Last Updated: Sep 8, 2020 @ 1:33 pm.

What is the best Manuka honey? And why is it so darn expensive? We took out a second mortgage on our home and ordered in some jars of Manuka honey. Which tasted best? Here are the best bets.

Safety alert: honey (all types) should NEVER be consumed by a baby under the age of 2. Consult with your doctor before giving honey to children.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for families and the home since 1994. To keep our reviews independent, we don't take money or freebies from the brands we review. Our reviews are 100% reader-supported—so we thank you for reading this article!


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Best Budget-Friendly

Culinary grade, excellent flavor
This was our favorite, taste-wise—smooth, rich and fragrant! This multi-floral honey has no GMO's and is perfect for mixing into tea (or other recipes.)
$14.99 ($1.71 / Ounce)

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Best Budget-Friendly: Manukora MGO 50+ Multifloral Raw Manuka Honey

What exactly is Manuka honey? And why is it so pricey?

Manuka honey is made from bees who pollinate a specific tree (coincidently called the Manuka tree) only found in New Zealand and Australia. The honey is very thick, with a distinct fragrant flavor and aroma.

Due to its popularity and relatively small supply (Manuka trees only flower for two to six weeks a year), Manuka honey sells at a premium.

When shopping for manuka honey, there are two acroonyms to consider: MGO and UMF.

Like all honey, manuka honey has antibacterial properties. Without getting too deep into the weeds of honey chemistry, one measure of this honey’s antibiotic concentrations is called MGO (methylglyoxal). Manuka honey ranges from 10 MGO (for culinary use) to 800 MGO, which some folks use for skin care and other purposes.

What is UMF? The Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) is a lab tested rating system New Zealand manufacturers use certify the potency of Manuka honey. Low grade honey has a UMF of 5 to 9. Medium grade is 10 to 15, while superior is 16+. (FYI: UMF is the brainchild of a marketing association of Manuka honey makers in New Zealand who sought a way to consistently grade honey).

FYI: Australia also produces manuka honey—and there is debate among manuka honey enthusiasts as to which is better. Three out of the four recommendations for this article are New Zealand-produced manuka honey. The fourth is from Australia.

If you want to try manuka honey for tea or other culinary uses, we’d suggest this budget-friendly brand: Manukora’s Multi-Floral Raw Manuka Honey. It is a low UMF, low MGO alternative that is tasty, yet much easier on the wallet than other manuka honeys! Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Smooth, rich flavor.

• Fragrant aroma.

• Creamy texture.

• Variety of flavor notes—a touch of ginger, for example. We liked it!

• No GMO’s.

• 10 UMF.

• 50 MGO.

Affordable . . . that is, for manuka honey!

What Needs Work

• Multifloral. Manuka honey comes in two varieties: monofloral and multifloral. Monofloral Manuka honey is “wholly or mostly” from the Manuka tree. Multifloral is Manuka honey blended with other types of honey.

Here’s how the the maker Manukora describes this multifloral Manuka honey:  “Certified to contain a significant amount of nectar from the Leptospermum scoparium (Mānuka) plant but also contains multiple other floral sources as they are naturally harvested by the bees.”

There’s nothing wrong with multifloral Manuka honey—but it isn’t as pure/potent as its monofloral cousin.

• Small size. Yes, this jar is only 8.8 ounces.

• Plastic jar.

• Not sweet as some would like.

Best Multi-Use Honey

Raw, not pasteurized
Loved this honey, which is pure enough for both culinary use and do-it-yourself beauty regimes. No GMO's, bold taste, great texture. Monofloral = single source of honey, which is preferred by some.
$21.98 ($2.50 / Ounce)

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Best Multi-Use Honey: Wedderspoon Raw Premium Manuka Honey KFactor 16+

This New Zealand produced and packed monofloral honey is wholly from the pollination of Manuka trees. (Less expensive multiflora manuka honey, like the pick we discuss above, is blended with both honey made from Manuka trees and other similar plants.)

When we say “multi-use,” we mean this honey is good for culinary uses but also do-it-yourself beauty regimes as well. That’s because it is a higher grade of honey with more MGO. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• 120+ MGO.

• Smooth, bold taste. Comparing this to Manukora honey reviewed above, we’d score this one as more flavorful.

• Great texture that melts in your mouth.

• No GMO’s.

• Not pasteurized.

• Manufactured and sealed in New Zealand.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

• No UMF rating. The brand that makes this honey (Wedderspoon) has its own rating system (KFactor), which they think is superior to the UMF system. That makes it hard to compare to other certified honeys, however.

• Plastic jar. At this price, it would be nice if the jar was glass!

 

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Best High-Grade Honey

Tops in potency (820 MGO)
Australia and New Zealand have been locked in a battle for who has the best Manuka honey. Fans of this Australian honey say it is superior, thanks to high potency of MGO. We recommend it.
$64.99 ($7.39 / Ounce)

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Best High-Grade Honey: Kiva Raw Manuka Honey UMF 20+

In case you missed the discussion at the top of this article, manuka honey is graded by its potency (the UMF scale). This 20+ UMF honey is considered superior grade—and the MGO is measured at 820+.

Basically, it means this honey has more of the good stuff!

What We Liked

• Made in New Zealand.

• Excellent taste.

• Thick texture.

• Zing! This honey has quite a zip to it.

• Highest MGO of the manuka honeys we tested.

No GMO’s.

• Multi-use: this high grade manuka honey can be used for tea or other culinary uses . . . and for do-it-yourself beauty regimes.

What Needs Work

• Pricey! Very pricey.

• Plastic jar. At this price, you’d think the jar would be Venetian glass, hand blown in Murano, Italy. Sadly, not the case.

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Best Australia Honey

Cold extraction, no GMO's
Australia and New Zealand have been locked in a battle for who has the best Manuka honey. Fans of this Australian honey say it is superior, thanks to high potency of MGO. We recommend it.
$48.88 ($5.55 / Ounce)

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Best Australia Honey: Raw Manuka Honey Certified MGS 820+

Yes, there are only two places on earth that can make manuka honey—New Zealand and Australia. While New Zealand is more famous, we know some Manuka honey enthusiasts prefer Australia’s version. Because of somewhat different weather and soil, this honey has a different flavor profile. There are also more varieties of Manuka trees in Australia than in New Zealand—Aussies say this make the honey better.

The made in Australia manuka honey we’d recommend is Tayagarah Apiaries’s Raw Manuka Honey. Here’s why:

What We Liked

• Superior taste. We thought this honey tasted wonderful in tea.

• Fragrant aroma.

• 820+ MGO.

• Multi-use.

• Smooth texture.

What Needs Work

• Not as thick as other manuka honey we tried. We didn’t have a problem with this, but we know some folks prefer a thicker texture.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!