What’s the Difference Between Spiral and Circular Stairs?

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When you’re trying to decide on a staircase for your home project, it can be confusing to figure out the difference between spiral and circular stairs. Both offer unique aesthetic and functional benefits, but which is right for you? Let’s look at the differences so you can make an informed decision.

A spiral staircase is usually a tight radius stair that uses a diameter for sizing and wraps around a center pole. A circular staircase, also known as a curved staircase, doesn’t have a center pole and follows a broader helical arc, making it more spacious and elegant.

Knowing the key differences can help you make the best choice for your space and needs.

What is the Main Disadvantage of a Spiral Staircase?

The main disadvantage of a spiral staircase is its small size. While it saves space, the steep angle of the steps can be difficult, especially for older people. Also, moving large furniture up and down can be a problem. The design, while efficient, often means the stairs are steeper and narrower, which can make everyday use less convenient than other types of stairs.

What is a Circular Staircase Called?

A circular staircase is often called a curved staircase. Unlike spiral stairs, curved stairs don’t have a center pole and their larger radius creates a graceful, sweeping look. This design not only enhances the look of a space but also makes for a more comfortable and less steep climb. Curved stairs are often used in grand entryways and foyers to create an impressive architectural feature.

What’s the difference between curved and spiral stairs?

Curved stairs follow a helical arc like spiral stairs, but with a much larger radius and usually don’t complete a full circle. They’re fancier and are typically used as a focal point in entryways, as opposed to the more utilitarian spiral staircase. Spiral stairs are more compact and are often used in areas where space is limited. The big difference is that spiral stairs have a central column, while curved stairs don’t, which allows for a more open and flowing design.

What Are the Advantages of Circular Stairs?

Saves Space: Circular stairs make the most of the space you have. You can design them to fit in different places without needing a lot of room.

Easy to Use: They’re easier to walk up and down than spiral stairs. The gentle curve and wider steps make circular stairs more comfortable to use every day.

Customizable: You can get them in different materials and styles. If you like wood, steel, glass, or a combination, you can get circular stairs to match the look of your house.

Affordable: You can get them to fit any budget. Depending on the materials and how fancy you want to get, you can get circular stairs that fit your budget and still look good.

Versatile: You can use them with any kind of house. Whether you have a modern house or an old house, you can put circular stairs in and they’ll look good.


When it comes to choosing between spiral and circular stairs, it all depends on your space, budget, and what you like. Spiral stairs are great for tight spaces, while circular stairs look nice and are easy to use. Think about what you need and pick the stairs that work best for you.

If you want more information or to see the different kinds of stairs we have that you can customize, go to GRT Stair or email me at glenn@grtstair.com. We specialize in making custom stairs for homeowners, builders, and designers.


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