Choosing Hive Depths

Deeps, Mediums, or Shallows?

Your hive can consist of Deeps, Mediums, Shallows, or a combination of depths. Some considerations:

DeepsA hive with Deep boxes will require fewer total   boxes than by using shorter ones. However, a Deep box full of honey can be   very heavy. When Deeps are used, they are typically used for brood which is   lighter in weight than honey. Wax foundation with Deep frames is more likely   to break under the stress of extraction.
MediumsMedium boxes are great for honey or brood, but will require more   total boxes than would be used with Deeps. The weight load of Mediums is   comfortable for most people. Under normal circumstances, wax foundation with   Medium frames should be able to endure the stress of extraction.
ShallowShallows are rarely used except with Cut Comb.

Many hobbyists use Deeps for brood (lower two boxes), and Mediums for honey (upper two boxes).

However, you will find greater flexibility by having all your boxes the same depth. This provides unlimited interchangeability of frames between boxes. In this way, you may move brood up to the honey chamber to “bait” the hive, or move honey down to the brood chamber to feed before winter.