The Best Chainsaw Mill for Milling Lumber
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The Best Chainsaw Mill for Milling Lumber

With lumber prices getting higher and higher, many people are looking for alternatives to buy their materials at their local big box hardware store. Cutting and milling your own lumber is a great alternative that is cheaper, more sustainable, and overall better for the environment. To do this, though, you’ll have to make sure you have all the right tools and equipment.

Finding the best chainsaw mill for milling lumber can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Not all chainsaw mills are the same and finding the right one to suit your volume and needs is crucial to make this undertaking worth the extra time and work. That’s why we’ve put together a list of all the best chainsaw mills on the market to help you find the right one for your purposes.

Backyard Boss Top 5 Chainsaw Mills for Milling Lumber

PRODUCT FEATURES
SurmountWay Portable Chainsaw Mill - The Best Chainsaw Mill for Milling LumberSurmountWay Portable Chainsaw Mill
  • Max Size: 36
  • Materials: Galvanized Steel
  • Weight: 17.75 Pounds
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ALASKAN Granberg Chain Saw Mill - The Best Chainsaw Mill for Milling LumberALASKAN Granberg Chain Saw Mill
  • Max Size: 20
  • Materials: Steel
  • Weight: 2 Pounds
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Timber Tuff TMS-24, 24 Saw Mill - The Best Chainsaw Mill for Milling LumberTimber Tuff TMS-24, 24 Saw Mill
  • Max Size: 24
  • Materials: Aluminum
  • Weight: 14 Pounds
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Strongway Mini Mill and Edger - The Best Chainsaw Mill for Milling LumberStrongway Mini Mill and Edger
  • Max Size: 24
  • Materials: Aluminum
  • Weight: N/A
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Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill - The Best Chainsaw Mill for Milling LumberCarmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill
  • Max Size: 48
  • Materials: Steel
  • Weight: 19 Pounds
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Why You Can Trust Us

Over my years as a contractor and woodworker, I’ve always been curious about milling my lumber. While it’s convenient to just go to a lumber yard to buy it, the prices of wood have recently increased and I’ve often wondered if there was a cheaper, more sustainable way to cut my own. That was when I discovered chainsaw mills and all the benefits they can offer.

I know what it’s like to work on a job site and have to bring in all my equipment and tools. Having the right gear that is portable, easy to use, and safe is crucial to the success of any job and can make or break a day on the worksite. I’ve used this knowledge to sort through the available chainsaw mills on the market and find the best models that will be convenient and usable no matter where you’re cutting your wood.

Best Heavy-Duty Chainsaw Mill

SurmountWay Portable Chainsaw Mill
    This heavy-duty mill is perfect for people who need a deeper cut and want to cut wider lumber.

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Why We Like It: The SurmountWay Portable Chainsaw Mill is a professional-grade mill that is perfect for cutting lumber on site or back at the workshop. Designed to be used by amateurs and professionals alike, it’s constructed out of aluminum and galvanized steel for a durable, heavy-duty finish. If you need a mill that can take a lot of use and abuse and remain straight and smooth, this could be a great option for you.

This mill fits a length of 14-36 inches, so you can make a wide variety of cuts on different sizes of logs. Being able to cut through multiple depths is an important feature for any mill and this one gives you many options in that department.

Who Should Buy It: People who want to be able to cut large logs for their lumber and don’t want to worry about their mill getting knocked out of alignment or bending.

Best Portable Chainsaw Mill

ALASKAN Granberg Chain Saw Mill
    This portable chainsaw mill is great for people who need to work out in the field and don't want to haul out a lot of equipment.

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Why We Like It: This ALASKAN Granberg Chain Saw Mill is designed to be carried out into the woods easily without taking up too much space on your truck or in your toolbox. Even though this mill is small, it can still make large cuts up to 18” wide and 13” deep. This is more than enough to handle even heavier duty jobs and large pieces of wood.

Made with aircraft aluminum and zinc-plated steel, it’s designed to be carried onto the job site without being a heavy burden. It can also be used without any previous experience and doesn’t require much preparation to be ready for work. If you need a portable option, this could be the right choice for you.

Who Should Buy It: People who want a mill that is easy to bring to a job site and won’t take up a lot of space in the truck or at the site.

Best Versatile Chainsaw Mill

Timber Tuff TMS-24, 24 Saw Mill
    This 24 saw mill has a simple design and attaches directly to the cutting bar.

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Why We Like It: The Timber Tuff TMS-24, 24″ Saw Mill is an incredibly versatile chainsaw mill that can cut planks between .2” and 11.8” for the widest possible range of board thickness. By having this kind of variable width, you can cut wood for nearly any purpose without having to change mills or take your lumber to a milling facility.

The Timber Tuff mill weighs under 14 pounds and attaches directly to the chainsaw bar for the best possible connectivity and ease of use. Anyone can use this mill to get their logs to the exact thickness they need. If you want to be able to cut wood to a specific width for a job, this could be a great option for you.

