Thursday, June 13, 2024

What Are ANSI Lock Grades: All You Need to Know

Locks are crucial in securing our homes and businesses, acting as the first line of defence against unauthorised access. But how can we determine the quality and reliability of a lock? That’s where ANSI lock grades come into play. This easy-to-follow guide will delve into everything you need to know about ANSI lock grades and their significance in ensuring your safety and peace of mind.

Understanding ANSI Lock GradesWhat Are ANSI Lock Grades?

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a reputable organisation in the United States that sets standards for various products and services. They have developed a grading system specifically for door locks, providing a standardised way to evaluate and categorise locks based on their performance and durability.

ANSI lock grades matter because they serve as a foundation for consumers and professionals to understand the quality of locks. By evaluating locks based on their ability to withstand various tests and criteria, ANSI lock grades ensure that locks can effectively resist forced entry attempts and provide reliable protection.

The Three Primary ANSI Lock Grades

The ANSI grading system consists of three primary lock grades: Grade 1, Grade 2, and Grade 3. Let’s take a closer look at each grade and their specific characteristics:

ANSI Grade 1 Locks: The Pinnacle of Security

Grade 1 locks are the highest level of security and durability. They are engineered to provide unmatched protection and are commonly used in heavy-duty commercial and industrial applications. However, Grade 1 locks are also excellent for residential use when utmost security is required.

To achieve Grade 1 certification, these locks undergo rigorous testing, including:

  • Cycles: Grade 1 locks must withstand at least 1 million cycles, ensuring long-term durability.
  • Door Strikes: They must endure ten blows to the cylinder face at 75-foot-pound force, demonstrating their resilience.
  • Strength Test: Grade 1 locks can withstand a remarkable 360 pounds of force applied downward to the knob or lever.
  • Bolt Length: They must feature a robust 1-inch latch bolt, enhancing security.

Grade 1 locks are standard in high-security environments such as government buildings, hospitals, and educational institutions. Homeowners can also benefit from Grade 1 locks, knowing their property is well-protected. It’s worth noting that Grade 1 locks can be budget-friendly without compromising their rigorous standards.

ANSI Grade 2 Locks: Balancing Security and Affordability

Grade 2 locks offer a balanced approach to security and affordability, making them suitable for residential and commercial applications. While they may not reach the same level of robustness as Grade 1 locks, Grade 2 locks provide dependable protection without heavy-duty security measures.

To achieve Grade 2 certification, locks must meet specific testing requirements, including:

  • Cycles: Grade 2 locks must withstand at least 800,000 cycles, ensuring durability.
  • Door Strikes: They must endure five blows to the cylinder face at 75-foot-pound force.
  • Strength Test: Grade 2 locks can withstand 360 pounds of force applied downward to the knob or lever.
  • Bolt Length: These locks feature a 5/8-inch long latch bolt.

Grade 2 locks find their place in residential settings, as well as some commercial and light-duty applications. They offer security and peace of mind without the need for heavy-duty locks.

ANSI Grade 3 Locks: Basic Residential-Grade Security

Grade 3 locks represent the most basic level of security within the ANSI grading system. While they may not offer the same level of protection as Grade 1 or Grade 2 locks, they still serve a purpose in specific scenarios where minimal security is sufficient.

To achieve Grade 3 certification, locks undergo minimal testing, including:

  • Cycles: Grade 3 locks must withstand at least 800,000 cycles, ensuring basic durability.
  • Door Strikes: They must endure two blows to the cylinder face at 75-foot-pound force.
  • Strength Test: Grade 3 locks can withstand 360 pounds of force applied downward to the knob or lever.
  • Bolt Length: These locks feature a 5/8-inch long latch bolt.

Grade 3 locks are typically used when enhanced security measures are not a primary concern. They are cost-effective and suitable for basic residential applications with minimal security. However, Grade 1 or Grade 2 locks are recommended for situations requiring a higher level of protection.

