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LED Natatorium - Swimming Pool Lighting

Shop for LED natatorium lighting can reduce overhead, improve visibility, and reduce costs. Years of experience lighting up pool areas.....

A natatorium requires good lighting to maintain good safety standards. With LED natatorium lighting, the facility is able to provide a good experience along with reduced operating costs associated with a typical lighting system. All while keeping out humidity to maintain a long lifespan.

LED Lights For Natatoriums

The first comment people make when they enter an indoor pool isn't always "The lighting is fantastic!" But this does not mean that lighting is not an important factor. Even though it plays a secondary role in the overall functionality of a pool, it has a great impact on the safety, function and aesthetic appeal.

Designing indoor pool lighting is a complex undertaking because of the many variables involved. The goal is to create seamless integration between natural light and artificial light to ensure the lighting enhances safety and also complements the architecture and furnishings in the space.

In a public indoor swimming facility, the lifeguards also require good lighting to maintain safety at all times. And while safety is the primary concern of every lighting designer creating a lighting plan for a natatorium, the light must also create a positive user experience.

Indoor pools have different uses. Some are used for international and national-level competitions while others are in community sports complexes. One of the most important things to consider when choosing lights for this environment is that it is highly corrosive.

Chemicals in the swimming pool can corrode the metallic surfaces of lighting fixtures in a very short period of time. Luminaires with a long lifespan and reliability are required in a natatorium as they lower service costs, lighting maintenance, and noise distractions

Natatoriums have unique lighting challenges. Water reflects and refracts light, making it hard for judges and spectators to watch competitive swimming events. All the lighting challenges posed by a natatorium can be solved by LED natatorium lighting.

Why LED Natatorium Lighting?

In the past, lighting engineers would adjust the illumination systems and use indirect lighting to counter water surface glare. LED luminaires have diffusers that diffuse light uniformly across the water surface to ensure there are no glare problems. The light fixtures have a low-profile design and can be mounted at different angles to offer both direct and indirect lighting.

The higher color rendering index of LED natatorium lights makes for better contrast and truer colors. These lights, when properly installed, can prevent lighting variations that may affect swimming events.

LED lights also come with flexible mounting systems and can be installed in different symmetrical and asymmetrical configurations to get rid of glare, hot spots, and shadows. And because these lights do not require regular lamp replacements and frequent maintenance, they can be installed in hard-to-reach areas for optimal performance.

Indoor pools are usually filled with corrosive gases such as bromine and chlorine. They also have water vapor. LED natatorium lights used in these areas feature corrosion-resistant polyethylene powder coating and are made with stainless steel to prevent the degradation caused by vaporized chlorine and humidity.

The light fixtures protect the internal components to prevent safety hazards. Thermal management systems efficiently move the little heat produced by the lights to the surrounding environment to prevent heat buildup. In addition, some LED natatorium lights have gaskets containing chlorine inhibitors while the LED boards are coated to resist corrosion.

All these important construction details separate LED natatorium lights from traditional natatorium lights. Well-constructed LED lights offer many years of service and give you a good return on investment.

In the last few years, LED lights have greatly advanced. They are now more resistant, energy-efficient, and produce much less heat. Their rated life is also longer than that of their conventional counterparts. Best of all, they are durable — a key factor in keeping an indoor pool lighting system low-maintenance.

Natatorium Lighting: Challenges and Solutions

A good indoor pool lighting system must have three qualities: safety, resistance, and durability. Since a natatorium poses many lighting challenges, the lighting designer must carefully examine several features prior to choosing lighting fixtures and installing them.

First, he must establish the purpose of the pool — some swimming pools are meant for leisure while others are meant for competitions. It is also important to be familiar with the rules and regulations that govern the lighting in this environment. In addition, the safety of the swimmers and pool staff must also be addressed. Lastly, the durability and resistance of the LED lights must comply with the set regulations.

Let us talk about some of the challenges posed by indoor pools and the solutions LED lights offer.

The Location

The lighting levels in an indoor pool usually vary according to its function. Is the pool located inside a hotel or a condominium? Will it be used only for recreational purposes or will it host swim meets and swimming competitions? Will the pool be used for a variety of activities or televised competitions?

Some indoor swimming pools serve as training ground for athletes while others host diving lessons and pool activities such as water polo. It is essential to know the end-use of the pool before selecting the lighting fixtures — because different pool activities must meet specific lighting standards.

Natatorium Lighting Level Recommendations

Competition Level Pool Pool Uniformity Deck Deck Uniformity
Professional (Class I) 75 foot candles 1.7:1 max/min 50 foot candles 2.5:1 max/min
Collegiate (Class II) 50 foot candles 2.5:1 max/min 20 foot candles 4:1 max/min
Intermediate (Class III) 30 foot candles 3:1 max/min 10 foot candles 4:1 max/min
Recreational (Class IV) 30 foot candles 4:1 max/min 10 foot candles 4:1 max/min

Without a doubt, the most important consideration when choosing lighting for indoor swimming pools is safety. And when it comes to safety, the choice of lights and their installation angles make all the difference. Powerful LED natatorium lights are incredibly reflective and well-built.

