Honey has become labeled as one of the wonder health foods in the past few years, and more and more people are enthusiastically getting started with raising their own honey from backyard beehives. It’s easy to see why. Not only does having your own beehive provide you with an abundant supply of natural homemade honey, it does wonders for your garden by introduing pollinators right into your backyard. Best of all, keeping your own beehive helps to keep the honey bee population in check, which has been suffering catestrophic losses from colony collaspse disorder in recent years.
By keeping your own hive, you can ensure that your local bee population will start to recover, and your garden will look better than ever. Getting a backyard supply of nutrient-filled honey makes having your own hive too good of an opportunity to pass up!
However, accessing the delicious honey that is made in your beehives isn’t as easy as you might think. For many people, one of the hardest things about having a hive is extracting the honey out of the hive in a way that they can reuse the honey combs again.
Thankfully, there is a tool that has been designed with this exact task in mind that makes it easy: extractors. These are simple devices that work to pull out the honey from the honey comb without doing too much damage to the comb itself. They work through using centrifical force to spin the honey out of the combs at high speeds. When the wax stays intax, your bees can use it to make more honey, saving them effort that is better spent making honey.
There are lots of extracting tools available on the market today and it can be difficult to know which one you should use for your hive. Thankfully, we’ve done the hard work for you.
We’ve chosen the five best honey extractors for sale and have reviewed them to give you a good sense of their strengths and differences. After reading this article, you’ll have the information you need to pick out the right extractor for you.
Top 5 Honey Extractors Reviews
1. New Two 2 Frame Stainless Steel Bee Honey Extractor SS Honeycomb Drum (BEE-V002B)
This extractor is a durable two frame honey comb extractor that can fit a wide variety of combsizes, making it useful for almost every hive. Two handles on the side make this drum easy to grip and move around, which is essential because its large size makes it unwiedly.
This model is perfectly suitable for an amateur beekeeper who isn’t processing lots of honey, though more serious beekeepers won’t find the quality of this extractor to be high enough for them to get through the large quantity of honey that they need to process.
If you like this model but want a small upgrade, you can choose from several different versions: the clear-topped two frame extractor (BEE-VOO2), the three frame extractor (BEE-VOO3) or one of two 4 frame extractors, manual (BEE-VOO4) or electric (BEE VOO4E).
2. Goplus® Large 2 Frame Stainless Steel Honey Extractor Beekeeping Equipment New
The Goplus is a durable, two frame extractor made from stainless steel and contains space for most standard sized hives. Two clear lids prevent debris from falling into the extractor, ensuring that your honey will stay pure.
If you are a beginning bee enthusiasts who is looking for a cheap and simple extractor to give you some experience, this model might be the right choice for you. It’s very basic and lacks most of the features that appeal to professional beekeepers, and some people claim that this model is too low quality to be worth investing money in, even for the unprofessional beekeeper.
However, the cost of this extractor is very reasonable, making it a good option for anyone that wants to try their hand at taking beekeeping to the next level without committing to the high prices of more professional extraction equipment. This honey extracter is sure to get you through a year or two of modest beekeeping, and if you want to continue to expand your hobby after that point, it will be time for an upgrade.
3. Goodland Bee Supply 2 Frame Honey Extractor Kit, Uncapping Roller, and Stainless Steel Sieve Honey Strainer – GL-E2-UR/STR
This is a high quality honey extractor kit that comes with plenty of extras. The two frame design is made from 16 gauge stainless steel with sealed bearings and steel gears, making it an extractor that can be used by the beginner and the budding professional alike. An extra useful is the three piece leg stand that simplifies the process of getting your honey out of the extractor and into your holding container.
Included with this hive is a uncapping roller that that helps to open up small pieces of comb that your hot knife might have missed. This tool has a smooth wood handle for easy gripping and strong steel bristles to ensure you can puncture any piece of comb and extract out all the honey that you need. Also included is a double sieve strainer that helps you easily sort out wax particles and other impurities from your honey.
4. Hardin Professional 2 Frame Manual Extractor
For the beginning beekeeper with 1-10 hives, this extractor is a great option. Made from solidly built 16 gauge stainless steel with sealed bearings, this extractor was built at a higher quality point than many of the others we have looked at and should last you a long time. If something does go wrong with it, you can be sure you’ll get a new model to replace it as it comes with a lifetime warranty.
