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Lighting Shops in Singapore vs Carousell vs Taobao – How Much Do The Same Lights Cost?

MoneySmart logo MoneySmart 18/10/2018 Eugenia Liew
lighting shops singapore © Provided by MoneySmart Singapore Pte Ltd lighting shops singapore If you've been following my renovation articles, you would know that I recently collected the keys to my new home and am in the midst of pimping it up. One major (read: expensive) component of the reno process is lighting: Where do I buy cheap lights in Singapore? How much does it cost to light up my whole house? I had the same questions, and explored everything from the brick-and-mortar lighting shops in Singapore to local retailers on Carousell to the cheapo China marketplace Taobao. Unsurprisingly, I found that almost everything you see at the physical stores, you can find online at a fraction of the price. I ended up getting everything from Carousell and Taobao (via ezBuy) - scroll down to see how much I spent in total. Whether or not you want to do the same is up to you - there are definitely risks to having your goods shipped from halfway across the world - but to help you decide, here's a price guide to on- and offline lighting shops in Singapore.

Contents

  1. LED ceiling lights 
  2. Decorative pendant lights 
  3. How much does it cost to light up a 5-room  HDB flat?  
  4. Should you buy from lighting shops, Carousell or Taobao? 
  5. Alternative: Cheap lighting shops in JB
 

LED ceiling lights

Plain ceiling lights Price at Singapore lighting shops   Price on Carousell Price on ezBuy Taobao
6W $25 $6 $5
12W $35 $9 $8
18W $45 $11 $11
24W $75 $18 $13
For the above comparison, I used the prices of plain, LED ceiling lights. They're typically either round or square, and come in a plastic casing (pictured below). Technically wattage is not a measure of luminance, but it’s what most contractors and home buyers use to gauge the brightness of the lights they need to buy. As a guide, the recommended wattage for HDB flats is as follows: 12W for toilets, 18W for bedrooms and 24W for the living room. As you can see, the price difference is shocking. It's almost unbelievable, but I cross my heart and sumpa I am not even kidding. The lighting shops may tell you that the quality is different, but when I compared the theirs with those I got from Carousell, they look the same. Also, I'm not living in darkness, am I? Comparing the prices, those at the physical stores are about 4X the price of those online. But take this with a pinch of salt - I realised that quite a few lighting shops don't have price tags on their showroom displays, so you have to ask. Also, it's quite bargain-able. In case you're wondering what those pathetic 6W lights are for, I've included them because the default lighting points HDB gave me includes small areas like one at the main door entrance and another at the corridor near the bedrooms. I got 6W lights for those and they are perfect. Back to top   

Decorative ceiling lights & pendant / hanging lights

Obviously, the most "budget" way is to use plain lights for your whole house. But these days, websites Qanvast and Pinterest have turned us all into interior designers so most home owners will get at least a few decorative lights for the living room and etc. I picked out a few designs that you can find both on- and offline, and here's how the prices compare.  

1. 50cm "glitter" ceiling light

Lighting shops: ~$60 Carousell: ~$30 Taobao: ~$20  

2. Single pendant light

Lighting shop: ~$70 Carousell: ~ $40 Taobao: ~$20  

3. 50cm Scandinavian ceiling light with wooden casing

Lighting shop: ~$250 Carousell: ~ $150 Taobao: ~$70  

4. 4-in-1 pendant lights

Lighting shop: ~$300 Carousell: ~ $150 Taobao: ~$80   The markup for lighting shops is ridiculously high, but of course, that's assuming that they're selling lights from exactly the same manufacturer. It's worthy to note that many of these lights are designer replicas, so the quality may not be 100% the same. But just because you buy it from a physical store doesn't mean it's the authentic designer one ah! When I visited the lighting shops in Balestier, the statement lights didn't look extra well-made or anything, and the salespeople didn't tell me that they were expensive because they were branded. Back to top   

Case study: How much does it cost to light up a typical 5-room HDB flat?

