If your work involves wood, then you know the benefits of a good chainsaw and a milling attachment. Milling is the act of cutting boards out of a log, it can be a difficult task, but with a bit of practice, you can become a pro at milling. It is important to get accustomed to using a chainsaw as this will make milling with a chainsaw mill easier. It is also important to choose the best chainsaw for milling.
Woodworking chainsaws have varying range of uses, but if you need one for milling, then you can’t just purchase a light-duty saw. It is quite easy for a milling attachment to fit on most chainsaws but not every chainsaw can withstand the heavy-duty job of milling. A good chainsaw for milling has to have lots of power and a long bar to reach through any lof you intend on milling. Usually, milling of logs is done in a large scale lumber mill, but if you have the right chainsaw with a milling attachment, you can make usable boards out of wood without so much stress.
Milling requires you to cut boards of various length from a log, and you must have a strong and high-quality chainsaw to achieve that. We have compiled a list of some of the best chainsaws for milling, but first, let’s take a look at some commonly asked questions about milling of logs that may help you make the right choice when purchasing a chainsaw for milling.
WHAT IS MILLING: Milling of lumber is the process of cutting the rounded lengths and then cutting boards out of the remains. This is done commercially by using large machinery that can go through hundreds of logs within an hour, but you can do this in a much smaller scale using your chainsaw, a milling attachment and other inexpensive tools. The boards you mill out of a log will look just like the ones sold at your local building supplier, the only difference is how it was made.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED TO MILL MY LUMBER: Most people that work around wood usually have their own little lumber yard in the backyard, the first thing to purchase if you intend milling your own lumber is the best logging chainsaw you are used to, but this does not mean you should get the largest chainsaw you can find but choose one according to your preferences when it comes to the size of the log you intend on milling.
There are a lot of details when it comes to milling, but the major ones you need to focus on is a chainsaw strong enough to do the job and a chainsaw mill. You will need a saw that has at least a 50cc displacement and a 20-inch chain, but this is not a standard rule, if you intend on cutting smaller logs and milling small boards then you can use a smaller saw. The same thing goes for larger logs.
After you have purchased a chainsaw you are satisfied with then you need a good milling attachment. Different manufacturers make milling attachment, but they all perform the same task. They are a measuring attachment that guides your saw to cut in sizes you prefer, there are other tools that make basic measurements, but they are not required.
WHY USE A CHAINSAW FOR MILLING: The major reason people mill their own lumber is because of cost-effectiveness. It quickly becomes expensive when you have to pay someone to transport the log to a lumber mill, pay for them to cut it for you and then also pay for it to be transported back to you. If you have access to lumber, then you only have to worry about the cost of the tools, oil and gas. There will be no need for you to hire anyone to transport or cut the lumber for you thereby saving money.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING A CHAINSAW FOR MILLING
When purchasing a chainsaw for milling, you need to consider the specifications required to carry out the job. We mentioned earlier the chainsaw size suggested for milling, but you could use a smaller or larger saw depending on how much power is required.
WHAT OTHER PURPOSE DO YOU INTEND ON USING THE CHAINSAW FOR?: Do you intend on using the chainsaw for purposes other than logging and milling? If you do and you’re also working within a budget, then you should get a versatile chainsaw. But if you don’t might owning more than one saw then it would be better to purchase a less expensive saw for smaller jobs around your home and a powerful saw for logging and milling.
WHAT SIZE OF WOOD YOU INTEND ON CUTTING: The size cut you make depends on the size of saw you have. You can cut down a tree with a small chainsaw with a bit more time and effort, but you need a strong saw that can make smooth cuts for milling. Large engine chainsaw is more effective for milling.
ENGINE POWER: The engine power is extremely important. The engine power of the saw determines how much effort will be needed to mill. A 50cc chainsaw should be great for most milling jobs except for the largest of jobs. The more powerful the chainsaw, the faster you get the job done. The cuts will be smoother, and it will also be easier to control the chainsaw. For the best results, you need a chainsaw with high engine power. If you’re into a bit of heavy-duty milling, then you might want to purchase a 100cc chainsaw.
