Beekeeping has become a popular trend in the last few years. Beekeeping is the human activity of maintain bees and their colonies. Many people do this to preserve the bees themselves to keep them from going extinct, since in recent years, scientists have seen the population of bees begin to rapidly decline. Many others keep bees solely for their honey. Honey is a delicious, sweet condiment that is loved by many people all over the world and is often used as a medicine when someone is taking a holistic or natural approach to medicine.
To become a beekeeper, a person would need to have the proper equipment to keep them safe from bee stings while tending to the colony. Usually, the equipment includes a specialized beekeepers suit, gloves, a hat with a veil, a jacket and boots.
These pieces of clothing are custom made to protect the beekeeper from the bees stinging him or her while they go to the colony and collect the honey that the bees have been making inside. There are two things the beekeeper needs to collect the honey – a bee smoker and a honey extractor.
What is a Honey Extractor?
A honey extractor is a tool that beekeepers use to extract honey from the honeycombs without damaging the combs or the wax. There are two forms of honey extractors – manual and electric. Manual honey extractors are usually used by beginner beekeepers, as they usually only have one colony to keep. Electric honey extractors are for beekeepers who have a lot of colonies and who need to harvest a lot of honey at once. Electric honey extractors are usually a good bit more expensive than manual honey extractors.
Features of Honey Extractors
All honey extractors work by the use of centrifugal force. The extractors contain a drum that is shaped like a cylinder, and by spinning a frame basket that is located inside of the drum, the honey comes out, which then leaves the comb in perfect condition for the bees to be able to use it again to make even more honey. Honey extractors contain two different baskets inside of the cylinder drum, radial baskets, which have the top bar of the frame facing outwards, and tangential baskets, which have one side of the combing facing outwards.
Radial baskets are used the most by large companies that are involved in honey extracting. They depend on the upward slope of the honeycomb because it makes it easy for honey extraction by use of centrifugal force applied towards the upper edge of the comb, which is opposite to the direction of gravity when the honey is still in the hive.
How Do Honey Extractors Work?
When it is time to collect the honey, the beekeeper will go to the colony and collect the frames. The beekeepers will take a hot knife or a hot air gun and carefully remove the caps off of the wax cells of the honeycomb. Then he or she will place the frames in the middle of the honey extractor, ready for honey collecting to begin. Next the extractor begins to spin, creating centrifugal force. After this, you can see the honey squeezing out of the honeycomb.
Once the drum starts to fill up with honey, release the valve at the bottom of the drum to let some of the honey out so that way the extractor will not get stuck – this is especially a good thing to remember with manual extractors. Lastly, collect the honey at the bottom of the extractor with a bucket or a jar and save it for your use!
Which Honey Extractor is Right for Me?
It is important to get a good, high quality honey extractor to make sure you are collecting the honey and leaving the honeycomb undamaged for the bees to use it again. Depending on how many colonies of bees you have, that will affect your decision on which type of extractor to purchase. A beekeeper who is just keeping maybe five colonies of bees would not need the same type of extractor for someone keeping over 200 colonies of bees. Here are some great examples of extractors for those who may not have many colonies to keep.
Let’s dive into the Best Honey Extractors list
This honey extractor would be perfect for someone who is beekeeping as a hobby. This honey extractor is a manual extractor and comes in a 2-frame, 3-frame and 4-frame option. It also comes in a 4-frame electric option as well. This extractor can fit many different frames – shallow, medium and deep. This is constructed out of stainless steel, which will hold up beautifully for many years. There is also a double sided clear lid so the beekeeper can see the honey being extracted as it is happening. The extractor can also be dissembled for easy cleaning and maintenance.
This honey extractor is perfect for a beekeeper with a small amount of colonies. This extractor can only handle two frames at a time, however, they can be either shallow, medium, or deep. This extractor is also made out of stainless steel for durability and has a clear lid for easy viewing. The legs are made of steel and can be bolted to the floor. They can also be raised so the barrel can be 15 inches off of the ground so a five gallon bucket can fit underneath. The tank can also be cleaned with warm, soapy water.
3. ZENY Pro 2 Frame Stainless Steel Manual Crank Bee Honey Extractor Honeycomb Spinner Drum, Heavy Duty Beekeeping Equipment Commercial
This honey extractor is great for the hobby scale beekeeper. This extractor is manual and can only hold two frames. This extractor can hold all sized frames. The height from the honey gate to the floor is only 12 inches, so a five gallon bucket will not fit underneath. This extractor can be easily cleaned. The crank on this extractor is plastic which might make turning it a little difficult. The extractor also comes with a clear plastic lid for easy viewing while the honey is being extracted.
