Making the right choice when it comes to the best door locks and hardware can have a big impact on the safety and security of your home, office, or commercial property. With the help of an ALOA certified locksmith and some careful research, you can select the right product to fit your needs while offering the best available protection. One of the first things to understand is the grading system for locks and deadbolts, established and assigned by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). While it’s certainly important to select your hardware and locks based on aesthetics and style, don’t overlook the value of buying higher graded locks. While the cost will be higher for the better grades, it’s hard to argue with the increased peace of mind and security that these products offer. Here are a few tips to help understand how these grades are assigned, and what that means for consumers.
Lock Grading System
The ANSI grade system helps consumers determine the quality and durability of locks and hardware by putting each product through rigorous testing designed to measure resistance to door strikes and weight, as well as everyday wear and tear that comes with constant opening, unlatching, closing and re-latching.
ANSI Grade 1 – Don’t be confused, the lowest number means the highest level of security. Locks categorized as Grade 1 meet all commercial requirements, and while that is their most common application, they make for ideal exterior deadbolt locks in residential situations. The following conditions must be met for a Grade 1 rating:
- Knobs withstand 800,000 cycles, 6 door strikes, 360 pound weight test
- Deadbolts withstand 250,000 cycles, and 10 door strikes with a hammer test
ANSI Grade 2 – Not applicable in all heavy commercial uses, but still exceeding all residential security requirements, Grade 2 locks are still a great choice for improved security. The specs for this category include:
- Knobs withstand 400,000 cycles, 4 door strikes, 250 pound weight test
- Deadbolts withstand 150,000 cycles, 5 door strikes with hammer test
ANSI Grade 3 – Frequently referred to as builder’s grade, these locks are the lowest level of residential security available, and any honest locksmith should be recommending that you upgrade to a higher level of security.
- Knobs withstand 200,000 cycles, 2 door strikes, 150 lb weight test
- Deadbolts withstand 100,000 cycles, 2 door strikes with hammer test
Now that we’ve discussed the grades assigned to locks, you can make more informed decisions when purchasing new locks and hardware. This brings us to our next topic, which type of locks to choose?
Choosing the Right Locks
When searching for the best door locks, you’ve got a few options to choose from. Deadbolts are the most secure residential option, with single or double cylinder choices depending on your preference for needing keys inside and out. Another type of lock commonly available is the entry lock/handleset variety, which offers average security but combined with a deadbolt makes for a good option. Some more modern products that are gaining popularity include the keyless options which allow entry through rolling code changes much like keyless entry cars, and even smart locks that use Bluetooth technology, fingerprint scanners, and even cameras. Of course, there are the traditional mortice locks with a latch and bolt combination offering convenience but not the utmost in security. There are also options to add extras such as stronger strike plates, door jammers, and latches for even greater security. A few other tips to keep in mind when shopping for locks:
- Do the research! Read up on ratings and consumer reviews. Selecting high quality brands like Schlage and Medeco can make a huge difference.
- Choose the right type of lock. As we said above, between deadbolts, handlesets, and mortices, there are lots of choices. Make sure the grade is at least 2.
- Consider added security options and parts. Check out some of the modern technology such as fingerprint access or keypads that can be reprogrammed quickly.
- Add other features for protection. Get thicker strike plates, longer screws, and locks with hardened cylinders.
- Don’t be afraid to ask advice and consult with ALOA certified locksmiths!
If you’re in metro Atlanta, your trusted source for knowledge about the latest and greatest in lock technology is Reliable Locksmith. Our crews are licensed and insured, and besides consulting on lock selection, will do a great job with installation. When you’re ready to get a free quote, call your friends here at Reliable Locksmith, the Atlanta door hardware experts!