CHAIN LENGTH: Another important factor to consider is the length of the chainsaw. An average 20-inch chain should be perfect. Twenty inches isn’t all that long, so if you are working with very large logs, then you might need to purchase a longer chain, you might need one that reaches 30 inches or even more. The length of the chain depends on the diameter of the log being milled. In other words, the size of the chainsaw, in terms of length, depends on the size of the lumber.
THE EXPERIENCE YOU HAVE WITH A CHAINSAW: Milling is not an impossible task, but it may prove difficult if you don’t have good control of your saw. Before you try milling, get used to the handling and running of a saw and also its size. Even if you’re a pro at handling a saw, you might not get perfect cuts at first, but with more practice, you can be making smooth cut lengths with every cut, you just need to be persistent with your training.
In this guide, we provide you with important information on the best chainsaws for milling and also answers to some common questions. Let’s take a look at the list.
The Best Chainsaws For Milling Are Reviewed Below
The market is packed full of different products, we have done a lot of research, and we have been able to come up with a list of our top chainsaws for milling with their features and specifications. This list should help you decide on the best chainsaw for milling without going through stress.
HUSQVARNA 460 24-INCH RANCHER CHAIN SAW
The Husqvarna company has been manufacturing power tools for about 60+ years, they have produced several great chainsaws for both milling and other jobs, but the Husqvarna 460 is at the top of the list. The Husqvarna 460 has a 24 inch bar which provides you with enough reach to mill large trees and larger lumbers. It has an engine power of 60cc which has a horsepower of 3.62 that is more than capable of milling lumber; it also has a LowVib anti-vibration feature which reduces the vibration caused by the increased power due to the size of the engine. Its X-torq motor allows you to use all the power it has without wasting fuel and also has a wide range of RMP for extra strength and control. This helps you handle the saw to make precise measurements and cuts. It also features an inertia activated brake, an easy start and tension adjustments; all these features make the handling of this chainsaw hassle-free.
- LowVib anti-vibration system
- X-Torq motor
- 60cc engine
- 3.62 horsepower
- 24-inch bar
- Inertia activated chain brake
- Centrifugal air cleaning system
- Brand: HUSQVARNA
- Model: HUSQVARNA 460 24-INCH RANCHER CHAIN SAW
- Color: Orange
- It is powerful and easy to operate
- It is compatible with a bar down to 13 inches
- It has an easy start
- It has an anti-vibration feature which prevents the chainsaw from vibrating your entire body
- It has an adjustable oil pump
- It features smart air injection for free air filtering
- When it is hot, it may start hard
- It only has two years warranty which is less than other brands
Husqvarna 20 Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw
The Husqvarna 455 is an all-round chainsaw with amazing power and a lightweight structure. It is powered by its own X-Torq engine which cuts fuel consumption by 20%. It features a 55.5cc engine that has a maximum horsepower of 3.49 and can easily do heavy-duty jobs. Its engine is a 2-stroke type and has one of the best power to weight ratio.
It has a bar and chain length of 20 inches, and its bar length can go 13 inches to 24 inches, this allows you to cut and mill any lumber of varying thickness. It also features an inertial chain breaker which is activated when any upward movement happens and even a front handguard that activates the chain brake when it is pushed forward; this makes sure there are fewer kickbacks and accidents. It also has three other safety features which are the right-hand safety guard, the chain catcher and the throttle trigger lockout, they all provide the user with maximum safety.
- 55.5cc X-Torq motor
- 2.0HP engine capability
- Weighs 10.3lb
- Quick start
- 20-inch bar and chain length
- Centrifugal air cleaning system
- Tension adjustment
- Low noise and vibration
- Brand: Husqvarna
- Model: Husqvarna 20 Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw
- Color: Orange
- It has a low fuel use
- It has fewer emissions
- It has a quick start with very little effort
- It features a centrifugal air cleaning system for a clean interior
- It requires less maintenance and cleaning
- The tension adjustment can be used without tools
- Its start and stop switch are combined
- It operates without a cord so that you can use it in remote areas
- It features an anti-vibration function
- It has a small fuel tank, so you would need to refill it regularly as you work with it
TIMBERPRO PROFESSIONAL SERIES GAS POWERED CHAINSAW
The TIMBERPRO brand has become popular among people in the forestry industry because of its power and value. It has a 62cc engine with a 20-inch bar that has enough power to mill any lumber on any average size log. It weighs 13 lbs which makes it lightweight enough to work in any condition efficiently. It has an easy start system with a decompression valve that helps you get to work efficiently. It has safety features that include a low kickback bar and chain, and a chain brake mechanism, the placement of its grip and handles provide the user with balance while working.
