Best Beekeeping Equipment Review – Top Rated Models with Buying Guide
Here you’ll find some information about the best beekeeping equipment out there, especially if you don’t have a lot of time to look into it yourself and simply want to find out about the best products. After carefully examining the quality and benefits offered by some of the most acclaimed products in this line, our team has come to the conclusion that the Mann Lake Complete Kit is a prime example of good beekeeping equipment. It’s made in the USA out of quality pine, it has a solid painted bottom board together with an unpainted entrance, and it comes completely assembled and ready to receive its honey-making residents. If the gods of honey are not in your favor and this product is unavailable, you may want to keep the Vivo Honey Strainer in mind as another example of a top mark in beekeeping equipment reviews.
This complete bee hive kit has everything you would ever need from an item such as this. Made right here in the USA from quality pine, it comes pre-assembled and ready for bees. The 10-frame traditional kit includes the whole hive body along with assembled wood frames. It measures 22 inches in length by 18-½ inches in width by 13-1/7 inches in height.
Reviewers claimed they were somewhat unhappy because not all the parts were built the way they were supposed to.
A good hive if you want to get your collection started, well-made and perfect for beginners since it comes pre-assembled.
This strainer will make honey filtering a breeze as it comes designed with two separating screens for maximum efficiency. It’s very durable since it is made with 201 stainless steel mesh and highly resistant to things like oxidation and rust. The product also comes with a 1-year warranty, so any problem you encounter should be quickly fixed.
Some customers reported seeing some broken parts once the package got to their house and expressed their dissatisfaction.
A very good filter which provides bright, clean honey and should last you for a long time, provided you take proper care of it.
Even though it is great for beginners, this honey jar hive is really a wonder of technology! The bees will fill the actual jars with honey so you can quickly gift them away while the whole set includes things like frames with pre-waxed plastic honeycomb foundation, two ventilated jar screens and even a luxurious stainless steel queen excluder for her Majesty.
Some reviewers had problems with individual parts of the hive and did not receive much help from the company.
A good starter beehive which has everything you could wish for, even though it does cater to a certain popular gimmick.
6 Best Beekeeping Equipment (Reviews) in 2020
Whether it’s beginner beekeeping equipment or something experienced users may need, we think it’s very important that you can see all of the top choices here. Beekeeping is a very complex art which can require a lot of things, so it doesn’t hurt if you have a place where you can familiarize yourself with the subject and make an educated decision afterward.
- 1. Complete Bee Hive Kit Painted Assembled 10-Frame
- 2. Vivo Stainless Steel Honey Strainer Double Sieve
- 3. SummerHawk Ranch Honey Jar Hive features Innovative Honey Harvesting System
- 4. Vivo Stainless Steel Bee Hive Smoker with Heat Shield
- 5. Busy Bee’s -n- More Complete 8 Frame Langstroth Bee Hive
- 6. BestEquip Manual Honey Extractor 3 Frame Bee Extractor
- Yearly Guide & Report
1. Complete Bee Hive Kit Painted Assembled 10-Frame
This complete bee hive kit from Mann Lake comes with everything a budding beekeeper needs to get things going. It boasts a solid painted bottom board together with an unpainted entrance reducer as well as a painted telescoping cover which has an inner cover.
The assembled painted bottom board is great since once your bees manage to draw out most of the foundation you will be able to add a second deep hive body. It’s made right here in the USA and measures 22 inches in length, 18-½ inches in width as well as 13-1/7 inches in height.
As Mann Lake’s catchphrase says, the company certainly seems to know bees and it has implemented its entire mastery into this product.
The fact that the beehive comes fully pre-assembled is a great bonus as it exonerates the beekeeper from a lot of hard work.
Even though this is only a starter and you will need more equipment as your colony grows, it is a great place to start from since it has everything you may need.
This is also a great choice for a veteran beekeeper who is no longer interested in assembling frames with foundation.
The woodwork is great and sturdy, giving you a sense of security for your bees. Due to how well your little friends will feel here, you may need to purchase an additional deep hive body fairly fast.
Some reviewers felt disappointed about the paint job and expressed dissatisfaction at the fact that the box they received did not have the entire amount of tools and perks described on the website.Buy from Amazon.com for ($128.38)
2. Vivo Stainless Steel Honey Strainer Double Sieve
Designed with two separate screens to allow for effective filtering of the honey, this Vivo product is something you will find on any beekeeping equipment list due to how good it works. The stainless steel mesh is extremely durable and the whole product is resistant to rust and oxidation. Due to the quality of the materials, it’s also fairly easy to clean.
The mesh bowl has a total diameter of 9 inches while the depth is around 4 inches which couples with the extendable arms of 15.5 inches to easily be able to fit over honey pans or other buckets. The product is also very consistent as processing the honey through the 1875-micron upper mesh and the 650-micron bottom mesh will yield you smooth, delicious honey.
