What is the Difference Between a Baluster, Balustrade and Banister?

What is a baluster, banister and balustrade

What is the difference between a baluster, balustrade and a banister?

Have you ever heard the words “Baluster, Balustrade and Banister” and wondered what do they all mean? Are they the same thing or are they different things? Are these just the same word said different ways?  Well here is a simple explanation of the differences. 

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A baluster is a vertical piece between a railing and other wood or the floor that adds support and safety; a short and decorative post or pillar that supports a top rail. The term baluster actually comes from the Italian word for pomegranate flowers, balaustra, which was chosen because these architectural features sometimes mimic them. Balusters can be made of wood, iron, stone and other materials. The term baluster is interchangeable with the word spindle.


A balustrade is comprised of an assembled top rail, balusters or spindles and often a bottom rail, posts, post caps, and decorative finials. It is a composite made up of individual parts, such as the balusters and a railing/handrail. It can be used indoors or outdoors, for staircases and balconies, as well as decorative structures.

Banister (Bannister)

The banister is commonly referring to the handrail of the structure. People hold onto a banister for support.

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