6 Best Chainsaws for Milling Lumber in 2021

Husqvarna 24 Inch 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw

TIMBERPRO Professional Series 62cc Chainsaw

Husqvarna 20 Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw

If you work with wood a lot, then you must know how difficult it is to find a good quality chainsaw with a milling attachment. Milling is a less difficult task with a lot of practice and the right chainsaw. Chainsaws are pretty expensive, so you need to do a lot of research before purchasing one; they are the best alternatives for wood mills that are even more expensive.

Chainsaws are powerful tools that can be very dangerous if used wrongly or on the wrong type of wood. Chainsaws work with a chain which is like teeth that sink into and cut wood into different sizes. The “chain” or cutting chain is the most vital component of a chain saw. It is made up of steel-made links which are held tightly by rivets (mechanical fastener). There are different types of chainsaws defined by the chain sizes. These types, along with the factors you need to consider before purchasing the best chainsaw for milling, have been discussed in this article.

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Chainsaws for milling lumber is a big investment, which is why you need to consider the reason for purchase and the necessity of the tool before purchasing one. You have to consider how often you mill lumber if you mill a few times a year or every day. This guide has some major keys that will help you make the best decision when buying a chainsaw for milling lumber.

What is a Chainsaw

A chainsaw is a powered saw with a motor and teeth fixed to a chain driven through the guide bar; they can either be gas-powered, electric, or battery-powered. This tool is a heavy-duty tool that requires a lot of technical knowledge and skill.

A chainsaw for milling is basically a regular chainsaw with a milling attachment; this milling attachment improves the efficiency of the tool and adds to its versatility. There are many standard milling attachments that could be fixed to a chainsaw; there’s the vertical milling attachment, universal attachment, high-speed milling attachment, rack milling attachment, to name a few.

How does it work?

Chainsaws operate the same way regardless of the type. They all work with a centrifugal clutch that’s powered by a thermal or an electric motor. The motor powers the rotating chain, which spins around a long steel plate called the guide bar with teeth attached to it to cut and fell trees of any size.

The motor works with a piston that’s pushed back and forth when energy is released from a battery, electrical source, or a fuel and gas mixture. The back and forth motion of this piston is converted into a rotary motion by a connecting rod and crank. Chainsaws are also equipped with a clutch that stops the spinning motion of the chain when the engine is still running. Gears then transfer power to the sprocket, which keeps the chain in place.

A chainsaw can be handled by anyone after enough training, but it’s a very dangerous piece of equipment nonetheless. The most common source of accidents is the kickback which happens when the chain gets stuck in something but the engine is still rotating. This causes the entire saw to fly backward towards the user leading to fatal injuries. This is why it’s necessary to wear the appropriate safety guard before using a chainsaw.

Types of Chainsaw Chains for Milling

As earlier said, chainsaws are defined by the different sizes of the chain; this is referred to as the chain profile. There are different types of chain profiles, these include

  • Ripping Chain

This type of chain is specifically designed for milling logs of wood into planks. It cuts at a very low angle, up to two times lower than that of the standard chain. It’s used when smaller chunks of wood need to be cut up.

  • Low Profile Chain

The low profile chain, also known as the lo-pro, produces cuts that are shorter than the standard chainsaw chain. This means they make shallower cuts and weigh much less than the standard. This type of chain is usually best for electric chainsaws with low horsepower.

  • Square Profile Chain

There are two types of wood, hardwood, and softwood. The square profile chain is used to cut into hardwood like oak. The teeth are usually very blunt, hard to sharpen, and used for logging work.

  • Narrow Kerf Chain

This type of chain profile makes a narrower cut than the standard chain; it’s used when you need to make thin cuts. This makes it remove less wood allowing the chainsaw to cut much faster and produce more precise cuts.

Factors to Consider when Buying the Best Chainsaw for Milling Lumber

Compatibility

Before buying a chainsaw, you need to ensure it’s designed to work well with your milling attachment. It’ll be a waste to have to buy more than one because it’s not compatible or not strong enough.

Power

The power of the chainsaw is the first thing to think about when searching for a chainsaw for milling. You need a high-powered chainsaw capable of cutting up the large logs into smaller pieces. A gas-powered chainsaw is the most preferred option; it uses a powerful two-stroke engine that requires an oil-gas mixture to work correctly. You can opt for any chainsaw with two horsepower or more than 50cc of power.

