If you’re a beekeeper or an apiarist looking to boost your production and shift to automatic extraction, you need a reliable honey extractor. One that will work for years with the same quality as the first day you bought it.
A honey extractor is a large cylindrical machine that uses centrifugal force. You put the frame with the honeycombs into the slots, which then quickly revolve, forcing the honey to fly out and collect at the bottom. A gate then funnels the extracted honey into a container.
To find out more why the following five best honey extractors are worth your money, keep reading.
- Recommended Honey Extractors 2020
- Things to Consider When Choosing a Honey Extractor
- Tangential vs. Radial Spinner
- Manual or Electric Extractor?
- How to Build a DIY Honey Extractor
Recommended Honey Extractors 2020
We’ve compiled the top 5 honey extractors available in the market. With this table, you can compare them immediately, and with our detailed reviews, you’ll see their pros and cons.
|Product name||Extractor type||Capacity|
|Honey Keeper™ Pro 2||Tangential & manual||2 standard deep, medium, or shallow frames|
|Goplus Large 4/8 Frame™ Pro 2||Radial & manual||8 medium frames, or 4 deep frames|
|Happybuy Honey Extractor||Tangential & automatic||2 frames|
|Goodland Bee Supply Hardin Professional||Tangential & manual||2 deep, medium, or shallow frames|
|VIVO Electric Honeycomb Drum Spinner||Radial & automatic||8 small or medium frames, or 4 large frames|
1. Honey Keeper™ Pro 2
We start this list with an entry-level honey extractor. The Honey Keeper™ Pro 2 is a large two-frame stainless steel material that is manually-operated. We recommend it for beekeepers with up to 10 hives.
Inside are vertical trays with generous space, each for a single standard, shallow, medium, and deep frame.
Since you don’t need electricity for this, you will save a lot, plus you can use this during a blackout or off-the-grid. It is also more low-maintenance than electric ones since there are no wirings inside.
The machine is heavy-duty stainless steel so that you can expect a long lifespan. Its honey-draining gate has a plastic gasket cover, which you can lock by screwing down.
The gate’s 15 inches off the floor so that a standard 5-gallon bucket would fit underneath easily. Its cover is a thick plastic material for a clear view, while its bottom is welded seamlessly for increased durability. Sealed metal bearings also provide smooth manual crank movement (given by the metal gears).
This is an affordable honey extractor beekeepers love. So, if you’re new to beekeeping and do not have plans to automate your production in the future, Honey Keeper Pro 2 is the perfect beekeeping equipment for you.
2. Goplus Large Stainless Steel Extractor
Another manual honey extractor, this time with more capacity, is the Goplus Large 4/8 Frame Honey Extractor. If you are a novice beekeeper looking to upgrade your 2-frame machine or need a bigger manual extractor to pair with your automatic one, this is it.
This 201 stainless steel extractor is a robust and long-lasting machine with metal gears and bearings. Years of daily use will be fine.
The cover is a clear plastic lid that protects the honey from external elements and provides a clear view of the operation.
It stands 31.5-inches tall, has a diameter of 20 inches, and weighs 26 pounds. It has three fixed legs which are non-adjustable and screwed directly to the tank. Inside this 4/8 frame manual honey extractor are four triangular steel slots. You can fit either four frames in a tangential style or eight frames in radial.
Its gate is also plastic and can be locked by screwing down. A standard 5-gallon bucket will fit underneath. This isn’t electrically-powered, so you need to spin the crank manually. Like any manually-operated machine, its lifespan is considerably longer since there isn’t anything intricate.
3. Happybuy Honeycomb Honey Centrifuge
Are you looking to make your extraction process faster? The Happybuy Honey Extractor Honeycomb is an electric honey extractor, which means you can leave the frames inside and wait for the honey to come out.
This one’s a tangential extractor that can hold up to two frames (held by metal drum baskets) inside. It might be smaller in capacity, but it requires less workforce to operate: load and let it run.
It has stainless legs and a food-grade stainless steel body so you can be sure that this high-quality honey extractor can withstand daily use. High-precision bearings also make faster spinning and a longer lifespan possible. For a durable and clear cover, the machine has two Plexiglass covers.
For faster draining, it has a conical bottom, which leads the extracted honey towards the gate. The basket’s mesh has a slightly bent interior for a snug fit and to avoid breaking the frames. To monitor the operation inside and protect it from the outside environment, the machine has two Perspex lids. Perspex is a durable plastic made of the same material as Plexiglass.
Happybuy Honeycomb Honey Centrifuge has a height and diameter of 24 inches and 15 inches, respectively. Due to the 130V motor and additional wiring, it weighs 37.5 pounds. You can control the power using the variable speed knob above the machine.
Happybuy Honeycomb is an extractor best suited for beginners and not for professional beekeepers.
4. Goodland Bee Supply Hardin Professional
Most beekeepers take pride in their rugged and simple mechanical extractors because both humans and machines are working together to get the best bee honey possible.
The Goodland Bee Supply Hardin Professional is a manual, two-frame tangential extractor with a 16-gauge stainless steel tank – ideal for amateur beekeepers. Mechanical extractors age well despite periods of not being used.
You can fit two frames in the baskets inside. Since this is a tangential extractor, you can only extract honey from one side at a time. The three legs are screwed directly to the tank, providing maximum stability. It has a common plastic gate that is food-safe.
Goodland Bee Supply is also easy to clean and assemble. Since it has no electric motor or parts, you don’t need to worry too much about the repair. Use it every day, or store it in the tool shed during busy weeks – you have peace of mind that this machine will not degrade easily.
