Using the best chainsaw mills is the perfect way to turn logs into lumber. With the help of a chainsaw, you can easily convert a tree into useable wood for furniture, housing, and more. A mill is a type of sawmill that will allow you to cut a tree into the perfect size of lumber that you need. But if you’ve never used a mill, then you may not know what types of options are available, the features to look for, or how to choose a model that’s built to last. That’s where I come in.
I’ve put together this buyer’s guide to show you exactly the features you need to ensure you end up with a tough mill, one that can handle any work you throw at it. I’ve also tested out many of the leading models, narrowing it down to six that will blow you away. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes each model, in addition to their best features and how they rated.
Chainsaw Mills Comparison Chart
RCTEC Chainsaw Mill
This is a thirty-six-inch long mill that will work with saws that are twelve to thirty-six inches. It features a cutting depth of twelve inches and will work for both small and big cutting jobs and any length of wood. The mill is made out of aluminum and stainless steel and features a portable design that allows you to make pro cuts quickly and easily. You can attach this mill using an adjustable side bracket, so you’re instantly ready to prep found wood, or take care of that wood pile.
- Great cutting depth
- Tightening the bar holder screws can be difficult
Installation is fast and easy, making it perfect for beginners. This model comes with a thirty-day money-back guarantee, so buyers can be confident purchasing this product at no risk. This model is perfect for personal and commercial use, is highly portable, and features the type of lightweight design that makes it easy to haul and store.
JMTAAT Chainsaw Mill
This mill will work with bar lengths ranging from fourteen to thirty-six inches. It has a cutting capacity for wood up to twelve inches thick and thirty-six inches wide. This model is made out of steel and aluminum and features a lightweight design, so hauling and storing this model is a cinch. This mill is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and woodworkers. It’s easy to use and adjust, so it’s also a great choice for beginners.
- Highly adjustable
- Compatible with a wide range of bar lengths
- Complicated assembly
This lightweight durable mill is easy to use and adjust, featuring the type of versatility that both amateur and pros are looking for. This top of the line model scored well in a variety of areas, but most buyers will love the highly portable design that allows them to easily haul this model into the woods, or from job site to job site.
Imony Chainsaw Mill
This leading model by Imony is made out of aluminum and 304 stainless steel. The lightweight construction and versatility is what makes this model such a big seller. The mill can fit saws that are ten to thirty-six inches in length and it has a cutting capacity of six-inches, which is lower than competing models. This tool is built tough and features a highly portable design, so you’ll have no problem hauling this model out to a job site or to the woods.
- Low price
- Low cutting depth
While the low cutting depth can be a disappointment for some people, the lifetime warranty is a huge incentive for most buyers. Additionally, the mill is very versatile and will work for most models of chainsaws. Built tough and a great buy for anyone in search of a pro-quality mill, Imony gives you every reason to buy this top of the line mill.
Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill
This mill is made out of aluminum and steel for improved durability. However, while durable, aluminum is also very light, so the addition of the aluminum helps to keep the weight of the mill down. This model is able to handle it all, including oak, walnut, cedar, and other types of high-quality wood. The mill has a cutting capacity that ranges from just half an inch all the way up to thirteen inches, with a max cutting width of thirty-six inches. It can also be easily attached to your saw without a drilling bar, so you’ll enjoy a fast and easy installation process. The manufacturer offers a thirty-day money-back guarantee, so you can try this model out risk-free and return it if you’re unsatisfied with its performance.
- High cutting capacity
- High cutting width
- User’s manual is very vague
Made out of steel and aluminum, this model is built tough, features a design that doesn’t require the use of a drilling bar, allowing for fast and easy installation, and it comes with a thirty-day money-back guarantee, so you can try this model out and see if it has what it takes to get the job done, at no risk to you.
HiHydro Portable Chainsaw Mill
This model is made out of aircraft-grade aluminum and stainless steel, so you’ll get a mill that’s incredibly durable, yet has a low weight, which will make hauling and transporting it a cinch. The mill is able to cut lumber or beams from half in inch up to thirteen inches thick. In terms of width, it has a max capacity of thirty-six inches. The steel parts of the mill are covered in chrome, while the aluminum parts of the mill are naturally rust-resistant. This model is sturdy, stable, and features a well-built design that can handle commercial use. Adjusting this model is also very simple, just use the pressure bolts on the chain bar to adjust the mill as needed.
- Easy assembly
- Lightweight design
- High cutting depth
- Bolts must be constantly tightened
This affordable and beginner-friendly mill is built tough and is easy to assemble. The lightweight design combined with its reputation for stability and durability makes this model a must-have for the pro or DIYer in need of a reliable mill they can use around the home or out in the field.
TTF Chainsaw Mill Attachment
Unlike most of the models in my top products list, this model is made entirely out of stainless steel, which means it’s going to be heavier than a mill that’s made out of aluminum and stainless steel. However, the heavier weight will also add to the mill’s stability, but it will also make it harder to transport and haul. This model is perfect for woodworkers, DIYers, and builders. It can handle cutting even the toughest wood including oak, walnut, and cedar. The model’s capable of making cuts ranging from half an inch thick up to thirteen inches thick and it will work for saws that are twenty-four to thirty-six inches. The manufacturer offers a one hundred percent satisfaction guarantee. If you’re unsatisfied with this model’s performance, you can contact the manufacturer directly.