- 62cc engine
- 20-inch bar
- Easy start mechanism
- Decompression valve
- Brand: TIMBERPRO
- Model: TIMBERPRO PROFESSIONAL SERIES GAS POWERED CHAINSAW
- Color: Red and Black
- It is lightweight
- It is easy to adjust
- It has excellent balance
- It has an easy start system
- It only has a six months commercial warranty
ECHO 20 in. 59.8 cc Gas Chain Saw
The ECHO 20 in. 59.8 cc Gas Chain Saw is the best chainsaw for the Alaskan mill, with its 59.8cc 2-stroke motor it can go through logs with ease, it releases a 3.9 horsepower. It has a 20-inch bar you can work with, and you will be able to mill lumber from pretty large trees. It features a translucent fuel tank that allows you to see the level of your fuel at any time. It also has an anti-vibration handle.
- 59.8cc engine
- 2-stroke motor
- 3.9 horsepower
- 20-inch bar
- Translucent fuel tank
- Anti-vibration handle
- Brand: ECHO
- Model: ECHO 20 in. 59.8 cc Gas Chain Saw
- Color: Orange and Black
- Its translucent fuel tank comes in handy
- It has a strong 59.8cc 2-stroke motor
- It has a five years warranty
- It has no vibration reduction system, so arms feel all the vibration which causes exhaustion
BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Chainsaw, 10-Inch (LCS1020)
The BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 Chainsaw is made out of hard plastic and metal, which makes it lightweight. On the powerhead of the saw, you can see an oil cap and oil primer that are easily accessible. The oil reservoir has a translucent window that allows you to monitor the level of the chain oil. On the left side of the chainsaw is where you will find the power unit. The motor works on battery power, so you don’t have to stress with any cord. It uses a 20V Li-ion DC battery that is rechargeable, with a full charge you should have about 30 to 40 minutes when doing light woodcutting jobs. The length of the bar and chain is 10 inches which allows you to work with wood of up to 8 inches. This chainsaw is mostly used for lightweight woodworking.
This chainsaw comes with safety features such as a safety lockdown button to prevent accidental starting; there is also a rear handle guard which also serves the same purpose, it prevents debris from flying into the user’s hand. It has a low kickback, so if you handle it properly, you shouldn’t feel any kickback or back thrust.
- 20V Li-ion battery
- 10 inches bar and chain
- Tool-free chain tension adjustment
- Handle guard
- Brand: BLACK+DECKER
- Model: BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Chainsaw, 10-Inch (LCS1020)
- Color: Black and Orange
- It is great for close-quarters cutting
- You can use it even in tiny workspaces without any hassles
- It can make 200+ cuts of 1.5 inches thickness
- It has a rechargeable power source
- It can cut wood of up to 8 inches in thickness
- It is wireless, so you don’t have to fumble with cords
- It has safety features to prevent accidents
- Its tension adjustment is tool-free
- It is not suitable for heavy-duty woodworks
- It has no automated chain oil feeding system
COOCHEER 20-Inch Gas Chainsaw
The COOCHEER 20-Inch Gas Chainsaw is a more affordable chainsaw when compared to its counterparts. It offers you impressive features at a lower price. It features a 62cc engine that releases 3.5 horsepower, which is nearly the same range as the Husqvarna ad Echo but at a lower price. It is a bit heavier than the other chainsaws earlier mentioned, but it is suitable for all-day use and provides you with great features for its price. It has a 20-inch bar with a cutting diameter of 27 inches to 33 inches which will meet most of your basic demands.
