The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Honey Extractor

Are you a beekeeper looking for the best honey extractor to harvest your honey? With so many different models and brands available, choosing the right one for your needs can be overwhelming.

Honey has been a prized produce for a long time. Many people dived into beekeeping for this liquid gold.

Beekeeping alone has its challenges, what with all the management one has to do in the apiary. Beekeepers must keep up to ensure the bees survive the winter, predators, and diseases and ensure they have enough food all the time. There’s still more, but that’s for another time.

To harvest honey is another challenge that every beekeeper has to face. This is another difficulty that could have been very tiring if not for honey extractors that help them accomplish the task more easily.

In this article, we will review 3 of the top-rated honey extractors: what they’re made of, how much they cost, and their pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision before purchasing.

Best Manual
Best Electric
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Best Manual
Starter Kit
05/22/2024 11:26 pm GMT

What are Honey Extractors?

Honey extractors are useful and strong equipment used to extract honey from combs without ruining or damaging them.

How is honey extracted from the honeycomb?

It’s a great tool that separates honey from honeycombs through the generation of a centrifugal force. Honey extractors extract honey quickly from your frame baskets while spinning.

However, this equipment is one of the most expensive tools for beekeeping. The price of this gadget is not so surprising because of its unique design and complexity. It is quite different from all other beekeeping tools in size and the way to operate them.

Best Honey Extractor

Made with stainless steel, honey extractors are really rugged. This is why choosing good honey is important, and there are some factors you should consider before you buy one.

Honey extractors are one of the most useful pieces of equipment for beekeeping. There are so many benefits of using this equipment for your honey extraction.

How Do Honey Extractors Work?

Honey extractors help in harvesting liquid honey faster and easier. To understand this better, we need to look at the following steps on how this beekeeping equipment actually processes the work. 

After choosing the best honey extractor for you, knowing how to operate it is important. How you operate your extractor depends on its capacity, size, and type.

How does a honey extractor work

Choose a Well-Ventilated Location to Work

The first thing a beekeeper should do before diving into the honey extraction process is to choose a location with good ventilation. Vapors from the heated honey can be overpowering, so choosing an area where the vapors can escape is best. 

Also, extracting honey can be messy at times. So, the area one should work on should also be easy to clean. 

Start Collecting the Frames

Beekeeper collecting frames

The next step is to start gathering the beehive frames from which honey would be extracted. Collect the frames that have been fully capped with wax cappings. 

Remove these frames from your beehives and store them where bees and other insects cannot reach them. It’s advisable to separate them from one another.

Keep them stored until you are ready to start putting them in the extractors.

Uncap the Honey

When you are done with collecting all the frames that would be extracted, uncap the wax capping or remove the wax that covers the cells of the honeycomb. 

To do this uncapping process, heat up a knife until it is hot enough to glide through the wax capping. Run through the hot knife and slice off each cap. 

When all the caps are off, it’s time to put the frames on the extractor. 

Uncap the Honey

Using the Extractor

With the uncapped honeycomb, put the frames on the basket of your honey extractor. This process works for both manual and electric honey extractors. 

Your extractor should come with grooves that can hold the frames in place. Usually, frames are placed in the extractor vertically.

When all the frames are in place, it’s time to take them for a spin. 

Cover the honey extractor and switch it on. If your extractor is motorized, you just need to put it on with a switch. With an electric honey extractor, simply follow the instruction manual on turning the power on to get your equipment spinning. 

On the other hand, manual extractors require the rotation of a crank. When using a manually operated extractor, use the handle to spin the combs. The speed of the extraction depends on how hard you crank. However, do not crank too hard to prevent damaging the frames or ruining the honey.

The continuous spinning would create a centrifugal force that would force the honey to come out and flow down on the bottom of the extractor.  

Collect the honey

After spinning and extracting the honey from the combs, it’s time to collect your liquid gold. Use a clean container to collect your honey from the honey gate.

With a clean container that is large enough for all the extracted honey you would be collecting, open up the honey gate or the honey valve. Some call this the “faucet” of the extractor, allowing the honey inside the extractor to flow onto your honey bucket. 

When all the honey drains out of the spout, close the honey gate. It’s time to bottle up your honey and store them, ready to be enjoyed anytime. 

Collecting honey

What Should I Look for in Honey Extractors?

No one would like to buy a badly-designed extractor. It will be a disaster to buy a costly extractor that won’t be useful for you. Before purchasing an extractor, you need to understand why you are buying it.

This equipment is not considered a tool for beekeeping starters because it is important to know how to operate it correctly. However, if you are ready to get one of this rugged equipment, here are the things you should consider:

The size and capacity of the extractor

We suggest a basic extractor that is large enough to fit up to two frames at once (this will work just fine if you have up to ten colonies). If you are a beekeeper with up to fifty colonies, you need a honey extractor that can accommodate more than four deep frames at one time. A motorized honey extractor should also be on your list. It will save you a lot of time and effort.

If you have more than 100 colonies, you should be looking for an extractor that has the capacity to hold more than thirty frames at once. For industrial beekeepers with more than two hundred colonies, you will definitely need more than one honey extractor.

The number of extractors you need must be proportional to the number of colonies on your farm. Nevertheless, extractors that can hold up to sixty frames should help in such cases. Also, it is necessary to motorize the extractors to reduce stress.

Manual vs. Electric

There are different types of honey extractors. The most appropriate extractor for beginners and hobbyist beekeepers with only a few hives is the manual extractor because of its low volume of harvests.

On the other hand, electric extractors are the best option for commercial or industrial beekeepers who are going to be harvesting honey on a large scale. An electric extractor will save beekeepers a lot of time and labor.

