If you’re a beekeeper, you’ll need to harvest the honey from your bees and successfully extract it from the honeycombs before you can start enjoying its endless benefits.
How exactly do you do that?
For years, beekeepers have really struggled with honey extraction…
…until recently when honey extracting devices were introduced into the market. Needless to say, these have made the job much easier. You can now efficiently extract all your honey without damaging the honeycombs.
And right below here, I’m about to give you the 10 best honey extractors that you can acquire at affordable cost and start harvesting your honey the right way.
Let’s dive right in:
What's a Honey Extractor?
A honey extractor is one of the most important equipment for all beekeepers.
They’re devices designed to extract and harvest honey from the honeycombs mechanically. There are various honey extractors on the market today, each with different sizes and shapes.
The advantage of utilizing an extractor is that you won’t damage those precious honeycombs during the harvesting process. The collection process is also faster than other alternative methods and extracts more honey too.
This device uses centrifugal forces as it spins, either tangentially or radially. This force causes the honey to be flung out of the uncapped comb cells, run to the device’s walls and finally collects at the bottom where a honey pump or tap is used to retrieve the honey.
With this tool, you can easily extract the honey while safekeeping the comb for reuse by the bees.
In my honest view, this extraction method is quite advantageous to other alternative methods- like cutting the combs (where the whole honeycomb is cut out of the frame and used directly or placed in a honey press).
Our Best Honey Extractor Picks:
1. New Large Two 2 Frame Stainless Steel Manual Crank Bee Honey Extractor SS Honeycomb Spinner VIVO Model (BEE-V002) Review:
First up, we have the 24 inches high and 15-inch wide drum designed for the New Large Two 2 Frame Stainless Steel Manual Crank Bee Honey Extractor SS Honeycomb Spinner produced by VIVO.
This extractor has a conical bottom that quickly directs the honey into the 2-inch outlet at the honey gate. There’s a 15.25’’ distance from the honey gate to the floor.
This extractor fits in and extracts honey from two frames at a time. It is quite versatile since it can fit all deep, shallow and medium-sized honeycomb frames. Its design also incorporates a stainless steel body that makes it durable and also a clear Plexiglas lid that allows you to view the extraction process easily.
The two handles on each side of the drum make it easy to convey to and from your working space.
Out of the box, this extractor also comes with 2 clear lids. You won’t have to worry about clogging gears or keeping them clean and honey free since this unit has its’ gears enclosed.
It also among few market designs equipped with a raised bottom bearing that keeps it out of extracted honey. For a unit this large and well designed, it is quite affordable even for small-scale beekeeping.
2. Hardin Professional 3 Frame Manual Honey Extractor Review:
For about 1-10 bee colonies, this Hardin Professional 3 Frame Manual Honey Extractor should be perfect for your harvesting season. This unit can fit and extract three honeycomb frames at a time.
It is designed with a 16 gauge stainless steel drum that makes it very durable. This alongside the steel gear construction with sealed bearings enhances durability while preventing honey from interfering with the gear mechanisms.
This unit is manual powered thus allowing you to adjust your spinning speeds quickly and can be utilized without electrical energy. It also eliminates those electrical costs too. It is equipped with a clear Plexiglas top that allows you to view the extraction progress easily.
Versatility in the working is provided by the optional leg stands provided. By installing three stands, you can offload your honey quite easily and with no hassle.
Its versatility is also enhanced by its ability to extract honey from deep, shallow and medium-sized frames. The transparent stainless steel used in its construction allows for a quick and easy cleaning process, especially when using warm water and detergent.
This unit comes with a lifetime guarantee that attests to its high-class performance and durability.
3. Little Giant Farm & Ag EXT2SS 2 Frame Stainless Steel Extractor Review:
Another manual extractor tops our list, the Little Giant Farm & Ag EXT2SS 2 Frame Stainless Steel Extractor. Being manually powered, this extractor can also be utilized without resulting energy costs.
It is equipped with a hand-crank that enables you to spin the frames within the preferred speeds for sufficient honey extraction while maintaining comb structure.
It is a tangential extractor thus the frames are placed with one side facing outwards and once the extraction of the one hand is done it needs to be switched to the other side.
The Plexiglas lid allows you to view the extraction progress making it easier for you to know when to switch the comb sides. It is designed with 18/10 quality stainless steel which makes this unit very durable.
