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Last updated: May 13, 2021
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Whether you are an experienced beekeeper or a hobbyist, or you just start your journey in beekeeping, the best honey extractor is a must-have item for you. Instead of crushing combs to extract liquid honey, you can use this wonderful device to keep the combs intact, so that it can be reused by the bees. A honey extractor works by spinning the honey from the comb through the use of centrifugal force. Since most of the wax cells don’t have caps, the honey then runs down the comb walls and pools at the bottom, where it is then pumped out by the extractor.
Although the decision to get a honey extractor when you need it the most seems pretty easy, there are a lot of details you need to work through first. There are various types of extractors, manual or electric, different volumes of capacity – two frames to hundreds, various material that it’s made of, different types of tanks and gear, the levels of quality and how easy it is to assemble and clean a unit.
Through our hours of research, you can easily choose which is the best honey extractor for you. From going through our table quickly laying out the six best brand names to the in-detail reviews of each product, you can easily choose which honey extractor works best in your situation. If you need a little extra help with purchasing, you can also refer to our buying guide, located at the bottom of the article.
It is tangential, so the frames go in one side facing out, the other side facing in toward the central shaft and one side of each frame is extracted at a time, which helps prevent “blowouts” where the weight of the honey on the inside breaks the comb and blows through.
It is easy to use, which makes it a great investment for beginners. It also comes rather affordable for a hobby beekeeper. The design is constructed with stainless steel material that is sturdy and durable enough to last a few years.
The extractor hosts shallow, medium, and deep frames, which gives you a variety to work with. If you’re under a tight budget and want an extractor to harvest your honey, this is a perfect choice.
Its protective film is what really sets it apart from other extractors on the market. This extra feature will help keep your honey protected from debris and other contaminating possibilities.
What makes it special?
Perfect for a beginner beekeeper
Has a protective film layer to keep the honey clean and decontaminated
Takes less than five minutes to assemble
What cons did we find?
Only holds a few frames so is not ideal for a professional beekeeper
With its three-legged structure, the stable Goplus Honey Extractor is a great buy for a honey keeper that is looking to fit shallow, medium, and deep frames for a sizable amount of hives.
Be forewarned, however, that you have to put in a little manual labor since it is manually driven. However, what you put in with some hard work you make up for in price.
There are two clear lids that are designed to keep unwanted debris away from the honey that’s inside – the protective plastic film and stainless steel also ensures durability and protection from dilution.
The assembly is pretty straightforward and can easily be mounted by even the most beginner of beekeepers. With easy instructions, the kit can be assembled and disassembled simply. The gear and its housing are also made with all metal material, which allows for durability and reliability.
What are its best features?
Great value in parts and performance for an affordable price
Easy clean up, simply needing soap and hot water
Durable construction with high-grade materials
Clear lid for monitoring process is in place
What could be improved?
Not a great investment for those with a lot of honey or a lot of bees
With adjustable legs that can change the height of the extractor so that you can fit your 5-gallon bucket, the VINGLI honey extractor is very adjustable and versatile to fit your needs.
With an anti-rust solid construction of stainless steel, your honey extractor can last you years without rusting and abrasion. It keeps your honey clean of contamination and is also easy to clean – needing just warm, soapy water after every use.
You can view the process through the clear plastic lid while keeping particles and dust off of the honey during extraction.
It also handles various sizes of frame holders, from deep to medium to shallow, which means that no matter what task you have on-hand, this extractor can cover it.
What are its best features?
Great product for a budget
Adjustable legs and height for your set-up, no matter what it is
Made of stainless steel for protection and long-lasting duration
For casual beekeepers and hobby honey collectors, the Honey Keeper Pro is a great size for those looking to make a bit of money with their honey.
Designed with stainless steel, it is a commonplace material but can be pretty resistant to scratches and other accidents. It is easy to assemble and clean – just needing warm water and some soap.
The construction allows a 5-gallon bucket to stand underneath, collecting the honey for draining. It is also designed so that when the lid is opened, the unit switches off, making it convenient to use, especially if you are forgetful or have a lot of things going on.
The plastic lids are also see-through clear so that you can observe and keep an eye on the frames during the entire process, just in case.
The safety on and off switch is also a perfect feature in case you have children around.
Why did it make our list?
It is low cost and low-maintenance, perfect for the hobby beekeeper
Does not compromise function or performance
Made with stainless steel so it is constructed durably
Can be disassembled and assembled really quickly, especially for cleaning
With tangential mode, it gets job done much faster
What is not ideal about it?
Poor instructions on assembly for inexperienced users
Perfect for a beginner, this honey extractor comes in a set of eight-pieces equipment including a bee brush, a tube, an uncapping fork, a queen catcher, a hive tool, a spur wire wheel embedder, a frame grip, and a marking cage hive tool. All of these extra pieces of equipment make the perfect setup for a beginner beekeeper.
The extractor works easily with the 5-gallon buckets, which seem to be the most common size for a hobby beekeeper. It saves time by filtering the honey with just one tool.
Its stainless steel material gives it the durability you’re looking for at a price you can manage – especially as a starter kit. The best part about it? It comes with an instruction manual to help those who are just beginning!
Why is it special?
Fits 5-gallon bucket with ease
Made with various filters so the honey is protected from debris
Great starter kit with multiple parts
Easy to maintain, assemble, and clean
What are the flaws?
Poor craftsmanship for experienced beekeepers
Things to Consider
Whether you’ve found one of our top six honey extractors that have suited you or you still haven’t found yours yet, here is a buying guide that can help you find another – or seal the deal on one of those mentioned up above. When making the selection, it’s important that you know what are the best features to look out for and what sets the best out from the rest.