Key Factors Evaluated in ANSI Testing

To fully understand the significance of ANSI lock grades, exploring the specific criteria and performance factors that these grades evaluate is essential. These factors collectively contribute to a lock’s overall grade and determine its suitability for different applications.


ANSI testing assesses the durability of locks by subjecting them to extensive cycles and measuring signs of wear. Durability ensures that a lock can withstand long-term use without compromising its functionality.


Locks must demonstrate their strength by enduring significant force applied to the knob or lever. This testing ensures that locks can resist forced entry attempts, such as attempts to break or pry them open.

Security Features

Security tests evaluate a lock’s ability to withstand forceful entry techniques, such as sledgehammer strikes or attempts to kick in doors. These tests ensure that locks provide security that meets industry standards.


ANSI testing assesses how easily latches close and retract. A high-quality lock should not require excessive force to operate, ensuring smooth functionality.

Understanding these key factors helps consumers choose locks that align with their security needs.

Choosing the Right ANSI Grade

Selecting the correct ANSI lock grade is crucial as it directly impacts the security of your property. To make an informed choice, consider the following factors:


Evaluate the location where the lock will be installed. High-security areas may require Grade 1 locks, while residential settings may benefit from Grade 2 or Grade 3 locks.

Security Needs

Assess your specific security needs. Consider factors like the value of the protected property and potential threats in your area.


Your budget plays a significant role in lock selection. While Grade 1 locks offer top-tier security, Grade 2 and Grade 3 locks provide cost-effective options without compromising basic security.

Let’s explore some real-world scenarios to illustrate the decision-making process.

Real-World ScenariosScenario 1: Residential Home

Grade 2 locks provide an excellent balance between security and affordability for a typical residential home in a safe neighbourhood. They offer reliable protection without the need for heavy-duty locks.

Scenario 2: Small Business Office

A small business office with valuable equipment and confidential information may opt for Grade 1 locks to enhance security. Grade 1 locks provide peace of mind in high-value environments.

Scenario 3: Rental Property

Grade 3 locks may suffice in a rental property, especially for interior doors. They offer basic security while keeping costs in check.

Benefits of ANSI-Certified Locks

The advantages of choosing ANSI-certified locks extend beyond mere peace of mind. Here are some key benefits:

Reliable Standards

ANSI lock grades provide consumers with reliable standards for evaluating and selecting high-quality locks. You can trust that a lock with a specific grade meets established criteria.

Informed Purchasing Decisions

ANSI grades empower consumers to make informed purchasing decisions. Understanding the grading system allows you to select locks that align with your security requirements.

Enhanced Security

Choosing locks with higher ANSI grades ensures enhanced security, making it more challenging for unauthorised individuals to gain access to your property.

Installation and Maintenance

Proper installation and maintenance are essential to ensure ANSI-certified locks’ optimal functionality and longevity. Here are some tips to consider:

Professional Installation

Whenever possible, enlist the services of a professional locksmith for lock installation. Professional locksmiths have the expertise to ensure correct installation, maximising security.

Regular Maintenance

To extend the lifespan of your locks, consider regular maintenance. Lubricate lock mechanisms as needed and inspect for signs of wear or damage.

ANSI Lock Grades vs. Security

While ANSI lock grades provide a valuable baseline for evaluating locks, addressing common misconceptions and myths surrounding their importance is essential. While ANSI grades are important, they do not account for all security aspects. Additional security features and measures may be necessary to create a comprehensive security system.


Understanding ANSI lock grades is crucial for ensuring the security and protection of your property. By choosing the right ANSI lock grade based on your location, security needs, and budget, you can enhance the safety of your environment. Whether Grade 1 for maximum security or Grade 2 for a balanced approach, ANSI-certified locks offer peace of mind and reliability.

Remember that security is a multifaceted endeavour, and while ANSI lock grades set the foundation, a comprehensive security strategy may include additional measures. Prioritise your security and safeguard what matters most to you with ANSI-certified locks. For professional installation and expert guidance, consider consulting a trusted locksmith to ensure your property’s highest level of security.

Related Post

Latest Post