I would get an electric extractor. A three frame tangential extractor would be OK. Around $350.00. You can move up as your production increases. You can increase it to 70% speed and get frames spun out in ten minutes. You have to start doing one side slowly for about 5 minutes, then stop and switch the frames around, Then finish the frames at 70% speed.I have about 30 medium frames to extract this year. i have one hive and 3 nucs. I plan on doing a fall split on the one hive. Eventually I plan to try to go into winter each year with 10 hives hoping for 6 to survive and produce. Hopefully better than tat some years.
I started with the same one on a hinged basket. had 8-10 hives with it for a few years.We bought for the museum an old Root where the baskets flipped. I used it to get some feed out of some deadouts, and was suprized how much faster it was that a 4 frame WITHOUT hinged baskets. For the small numbers you have,it would be adequate.
I can not agree more, we have expanded to 30 hives and I bought a 24 frame automated extractor, one puts the frames in, presses the start button and it runs automatically through its cycle. Start at 30% speed and increases to 70% over a period of time. Then stops and does the same thing in reverse.Remember that your extractor size might not only dictate how quickly you can spin frames. If you do not have a pretty good uncapping tank that holds frames, it will also limit you on how quickly you can uncap. Uncapping 30 frames into a 6 frame extractor is miserable, especially if you cannot start the uncapping until the extractor is through spinning.
You got 30 frames from one hive this year and you want to go to 10 hives. The simple math puts you at 300 frames. (Granted, it never seems to work exactly that way, but we are spitballing here.) Just count your cycles. 300 frames/6 frame extractor or 300/10 or 300/20. A 20-frame extractor still has you making 15 cycles. A 10 frame is 30 cycles. And a 6 frame is sheer hell.
I would not buy less than an 18 or 20 frame extractor if I am in your situation. But maybe that is just me. I am 52 years old. I slung 517 frames over the last 4 days -- by myself. I can't raise my elbows above my nipples today. I am very willing to pay for speed and to ease my work load.
I didn't know what that term meant and had to google it-Brilliant!!! I'm at the point form the cross over from an electric motorized 6 frame radial and am looking at a few hundred frames this year. This will mostlikley be the last year with my now 18 year old daughter/ bee partner as she heads off to University in September. At least I have another year to figure it out - maybe she'll train her mother!For a 5 hive hobby keeper this would be overkill. So horses for causes .