Balustrades, banisters and handrails: What’s the difference?

Are you planning to get a new staircase fitted? If so, there will be a number of decisions that will need to be made – an important one being which stair handrails you would prefer.
Once you begin your search you may become overwhelmed by the amount of options that are available, also there may be some terms that you won’t be familiar with – one of the most common mix-ups people make is between balustrades, banisters and handrails…

What’s the difference between balustrades, banisters and handrails?


A balustrade would be made up of numerous vertical posts that are named balusters. These are connected together and spaced evenly apart. The current balustrade on your stairs will be found under the handrail. They can also be found in public parks and along landings.

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Handrails and banisters

Stair handrails and banisters are more or less the same thing. Both of these terms are used to describe  the railing that runs along the staircase. These essentially have three main purposes:

  • Decorative appeal
  • Safety
  • Stability

To actually distinguish the two from one another, think that handrails can be found anywhere – e.g. in baths and showers – while banisters will only be found on staircases.

For further information about balustrades and those that are available, please visit our website.

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