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What’s the Best Pool Lighting for You?

Posted on: June 20, 2014

Pool lighting makes up a major part of your overall swimming pool costs, so it’s important that you figure out which type works best before you install them. The two major types of pool lighting are in ground lighting and above ground lighting, and your budget, needs, and preferences all factor largely into deciding which type to install. We’ll help you break down all types of pool lights to help you make the best choice for your Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC home—just keep reading!

Types of Pool Lights

In Ground Pool Lighting

One of the biggest benefits of in ground pool lighting is its streamlined look and even lighting. The two primary options for in ground pool lighting are LED lighting and fiber optic lighting (we’ll get into the pros and cons of each further down in this blog post).

Above Ground Pool Lighting

Usually much cheaper than in ground pool lighting, above ground pool lighting is perfect for DC area homeowners looking to install a pool on a budget. There are a number of different ways to install above ground pool lighting, including:

Floating Pool Lighting

Floating pool lighting is exactly what it looks like. This type of pool lighting involves lights that bob up and down on the surface of your pool. It is available in a variety of colors and shapes, from orbs, cubes, and pods to more creative features like jellyfish shapes, flowers, and more. Floating lights can be solar powered and tend to use bright LEDs, but since they move around they don’t provide perfectly even lighting.

Magnetic Pool Lighting

If you have a soft-sided pool, magnetic pool lights are perfect for you. These two-part lights can be attached to the liner of your pool for an in ground pool lighting appearance with above ground ease.

LED vs. Fiber Optic Pool Lighting

The two major types of in ground pool lighting are LED and fiber optic, and each type has its own advantages and disadvantages for homeowners in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Consider the following:

Ease of Use

LED lighting – LED lights are housed in waterproof bulbs that can be removed to change the bulb. The bulb itself should last around 10,000 hours, however, so you won’t need to perform even this simple task very often. One to two bulbs should be enough to illuminate your entire swimming pool.

Fiber optic lighting – bulbs for fiber optic pool lights are located out of the water, making them even easier to access and replace than LED pool lights. To illuminate a whole pool, you’ll likely need more than one fiber optic light, though, which can get expensive.


LED lighting – LED lights range from $400 – $900 installed, and bulbs can last anywhere from 10 – 15 years. Replacement bulbs will run you about $200 – $400.

Fiber optic lighting – a fiber optic pool lighting system will require a fan to keep the light cool, meaning fiber optic pool lighting will be more expensive than LED lighting—think anywhere from $900 – $1,500 per bulb system. Bulbs typically last about 3 – 7 years, and replacing them will cost about $200 – $300.


LED lights – despite having the lighting components under water, LED lights are very safe and have a very low risk of failure. In addition, LED lights use very low voltage, which mitigates the risk further.

Fiber optic lighting – since there are no electrical components housed in the water, fiber optic lighting has close to zero risk of electric shock.


LED lights – LED lights can be used to fill your whole pool with light and illuminate the whole thing at once. They can also change colors to create a truly unique look for your backyard.

Fiber optic lighting – these types of pool lights aren’t as good at illuminating the whole pool at once, but they can create points of light to give your pool a sparkling, starry appearance.

The Last Word

In purely practical terms, LED lights have the edge over fiber optic lights—they are less expensive, easier to maintain, and provide much brighter illumination. But there are advantages to both types of pool lights, and Kolb Electric can help you find the perfect fit for you and your home. We can also provide you with further pool lighting tips here.

Installing the Best Pool Lighting for Your Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC Home

Whichever types of pool lighting you choose, we will be able to install it in such a way as to make it truly your own. If you need help choosing the best pool lights for you or you’re ready to get started with pool wiring in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC, call us today!

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