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I was playing Foosball in a Pub in the UK, and I was wondering: How does a Foosball Table Light affect the gameplay in a Foosball Match?
There is nothing worse in Foosball than playing in a dark environment, where you cannot see your men or the ball well. Alternatively, light glaring off the table and blinding you is just as bad. So just what is the best type of Foosball Table Light? and would have the wrong levels of light have any ad-verse effects at all?
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There are several ways to improve the lighting on your foosball table, depending on your budget, and how much you want to alter the room that houses your Foosball table. From installing the correct ambient room lights, hanging lamps over the game, or using standing lamps, there are several ways to get the light right!
Getting the right level of brightness in your playing area will not only help you create ambient games room feel, but it will also, and more importantly, stop any deceiving shadows and annoying glare off any glass, or balls being used.
Having the light too dim will mean that you cannot see the players, and the ball will affect your depth of perception when shooting and passing the ball. Whereas having the light too bright may irritate the player’s eyes.
There are three types of lighting
Ambient or general lighting is used to light up an entire room. It should give a consistent level of illumination for the entire room, and provide an excellent environment for foosball.
As you are reading this article, we can assume that you do not currently have enough lighting for your table. Changing the Ambient Lighting of a room can be a challenging and expensive option. The following lights will be cheaper and easier to fit.
Ambient Lighting can be provided by Ceiling-mounted fixtures, Wall-mounted fixtures, Recessed fixtures and LED down lights, Track lights, Floor lamps
Task lighting is probably what you want for your Foosball Table. It illuminates the tasks people do in a specific part of a room, for example, Foosball, cooking, or computer work. A brighter light is required in a small part of the room that is being used for a specific purpose.
For better lighting, it is best to avoid harsh lights or lights that will cause shadows on your table. So when thinking about lighting, imagine the players, and do not install your lights where they are going to throw shadows over the table. You also want a separate switch so that these lights can be turned off and on, independently of the room’s main lighting.
This is not the type of lighting you want for Foosball. Accent lighting is used mainly to focus on a specific point of interest or to achieve a desired effect. This type of lighting gives the impression of a larger room.
There is a limited range of lighting explicitly designed for a foosball table. However, any light that is pushed in a downward direction on to the table will do a good job. Pool / Billiards or Snooker lights are a splendid example.
Most of these lights take multiple bulbs of up to 60 watts, to ensure that the table is evenly lit over its entire length. A cheaper, less suitable option is to have a single pendant light in the center of the table. If the light is too bright, the bulb can be changed for a 40-watt or lower.
Most Table Light sets will allow up to a 60-watt bulb, which is recommended, but it’s not uncommon to use a 40-watt bulb if you find the 60 watts too bright. The alternative option is to fit a dimmer switch; this will allow complete control of the lighting. These switches are not expensive and easily installed by anyone with a small amount of home improvement ability.
As a guideline, your lighting needs to be about 32-40 inches above the surface of your Foosball table, which will probably be around nose height.
Minor adjustments will need to be made, as not all tables are the same, and depending on the uniformity of the light supplied. If there are fewer bulbs in the lamp, or it is not a strip light, then it may need to be hung a little higher.
Remember, the Foosball tables light is there to light the table correctly; it should not be used to light the room!
These are the general rules for lengths of the lights of a particular sized table.
|Table Length||Light Length|
|3.5 foot||35” – 55”|
|4 foot||40” – 60”|
|4.5 foot||60” – 75”|
|5 foot||65” – 90”|
|6 foot||90” – 110”|
If altering the room is not possible, the light can be improved using standing lamps. This is not ideal but can make the brightness a lot better. You will need 2 of these, one placed at each end of the table where they will not be in the way of the players.
You should always have good lighting over your table, to take care of your eyes and allow for better gameplay, but the color of the ball can obviously help you see it better when you are playing.
As Foosball pitches usually are a grass green color, a dayglow white or yellow ball will probably be easier to see than a dark red ball.
As mentioned in this article a few time Foosball is a game of Hand-eye coordination. You can get the lighting perfect, but if your vision is not great, you will be at a disadvantage, so if you are serious about your game, and you need to wear glasses, then yes you should probably wear them when you are playing.
As a general rule of thumb, you need 20 Lumens per square foot to light a room. When you are concentrating on a task, like a Foosball Table, you need about 30 Lumens per square foot. Ideally, the light sources need to be dispersed around the room for the best effect, and on your Foosball Table, should cover the full length, with strip light, or multiple bulbs running the length of your table.
Foosball table lights of not overly expensive, and can make a room look great, but for those of you that want to make your own foosball table lights, there is an instructional YouTube video here:
is a Computer programmer with 25 years experience working in the Industry. Mainly using Microsoft products I have produced systems for several blue chip companies including The BBC, Natwest, British Rail.and Torbay Council.
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