- 62cc 2-cycle engine
- 3.5 horsepower
- Air filter system
- Automatic chain oiler
- Speed of up to 8500 rpm
- Comfortable handle
- Brand: COOCHEER
- Model: COOCHEER 20-Inch Gas Chainsaw
- Color: Black and Brick Red
- It is affordable
- It has a strong 62cc motor with an output of 3.5 horsepower
- It is suitable for all-day use
- It weighs more than other similar chainsaws
POULAN PRO 50CC GAS POWERED CHAIN SAW
The Poulan Pro PR5020 is a chainsaw that is the combination of usability and power. It is a gas-powered chainsaw that has a 50cc engine with a 2-cycle engine type. Its chain and bar length is 20 inches and can reach a cutting speed of 27.8mm per second, which is sufficient for most professionals. Its engine can reduce emissions to 70% and also conserve fuel, and these features are important when it comes to the engine of a chainsaw. It has a rotating power of 9000 RPM, which is more than enough power to deal with any kind of wood.
It features a quick-start system which makes working easier. It’s over construction is great, it has reduced noise and vibration which allows you to use it indoors, the controls are easily accessible. It effective air filter makes sure that debris doesn’t build up inside the mechanical parts of the chainsaw, so you don’t have to bother so much about the air filter. This chainsaw allows adjustments, so you can adjust it to suit your needs. It has safety features that include an easy-grip handle, a low kickback bar and chain and also a chain brake.
- 50cc engine
- 2-cycle engine type
- 20 inches bar and chain
- Speed of 27.8m per second
- Minimal fuel use
- Reduces emissions by 70%
- Rotating power of 9000 RPM
- Quick start
- Air filter system
- Safety features
- Anti-vibration with reduced noise
- Weighs 17 pounds
- Brand: POULAN PRO
- Model: POULAN PRO 50CC GAS POWERED CHAIN SAW
- Color: Black and Yellow
- It is strong and durable
- It has a quick start with over 30% faster startup time
- It idles nicely
- It use less oil than other chainsaws with 50cc engines
- It is lightweight and portable
- It has a low kickback
- Its chain tension adjustment is easily accessible
- It has multiple tool storage in its handle
- It saves up emissions
- It has an anti-vibration design with less noise output
- It is more suitable for heavy-duty woodworks and might not be ideal for lightweight jobs
- It has a flexible bar, but it can be changed
- The ignition modules might have issues but are covered under the warranty
XtremepowerUS 22-Inch Gas Chainsaw
The XtremepowerUS Gas Chainsaw is a great and affordable alternative to the Husqvarna and Echo chainsaws. However, it is not as powerful, but it still has some nice features that make it a useful chainsaw. It has a 22-inch bar which is 2 inches longer than most other chainsaws, and this allows you to mill much larger lumbers.
It has an easy start, unlike other gas-powered chainsaws. It has a 45cc motor releasing 2.4 horsepower. That is not bad for everyday regular chainsaw jobs, but using this chainsaw to mill will be pushing it to its limits. Even though it is less powerful when compared to other chainsaws, it is actually heavier than most chainsaws. This chainsaw is EPA approved, so it doesn’t have that much impact on the environment.
- 22-inch bar
- 45cc 2-stroke engine
- 2.4 horsepower output
- EPA approved
- Engine clean air intake system
- EcoBoost engine to reduce emissions
- Anti-kickback chain
- An engine speed of 12000 rpm with cutting attachment
- Automatic oil feeding system
- Brand: XtremepowerUS
- Model: XtremepowerUS 22-Inch Gas Chainsaw
- Color: Orange and Black
- It is affordable
- It has a quick start
- Its 22-inch bar has more reach than some of its counterparts
- It is EPA approved
- It has an engine clean air system, so you don’t have to bother about debris getting stuck in the engine or mechanical parts
- It is not as strong as its counterparts; its 45cc motor only releases 2.4 horsepower
- It is heavier than other chainsaws
WORX WG304.1 Chain Saw
The WORX company is well known when it comes to the manufacturing of chainsaws. They have a series of chainsaws that are widely used. This chainsaw has a powerful motor and has an amperage of 15 amps which releases four horsepower. It has an automatic oiling system which saves you time and prevents frustration. This chainsaw can work for hours because its motor is self-cooling.
The WORX WG304.1 Chain Saw has safety features that include a chain brake to prevent kickback injuries, and an auto chain tensioning system. Its ergonomic handgrip makes it easy to handle the chainsaw while using it.
