Quality vs. Grade

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The terms "quality" and "grade" are often used interchangeably. In this post, let's understand the difference between these two terms.

Difference between Quality and Grade:

Quality is an attribute that describes how well something works. It is often measured by its performance against specifications. In contrast, the grade is a measure of the relative value of different products or services.

What is Quality?

Quality is the degree to which a product or service meets customer expectations at any given time. A quality system focuses on meeting those expectations to maintain or improve customer satisfaction.

The formal definition of quality as per ISO 9000 2015 is:

"Quality:  degree to which a set of inherent characteristics of an object fulfils requirements".

What is a Grade?

Think of grade as a category of the product. Different grades of the products have the same functional use but different technical characteristics.

Here is the formal definition of grade according to ISO 9001 2015:

Grade: "category or rank given to different requirements for an object having the same functional use". Example: Class of airline ticket and category of hotel in a hotel brochure.


For example, a $1 Raymond pen and $1000 Montblanc pen are both used to write. As long as both are serving this purpose satisfactorily, both have good quality.

However, the Montblanc pen is a separate category of luxury products. Hence it is a different grade or product.

So next time, when you have to compare the quality of the $1 Raymond pen and $1000 Montblanc pen, don't say that the Montblanc pen is of better quality. It is just a different grade or category. You can not compare apples and oranges.

 Also, high grade does not imply high quality.

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