Our Top Picks for the Best Honey Extractor in 2020

So, you have gotten the hang of beekeeping, and your bees have been industrious. It’s now time to reap the rewards and start getting at that lovely honey. A honey extractor will help you get every last drop out.

If you don’t have the time to read our full article here, you can just click here to get what we consider to be the best honey extractor out there.

Our Top Picks for Honey Extractors in 2020

 
  1. Vivo Manual Two Frame Extractor
  2. VIVO Three 3 Frame Extractor
  3. Happybuy Manual Honey Extractor
  4. VIVO Four 4 Frame Extractor
  5. OrangeA Electric Extractor

But how do you decide what the best honey extractor for your needs is? Electric vs. radial honey extractors – which option is the winners? What configuration performs the best? Is it better to get a bigger model or commercial honey extractor straight off the bat if you are just starting out? 

We looked at the different options available to you and came up with our top three picks for best radial honey extractors and best electric honey extractors. You want a model that will perform well, last a long time, be easy to clean and be stable on the ground. 

Electric Honey Extractors vs. Radial Honey Extractors: What’s the Difference?

Honey extractors can be classified by the way that they remove the honey. 

Radial models tend to be pricier but can remove honey from both sides of the frame at the same time, so it only needs to be spun once. With tangential models, the honey is taken out one side at a time. You spin it, flip the frame around and spin it a second time. 

With a hand-crank model, having to spin the frames twice can mean a lot of extra work. With an electric model, though, it is not that much more effort. That’s why we chose to focus on electric options in the tangential category. 

Which Model Suits You Best?

A radial model might suit you better if you have a lot of frames to process. A tangential model might suit you better if you have smaller amounts to process and you like to watch it in action. 

Choosing a Manual Crank or Electric Model? 

Using a machine with a manual crank might be for you if: 

  • You have a tighter budget.
  • You would prefer to spend less on upkeep later – the electric motor on the other option may break down and eventually burn out. There is less that can go wrong with a hand crank model.
  • You don’t mind putting in a bit of extra effort. 
  • This video will show you exactly how a manual extractor works. 

Using a machine with an electric motor might be for you if: 

  • You can spend a little more upfront and are prepared for maintaining the motor.
  • You have a lot of frames to process. 
  • This video will show you exactly how an electrical extractor works. 

Other Things to Consider When Making Your Choice

The Material

You can get models with plastic drums that are a lot more affordable to start off with. These extractors are not quite as a durable, are harder to clean and not quite as stable as a stainless-steel model. 

If you are going to be producing a fair amount of honey every year, you might want to hold out a bit until you can afford the stainless-steel version.

The Size

Extractors come in a range of different sizes, based on the number of frames that can fit inside and the size of those frames. Smaller options hold fewer frames and so are more affordable and a good option for a beginner.

At a later stage, however, if you do decide to increase the size of your hives or set up new hives, a bigger extractor would be a better option. 

If you are planning on producing honey commercially, it might be worth considering starting off with a larger-sized option. 

At the very least, it is a good idea to look for a model that is flexible and can fit different sized frames into it. 

To Keep the Comb Intact or Not?

There is always a debate amongst beekeepers as to whether it is better to harvest the honey and the comb together or to leave the comb for the bees.

The beeswax that the comb is made out of is also valuable. It can be used to make candles, and as a base for cosmetic products to name just two uses.

Those who believe in harvesting the comb, say that it is easy enough for the bees to make more. Those who do not, believe that by leaving the comb in place, you are effectively giving your bees a head-start with the next round of production.

A good compromise might be to leave one or two frames with the comb intact and harvest the rest of the wax. Alternatively, if it is still early enough in the season, you might get away with harvesting more of the comb.

If you do decide to keep the comb intact, you must be more careful when extracting the honey. Start off by spinning the honey at a lower speed in the beginning. This is because the combs are at their heaviest and at most risk of being damaged when full. 

You can increase the speed once the honey has been extracted from one side. 