The machine is 24 inches tall and 15 inches wide. Its legs are not adjustable, so you have to make do with its height. Taller buckets or buckets with a large filter above may not fit underneath.
If you are a casual honey keeper and looking for a reliable and low-maintenance machine, Goodland Bee Supply Hardin Professional is for you.
5. VIVO Electric 4 Frame – Electric Honeycomb Drum Spinner
To extract large amounts of honey, the VIVO Electric Four 4 Frame Stainless Steel Honey Extractor Drum Spinner combines radial-style loading, large capacity, powerful motor, and robust build.
It is powered by a 120V AC quiet motor that ensures your bee honey harvest is always optimal. You can load up to 8 small-medium frames, or four large frames. Since this is a radial extractor, you do not need to flip the frames.
It’s similar to VIVO BEE-V002 (another extractor VIVO produced that can hold two frames) in that it can fit deep, medium, and shallow frames. Both keep the metal gears enclosed to prevent getting in contact with honey.
While this is more expensive than the other extractors in the list, the machine is a long-term investment due to its robust 201 stainless steel construction and metal gears. The gears are in a metal enclosure to avoid exposure to the honey.
VIVO Electric Honeycomb Drum Spinner also has safety features like automatic turn-off when the lid’s open. It also resumes power with the lid shut.
The cone-shaped bottom provides fast funneling towards the two-inch honey gate. The legs are also adjustable and can fit a 5-gallon bucket underneath at all heights. It has a height of 41.5 inches and a diameter of 18.5 inches.
VIVO Electric Honey Extractor is perfect for professional, commercial, and industrial use; that’s why it’s got a one-year limited warranty. We suggest this one for experienced beekeepers.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Honey Extractor
To pick a perfect honey extractor, you should first know your status as a beekeeper (casual or professional) and the intended usage (hobby or commercial use).
Let’s discuss the factors you should consider when shopping for your honey extractor.
If you have 1-10 hives, 2-4 framed extractors are acceptable. The five extractors listed here all have that capacity. It is better to opt for a high capacity extractor as long as the budget permits.
However, let’s say you expand to more than 20 hives. You’d now need extractors that can hold at least eight frames since it’ll be time-consuming to go through all of them with a low-capacity extractor.
Do note that an extractor with a higher capacity will require more power (physical and electric) to spin.
Cleaning and Maintenance
It is inevitable for your tank to be coated in honey (even outside). That is why you need regular cleaning to avoid stains, smells, and failure. You’re going to have a bad top bar hive harvesting day instead of an exciting one when you realize what a mess your extractor had become. So, before you extract the honey, make sure your extractor is clean.
The first thing you need to do when cleaning your extractor is to remove all the residual honey. Then, fill the tank with water overnight. Rinse and wipe all surfaces afterward.
Make sure that the bearings are plastic-covered to avoid rust. Corrosion will not only damage your machine but also contaminate the honey. A general rule in maintaining honey extractors is to leave it be: do not grease the bearings or unscrew anything. The machine is always in contact with food, so it’s best not to modify its inner workings.
For manual extractors, make sure the gears and all moving parts are clean. While for electric extractors, do not tinker with the motor and wiring unless you’re an expert. If there’s anything unusual, contact the manufacturer to get guidance.
If you’re a new beekeeper transitioning from honey extraction via the uncapping knife, you can start with a manual and tangential extractor (usually cheaper).
If you want to boost your production but are still restricted by your budget, you can buy a manual and radial extractor (more yield per spin).
And lastly, if you’re aiming to be a professional and automate your production, an electric and radial extractor will extract more honey in less time.
You must also learn basic “beekeeping hygiene,” so you can deliver the highest quality honey and prolong your extraction equipment.
Tangential vs. Radial Spinner
There are 3 loading style types of honey extractors: tangential, radial, and both.
Tangential extractors have the frames facing flat outwards, meaning only one side of the frame gets extracted per spin, so you need to flip the frame to get the honey from the other side.
Radial extractors have the frames arranged like rays – each one is loaded perpendicular to the tank’s wall. Therefore, both sides of the frame get extracted per spin, so there’s no need to flip afterward.
Meanwhile, some extractors do both.
Manual or Electric Extractor?
Honey extractors can either be manually or electrically powered.
Manual honey extractors have a metal crank connected to metal gears, which then power the spinning of the frames. Usually, this type is more reliable since there are no wirings that can deteriorate over time.
Electric extractors have a motor connected to a power source that spins the frames. Usually, electric extractors are more comfortable to use because it automatically operates.
The obvious choice for hobbyists and small scale producers is a manual extractor since the initial and running costs would be cheaper. Manual extractors will also provide a good learning experience since you’re controlling the speed (too slow and you may tire out, too fast, and the combs may get damaged). Get a manual extractor for your beekeeping starter kit! It’s a fun activity.
For professionals in a commercial setting, electric extractors do all your work, so the saved time and labor would compensate for the initial and running costs. Your electric extractor holds the key to faster production.
How to Build a DIY Honey Extractor
If you aren’t ready to invest in a pre-built honey extractor and want to hone your DIY skills when you’re bored, here’s a short guide!
The good thing about a DIY project is that you get full, 100% customizability. The only thing to keep in mind is that your finished product should be able to spin and fling out the honey but keep the wax intact.
You’ll need a good, clean bucket first of all. The slightly difficult part of this building process is making the rotor. But once you’ve gone through that hard stuff, you’re now ready to give your drill with bits a go.
You’ll be choosing from extractors with differences in loading style and power source.
We liked Honey Keeper Pro 2 the most since it’s a heavy-duty manual honey extractor that worked well for many folks. Although a manual operation is always going to be more tiring, we appreciated how this honey extractor still excelled in design and durability.