Friday, September 22, 2017

Buying Lights In JB

This is part of my Making Of Our Dream Home series. Click to read the other entries in the series.

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Are lightings cheaper in JB?

The answer is a definite YES.

The Mister and I made a day trip to JB two weeks ago to check out the lighting shops, and it’s true what people say – Prices are lower than Singapore, some as much as 50% lower. My legs ached badly the next day, after walking close to 20,000 steps but it’s well worth it – We found almost every lighting we need for our new house. We didn’t make the purchase yesterday – Just checked out the prices, dimensions, voltage etc, and will make another trip there to make all the purchases closer to the shift.

Taobao or JB?

Some people wonder if they should buy their lightings online from Tabao or from JB – My personal opinion is to go with the latter simply because the risks are much lower. You might be able to get lower prices from Taobao, but you will be paying money for big ticket items that you have not seen or touched. Follow-up maintenance and repairs is another issue to be considered – Some may not come with warranty, and repairs would be a hassle in the future - That is all assuming that the items arrive in one piece with no defects in the first place.

Where To Go In JB?

If you google, you will find several recommendations for lighting shops that you can visit in JB. We managed to cover two of them, and felt that there was no need to visit others because we were happy with the range and choices available. No photographs to show because all the lighting shops strictly prohibit photography. If you only have time for one or two shops, I would totally recommend the following two, in that order:

Starworld Lighting Centre
Address: 26-01, 28, 28-01, Jalan Titiwangsa 3/1, Taman Tampoi Indah, Johor Bharu, 81200, Johor Bahru, Johor, 81200, Malaysia

Tampoi Lighting Centre

Address: 2,4,6, Jalan Titiwangsa 3/1, Taman Tampoi Indah, 81200 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia


They are located in the same area, along the same stretch of shops, so just hop on to a Grab after you clear the immigrations if you are not driving. Both have a good selection of down lights, ceiling and decorative lighting for your house. Prices for the down lights are comparable, but if you are open to getting a no-brand down lights, Starworld Lighting has a house brand that is really affordable (A tri-light LED down light costs only RM28!). But of course, if you want to go for Philips or Samsung brands, the prices are slightly higher at RM35-39 each. Personally, I prefer Starworld Lighting because they have really nice lightings for dining and living room. In fact, they have a whole series of industrial vintage lightings that I wish I can bring everything home! Prices are slightly cheaper here as compared to Tampoi too, but service staff at both sides are helpful and well-versed in their product knowledge.

Factors To Consider

There are several factors to consider and take note of when purchasing lights from JB (Applies to furniture and every other purchase, really):

#1: Transportation


If you are really buying a crazy lot of items, make sure you factor in transportation costs. If you have a car and the items can all fit in, then you save on that. Otherwise, you may need to rent a van and get a driver to transport the items over. I checked with one of the lighting shop staff and it usually costs about SGD90 for one trip.

#2: Limit For Purchases Exempt From GST


Singapore Customs has issued an advisory that GST is exempt only for certain values. If you travel out of Singapore for less than 48 hours, then you will not have to pay GST for goods valued up to $150. If you are away for more than 48 hours, you are exempt from GST for goods valued up to $600. If you are merely going over to JB to buy the lightings, it is very likely that you would have to keep to the $150/pax rule. For purchases above that value, you would have to pay 7% GST for them. So, make sure you bring enough people with you to split the limits and avoid paying GST.

#3: Check Warranty of Products & Installation


One of the downfalls about purchasing lightings from JB instead of locally is having to go back to the JB shops for any repairs required. This is not much of an issue for me since I stay so near to JB, but if you are staying further away, it’s something you might want to take mental note of. Installation has to be handled by your own electrician, or otherwise arranged at extra cost with the lighting shops -  Some may charge higher rates because they are required to travel from Malaysia to Singapore to do the installation, so just make sure you ask properly before purchasing to avoid hidden costs.

Of course, apart from the practical considerations, if budget is not a concern to you, then you can always scout around different places in Singapore to find lightings that are unique and fits the design of your new home. One of the most popular places Singaporeans go to is always Balestier. There are so many lightings, bathroom & kitchen furnishing shops ion that vicinity, you can check out everything on one trip. Because of the intense competition in that area, prices are generally quite good and if you are meticulous enough, you may spot a few designs that are unique in certain shops. Who knows, you may be able to find the perfect light for your home. :)


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