AC Ratings of Laminate Flooring

AC1 Rating AC 1 (21)
light to moderate residential traffic
suited to spare rooms and bedrooms
AC2 Rating AC 2 (22)
general residential traffic suited
to living rooms and dining rooms
AC3 Rating AC 3 (23)
heavy residential traffic suited
to all areas
AC4 Rating AC 3 (31)
light to commercial traffic suited
to hotel rooms and small offices
AC5 Rating AC 4 (32)
general commercial traffic suited
to shops, offices and restaurants
AC6 Rating AC 5 (33)
heavy commercial traffic suited
to public buildings and large stores

Devised by the Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring, AC Ratings give the end user an indication of how resistant to various kinds of wear a given laminate flooring will be.

AC stands for 'abrasion classification' though in reality the tests involved go much further and cover aspects such as resistance to: cigarette burns, impact, various liquids such as wine and coffee, temperature, movement of furniture legs and castors and swelling due to humidity amongst other things.

If any test is failed then the laminate flooring will not be granted its AC Rating. You can buy laminates that are unrated and though they will be cheap, we don't recommend them. There is an overlap at AC 3 whereby products can be used for both residential and commercial applications. Whilst products rated as AC 4 and AC 5 could, theoretically be used in residential settings there are anecdotes of socks being worn out by the rougher surface of these laminates.