Bar and Chain Length

These are very vital features when shopping for a chainsaw for milling. The bar length determines the size of lumber you can cut. You can opt for a model that comes with a 20-inch bar and chain length. Choosing a bar length and chain may depend on what the chainsaw can handle or the type of wood you’re about to cut.

Chainsaw Safety Tips

A chainsaw is a very dangerous tool that could lead to fatal accidents if not used properly. There a few safety tips and guidelines to follow when using a chainsaw; these are discussed briefly below.

  • Ensure you maintain a proper standing position when using a chainsaw. It is advisable to use a boxer stance when using the tool as it helps you stay balanced on the ground. To assume this stance, put your left foot slightly in front of your right if you’re right-handed, place your feet the other way round if you’re left-handed. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and also keep your knees bent. The chainsaw is a very heavy tool that produces many vibrations; it is very easy to be thrown off or lose your balance when using the tool.
  • Keep both hands are on the saw, do not at any moment operate a chain saw with one hand. Keep your eyes on the bar or chain as you cut up the lumber.
  • Have the section of the lumber you want to cut planned out before using the machine. This is so you’ll know where the saw’s blade or chain will exit the log as you cut, so you don’t end up cutting yourself.
  • Never cut above your shoulders or from a ladder, this is very dangerous and will lead to severe injuries.
  • Use a chainsaw with a reduced kickback if you don’t have enough knowledge on the use of chainsaws. It is slower but also much safer to use.

Kickback is one of the major causes of accidents when using a chainsaw. Here are a few ways you can reduce kickback when using the chainsaw.

  1. Use both hands to firmly hold the chainsaw.
  2. Always beware of the guide bar’s nose when using the tool and ensure it doesn’t hit any object
  3. Wrap your thumb beneath the front handle

A chainsaw for milling is not something you buy very often, except it is needed for a specific task like milling. They are quite expensive and require a lot of training. To get the best out of your shopping experience, you have to do enough research on the best ones available on the market. In this review, we have provided you with a bit of information on the six best chainsaws for milling available on the market, along with some answers on the use and maintenance of a chainsaw with a milling attachment.

The 6 Best Chainsaws for Milling Lumber Are Reviewed Below

1

Husqvarna 24 Inch 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw

The Husqvarna 24 Inch 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw is a high-power multi-purpose chainsaw capable of doing all jobs, including milling lumber. It is designed with a 24-inch guide bar and chain. The chainsaw is gas-powered with a 60cc two-cycle engine that requires a gas and oil mixture to operate properly. The engine is built with an inertia-activated chain brake that makes the chainsaw safer to use. It has an incredible oil tank volume of 0.7 US pint and an oil capacity range of 6ml/min – 17 ml/min.

It features an automatic chain oiler that constantly delivers oil to the bar and chain to improve the machine’s efficiency. Its use side-mount chain system allows the user to easily and quickly adjust the chain when working. The chainsaw is designed to conserve fuel with its x-torque, reducing its emission, making it more eco-friendly. It has an effective air filter that’s very easy to clean and remove, requiring no extra tool.

The filtering system is backed up by a centrifugal air cleaning system that ensures larger debris and dust particles are removed before getting to the air filter. This improves the engine’s durability and saves you from the stress of constant cleaning. The Husqvarna Company advises to wear a safety guard; the Husqvarna chainsaw helmet, chaps, and gloves to protect you from fatal injuries when using the tool.

Key Features:

  • 60cc two-cycle engine
  • 24-inch guide bar and chain
  • Oil tank volume – 0.7 US pint.
  • Oil pump capacity: (Min) 6 ml/min (Max) – 17 ml/min.
  • Automatic chain oiler
  • Side-mounted chain tensioning system
  • Centrifugal air cleaning system

Specification:

  • Brand: Husqvarna
  • Model: Husqvarna 24 Inch 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw
  • Dimension: 38 x 12 x 12 inches
  • Weight: 21 pounds
  • Power Source: Gas-powered
  • Color: Orange
  • Horsepower: 3.7 hp
Pros
  • Has a high-powered x-torque engine
  • Efficient automatic chain oiler
  • Air filter is easy to clean
  • Incredible air cleaning system
Cons
  • Air filter can’t be re-used

2

TIMBERPRO Professional Series 62cc Chainsaw

The TIMBERPRO Professional Series 62cc Chainsaw is a very sturdy gas-powered chainsaw designed and recently upgraded to suit the user’s needs. It is equipped with a decompression valve that makes it incredibly easy to start the machine. It has also been equipped with a new and improved chain brake mechanism and handguard that makes the chainsaw much safer to use. It has durable plastic parts that house and protect the engine and other internal features, ensuring it lasts very long.

