A chainsaw mill is a type of sawmill that makes clean cuts, evens beams, or makes planks from logs. We researched dozens of the best chainsaw mills and judged them on their portability, sturdiness, accuracy, and ease of use.
There are many chainsaw mills out there, and not all of them are made equal. I understand that it can be hard to decide what’s best for you. To help you find the best chainsaw mills, I wrote this complete guide. If you’re looking for some of the best chainsaw mills, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the best chainsaw mills.
Table of Contents
- What is a Chainsaw Mill?
- Why You Should Get a Chainsaw Mill
- Chainsaw Mill Buying Guide
- Chainsaw Compatibility
- The Best Chainsaw Mills – Reviewed
- Best Chainsaw Mill Brands
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping Up
What is a Chainsaw Mill?
First, let’s quickly go over what a chainsaw mill is. Chainsaw mills involve a straightforward metal frame that attaches to the chainsaw bar on a chainsaw. It can be adjusted to change the depth of the cut.
Chainsaw mills are such a simple tool that, realistically, you could easily build one yourself. They’re usually not too expensive, but you will see an expensive one here and there. I think it’s a good idea for most to just buy one. With chainsaw mills, you have to set up two rails on top of the log to guide the first cut. However, after that, the chainsaw mill just rides along with the previous cut you made. I am a fan of chainsaw mills mostly because of their simplicity. It’s also cheaper to make your own lumber with a chainsaw and a chainsaw mill.
Let me put this into perspective for you. If you don’t own a chainsaw and a chainsaw mill already and have decided that you want to start making some lumber, you could be making your own lumber for about $500 for a small chainsaw and a chainsaw mill attachment.
Why You Should Get a Chainsaw Mill
Here are a few reasons why you should get a chainsaw mill.
A Chainsaw Mill Will Help You Save Money
You may have heard of or even looked into purchasing a bandsaw mill. You probably learned relatively quickly that those tools can run into the territory involving five figures. This can be pretty unreasonable if you’ll only be working with a small amount of lumber. It’s more cost-effective for you to get a chainsaw mill instead. Furthermore, if you decide to mill your lumber, especially if you are working on a property with many trees, it’s best to invest in a chainsaw mill which will most likely always be cheaper than a bandsaw mill.
They’re Fun if You Love to Complete DIY Projects
Are you a hobbyist craftsman or woodworker? If the answer to that question is yes, then a chainsaw mill is a great option for you because it’s an awesome tool for small DIY projects. You can use a chainsaw mill to make whatever project you’re looking to make, like a cabinet, chair, shelving, and so much more, using the lumber you milled from your chainsaw mill.
However, I would like to mention that it’s important to note that chainsaw mills are only ideal for smaller DIY projects. This is because they are limited in how much they can produce. They’re not created to make vast amounts of lumber in both a short or long period of time. The process of turning log to lumber through a chainsaw mill is definitely slow. So if you’re looking to produce a commercial amount of lumer then it’s not the right tool for you.
They’re an Inexpensive Option if You Have a Powerful Chainsaw
Chainsaws can be bought for cheap, but usually, budget-friendly ones are not very powerful. I understand that buying a powerful chainsaw can be costly, but once you have invested in one, a chainsaw mill is both inexpensive and a great way to turn all the logs you have into usable lumber.
Chainsaw Mills Offer Superior Portability
Chainsaw mills are extremely portable. They’re light and not too large, which gives you a lot of flexibility. This is especially true if you have to take it around with you to mill your freshly cut lumber.
Chainsaw Mill Buying Guide
Don’t invest in a tool without first doing your research. An understanding of the most important characteristics and features will help you select the model that best meets your individual needs and preferences.
Here are the most important factors to remember:
You must make sure that the mill you choose is compatible with your chainsaw model and bar length.
The best chainsaw mills have durable construction, typically from steel, aluminum, or a mixture of both.
You must select a chainsaw mill with a large enough bar capacity to fit around the diameter of the logs you plan to cut.
Although cutting depth is adjustable, it’s important to think about the deepest cutting depth setting when buying a new chainsaw mill as this dictates the maximum thickness of your milled lumber.
Although lightweight models are more portable, they are somewhat less steady and more difficult to use than heavier models.
Number of Users
Most chainsaw mills can be used by a single user. Some larger models, however, require two users.
Not only is a chainsaw mill manufactured by a reputable brand likely higher quality, but they typically come with the best warranties as well.
The Best Chainsaw Mills – Reviewed
Here are the top three best chainsaw mills you can purchase today.
GRANBERG Alaskan Mark-IV Chainsaw Mill
The Granberg Alaskan Mark-IV Chainsaw Mill has a high-quality build, is easy to use, and has versatile capacity.
This chainsaw mill is so sturdy because it combines heavy-duty zinc-plated steel and aluminum. You should be prepared to take some time to put it together; in our research, I found that it takes around 30 minutes to assemble. So don’t expect to be able to use it right when you get your hands on it. However, once it’s assembled, the adjustment and clamping are fast, thanks to the clearly marked depth scales. It weighs in at 20 pounds, making it extremely portable as well.
