Grabrails vs Handrails - What's The Difference?

When discussing products made to enhance the quality of everyday living solutions for our community, two product terms often come up frequently: grabrails and handrails.

While both serve similar purposes, there are key distinctions between the two. In this article, we will delve deeper into these differences and understand their respective functions.


As the name suggests, are primarily used to provide steadying or stabilising assistance to individuals engaged in specific activities. They are typically installed in areas where additional support is required, such as bathrooms, showers, and toilets.

Grabrails offer a secure grip for users to hold onto while performing tasks that involve balance or strength, such as sitting down, standing up, or maneuvering in tight spaces. These rails are crucial for individuals with limited mobility, disabilities, or anyone in need of extra support. Grabrails are designed to be sturdy, easy to grasp, and capable of bearing weight.


Handrails are intended for use in circulation areas like corridors, passageways, ramps, and stairways. Unlike grabrails, handrails are primarily utilised to facilitate continuous movement. They are strategically positioned along paths of travel to offer a stable handhold and assist people in maintaining their balance while traversing these areas.

Handrails serve as a guide and a point of reference, helping individuals navigate safely and confidently through spaces with changes in elevation or uneven terrain.

Installation guidelines 

It's important to note that in Australia, the installation of both grabrails and handrails in public buildings must adhere to the guidelines set forth by the Australian Standard AS 1428.1-2009.

This standard ensures that rail installations meet specific accessibility requirements, promoting inclusivity and safety for all users. It is highly recommended that this standard be followed for all rail installations, not only in public buildings but also in private residences, healthcare facilities, and other relevant spaces.

Australian-made Handrails & Grabrails 

While both grabrails and handrails contribute to the overall safety and accessibility of built environments, their purposes and applications differ.

Grabrails provide stabilising support for specific tasks, while handrails aid continuous movement in circulation areas. By understanding these distinctions and adhering to relevant standards, we can create spaces that prioritise the well-being and independence of all individuals.

View our specialty modular grabrail stainless steel products and bariatric range. For any inquiries about which products work best for you, please contact us today at 03 9466 3211.