Heavy gauge steel. Electric motor helps cut down on the work. Motor includes a cooling fan. Strong, well-made cage to hold the frames. Goes together quickly and spins smoothly.
The construction on this model could be of better quality. It feels a little rickety.
Optimized for beekeepers with about 1 to 10 hives. Holds 2 frames of variable size. Height-adjustable from 13 to 17.5 inches above the ground. Clear lids. Easy to assemble.
May not be as high-quality as others on our list.
Can be cleaned without taking apart. Easy to use. Can hold frames of different sizes. Good for a beginner. Turns easily. Works well for the price.
This product may seem greasy upon arrival and need to be cleaned before use.
Easy to balance and extract. Legs allow you to put a pot or jar easily under the extractor nozzle. Easy to put together. Can handle 2 frames. Easy to clean stainless steel material.
This model can't hold as many frames as other models available. Doesn't come with instructions.
Kit includes a 5-gallon bucket, honey gate, honey filter, honeycomb scraper, hive frame holder, and more. Extract honey manually with scrapers and filter. Components are easy to clean.
May be more intensive than other extraction processes.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Bees are natural pollinators that play a crucial role in ecosystems. In addition to maintaining the natural order of things, bees add to the flavor of life in cooking and cuisine by producing honey. The sweet substance, including locally sourced honey, is available from many food retailers. Some individuals fascinated by bees take their honey affinity to the next level by becoming beekeepers (apiarists) and producing their own honey, and for that you need a honey extractor.
Honey extractors separate the honey from the honeycomb in a simple but ingenious process that relies on centrifugal force. Once the strategically arranged racks are in place, the manual or electric honey extractor spins at a slow, steady speed to pull honey from the comb. The honey then drips down to the bottom of the drum toward a capped spout called a honey gate.
Honey extractors are designed to keep the process simple for new hobbyists while still satisfying the needs of professional beekeepers.
There are two types of honey extractor: tangential and radial. These terms refer to the arrangement of the frames (the parts of the hive that hold the honeycomb) within the drum (barrel). Tangential extractors have one side of the honeycomb facing outward, while radial extractors have the top bar of the frame facing outward.
Depending on the size of the honey extractor, the frames can be set up in either position. Some smaller and more basic extractors only accommodate one arrangement. It’s based on preference, though some apiarists cite that radial extractors work more slowly than tangential ones.
Frames are typically either shallow, medium, or deep. Some honey extractors can accommodate more than one size frame. It’s important to use the same size frames during the extraction process, though, because using different sizes could unbalance the extractor and affect its operation.
Manual honey extractors have a hand crank on the top or side. The speed of the machine is easily controlled, but the cranking motion could take some getting used to for those new to the process.
Choosing the right honey extractor depends on how much honey your hives produce. The larger your operation, the more frames you’ll want in your honey extractor at one time. Beekeepers with one or two hives who are only extracting honey for personal consumption will be happy with a smaller model that holds a couple frames. More experienced or professional beekeepers will want a larger honey extractor that holds four or more frames.
Honey extractors are typically made of stainless steel, though the grade and quality can vary. Internal components are also usually made of stainless steel. Some honey extractors have a plexiglass lid for viewing during the process. The honey gate and crank parts are usually made of metal or plastic.
Some honey extractors are small enough to be carried by one person. The models we looked at are portable and quite easily carried, especially when empty. Some have handles or knobs that make handling the devices even more convenient. Other honey extractors are much larger, particularly those used for commercial and industrial purposes that hold more frames.
The honey gate is the capped spout at the bottom of the extractor that opens to pour the extracted honey into containers. It’s usually made of food-grade plastic, nylon, or stainless steel and is designed to be completely sealed and airtight to avoid leaks. Honey gates have unique modifications among models in which the caps are secured in various ways, whether by a nut-and-bolt mechanism or attached to a small chain.
Honey extractors start at around $100 and go up to about $400.
Models with a two-frame capacity make up the lower end of the range and are relatively basic for small yields. These are aimed toward newer beekeepers.
In the $200 to $300 range, these models accommodate more frames and are generally geared toward intermediate-level beekeepers.
Honey extractors that cost up to $400 and more have the largest frame capacity, and some electric models have different speed settings.
Secure the legs. Some honey extractors are mounted on legs, which can be wobbly. Regularly inspect the nuts and bolts and tighten them if necessary. If you still think the legs are too flimsy, you can bolt them to a weighted base.
Harvest honey at the right time. Once the honey is ready, the bees cap the cells with a thin cover of beeswax. Uncapped honey contains too much moisture. If you’re unsure if it’s time to extract honey, defer to a seasoned beekeeper to help assess any partially capped frames.
Invest in a food-grade thermometer. If you’re thinking about pasteurizing your extracted honey, invest in a food-grade thermometer so you can be sure the honey reaches the right temperature.
Freeze the frames. If you can’t extract the honey for some reason, you can keep frames in the freezer. This will keep the honey from attracting bugs or animals. Another option is to completely wrap and seal the frames and keep them at room temperature.
A. It depends on your state and local laws. Check with your town, county, or nearby beekeeping or agricultural associations for information on regulations.
A. You can buy bees from a reputable bee farm retailer. They come in different packages priced based on size (4,000 bees weigh a pound) and cost between $100 to $700. The bee package generally comes with a queen (new or old, depending on the type of the hive or swarm) and a colony.
A. You can, but some people decide to put it through a pasteurization process before consumption. As long as you have a sauce pan and a food-grade thermometer, you can pasteurize your own honey.
A. It could be due to a substance buildup. After each use, be sure to clean your honey extractor to make sure there are no particles or stickiness to inhibit its function. It could also be a mechanical jam or malfunction, so check that all moving parts are in place and in sync. Some parts may require regular lubrication, so refer to the user guide for approved products.