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The Honey Keeper 4 Frame Stainless Steel Manual Honey Extractor is made to hold standard sized deep, medium and shallow frames; it can either hold 4 deep frames, or up to 8 medium or shallow ones. These features make it ideal for a casual or hobbyist beekeepers owning a small number of hives. The parts are made in China, and the apparatus is relatively easy to assemble and use.
About the Honey Keeper 4 Frame Stainless Steel Manual Honey Extractor
The drum is made from economical #304 grade stainless steel, which has a high chromium content and is the grade most commonly used in most household items. This makes the drum resistant to corrosion from the honey, so that it can last longer. Its dimensions span 45 inches high by 27.5 inches wide, with the handle included, and the tank is designed to be easily cleaned with warm, soapy water. The stainless-steel legs included in the set are removable, so that the drum can be placed wherever it is convenient, be it free-standing with its legs bolted to the ground, or set on an elevated surface such as a table or bench. When erected on the legs, the honey barrel is raised so that the honey gate stands at 19 inches off the ground, making it convenient for access – the legs are also designed so that a standard 5-gallon bucket can be fitted underneath the barrel for draining.
To allow for easy viewing, the Honey Keeper 4 Frame Stainless Steel Manual Honey Extractor features clear plastic lids, which allow the user to observe and keep an eye on the frames throughout the extraction process. There are also two different types of handles included in the package: one is a standard handle to fit over the crank, and the other is a specially designed version containing a spring clutch, which minimizes swinging of the barrel and can be used to crank the gears with much finer control. The sealed bearings and steel gears included in the design also make the spinning process much smoother. Extra or replacement parts can easily be obtained by contacting the manufacturer, and can be installed personally without professional help, making DIY repairs easy and convenient to do.
Pros and Cons
- While not being the most impressive or state-of-the-art honey extractor, the most attractive feature of this particular design by Honey Keeper is its low cost, which puts less of a strain on a casual beekeeper’s wallet, without compromising its function or performance. For that perk alone, this stainless-steel honey extractor has garnered the attention of many, and has been compared favourably to other more expensive models in terms of performance. The general concession among users is that it performs above expectations for its price which is on the cheap end of the spectrum.
- The easily assembled parts can be dissembled just as quickly and effortlessly, allowing the honey extractor to be taken apart for cleaning at regular intervals. Most users of this honey extractor expressed satisfaction and high praise in this aspect. This model is more well-suited for hobbyist bee keepers as the structure does not seem sturdy enough to withstand heavy use, but it does get the job done much faster with its tangential mode compared to some more costly radial extractors.
The Honey Keeper 4 Frame Stainless Steel Honey Extractor is not without its flaws, however – not all of the products are made to standard, possibly indicating a sub-par quality control regime.
- Recurring complaints from many users involve small defects in its design, where some of the parts do not fit together as well as was expected. Some reported issues include burrs sticking out the bottom of the legs, and an ill-fitting crank handle which was functional, but constantly made clicking sounds.
- The finish also appeared to be poorly done in one case, and several times, the inner basket was reported to collide against a hex nut of the honey gate inside the drum, preventing its spinning movement and rendering the extractor unusable.
- Another complaint regarding the product are its poor instructions, or general lack thereof. While the honey extractor is relatively easy to assemble going off of common sense, making the instructions unnecessary, it could pose a problem to users inexperienced in setting up this kind of equipment. Operation instructions and tips could also have been useful, as some users have expressed confusion over certain issues, the solutions or advice to which they were unable to find in the manual. To rectify this, they were forced to rely on the internet or advice from other users instead.
The result of these defects is that some users are forced to take things into their own hands, either by bringing the extractor out for repair on at their own cost, or make their own modifications to improve the product. Despite that, users still found it cheaper to purchase this model and make improvements, instead of buying a different model or building it themselves.
Tips for Use
Some tips for use include mounting the extractor securely to a board (if not using the legs) or to otherwise anchor it firmly using the available holes and fasteners on the legs. This is to help counteract vibrations, as the entire apparatus is reported to wobble when spinning, especially if the load is unbalanced. The spinner only goes in one direction, so the frames should be turned in order to extract all the honey from both sides, as the spinning force only draws the honey towards the outside. For the beekeepers using foundation-less frames, I recommend that the spinning process should be done slowly and gently, turning the frames forwards and backwards several times, in order to prevent all its contents splashing against the inside of the drum. I recommend sticking to only 4 frames at once even when using medium or shallow frames for maximum efficiency, as the inner four sit sideways when fitted in and tend to not be very well extracted. The loads should also be balanced as evenly as possible.
Have you ever used the Honey Keeper 4 Frame Honey Extractor? Leave a comment below and let us know what your experience was like.Check Price