In the present investigation, an attempt has been made to enhance the surface quality of austenitic stainless steel 316L and duplex stainless steel 2205 through shot peening process. The study mainly focuses the surface morphology, microstructural changes, surface roughness and microhardness of the peened layers. Metallography analysis was carried out and compared with the unpeened surface characteristics. As result of peening process, surface recrystallization was achieved on the layers of the peened samples. It was found that shot peening plays significant role in enhancing the surface properties of 316L and 2205. Particularly it has greater influence on the work hardening of austenitic stainless steel than the duplex stainless steel due to its more ductility nature under the investigated shot peening parameters. The findings of the present study will be useful with regard to the enhancement of surface texture achieved through peening. © 2017 Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.