Top 5 Best Bee Suit Reviews (2021 EDITION)
If you’re considering jumping into the interesting world of beekeeping, you’re going to need the proper equipment. This will, of course, include a suitable beekeeping suit.
Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we have pulled together all that you need to know when buying a bee suit.
We’ve reviewed 5 of the best currently on the market and updated our findings for 2021 (for the results just head to the table below). There’s also a comprehensive bee suit buyer’s guide and a lot more information besides.
Best Overall: Ultra Breeze Large Beekeeping Suit with Veil
- beekeeping suit with veil
- 3 layers of ventilated fabric keep you cool and comfortable
- Outstanding sting protection
- Brass zippers, high quality fabrics and excellent workmanship
- Made in the USA.The original and only Ultra Breeze.Ultra Breeze.Excellent workmanship, brass zippers, durable ventilated fabric layers of polyester or polyester/vinyl.Machine wash cold, hand wash hood, do not use bleach, do not wring or twist.Outstanding sting protection; Care instructions: Suits and Jackets are machine washable; hood should be washed by hand. Cold or warm water, no bleach; do not wring or twist
Ultrabreeze has become a bit of a trusted name with regard to bee suit protection. With small to XXLarge sizes available, this is designed for beekeepers across the board, and a quality piece it is too.
It’s made to be used in summer, with great attention put into how well it breathes in hot weather. Tool handling is great, with easily accessible pockets. Our top pick bee suit in 2021 for good reason.
Best Premium: NATURAL APIARY – Max Protect Beekeeping Suit
Our premium pick for 2021 is the Max Protect bee suit from Natural Apiary. The superior build quality on this suit offers protection, breathability, and comfort in equal measures.
It comes in a range of sizes and is easily cleaned. It is relatively light too considering the high level of sting protection.
The price is significantly higher when compared to others in our top 5, but then this is a suit that will last you for years.
Best Budget: MANN LAKE Economy Beekeeper Suit with Self Supporting Veil
- 60-Percent Cotton 40-Percent Polyester
- Elastic at the wrist and ankles
- Elastic thumb holds to help hold sleeves down
- Heavy duty zippers at the ankles for easy on & off
- Self supporting collapsible veil with two layers of fabric on the back of the hood for extra protection
Our best budget pick for 2021 is this offering from Mann Lake.
With good coverage, handy velcro sleeve closures, and elastic thumb loops that make sealing yourself a breeze, this is actually an easy suit to climb in and out of. The zippers are of good quality too, considering the lower price point.
There have been a few complaints about the suit not running to size, however, as long as you pay attention to the size chart, you should be fine in this regard. Overall, a great value bee suit that will certainly “suit” those on a budget.
Bee Suit Reviews
Bee suits do not come cheap, so it’s best to have completed your research before ordering. This is where our review section will hopefully lend a helping hand.
We’ve taken 5 of the leading products below to give you an in-depth look into what is available and what you should possibly opt for.
We want to make sure you can safely enjoy your beekeeping, without getting stung.
1. BEST OVERALL: Ultra Breeze Large Beekeeping Suit with Veil
Our top pick bee suit for 2021 is the Ultra Breeze suit with a veil. First and foremost, it balances the mid-range price point with superior ventilation and sting protection.
This is all dependent on build quality and breathability of course.
Breathability, by the way, if you’re a newcomer, quite simply cannot be overlooked when one is considering taking up a hobby/profession that’s mostly spent in a heavy suit while it’s the middle of summer.
Robust, 2-way brass zippers are the main way of enclosing yourself within the suit. It also features handy pocket storage and good mobility for the wearers.
Another bonus point to Ultra Breeze is that their product lines are made entirely in the USA. Founder Bill Samples, (now since passed) built the company from the perspective of a beekeeping enthusiast.
His aim was to produce bee suits he would want to wear, and that of course means with the user in mind.
Note: Ultra Breeze has stated that a “Pakistan company Malka Bee falsely claims to sell Ultra Breeze products in violation of our US Trademark”. When buying online ensure that you are on genuine Ultra Breeze product pages. The links from outdoorchief.com to Amazon are to the official product pages.
