Milling lumber is a rewarding process that allows you to convert logs into usable beams and planks for various projects. However, selecting the right chainsaw mill can be a challenging task, considering the vast range of options and specifications available. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the top chainsaw mills on the market and provide a detailed analysis of their features, pros, and cons. With this information, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision and choose the best chainsaw mill for your milling needs.
What is a Chainsaw Mill?
A chainsaw mill is a portable tool that attaches to your chainsaw, guiding it through the process of cutting logs into accurate, even beams or planks. These mills are designed to be sturdy, portable, and easy to use, offering a versatile and convenient solution for milling lumber. They are an ideal choice for DIYers, woodworkers, and professionals alike.
Why Do You Need a Chainsaw Mill?
There are several benefits to using a chainsaw mill for milling lumber, including:
- Affordability: Chainsaw mills are significantly cheaper than traditional large-scale sawmills, making them a cost-effective solution for those who don’t require the capacity of a larger mill.
- Portability: Chainsaw mills are compact and lightweight, allowing you to transport them easily to different locations or remote job sites.
- Convenience: These mills simplify the process of converting logs into lumber, providing a quick and efficient method for creating custom-sized beams and planks.
- Easy to Operate: Chainsaw mills are user-friendly, requiring minimal experience and training to set up and use effectively.
Factors to Consider While Buying a Chainsaw Mill
When choosing the best chainsaw mill for your needs, there are several factors to take into account:
- Compatibility: Ensure that the chainsaw mill is compatible with your existing chainsaw, as this will affect the ease of installation and overall performance.
- Bar Capacity: The bar capacity determines the maximum width of the logs that can be processed with the chainsaw mill. Choose a mill with a suitable bar capacity based on the size of the logs you plan to mill.
- Cutting Depth: Consider the maximum cutting depth of the chainsaw mill, as this will impact the thickness of the lumber that can be produced.
- Weight: The weight of the chainsaw mill affects its portability and ease of transport. Opt for a lightweight mill if you need to move it frequently between job sites.
- Operating Personnel: Chainsaw mills typically require one or two people to operate effectively. Ensure that you have the necessary personnel available to operate the mill safely and efficiently.
- Durability: Look for a chainsaw mill constructed from high-quality materials, such as aircraft-grade aluminum and zinc-plated steel, to ensure long-lasting performance and durability.
Best Chainsaw Mills on the Market
After thorough research and analysis, we’ve compiled a list of the best chainsaw mills currently available. Each of these mills offers a unique combination of features, performance, and value to suit a range of milling needs.
1. Best Overall: Granberg G778 36-Inch Alaskan MKIV Chainsaw Mill
The Granberg G778 36-Inch Alaskan MKIV Chainsaw Mill is our top pick for its exceptional build quality, ease of use, and versatile functionality. This mill is designed to work with chainsaw bars from 20 inches to 36 inches and has a cutting capacity of ½ inch to 13 inches thick and 32 inches wide. Made from aircraft-grade aluminum and zinc-plated steel, this chainsaw mill is both lightweight and durable. Check Price Here
- High-quality construction ensures long-lasting performance
- Easy to set up and use, with clear depth scale markings
- Can be configured for left- or right-handed users
- Higher price point than some competitors
- Assembly can take up to 30 minutes
2. Best Value: HiHydro 36-Inch Portable Chainsaw Mill
The HiHydro 36-Inch Portable Chainsaw Mill offers premium features at a budget-friendly price point. Constructed from high-quality steel and aluminum, this mill is compatible with chainsaw bars ranging from 14 inches to 36 inches. The cutting capacity is adjustable from ½ inch to 13 inches thick and up to 36 inches wide, making it a versatile option for various milling projects.
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- Excellent value for the price
- Easy to assemble and use
- Wide range of compatible chainsaw sizes
- Instructions for assembly could be clearer
3. Best for Beginners: Granberg Alaskan Chainsaw Mill G777
The Granberg Alaskan Chainsaw Mill G777 is an excellent choice for beginners, offering easy operation and a user-friendly design. This mill works with chainsaw bars up to 20 inches and can cut lumber between ½ inch and 13 inches thick and up to 17 inches wide. Constructed from aircraft aluminum and zinc-plated steel, it also includes a clear polycarbonate safety guard for added protection during use. Get Latest Price Here
- Easy to use, even for novice operators
- Sturdy construction for long-lasting durability
- Includes a safety guard for added protection
- Some complaints about bolts holding the mill together
4. Best Lightweight: Haddon Lumbermaker Chainsaw Accessory
Weighing in at just 4 pounds, the Haddon Lumbermaker Chainsaw Accessory is an ideal choice for those seeking a lightweight chainsaw mill. This highly-rated model attaches to any standard chainsaw and uses a 2 x 4-inch or 2 x 6-inch guideboard to create straight, even cuts on any size log. Check Price Here
- Easy to use with practice
- Compatible with any size chainsaw
- Lightweight design makes it highly portable
- Somewhat expensive given its simplicity
5. Best Heavy-Duty: Norwood PortaMill Chainsaw Sawmill
For a heavy-duty chainsaw mill, the Norwood PortaMill Chainsaw Sawmill stands out for its robust construction and unique design. This mill uses a household extension ladder as a track and features a sawhead that moves along the length of the log. It works with chainsaw bars up to 22 inches and chainsaws with a motor capacity of 65 cc or higher, making it suitable for larger milling projects. Get Price Here
- Ideal for heavy-duty milling tasks
- Faster and easier to use than standard Alaskan sawmills
- Offers a close alternative to a true portable sawmill
- Some complaints about bolts coming loose
- Expensive compared to other options
Safety Considerations When Using a Chainsaw Mill
Before using a chainsaw mill, it’s essential to take proper safety precautions. Ensure that you have the required protective gear, including head protection, eye protection, protective pants, gloves, proper footwear, and hearing protection. Operating a chainsaw mill without adequate protective gear can be dangerous for both you and those around you.
Additionally, make sure your chainsaw mill is placed in a location inaccessible to pets and children, as operating the mill near them can pose significant safety risks.
Final Thoughts – Best Chainsaw Mill
Selecting the best chainsaw mill for your needs is crucial for successful milling projects. By considering factors such as compatibility, bar capacity, cutting depth, weight, and durability, you can choose a chainsaw mill that suits your requirements and budget. With the comprehensive information provided in this guide, you’re now well-equipped to make an informed decision and invest in the perfect chainsaw mill for your milling needs.