stamped on the tire sidewall that relates to expected tire life.You know upfront how many miles the tires will give you before your investment. In basic terms, and in the spirit of the concept, the higher the UTQG treadwear rating, the greater the tire life. A tire with a “600” treadwear rating is forecasted to last twice as long as a tire with a “300” rating, and should accumulate three times the mileage of a “200” rated tire.

The same goes for Hardware grades for your building. Putting a grade of hardware on your building that is slated for residential use could cause significant problems down the line. That’s why Knowing what level you are putting on your building is essential. Let’s find out more about hardware grades so we know where to start!

What are hardware grades? First, Manufacturers do not generate hardware grades. Hardware grades are guidelines developed by ANSI and BHMA to rate and rank the quality of products. ANSI & BHMA evaluate products based on several different criteria including Strength, Security, Dimension, , Finish and cycle count which is the number of times you can use before it breaks.

Here is a great video explaining BHMA grading!

There are three different hardware grades. Grade 1: Heavy-duty commercial Grade 2: Light-duty commercial Grade 3: Residential

Grade 3 Hardware Residential – Good (3rd Place) Grade 3 hardware is built for residential use and has a low cycle count. This works well for doors in your home that don’t get much use or have as much traffic as a business would. to withstand a low cycle count because it was specifically designed for residential applications.

This is the lowest grade and should never be used in commercial applications. These locks are just not able to hold up to the frequent traffic that most businesses have. The good news is that they work great for normal traffic in your home (up to 200,000 cycles) but if you’re looking for something more durable move up to Grade 2.

Grade 2 Hardware Light-Duty Commercial – Better (2nd Place) Grade 2 Hardware is good for Commercial properties that have light use. This is for properties that have light traffic flow and still want a secure choice. These locks have passed a 400,000 cycle test.

While this isn’t great for areas that are used daily, it could be a smart option for closets and private offices. This is the most common type of hardware found in offices and can handle significantly more than a Grade 3. We rank these types of hardware as second place as a great runner up to Grade 1. Grade 1 Hardware Heavy-Duty Commercial – Best (1st Place) Grade 1 hardware is our first place winner. This hardware is specifically designed for heavy duty commercial use and is found on commercial buildings. The testing for these types of hardware proves that it can withstand wear and tear and many cycles of use with 1 million cycles.

While this grade can be more expensive than Grade 2 or 3, it is usually worth it for high traffic areas. Grade 1 is going to be more secure and durable than grade 2 or 3.

If you want to learn more about hardware grades, or you need help deciding which hardware grade would suit your facility, schedule a free evaluation with one of our professionals!

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