The honey strainer comes with a limited 1-year warranty but you also have tech support on demand to help you with any questions or concerns you may have.
The consistency is really something that sets this product apart as customers report very good results even after two years of using it.
The double straining will ensure that the light-colored liquid does not solidify as quickly as unstrained honey, giving you more time to decide what to do with it.
The adjustable arms are also great since they allow you to perfectly fit the strainer over an uncapping tank, a 5-gallon bucket, or a pail. They also make your life easier when you have to move the whole thing around.
The only setback we could find on this one was the fact that some reviewers pointed out that the basket is a little tippy and sometimes tends to move back and forward for a good inch or two. As long as you are aware and adjust your honey’s position accordingly, you should still have no problems.Buy from Amazon.com for ($21.99)
3. SummerHawk Ranch Honey Jar Hive features Innovative Honey Harvesting System
This honey jar hive is a great present for your friend who is a budding beekeeper as it comes with everything he may need to start his own colony. It is built from sourced Canadian Hemlock wood with sturdy finger-joint construction and it has several useful characteristics.
Chiefs among those are the included deep jar with 6 1-Pint and 6 1-Quart Mason jars, a high-visibility window, and great frames which have a pre-waxed plastic honeycomb foundation.
The industry-leading 3-year warranty is also not something bad to have around just in case you may ever need it. The house-like aspect is very endearing and the colors look warm and inviting for anything related to bees.
The fact that it comes pre-assembled makes it perfect for starting beekeepers or for the ones who have done this so many times that it simply is not fun for them anymore. Just order this, buy the bees and you are ready to go!
Because the bees store the honey directly into the Mason jars, the amount of work the beekeeper has to do and the direct stress on the colony are enormously reduced.
The included quick-check Super allows you to keep an outside eye on the health and well-being of your colony, without having to go in and disturb their lifestyle.
The dimensions are also quite nice at a respectable 26.77 by 19.69 inches and 27.95 inches in height.
Some customers appeared to have some problems with the roof and expressed dissatisfaction at the lack of communication coming from SummerHawk Ranch.
Other people who claim to be experienced beekeepers are against this type of house-like format as they say it is not good for honey bees.Buy from Amazon.com for ($296.99)
4. Vivo Stainless Steel Bee Hive Smoker with Heat Shield
While definitely on the basic beekeeping equipment list, this product should not miss from the inventory of any self-respecting beekeeper. Made of stainless steel, this Vivo smoker produces cool smoke to help calm the bees and also to protect the beekeeper from possible stings during hive maintenance.
It is 11 inches tall with a canister diameter of 4 inches, which should prove to be more than enough. The heat shield protective guard surrounds the smoker like a wall and is there to prevent burns, rendering it safe and easy to use.
This is definitely not vintage beekeeping equipment but this is an area where technological advancements have, more often than not, helped the process tremendously. To be on the safe side, make sure to gently bend up the legs on the round ventilation disk from the bottom can to ensure it stands further away from the bottom and allows more air to circulate.
The heat shield is a great way of protecting yourself and your bees and the hook on its side allows you to safely suspend or store it.
The smoker also has a perforated fire base which provides air pockets at the bottom to ensure a good airflow all through it.
Compared to other brands, Vivo’s smoker really comes at a great price, especially for the quality that’s being offered.
Apparently, the bottom of the smoker can get so hot after use that it can actually start a grass fire when you set it down. Although this is hardly unexpected seeing how you have red hot embers and fire inside it, you can still practice on some old cotton shirts before using it near your hive.Buy from Amazon.com for ($14.99)
5. Busy Bee’s -n- More Complete 8 Frame Langstroth Bee Hive
If you’re in need of some cheap beekeeping equipment, this product will definitely fail to make the cut. Even though it is quite expensive, this 8 frame beehive kit will offer you everything that is required to build a healthy, long-lasting, honey producing colony.
Every part of it is constructed of high-quality pine which is made in the USA by Amish craftsmen. For a beginner who’s still learning the ropes or for somebody wanting to get a good start on a new colony, this is an ideal thing to buy.
It’s also fairly easy to assemble as it comes with pre-cut finger joints and a 4oz bottle of exterior wood glue for your carpenter efforts. This really offers a lot of things for the price it demands as it comes with 16 deep pre-cut frames, 8 super pre-cut frames, an entrance reducer, a metal capped telescoping top cover and many other things.
The 24 food-grade plastic foundations are coated with real bee’s wax which offers authenticity to the whole idea and makes for an easier settling in for the new colony.
Customers also enjoyed the easy assembly process, even though some of them were expecting the product to come pre-assembled.
