Where to Buy tungsten, fluorescent, halogen and LED Lamps
and Types of light bulbs in South Korea

( this is a basic guide to the types of bulbs and lamps available in South Korea a Decade Post-Millennium, for the general consumer thus will NOT cover lighting for professional photography, but some aspects which has become known for hobbyist including plants )

[Question] so How Many English Teachers does it take to exchange a Light Bulb in South Korea ?
[ Answer] it depends on WHAT kind of light bulb it is . read-on to know why :


[ Preface ] to Foundation

as an electro-mania who went in search of Edison and Tesla’s trails, I have an obsession about light bulbs, or would it be just to confess I have a light bulb fetish . on the first year of art school I made a collage of myself from one, colored – explaining the artificial in me, also in becoming something that was NOT meant to be, and the agony in its growing process . I can spend hours in a super-mart electric section picking the right bulb, ofcourse : aside from all the other departments in it, automotive and even curtains, Yes 😉 it is one thing to the many lighting stores in YongSan Electronics Market, and another for there is seldom to need to, as dedicated On-Line Malls have sprung-up and business booming exactly for their specialty, in spite of nation-wide recession -_- thus this can very well be the longest page in this BLog if I continue to write as my heart over-passes the brain, so will try to compress mildly .. and wrap-up . in this context : paragraphs seem un-necessary, as now in terms of Einstein : light should continue for ever, afar and long as possible . ofcourse that it eventually bends, is the killer of modern knowledge .


[ WHY ] I am so picky

  1. as a nocturnal person I need in-door light color to resemble as much to actual day-time,
  2. and being from an art back-ground, as well as the fact every other moment in office and home life is subject to photography for record as well as BLog,
  3. I move about every three years, and this time in an apartment with half-a-day’s light, need full-spectrum to feed my adorable succulent plants, who live on light than water 0o0



  1. Post-war South Korea used 110 Volts with Japanese and North American narrow-and-short two-thong plugs,
  2. and towards the end of military dictators over the seventies, began to use combined with 220 Volt with European round two-thong plugs,
  3. but after the 1988 SEOUL Olympics, virtually all buildings use the latter now .




bringing back a light bulb for repair is out of the question, so test each on eat the shop before you pay, and in choosing a brand you have initially three options :

  1. take the most cheapest from over a hundred local manufacturer or supplier,
  2. stick to the brand most known in the specific type of bulb you are seeking such as Osram for Halogen lamps,
  3. or pick from the wide array of models a Global or Korean conglomerate makes,

over 2013 information here mostly concentrating around LED light bulbs and lamps . in order from the more expensive or prestigious :

  • imports : Post-Millennium Japanese, American or European imports aren’t necessarily the most high-tech, durable nor expensive as national conglomerates and home-grown companies produce state-of-the-art products .
    • Osram began to be known for halogen lamps in South Korea as it was developing after the KangNam real-estate boom, with new-money buying lust interiors . expensive but colors reminiscent of the rainbow .
    • Philips, wide-spread into Korean homes with various kitchen electronics .
    • GE mildly sold throughout Korea with its classic tungsten light bulbs and fluorescent lamps .


  • Korean Conglomerate Subsidiaries rule local market with latest technology on higher end, and varied assortment of bulbs for every purpose and price .
    • SamSung has mostly higher-end, high-tech models
    • LG also, but a lesser than competing SamSung as SS is known for visuals (like TV) while LG for mechanics (like air condition and laundry machines).
    • LG inotech is a separate company to lure yielding consumers .


  • Korean Local Brands literally saturate the market with cheap, physically weak bulbs, meaning there are several, but a few have done it for long thus accepted even when price a notch higher .
    • BuonGaePyo (Thunder Mark) initially known for general batteries,
    • POSCO the metal-giant,



[ WHAT ] TYPE, choosing depends on a few factors as whether you already have a lamp and seeking bulbs only, or seeking just any cheap light or want to replicate day-light with premium set-up . basically, you choose to buy cheap bulbs to pay dear electricity bills OR opt for the more expensive energy-saving bulbs .. with almost the same strength of brightness either way .

