I have been researching basic honey extractors for about a year now, really delving into it over the last month or so. I narrowed it down to two models:
Deluxe Compact Extractor $375, model number DCE1 from Betterbee
Compact Deluxe Extractor $385, item number 793 from Brushy Mountain.
I had borrowed a friends extractor. His was apparently the model from Brushy Mountain - though I didn't know this. It's a beautiful unit. Really well made. Sturdy. Works very well. No defects. i was very happy with it's performance.
I went online several times and compared the two. They looked identical, except for the crank. One was shown as being top crank the other a side crank.
I decided to go with the Betterbee model because they are located closer to me, and the shipping was cheaper. That's where I went wrong...
I received the extractor last night, and immediate took it out of the box. I'm no genius here, and my standards really aren't all the high. So long as something works, I don't really care about what it looks like. But I could tell that it was shoddy and well... cheap. I had called the company a few weeks before, and they claim this unit is made in the USA. I highly doubt it. It looks, feels and 'works' just like a cheap Chinese knock off. First off, the metal is thin and flimsy. The support bracket that sits in the bottom of the unit was too long. Apparently when they assembled it, they ignored this fact, and put it in anyway. This caused the unit to warp and become oval shaped. When I put the extractor atop the bottling take that it comes with, there were good size spaces (about 1/4 + inches) where I can see right down into the tank. Not impressed. When we tested the extractor (spun the handle) the crank gears were really wobbly, and the handled moved up and down. No gear bushings make for a sloppy mechanism. who knew?
The strainer for the bottling tank was also very flimsy, and strangely constructed with a screen that's useless. The holes are gigantic and wouldn't bother to filter out much of anything, save a small cat ;D
I knew immediately I would not be keeping this unit. So I packaged it up to ensure that it was protected against any damage or further handling. Called Betterbee this morning. Not only are they refusing to refund my shipping costs, they are threatening to charge me a 15% restocking fee. This company sends me a defective, shoddy product, and I'm supposed to pay for that? I think not...
Now, I'm stuck with no extractor. I wasted an hour of my time last night, unpacking, assembling, inspecting and repackaging. I'm having to deal with and battle this company, for a refund that is a no brainer. I have to unpack the item AGAIN to take pictures and video of how the unit doesn't work. Re-ship it, etc.
What a waste of my time and money. What a hassle. I wish I had just gotten the right one. This is a strong warning for anyone in the market for this type of 'hobby' extractor. Go with the Brushy Mountain model.