This unit is reasonably versatile and can be used for the medium and deep sized frames. Its design also incorporates legs, cover and a honey gate all made to make the extraction process hassle-free.
Out of the box, this unit requires assembly. However, it is a straightforward and no-tool process outlined in the instruction manual.
4. Tek Motion 4-Frame Large Stainless Steel Honey Extractor SS Beekeeping Equipment Review:
If you are in need of an extractor with a higher capacity, then this Tek Motion 4-Frame Large Stainless Steel Honey Extractor should be a good choice. As the name suggests, this unit holds and extracts honey from four frames at a time. It is therefore ideal for commercial beekeepers with high quantity production and frequent extraction needs
Its durability is enhanced by the high-grade stainless steel used in its overall construction. The steel used is also flexible allowing you to save on both labor and time. This unit is designed with a nylon honey gate and a stand which is about 30 cm from the floor, providing you with a hassle-free honey offloading process.
As a brand new machine, this unit during the manufacturing process leaves engine oil on the components. Make sure to adequately wipe the oil off to prevent contamination of the collected honey.
5. Goplus Stainless Steel Large 4/8 Frame Honey Extractor Manual Beekeeping Equipment Review:
Another high capacity honey extractor tops the list, and this is the Goplus Stainless Steel Large 4/8 Frame Manual Honey Extractor. This extractor is also suited for commercial honey harvesting since it can fit and extract honey from 4 or 8 frames at a time. I find it very practical for frequent extraction of high amounts of honey.
It is versatile as it can fit deep, shallow and medium-sized frame sizes. This unit is constructed using high grade 201 stainless steel which not only enhances its durability but also gives it a sleek finish while allowing you to clean it after use quickly. The steel is also flexible enabling you to save on both time and labor.
As a manual extractor, this unit can be utilized in remote areas with no electrical power and also saves on electricity costs. You can also easily adjust the spinning speeds to achieve maximum honey extraction while preventing damage to the honeycomb structure.
6. 2-Frame Stainless Steel Honey Extractor, Honeycomb Drum Bee Honey Harvest w/ Uncapping Knife Review:
For the hobbyists or small scale beekeepers and harvesters, this 2-Frame Stainless Steel Honey Extractor is ideal to meet your extraction needs. This unit holds and extracts honey from two frames at a time. What makes this unit unique is the high capacity that this extractor can hold, about 45-50kgs.
This unit has operational versatility and can be used to extract honey from deep, medium and shallow sized frames. It is fabricated using stainless steel making it an anti-rusting device and thus very durable.
It is a manual extractor, and as such you will not have to worry about resulting electrical energy costs, and it can also be utilized in remote areas with no electricity.
Same as other manual extractors, you able to adjust the spinning speeds to suit your extraction progress while maintaining comb structure. The crankshaft and gear are placed at the top and outside the chamber, this makes the device easier to use and accentuates its overall aesthetic.
This well designed is among the cheapest in the market and delivers both affordability and functional effectiveness.
7. VIVO New Electric Four 4 Frame Stainless Steel Honey Extractor Honeycomb Drum Spinner (BEE-V004E) Review:
Another vivo honey extractor makes it to our list, the VIVO New Electric Four 4 Frame Stainless Steel Honey Extractor Honeycomb Drum Spinner. This unit is designed to hold four frames at a time.
It is an electrically powered extractor equipped with a 120V AC motor that spins the frames to extract the honey but also maintains speeds within a threshold that will not damage the comb structure.
This motor is designed to be run quietly and also comes with an inbuilt cooling fan preventing the device from heating up during operations. What makes this unit unique and convenient is the safety parameter built into the lid, it automatically shuts off the motor when the lid is raised and turns it back on when it’s closed.
The clear double sided lid allows you to view the extraction progress easily and it is also designed with a magnet that holds the lid when opened.
It is also operationally versatile since it fits four deep, 8 shallow or medium sized frames. This extractor is constructed using 304 stainless steel making it a highly durable unit. It is designed with mounting legs that allow a hassle-free honey offloading processes.
The bottom of the drum is conical shaped allowing easier collection and direction of the honey towards the 2-inch honey gate. Some users say this unit tends to be shaky during operations and requires better stabilization, however, despite this it still gets the work done quite fast.