How Much You Are Willing to Spend

When you start out with beekeeping, the initial outlay can be quite high. You need to buy the hive, the bees and all the accessories that you need, like a veil, gloves, etc. as well. It is worth doing the sums upfront to decide how far you are willing to take this if it is just a hobby.

On the bright side, though, once the main lot of equipment has been purchased, the outlay is relatively low going forward. 

Best Radial Honey Extractors

This is our top pick for those starting out on their beekeeping journey or those who have a small hive. The drum is 24 inches high and 15 inches in diameter, so it does not take up too much space. A standard 5-gallon bucket fits nicely underneath the honey gate. 

Users like the simplicity of the design. The manual crank is easy to turn, and the handles on the side make it easy to move.

Pros:

  • Fit various size frames
  • Easy crank
  • Gears protected from honey
  • Portable
  • Control extraction speed
  • Easy honey drainage

Cons:

  • Fit only two frames at a time
  • Lighter-weight gives the feel of instability

This extractor might be right for you if you have a medium-sized hive. The drum is 24 inches high and 15 inches in diameter. A standard 5-gallon bucket fits underneath it nicely.

Like our first choice, this is also made of high-quality stainless steel and features the plexiglass lid and enclosed gears. This is also a manual crank model. 

Users like this model because you can fit three frames in at a time and because it operates very smoothly and quietly.

Pros:

  • Easy operation
  • Easy honey drainage
  • Supports different frame sizes
  • Convenient for larger batches
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Used for small scale production, if you have truly large batches then likely need to upgrade to a bulk extractor.

The Happybuy is perfect if you prefer not having a motorized extractor. From a pure maintenance play, a manual crank tends to be easier for those that aren’t familiar with small motors. Also, it means you use absolute zero electricity or energy other than good ol’ elbow grease to get this thing to pump out delicious honey from your frames.

If you don’t have great upper body strength or prefer to have electricity to make the process smoother than this probably isn’t the one for you. If you’re looking for a honey extractor that has minimal impact on the environment from your use though, then this is the one for you.

Since there is no motor, this extractor operates as silent as the night. Plus, it could give you some exercise and what homesteader out there couldn’t use even MORE exercise, right? (Someone’s got to be strong enough to lift all these jars of honey after all).

Pros:

  • Fits 3 frames
  • Quality stainless-steel.
  • Mesh prevents honeycomb breakage
  • No electricity
  • Silent

Cons:

  • Not great if you don’t like or simply can’t do manual cranking extractors

Best Electric Honey Extractors

This Vivo model is suitable for those with more honey to extract. It has a 24-inch drum that is 18.5 inches in diameter. It will fit four frames in it and can accommodate a standard 5-gallon bucket. 

It is driven by a 120V motor and also features a cooling fan that is built-in. If either of the lids is opened, the motor shuts off automatically. It will resume once the lids are properly closed. 

Pros:

  • Automatic shut-off feature
  • Fit 4 big or 8 medium frames at a time.
  • Easy to clean.

Cons:

  • It’s an affordable option when compared to other electric models but is more of an investment than a manually-operated machine.

If you have a little bit of a larger harvest to get through, this could be the machine for you. You can fit in four frames at a time. 

This option has a 24-inch drum with a diameter of 20 inches. This is a tangential extractor, so you need to flip the frames and spin them again. 

This does have a 1300rpm, 120W motor with different speed settings.

Pros:

  • Electric motor
  • The clear plastic lid makes seeing what is going on easy.
  • Less risk of combs being damaged.

Cons:

  • Which Honey Extractor Should You Buy?

Which Honey Extractor Should You Buy?

For the all-round value, you cannot beat the Vivo Four Frame Extractor. You can use this when you are just starting out or when you start to increase your supply of honey. 

It is a good size, affordable and made of durable stainless steel. That, and the extra safety features that it offers, and the different speed settings make it the clear winner out of six we reviewed.

If you’re brand new to beekeeping or just want to stock up on other “great-to-haves” when it comes to growing your apiary, make sure you check out our other beekeeper gear reviews below: