Semi OT : eBay HK/China halogens - are they safe?

Semi OT, hope this is okay.

A bit of background. I've always been a bit timid of stuff using line voltage (240V here in NZ) from cheap Chinese/HK sellers. (And being in NZ means it takes a while before we see the stores having cheap LED bulbs.) I do have a few of those power adapters you get with products, but that can't be helped. I have a halogen light I brought over from Malaysia, uses 20 W G4 12V bulbs so it got me interested in seeing if there was any decent LED bulb for it since I don't have to worry. Couldn't find anything guess it's too small. In the meantime I got talking to a friend who had been staying over and had managed to break to (old) halogens in the guest room desk lamp, one of them by touching it when it was having problems burning his fingers in the process. However I found these are 40W G9 line voltage bulbs.

Anyway while looking for the LEDs, I found you can get 10 halogen bulbs from the Chinese/HK eBay sellers for under US$4 for the G9s and under US$2 for the G4s. This is less then you're likely to pay for 1 here in NZ so it's quite tempting. For the G4s since it's 12V and the light I have has a cover I'm not too worried. Even if it explodes, it hopefully won't penetrate the cover and since it's 12V there's less risk if something bad happens. I'm more worried about the G9s since the light these are used in doesn't have a cover as you may guess from the singed fingers. So if it explodes there's no protection. Further as said since it's 240V it's the sort of thing I don't like to fool around with. However I don't really see how anything could go wrong other then the bulb dying or exploding since realisticly it can't short circuit (unlike say with a LED bulb's power supply) and halogen lamps are designed to get hot.

So anyway wondering if anyone has any experience with cheap eBay Chinese/HK halogens, particularly bin pins like the G9 that use line voltage. Most interested in hearing if anyone has experience or heard of any nasty stories, like if they have a tendency to explode but also if anyone has used them for a while without such problems. Shorter life span isn't a big concern given the price.


Bought from ebay before, some of them are safe while some not. Choose those with better reputation. Don't worry, even if problem occurs, you can put disputes on PayPal, you would get win if we are right.

Buy from their sometimes can be half less then it in local stores. One more thing, delivery gotta kill you in waiting.