Who does not want to have an inground pool light? Obviously, the primary reason to have these lights installed is to help illuminate the pool when you decide to swim at night. It reduces the chance of you hurting yourself while you swim. But apart from that, these lights will also add to the visual appeal of your swimming pool. Some of these create colors and beautiful reflections on the water. If positioned correctly, it can make your pool appear magical.


Of course, you need to make sure that you choose the right type of light. While there are many types of light fixtures, you can only use two for your pool: LED and fiber optic lights.

Defining LED and fiber optic lights

Before we compare the two, let us define each of these lights.


An LED inground pool light has the actual bulb submerged under the water. It is contained in a niche or a housing – which in turn is installed within the pool shell. It is very important that the light bulb is completely sealed to avoid water or electricity getting in contact with each other. The cord has to travel from the bulb and into a switch to help operate it. This has to be protected to avoid accidental electrocution.


A fiber optic inground pool light, on the other hand, has a bulb that is placed in a dry box on top of the pool patio. The light emitted by this bulb travels through fiber optic cables that start from the box and ends up on a special fitting that is installed in the wall of the pool. The end of the cable is visible and the light of the bulb is emitted from this end. It effectively illuminates the pool. Since the bulb is above the water, a fan and electric motor are needed to cool the bulb and rotate the color to change the lights, respectively.


Now that we understand what these lights are, let us try to figure out how you can choose the right type of inground pool light that you will use.

How to choose between the two inground pool lights

There are 5 things that you need to look into.


  • Changing the light bulb. When changing an LED light, you only have to remove the sealed housing that holds the bulb so you can change the bulb inside while it is outside the water. Fiber optic lights are not submerged in the water so changing it is easier.
  • Overall cost. LED lights will cost you $400 to $900 initially. When replacing the bulb every 7 to 15 years, you only have to pay $200 to $400 each time. Fiber optic lights will cost more – with the initial cost being $900 to $1,500. Replacements will have to be done every 3 to 7 years and will cost $200 to $300.
  • A full sized LED inground pool light can light a large residential pool. Smaller LED lights will require 2 for a 15×34 pool to be well illuminated. Usually, the lights are located at the opposite ends. One fiber optic light cannot illuminate the whole pool – but if you use two and place it at opposite ends, it will cost double.
  • Size and locations within the pool. The LED light requires a standard light switch and transformer and it can be placed new the other pool equipment. The bulb is submerged under the water. Fiber optic lights have to be located within 10’ to 12’ of the pool. Any further and it will require a longer cable – which will cost more.
  • Although submerged under the water, the LED lights are perfectly safe. Besides, these lights operate under a very low voltage – like a car charger. The fiber optic lights are not in the water so it is perfectly safe as well.


These are the factors you need to look into when deciding on the best inground pool light.