The 6 Best Honey Extractors
This wiki has been updated 19 times since it was first published in December of 2016. A good honey extractor is essential to any beekeeping endeavor. These handy machines use centrifugal force to make the process of harvesting quick and easy, and they don't destroy the combs in the process, so your bees can reuse them. We've included manual and electric models in a variety of sizes, so whether you have two hives or twenty, there's something on our list for you. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
August 26, 2020:
Noticing some similar selections that made for redundant rankings, and noting some availability issues, we thinned our list out considerably during this round of updates. The options we decided on removing were Hardin Royal 3, ApiHex Premium, Mann Lake Hand Crank, Goodland Bee Supply Beginners Kit and Tek Motion Stainless Steel Honey Keeper Pro. Our new additions are the Mann Lake HH130 — a two-frame, food-grade-plastic unit that’s suitable for hobbyists on a budget, and the Vingli Manual Crank — which features an adjustable height of 40 to 47 inches.
A few things to think about for this category:
Capacity: Generally speaking, bigger is better, as it means you’ll be able to harvest your raw honey faster, but you’ve got to balance that against how much you’re willing to spend, as well as how much storage space you’re willing to sacrifice to this unit during the off season. While hobbyists with only one or two bee hives may be content with a two-frame model like the Mann Lake HH130 or Goplus 2 Frame, users with larger apiaries might be more interested in a four-frame unit like the Vivo Electric.
Manual or Automatic: Much like deciding whether to splurge on a unit with a larger capacity, deciding on whether to invest in a manual extractor – like the Hardin Professional or Vingli Manual Crank – or an automatic extractor – like the Vivo Electric or Happybuy Honeycomb Spinner – often comes down to how much you’re willing to spend to save some time. But in some instances, as in the case of physically challenged beekeepers, it’s an expense that can make the hobby much more viable, and in all cases, an automatic extractor tends to make the process much more pleasant. However, some users have noted that they’ve found motor-driven extractors to spin too fast, damaging the honeycomb on their frames, but with many electric models offering speed control, that seems to be a hindrance that can be mitigated.
Anchoring: These machines can jump around a lot during operation, especially automatic units. So, with that in mind, many models – including the Vingli Manual Crank and Happybuy Honeycomb Spinner – come outfitted with pilot holes in their feet, making it a simple process to screw or bolt them down. This is an especially nice touch for users looking to have their new piece of equipment permanently installed in a long-term location.
May 16, 2019:
If you have more than a few hives, or have limited strength in your hands or wrists, an electric extractor can help you process your honey quickly and with very little effort. The Vivo Electric has several features not found on many other models, including an auto-shutoff feature for safety and a magnetic top that holds the lid open for you, and it can hold eight shallow or medium frames, which helps you get the job done faster. The Hardin Royal 3 is a durable unit with a powerful variable-speed motor, but it's a bit pricey for hobbyists. The Happybuy Honeycomb Spinner more affordable than most other electric extractors and comes in two-, three-, and four-frame sizes. Its machine-rolled drum is made of food-grade stainless steel that's resistant to rust, and it has a built-in uncapping knife to help you prepare your frames.
For those who prefer manual extractors, the ApiHex Premium is a high-quality option that can perform both tangential and radial extraction, but it's also one of the most expensive models. The Goplus 2 Frame is a great choice for those who only have a few hives and don't want to spend too much money. If you're new to beekeeping, the Goodland Bee Supply Beginners Kit will give you everything you need to get started. It's made from durable 16-gauge stainless steel and comes with a variety of tools to help you remove your frames from the hives and get them ready for extraction.
Mann Lake In addition to their consumer-level models, this company offers a host of larger options suitable for commercial use, including a 48-frame radial extractor that runs on 240 volts. mannlakeltd.com
Cowen Manufacturing This Utah-based manufacturer offers a number of heavy-duty selections aimed at industrial operations, including a top-end model that needs to be controlled by a team of two to three workers, and can process up to 600 large honey supers during an eight-hour day. cowenmfg.com