- Motor power of 15 amps
- 4 horsepower output
- Chain speed of 12 meters per second
- 18 inches bar length
- Electric power source
- Voltage of 120
- Corded type
- Brand: WORX
- Model: WORX WG304.1 Chain Saw
- Color: Black and Orange
- It is easy to operate
- It is beginner-friendly
- It is lightweight
- It has an awesome amount of power
- It use more oil because it is automatic
- The chains adjustable knob may loosen when working with tough wood
Greenworks G-MAX 40V 16-Inch Cordless Chainsaw
The Greenworks G-MAX 40V Cordless Chainsaw is a lightweight and can work for hours with ease. It features a brushless motor that releases 30% torque and decreases vibration up to 70%. The tank is translucent so you can always keep an eye on the oil level. It has a 16-inch chain that has an auto tensioning system that keeps the chain tight. You don’t have to worry about the battery because it is long-lasting.
The safety features of this chainsaw include a chain brake and a low kickback chain to prevent injuries by reducing the kickbacks.
- 16 inches chain and bar
- Brushless motor
- 30% torque
- Chain brake
- Automatic chain tensioning
- Electric start button
- Automatic oiler
- Lithium battery
- Voltage of 40
- Brand: Greenworks
- Model: Greenworks G-MAX 40V 16-Inch Cordless Chainsaw
- Color: Green and Black
- It is a powerful chainsaw
- It has a long-lasting battery
- It is lightweight
- It is durable
- It is safe to operate
- It may have oil leaks
Buying Guide Questions
What is the best chainsaw for milling?
We choose the Husqvarna 460 as the best chainsaw for milling. It has a capable engine and bar length that allows you to mill any lumber of varying thickness with ease. It comes with safety features that make it easy to work with without any worries.
What size chainsaw do I need for milling?
When it comes to the size of the chainsaw most suitable for milling, it is advised to go with a chainsaw that has a 50cc engine and a 20-inch bar. The more powerful a chainsaw is, the easier and faster you will be able to get the job done.
How big of a chainsaw do I need for an Alaskan mill?
When you attach a chainsaw to a mill, the chainsaw loses about 2 inches to 4 inches of width, so you should purchase a chainsaw with an engine displacement of 60cc or more. It allows you to get the most out of your work.
How many cc is a chainsaw mill?
To run the smallest chainsaw mill, you need a chainsaw of about 50cc. The more powerful the chainsaw is, the easier you can mill lumber.
What chainsaws do professionals use?
Chainsaws vary in manufacturers and power, but the most famous chainsaw among professionals is the STIHL brand. It is the #1 selling brand of gasoline-powered chainsaws.
What’s better Husqvarna or Stihl?
When you ask loggers which they prefer, you will find out that it is usually a 50/50 split. They both have unique features which make them loved by loggers.
How big of a chainsaw do I need to cut down a tree?
When choosing a chainsaw to cut a tree, the basic guide is that the chainsaw should be 2 inches longer than the thickness of the tree. If the tree is 10 inches thick, then the chainsaw’s guide bar should be 12 inches long
Is it worth milling your own lumber?
As long as you have the mental fortitude to embark on this journey, you will find out it is a way to save or make money and also improve your skills.
How long should logs dry before sawing?
It is usually said that lumber should be allowed one year of drying time per inch of wood thickness, but there are faster ways to dry logs such as the use of a kiln. But a log should at least take one to two years to properly dry.
Does a ripping chain cut faster?
A ripping chain does not cut faster than a regular chain, but it cuts better than a regular chain. A ripping chain has a special factory grind for making planks from large timber.
What is the best size chainsaw for cutting firewood?
You will need a chainsaw that can cut through the wood at once. The most preferred length for cutting firewood is 18 inches, it can handle 90% of the trees you will cut, and 20 to 24-inch chainsaw can handle the remaining 10%.
What is the best chainsaw for cutting trees?
A chainsaw that has a bar length of 12 inches to 20 inches is suitable for cutting a tree, depending on the thickness of the tree to be cut.
Milling lumber requires a chainsaw with lots of power, so the bar length depends on the lumber you intend on milling. After reading this review, choosing a chainsaw for milling should be so much easier.