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  • Writer's pictureRyan Shoop

Grade Series (Part 1)

Updated: May 6, 2022

What does "grade" mean for door hardware? If you have a little experience with reviewing door hardware specs or researching door hardware product data, you have probably come across the term "grade", with a number after it (1, 2, 3). In the simplest terms, "grade" describes the tested mechanical durability of a specific make and model of hardware item. Grade 1 is the highest (most durable), grade 2 is lower, and grade 3 is the lowest durability. When an item passes a test for a specific grade, that means the item withstood the test for a specified number of "cycles". In the US, the testing procedures for grades are determined by the ANSI/BHMA "A156 series" standards. Tests are performed by independent third-party certifiers. See link below for a brief overview. Quick note: not all hardware products are graded. If a spec calls for a grade 1 lockset but the contractor submitted a substitute product that does not list any grade, the substitute does not meet the spec. Why does it matter? Grade is a significant driving factor for both the durability and cost of a hardware item. The higher the grade, we can expect that the longevity of the hardware item should be longer, and the cost will be higher. The lower the grade, we can expect that the hardware item will last through fewer cycles, but the cost will also be lower. Grade is tested in terms of cycles. For example, for a hinge to be considered grade 1, it must pass a test of 2.5 million cycles before mechanical failure. A "cycle" is a full open and close motion. Imagine the peace of mind a building owner would gain by knowing their hinges can be opened and closed 2.5 million times before failure! This is the first entry in a multi-part series on door hardware grade. Check back again as the Grade Series continues. Don't be afraid to ask questions either in the comments section or by contacting me directly. Also if you think I got something wrong, let me know and if appropriate I will make sure to issue a correction. Architects, do you have a project with door hardware questions? Check out my website There you can find my contact info, and reach out to set up a call. Let's discuss how I can save you time and money while helping to ensure high quality results for your clients. #grade #grade1 #gradeseries #durability #cycles #longevity #testing #tested #standards #notsohardware #doorhardware #architects #architecture

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