Lighting a pool table is more complicated than you might think, and one of the most important things you need to consider is the height of the lighting because no one wants a glass fragments from a broken light bulb embedded in the felt of their table.
So, how high should a pool table light be? According to the World-Pool Billiard Association, a light fixture that is not easily movable should be no less than 65 inches above the pool table. If the light fixture can be moved out of the way, it should be at least 40 inches above the table.
But what if you aren’t trying to mimic tournament conditions? Honestly, the competition height is really the best because it gives plenty of room to play, but if your circumstances don’t allow for it, we understand. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the height of pool table lighting.
How High Do You Need to Hang Your Pool Table Light?
The competition rules state that you need at least 65 inches between the light fixture and the bed of the pool table if the light cannot be moved out of the way. If it can be moved out the way, then it can be hung just 40 inches above the bed of the pool table because a referee can move it out of the way of play.
But the lights used in competition are also probably better at illuminating the pool table than the pool table light you have or are considering purchasing. If you put your light too far away, the light may not illuminate the table as well as you’d like.
So, if you’re less concerned about competition rules and more concerned with practicality, there are a few guidelines you can follow when hanging your light:
- Your light should be higher than eye level. You don’t want to be starting at a light fixture while you’re trying to play pool.
- Your light should be high enough that you won’t hit it with your pool cue. This is where those 65 inches come in, but if you don’t have that kind of room to work with, just try to get it as high as you can.
- Your light should be low enough that it provides even light across the whole table. Depending on your light fixture, you might need to adjust the height of your light, either higher or lower, so that it gives the amount of light you need. For more information about how to make sure your pool table is bright enough, check out How bright a Pool Table Light should be.
What You Can Do If You Have Low Ceilings
So, we know that competition rules state that your light fixture should be at least 65 inches above your pool table, but that would require that you have high ceilings. If you’re looking for more pool room tips, our post on room measurements.
The Problem with Low Ceilings
Let’s look at the math.
- The average height of a pool table: 30 inches
- Height of a pool table light: (varies) about 10 inches
- Required clearance: 65 inches
- Total: 105 inches, or just about 9 feet
This example assumes that you are using a flush-mounted light, although many pool table lights are designed to be suspended from the ceiling. If you have a single shade light that needs to be suspended, you could easily need 10+ foot ceilings.
It isn’t exactly unheard of to have 9-foot ceilings, especially in newer homes, but if your pool table is in your basement or an older home, then you’re probably looking at something closer to 7-8 foot ceilings.
The Fix for Low Ceilings
So there is really no way that you’re going to get competition height for your light fixture if you don’t have at least 9-foot ceilings, but there are some things you can do to get closer to the ideal height.
- Purchase a flush-mounted light. You want a light the mounted directly to the ceiling instead of hanging from the ceiling to make the best use of the space you have.
- Consider installing pot lights in the ceiling. Pot lights sit flush with the ceiling, and they can be customized in such a way that you get even lighting over the entire table.
- Install lighting in your ceiling tiles. If you have ceiling tiles, you can also consider installing a large 2 by 4 foot light above the table. We prefer the look and feel of pot lights better but to each their own.
- Consider the height of the light before purchase. If you really don’t have a lot of space to work with, make sure you compare the heights of different lighting options before making your purchase. Even small differences in height can make a big difference when it is installed.
So, you might not have the best clearance, and you might have to be careful about how you handle your pool cue, but by following these guidelines, you will make the best use of the space you do have available.
How high should a pool table be? The real answer is high enough that it doesn’t get in your way and illuminates your pool table with even and sufficient light. The reality is to achieve that, you may need to make some compromises depending on the height of your ceiling and the light you decide to purchase.
Some lights that we would recommend are these Economy 3-Shade lights from Pool Dawg or these Matte Black Lights.