Every piece of door hardware that HomeHardwarePlus sells is labeled as either grade 1, 2, or 3, which determines the grade quality of the hardware and what it can be certified and used for. These ratings are made by the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and are based off of strength and cycle tests that they perform. These vary based on the products that are being tested and applied grades, such as items like hinges, door closers, locksets, and more.
For all general hardware, commercial applications tend to be Grade 1 and Grade 2 hardware due to the need for durability. Residential hardware can use either types of hardware, but tend to gravitate towards Grade 3 since typically they are lower in price and more realistic for their durability needs. For commercial applications, another benefit to having top of the line Grade 1 hardware is that it has more anti-theft applications built into the hardware, whether it be a free-wheeling clutch for a lockset or a non-removable pin for hinges. Each type of hardware has its own little tricks to make it more safe and durable for commercial purposes. One important note between graded products is that you really do get what you pay for; if there is a two dollar difference between hardware and the only difference you see is the grade specification it is for a good reason. Knowing what the usage of your hardware is for and how realistically it will be put to the test is beneficial when trying to determine what graded hardware to purchase.
Oftentimes you can also determine the grade of hardware based on the “duty” of the hardware. Often for more residential items we will label things as heavy duty, medium duty, or light duty instead of by their corresponding grade. This is often for recognitions sake, but there is no quality change. It is pretty simple to correspond; heavy duty corresponds with Grade 1, medium duty corresponds with Grade 2, and light duty corresponds with Grade 3.