I think the Flow Hive is an incredibly ingenious bit of engineering but sadly, prohibitively expensive in my case. I think knowledge of beekeeping is probably important before using one as there is too much temptation to harvest when it is not appropriate and perhaps not to learn about bees and inspect them but just treat it as a commodity to be tapped when required..
I have been keeping bees for 17 years and extracting honey from framed hives is one of the jobs I absolutely hate. Horrible sticky, messy task with more time spent cleaning up than makes the honey worth while if you only have a couple of hives. And of course there is the heavy lifting which I am starting to find less attractive.
In the last few years I have become increasingly interested in Top Bar Hives and "natural" or perhaps more accurately described "balanced beekeeping" where the focus is on working with the bees in a partnership rather than farming them for honey There are many advantages for a back garden/hobby beekeeper looking to keep a couple of colonies for personal honey and pollination and most importantly fascination.... be warned, these little insects are amazing creatures.
Low set up costs... you can even make your own Top bar hive, as precision made boxes and frames are not required or any great woodworking skills and if you use recycled materials you can reduce the cost even further... I have a friend who has even built one like a Jenga tower with just short lengths of 2" thick wood stacked to make a hollow tower, with no nails or screws at all. He assures me it is very stable and once the bees fill it with comb and propolise it, it becomes very solid. That said, it is more of a conservation hive experiment than something that honey is intended to be harvested from, although that may still be possible with some planning and modification.
No heavy lifting, as there are no supers on top of the brood box, so you are only lifting one bar at a time and harvesting one or two bars of honey at a time which are cut off into a bowl, mashed up and then strained.
No extraction equipment, supers or frames or queen excluders that need storing.
The Kenyan Top Bar hive can even be managed by a wheelchair bound person or someone with only one arm as a dear friend of mine has.
Personally I like horizontal (Kenyan style) top bar hives as they allow a good degree of inspection and if you incorporate an observation window into the hive, you can check on their progress without even taking the lid off. I have one that I made from scrap timber and a bit of Perspex sheet off cut, that cost me less than £15 to build. I catch swarms from my own hives to populate them and I give away spare swarms to new beekeepers to help get them started.
There are several Top bar beekeeping sites where information is available and free plans or ideas for hives are shared. I can certainly recommend the Biobees website and Natural Beekeeping Forum if you are interested in taking that path.