The Different Types of Extractors thumbnail image

The Different Types of Extractors

Extracting season is sneaking up on us, or for some of us it’s already here! This can be a rewarding time for beekeepers. If the season has gone well there is a sweet reward ready to be harvested.

There are many different ways to extract honey, let’s take a look at the most popular and efficient- the extractor. Extractors come in two different styles: radial and tangential.



Radial extractors situate frames like the spokes of a wheel, allowing both sides of the frames to be extracted at once. Beekeepers looking to extract a decent number of frames tend to prefer radial extractors for their efficiency and ease of use. Radial extractors are available in both crank and motorized.

Product Shown: 18/9 Frame Hand Crank Extractor
Product Shown: 18/9 Frame Motorized Radial Extractor


Unlike the radial method, extracting tangentially only extracts one side of the frames at a time and therefore requires frames to be turned half way through.

One common type of tangential extractor is the basket style extractor. As previously explained, basket style extractors require you to flip the frames to extract honey from both sides. This type of extractor is available in both hand crank and motorized.

Product Shown: Hand Crank 8/4 Frame Extractor

Product Shown: Motorized 8/4 Frame Extractor

It should be noted that most of the types of extractors in this blog post can be either radial or tangential unless otherwise stated.



The most common choice for beginner beekeepers is the manual extractor. Manual extractors are a favorite of beginning beekeepers for their relatively simple operation and lower price point. Manual extractors come in many variations: top crank or side crank, plastic or stainless steel construction and several different frame capacities.

Product Shown: 2 Frame Plastic Extractor Only- Side Crank

Product Shown: Stainless 6/3 Frame Hand Crank Extractor- Top Crank

In addition to the more traditional manual extractors, there are some companies that are coming up with innovative ways to extract honey. Beez Kneez, LLC in Minneapolis, MN invented the Honey Cycle, the first pedal-powered extractor on the market.

Who says that manually extracting honey can’t be fun? No matter how you extract it, the reward is going to be oh-so sweet!


Unlike the manual extractors, motorized extractors allow beekeepers to take the muscle out of harvesting honey. With the extractor doing all of the work, beekeepers can focus on other extracting tasks such as uncapping the next batch of frames. Motorized extractors also allow you to control the speed of extracting which allows you to extract different types of foundation (ie wax foundation is not as durable as plastic and needs to be extracted at a slower speed).

Product Shown: Motorized 6/3 Frame Extractor

Now that you know the basics of the different extractors, you should know that each extractor varies in how many frames that it can hold at once. Here’s a brief overview of the common size recommendations of extractors in relation to the amount of hives you have:


  • 2 Frame: Sufficient for beekeepers with 1-2 hives
  • 6/3 Frame: 10-15 hives
  • 8/4 Frame: 15+ hives

There’s several variations of extractors available, so there is bound to be one that fits your needs. Shop Mann Lake for extracting equipment and more!