One concern is that this model doesn’t always work if you have unequally weighted frames on both sides. In other words, extracting honey from a single frame might cause the extractor to wobble unstably.
This model comes with a three piece stand to make pouring out your honey easier, and the clear plexiglass top allows you to watch the extraction process in action. If you are serious about your honey hobby and want to ensure that your tools work for you, this is a great extractor to invest in.
If you want a larger capacity, the Hardin 3 frame extractor is a smart way to go.
5. Hardin Royal 2 Electric Two Frame Stainless Steel Honey Extracter
For the beekeeper that wants a more hands off approach to extracting their honey, this motorized honey extractor from Hardin is the perfect option. It’s much pricier than other extractor options we’ve looked at here, but the powerful 110 Volt Variable Speed Motor keeps this extractor humming even when you don’t feel like operating it. It’s a great option for any beekeeper with ten or fewer hives, and the large capacity ensures that any of your hives should be able to fit inside.
This extractor will require some assembly for you to put together the first time, but basic tools are all that’s required. Besides an issue with the basket the frames sit in having cross bars that press into the comb and block some of the honey from coming off the comb, customers that have purchased this extractor have been very happy with it.
As a sturdy, hands-free device for extracting honey, this model from Hardin can’t be beat.
Honey Extractors: What You Need to Know
As stated earlier, a extractor is a simple device that works by spinning honey combs around in internal metal baskets until centrifugal force separates the honey from the comb. Extractors can be electric or work with a crankshaft handle. Honey is flung to the sides and then oozes down to the drain at the bottom, where it can be collected as it comes out of a spiget. A main appeal of honey extractors is that they don’t destroy the honeycomb, meaning that bees are able to use it again for more honey.
Depending on the way frames are put into the basket, your extractor can be either tangenial or radial. Radial baskets have the top bar of the frame facing out, and tangential baskets have a side of the comb facing out. Larger, professional extractors tend to be radial, while home hobby ones are more likely to be tangenial. While small, personal extractors typically hold about two frames, industrial ones can fit as many as 100.
Whether you choose an electric or hand crank extractor depends on the use you want to put it to.
As the name implies, electric extractors use electricity to spin the frames that are located to the center pole in the middle of the extractor. It is run by an electric motor to ensure that it operates at a specific speed, which is usally just under the speed where damage could be caused to the cones. Large, commericial honey producers invariably use electric extractors because they are much easier to use for large amounts of honey.
Manuel extractors don’t contain a motor, but instead depend on your hands for a power source, which is essentially the only difference between the two styles. A hand crank on the side of the drum is set up with accelerating gears, meaning that more power is put into each crank than you have to put in. Many small time honey producers prefer manuel extractors because they can be used when there is no source of electricity and because the speeds tend to be low enough that honeycombs aren’t damaged in the process. They are also significantly less expensive than electric extractors.
When looking to buy a honey extractor, you need to define your needs and the amount of honey that you would need your extractor to process.
– For hobbyists with ten hives or fewer, an ideal extractor is one that is hand cranked and can fit three frames at a time.
– If you have 10 to 50 colonies, your extraction needs are more demanding and you might be better for using a motorized extractor that can fit 4 to 8 frames at once.
– Commerial beekeepers with 200 colonies or more should rely on big radial extractors that can process 36 to 60 frames at once.
How To Extract Honey From Comb Using An Extractor
Extracting honey from a frame is actually a simple process. Below are step-by-step instructions for completing it successfully.
Gather Your Honey Frames
Go to your bee hives the night before you want to do an extraction, and pull out the fully-capped frames from the hives. Store the frames somewhere inside where the bees won’t be able to get to them, as bees are talanted at tracking down their own honey and returning to it.
Choose a Working Space
Honey extraction is best done in an indoor space like a garage so that you don’t reattract your bees to their comb. Put the extractor in a place that makes it easy to work with and place a clean bucket underneath the spiget to collect the honey that comes out. It’s a smart idea to put a strainer on top of the bucket so that the honey can be filtered as it oozes out.
