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Understand CEN Ratings and Standards


We were recently asked by a customer if the CEN rating was still relevant now that the UK has left the EU.

The answer is that CEN (Central European Norm) testing and rating is still as important as ever as it’s a valuable, internationally recognised standard that provides a level playing field for all manufacturers and a reliable indicator for consumers. Read on to find out more about CEN ratings and how they are used.

What is a CEN Rating?

As noted, CEN stands for: Central European Norm. CEN refers to the European Committee for Standardization, an association that brings together the National Standardization Bodies of 34 European countries. CEN is just one of a number of European Standardisation Organisations officially recognised by the European Union as having responsibility for developing and defining voluntary standards. CEN supports standardisation across a wide range of sectors and products.

When it comes to security products, CEN standards and ratings apply primarily to the testing and rating of padlocks, security hasps and staples. If you take a look at the products available from our online store you will find some excellent examples of high quality padlocks and padbars with outstanding CEN ratings. You will also find high security chains and ground anchors tested and rated to ‘Sold Secure’ standards. Insurance companies will often state that CEN or Sold Secure certified security products must be used.

CEN Padlock Ratings

CEN grades each padlock with a rating from 1 to 6 with grade 6 indicating the highest level of security. Padlocks rated as CEN6 are essential in many high security applications. Here are some examples of CEN6 rated products from our store.

squire cen6 high security padlock
Squire SS80CS CEN6 Rated Padlock


squire cen6 rated padbarSquire CEN6 Grade - Cast Iron & Hardened Padbar


Here`s the list of 6 CEN ratings.

Grade 6 – Maximum Security
Grade 5 – Extra High Security
Grade 4 – High Security
Grade 3 – Medium to High Security
Grade 2 – Standard Security
Grade 1 – Low Security

Padlocks with CEN ratings from 3 to 5 are considered medium to high security, making them ideal for a wide range of domestic and security applications.

Follow this link to see our range of CEN and Sold Secure rated security products.

CEN Testing

It’s worthwhile being aware of how CEN testing and assessment is carried out. Products are evaluated based on a number of test categories noted here:

  1. Minimum Number Of Key Differs
  2. Pulling Of Shackle/Staple (kN)
  3. Twisting Of Shackle/Staple
  4. Cutting Of Shackle/Staple
  5. Blow on Shackle/Staple (at various temperatures)
  6. Blow On Lock Body (at various temperatures)
  7. Load On Cylinder Plug Or Locking Mechanism
  8. Drilling (minutes)
  9. Sawing (minutes)
  10. Torque Resistance of Cylinder Plug

Stringent test criteria mean that if a product fails in just one category it’s CEN grade is reduced. So a lock may meet all of the criteria required to fulfil a CEN6 rating but if, for example, it failed an impact test at -40 degrees celsius then its grade would be reduced.

It’s worth noting that for padlocks to achieve a CEN rating the shackle must not be sprung, which means it mustn’t spring open when the padlock is unlocked. Also, locks must be ‘key retaining’ when unlocked, which means that the key should be retained in the lock until relocked.

What’s the Difference Between CEN5 and CEN6 Padlocks?

People often want to know what makes the difference between a CEN5 extra high security rated padlock and CEN6 maximum security padlock. Here’s a list of the key differences that highlight how much tougher a lock needs to be to achieve CEN6 rating.

Requirement: CEN5 CEN6
Pulling Of Shackle/Staple:  70kN  100kN
Twisting Of Shackle/Staple:  1200Nm  2500Nm
Cutting Of Shackle/Staple:  70kN  100kN
Blow on Shackle/Staple (5 times):  6550g from a height of 1400mm at -40 degrees celsius  7150g from a height of 1500mm at -40 degrees celsius.
Blow On Lock Body (5 times):  6550g from a height of 1400mm at -40 degrees celsius  7150g from a height of 1500mm at -40 degrees celsius.
Load On Cylinder Plug Or Locking Mechanism:  10kN  15kN
Drilling (minutes):  4  8
Sawing (minutes): 4  8
Torque Resistance of Cylinder Plug:  20Nm  30Nm

These comparisons make it clear how much tougher a CEN6 padlock is, although a CEN5 rated lock provides very high security and is tough enough for most applications.

CEN History

Before CEN standardisation the only information available to consumers regarding the resilience of padlocks or hasps and staples were the ratings provided by their manufacturers. There were obviously inconsistencies between different manufacturers which highlighted the need for standardisation.

CEN standards and testing procedures establish a level playing field for all manufacturers as every product is subjected to the same evaluations and test assessments. This provides consumers with a far more reliable basis upon which to compare and select padlocks and hasps.

CEN Standards and Brexit

Since 1 January 2021 the UK no longer aligns with the rules or obligations of the EU, with the exception of Northern Ireland which continues to follow certain regulations. But it’s worth being aware that the British Standards Institute (BSI) is continuing to to develop harmonised European standards through CEN so the ratings applied to products continue to be valid.

If you have any questions about high security padlocks please remember that we are here to help. Give us a call on 01273 475500 and we’ll provide you with free, expert advice and guidance.

This message was added on Thursday 20th May 2021

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