The chainsaw is very safe to use and complies with all EUI regulations, so you can rest assured. The 62cc engine operates on a 40:1 fuel mixture to reduce the emissions from the machine leaving it safe for the environment. Its guide and chain bar is about 20 inches, perfect for milling; it is also compatible with different sizes of bar and chain.

It is equipped with a carrying or storage bag to make it easy to transport the machine to the construction site. It features an automatic oiling system that lubricates the chain and a side-mounted chain tensioner. It has an oil capacity of 260ml and a fuel tank of about 550ml. It comes with a blade guard, two chains, mixing bottle and a carrying bag.

Key Features:

  • 62cc engine
  • 20-inch chain
  • Decompression valve
  • Fuel Mixture: 40/1
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 550ml
  • Chain Oil Capacity: 260ml

Specification:

  • Brand: TIMBERPRO
  • Model: TIMBERPRO Professional Series 62cc Gas-Powered Chainsaw
  • Dimension: 21.65 x 11.42 x 9.84 inches
  • Weight: 11 pounds
  • Color: Black and Red
Pros
  • Decompressing valve makes it easy to start
  • Easy to adjust chain
  • Lightweight and well-balanced
  • Powerful engine
Cons
  • Only 6 months warranty

3

Husqvarna 20 Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw

The Husqvarna 455 Rancher Chainsaw is the best heavy-duty chainsaws for both home and landowners. It runs on a 55cc powerful engine that allows it powerfully cut through trees of different sizes. The engine is a two-cycle engine designed with an intertie activated chain safety that makes the chainsaw safer to use. Its guide bar and chain is 20-inches, ideal for milling.

This high-powered chainsaw features a chain oiling system that automatically oils the chain constantly to boost the machine’s efficiency and reduce friction. Its chain tension system is mounted on the side of the machine; it allows for easy adjustment of the chain while working. Its filtering system is equipped with a fast-release air filter that makes it very easy to clean and change the air filter. Its x-torque engine helps to conserve fuel and reduce the smoke and emissions from the machine.

It comes with a 2-ounce bottle for pre-mixing fuel and a Husqvarna chainsaw Bar cover. To ensure safety, the user is advised to work with a helmet, gloves, and chaps. It is equipped with lots of safety features, including a handguard that activates the chain brake to reduce the chance of accidents. It also works with a chain catcher and trigger lock that ensures the user is safe when using the tool.

Key Features:

  • 55cc engine
  • 20-inch guide bar and chain
  • Two-cycle engine
  • 2-ounce pre-mix fuel bottle
  • Side-mounted tension system

Specification:

  • Brand: Husqvarna
  • Model: Husqvarna 20 Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw
  • Dimension: 20 x 9.5 x 41 inches
  • Weight: 12.8 pounds
  • Horsepower: 3.50 hp
  • Power source: gas-powered
Pros
  • X-torque engine uses less fuel and makes chainsaw eco-friendly
  • Very easy to start
  • Air filter is easy to clean and maintain
  • Safe for use
  • Chain is simple to adjust
Cons
  • Fuel tank is small

4

COOCHEER 20

The COOCHEER Chainsaw is a very powerful gas-powered chainsaw running on a powerful 62cc engine. The two-stroke engine produces about 3.5 horsepower, which is strong enough to cut into hardwood, including oak; it also requires a gas-oil mixture to operate well. Its incredible filtering system consists of an air filter that’s very easy to clean and replace; it also ensures large debris and dust particles are removed before reaching the air filter.

Its 20-inch chain and guide bar is capable of cutting trees of different with a cutting diameter of 27-33 inches. It works with an automatic chain oiling system that lubricates the chain to reduce friction and prevent it from getting stuck. This oiler ensures the chainsaw is more efficient and lasts longer. It is very easy to handle and has an easy tension system that allows the user to easily adjust the chain while using the tool.

With a speed of about 8500rpm, this incredible chainsaw cuts up logs at a very fast speed saving time and energy. It also works with an x-torque that reduces the emissions produced and helps conserve fuel. The chainsaw is heavier than most other chainsaws but has a comfortable handle that makes it convenient to use all day. It comes with a guide bar cover that protects the user from accidental nuts and prevents rust.