Honey extractors for beekeepers

Tangential vs. Radial

Also, you can choose between a tangential extractor and a radial extractor. Tangential honey extractors are different from radial extractors in the way the frames for extraction are positioned.

A tangential honey extractor is commonly used for small-scale extractions by hobbyists. Tangential extractors hold the honeycomb facing outward. As a result, you need to flip the frame after you have emptied one side.

On the other hand, radial honey extractors require that the frames be positioned in a vertical position with combs placed at different heights and angles. This allows a beekeeper to extract honey out of the frames more efficiently.

What is the Best Honey Extractor?

If you are a commercial beekeeper with a lot of hives (and want to process 60 frames and upwards), we are happy to refer larger machines to you. Please reach out here to get our recommendations.

Meanwhile, here are the best honey extractors you may want to check out too!

Best Manual Honey Extractor

Best Manual Extractor
GOODLAND BEE SUPPLY Hardin Manual Honey Extractor
  • 16 gauge stainless steel tank
  • Steel gear construction with sealed bearings
  • Clear Plexiglas top for easy viewing
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05/22/2024 11:26 pm GMT

This beekeeping equipment by GoodLand Bee Supply is a 2-frame honey extractor with a 16 gauge stainless steel tank. The simple yet pragmatic design of this extractor allows easier extraction.

The top of the Hardin honey extractor is made of clear Plexiglas for easy monitoring. The body is of stainless steel construction, making it durable. You can easily extract your liquid gold from the frames tangentially. Included upon purchase of this model is a 3-piece leg stand to make offloading hassle-free.

Best Electric Honey Extractor

Best Electric Extractor
BestEquip Electric Honey Extractor
  • Premium Stainless Steel: The motorized honey extractor body is made of high-quality stainless steel, wear-proof, and secure for your long-lasting use.
  • 4-Frame Capacity: Our electric honey extractor equipment handles up to 4 frames at once time. Fit for frames of 9.2 x 17.3 x 19.2 in /23.5 x 44 x 48.8 cm.
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This 4-frame stainless steel honey extractor is one of the best honey extractors fitting for casual beekeepers. The extractor is well-built for beekeepers who are not interested in large-scale honey extraction.

The extractor is not so big, and it can be easily moved. Also, it is affordable, and the quality of the extractor is great. Consider this extractor if you are new to the beekeeping business but would want an electric extractor. You will enjoy extracting honey with it.

Best Honey Extractor Starter Kit

Starter Kit
Mr.Bee Honey Harvesting Beekeeping Starter Tool Kit
  • 5-in-1 Beekeeping kit provides necessary, must-have tools for beginning and professional beekeepers.
  • Included: Double sieve honey strainer, stainless Steel frame holder, stainless steel uncapping fork, yellow nylon durable honey gate, and bee queen catcher.

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05/22/2024 07:23 pm GMT

This honey extractor starter kit is excellent if you are just starting out and want to test the water first.

Planning to Make Your Own Honey Extractor?

If you are interested in making a DIY or homemade honey extractor, there are different materials to consider for making one. Most of these materials can be gathered at home. You can get other materials from a nearby store or online.

YouTube user Patq33333 used a great approach to build his:

YouTube video

Ideally, ensure that you choose a food-grade material when you are collecting the materials for the DIY honey extractor. Your safety is important too.

These materials should be resistant to abrasion and rust. Usually, stainless steel materials are used for homemade honey extractors because of their strength and safety.

How to Extract Honey Without an Extractor?

When you have a few hives and a small colony, adding a honey extractor to your beekeeping equipment may not be a practical idea. For those who take beekeeping as a hobby and would not want to spend too much, there are economical ways of extracting honey without an extractor.

While these methods may be time-consuming, it does get you to enjoy your honey harvest without investing in costly beekeeping equipment.

There are two common methods of extracting honey without an extractor: cut-comb honey and crush-and-strain. So, when you do not have a honey extractor, collecting honey is still possible with these two methods.

Cut-Comb Honey Method

Cut-comb honey is an easy method of extracting honey without the use of an extractor. You simply have to cut the comb into small cubes and store them in honey jars.

Some hobbyist beekeepers resort to this method of harvesting honey and marketing them in small quantities. The cut wax comb in the jar enhances the honey aesthetically for marketing purposes.

However, for beekeepers who would want to re-use the wax combs, this would not be a feasible option. Cutting the comb destroys it, disallowing its re-usage.

Using this method requires that one pay particular attention to using light-colored wax combs. It would be a sign that these combs do not contain brood. Otherwise, contaminants may be incorporated into the honey that would affect its pureness and freshness.


Crush-And-Strain Method

Another way of extracting honey with an extractor is through the crush-and-strain method.

To do this, prepare a bowl and some cheesecloth. Gather the wax cells and place them in the bowl. Using your hands, crush the wax cells to release the honey within. You may also use any other tool that would accomplish the task.

Once all the wax cells are crushed, place them on the cheesecloth and start draining the honey. Squeeze the cheesecloth tightly to extract every drop of honey.

Final Thoughts

Extracting honey is as easy as explained. I would advise you to extract warm honey only. Honey extractors operate better with warm honey.

Overall, honey extractors are invaluable machines that make it easy for beekeepers to produce honey. It simplifies the process of honey harvesting.

However, consider the features of different honey extractors before you buy one, and make sure the extractor you want can meet your needs. You can choose from any of the extractors mentioned above, and don’t forget to select the one that suits your budget.

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2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Honey Extractor”

    • You are totally right! That’s why we have added the more professional honey extractors further above and added a disclaimer now! 🙂 Thanks for making us aware.


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