The pool table is never complete until it is under lights. Then it truly feels like it belongs there, like a trophy on the wall, or a stone inlay fireplace.
Pool tables should be the centerpiece of your mancave, which means it needs its own lights, then it has some character, then it has a purpose. I needed to say that, I have a friend who disagrees.
But does it really matter how high your light hangs above your pool table? Does it really make a difference? And if so, at what height should you hang a pool table light?
In short, pool table lights should be hung between 30″ to 42″ inches above the surface of your pool table. Where exactly your light should be hung will be determined by what size table you have and how big your light is.
How exactly do you figure out how high to mount your light? And, how do you go about mounting them? That’s what we’re going to discuss right now.
Want to see check out some awesome pool table lights? Check out our article 18 Unique Pool Table Lights for Your Billiard Room.
Correct Height And Size
Depending on who you ask, the height of the lights from the bed of the table to the bottom of the fixture should be somewhere between 30’’ and 42’’. There are a lot of people who say 32’’ to 36’’, some that say 36’’ to 42’’ and some say 31’’ to 33’’.
The whole point of a pool table light is to eliminate shadows and light up the table and the top of the rail. Whatever inch measurement gets you there, great! Remember, billiard lights go above the table and below the ceiling, they are not supposed to light up the whole room.
You’ll know if something isn’t right if either you’re hitting your head and cue on the lights, or you are being blinded. If one of those is happening, see about raising or lowering your lights.
If your table is not in place yet, the measurement should be between 60’’ to 66’’ from the ground to the bottom of the fixture. A better reference would be the nose trick; the bottom of the billiard lights should be about even with the nose of the player (average sized guy). That way at least you’re happy if this is for your lights at home!
Getting the right size light for the table is pretty important. If you have a 7’ or shorter table, a 3 light bar canopy will work. If your table is 9’ or bigger, you will want to get at least a 4 light bar canopy.
You are definitely going to want at least three 100 watt bulbs above your table. Fluorescent bulbs are the best for pool lights.
Do I Need Lights?
No, you really don’t have to have them, it will just make it harder to visualize your shots when there are shadows on the table. Other than that, there is no other big drawback. Just that you’ll have to keep the room lights on if your friends are over a bit late, and your table will never feel like the true centerpiece that it should.
How to Install
Okay, hopefully you got yourself some awesome lights with a canopy you love, let’s put them up! When installing the lights, it is easiest to do so before the table is there, that way you won’t have to get on the table and risk damaging the slate or have dust fall onto the cloth.
Related Article – Is It Ok To Stand On A Pool Table?
If you have a designated room, find true center where the table will be. If your room is bigger, use blue scotch tape to map out on the floor where the table will go. Using this table below you’ll be able to find the center of your table.
- 3′ x 6′
- 3’6″ x 7′
- 4′ x 8′
- 4’6″ x 9
- 5′ x 10′
- 33″ x 66″
- 39″ x 78″
- 44″ x 88″
- 50″ x 100″
- 56″ x 112″
The playing area does not count the rails, just where the balls will be on the table. Once you have found the center, transfer it to the ceiling. That will be the middle of your light so mark it.
Next, with a stud finder, locate the studs on the sides of the mark. Drill into them and install hooks for your chains. Then, once the lights are hung, either measure from the ground up to the bottom of the light fixture or stand next to the lights and set them even with your nose.
This process is a lot more difficult if your table will be there. Make sure to cover it completely with a thick blanket and to put a piece of ¾’’ plywood on the slate bed OVER the blanket before you get on. Also, use a ladder to get on, do not just climb on and risk damage to the rails and potentially unleveling the table.
Once the lights are up, plug them in and see how they work. If you plan to hard wire them into the electrical box, make sure to cut the power to that room before you start. It may be best to call a professional to do that kind of a job. Especially if you plan to run it to a light switch of its own. Check to see if you need a permit in your state for something like that as well.
Having lights over your table is a signature part of the game and should not be a distraction to you. Hopefully your questions have been answered and your lights are set properly. If you were wondering what the actual standardized rule was per The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA), here it is.
“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.”