When you understand how different surfaces interact with different light sources, you can increase the light’s maximum depth penetration. This will help lifeguards to see the activities going on in all areas of the pool. It also helps in enhancing the pool's visual appeal. For better visibility, lighting designers should install lights in the pool’s interior.


One of the major concerns pertaining to pool lighting is how water reflects light, producing glare. Glare can cause discomfort to swimmers and even pool attendants. The quality of light in an indoor swimming pool must be very high as the light impacts the safety of the swimmers as well as the people who take care of the pool. Special attention must be given to the reflection of light on the swimming pool’s surface and its surroundings.

A lighting designer can tone down reflection by installing LED lights on the pool's perimeter and on the terrace. This problem can also be solved by installing lights that project light upwards and downwards. The lighting products you choose must have a low glare rating.

The glare rating is measured using the Unified Glare Rating, a method used to calculate the glare emitted by luminaires. The rating helps us know how likely a light bulb is to cause discomfort to the people around it. A glare rating of less than 10 indicates low glare while a rating above 30 indicates high glare.

Humidity and Chemicals

Pools are very humid by nature and are known for their corrosion-causing ability. These two features can easily affect the lifespan of luminaires. The humidity in an indoor pool is normally very high (up to 60%) and there is also a high percentage of chlorine vapors which speed up the corrosion of materials.

Apart from this, the very design of swimming pools makes lighting maintenance quite difficult and costly. This is why lighting installations must be both durable and resistant. The LED lights used in natatoriums must have very high IP ratings.

An IP rating higher than 65 is considered good. Lights with an IP67 or IP68 rating are excellent as they are protected from water nozzles and submersion in water for specific periods of time.

How to Create a Good Natatorium Lighting Design

When the lighting in a natatorium is done right, the space looks and feels different. And while swimming pools come in different designs, the basic principles of lighting are still the same. When you get these fundamentals of lighting design right, you'll be able to create the perfect lighting plan for an indoor swimming pool.

Beam Spread

Also known as the beam angle or the spread of light, beam spread is the amount of space covered by a light source. It is the angle at which light is distributed. As light spreads out and moves away from a light source, it becomes less intense. Every light source has a beam spread, from a halogen lamp to a LED lamp. It can be as narrow as 4° or as wide as 120°.

It is very important to get the beam angle right as it affects the overall illumination of the natatorium. The swimming pool’s interior color will also have a significant effect on the illumination. If the interior color is dark, you may have to get LED lights with narrower beam angles to ensure the swimming pool is well illuminated.

This is because dark colors absorb light. You may also need to use more lights. However, if the interior color is light, lights with wider beam angles may be used as they will distribute light evenly.

Consider the Shape of the Pool

A single LED natatorium light can sufficiently illuminate a smaller geometric-shaped pool. However, when using a single light, make sure the swimming pool is less than 19 feet (length) and 13 feet (width).

This is because as light travels over a distance, it loses its intensity. So, even if the LED light will be able to illuminate the entire swimming pool, the light will not be consistent. The area directly under the LED light will be brighter than the other areas.

When using a single light fixture to light up a pool, install it centrally at the end of the pool (the side opposite the steps) to ensure the light covers the entire length of the pool. It will provide even, bright illumination.

Opposing lights are recommended for swimming pools measuring 26 feet (length) and 13 feet (width). When installing the lights, position them centrally on the short ends of the pool. This will ensure the best spread of light. Since the lights face each other, there will be no obtrusions.

In a big swimming pool with a length of 39 feet and a width of 13 feet, more lights can be used. And because the swimming pool is longer, the lights are not installed on the shorter sides of the pool like in the first two scenarios.

They can be installed on one single wall to illuminate the entire pool. A useful rule of thumb when installing lights on one wall is to put a space of 8 feet between them. Each light installed on the farthest end should be 4 feet away from the shorter ends of the pool.

Ensure the Ledges, Steps, and Swim-Outs Are Well-Illuminated

The more obtrusions there are, the more lighting becomes complex. Most swimming pools today have many safety ledges, swim outs, and multiple steps. These features enhance the function and safety of the pool. It is important for them to be well-lit at night just like the other areas of the indoor pool.

The general rule for illuminating these swimming pool features is to install the lights at a maximum depth of 12 inches from the pool’s top, as ledges and steps are typically installed at a depth of 16 inches. However, these measurements may vary from swimming pool to swimming pool, so you should adapt accordingly. Lights mounted above the step height ensure the steps are well illuminated.

LED Natatorium Lighting Is the Solution

Indoor swimming pools are hard on light fixtures, but LED natatorium lights work extra hard. They light up swimming pools and ceilings uniformly and have a minimum lifespan of 50,000 hours. Their low maintenance, extreme durability, and high energy savings make them a great choice for natatoriums. When paired with motion sensors and daylight controls, the energy savings can be dramatic. It makes financial sense to replace conventional natatorium lights with LED lights.

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