The Granberg Alaskan Mark-IV Chainsaw Mill is designed to work with chainsaws that are a maximum of 36 inches. On top of that, the manufacturer recommends your chainsaw have a motor capacity of 70cc or better. It can work with smaller chainsaws, but if you’ll be working with a smaller chainsaw, I recommend you consider a chainsaw mill that’s lower in cost.
What we like:
- The Granberg Mark-IV is a high-quality tool
- It’s made in the United States
- The tool is easy to set up and assemble
- Makes accurate cuts
What we don’t like:
- The small bars restrict the mills capacity
Timber Tuff TMS-24, 24″ Saw Mill
The Timber Tuff TMS-24, 24” Chainsaw Mill is great for its value and performance so this is definitely an option to consider. This Timber Tuff TMS-24 mill works with chainsaw bars that are 16-inch to 24-inch. This chainsaw mill is built from aluminum that is aircraft-grade and stainless steel. This combination of materials is perfect for balancing durability and lightweight. It’s also easy to use and set up.
The Timber Tuff Portable Chainsaw Mill weighs under 14 pounds, making it very portable. It can cut planks of lumber anywhere from 0.2 inches to 11.8 inches thick, and it quickly attaches to your chainsaw with the included hardware.
What We Like
- Easy to use and assemble
- Can handle fairly large trees well
What We Don’t Like
- There are a few complaints about the screws that hold the tool together
Norwood PortaMill Chainsaw Sawmill
If you’re looking for a more heavy-duty chainsaw mill the Norwood Portamill PM14 Chainsaw Mill may be a worthwhile investment. This mill uses an extension ladder as a track and the saw head passes along the length of the log.
This chainsaw mill works with chainsaw bars that measure up to 22 inches and models that have a motor of 65 cc or high. It can handle logs that are a maximum of 14 inches in diameter. Also, lumber that is up to 8 inches wide can be cut. This model is faster and easier to use than a standard sawmill and is an excellent purchase for anyone who plans to mill a large quantity of logs.
What We Like
- Useful for remote locations
- Faster than regular chainsaw mills
What We Don’t Like
- Some complaints of the bolts coming loose
Best Chainsaw Mill Brands
Take even just a cursory glance at chainsaw mills online or in a store and you’ll notice there are dozens of brands available. Although most brands produce top-quality products, there are more than a few phonies out there producing lackluster equipment and riding on the popularity of chainsaw mills.
Our short list of the best chainsaw mill brands will point you in the direction of reputable manufacturers:
Granberg, short for Granberg International, is the number one name in the world of chainsaw mills. Founded in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, the company is still family owned and operated more than 60 years later. They’re dedicated to manufacturing the highest-quality, American-made chainsaw mills and accessories.
Granberg sells a wide range of chainsaw mills to fit a variety of chainsaw models and sizes. All of them are simple yet very accurate. Most of their products come with a lifetime warranty.
This brand, also known as Norwood Sawmills, is a big deal in the world of sawmills, chainsaw mills, and related accessories. They manufacturer a long list of models, most notably their portable sawmills and portable chainsaw sawmills.
Norwood makes all of its products in North America. They’re notable for their patented designs, extremely durable chainsaw mills, and 2-year warranties available for most products.
Timber Tuff Tools is another leader in top-quality chainsaw tools and accessories, including some of the world’s best chainsaw mills. Created by BAC Industries and sold under the Timber Tuff banner, their chainsaw mills are created with top-of-the-line performance and quality in mind. All of their chainsaw mills are durable, accurate, and simple. They work well for small or large jobs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions about the best chainsaw mills:
Q: What kind of chainsaw do I need?
You can find a chainsaw mill compatible with most chainsaw models. Your best bet is to buy a chainsaw first and then buy a chainsaw mill that matches its bar dimensions.
Q: What size do I need?
Chainsaw mills are available in a variety of sizes. It’s important to select a chainsaw mill that matches the bar size of your chainsaw. Note that smaller models are more portable, although larger models are sometimes needed for bigger jobs.
Q: How do I care for and maintain my chainsaw mill?
Chainsaw mill care and maintenance is simple. Keep the device clean to ensure proper working order for years to come. Repair damaged parts right away to prevent further damage.
Q: How long will my chainsaw mill last?
No matter the manufacturer, your chainsaw mill should last at least a decade. The very best models will last for a lifetime with proper care, maintenance, and storage.
Q: How do I store a chainsaw mill?
Store your chainsaw mill in a dry location. Because of their robust design, they can withstand large temperature variations, so an unheated shed will do, although a temperature-controlled garage is best.
There are the best chainsaw mills! However, if we had to pick the best one out of all of these, we would have to go with the GRANBERG Alaskan Mark-IV Chainsaw Mill.
However, these are all great choices, so don’t be worried if it isn’t your top choice. I hope this buying guide helped you find the best option for you! Do you have a favorite chainsaw mill from this list? Do you own one of these already? If not, are you considering purchasing one now? Please feel free to comment; we would love to hear from you!
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