The honey extractor is a simple mechanical device used for the extraction of honey from honeycombs without destroying the combs. The extractor works by utilizing centrifugal force, a drum containing the frame basket spins and flings the honey out of combs. There are other methods to extract honey from honeycombs, but they mostly destroy the comb. An advantage of using honey extractor over other methods of extracting honey is that the comb remains intact so it can be reused. If you are considering getting one, there are so many brands on the market that it can be hard to choose. Here are our top 5 honey extractors available on the market today.
Extraction of honey can be quite a task, especially if you have a lot of hives. For this reason, having a honey extractor comes quite in handy to speed up the process and make it easier.
Before the invention of honey extractors, honey used to be extracted by cutting up and crushing the comb. This process is easy, but it also destroys the comb. By using a honey extractor, only a top layer is cut to uncap the cells, so the comb can be reused. This might not seem like a lot, but if you have a lot of frames to go over then using a honey extractor will save you a lot of time because of not having to rebuild your combs. Investing in a honey extractor can be a tough decision because of the price but when you consider how much more efficient and easier honey extraction can be, then we think it is definitely worth it.
Whatever extractor you use, the first step is uncapping the cells so that honey can pour out. These days beekeepers usually use a hot knife to make the process easy and fast.
After you have uncapped the cells, place those combs inside baskets of the honey extractor where the centrifugal force will pull the honey onto the inside wall of the extractor. Depending on the kind of the extractor you have, the spinning of the combs can be done either automatically or manually. Manually operated extractors have the crankshaft handle, which you have to spin in order to spin the combs.
Extracted honey drains out of the spigot at the bottom of the extractor, where it can be collected. Sometimes it might take several minutes before any honey starts oozing out, but when it starts it usually takes 1 - 2 hours to drain completely. Empty frames can be put back into hives where bees will repair the combs and refill them with honey.
After extraction don’t forget to clean the honey extractor and tools used so they don’t attract bees. Since honey is water-soluble, you can use hot water for cleaning. The wax left from uncapping the cells can be placed on the cookie sheet and left to bees for a few hours. Bees will clean the honey from the wax, which can be stored for later use.
Currently, there are two types of honey extractors on the market:
The radial honey extractor is designed in a way that the top bar of the frame sits facing outwards. The reason for this design is taking advantage of the natural slope in the comb. The combs in the extractor are then spun and the centrifugal force pulls the honey out of the frame.
An advantage of this type of honey extractor is that it extracts both sides of the comb at once, so the frames don’t need to be turned. Since the combs don’t need to be turned and spun again, this type of extractor is quite efficient.
A downside to this type is that they are usually bigger (take up more space), and also more expensive than the other type.
The tangential honey extractor is designed to have honeycombs facing outward. It is loaded with frames so both sides are balanced and then it’s spun and centrifugal force pulls out the honey. Since honey is extracted only from one side, the frames have to be turned to extract honey from the other side also.
An advantage of the tangential honey extractor is that they are usually small in size, so they are perfect for beekeepers who don’t have a lot of hives.
A downside is that the extraction process takes longer than with the radial honey extractor because frames need to be flipped around after honey has been extracted from the first side.
It’s hard to give an exact number on what you should expect in pricing when looking for a honey extractor. There are many deciding factors such as the build quality, materials used, longevity, size, etc. As with anything else in life, higher quality of materials used and a better build come with a higher price. However, we don’t mean that honey extractors with lower prices are not worth checking. Depending on your needs some cheaper honey extractor might just be what you need. On average you can get a honey extractor for 100$ to 300$. Which one will you choose depends solely on what you need it for, if you need to process a lot of honey then we definitely recommend getting the honey extractor of higher quality. Check out our list of great honey extractors where there is something for everyone.
The Goodland Bee Supply 2 Frame Honey Extractor comes from a brand with a good reputation among the beekeepers. Goodland Bee Supply brand is popular for its good quality products, and this honey extractor is not an exception. The unit can accommodate up to 2 deep, medium, and shallow frames at once. Its characteristics include sturdy build, easy cleaning, comfortable wooden handle, long extraction needles for maximum extraction, ability to spin fast, and the affordable price.
Additional accessories (bee smoker, frame spacer, frame grip, uncapped roller) will help any beginning beekeeper which makes this unit an excellent option for anyone thinking about starting to keep bees. If you have missed some places with the hot knife, the uncapping roller that comes with the unit will come in handy. Some users would like it to have a gear to slow down the spinning when they want to stop it.