- 2-way brass zippers that go the entire length of the suit
- Specialized, ventilated fabric – most reviewers report this works quite well and has kept him or her reasonably cool while spending time in the hive
- There are several sizes available, so there shouldn’t be any flexibility issues for the plus-sized beekeeper
- Three layers of fabric – including vinyl – to add protection. Everyone reviewing the product highlighted they’ve had many sting-free hours with the Ultrabreeze
- It’s a bit heavy and rigid, but that’s most likely unavoidable due to the sheer amount of protection you’re getting via the vinyl and polyester triple-layer
- The rigid zippers tend to have issues after long hours have been put in.
2. Humble Bee Polycotton Beekeeping Suit with Round Veil
The next suit on our list represents a more budget-friendly product, but still seeks to offer good levels of protection, some bells and whistles, and reasonable ventilation.
It uses several layers of polyester blended fabrics and comes with a self-supporting visored hood (so you can see where you’re going).
Humble Bee is a rather new addition to the beekeeping universe, only debuting a few years back. It’s a European make (Luxembourg) that takes beekeeping and bee caring seriously, however, donating 10% of profits to the protection of bees worldwide.
- It’s moderately priced so good for beginners to the game and those looking for a second suit
- It still actually does provide excellent protection in a suit that’s well-taken care of
- It does have extra storage space and seeks to give people a bridge to the professional-grade beekeeping suit
- The zipper is made of plastic and has been found to break or de-tooth on occasion
- There have been complaints about sizing – often the XL suit does not correspond to larger individuals
- It’s not possible to wash the suit, which considering the amount of sweating one would be doing it may be a problem down the road
The suit actually isn’t bad for a mid-grade suit and outperforms its price tag with regard to protection – many of those customer reviews related to the product state that they’ve never been stung.
However, it’s also necessary not to skimp on some of the things that matter most, especially from a closure standpoint.
The plastic zippers were a real drawback for first-time users, with many citing examples of breakage.
One could imagine this a common occurrence with long zippers that go from head to toe. Further, as another primary facet of beekeeping is typically bending down to pick up a hive etc, the fact remains that the undersized led to more than a few complaints.
3. Aspectek Professional Beekeeping Suit Full Body Self Supporting Veil with Fixable Strap
This suit seeks to fill the gap left from mid-grade suits that don’t stand up to professional beekeeping.
It’s a full-body suit with several tech add-ons, such as material designed not to shift/roll-up whilst moving around the hive. The fixable strap goes across the face and is meant to lend another layer of protection.
Aspectek is a bit of an all-arounder as far as home and garden tools go, and doesn’t seek to specialize in bee suits.
- The suit has been reasonably well-designed and seems to protect from most of the things the hive is going to throw at you
- It’s cotton, which tends to breathe better than most polyester materials. It also washes and smells better in the long run, with many reviewers stating that it actually wore better after its first cleaning
- It comes in a variety of sizes, so even if you’re quite large there’s most likely a suit that will cover you from head to toe
- The cotton material – while breathable – has been cited as not necessarily protecting from all strings.
- Users have noticed design flaws in the zipper system, with a hole in the back head flap covered by a loose piece of fabric
- As is typical for a lot of suits, XL doesn’t necessarily mean XL. One typically has to be prepared to buy something oversized with the Aspectek
This was a difficult one to review, as you can’t ignore the price in comparison to some of the higher-end models.
The suit was lauded as keeping most stingers away but seemed to be the natural companion of the weekend warrior who goes off after a nest of yellowjackets than after the regular day-to-day maintenance of their own hive.
This could be expected by a company that doesn’t specialize in beekeeping products. All in all: you get what you pay for; in this case, it seems to be worth it (just).
4. BEST PREMIUM: NATURAL APIARY – Max Protect Beekeeping Suit
The Natural Apiary is a best premium pick and a suit that really focuses on using old-school materials to provide both high-quality protection and comfort.
It advertises not skimping on the cotton, provision of extra seals and quality zippers, a thick collar and various colors (including camouflage no less) to ensure the bees don’t get overly excited when you’re around.