  • tungsten, is the traditional oval light bulb – thin, weak, cheap but will cost you on electricity .
  • fluorescent, is the long tube used on ceilings of larger building rooms .
  • halogen, mostly used for spot decoration as in galleries and department stores – beautiful but hot-dangerous and expensive to buy as well as on electricity .
  • LED, is the latest technology trying to minimise on electricity bills, but is the most expensive when buying the bulb itself . also quite heavy thus not suited for fragile lamp-base .
  • insect-repellent, two kinds : large light-cage which lures and burns insects, or the smaller normal bulb-size ones which only don’t emit colors that attrats insects – used to be yellow but now comes in while also .
  • plant-growth, is a wonder to the hobbyist with compromised sun-light . has wide arrange of LED’s planted in long rows . not that expensive nor hard to assemble costing a bit over W100,000 for two shelves of plants, but emits mostly red light so your whole room will look like a meat-packing plant -_-


BRIGHTNESS : artificial lighting brightness in South Korea is compared with

(A) the traditional 100 Watt tungsten bulb as a general guide .
(B) this will roughly emit the brightness of a 25 Watt fluorescent tube lamp,
(C) again to almost equal 14 Watt LED bulbs .

thus as I mentioned before : as you proceed A-B-C above the electricity usage reduces, but the purchase price of the bulb almost quadruples from A-to-B, while doubling from B-to-C .


COLOR SHADE : again general electricity light colors started with the warm shade of 100 Watt tungsten bulb . but today most household and office use some kind of fluorescent lamp, either the classic long tube or the more recent short-folded or spiral tubes that have come to take the place of traditional tungsten bulbs that eat-up electricity bills . and here the color shades will be divides aside from the cheapest model :

(D) “bulb color” JeonDeungSaek in Korean, meaning the old warm shade,
(E) “white color” JooBaekSaek, which tries to resemble pure white as possible,
(F) “day color” JooGwangSaek, simulating cool out-door color temperature .

here the most common is the earlier (F) cool leaning towards blue, while a medium model will have the option of (D) warm and (F) cool . with (E) while offered in the more expensive models .




this BLog do NOT advise nor reveal points-of-purchase, as in WHERE to buy what, but this will be one of the few exceptions along with batteries and printer ink cartridges, for the most extensive stores are hard to find, in the Real World as well as On-Line from simple search //

  1. the first electric-stop you will seek after moving-in will be your small neighborhood electric store, more-over a (NOT computer but mechanical) hardware store . but this should be for emergencies, as they call what-ever price depending on situation and consumer, among a line of most basic variety .
  2. and the BEST place to buy anything, if they carry for expatriates is your closest super-mart like eMart, HomePlus, Lotte Mart and Mega Mart in the order of attractive imports and also my favourite .
  3. after that you can have the best price competition on general items in the most common bulbs at On-Line Malls run by conglomerates . but they won’t carry exactly the Watt nor color shade you seek .
  4. so you end up with specialized On-Line Malls, which are extension of their almost-whole-sale stores located in YongSan Electronics Market or the older JongRo utility market smack in the middle of downtown Seoul, or respective tools area in other cities, still larger like Busan .

pure search will land-you at several which sell junk, with some not responding after payment . so it is critical any On-Line Mall have an actual brick-and-motor store-front AND an active customer post-board or forum on their website . following is among the more conscious ones, with photo image, illustration diagram AND literal specification in detail on each product so self-explanatory . but again these are for designers, builders and the sensitive so opt for your nearest super-mart for general use 😉

  • tgosram.com located South in the industrial sector of DaeGu . as its domain name, go here if you run a shop with decorated show-window luminated by directional halogen lamps,
  • bulbshop.co.kr an extensive web-store with actual shop located in the heart of downtown SEOUL,
  • lampkorea.co.kr
  • powerlamp.co.kr




South Korea like its neighboring island of Japan, puts emphasis on recycling materials and garbage in every neighborhood . so much so that it actually costs you to throw things away, especially those that cannot be recycled . and on this note, I deem it such a pity that you have to carefully find places to jettison batteries and light bulbs, for its leak and crack can do much damage to others, including animals – still these two materials are rarely taken care of as it should be, than the more normal plastic, bottles and cans .

  • used light bulbs are legally bound to be disposed in regional plastic garbage bags and NOT recycled,
  • batteries to be left at regional “Dong” office, where there ideally should be a stand that looks like a Mail Box out in front, and if you cannot find one : pass it onto a clerk .



after reading this dedicated Page, I suggest you watch two movies : The illusionist and Prestige, both produced in 2006 and contemplate to compare,

– Korea Tech BLog to the End of Eternity –

from Left : LG 7.5W 3-wave length, Posco eco-nuri LED 9W White, LG LED 14W White 5000K, Orex EL20W 4UW 5-wave length