Grade 1 Panic Hardware
So everyone has heard of Grade 1 panic hardware, but do you actually know what it means?

What Do The Grades Mean?
The Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) created and maintain standards  used in the door hardware industry. Panic hardware must go through a cycle test in order to receive a product grade. These cycle tests help to establish minimum requirements for quality. The cycle test requirements are:
  • Grade 1: at least 500,000 cycles
  • Grade 2: at least 250,000 cycles
  • Grade 3: at least 100,000 cycles
These cycle tests help verify the durability of exit devices. Some manufacturers test their products well beyond the required minimum cycles. 

What About These Tests?
As of the most recent standard (ANSI/BHMA A156.3) revision from 2014, all Grade 1 exit devices must include preloading of weights prior to being cycled.  The purpose for these preloading requirements is to be closer to real-world applications, in which doors may be subject to additional loads because of air pressure, misalignment of the door and frame, installation problems, or more. This preloading requirement makes it more difficult for devices to pass than previous cycle-testing requirements, thus raising the Grade 1 bar.

Cycle testing also includes performance criteria to evaluate:
  • Operation
    • Device will function in a similar manner whether in the test lab or in the field
  • Durability
    • Strength of the device to make sure it will provide many years of operation
  • Safety and Security
    • Make sure the device can withstand forced entry from the pull side and load from the push side
  • Appearance
    • Finish resists corrosion, chemicals, sunlight, etc. to ensure it will remain intact

Did You Know?
Detex's Advantex line has been tested to more than 1 million cycles - more than double the requirement for Grade 1 testing.
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