There are four different types of honey extractors, manual, electrical, tangential, and radial – all particularly made and designed to suit your needs.
Manual honey extractors are operated by hand and don’t have an electric motor. Normally, since these manual extractors only have about two to four frames, they are often used by hobbyists that don’t care for too many bees. They are also advantageously used because they do not damage the delicate wax combs too easily and are much more affordable than the electrical type. For example, the Goplus Large 4/8 Frame Stainless Steel Honey Extractor is a manual extractor. Although it is a bit of work, it is a much more affordable option.
Electrical honey extractors resort to an electric motor to spin the frames and are generally sought out by large-scale commercial beekeepers. They offer convenience and consistency when extracting large amounts of honey and are relatively easy to operate.
There are two types of electrical extractors defined by how the frames are assembled in the basket – ones with Tangential baskets and ones with Radial baskets. Tangential baskets normally have one side of the combing facing outwards and Radial baskets have the top bar of the frame facing outwards.
Depending on what type of beekeeper you are will determine what capacity you need.
As mentioned earlier, the manual honey extractors normally hold 2–4 frames, which is suitable for a hobbyist with a maximum of 10 colonies. If you range yourself as a small beekeeper and are responsible for 10–50 colonies, you’ll need a motorized, self-turning extractor that holds from 4 deep frames to 8 shallow frames.
If you consider yourself a commercial beekeeper and are in charge of up to 200 colonies, you’ll need a radial extractor with the capacity of holding from 36–60 frames. If you get a self-turning extractor, you can choose one with 12–16 frames.
Lastly, if you’re a big guy on campus and run industrial beekeeping with over 200 colonies, you’ll need a semi- or fully automatic machine. These take care of a minimum of 60 frames.
When choosing a honey extractor, you can either pick one made out of plastic, metal or steel.
The plastic extractors are going to be the more affordable option but aren’t recommended for someone who is trying to develop or maintain a franchise – these are more for the hobbyists.
You can choose one made of metal, which is less affordable but will definitely be much more reliable than ones made of plastic and are recommended for those who consider themselves as a small beekeeper.
The stainless-steel option is perfect for those looking to go commercial and need a highly-efficient honey extractor that is also really dependable. You will probably be spending a little more but, of course, it will be like an investment into the business.
Shape of Bottom
You can either opt for a spherical or conical shape. Normally, most honey extractors are shaped as a spherical or cylindrical shape. However, you can opt for a conical bottom on your honey extractor for maximum honey extraction – to draw out the honey to the perimeter.
To understand which size is best for you, here are some numbers:
The two most common sizes are the 6/9 and the 10/20. However, if you have just a couple of hives, you can opt for a smaller size.
The 6/9 extractor holds 6 frames in radial and 3 more in tangential.
The 10/20 extractor holds 10 radially and 20 tangentially.
Cleaning and Maintaining
Once you’ve extracted the honey, you’ll need to clean it before using it again. There are a few ways to do this, however, the easiest way is to simply level the extractor, close the gate and then fill it with cold water to the top, leaving it overnight to soak. When you empty it out the next morning, rinse it again with cold water and dry it with a towel or a hair dryer. Just like with any of the products above, you can easily wash them out with warm soapy water.
Whether you are a first-time beekeeper or a honey-storing veteran looking for an upgrade, you probably have a few questions about the process. Here are our most frequently asked questions answered to help you out.
You can use a cordless drill with a manual honey extractor by connecting it with an adaptor that is specifically designed for you to operate the extractor with a power drill. After removing the handle, you connect the drive shaft to a power drill. Since, even for a 2-frame honey extractor, the labor is quite arduous, you can use a power drill – normally with 20 lbs. of torque to start the rotation and then accelerate it to centrifugal speeds. However, this isn’t normally the case – you just have to find the right tool for the job. I want to collect honey in a 5 gal. bucket.
You can easily use any type of models, however, centrifugal honey extractors that have the comb placed at the top bucket and then is spun rapidly, allowing the honey to settle at the bottom is the most common and most recommended. The 5 gal. bucket is the go-to for backyard beekeepers because it’s enough volume for 2-4 frames, comes with a lid for storekeeping and is FDA-approved for keeping your honey safe and suitable.
When comparing the available models, larger models – those capable of holding more frames – simultaneously extract both sides of the frame. With smaller-sized models, you need to flip the frame sides face outward and inward since they are only capable of holding a few frames at a time. Generally, it all depends on your honey-extracting goal to dictate which unit is the most convenient. If you are a backyard beekeeper, you won’t be needing that large of an extractor and can probably get away with owning one that only holds around 2–4 frames. This type will be most convenient for you in size and in costs to maintain and purchase in the first place. A larger honey extractor is convenient for you if you’re into mass production of honey and are looking to deal with a large number of frames at once
The VIVO BEE-V004B is the best overall honey extractor for the hobby beekeeper looking to maintain between 4–8 different frames. It not only keeps the honey free from debris, it also has a clear lid for you to watch the process. You can also clean it extremely easily.
If you’re a beekeeper on a budget, the VINGLI Upgraded 2 Frame Honey Extractor is the way to go. This is also a great choice if you’re a beginner because it is more affordable than most, if the hobby doesn’t work out, you didn’t have to break the bank!
The Thaoya Honey Extractor is the perfect go-to honey extractor for a beginner looking for a newbie kit or a semi-experienced beekeeper looking for a fresh start. It comes with an 8-piece set so that you can easily assemble it together and have everything you need, with just one purchase.