Re: "cost" of crush and strain
Several folks have posted that the number of hives/supers is a key factor in deciding whether or not you want/need/will benefit from an extractor or other non-manual equipment. I will add two other key factors:
1) How many people are involved in the process; and
2) Where you are in your life (put another way, how much time do you have?).
For example, I got my extractor, hand cranked, when I only had one hive and motorized it when I had two hives. But, I travel a lot for a living, I'm single, and I do everything with my bees alone, in fact, I do everything on this 60-acre property alone. So, my time was limited back then, and it is even more limited now. I'm glad I bought what I did, when I did. Now that I am on my way to 20+ hives, I am beginning to look at more time savers, like an uncapper. In business, it's called 'opportunity cost'; what's the value of your time, and what else could you be doing? To do one thing, you have to give up another.
My point is that what is a relatively easy/fast job for a couple, who are working as a team, can be a much bigger job for a person working solo, who also has a full-time job. That needs to be factored into the equation.
And, no, I'm not saying that married people have it any easier. Everyone is short on time. But, I imagine it's gotta be nice, when there are two people working as a team in the bee yard or in the honey house.
“If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie