January 28, 2019 2 min read

The Janka hardness test, which applies to solid hardwood versus engineered hardwood, measures how resistant wood is to scratches, dents, and normal wear. The results of this test help fabricators determine if a piece of wood is suitable enough to use as flooring in either a residential or commercial setting.


The Janka test has become the standard method of testing for the entire hardwood flooring industry worldwide. Testing yields pinpoint accurate results that professionals and consumers throughout the flooring industry can rely on.

How the Janka Hardness Test is Conducted

The purpose of the test is to develop a measurable scale that ranks the hardness of wood (more on that below).


Researches take a 0.444” (11.28 millimeters) steel ball and use air pressure to force it into a piece of wood. The objective is to force the steel ball halfway into the wood plank. How many pounds per square inch (PSI) of force required for the ball to go halfway into the wood determines the Janka Hardness Score.


Since the hardness of the wood varies with the direction of the wood grain, researchers use two types of tests to generate a score:


  1. Side Hardness. The plank is tested perpendicular to the grain
  2. End Hardness. The plank is tested on the cut surface.


The Janka Hardness Scale

The Janka Hardness Scale ranks the hardest to the softest wood based on the wood’s hardness score. The score or measurement is stated in pounds-force (lbf). Thus, the higher the score, the harder the wood substance.


Below are some examples of common hardwood flooring and the Janka Hardness score of each example.


  • 3684 - Brazilian Walnut
  • 2350 - Brazilian Cherry
  • 2345 - Mesquite
  • 2200 - Santos Mahogany
  • 1820 - Hickory
  • 1630 - Red Pine
  • 1570 - True Pine
  • 1450 - Sugar Maple
  • 1360 - White Oak
  • 1320 - White Ash
  • 1290 - Northern Red Oak
  • 1260 - Yellow Birch

What is a Good Janka Hardness Score?

Australian Buloke has the highest Janka Hardness Score of 5,060 lbf. Wood this strong far exceeds industry requirements for flooring. On the opposite end of the scale, Balsa wood has a score of 70 lbf. Thus, it falls well below flooring industry standards.


Experts recommend investing in flooring that has a score of at least 1,000 lbf or higher. The best way to find out a hardwood score is to speak with a hardwood flooring professional.

Hardwood Flooring products for Your Home

Are you looking for the perfect flooring to complete your home design? eHardwoods offers natural hardwoods, engineered wood flooring, solid prefinished wood flooring, vinyl plank flooring, and vinyl tile flooring through our eCommerce store.


To find our more about our products or order your flooring, visit our products page.