4. BestEquip Manual Honey Extractor 3 Frame Bee Extractor Stainless Steel Honey Spinner with Stand Beekeeping Equipment
This honey extractor is for beekeepers that have less than 10 colonies. It comes in five different options, but this one in particular, is the manual crank kind. The frame of the extractor is stainless steel, meaning it’ll be easy to keep it clean. This extractor holds three frames and will fit any of the sizes – shallow, medium and deep. This honey extractor also has two clear lids for easily seeing the honey coming out while spinning in the basket. The mesh of the honeycomb basket on this model is actually slightly rounded so that there is no breakage of the honeycombs.
This honey extractor is a manual extractor that can extract honey from two frames, making it perfect for a beekeeper that has a small number of colonies. The frames can be any size – shallow, medium, or deep. The tank is made out of stainless steel, which makes cleaning it up after extracting a breeze. Just clean it with warm, soapy water to get all the gunk out of the tank. This honey extractor comes with a Plexiglas top to make viewing the spinning basket very easy. Other customer reviews noted on the durability of this honey extractor.
When a beekeeper has more than 10 colonies, it is probably best to go with the electric, industrial types of honey extractors. These honey extractors tend to extract at least four to eight frames at a time instead of the simple two or three of the manual, hobbyist ones. These honey extractors need to be very efficient, since the beekeeper has more than 10 colonies to extract. Here are some of the most efficient electric honey extractors.
6. VIVO New Electric Four 4 Frame Stainless Steel Honey Extractor Honeycomb Drum Spinner (BEE-V004E)
These honey extractors are electric, meaning that they come with a motor. This honey extractor comes with a 120V AC Motor. This honey extractor has a built-in cooling fan and a safety feature that will cause the motor to shut off once the lid is opened, and it will turn itself back on once the lid is placed back on. This helps with preventing any injuries to anyone’s hands. The inside basket can fit eight shallow and medium frames and four deep frames. There are also longer legs on this model, meaning this extractor can easily fit over a five gallon bucket.
This honey extractor has a 120V motor with two Plexiglas lids to keep things out of the middle while the honey is being extracted and to prevent injuries. The motor also has a built-in cooling fan. This honey extractor can hold 4 frames, but is unclear about the size of the frames. The spinning drum is made out of stainless steel, making clean up a breeze, with just warm, soapy water. This extractor also has a liquefied bottom, ensuring this extractor to have a long life span. This is the perfect honey extractor for the hobbyist beekeeper or for the more experienced beekeeper with more than 10 colonies.
This honey extractor is able to hold four deep frames and has a high rotating basket, making for easy honey removal without damaging the honeycomb. The honey extractors drum is made out of stainless steel, ensuring that clean-up will be a breeze. The drum rotates at 50 rotations per minute. The extractor comes with removable legs so you can set it up on a table top, or you can bolt it to the floor. This honey extractor comes with two lids for easy viewing and for keeping debris out of comb making it still able to be used again by the bees in the colonies.
This honey extractor is a professional grade extractor. This model comes with a 16-gauge stainless steel tank and an 110V motor. This extractor also comes with a sealed bearing and a Plexiglas lid for viewing the honey as it is extracted. This extractor can handle two frames that are any size – shallow, medium, or deep. This extractor is a great purchase because in the event that a part needs to be replaced, there is an availability to get replacement parts from the company. There is some room for improvements though. There are two crossbars in the middle of the drum where the frames sit while being extracted and they push into the frames themselves and they actually block some of the honey from coming out. Also, since this unit is electric, it is not as easy to clean as some of the others mentioned in this list.
This electric honey extractor features a 120W motor that has 1300 rpms. The extractor can fit four frames of a size – shallow, medium, or deep. The extractor has enclosed, metal gears to ensure that they are clean and free of any honey build up inside them. It also comes with a raised bottom bearing, which is also helpful in keeping honey from building up inside of this machine. This honey extractor also has two clear Plexiglas lids to help keep debris out of the machine while the extraction process is happening and also for easy viewing of the honey being extracted. The honeycomb basket is a mesh material that is slightly rounded to help in the draining of the honey in order to keep from breaking the honeycomb.
These are just 10 of the many different honey extractors on the market, but these 10 will give you the biggest bang for your buck. These extractors are great for all the beekeepers learning a new hobby or an experienced beekeeper looking for more honey extracting power. Hopefully these extractors will give you a more efficient yield of honey. Happy beekeeping!