Looking to make your backyard pool as safe as can be? Whether you’re obsessed with late-night swims or have been reading up on all the swimming pool lighting codes, it’s about time you look into adding in pool lights.
Likely, if you’ve already begun your search for pool lighting ideas, you’ve quickly realized there are a lot (no, really - a lot) of options on the market. From LED pool light options to fiber optic pool lighting and the best lighting installation service, we are breaking down everything you need to know about 2022’s most popular and reliable pool lighting options.
Okay, let’s dive right into our complete swimming pool lighting design guide.
What Are the Popular Pool Lighting Types Today?
Depending on your outdoor and indoor swimming pool lighting design preferences, there are some lighting types to choose from. Whether you love LED pool light options or are curious about retrofit pool lights, we are breaking it all down below.
LED Pool Lights
There’s a reason LED lights are one of the most popular swimming pool lighting choices today. Touted for their energy-efficiency design and long life span, LED pool light options create a vibrant light that can travel through water, illuminating more of the pool than some other options on the market.
Due to their efficiency, LED pool light fixture options may cost a bit more initially, but since the bulbs last so long, there are fewer costs in the long run. Plus, you can have more fun with this lighting choice, as LED pool light colors come in a range of fun options, creating a more vibrant experience. However, if you want a more budget-friendly LED pool lighting option, there are battery-operated LED lights on the market, too,
That being said, this lighting option isn’t as bright as halogen lights, so if you have a big pool, they may not be right for the job.
Halogen Pool Lights
If you have a large pool or are looking for the brightest swimming pool lights money can buy, halogen lights are the way to go. This choice is even brighter than LED lights and costs less initially - perfect for those on a budget.
Halogen lights used to be the most popular outdoor and indoor swimming pool lighting choice. This is due in part to their incomparable brightness, as well as their improved efficiency from the standard indoor bulb. However, some pool owners have noticed these lights can get hot, and they don’t last as long as LEDs.
Fiber Optic Pool Lights
Fiber Optic pool lighting is a great alternative if you dread changing the bulbs in your pool lights. This is due to the fact that the power that keeps the lights going actually isn't within the water, but connected to a dry power box. With this design, the light travels from the box to the pool along a skinny cable with tiny fibers. With this, when any repairs are needed, all you have to do is turn to the dry power box, avoiding concerns about dealing with electricity and water.
While this can be safer for pool owners, since the power is traveling from further away, the lights tend to be dimmer than some of the alternatives. Additionally, the bulbs do not last as long, although they cost just as much.
Solar Pool Lights
Another popular option for lighting in swimming pool designs is solar pool lights. These lights float and provide a splash of color in your pool. While they aren’t intended to shed light on the entire pool, they are a great, convenient add-on.
These lights are powered by the sun, hence the name “solar,” and will keep your energy usage low. Plus, they come in a range of prices to suit any budget, as well as different colors to match your desired look. However, this is not really a permanent pool lighting option.
What Are the Pool Lighting Options Today?
While creating a well-lit environment and meeting swimming pool lighting regulations is vital, did you realize how many options are available? This can be overwhelming when deciding what pool lights are right for you. To help, we are breaking down the most common swimming pool lighting options used today to assist with your decision.
Submersible and Floating LED Lighting
Struggling to decide where to place pool lights? Avoid committing with this choice. Ideal for party settings, submersible and floating LED lights to create a fun effect in your pool. These lights are often battery-powered and come in different colors, sizes, and shapes to float on the water or be dipped below for a different effect.
Feature lighting, using either LED or halogen lights, is perfect for highlighting a specific part of your pool. If you have a waterfall in your pool, a slide, or other features, feature lighting will put it in the spotlight.
LED Flood Lighting
LED floodlighting is the go-to choice for those looking to illuminate a large area. Additionally, this choice is more energy-efficient than its halogen counterpart. This lighting choice is easy to grab at a local hardware store without spending too much, but an electrician will need to install it.
Halogen Flood Lighting
Similar to LED floodlights, halogen floodlights are easy and affordable to place. They willfully brighten a space and are more affordable upfront. However, they don’t last as long, so will need more frequent replacements.
Pool Garden Lighting
Utilized to light the area outside and around the pool, pool garden lighting is wonderful to place within your surrounding landscape. While this isn’t an ideal pool light placement to light up your pool, it can show your garden some extra attention.
Surface-Mounted Underwater Halogen Pool Light
Ideal for those on a budget that still want to install underwater pool lights, surface-mounted underwater halogen pool lights are the way to go. These are a standard in the lighting space and provide plenty of light for a pool. Plus, they are cheaper than some other options and easier to install, too.
