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Lock Standards

Safe and vault locks have their own tests and certified to their own standard of EN1300. This is a separate process to the testing of a safe or vault. Each safe security rating requires a lock rating, see the table below for details.

Grade of Safes or Strongrooms – Lock Class Required
Security Standard Lock Class Required - EN1300
EN14550 S1 1 x EN1300 Class A
EN14550 S2 1 x EN1300 Class A
EN1143-1 Grade 0 1 x EN1300 Class A
EN1143-1 Grade 1 1 x EN1300 Class A
EN1143-1 Grade 2 1 x EN1300 Class A
EN1143-1 Grade 3 1 x EN1300 Class B
EN1143-1 Grade 4 2 x EN1300 Class B
EN1143-1 Grade 5 2 x EN1300 Class B
EN1143-1 Grade 6 2 x EN1300 Class C
EN1143-1 Grade 7 2 x EN1300 Class C
EN1143-1 Grade 8 2 x EN1300 Class C
EN1143-1 Grade 9 2 x EN1300 Class C
EN1143-1 Grade 10 2 x EN1300 Class C
EN1143-1 Grade 11 3 x EN1300 Class C or 2 x Class D
EN1143-1 Grade 12 3 x EN1300 Class C or 2 x Class D
EN1143-1 Grade 13 2 x EN1300 Class D

Lock Test Set Up

Locks tests are carried out in a simulated secure storage unit. With the lock fitted on a steel mounting plate. Fitted in accordance to the specifications in the manufacturer’s instructions. For example when the manufacturer states that it is allowed to mount the lock behind a hole with a diameter of 12mm. This hole is also added in the simulated setup. This approach makes it possible to determine the security of the lock in general. It also allows the lock test to be standalone, not related to a specific safe or strongroom door.

Resistance Attack Testing

The locks resistance against attacks is in two separate tests. The first part of the lock test is manipulation resistance.

There is a special tool set which comprises of:

  • Basic tools like AMP meters and a soldering iron
  • More sophisticated tools like general picking tools and automated opening machines
  • Opening tools designed specifically for an individual lock, that locksmiths can buy.

The lock is then given a M resistance value. The lock calculation is:

Value of the tool set

added to

Time taken for the unlocking of the lock

The total gives the lock a ‘resistance to manipulation value’ M in resistance units (RU).

The second part of the lock test is a destructive burglary resistance. This test uses one of the tool sets from EN1143-1 – burglary attack test for safes.

The lock is then given a D resistance value. The calculation for this is:

Basic values of all the tools used

Added to

A weighted sum of the time taken to open the lock in a destructive way

The total gives the lock a ‘destructive burglary resistance value’ D in resistance units (RU).

So one safe lock will always have two RU values which definitely should not be mixed up.

Test House Experience

The outcome of the lock test is highly dependent on the capabilities of the team performing the test. An experienced team can find specific vulnerabilities. Resulting in lower RU values than a less experienced testing team might reach.

It is important locks are checked for new vulnerabilities at each renewal test. New attack methods might have been discovered or a new opening tool released.

More Testing

Lock tests do not stop at resistance attacks. Depending on the class of the lock, there are extra checks and tests carried out. These include:

  • Number of possible codes
  • Storage of relevant security data and opening events
  • Maximisation of entry of false codes in a row
  • Spying resistance
  • Environmental and durability test


Lock Types

Generally speaking there are two types of safe locks. Mechanical and electronic. Mechanical safe locks can divided into mechanical combination locks and key locks. The most common is a key lock version with a double-bitted key. There are also circular key locks manufactured. Some types of key locks are changeable, these locks can be updated to open with a different key.

Electronic safe locks also come in lots of different shapes and configurations. Most electronic safe locks function with a numeric code. Which are entered using a keypad or an electronic dial knob. The user codes are always stored in the lock itself. Which is located in the non-accessible area inside the safe or strongroom. So that security information cannot be reached from the outside.

Other electronic locks feature a fingerprint reader. Or an RFID card reader for access. These lock types mostly function in conjunction with a numeric code. This fulfils security requirements for the lock to reach the class.

New standard for distributed safe locks

Currently the CEN TC263/WG3 working group is working on developing a new standard. This is for safe locks in distributed systems. For example, multiple locks around the world which are monitored and managed from one central location.

This work is currently in its final stage. It will be presented under the standard prEN17646. Once it is accepted and published, it will create new possibilities for further certified solutions.

Other Standards