8. Tek Motion 2-Frame Stainless Steel Honey Extractor SS Beekeeping Equipment Review:
For small-scale honey extraction needs, then this Tek Motion 2-Frame Stainless Steel Honey Extractor SS Beekeeping Equipment should suffice. It can hold two frames at a time. This unit is designed with two handles on each side making it easy to convey to and from your working space.
Having been constructed from 201 stainless steel, you can be assured of the durability and the ease of cleaning that this unit packs.
You will labor and time savings enabled by the steel’s flexibility. As a manual powered extractor, this unit is designed with a comfortable hand crank. The two clear Plexiglas lids allow you to easily monitor the honey extraction progress. And being a manually operated device you can adjust your preferred frame spinning speeds.
The bottom of the drum is conical shaped enabling easy collection and directing of the honey towards the 2 inch honey gate at the end of the cone shape. As a brand new machine, engine oil is left on the metal components during manufacturing, make sure to adequately clear out the oil to prevent honey contamination.
9. Goplus Large 2 Frame Stainless Steel Honey Extractor Beekeeping Equipment New Review:
For small scale and hobbyist bee keepers with less than 50 colonies, the Goplus Large 2 Frame Stainless Stell Honey Extractor should meet your honey extraction capacity needs. This unit fits in two frames at a time. It is constructed using stainless steel making it durable and also possesses a smooth and sleek finish.
This unit has operational versatility since it can be used to extract honey from deep, medium and shallow sized frames. The two clear lids not only keep the debris out but also allow you to view the extraction progress with ease. It has simple features making very simple to use and as such the best option for most beginner bee keepers.
As a manual powered unit, is can be operated in remote areas especially in developing countries, eradicating the comb cut harvesting method. With this unit you won't have to worry about additional energy costs.
You will also be able to adjust the spinning speeds while maintaining comb structure. This unit is available at a cheap price and as such offers you affordability and effectiveness in honey extraction.
10. Best Choice Products 2 Frame Stainless Steel Honey Extractor Review:
Our best honey extractors review list comes to a close with the Best Choice Products 2 Frame Steel Honey Extractor. This unit fits in two honeycomb frames simultaneously. It is also made out of stainless steel making it very durable, eases its cleaning process and gives it a sleek look and finish.
This unit is a manual powered extractor and is fitted with a well-designed solid metal crank used to turn the spinning frames. This crank is designed to provide a smooth and efficient extraction process.
It is designed with a clear double sided lid making it easy for you to check the honey extraction progress. The honey gate placed at the bottom allows quick collection of the harvested honey.
This unit possesses features that make it ideal for both beginners and experts. Out of the box, this unit requires assembly nevertheless, this process is quick and easy with use of the straightforward instructions stated in the manual. This unit is both affordable and efficient making it a must-have unit.
What To Look For Before Buying a Honey Extractor?
If you’re planning to buy a honey extractor at your local beekeeping equipment store, don’t expect it to be an easy task. Because you’ll be met with hundreds (if not thousands) of extractors.
Luckily, taking into account the following factors will make things much easier:
Bee Colony Size
How many bee colonies are you keeping? The lesser the colonies, the less the extractor size you’ll need.
For about 10 colonies, you will need an extractor fitting 3 frames simultaneously, and it can be manually powered.
For above 10 to 50 colonies, you will need an extractor fitting at least 8 shallow or 4 deep frames simultaneously. It should be an electric extractor that self-turns since it will work through the frame fast and efficiently.
For above 50 to 200 colonies, you can preferentially use large radial extractors fitting 36 to 60 frames simultaneously or a self-turning extractor simultaneously fitting 12-36 frames.
Honey productions above 200 colonies are classified as industrial beekeeping. These require a lot of labor that is used to man the commonly used automatized system leading to a horizontal honey extractor. This extractor has a fits at eats 60 frames at a time. Effectively reducing labor time and requirements.
Self-turning extractors are mostly used for commercial honey harvesting. Most high quantity honey productions are met using large honeycomb frame sizes. Since radial extractors are well suited for shallow frames, they are not a good fit.
The self-turning extractors are ideal for those large frames and higher honey viscosities.
You’ll also need to invest in a high quality extractor that will server your extracting need for longer.
As you might have noted, nearly all the products we’ve reviewed above are made from stainless steel metal which is sturdy and doesn’t entertain rust.
Such machines will stand the test of time while doing a great job!
Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance
Need I explain this any further?
