Locks are graded for security based on their performance and durability, and this is typically determined by independent testing organizations such as UL and ANSI/BHMA (American National Standards Institute/Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association).
To receive a grade, the lockset must undergo a series of tests, including tests for durability, strength, and functionality. The lock is subjected to cycles of operation, torque, impact, and other forces to test its resistance to forced entry, wear and tear, and other threats.
In addition to the ANSI/BHMA grading system, there are other independent testing organizations that provide security ratings for locks, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the European Standards (EN). These organizations use different rating systems, but their goal is the same: to provide a standard for measuring the security of a lock.
ANSI/BHMA establishes three grades for locksets and deadbolts:
- Highest Security Locks: The UL437 test is the hardest security test for a lock to pass. The test involves several methods of entry including bumping, picking, impressioning, sawing, drilling, and prying attacks from skilled locksmiths. Locks that have passed the UL437 test provide the highest level of security and durability. For advanced security applications, we recommend the Mul-T-Lock Interactive+ system. This is a UL437 rated high-security cylinder that is designed to fit a variety of lock bodies, including deadbolts and door knobs. It features a patented pin tumbler mechanism and is especially resistant to picking, bumping, and other forms of lock manipulation. Advanced Key Control is achieved through your unique coded Mul-T-Lock key card, which is only readable by authorized Mul-T-Lock dealers.
- Grade 1 and Grade 2 Locks: You may hear of locks being graded as Grade 1, Grade 2, or Grade 3. This grading system is often confused with security ratings, but it is actually a test of durability and lasting quality. Grade 1 locks are rated as being highly durable and are typically recommended for use in commercial applications, these can also be used for residential doors. Grade 2 indicates that the lockset provides an intermediate level of durability, and is suitable for residential doors. Our best-selling residential Grade 1 and Grade 2 locks our sourced from brands with a long history of durability, quality, and security including Baldwin, Emtek, Schlage, Kwikset, and more. Some of these manufacturers have special features including MicroBan, Lifetime Finishes, and advanced SmartLock capabilities.
- Grade 3: This is the lowest grade and indicates that the lockset provides the lowest level of durability and quality. Inexpensive imported locks from big-box stores or online discount retailers make up the majority of Grade 3 locks. These locks are easily defeated when attacked, with some opening with just a credit card jammed in the doorway. Their quality will not stand the test of time like Grade 1 locks. The decision to use Grade 3 locks usually depends on the budget of the homeowner.