After installing your pool table, you want to get the best gaming experience possible for yourself and your guests as well. That is why it is vital to get the best pool table lights.
This post will guide you through to finding the right lighting setup for your pool table and your game room as a whole.
What to expect in the article
- How to Get the Right Size Pool Table Lighting Fixture
- Bulb Choices and Brightness levels for your Billiards Table
- Best Lighting Styles with recommendations
- Where and How to Hang Your Lights
- Start Here: Get the Right Size Billiards Lighting Fixture
- Billiard Lighting Fixture Styles
- Key Points When Hanging Your Lights
- Choosing the Best Pool Table Lighting
Game rooms have a very rich history that spans over the decades. World renown presidents, kings and citizens alike have fallen in love with billiards due to simplicity and fun.
Originally the game of billiards was played on the lawn just like croquet and it was played in the Northern Europe throughout the 15th Century.
Overtime the game moved indoors and it was welcomed and enjoyed by club patron all over England.
The game came to be liked by travelers from all over the world and it is now a common feature in nearly all pubs around the world.
Though the game keeps evolving over the years, one thing remains constant – players enjoy their games better with plenty of light on the table.
With poor lighting you get shadowy and under lit games making it very hard to showcase your skills.
Every time you are setting up a pool table in your rec room, bar or even in a pub, do not underestimate the power of a good pool table fixture.
We outlined the key things that you ought to consider every time you need to buy best lights for your pool table, we went ahead and made recommendations on the best options available in the market today.
Start Here: Get the Right Size Billiards Lighting Fixture
Before thinking of the lighting styles, you need to know the size of the light fixture you need to adequately illuminate the table.
The first thing is that the light should focus its attention on the pool table. It does not necessarily have to illuminate the surrounding areas. Take care of the other lights in the room as they can be too bright to distract the players.
Right size pool table lighting
Ensure that the light is large enough to cover the entire table. It however should not go over the top.
For a full size pool table you will get lights raging from 48 to 68 inches in length.
For smaller tables say for example 7 feet, you will need a lighting fixture of 45 inches or smaller. These are lights that come with 4 or 3 bulbs.
There are some manufacturers who make universal lights that can be used on most tables that range from 7 to 9 foot. A good example is this hanging light fixture that fits any 7 to9 foot billiards table.
Single or Multiple Shades?
The length of the light will not be complete without considering if it will come as a single or a multi-shade light.
Single shade Pool Table Lights
The single shade lights are common in most pubs. They come in classic designs and in numerous styles ranging from modern glass designs held by metal frames to tiffany hobby designs. There are traditional stained glass styles too to choose from in this category.
Though the fixtures have one long shade that hovers over the table, they come with multiple bulbs and in different lengths. Most common configurations have a 44 inch single shade with 4 x 150w bulbs.
This gives a broad spectrum of light to cover the whole table eliminating all dim spots.
It is important to note that single shade lights are heavier hence they require adequate support and installation equipment. They need a longer chain length and sufficient ceiling housing too.
Multiple Shade Lights
Multiple shade lights are popularly known as bar lights. They usually include 3 or 4 pendant lights that are attached to a bar that hangs over the billiards table.
With pendants you get unlimited styles to choose from. You also get many bar designs ranging from modern to industrial and refined designs.
The multiple shade lights can be configured in many ways making them a popular choice among home owners.
You can get a 3 shade design on a 52 inch bar to illuminate a 7 -8 foot pool table for example or get a 4 shade design on a longer bar to illuminate a 9 foot table.
WPA Equipment Specifications
There are WPA equipment specifications that guide through the different sizes of light setups you can use for your table. These rules are particularly important for completion tables.
The rules state that the rails and beds of the table must receive a minimum of 530 lux (equivalent to 48 foot candles) of light.
Since most of us don’t have a light meter for the precise lighting measurements, take that to mean a comfortable bright light for the human eye in an indoor environment. The brightness should however be consistent all over the table.
To get it all right, you also need to get the right bulbs for the fixture of your choice.
Bulb Choices and Brightness levels for your Billiards Table
Save for the length and configuration of the fixture, you need to get the right bulbs for the right lighting output on your table.
With the right brightness you will get the right ambience for your room and reduce the glare and shadows as you enjoy your game.
Players get distracted by very bright lights and find it hard to play on dimly lit tables.
Nearly all fixtures come with multiple bulbs that are rated 150watts. However you can opt for lesser watts for the optimal light output. For example you can go for 60 watts compact florescent lights or better still go for the LED bulbs if your fixture supports them.
