How To Tell The Difference Between A Pool And Spa Light


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At some point in time the light in your swimming pool or spa will need to be replaced. Replacing the light itself is not that difficult. Before purchasing a replacement pool or spa light, you will need to know some general information to help make sure that you buy the right one. This guide will point out the main differences and help make your search a little easier.

Step by Step


Step 1

Size matters- Swimming pool light are larger than spa lights. The most common swimming pool lights are 10 ¾” in diameter (including face-ring). Spa lights are usually 6” in diameter (including face-ring). The most common manufacturers would be Hayward, Pentair/Sta-Rite (older styles were Purex/PacFab), SwimQuip and Jandy. Always measure your light. I have seen cases where a spa light was installed in a swimming pool and a swimming pool light was installed in a spa.

Step 2

120v vs 12v- Depending on your local code, your swimming pool light or spa light may be either 120v or 12v (low voltage). The difference is that 12v lights require a transformer (sold separately). The transformer is connected to 120v and transforms the voltage to 12v.

Step 3

Watts- The wattage of a swimming pool light can range from 300-500. A 12v pool light can only be 300 watts because of the low voltage. Since a spa light is smaller, the wattage will typically be no greater than 100 regardless of voltage.

Step 4

Manufacturer label- If you remove the light housing from the swimming pool or spa, you will usually find a manufacturer’s label which will provide the model number of the light, bulb type, voltage and wattage.


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 Posted: 10/17/2020 

I have noticed that the spa lights are listed as 120v or 120vac, my spa requires 12v light. I do have a transformer on the wall. Does this mean I can use a 120v spa light, because all the spa lights say 120v.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 10/19/2020 

Which voltage is written on your actual bulb? That is the voltage of the light. Usually, the wattage and voltage are listed somewhere on the bulb.