Pool players are particular about their lighting, and with good reason. Too many shadows can alter your perception and ruin your shot. But more than just helping your vision and aim, the right light conveys a proper sense of classic billiards room style. The following tips will help you find the perfect pool table light for your home.
What to Look for in a Billiards Light
A billiards light should create uniform lighting conditions across the entire playing surface, eliminating shadows while avoiding glare. That’s partly a function of correct placement (scroll down for billiard light placement tips). But for shoppers, it’s all about finding the right ratio of light size to table size. Just remember: the point is to light the table—not the floor, the players, or your entire game room.
What Size Light Will Fit My Pool Table?
As you can see from the general recommendations below, there’s a lot of leeway in light sizes. In general, however, a table that’s seven or eight feet in length—the most common sizes for home use—should be sufficiently lit with a three-shade fixture that measures somewhere between 50 and 60 inches (52 to 54 inches is a common range).
|Pool Table Light Sizing Chart|
Pool Table Size
Recommended Light Size
|3.5′ x 7′ table||3 lights / 35″ to 55″ length|
|4′ x 8′ table||3 to 4 lights / 40″ to 60″ length|
|4.5′ x 9′ table||4 to 5 lights / 60″ to 80″ length|
|5′ x 10′ snooker pool table||4 to 5 lights / 60″ to 80″ length|
|6′ x 12′ snooker pool table||5 lights / 90″ to 110″ length|
Don’t forget about wattage! Pool table lights can vary from 40 watts to 150 watts per bulb. Click the Specifications tab on a light’s product page to find its wattage info. As a general rule, brighter is better—just be sure to hang the fixture so it isn’t blinding.
Tips for Hanging a Pool Table Light
Hang it too low, and you may hit the shade with a cue stick. Too high, and you’ll spend your night squinting at a cue ball that’s white enough to feel like snow blindness. The goal is a happy medium: no shadows, no glare, no headaches.
The non-official, entirely casual home game height “rule” is to hang your light so the bottom of the fixture is at the height of an average person’s nose. The fixture should also be centered on both the length and width of the table.
Need the official version? Well, according to the World Pool-Billiard Association, if a light fixture is non-movable, it should be hung no lower than 65 inches above the bed of the table. If it can be moved by a referee—or a trustworthy, non-inebriated friend in the case of your home game—then the light should be hung no lower than 40 inches above the table bed.
If you don’t yet have a table but want to install your light ahead of time—hey, some of us get excited about this stuff—the fixture should stand about 60 to 62 inches above the floor.
Tips On Types
There are two main types of billiard lights: a bar with multiple shades, and a single shade light or hood.
These themed stained glass and Tiffany-style pool table lights are a must for creating a pub or pool hall atmosphere at home. Most are rectangular hoods, but you might also consider hanging two circular, matching pendant-style fixtures above your table.
A practical consideration: these fixtures tend to be heavier, so hanging from a stud or building a cross brace is recommended.
Multi Shade Bar
These are generally contemporary or traditional in style, with single-colored glass, metal, or polyresin shades rather than multi-colored stained glass.
A practical consideration: some of these fixtures hang from two end chains rather than one center chain, or from rods connected to a long ceiling-mount base, and may thus offer better weight distribution than a single shade fixture.