- Easy to use
- Fast assembly
- Low price
This versatile mill by TTF is built tough and able to handle making deeper cuts at thirteen inches. The heavier design may be a drawback for the user who wants to haul the mill out to the woods and trim up found wood, but the added weight also makes this model more stable during use, which results in a faster and safer cutting process. This mill is recommended for both personal and pro use.
Chainsaw Mills Buyer’s Guide
A chainsaw mill will come equipped with a couple of rails that are designed to help you adjust the lumber’s thickness, allowing you to cut the wood into pieces narrow, wide, thin, thick, and long or short. These devices are designed to cut your work in half by helping you cut even, straight lines with your saw in order to achieve the perfect dimensions for your lumber, each and every time. A mill can also be highly portable, so you can take it to a work site, or bring the mill to a fallen tree you stumble upon in the woods, instead of hauling the log home.
Benefits of Chainsaw Mills
- Owning one of these tools offers plenty of benefits. First off, they are a much more affordable alternative to more expensive sawmills and bandsaw mills. They’re also compatible with most models of chainsaws.
- Most models are portable and lightweight, which makes them a great choice to use out in the field. You will no longer have to haul wood that has not been milled.
- You don’t need help to operate this type of mill, simply clamp it to your saw and you’re ready to start cutting.
- Despite their smaller size, they are impressively efficient. A top model is able to mill wood accurately with straight cuts to the desired thickness.
- These tools are highly adjustable, so you won’t be stuck with a model that can only provide one or two levels of thickness to choose from.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Using a Chainsaw Mill?
Just like with any other type of tool, there are some cons involved in using a mill. First of all, mills are basically hand tools, which means it will take some elbow grease to operate. Over the course of a few hours you’ll find that it can be very hard on your body.
Additionally, these hand tools are not as efficient as sawmills or bandsaw mills.
Of course, sawmills are larger, but they’re also more efficient at cutting up lumber and they don’t require the same amount of strength to operate. However, they also cost thousands of dollars, while the chainsaw mill is priced more affordably and will work for most budgets.
Other Important Features
There are many top models to choose from, each of which can work for both pro and amateur use. Below, you’ll find the different features available and how to choose the perfect model based on your wood milling needs.
Learning how to use a mill will save you plenty of time and money. If you work with wood on a professional level, then cutting your own wood will definitely be worth it financially. Now, you’ll no longer have to purchase your lumber from a third-party or hire someone to come in and cut the wood into lumber for you.
These models can be very efficient, but they’re also very expensive and may be too large for most people. A mill will take the best features of a sawmill, scaling them down into a portable, affordable, efficient tool.
Make sure the model you buy is compatible with the type of saws you own. You will need to find out if a mill is compatible with both your saw’s bar length and the model itself.
The model you choose must have a durable construction. Most high-quality tools are made out of aluminum or stainless steel or a combination of both.
Choose a tool that comes with a high enough bar capacity. You need a model that will fit around the diameter of wood you plan on cutting.
A mill features a cutting depth that’s highly adjustable. However, it’s still important to check out each model’s max cutting depth setting. This indicates the max thickness of lumber you can mill.
A lightweight mill is highly portable, yet they’re not quite as steady and can be more challenging to use compared to a heavier model.
Most mills are designed for singular use, however, there are some models that will require two users. These are the heavier mills.
Mills can cost anywhere from $50 up to $300. Portable models will be priced more affordably compared to stationary commercial quality mills. In most cases, if you’re using a mill to cut up wood on your property or for your latest woodworking project, then a more affordable portable mill will work just fine. Keep in mind, the larger the mill, the heavier duty it is, the higher the price tag.
Many manufacturers will include some type of warranty. On average, you’ll find a six to twelve-month warranty. Higher priced models will come with a lifetime warranty, which will give people more incentive to buy. When you’re shopping look for a model that has the minimum of a six-month warranty. This should give you plenty of time to test out the mill and determine if it’s defective.
Do I Need a Mill?
These mills offer a wide range of uses. Obviously, this tool is designed to mill logs into lumber. They will also help you to make level cuts at the perfect thickness. Anyone who needs a tool that can mill lumber often will benefit from using one of these tools.
If you only find yourself in need of a mill on rare occasions, then you may be better off heading to a local sawmill. These tools are designed for people that perform this type of work on a regular basis.
Using a Chainsaw Mill
Chainsaw accidents are all too common and they can lead to serious injuries or even death. Make sure when operating your chainsaw and mill that you wear the proper safety gear including goggles and gloves. Make sure you’re also wearing sturdy shoes, pants, and long sleeves. Remember, the wood you’re working with is going to be heavy. Because of this, you need to have a plan in place regarding how you’re going to handle it. It’s a good idea to have a friend or coworker on hand to give you some help if you need it.. Having an extra person around will also be important in the event something goes wrong.