Which Type Of Honey Extractor You Need?
As mentioned earlier, the honeycomb frames are placed either radially or tangentially. And this should guide you into what type of extractor you should use for your particular honeycomb.
Below are the most popular types of honey extractors available on the market today:
Radial Honey Extractors
It is the most preferred commercial honey extractor as most commercial designs hold above one hundred frames at once.
This honey extractor has the top bar of the frame placed facing outwards. It utilizes the upward facing slope in comb cells which allows the centrifugal force to move the honey to the upper edge of the frame.
This design is less work intensive since you do not have to turn the comb to extract honey from the other comb side.
They are also mostly preferred for use with shallow combs.
Tangential honey extractors
This is the most preferred small-scale or hobbyist honey extractor.
In this extractor, one side of the honeycomb placed facing outwards.
The Honey extractors are also classified according to the powering system used in turning the frames hence the electrical and manually powered types.
Electrically powered extractors
This design uses electricity in frame spinning. The electric motor makes sure that the frames are spun at a certain speed. This particular rate is intended to be within a threshold that prevents the destruction of the honeycombs when exposed to centrifugal forces.
They are also preferred for high quantity honey extraction processes since it is easy to operate, requires less labor force, is faster and saves on time.
These extractors are designed without a motor but are fitted with a crankshaft handle on the side of the drum. It has accelerating gears which enable high power frame spinning facilitated using less effort.
They are preferred for the hobbyist, small-scale beekeepers or those in remote areas with no electricity.
This is a go-to type especially for developing countries utilizing the cut comb method since it is not only affordable and has not electric energy costs but also maintains speeds that won’t damage honeycombs, allowing their reuse.
Honey Extracting Tips From A Professional
Using a honey extractor is quite straightforward.
However, as either a beginner, hobbyist or expert you may require some tips on how to make this process simpler and get the most out of your extractor.
In this section, I have outlined some tips that should make your honey extraction process a breeze next season:
Harvest time: The honeycomb is only ready for harvest when all the cells are full of honey and have been capped by the bees. Capping is when bees secrete the whitish wax over the cells for deep honey storage.
The perfect time to harvest is when both sides of the frame have been fully capped.
Uncapping: Remember to remove the wax cap that bees create on top of filled-in cells, by cutting it out with a hot knife. Do this lightly, to about one centimeter and on both sides of the comb before you place it in the extractor?
In large-scale extraction, you can incorporate semi or full automatic uncapping machines into your extraction systems.
- The honey should regularly be removed to make sure it stays below the level of rotating frames otherwise it may hinder sufficient spinning speeds of the extractor.
- Remove fully capped frames from hives and securely store them away from the bees. This should be done the night before harvesting.
- You can fit a strainer between the extractor spigot and the collection point to filter the honey as it collects. I find that this eliminates double work of filtering the honey after collection.
- For tangential extractors, regularly check the frames to see how much honey has been flung out and also to know when to turn over the frame.
- Be patient. Honey is very viscous and requires time to come out of the extractor so be ready to wait for a couple of minutes before you can start seeing it collect and more than an hour to finish the collection.
- When you are done collecting, make sure to clean the extractor and your working space immediately. This makes it easier when you want to use it next.
- Make sure you collect and put all your needed bee harvesting accessories at your working place. This includes the extractor, hot knife, strainer, bucket, measuring cup, cookie sheet and honey jars.
- Honey is very viscous. Extraction on a warm or hot day should shorten the collection time since heat makes it flow smoothly.
- Clean and Store the wax. The wax capping is collected on the cookie sheet. You can place the sheets near the bees where they will find and lick off the residue honey present leaving you with light-colored wax. You could put this wax to other use, e.g. making candles soap, etc.
- Try not mixing the honey. Most people may be surprised to know that honey produced from each frame has a different taste since each is created from a different flower. If you’d like to savor unique honey tastes, then you can store and use each separately.
Honey harvesting is a delicate process that requires honey extractors to achieve a maximum yield with no damage to the combs.
For all hobbyists, small-scale or large-scale beekeepers, this is a must-have equipment. You need to look for one that best suits you with regards to your bee colonies or quantity of honey you wish to harvest.
In the above post, I’ve just pointed out the best honey extractors on the market, and I believe you’ll get one that matches your honey extracting needs and expectations.
Here’s to easy, efficient honey extraction!