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oliver90owner 

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I did ask this of a member, but have not received a response, so I will ask the whole forum and maybe get a real idea of whether small 'budget' extractors are really good value for money or not.

About ten years ago I bought a manual 9 frame radial with tangential screens. It has always been adequate for my needs (and has been converted to electric this year), so I have always been 'at ease' with that size extractor.

I am wondering if the same can be said for the small extractors, particularly the two frame tangentials!

What is the cut-off point, in weight of honey processed, where you think these are just too small, and too time/effort consuming?
How many have upgraded shortly after purchase?
Has anyone been disappointed with the smaller capacity from new?
Has the second season suddenly brought home that the small extractor is just not going to be big enough?
What size/type would you have gone for, in hindsight?

This may affect the resale value of the smaller extractors to forum members, or it may not, but some real-time views may offer a better insight on the size to really go for. So are these small ones just 'toys' or are they super value for money??

My feeling is that second year beeks, with a decent honey crop, are suddenly wanting something bigger/better.

Regards, RAB
 

Rosti 

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RAB, I can't comment on the effectiveness of small 2 - 3 frame tangentials because I leap frogged those when purchasing my first extractor. I did look at some but was concerned by build quality - not from a structural point of view more a food hygiene / cleanability perspective. Of the ones I saw the best of the bunch was the Fragile planet tangential.

I went for a very trad 9 frame radial and spent less than I would have on the mini-tangential. Why? I went halves with another local beek! You use them rarely but speed and ease of handling is important when you do. The time to clean afterwards and storage space in between times is virtually the same.

Conclusion: Better a part ownership of a larger extractor than full ownership of a midget

I hope that gets the debate going. :)
 

peterbees 

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The small extractors are OK for new beekeepers. Our BKA has two 3-frame extractors and we hire them out to members with a double strainer and a settling tank at £5 per week. It's a popular service and it's better than keeping the money in the bank.
If we get a good honey season next year we may buy more for members to hire.
It's a pity there are no review websites for beekeeping equipment, ie.What's the best extractor for £300, or the best smoker, hive tool say?
Peter
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Chris B 

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I started with a 4 frame manual.
Okay 1st season (2 nucs + swarm)
Okayish 2nd season (grew to 5)
But 3rd season I started using clubs 9 frame electric. It wasn't the size of the extractor but the lack of a motor that killed me in the end.

I had a brainwave down the pub once - I'll set up a posh gym next to my honey room. All those people on bikes will be unwittingly driving my extractor for me, and paying for the privilige. As with all pub brainwaves it'll never happen of course.
 
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I've just sold my first year, two frame tangental on the auction site here.

It was quite adequate for one hive, probably two (I only really had one honey generating hive this year).

To go through RAB's questions -

Good value for money? After the resale it cost me a net £50 so I'd say yes. While I only got about 30lbs this year in 2 crops, I needed to either buy something relatively cheap or hire one from the assocaition at the same time that everyone else was looking to clear their crop. It easily met my needs.

What is the cut-off point, in weight of honey processed, where you think these are just too small, and too time/effort consuming?
It can be hard work and fairly labourios to work through a whole super, and if I had, say, 3 or more well producing colonies I would struggle to cope with it I think.

How many have upgraded shortly after purchase? Yup, just in the process of doing so. Getting one one of the electric drill driven 9 framers, it will be overkill for next season but I'm hoping it will last me many years

Has anyone been disappointed with the smaller capacity from new? Not me, realised from the outset what it was going to offer

Has the second season suddenly brought home that the small extractor is just not going to be big enough? I think this state will have arrived if not next season then certainly one after - but not "suddenly", always assumed that I was going to upgrade sooner rather than later

What size/type would you have gone for, in hindsight? Exactly that 2 frame model. Spinners can be a very large initial outlay for the new hobbyist. Would rather spend a net £50 on getting through the first season or two than spend £300+ before I know how I was going to get on with beekeeping.

So are these small ones just 'toys' or are they super value for money?? Neither really. Certainly not a toy as they do exactly what it says in the catalogue. Nor super value for money, but a very useful starting block for those of us who would rather own our own than rely on an association hire.

My feeling is that second year beeks, with a decent honey crop, are suddenly wanting something bigger/better. Certainly true for me, but even with hindsight I wouldnt have splashed out on the bigger option at the outset.

In summary, a good level for the starter who wants to manage the first years budget, but don't expect too much from them.
 

oliver90owner 

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Chris B,

That's what I suspect. Year one - not much surplus. Year two is increase time, so, again, not so much surplus. Year three or four, a large surplus (no increase) and extractor has seriously passed it's 'sell by' date.

Was yours a radial or tangential?

Regards, RAB

PS are you still using the local BKA extractor!!!
 

oliver90owner 

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Monsieur Abeille,

You said: and if I had, say, 3 or more well producing colonies I would struggle to cope with it I think.

So how much honey would you think - are we talking 3 supers per colony (say, 120kg total), or less than that?

