A Locksmith’s Insider Guide to Choosing the Right Lock Grade | Auto Pro Locksmith

Ever wondered how locksmiths determine what lock grade is right for your home? As a locksmith, I’ve seen people puzzled over the differences between lock grades and what level of security they actually need. The truth is, the right lock grade comes down to balancing security, durability, and cost for your needs.In this guide, I’ll walk you through the different residential lock grades so you can understand what’s really right for protecting your home. Whether you’re building a new house or just want to beef up security on your current place, you’ll learn insider tips for choosing locks that keep unwanted visitors out while still suiting your budget. By the end, you’ll be able to spot the differences between a Grade 1 and a Grade 3 deadbolt and know which one is the best fit for your home.

Introduction to Lock Grades and Ratings

So you want to beef up security and protect your home or business. A good place to start is by understanding lock grades and ratings so you can choose locks that offer the right level of protection. Locksmith near me

Residential vs Commercial Locks

For homes, you’ll typically want to choose between Grade 1, 2 or 3 locks. Grade 1 is the strongest and most secure, ideal for exterior doors. Grade 2 is also high security and a good choice for exterior doors, while Grade 3 is suitable for interior doors. For businesses, Grades 1 and 2 are usually recommended for exterior doors, while interior doors can use Grade 3.

How Locks are Rated

Locks are rated based on a few factors:

  • Durability: How well they withstand physical force and last under normal use. Higher grades use sturdier materials and construction.
  • Drill resistance: How difficult they are to drill through. Higher grades often have hardened steel components to resist drilling.
  • Bump resistance: How difficult they are to open using a bump key. Higher grades have features like security pins to prevent bumping.
  • Pick resistance: How difficult they are to pick open using lockpicking tools. More advanced grades have security features that make picking much harder.
  • Fire resistance: Their ability to function for a period of time during a fire. Grades 1-3 typically offer at least 30 minutes of fire resistance.
  • Corrosion resistance: Their ability to resist damage from environmental factors like moisture, salt, and chemicals. Stainless steel or coated components help prevent corrosion in higher grades.

By understanding these ratings and factors, you can choose lock grades that give you the level of security and durability that fits your needs. And when in doubt, it’s best to go with a higher grade for maximum protection.

Understanding Locksmith Grading Scales

So you’ve decided to invest in a new lock for your home or business. Great first step towards improving your security! But with so many options out there, how do you know which lock is right for you?

Understanding lock grades

Locksmiths use grading scales to indicate a lock’s level of security. The higher the grade, the more durable and tamper-resistant the lock. The three most common scales are:

  • Grade 1: Basic locks for low-security needs. Easy to override.
  • Grade 2: Mid-level security for residential and commercial use. More robust than Grade 1 but still susceptible to experienced lock pickers.
  • Grade 3: High-security locks recommended for high-risk areas. Extremely difficult to manipulate and require heavy-duty tools to force open.

For home use, Grade 2 locks offer a good balance of security and price. For business use or areas housing valuables, Grade 3 is the best option.

Additional factors to consider

Beyond the grade, consider other attributes like:

  • Cylinder type: Mortise cylinders or bored-in cylinders offer more protection than rim cylinders.
  • Keying options: Master keyed, grand master keyed or keyless offer different levels of convenience and access control.
  • Bolt type: Deadbolts, especially double cylinder, provide more security than entry knobs alone.
  • Construction: Solid brass or steel lasts longer and withstands more force than inferior metals.

By understanding lock grades and other important factors, you can choose locks that meet your needs and give you peace of mind about the safety of your space. And of course, for the best security, always use locks in combination – the more barriers in place, the harder it is for intruders to get in!

Choosing the Right Grade for Exterior Door Locks

When choosing lock grades for the exterior doors of your home, you’ll want to consider how much security you need as well as your budget. The higher the grade, the more difficult the lock will be to break into.

Grade 1

Grade 1 locks offer basic security and are typically found on interior doors or low-security exterior doors. These locks can be easily broken or bumped open. Only use Grade 1 locks if you have a limited budget and live in a low-crime area.

Grade 2

Grade 2 locks provide more security than Grade 1 but can still be easily compromised. These locks may deter an opportunistic intruder but won’t withstand a determined attack. Grade 2 locks are suitable for exterior doors in low- to medium-risk areas.

Grade 3

Grade 3 locks, also known as security locks, offer a good level of protection for most homes. They are resistant to lock bumping, lock picking, and screw extraction. Grade 3 locks will deter most burglars and are recommended for exterior doors for homes in medium- to high-risk areas.

