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Door Locks Selection: What Is the Importance of ANSI Standards?

ANSI/BHMAHow much do you know about the ANSI/BHMA standards? And why should you bother to learn more when you are simply trying to find exterior door locks? It’s simple. Installing deadbolts picked randomly is not the way to go. If you are looking for high security locks, you need to be sure they will do the job. That is, to provide high security. They must resist all the tricks & methods intruders use to break-in. If not…the news is bad.

What’s the role of the ANSI/BHMA standards in your security?

BHMA stands for the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association. And the BHMA lock grading system is accredited by ANSI, which is the American National Standards Institute. Simply put, their role is to assess products and grade their performance so that consumers will know the durability, quality, and resistance of locksets.

When you are seeking security solutions, you cannot take risks with just any lock. They might be baptized high security door locks but if they don’t meet the ANSI/BHMA standards, they only bear the name and not the quality. And then again, not all security locks are the same. And not all security needs are the same either. There are actually three main lock categories: good, better, and best.

Grade 1 – it represents locks of the highest quality designed for commercial heavy duty applications. And they are excellent for homes, where high security is a concern.

Grade 2 – it represents locks for light commercial duty and residential properties.

Grade 3 – it represents locks which have passed basic tests and so are appropriate for light duty applications.

What’s important to know about high security locks & standards?

  • Not all locks are the same. The criteria with which locks are evaluated change based on whether this is a mortise or cylinder lock. Before you buy door locks, remember that each product is meant to cover different security needs although they both might be compliant with the grade 1 standards.
  • ANSI/BHMA do all sorts of tests before they certify locks. These include impact resistance, strength, torque etc. They check finish durability, operation, and construction.
  • One of the most important things is that they do cycle tests. This is how many times a product is used without losing its functionality. This best explains the longevity and durability of the lock and so you understand when to expect it to wear and tear and the level of the security it will provide. For example, in order to get a grade 1 certification, mortise locks are tested 1 million times. Butt hinges are tested for 2,5 million cycles. But in order to meet the grade 3 standards, mortise locks are tested for 800,000 cycles whereas but butt hinges are tested for 350,000 cycles.
Still wondering whether or not to trust the ANSI standards?

When you choose a grade 1 lock for your deadbolt installation, feel assured of your choice. That’s because random locks certified by ANSI/BHMA are chosen for extra auditing. And to rule out any possible mistake, the organizations also require that a third party/lab runs tests too. That’s where UL (Underwriters Laboratory) is worth mentioning.

One of the strictest tests is that applied by UL. That’s the independent organization that provides the UL 437 rating for high security locks. And UL 437 is considered one of the toughest tests to pass because it tests locks against forcing, prying, bumping, picking, impressioning, drilling, and sawing.

So, why is the lock grading system important? Because it gives you a clear idea of how durable and resistant specific door locks are and thus allow you to choose what you need based on performance expectations. And that’s good to know.

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