Outdoor Pool Lighting vs Indoor Pool Lighting

Outdoor Pool Lighting vs Indoor Pool Lighting

Lighting is a very important part of swimming pool design. The right lighting scheme can provide a better pool experience for swimmers. In this article we will look at the differences between outdoor and indoor pool lighting. Let’s start now.

Influence of ambient light

Both outdoor and indoor pools are affected by ambient light. The main differences are in the source, intensity and stability of the light.


Outdoor pools are affected by both natural and man-made factors such as the sun, sky, surrounding buildings and vegetation.

The position and intensity of natural light sources vary with the time of day and the weather, so the lighting environment of an outdoor pool will also change. On a clear day, the sun’s rays can shine directly on the pool water, causing strong reflection and refraction. Too much light can cause glare that irritates the eyes. On cloudy days or at night, natural light becomes dim and adequate lighting from lamps is required.

Some outdoor pools can also be affected by overly tall or dense surrounding buildings and vegetation. The effects include a lack of natural light due to heavy shading, poor air circulation and an increase in mosquitoes. At night, if buildings are too close together and their internal lighting is too bright, external light is also refracted or reflected into the pool.

Outdoor pools affected by ambient light


Indoor pool lighting is not overly influenced by natural light and surrounding buildings, and it is much easier to control the effects of these factors than in outdoor pools. It is easy to achieve a good lighting experience by simply planning the room and pool lighting design and installing the right lighting products.

Lighting Products


Outdoor pool lighting is more susceptible to weather, temperature, water quality and other factors. Poor quality pool lighting is more prone to deterioration, cracking, rusting and water ingress in these conditions. It is best to choose lighting products made from more durable materials that are better suited to the outdoor environment.


Indoor pools are not as harsh as outdoor environments, but underwater pool lights need to be rustproof and IP68 rated.

Light Colour

Colour Changing LED Pool Lights


The colour of the light is the most important factor in the lighting effect. The most common light colours for outdoor pools are blue and white.

Blue is close to the colour of the sea and sky and has a softer lighting effect, making it easier for the body and mind to feel relaxed and comfortable. Blue light penetrates the water well and can illuminate larger underwater areas.

White light is very bright and clear and provides very good colour rendition when illuminating objects. Many pools use white light to illuminate the surrounding area.


Indoors is a more intimate environment and the lighting options for swimming pools are more varied and individual. In addition to blue and white light, red, yellow and other vibrant colours are commonly used in indoor pool lighting design.

Light Intensity


Outdoor pool environment with plenty of natural light. In most cases, it is only necessary to light the pool at night. If you also have the need to light up the pool during the day, you need to control the intensity of the pool lighting according to the climate. When natural light is strong, turn down the brightness of the lights. If it is raining, snowing or foggy, increase the brightness of the pool lighting to ensure that the pool is well lit.

pool lights at dusk


If an indoor pool is located in a more enclosed space, it will not receive enough natural light and will need to be well lit at all times.

enclosed indoor swimming pools require continuous lighting

Lighting Layout


Outdoor areas are much larger, more open and susceptible to natural light interruption. Most outdoor pools have a greater choice of lighting products and a wider range of products than indoor pools. The buildings, roads and landscaping surrounding the pool can affect the lighting of the pool.

Outdoor pool lighting will also have low wattage lighting products installed on steps and other areas to ensure adequate lighting and safety.


Some indoor pools have less space and often opt for more compact pool lights to achieve a better overall effect. Indoor lighting has a smaller footprint than outdoor lighting and there is also a need to avoid the effect on room temperature when the lighting heats up. The higher the wattage of an light, the more heat it generates. For this reason, indoor lighting products are not selected for too high a wattage.

Indoor lighting layouts are more detail-oriented and need to create a more harmonious lighting atmosphere. When designing lighting for an indoor pool, you also need to consider the effect of the walls, floor and ceiling on the lighting effect.

Indoor pool lighting layout

Lighting Control Systems


Lighting control systems are important for both indoor and outdoor pool lighting design. The article RGB Colour Changing LED Pool Lights: The Definitive Guide details the most common pool lighting control systems.

Outdoor pools need to take into account the different times of day and night and should ideally be remotely controllable. If the weather is bad, you can use the remote control to switch off the power quickly. This prevents short-circuit problems caused by gusty winds and heavy rain.


Indoor swimming pools are a more stable environment and in most cases only need to provide the right brightness and light colour. As a result, the control requirements for indoor pools are often simpler than those for outdoor pools.

In lighting scenarios such as mini pools, bathtubs, spas, etc., may be only one light installed. In this case, the use of a single controller is less expensive and easier to operate than other controls.

pool light single vontroller



Outdoor pools are outdoors and are very susceptible to the elements, collecting dust and other types of dirt more quickly than indoor pools. In addition, sunlight, rain, wind and sand can accelerate the ageing and wear of equipment. The frequency, cost, difficulty and time required to maintain outdoor pool lighting is in most cases greater than for indoor pools.


Indoor pools are a better environment than outdoor pools, but lighting products still need to be maintained according to actual use.


There are many similarities in lighting design for indoor and outdoor pools:


There are many similarities between the lighting products used in indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Outdoor pools require more consideration of natural and environmental influences. Indoor pool lighting requires a more individual and detailed lighting design in order to achieve a better installation and lighting effect in a limited space.

WAKING Lighting is a specialist manufacturer of underwater lighting products and we are also experts in the field of pool lighting knowledge. If you have any questions about indoor or outdoor pool lighting, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Are you looking for a professional underwater light supplier? Contact us now!

Contact Form
Optimized by Optimole
Contact us on WhatsApp