•Deadbolts: For the most security, choose a lockset with a deadbolt, which extends a steel bolt deep into the door frame. Keyed entry, keyless entry, and smart locks are all available with Grade 3 deadbolts.

•Reinforced strike plate: The strike plate is the metal plate attached to the door frame that the deadbolt locks into. Choose a lockset with a reinforced strike plate, which is thicker and more securely fastened to prevent the deadbolt from being pried open.

In summary, for exterior doors choose at minimum a Grade 3 lock, preferably with a deadbolt and reinforced strike plate. Higher grades provide even more security for high-risk areas. Consulting with a professional locksmith can help determine the appropriate level of security for your needs and budget.

Selecting Interior Lock Grades Based on Usage

When selecting locks for interior doors in your home, consider how each area is used to determine the right grade. The level of security needed depends on whether it’s a bathroom, bedroom or entryway.

Bedroom and Bathroom Locks

For bedrooms and bathrooms, a basic grade 1 or 2 lock should suffice. These areas typically hold fewer valuables so pick a lock more focused on privacy than high security. Grade 1 locks offer a simple latch and deadbolt for closing the door. Grade 2 adds more durability and a double cylinder deadbolt for key access from both sides.

Entryway Locks

Entryways into your home obviously require stronger, high-security locks. Go with at least a grade 3 for a front, back or garage entry door. Grade 3 locks have sturdier, tamper-resistant components like reinforced strike plates, extended bolts and pick-resistant cylinders. For the main entry, a grade 4 or commercial grade 5 deadbolt is ideal. These provide the highest level of security for residential use with features like bump-proof cylinders, drill-resistant plates and bolt mechanisms that automatically lock when the door closes.

Consider a smart lock for primary entryways, especially if you have frequent visitors or renters accessing your home. Smart locks allow you to unlock and lock doors remotely using an app on your phone or computer. You can also create temporary access codes for visitors or service providers and see a log of who has unlocked or locked the door and when. Smart locks provide an extra layer of security and convenience but do require a higher upfront cost.

In the end, selecting the right interior lock grade comes down to balancing your budget with the level of security needed for each area. For bedrooms and bathrooms, basic privacy and functionality are sufficient. But for entryways into your home, invest in the highest grade and most secure locks you can afford for the best protection. Evaluating how spaces are accessed and used will help determine if a higher or lower lock grade is right for you.

A Locksmith’s Tips for Finding the Optimal Lock Grade

As a locksmith, I’m often asked what lock grade is right for a particular situation. Here are some tips to help determine the best lock grade for your needs:

Do your research on lock grades

Educate yourself on the different residential lock grades – from basic Grade 1 to high-security Grade 4. Understand what level of attack resistance and durability each provides. A lower grade like Grade 2 should suffice for most homes, while Grade 3 or 4 may be better for high-crime areas.

Consider how vulnerable your entry points are

Think about where the locks will be used and how much of a target that may make you. Do you have a lot of ground floor windows or doors? Are you in an isolated area? Higher grades often provide more drill and pick resistance for exposed entry points.

Determine your budget

Lock grades vary significantly in price. While a higher grade means more security, you’ll pay a premium for added drill plates, pick shields, and bump-proof features. Find the right balance of cost and protection for your needs.

Ask about keying options

Some lock grades offer more high-security keying options like Medeco or Mul-T-Lock for maximum pick and bump resistance. Discuss keying with your locksmith to maximise the effectiveness of your new lock installation.

Think about your valuables

The more you have to protect, the higher grade you’ll want. If you have expensive artwork, jewellery, or other valuables, invest in Grade 3 or Grade 4 locks which provide the highest level of security for residential use. Your locksmith can also advise on other protection like safes.

By assessing these factors, you can determine the optimal residential lock grade to suit your specific situation. Your local locksmith has the knowledge and experience to guide you to the right choice for your home security needs. The most important thing is finding that “just right” solution – not too little, not too much – to give you peace of mind.


So there you have it, everything you need to know about lock grades and how to choose the right one for your needs. By understanding the different levels of security that locks provide, you can make sure your home or business is properly protected. At the same time, you don’t want to go overboard and pay for a lock that provides more security than you actually need. As with many things in life, moderation is key. By choosing a lock grade that matches your specific needs and risk level, you’ll have peace of mind that your property is secure without emptying your wallet in the process. Next time you’re in the market for new locks, be sure to keep this guide in mind. The right lock is out there, you just have to know how to find it.

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