Surface-Mounted Underwater LED Light
Surface-mounted underwater LED lights are the go-to option for those that want to light up their pool, without the extra installation pain. Plus, LED lighting retrofit is possible when upgrading existing pool lights. However, since they aren’t flush to the wall, they are more likely to get broken, especially around children.
Flush-Mounted Underwater Halogen Pool Light
The biggest perk of going with flush-mounted halogen lights is that they are perfectly in line with your pool wall, making them less susceptible to breaking. That being said, the installation can be more challenging, but it can be well worth the work, especially considering halogen lights are cheaper than many of their counterparts.
Flush-Mounted Underwater LED Pool Light
Similar to flush-mounted halogen lights, this pool lighting option won't stick out from the pool wall, seamlessly laying flush with the wall. Mounted within the wall, these lights can take more time to install and are a bit costly. However, they are one of the most popular choices due to their incredible illumination of a pool.
What to Consider When Planning Your Pool Lighting
As if there wasn’t enough to consider already, there are a few more factors that come into play when choosing your inground and above-ground pool lighting. Are you looking to create a light show with a lot of colors? Or sticking to the timeless classics? How about a high-tech solution?
From the color of the automation to the pool size, there’s a lot to consider, but thankfully, we are here to help.
There’s a lot more to choose from than the standard white light. This simple classic is wonderful for creating a low-key environment that will withstand the test of time, but it doesn’t necessarily offer a “pop.” For this reason, there are also an array of color-changing lights or lighting options in every color you can imagine to amplify your pool.
Swimming pool light placement depends largely on the size of the pool. The number of lights you need and the size will vary based on the square footage, so look into those outdoor and indoor pool lighting guidelines before making an uninformed decision.
Before choosing lights, you also want to take a look at the finish of your pool. The color your pool has can reflect light differently, causing you to turn to different lighting options. For instance, if you have a light-colored pool, it will reflect light, while darker colors absorb it, requiring a brighter light. Keep this in mind, especially when choosing a pool light color.
Time to bring your pool into the future. One of the best ways to upgrade above-ground and inground pool lights is with automation. From remote controlling the pool lights, to programming different colors for a light show, there are several ways you can automate your system to ensure it’s always properly lit, even remotely. Curious what all you can do? Check out our complete pool automation guide.
Cost and Energy Consumption
Another key focus in the future is living a more “green” and sustainable life, and one way to do this is with energy-efficient LED lights or solar-powered lights. This is great for future-proofing your pool and reducing your energy use.
In-Ground vs Above Ground
On top of all your other considerations, the actual options at your disposal depend largely on if you have an above or inground pool. Here’s the breakdown:
For above ground pool lighting, there are many options including wall-mounted kits, magnetic lighting, and options that allow you to install lights through your pool’s vented return line.
With in-ground pool lights, you will lean on more built-in, wall-mounted lighting choices. Additionally, if your inground pool has various ledges, stairs, and handles, you might want to add more lighting to illuminate these aspects.
Pool Lights Installation and Retrofit
Dealing with electricity and water is no easy task, and while meeting the pool deck lighting requirements is a must, installing this pool deck lighting requires skill. Whether you are installing lights in an inground pool or hoping to light up the surrounding landscape, lean on an electrical contractor to do the job. In the long run, you’ll be glad you did.
If you’re not installing lights into an entirely new pool, you may also need to upgrade existing systems with lighting retrofit. The most common way to update lights is with LED lights, updating old halogen alternatives. This can seamlessly be done by pool professionals. Additionally, spa lights can be retrofitted as well. However, these retrofit swimming pool lights options will be limited depending on the control system used, as well as the available access under the spa.
When it comes to installation and retrofit lights, the most important thing to keep in mind is that there is enough cable stored within the light throughout the installation process. This will allow the lights to be removed without needing to lower the water level, which can be a pain. Keep in mind - pool lights do often need servicing, and needing to lower the water level to do so will only cause you more of a headache.
From the different light options to meet outdoor pool deck lighting requirements to the various upgrades that can be made and all the considerations at play, there’s a great deal to ponder when installing pool lights. This necessary upgrade is essential for pool deck lighting and the safety of those that use your pool, so doing the necessary research is well worth the time.
Now that you know all the ins and outs of your pool lighting options, it’s time to make a decision! When it comes time to add landscape lighting around your pool, an expert electrician will make the process seamless, and High Voltage Electric is just the team for the job in the Miami Dade and Martin County area. With years of expertise with swimming pool electrical maintenance and the installation of swimming pool emergency lighting, our team is happy to take the stress of properly and safely illuminating the area around your pool off your hands. If you're ready to get started, contact us online and request your landscape pool lighting installation service today.
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