To help you better estimate how much it costs to get your entire crib lit up, I'm sharing what I spent. My home is a 5-room BTO, and there are a total of 15 lighting points.
Area Lighting points Estimated wattage
Main door entrance 1 6W
Bomb shelter 1 12W
Living room 3 18W/24W 
Kitchen 2 12W
Service yard 1 12W
Master bedroom 2 18W
Bedrooms X2 2 18W
Bedroom corridor 1 6W
Toilets X2 2 12W
Total lighting points 15
Disclaimer: Technically wattage is not a measure of luminance, but it’s what most contractors and home buyers use to gauge the brightness of the lights they need to buy.
I got everything from Taobao via ezBuy, and got the 5-day Prime trial package to ship the stuff over. There was also a no agent fee promotion, so I got that waived. I chose mostly plain lights, but got 2 pendant lights.
ezBuy Description Price
Prime subscription 5-day trial $9.90
International Prime shipping - $2.99
Agent fee Waived $0
Local delivery Self-collection at ezBuy warehouse $0
Products Area Price
Plain 6W ceiling lights Main door entrance, bedroom corridor $5.26 X 2 = $10.52
Plain 12W ceiling lights Bomb shelter, service yard, both toilets, 1 for kitchen $7.69 X 5 = $38.45
Wooden rim 18W ceiling lights Both bedrooms, 2 for master bedroom, 1 for living room $27.91 X 5 = $139.55
Wooden rim 24W ceiling lights Living room $42.60 X 1 = $42.60
3-in-1 pendant lights Living room dining area $39.90
3-in-1 pendant light Kitchen (above island) $82.25
Total price $366.16
Back to top   

Conclusion: So where should you buy your lights from?

If cost is your only concern, then the answer is clear: Taobao. However, you'll be spending a few hundred dollars at least, so there are definitely other factors to consider. Here's a quick guide on the pros and cons of each option. Lighting shops in Singapore: This is the most expensive place to pickup your lights, but it's the only place you can touch and feel what you're getting. You can inspect the quality of the products, and even test to see if they're working well before you hand over your cash. It's also cash-and-carry, so you don't have to wait. Carousell: Most retailers on Carousell actually have physical stores and showrooms where you can self-collect your items too. This is perhaps the "best" option, because the prices are significantly lower than offline stores, but you also get the benefit of checking your items and having a short lead time. The only thing I dislike about Carousell retailers is that they're shady. After finding an affordable retailer on Carousell, I contacted them and went down to buy the lights at their store in Balestier. When I got there, they honoured the Carousell prices, but I noticed that the showroom price tags were 3 to 4 times the price I was getting. Thinking of the tech illiterate shoppers (like my folks, for instance), I confronted the salesman. All he said was "We need to pay rent. Too bad for walk-ins." Taobao: I'm super broke and could afford the luxury of time, so as mentioned above, I went with Taobao. But their low prices come with quite a few risks. Firstly, you have to wait 1 to 2 months for your items to arrive. That means you need to plan way in advance, and you can't change your mind. Next, you can't check the quality of the items. What I did was read the reviews and only choose those with positive reviews and real-life images. Lastly, since you're shipping it from China, the items may get damaged. If the bulbs break or the goods are defective, you can send them back, but then you'll have to wait another month. I was super lucky that everything came as described (#TrueToPic, see header image) and well-wrapped, but it is a risk nonetheless. Back to top   

Alternative: Cheap lighting shops in JB

Aside from local lighting shops, Carousell and Taobao, a popular place to shop for lights is Johor Bahru (JB). You'll probably need to drive over and drive the stuff back, so don't forget to make space in the boot and back seat. Here are some popular lighting shops in JB:
  • Tampoi Lighting Centre
  • Starworld Lighting
  • YES Electrical Supply
  • VIP Lighting
  • HT Lighting
  • Jezritez JB Lights
Happy shopping and good luck!   Where did you get your ceiling and pendant lights from? Share your lobang with us in the comments below leh!   

Related articles

Lighting Singapore Guide - Lighting Types, Lighting Shops & Saving Money on Your Bills The Ultimate Guide to Renovation Loans in Singapore 2018 HDB Renovation & Key Collection Guide: 10 Things To Bring When Visiting Your New Flat   In-article image credits: ezBuy The post Lighting Shops in Singapore vs Carousell vs Taobao - How Much Do The Same Lights Cost? appeared first on the MoneySmart blog.

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