Most bulb bases will support the standard incandescent bulbs that we are used to and you can use them as well.
To get the differences of the different bulb types better and how they affect your lighting, go through the overview below;
We all grew up using these bulbs. They are cheap, easy to find and compatible with most fixtures and their voltages.
However, they are not ideal for billiard light fixtures.
The first reason being, they are not energy efficient and secondly they do not shine the light evenly on the table which is a key factor for the game.
The incandescent bulbs produce more heat too compared to the CFL and LED bulbs. This can make things uncomfortable in a smaller game room setting.
Finally they give you only 100 hours of light compared to 8000hours with the CFL bulbs and 15000 plus hours for LEDs.
Compact Florescent Light Bulbs (CFL)
The CFL bulbs give a better energy economy and last longer compared to the incandescent bulbs. These are the most recommended bulbs by most lighting manufacturers for use on pool tables.
The standard CFL bulbs are not dimmable but you can get the dimmable variations in the market and give your game room a nice playing ambience.
The CFL bulbs are compatible with nearly all bulb base types on billiard light fixtures including the standard plug in and screw in bases.
With the CFL bulbs you use a lower watt rating. For example if you want a 60w bulb, go for the 15w CFL bulb.
Remember that that the CFL bulb will take some time to warm up and give the full brightness.
Important to note is that the bulbs must be carefully recycled owing to their mercury content.
These are the most efficient and longest lasting bulbs available today. They however cost a little bit more compared to the CFL bulbs.
It is now possible to find more and more fixtures that are designed to accommodate these bulbs.
With the LED bulbs you get to choose the right temperature output for your room and table.
You will get a plethora of dimmable bulbs to choose from in the market.
You can test the different bulbs and find out what works best for your table layout, budget and room setup.
Learn more and get a clear comparison of the 3 common light bulbs.
Billiard Lighting Fixture Styles
One of the key considerations when choosing the best pool table light option is the style.
You can choose from the many designs available depending on the atmosphere you want to get out of your game room.
For a traditional and ornate style go for tiffany or stained glass fixtures and go for pendant lights for a modern feel.
You will see many bowl and conical shaped lights in bars and pubs. These shades help in focusing the light on the table without letting the light out to distract the players.
The shades should be chosen carefully as they can affect the players leaving your table to gather dust.
The most common lighting styles include
Stained – Glass or Tiffany Style
These lights give your room a classical feel and give your room an antique look. You will get them in different colors.
Classic Pool Table Lights
These are conical lights that come in groups of 3 or 6 extending along the entire table.
You will get them in different colors and are great in shinning on your table.
Contemporary or Modern Lights
These are the newest entrants in the market. They use the latest technology to save on energy while giving the best illumination on the table. They come with the LED bulbs giving you thousands of hours.
The modern lights are great to explore on billiard tables.
Industrial, Rustic and Farm House Styles
These are unique styles that work well on your table and add to your rooms’ décor. There are many multiple shade dining room and kitchen chandeliers designed to hang from the ceiling that can match your game room needs.
The options are unlimited with a creative mindset.
The most common styles in bars and pubs these days are farmhouse, rustic and industrial lighting fixtures. You get endless options to choose from at the end of the day.
While it may not be possible to pin point the best style for you, go for one that blends aesthetically with the style and theme of your bar or game room. If the rest of the room looks rusty, go for the rustic lighting and so on and so forth.
Key Points When Hanging Your Lights
Soon after buying the best pool table lighting fixture, you will make key decisions like how and where you are going to fix it.
To get the fixing job done you might need to get a certified electrician as most lights need to be hardwired into the ceiling.
Always ensure you get the pool table lighting fixture installed before setting up your pool table. The reason being you reduce the risk of getting your table damaged during the installation.
In case you are installing on an existing pool table, cover the felt with a pool table cover to protect the surface from dust and debris.
Don’t hang the lights too low as the patrons can easily hit them with their cue sticks. On the other hand don’t hang them too high as they will blind the players when they look up to check their shot.
We recommend you hang the fixture anywhere between 40 and 70 inches above the table. To get it right, ensure it hangs at the level of your nose.
Hang it in a way that the illumination focuses directly on the table. Unevenly placed lights cause shadows on the table.
Getting a professional to fix the lighting fixture ensures you get the right placement and ultimately the best experience when playing.
Choosing the Best Pool Table Lighting
We tried our best to give you an all-round basic guide. The different types of lighting fixture canopies, different bulb wattages and the different shade shapes will create different environments in your game room.
Try a fixture or two and settle for what meets your needs and adds value to your man cave.