The arm and leg bands are adjustable elastic, allegedly creating an extra seal to prevent unwanted intrusion by the little critters.
Natural Apiary has been around for a long time and focuses solely on beekeeping products, not just necessarily bee suits.
They don’t claim to give vent to all your beekeeping needs but do sell hives, beeswax, gloves, smoke, etc. One would expect them to know a bit about what makes a good bee suit.
- Durable, metal zippers that run the length of the suit
- Various sizes, and sizes tend to match what people expect. There were numerous comments by reviewers who were surprised at the roominess
- The suit focuses on using multilayered cotton instead of synthetics, which depends on well-sewn seams to maintain protection while offering the breathability they’re after.
- Variable colors, depending on what your bees are spooked by
- The highest priced suit in a top 5 round-up
5. BEST BUDGET: MANN LAKE Economy Beekeeper Suit with Self Supporting Veil
As our top budget pick, this is a suit that can bring the budding enthusiast safely into the beekeeping fold, without breaking the bank along the way.
Despite the price point, this offering from Mann Lake boasts features you would normally find on more premium suits. Heavy-duty zippers, adjustable sleeves, elastic thumb hold, and a self-supporting veil are included in the package.
It’s a blended material – 60 percent cotton to 40 percent polyester – so there’s a reasonable amount of breathability on offer too.
MANN LAKE has actually been in business for quite some time, and offers a variety of suits, as well as numerous…well, anything to do with beekeeping.
They’re a Minnesota, USA brand that specializes in everything aviary. A good reputation follows the long list of products they have released over the years.
- Lots of extra storage in the pockets
- Quite thoughtfully, the elastic around the wrists has been supplemented with extra Velcro, something often not seen in more expensive suits
- The entry-grade mesh veil is removable; you can, therefore, upgrade’ to something a bit more swanky as your skills move more toward the professional
- The sizes actually typically run a bit large, and therefore one has to make sure they’re not swimming in the suit rather than have it too short
- Some customers have complained about the suit not being true to size (6 sizes area available).
- The suit’s protection seems reasonable, though (as one could expect from entry-level) not completely sting proof
Bee Keeping Suit Buyer’s Guide
If you’re planning to start up either a business or hobby beekeeping, you will be in the process of purchasing all the gear you need to get started.
High on the list of ‘must-have’ equipment is the bee suit.
In this buyer’s guide, we will take a look at why you need a bee suit, the different types you can buy, and what to look for when you start shopping for one.
Ready? Let’s get to it…
Why You Need a Bee Suit
While the answer to this may well seem obvious, there are actually a number of reasons to wear a bee suit.
Anyone wishing to take the past time seriously will need a suit before they begin.
Let’s take a closer look at why the bee suit should be purchased before you even look into buying the hive.
For Protection against bee stings
The art of beekeeping involves manipulating a hive of bees in order to harvest honey.
It is a simple law of nature that when a beekeeper disturbs the hive, the bees will react.
You only need to place yourself in their position to understand why; if someone came into your home turning everything upside down, you would be confused and will act to make it stop.
The bees sometimes become aggressive and if you are not wearing a protective suit, you will get stung.
While just one bee sting will be annoying, receiving a number of stings all at the same time could lead to a speedy trip to the hospital.
You will want to avoid this at all costs.
Protection from allergies
If you are one of the unfortunate people that react badly to bee stings due to allergies, a reliable bee suit that can prevent all stings could be a matter of life and death.
Although, one must question why anyone with a serious bee allergy would decide to be in such close contact with them.
To actually protect the bees
Honey bees die after stinging and their stinger can remain in your skin. By making it impossible for them to make contact with you, you are actually saving their lives.
Professional business purposes
If you keep bees as part of a business, there will be regulations that you must abide by. Having suitable protective clothing for you and your employees will be an important part of that.
Furthermore, for anyone that does beekeeping for a living, the beekeeper suit is their uniform. It basically comes with the territory.
Related Content: Best beehive for beginners (Top 5 for 2021)
The Different Types of Bee Suit
So we’ve established that a bee suit is a necessity when it comes to beekeeping.
