As a pool aficionado, you know just how important it is that everything in your home’s pool room be just perfect. There is no real reason to have your own pool table if you are not going to do it right. To do that, you need to have just the right table for your area, the proper pool sticks, balls, chalk, and a professional pool cue rack against the wall. To get that true lounge feel, it is even advisable to install some sort of a bar area in your pool room, complete with bar stools and a giant mirror on the wall. Your pool room should be a point of pride and somewhere that you enjoy entertaining family and guests. However, one thing you need to remember is that the proper height and positioning of your pool table lights can make or break the ambiance that you have worked so hard to create.
Why It Matters
If you have never really studied the inner workings of pool table mechanics, you may be wondering what the fuss is all about. After all, if there is lighting in the room – including lights over the top of the table itself – then there should not be any problem, right? How much difference could a few inches in height or placement mean anyway? Well, it turns out that these details do matter as they can ultimately affect the way in which the table area is illuminated. Your goal should be to ensure that the entire surface of the actual playing area is lit. This includes the very top of all four rails as well as a certain amount of area around the table so that you are not maneuvering in the darkness. This standard prevents dim lighting while also ensures that you do not create glare on the table’s surface.
By the Numbers
There is some disagreement concerning the exact specifications that should be used when measuring the distances from your lights to the playing surface but there is general agreement as to an average that should be used. In general, you want the bottom of the pool table lights to be somewhere between 36 inches to 42 inches from the playing surface. Obviously, this number will vary in relation to the length of your actual pool table since it may need to be at the higher end of that range for longer tables while lower for shorter tables.
The WPA (World Pool-Billiard Association) has even more stringent guidelines they require for tournament areas under their jurisdiction. If you truly want to be a stickler about such things, you can find their details on the organization’s website. However, be forewarned, that those details are very particular, even going so far as to outline the exact quantity of foot-candles of illumination that must be present at each point on the table. Most people find the general lighting rules listed above as more than “official” for their needs.
Even with the more general requirements, it is still helpful to have someone assist you in the installation process. As you install the lights overhead, someone should be measuring the way in which the light affects the playing surface to ensure that even illumination is obtained across the length and width of the entire table. This helps to avoid the most common error people make in this area – creating a lighting pattern that focuses too much light on the center of the table.