In this paper, analysis of work hardening laws for grains with sizes on nano- and microlevel is carried out. The work is based on experimental data of deformation behavior of mainly pure copper at room temperature (RT). A special attention is given to the interval of grains with the average size between 20 nm and 230 nm. Work hardening stages of active plastic deformation during tension and compression are characterized. The dependence of work hardening coefficients on the average grains size at the nanoscale in the II, IV and VI stages is revealed for the first time. Mechanisms of deformation in the range of grains sizes between 10 nm and 1000 nm are categorized. The relationship between work hardening stages and deformation mechanisms is discussed. The stage of deformation where deformation localization takes place is determined.