However, taking the subject further when it comes to buying a bee suit you need to decide what kind will best meet your needs.
Some professionals prefer a non-complete solution. This could be in the form of a half suit, or maybe just head protection with gloves, (more on these below).
A true beginner should always opt for the full suit. When you are starting out, you will naturally be warier. It is also likely that the bees will not be so used to being disturbed.
You will take longer when you first start working with the hive, and you will be in a vulnerable position. The full suit is therefore highly recommended.
All the same, let’s take a closer look at the difference between these two main styles of bee suit.
The Half Bee suit
The half bee suit consists of a hat to protect the head, the veil to protect the face (and enable you to see), and a jacket.
Beneath all of this, you should wear long clothing that covers the skin and cannot be compromised by an angry bee.
Gloves and boots designed for beekeeping will also be worn.
The Full Bee suit
As the name would suggest, the full bee suit is an all-in-one affair that covers the entire body.
They are designed in a way so that no entry point exists for the wandering bee.
They can be worn over your normal clothing, however, ventilation is key. A poorly made full bee suit will leave the wearer sweating and extremely uncomfortable.
Beekeeping boots and gloves will also be worn.
What to Consider When Buying a Bee Suit
There are clearly a number of issues you need to consider when buying a bee suit. You should certainly aim for the best quality suit you can afford.
One should not put a price on comfort (or at least scrimp in the pursuit of it).
With that being said, let’s take a closer look at the most important factors that go towards a suit worth buying.
We mentioned comfort in the little introduction above. Beyond the comfort of not being stung, you will want your suit to offer good temperature regulation.
You will mostly be using the suit in the summer months, the last thing you will want is to be confined within protective clothing that makes you sweat.
Aerated suits are best for this. You can also find full suits that use lightweight materials.
Half suits are also generally cooler to wear (hence many professionals opting for the half suit over time).
Best Color Suits
The best and most popular color used for bee suits is white.
This helps both with temperature regulation, (it reflects the heat away which helps keep the inside of the suit cooler), as well as keeping the bees at bay.
Bees are naturally repelled by the color white, which helps keep them a little further away while you tend to the hive.
All manner of materials is used in the manufacture of bee suits. One of the most common is poly-cotton bee jackets that feature foam panels and mesh for increased aeration.
You will also find synthetic fabric suits that utilize 3D layer designs to prevent the stinger from penetrating the fabric.
Whichever suit you opt for, be sure to read the reviews and customer comments beforehand. If the suit is well designed with good quality materials, it will fulfill the most important two tasks; proper sting prevention with a high level of ventilation.
What Veil to go for
It is recommended that you buy a suit that comes fitted with a veil (it is possible to buy these components separately, however you risk compatibility issues with the veil not fitting properly).
A rounded veil is a good option because it keeps the bees farther away from the face.
You can also buy collapsible or fencing veils. Again, whichever you go for, fit and finish are very important. You want a robust, lightweight veil that keeps the bees out, while not compromising your vision.
Finally, you should opt for a suit with quality zippers and elastic around the wrist, ankles, and waist.
This will help keep you ‘air-tight’ so to speak. These entry points need to be closed off from wandering, angry bees.
Low-quality fitting here could mean that your suit rides up on the leg and ankles, and could become a potential doorway to an uninvited guest.
Better Suits, Better Hobby
And so, there you have it. A reasonable array of suits to give you an idea of what you should be looking for, no matter what your level or budget.
When looking for a suit, consider how often you’re going to be using it, as well as some of the downsides of different products – heavier materials tend not to wear as well in the long term, for instance.
Also – do some research to see how the product is sized, as this varies considerably depending on the brand. Keep safe, and take your time before purchasing.
- Book: Beekeeping: The Beekeepers Handbook for Learning All About Beekeeping Using the Best Strategies to Get You Started (Including How to Use the Top Bar Hive); by
- Book: The Backyard Beekeeper: A Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees and Producing Honey; by
- WikiHow: How to make a beekeeping suit (with pictures)
- Video: How to buy the right Beekeeping Suit or Jacket
- Podcast: The Beekeeper’s Corner Beekeeping Podcast; By Kevin Inglin