Pool Table Billiard Light Buyers Guide
Having adequate and properly designed lighting over your pool table is just as important as having a dead level slate play surface. For people who do not know, yes there is a difference between a "Purpose Build Pool Table Light" and a light you buy at Lowe's or Home Depot. There is reason why a three shade light must have twenty to twenty two inches from the center light bulb to the center of the two end light bulbs for an 8' pool table. Real pool table lights will always take 100 watt light bulbs or more, because that is what it takes to see the balls!
Having the proper distance between the light bulbs and having ample wattage eliminates shadows on the table. You may ask why that is important: I compare to driving at night with only one head light working on your vehicle. Yes it can be done, you can still see good enough to get you where you are going, but it is difficult. Same with a pool table.You can see your object ball good enough to take a shot, but the shadows caused by improper lighting make it extremely difficult and not as much fun.
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Another aspect of "purpose built" pool table lights is durability. Inexpensive Kitchen Island lights will break when tapped with a pool cue because the glass is only 4 to 6 milimeters thick. That is fine in a kitchen, but a light only 34" over a pool table is going to get hit with a maple pool cue every now and then. Look for glass shades at least 9 or 10mm or thicker and you will not have to worry about replacing your cloth/felt because of damage caused by broken glass.
You are purchasing a pool table for fun, whether it is for yourself and friends or family, then why wouldn't you put forth the extra time and cost for proper lighting? You can purchase a real billiard light for under $150.00. I have seen the look a likes at the Big Box stores and the prices do not justify ruining a perfectly good game of billiards. For a few dollars more you can have a real billiard light, and real fun on your new pool table. Otherwise you will be left in the dark.
-Author Chris Garling is a Certified Pool Table Technician with almost 20 years experience in designing home gamerooms.