Be sure that you have all the tools and supplies needed before you start cutting. Bring along a tape measure, saw sharpening kit, and fuel for your saw.
Cutting with a Mill
- The most important part of a mill is the rails. Because the wood you’re working with will have a rounded top, it’s important to set the slabbing rails to the correct height. Doing so allows the user to make a smooth, flat initial cut. The rails must extend past the ends of the wood in order to provide adequate support as you’re cutting.
- You must also keep an eye on the wood and make a note of any features in the wood that you want to preserve. Out of the entire job, setting up the first cut will be the most important part of the task. Once the first cut is completed, the rails can be removed.
- The next cut isn’t as important as the initial one, since the first cut will guide the future cuts. If you’re making other lumber, or if you’re making beams, then you need to make a second cut along the bottom of the wood. The majority of the time, these two cuts will be enough, resulting in lumber that’s partially finished.
- The biggest advantage is that it will allow you to begin working on the wood exactly where it fell, but you’ll be able to perfect it elsewhere using a tool that’s more precise than a chainsaw. Lumber that’s partially seasoned can be seasoned before it’s finished. There are many people that prefer to use a tool with a slimmer kerf, such as a bandsaw. You will often see partially finished lumber used for high-end types of wood.
- If you’re using a mill to finish the lumber then you must turn it to ninety-degrees in order to make the third cut. You’ll need to once again use the rails in order to guide your saw.
Mill Usage Tips
- It can take a while to get used to using a mill. Always anticipating that things can go wrong and having a little patience can make the job a little less frustrating in the beginning. During the learning phase, make sure you follow these tips:
- Always stop or start a cut slowly. This will improve the cleanliness and quality of your cuts.
- If you’re having a hard time making a straight cut, then use the rails
- Always begin and stop a cut slowly. Doing so can significantly improve how clean and straight your cuts will be.
- If you’re having trouble making a straight cut, then use the rails.
- With this type of cutting, you’ll have to be prepared for a high volume of sawdust. To prevent it from getting into your eyes, wear protective eyewear.
- Try to avoid running out of fuel during use. Make sure you check your saw’s fuel level, between cuts.
- Let the saw cool down after a long cut. Avoid shutting the saw off and keep the engine idling. However, you should wait a few minutes before you make your next cut.
- Have a plan for moving your wood once you’re finished cutting since the boards or wood slabs will be very heavy.
- Once you’ve made a cut, avoid immediately shutting off the engine and allow it to run ideally for thirty seconds in order to allow it to cool off.
- Milling will create a huge load of sawdust. Because of this, it’s always wise to place a log in a position that will ensure that the fumes and sawdust will be blown away from you as you work.
- While trimming a log, avoid moving the saw back and forth. This will cause a rough surface and gouging. Use a straight smooth action instead.
- If you’re milling hardwood that’s very dry, make sure you cut off several inches from the kick-off. This will prevent dulling the chain.
- When you’re cutting through a log, make sure you don’t stop in the middle. Take the time to trim the entire slab at once. I recommend using a saw that comes equipped with a throttle lock for this step.
- When possible, logs should be positioned from the ground. This guarantees a better working position for the user. If you’re cutting several logs, it will also prevent you from having to kneel down when you’re milling.
- Try placing the logs on a slope to make it less difficult. This way you can trim the log downhill and let gravity do the hard work for you.
- Check your mill for any loose bolts, nuts, and fasteners before you begin a job.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Big of a Mill Do I Need for a Chainsaw?
When you attach a mill to a saw, you end up losing approximately two to four inches of width. If you need to be able to make a twenty-four-inch cut, then you need to purchase a thirty-inch mill. A thirty-six-inch mill will also be a good choice if you want a model that will give you some extra room.
What is the Difference Between a Ripping Chain and a Regular Chain?
Ripping chains are special chains that are designed to cut at a parallel angle to the wood grain. The ripping chain features a special grind that’s used for making planks and boards from larger wood using a mill. This type of blunt filing angle will make ripping better than using a conventional chain.
What Size of Chainsaw is Best for Milling?
When it comes to milling, a 50 CC model will work for most jobs. The more powerful and bigger your saw is, the faster you’ll be able to get the job done. You’ll also enjoy smoother cuts and more control over the sawing process.
What is the Advantage of a Skip Tooth Chain?
This type of chain comes equipped with fewer teeth compared to a regular chain, which means it’s not going to drag as many teeth through the wood. With less drag, you won’t need as much power to cut through the wood. This means that the saw’s motor will run faster, which will keep it running more efficiently.
The best chainsaw mills are durable, offer the type of stability you need to keep the wood secure as you mill, and should be highly adjustable so you can cut wood at a variety of thickness levels. The models that I’ve included in my guide each scored well in a variety of areas, including durability, ease of use, construction, and overall quality. Once you become familiar with your new mill and how to use it for basic cuts you can use more complex setups. You’ll soon find that when it comes to your woodworking projects, the mill is an invaluable tool.
I hope this guide and my product recommendations will steer you in the right direction to find the perfect model that will meet your cutting needs and one that won’t hit your wallet too hard.