The Hardin Professional 3 Frame Manual Honey Extractor is well worth the money. The stainless steel build ensures durability and rust free unit, while plexiglass lid on top allows monitoring of the extraction process. The unit can hold up to 3 deep, medium, or shallow frames at once. Stainless steel design enables easy cleaning with warm soapy water so taking care of the product is easy. It comes with an optional stand or leg and a steel gear construction with sealed bearings.
Be careful with sharp edges on legs as you can injure yourself. Also, some users found legs too short and had to raise the unit to be able to fit their bucket. An excellent feature for any user is that it is provided with a lifetime warranty, so you can return it if you are not satisfied with it. It is worth every penny.
The OrangeA 4 Frame Electric Honey Extractor is specially designed for experienced users needing maximum efficiency, convenience, and versatility. The unit can handle up to 4 frames at once, and slightly rounded inner honeycomb mesh prevents the breakage of honeycombs. The noise from the motor running is not loud, and the honey is extracted quickly which makes it perfect for anyone with a lot of hives. Two clear Perspex lids enable monitoring of the extraction process and keep the debris out while the honey is draining. The unit uses high-precision bearing which provides higher rotation speed and longer service life than the ordinary honey extractor.
A common complaint among the users is that they have to raise the unit with bricks to be able to fit the bucket. The assembly is quite easy and should not give any problems.
The Best Choice Product 2 Frame Stainless Steel Honey Extractor is an affordable product with good performance. The stainless steel construction allows easy cleaning so taking care of the product is quite easy. The baskets can hold up to 2 frames at once allowing to get as much honey as possible. The great news is that this unit comes with good instructions, so it is quite easy to use.
The product is designed for beginning and casual beekeepers looking for a decent product at affordable price. Many users praise the unit for the double-sided clear lid and the solid metal crank which provides smooth and reliable turning of the drum baskets. Some users found the over build quality lacking and had problems with the packaging. Moreover, the legs have some pretty sharp edges so be careful around the unit. Overall, users looking for a decent extractor at a low price will find this product to be a great option.
The Honey Keeper Pro 2 Frame extractor is a high-quality product that is a perfect option for beekeepers with 1-10 hives. The unit can handle up to 2 standard deep, medium, or shallow frames. It is constructed of stainless steel which makes it resistant to rust and durable. An interesting characteristic is that the unit comes with a plastic lid which enables easy monitoring of the extraction process. Its steel sealed bearings and gears allow easy spinning to extract the honey with little effort.
What makes the Honey Keeper Pro 2 Frame extractor stand out among similar products are versatile legs made of stainless steel. The legs can be attached to the floor to raise the barrel up to 15 inches from the floor, or removed to enable tabletop use. The design allows a perfect fit for a 5-gallon bucket under the extractor, so draining doesn’t require changing the bucket often. Furthermore, the extractor can easily be cleaned using warm soapy water.
This electric honey extractor is driven by an electric motor that is powered with 1300rpm and has variable speed options. It handles up to 3 standards deep, medium or shallow frames. It’s good to notice that is top grade is polished stainless steel body and hive frame for rust and abrasion resistance.
It has a base, 3 stainless steel legs and a plastic honey gate. It also comes with 2 clear perspex lids to allow observation during the extraction process. Is easy to assemble and operate so it’ suitable for both professionals and hobbyist beekeepers.
4 frames honey extractor that is powered by 120W engine. It has 2 clear plexiglass top lids to keep debris out while the honey is draining. The mesh of the honeycomb basked is slightly rounded to the inner side in order to avoid a break of honeycomb. The drum height is 24inch and drum diameter is 20inch long.
It’s made by solid material, smooth stainless steel so it’s very durable and it can be used for a long period of time. It has two frames for honey extraction that fits shallow, medium and deep frames. The cover is composed of clear plastic, which can provide an easy view of the whole process. It’s one of those extractors suits for amateur beekeepers since is so much easy to put all together and start using it.
The company VINGLI upgraded their 3 frames extractor and this version is made from two types of stainless steel which is permanent rust resistance and perfect for outdoor usage. It has an upgraded handle with a square screw dent for installation so it can be cranked easily. Also is has solid metal crank which turns smoothly and efficiently. It has three adjustable legs that allow buckets in different sizes to sitt underneath the extractor. Legs can be bolted to the foor and raise the drum, or remove the legs for tabletop use.
This upgraded version has a well craft and easy installation honey gate valve for convenient use. The clear glass lid is well-positioned within the extractor for easy viewing, also keeps off dust and other particles during extraction.
Before you buy your honey extractor, evaluate its features and compare various brands. That way you will be able to find out which extractor would satisfy your needs the most. Since the honey extractor is an essential device for any beekeeper, the main things you should be looking for are durability and efficiency. A good quality extractor will last you many seasons and will help you extract honey in no time.