How To Install Pool Table Lighting

Posted by HLD 06 JULY 2017
cool stuff

A question we are frequently asked by our customers is what is the correct height to hang the perfect pool table lights or optimum benefit while playing pool. Often this is an aspect of pool table ownership that is not considered until after you have already purchased and installed a pool table in your home or games room, depending on where you have set up your new pool table can potentially be a challenge. 

 Sam Pool Table Light Canopy

Why Do You Need Pool Table Lighting?

Pool table lighting is a very important aspect of the game as shadows from the balls on the table, as well as the room’s surroundings can have a big effect on play making visualising the shot impossible at times. Ensuring that there is the right lighting on the side rail, table and that the lighting is not acting as a distraction or glare is very important to ensure you enjoy your game of pool on your new table.

 

What Is The Correct Height To Hang Your Pool Table Lights & Lamps?

Typical guidelines say your lighting needs to be have the minimum height from the lighting fixture around 62-66 inches from the floor and 32 - 36 inches from the cloth above the table’s slate.

There may need to be some small adjustments made based on the pool table leg height (UK pool tables have a leg height of 32 inches) dependant on what type of floor the table is being set on.

As a rule of thumb, the average height male standing straight should have the bottom of the canopy at around nose level - Usually the above mentioned 32 - 36 inches above the playing surface.

Equally, the size of your pool or snooker table will help to dictate the type of light which you will need. For instance, a standard 3 light bar may not provide enough light coverage of your table if it’s bigger than 7 feet. In this case, the solution would not be to place the light higher, but instead to opt for a 4 light bar instead in order to provide more coverage.

We’ve compiled a small collection of examples of what we would recommend for different sized pool tables.

Remember - A pool table light’s job is not to light a room, but to light your playing surface for play.

 

Pool Table Sizes – Light Fixture Sizes & Height Considerations

7ft Pool Table: 35” from cloth (3 light bar and canopy)

3 Light Bar Pool Table Light

8ft Pool Table: 34” from cloth (3-4 light bar and canopy)

9ft Pool Table: 35” from cloth 70” from floor (4 light bar and canopy)

4 Light Bar Pool Table Light

10ft Snooker Table: 35” from cloth (4 light bar and canopy)

12ft Snooker Table: 36” from cloth (6 light bar and canopy)

6 Light Bar Pool Table Light

Pool Light Styles Require Different Heights

When selecting a pool table light canopy there are literally hundreds of design styles to choose from. Some are more ornate that others but all are geared up to do the same job and that is to provide sufficient lighting over your pool or snooker table when in use. 

In terms of pool table lighting there are two traditional styles that are common in many pub and games rooms, bowl and conical shaped strip lights (both of which are available often as a single shade light or as a multi-shade with bar) . 

If you have a bowl-shaped canopy we normally recommend that the canopy is slightly higher than the standard 36" as the light is dispersed differently. If you have a conical or cone shaped light canopy the 36" is generally ideal given the larger aperture. For a lighter load on your ceiling you can select an aluminium shell design, these also tend to be a better value than traditional wooden designs you see in snooker and billiard tables. 

 

Ceiling Heights – low, high and vaulted

Before you even purchase your pool table you need to consider if you can hang the appropriate lighting in the games room. High ceilings in properties like converted barns and drop ceilings, usually found in basements, in particular can be challenging as the light rails are heavy and need to be fitted at an optimum height to allow for maximum comfort during play. 

If ceilings are low then you need to consider the height may need adjustment. If lights are too low this can affect glare, over shadowing, or even obstruction for the player (imagine hitting your head on your light fixture after coming up from a tricky shot across the table!). However, most light fixtures include at least a meter of chain, so there is a degree of flexibility right out of the box.

 

Snooker Tables Require Different Lighting

As snooker tables typically have much more traditional lighting systems we would recommend a brass light rail (available with between 3 and 6 lights so you can get the ideal size lighting no matter what size snooker table you have). A canopy is essential no matter the size of your table lighting systems, if you want to stick with the heritage style you can often find wooden canopies for a higher price, but consider the stress on the ceiling with this added weight. If you need to keep it lighter steel framed canopies with fabric covering is a better option.

 

WPA Tournament Regulation Height

 

The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) regulations actually recommend a higher mounting height than we do for home games room tables, however the dimensions suggested by the World Pool-Billiard Association are for full size pool tables in professional play. The heights we suggest are much more akin to pool tables you can buy for recreational use. 

However, if you are planning a tournament and want a summary of the WPA regulations see below:

“The bed and rails of the table must receive at least 520 lux (48 footcandles) of light at every point. A screen or reflector configuration is advised so that the center of the table does not receive noticeably more lighting than the rails and the corners of the table. If the light fixture above the table may be moved aside (referee), the minimum height of the fixture should be no lower than 40 inches [1.016 m] above the bed of the table. If the light fixture above the table is non-movable, the fixture should be no lower than 65 inches [1.65 m] above the bed of the table. The intensity of any directed light on the players at the table should not be blinding. Blinding light starts at 5000 lux (465 footcandles) direct view. The rest of the venue (bleachers, etc.) should receive at least 50 lux (5 footcandles) of light.”

More detail on the WPA guidelines can be viewed here.

 

Pool Table Light Installation

When installing your light canopy always use a qualified electrician. Most styles need hard wiring into the ceiling and your home electrical system, so is a job for the professionals to undertake. When installing your light canopy, it is generally better to install it before the pool table is fitted. This way you can protect the cloth from masonry dust when installing.

If this is not possible be sure to cover the pool table before you attempt to fit the light fitting as masonry dust is almost impossible to remove from a pool table cloth. Pool table covers in general are very cheap, and can be bought from us for less than £15 - A much better (and cheaper) investment than paying the cost to re-cloth a dust-damaged table!

All the advice given in this post is just a general rule of thumb. Different brands of light canopies, subtle shape differences and wattage of bulb will affect the saturation of light onto your pool table cloth. You may need to adjust these measurements slightly to your own needs depending on your pool table, and the light canopy you purchase, Do some testing, and see what level of lighting works the best for you and your own set up.

As always, we're always happy and ready to help with any questions you have about lights installation or pool table lighting in general. Catch us on live chat on our website, or give the team a call on 0800 622 6464 or 01454 413 636

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