Key Features:

  • 62cc engine
  • Air filtering system
  • 3.5 horsepower
  • Automatic chain oiler
  • 8500 rpm

Specification:

  • Brand: COOCHEER
  • Model: COOCHEER 20″ Gas Chainsaw
  • Dimension: 35.04 x 10.63 x 9.06 inches
  • Weight: 18.48 pounds
  • Power Source: Gas-powered
  • Horsepower: 3.5 hp
Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Has an effective air filtering system
  • Works with a strong 3.5 horsepower engine
  • Easy to start
  • Can be used all-day
Cons
  • Heavier than most chainsaws

5

Poulan Pro PP5020AV 20-Inch 50cc 2 Stroke Gas Powered Chain Saw

The Poulan Pro PP5020AV Chainsaw is a powerful gas-powered chainsaw with a 50cc two-stroke engine used for many different projects, including milling. The engine is designed to reduce the fuel being used as well as the emissions produced by the machine. It features a very efficient filtering system that filters out small or large debris and dust particles ensuring the engine lasts longer. It uses a pull-start system that starts up the engine very quickly.

It is equipped with an anti-vibration system that helps reduce the vibrations produced, making the tool more convenient to use all day without getting tired or fatigued. It works with an automatic chain oiler that consistently lubricates the chain to boost the efficiency of the tool and prevent it from getting stuck. Its engine has a rotating power of about 9000rpm, making it ideal to cut up any type of wood, including hardwood. Its bar and chain is about 20 inches long, perfect for lumber; this allows you to cut logs of wood into smaller slabs of any size. Its chain adjustment tension is mounted at the side of the tool so the user can easily adjust the chain as he/she works.

This Poulan Pro chainsaw is designed to be very strong and durable. Its exterior is designed with solid plastic that protects the engine and other internal features. It is also very lightweight and has an effective cleaning system.

Key Features:

  • 50cc engine
  • 20 inches bar and chain
  • 9000 rpm
  • Clean air filter system
  • Easy pull starting system
  • Automatic chain oiler
  • Carrying case
  • Locking scrench holder

Specification:

  • Brand: Poulan Pro
  • Model: Poulan Pro PP5020AV 20-Inch 50cc 2 Stroke Gas Powered Chain Saw
  • Dimension: 20 x 15.8 x 22.3 inches
  • Weight: 10 pounds
  • Power Source: Gas-powered
Pros
  • Bar and chain ideal for milling lumber
  • Easy to start
  • Has an anti-vibration system
  • Engine uses less fuel and reduces emissions
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Bar is flexible but can be changed
  • Issues with the ignition modules

6

ECHO CS-590 20 in. Timber Wolf 59.8 cc Gas Chainsaw

The ECHO CS-590 Timber Wolf Chainsaw is a high-powered chainsaw running on a 59.8cc two-stroke engine that delivers a rotating speed of 13000rpm. The engine powers the 20-inch bar and chain to cut wood into smaller sizes.

The tool is very sturdy, durable, and perfect for milling with the right milling attachment. It is built with a strong anti-vibration handle, making the chainsaw more comfortable to use for long hours. It is very lightweight, with a weight of 13.2lbs when the fuel tank is empty. Its engine is also designed to help conserve fuel and reduce emissions. It works with an easy-to-remove air filter that blocks dust or debris from getting to the engine.

It has a considerably large fuel tank capacity of about 21.8oz and a side-mounted tension system to easily adjust the chain. With frequent cleaning and maintenance, this chainsaw is sure to last long.

Key Features:

  • 59.8 cc engine
  • 3.9 hp
  • Automatic chain oiler
  • Chain and Bar Length: 20 inches
  • Gas Fuel Tank Capacity: 21.8 oz

Specification:

  • Brand: ECHO
  • Model: ECHO CS-590 20 in. Timber Wolf 59.8 cc Gas Chainsaw
  • Dimension: 20 x 13 x 11 inches
  • Power Source: Gas-powered
Pros
  • Easy to start
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable oiler
  • Large fuel tank capacity
Cons
  • Manual pull starting system

Buying Guide Questions

Below are a few questions to help you make the best choice when shopping for the best chainsaw for milling.

What is the best chainsaw for milling?

The best chainsaw is the Husqvarna 24 Inch 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw. It is a high-power multi-purpose chainsaw that’s capable of doing all jobs, including milling lumber. It is designed with a 24-inch guide bar and chain. The chainsaw is gas-powered with a 60cc two-cycle engine that requires a gas and oil mixture to operate properly. The engine is built with an inertia-activated chain brake that makes the chainsaw safer to use. It has an incredible oil tank volume of 0.7 US pint and an oil capacity range of 6ml/min – 17 ml/min. It features an automatic chain oiler that constantly delivers oil to the bar and chain to improve the machine’s efficiency. Its use side-mount chain system allows the user to easily and quickly adjust the chain when working. The chainsaw is designed to conserve fuel with its x-torque, reducing its emission, making it more eco-friendly.