Regards, RAB
 

Finman 

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I have 6 frame electrict extractor. I usually extract 50 kg per hour. It means taking care of sieving, uncapping and arranging the whole system that honey flows.

Extracting is not minimum factor in this system. Sieving is mostly the neck of the bottle.

If honey is speedy to move, uncapping with electrict knife wil be the minimum factor.

When I had hand power extractor, it was half slow that of electrict. When the motor run, I may do all other jobs of process.

If the system is too cold, it is painfull to work. Heating system of whole process is important and speed up extraction too.
 
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RAB

I think 120kg(264Lbs) would be a pretty huge effort for one of these machines - they could cope with it but the owner's arm would certainly suffer.

They are suitable for the starter who would be (I think) unlikely to get 3 supers full per colony on their first year. What would you expect from 4 supers - 50Kg? I'd suggest that much more than 100Lbs you'd probably be writing to Santa.

Of course it all depends what you can afford - and bear in mind I have no actual experience of using larger extractors yet .
 

Finman 

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Monsieur Abeille,

You said: and if I had, say, 3 or more well producing colonies I would struggle to cope with it I think.

So how much honey would you think - are we talking 3 supers per colony (say, 120kg total), or less than that?

Regards, RAB

it is not wise to extract 3 supers/hive at same time. Bees need more empty cells to rippen the nectar. Then you put those combs back and do they be filled again and capped?
In next stage you may have 3 boxes uncapped honey to be extracted.
 

drex 

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Now entering my second year and have no doubts that beekeeping is for me. Last year I borrowed a 9 frame manual radial extractor from a friend. Decided I would like my own. Researched thoroughly. Decided I would want a decent size and quality in the end, so went straight for 8 frame radial stainless steel, drill driven ( ssupplied) one from Agri Nova ( even if it may be overkill at the present). Excellent value for money ( £340) and service has been good. Pick it up next week. Will let you know if problems.

I stress that I did loads of online surfing before deciding on purchase.
 

Chris B 

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Chris B,

That's what I suspect. Year one - not much surplus. Year two is increase time, so, again, not so much surplus. Year three or four, a large surplus (no increase) and extractor has seriously passed it's 'sell by' date.

Was yours a radial or tangential?

Regards, RAB

PS are you still using the local BKA extractor!!!
It was a tangential polythene. Cost me £30 second hand. Funnily enough it was from a 5-hive beekeeper who had just bought an electric one.

No I don't rent the club one any more. I've got a Thomas 44 frame monster bolted to the floor plus a 20 frame Lega in reserve (and for anything I want to hold back from the bulk tank). Has anyone else had a Lega any length of time? They seem good value. With hindsight I should have just got 2 of them for less money than the Thomas.
 

Adam 

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After my first year with a manual two frame tangential, I decided never again and bought a 15 frame (electric) radial. It's just small enough to squeeze through a standard house doorway which is quite useful.

As I work, and have little time for extracting, it's important for me to finish as quickly as possible, as I take a days annual leave each year, and friends come to assist. I feel a few hundred quick extra for a larger extractor is a small price to pay relative to the assistance of friends each year for many hours.

Adam
 
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This is really useful, as I don't possess an extractor yet - and am looking to buy in the new year...I was thinking of a small, hand whirly one but then again, maybe not...
 

sawdstmakr 

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This is really useful, as I don't possess an extractor yet - and am looking to buy in the new year...I was thinking of a small, hand whirly one but then again, maybe not...
I'm in the same situation and I totally agree with you.:smash:
 

rae 

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We have a 4 frame stainless tangential that we bought second-hand from an beek's widow. Not a great deal of money, and served us well with two hives - we extracted about 250 lbs of honey.

We are now overwintering 6 hives, so there may be a bit more work to do next year. However, extraction was not the rate determining step - uncapping the frames took longer than extraction.

We'll see how next year goes, we might step up to a bigger one, we might not. If we do, we'll keep the old one as a cappings spinner, because dealing with cappings is a very messy problem...
 

Bee-Key-Pur 

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I would think it would depend on how many hive you plan to end up with.
I am in my first year, but I plan to build up next spring with 20 nucs ordered and splits on my own hives.
Not that I will expect to extract much honey next year, but looking ahead, my first extractor is a twenty frame electric and will double that up if I need to...
 

Skyhook 

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I borrowed the associations 9-frame this year, and it was fine- but I may be in with a chance of a small cheap 2nd hand 2- framer, and if I can I'll get it- it can sit in the shed, and if for any reason I want to extract any frames outside of the main harvest (eg if I get a small amount of rape) it will save collecting and returning. I would have thought that if you're inclined to get a small one, and you have space for it, it might still be useful after you've outgrown it.
 
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My problem is I can't afford to buy only to replace in two years time...even if it means saving for a while and spending a bit more...Unfortunately Santa isn't in a position to love me enough
 

rae 

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8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
My problem is I can't afford to buy only to replace in two years time...even if it means saving for a while and spending a bit more...Unfortunately Santa isn't in a position to love me enough
I recall that our second hand one was £100. I would anticipate that if we sold it, we'd get the same money back.
 

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