You can buy some staples or nails to put in there before using it but this is not mandatory.
Thanks to the fact that you get 16 textured foundations that are coated in natural wax, the bees can start drawing honeycombs as soon as they move there.
Reviewers mention the fact that you have to make sure to use an appropriate amount of the wood glue to ensure you’re doing good work, as there are certain cracks and crevices between the joints.
Also, the measurements may not be 100% accurate since they mention certain recuts had to be made before the hive was up and running.Buy from Amazon.com for ($175)
6. BestEquip Manual Honey Extractor 3 Frame Bee Extractor
Even though beekeeping equipment suppliers are fighting over this, it’s really worth it if you come to understand by yourself how nice of a product this is. It’s made of food-grade stainless steel with seamless welding. Such quality also means that it is safe and easy to clean and will last you for a really long time.
The stainless steel drum is 24 inches in height and 15 inches in diameter, both ideal values for a hobbyist or small apiarist. This extractor also has 2 clear Plexiglas top lids which are perfect for keeping debris out and also allow you to easily see when the honey is draining.
Speaking of which, the draining process is also smooth and efficient, as the bottom inside of the drum is conical in shape and drains the light-colored substance to the 2-inch outlet with a stopper.
The sheer quality of this extractor makes it perfect for all levels of beekeeping while the variable speed options and the 3 stainless steel legs offer great flexibility and durability.
While the extractor, with its stainless steel design, is clearly made for endurance, the high-precision bearing also leads to a higher rotational speed and a longer service life overall.
The honey extractor’s speed is really decent for its size and it does not feel like it leaves a lot of honey in the wax.
To avoid a break of honeycombs, the mesh of the honeycomb basket is slightly rounded to the inner side. Even though you have to elevate the bottom to get those last drops of honey out, nobody seems to complain about this, especially given the affordable price.
Customers who had problems with this product reported some faulty parts, like the gearbox for the spinner and also a pretty forgettable or rather unforgettable customer service experience.
Some of them were also unhappy with the lack of instructions in the box.Buy from Amazon.com for ($138.99)
Yearly Guide & Report
Once you’ve decided to move forward with this and look for beekeeping equipment for sale then we think it’s really important that you educate yourself to be able to think for yourself on this matter. With so many options to choose from, it’s really a matter of knowing your preferences, your objectives, and the size of your wallet.
Now we’re not saying that you should buy cheap beekeeping equipment but simply suggesting that a little bit of search might net better results at more affordable prices. Let’s see exactly what criteria we are talking about here.
Deep vs medium hive bodies
A hive body is the actual box that contains the bees while a beehive consists of one or more hive bodies, each of them filled with vertically hung frames. Since a deep hive can hold frames of about 9-⅝ inches tall, a 5-⅝ smaller, medium hive body can really go “unnoticed”.
Apparently, it seems like the weight strongly influences the result of the honey so this is the reason why you need to buy something which will allow you to keep the deep hive bodies below the medium ones. However, the queen bee seems to prefer to lay eggs only in deep hive bodies so any beekeeper worth his/her salt will always keep one around the house.
10-frame vs 8-frame hive bodies
Hive bodies can also hold 10 frames, which is the traditional, accounted-for size or the newer 8 frames. Since the most differences between these are weight-related, it’s going to be easy to see if beekeeping really is for you.
Wood vs plastic
Even though hive boxes and frames are available in both plastic and wood, true beekeepers seem to scoff at the idea of using anything but wood for their equipment.
Assembled vs unassembled
The difference here is really the money you can afford to spend on them. Both hive bodies and frames can come assembled or unassembled, painted or unpainted, coated or uncoated. You can save some money by buying the components separately, unassembled and putting them together yourself.
Some people simply like to buy them fully assembled and painted/coated in order to get rid of any extra effort.
Things to know
Since you will undoubtedly be mixing and matching equipment pieces down the road, you want your equipment to be following certain standards which will make replacing it a breeze. Some beekeeping books instead suggest finding one source of equipment and sticking to that for the long run.
Don’t ever forget that you’ll always need a bee suit which also includes gloves, a hat, and a veil. A smoker is also really important since you can use it to calm the bees when you are looking around their headquarters.
The hive tool, a specialized metal tool used for prying the frames apart, is another very important thing that you always need to have. Don’t forget to buy at least two deep and two medium frames, an inner and outer cover, a bottom board with reducer, and a book on general beekeeping tips. As you’ve seen, there are products which come with everything we just said, maybe sans the manuscript.
If we can give you some advice it would be to keep it simple, especially in the beginning. Go low-risk, only order equipment from vendors you know or recognize and, above all else, have patience. Beekeeping is an activity which requires a lot of patience, especially in the beginning stages and not a lot of us have that large of an amount of it.