Preparing the Combs with a Hot Knife
Hot knives are the special tools that are used to slice through honey comb so that you can access the honey. Plug in the knife for about a minute and wait for it to get hot. Once it’s at the right temperature, use it to gently slice off the wax cappings on your honey comb. It should slice through the comb as easily as butter. Be careful not to slice too deeply because that will damage the comb. You only want to remove about the top centimeter. Once all the raw honey is exposed in the comb, slice the other side in the same way and then put the frame in the extractor.
Using Your Extractor
Once all your frames are in the extractor, you can close the lid and (depending on the model that you have) either turn on the motor or start cranking the handle. Centrifugal force will start to push the honey to the outside wall of the extractor, causing hone to ooze down the sides and into the bottom spiget where you can collect it.
Crank as hard as you can for at least a minute and look at the frames to see how much honey has been pulled out. You can crank for longer if necessary. After the side of the frame looks clear, turn the frame around to access the other side. Once all your frames are empty you can replace them with other frames and continue the process.
Collecting The Honey
Honey is an extremely thick and sticky liquid, so it takes it a long time to ooze from the walls of the extractor to the bottom spiget. Have patience, as it may take several minutes for honey to start coming out of the extractor, and over an hour for the process to be done. You may need to clean out of replace your strainer periodically during this time. Once the honey has officially stopped dripping, you can process it in jars and clean out your extractor so that it’s ready to be used again soon.
Tips for Beginner Beekeepers: Harvesting Your Honey – Extractor Style
You will want to do some preparation to set up your work area and day for your honey harvest to make things move along as smoothly as possible. Think about what you already know about honey from the jar in your cupboard – it flows faster and easier when it is warm, so selecting a warm, comfortable day will make your task easier.
Most people find that they need to place their frames in an enclosed area overnight before using the extractor to harvest the honey, but you want to put it where your bees cannot locate it, hence the enclosed area. Many people use their garage for this purpose. Otherwise your bees are likely to easily locate their honey and reclaim it.
Think about clean up as you plan your work space. It is entirely possible that honey may spill and you want to make cleaning that up as easy as possible. You will want to make sure that you are working in an area where you have plenty of room to move around the extractor itself, so you aren’t constantly bumping into things or having to shift things around. You also want to be sure to have room for your bucket and the strainers on top of it.
You want to have this set up and ready to go before the honey begins to move through the extractor. With the strainers in place already, your honey will have impurities and wax chunks removed from the beginning. Think about placement for your hot knife and the cookie sheet for removal of the wax cappings. You want them handy and easily reached. Your knife will be very hot, hot enough to easily burn you, so put careful thought into placement and ease of setting it down safely. Most people find that having it on a table or surface readily at hand is the best option.
Once you get going on extracting, timing is key to keeping the process going. You will have to allow your hot knife time to warm up well. For most hot knives this is a very short time, a minute or so. You will then cut off the wax cappings on one side of the honey comb frame, and then repeat with the other side. At this point, the frame is ready to be placed into the extractor. This amazing device will spin the frames inside and use centrifugal force to get the honey out of the frame, at which point it will flow down the side wall of the extractor and flow to the bottom.
The frames are placed in sleeves, some extractors have two or four, or even more, sleeves to hold the frames at one time. Fill up the extractor and then you are ready to go. The extractor is driven either by an electric motor or a crankshaft that is hand powered, making it spin rapidly with the frames inside. The more centrifugal force the better, in order to extract all the honey you can. The honey will flow out the spigot, underneath which you have your bucket to collect the honey. Empty and fill the extractor with frames until you have harvested all your honey.
As you know, honey flows slowly. It will drain down the sides and collect in the bottom of the extractor where it will be allowed to flow out when you open the spigot. It will take time, at least a few minutes before you begin to see the honey flow, and be sure to give it lots of time to all drain out. It would not be uncommon for it to take an hour or so. You want to allow time to get all of your precious honey in the collection bucket. When the honey is done flowing, you can remove the bucket and begin the process of getting the honey into jars. This is where you will want to use a measuring cup to scoop out the honey and measure it into your glass jars, or other containers. Remember, honey flows slowly so give it time and enjoy the process.
You will want to carefully clean up all your work areas as you are likely to have dribbles of honey that will create sticky spots.