How big of a chainsaw do I need for an Alaskan mill?

For an Alaskan mill, you need a high-powered chainsaw with a top-quality milling attachment. You need a chainsaw of at least 20 inches with a powerful 50cc engine. You can choose from any of the chainsaws listed in the review.

What chainsaws do lumberjacks use?

Many lumberjacks use the Husky 372xp or Stihl 460 because of their powerful engine that can be used for large-scale, heavy-duty milling.

Can a chainsaw cut with the grain?

Ripsaws or tooth saws are usually best at making clean cuts along the grain. Chainsaws also cut along the grain, but it may be a bit challenging.

Is Husqvarna better than Stihl?

Husqvarna is known to be much preferred than Stihl. It has efficient safety features and an anti-vibration design that makes it much easier to use. Stihl has more power, but Husqvarna is much better and more efficient at cutting. We have included two different Husqvarna products in our review; the Husqvarna 24 Inch 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw and the Husqvarna 20 Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw. They both have strong engines, an incredible filtering system, an x-torque engine that helps conserve fuel and reduce emissions produced by the machine keeping the environment smoke-free.

Does a ripping chain cut faster?

A ripping chain cuts very slowly. It makes clean, fine cuts but may take more time making cuts than most other chains.

Is it worth milling your own lumber?

There are advantages and disadvantages of milling your own lumber. For one, it is very expensive and tasking. It may also be convenient, especially if you mill all year long; it also adds flexibility to your projects. You don’t have to make trips to a lumberyard every time a new project comes up. A lot of thought needs to be put into buying a chainsaw for milling. You have to think about how often you mill, the size of wood you want to cut, and how experienced you are with a chainsaw.

Are chainsaw mills worth it?

Chainsaw mills are smaller sawmills used by one or two operators. They are portable enough to be carried to different locations. If you happen to mill all year long, then chainsaw mills can be a beneficial investment.

What is the best portable sawmill for the money?

If you are looking for the best portable sawmill, you can opt for the YEEZUGO 36″ Portable Chainsaw Mill. It is made from top-quality aluminum and stainless steel, which keeps the tool very lightweight and sturdy. Its bar size is about 14 o 36 inches long, which is the best size for any type of project. It can convert big logs into ½ inch or 13 inch thick slabs.

What is the most aggressive chainsaw chain?

Husqvarna produces very aggressive chains that can work with any type of chainsaws. You can choose between the Husqvarna 24 Inch 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw, a 24-inch chain, or the TIMBERPRO Professional Series 62cc Chainsaw with a 20-inch chain. The Husqvarna 24 Inch 460 Rancher has an incredible oil tank volume of 0.7 US pint and an oil capacity range of 6ml/min – 17 ml/min maximum. It also features an automatic chain oiler that constantly delivers oil to the bar and chain to improve the machine’s efficiency. Its use side-mount chain system allows the user to easily and quickly adjust the chain when working.

ON THE OTHER HAND, the TIMBERPRO Professional Series 62cc Chainsaw is equipped with a decompression valve that makes it incredibly easy to start the machine. It has also been equipped with a new and improved chain brake mechanism and handguard that makes the chainsaw much safer to use. It has durable plastic parts that house and protect the engine and other internal features, ensuring it lasts very long. The chainsaw is very safe to use and complies with all EUI regulations, so you can rest assured. The 62cc engine operates on a 40:1 fuel mixture to help reduce the emissions from the machine leaving it safe for the environment. It has a chain oil capacity of 260ml and a fuel tank capacity of about 550ml.

Conclusion

There are many different types of chainsaws used for various purposes, including milling lumber. The best chainsaw from our review is the Husqvarna 24 Inch 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw.

It is designed with a 24-inch guide bar and chain. The chainsaw is gas-powered with a 60cc two-cycle engine that requires a gas and oil mixture to operate properly. The engine is built with an inertia-activated chain brake that makes the chainsaw safer to use. It has an incredible oil tank volume of 0.7 US pint and an oil capacity range of 6ml/min – 17 ml/min maximum.

We hope this review on the six best chainsaws for milling has helped you select the best chainsaw for your project.