Who Should Buy It: People who need a mill that can cut exact widths and create lumber that is custom cut to their specifications.

Best Mini Chainsaw Mill

Strongway Mini Mill and Edger
    This small, lightweight mill is perfect for people who need to do smaller jobs and don't need a large, unwieldy mill.

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Why We Like It: If you’re looking for the smallest possible chainsaw mill that you can carry with you almost anywhere, the Strongway Mini Mill could be a great choice. 

Perfect for making precision cuts with a high degree of accuracy, this is a good option for people who are making smaller pieces of lumber for more intricate projects. Even though this is a small mill, it can still cut logs up to 24” and can fit any chainsaw with bars up to 24”.

Who Should Buy It: People who need to make smaller cuts and create more intricate pieces of wood for detail and trim work.

Best Chainsaw Mill for Deep Cuts

Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill
    This high-quality large-scale mill attaches to your saw with no drifting bar for easy use.

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Why We Like It: The Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill is a high-quality mill that is designed for large logs and creating wide planks that other mills just can’t accommodate. Designed to cut cedar, walnut, and oak, it can cut logs up to 48” for wide planks and larger pieces of lumber that you might otherwise have to go to a professional mill for.

Built out of steel and aluminum, this mill is meant for larger jobs and creating lumber that is wide and expansive. On top of this, you can use it without a drilling bar. Your chainsaw simply attaches into a clamp and you’re ready to start making those deep cuts.

Who Should Buy It: People who need to cut larger pieces of lumber and don’t want to have to modify their chainsaws by adding a drilling bar.

How to Use a Chainsaw Mill

A chainsaw mill is essentially a rack that your chainsaw attaches to that is then fixed onto a large log so it can be cut into large strips of lumber. Normally, you would have to take your large pieces of wood from a felled tree into a professional lumber mill to get it cut into smaller, more manageable pieces. With a chainsaw mill, you can cut and prep a log into lumber right where you cut down the tree and come home with finished, ready-to-use wood for your projects.

A chainsaw mill has slabbing rails that you set up on the log to guide the saw. The saw sits horizontally in the mill and is run along the rails, which are attached to the log you’re cutting. Once you’ve made the first cut, you can let the mill run along the flat top of the log where you cut it the first time. This allows you to make cuts with a good amount of precision and do it uniformly so all your lumber will be the same width and height.

When you’re using a chainsaw mill, safety is of the utmost importance. Always wear eye protection. You’ll be creating a massive amount of dust with every cut and you don’t want to have to take your eye off the saw. You should also follow through with every cut since it’ll be difficult to remove the saw if it has only cut halfway through the log.

Man With Chainsaw
Image credits:
Abby Savage via Unsplash

Which Chainsaw to Use With Your Mill

If you’re going to be milling large pieces of wood, your number one priority should be finding the right chainsaw to do it with. While a high-quality mill is important, the saw you use to make your cuts is even more. Making sure that it’s powerful enough and correctly set up will make the job much easier for you and allow you to work much faster. It’ll also keep you safe while you’re doing the job. Your tools should always be sharp and powerful enough so that you don’t have to force them through what you’re trying to cut.

Always use a gas chainsaw for any kind of milling work. Some electric chainsaws will be powerful enough to mill logs with, but they’re generally going to be very expensive and intended for commercial use. The electric saws you can get at the hardware store aren’t powerful enough and you could end up injuring yourself. You should also make sure that your chainsaw is gassed up before you start working because pulling a dead saw out of a half-cut log is incredibly difficult.

Make sure that your saw is set up correctly for making these kinds of long cuts. You can equip your chainsaw with ripping chains to help facilitate the long cuts. Ripping chains have a rougher bite and will help keep your chainsaw cool as you work. They’re meant to be used for longer periods, so they’ll be easier on your chainsaw’s engine and other moving parts.

Cut Logs
Image credits:
Simon Maage via Unsplash

How We Picked

In our search through the marketplace for chainsaw mills, we looked for options that will be able to get the job done. We looked for mills that are made of heavy-duty steel and aluminum that won’t bend or come apart when you’re trying to make a long cut. These materials also help ensure safety by keeping your saw where it’s supposed to be as you move it along the rails.

We also looked for mills that you can bring out to the job site. Most people can’t bring an entire felled tree back to their workshop, so being able to move the mill easily is an essential feature.

Our Verdict for the Best Chainsaw Mill

All of the mills that we chose for our list can deliver a high-quality, consistent cut that can help you break down logs quickly and safely. The best overall mill, though, is the SurmountWay Portable Chainsaw Mill for its durability and ability to handle the hardest woods and largest logs. No matter what you throw at it, it will be able to cut it.

Finding the right chainsaw mill can help you stay safe and save you money on milling and lumber costs. By getting a mill that is made with high-quality components, you can be sure that your planks will be evenly cut and that you won’t be wasting any wood. 

If you have a favorite chainsaw mill that you use for breaking down logs and creating your lumber, let us know in the comments below!

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