10 Best Chainsaw Mills of 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks
Chainsaws aren’t known for their precision work, but with the right accessories, it’s possible to mill pretty good lumber using one. The trick is finding a way that turns it’s biggest negative into a positive; because the powerful blade is controlled by human hands, the cuts are typically quite rough. Turning that into a positive means putting the blade into a rig that can control where and how it cuts.
That rig is a chainsaw mill, which is nothing more than a frame into which you insert your chainsaw. It holds the saw steady so you can cut lumber to specific widths. It sounds a lot more complicated and dangerous than it is. They are commonly used in places like Alaska, where access to proper mills is pretty limited but the need for good lumber isn’t.
It might also be an intimidating purchase. We wrote these reviews to help you figure out which chainsaw mills have the right features for you and added a brief buyer’s guide to help you figure out how to shop for one. Never forget that chainsaws are dangerous tools and safety is your priority.
A Comparison of Our Favorite Products
|Best Overall||Alaskan Mark-IV Chainsaw Mill||
|Best Value||Granberg G777 Chain Saw Mill||
|Imony Portable Chainsaw Mill||
|Granberg G555B Edging Mill||
|Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill||
10 Best Chainsaw Mills 2020 – Our Reviews
1. Alaskan Mark-IV 36″ Chainsaw Mill – Best Overall
Chainsaw mills are sometimes called Alaskan mills because it’s in that rough, wild country where these things first caught on. It’s appropriate that our Top Pick be an Alaskan chainsaw mill. As for the mill itself, the Mark-IV has everything you’d want in a chainsaw mill.
They are easy to set up. Within half an hour you can go from out-of-the-box to milling lumber. They are practically indestructible and provide a stable base from which to cut. You’ll also mill consistently straight, accurate lumber with it.
The Alaskan Mark-IV is also by far the most expensive chainsaw mill we looked at. It’s not even close. If you will live and die by the results then you’ll want to pay extra. If good enough is as far as you need to take it, you might want to look at less expensive alternatives.
2. Granberg G777 Chain Saw Mill – Best Value
Dollar-for-dollar, Granberg’s G777 chainsaw mill is the best investment in the class of chainsaw mills we reviewed. It does it all well and delivers great value. If you’re looking to get great results without paying what you would for our Top Pick, this is probably your next stop.
The G777 is simple to put together, and you can give this thing a real licking. As long as your saw’s motor doesn’t burn out, it can take the punishment. When paired with bigger chainsaws, its performance is unrivaled.
However, it has problems with smaller chainsaws and will need very dry wood to work at the lowest part of its range. It’s also not dead-on accurate.
3. Imony 36″ Portable Chainsaw Mill
Imony Chainsaw’s portable chainsaw mill is a fantastic option, especially if you have a larger saw and need to move the mill around.
It’s got a simple design and construction out of lightweight aluminum. Don’t assume that aluminum means flimsy, because this mill is built for professional job sites. It is easy to move around and can stand up to heavy use. Plus, it’s at a price that’s impossible to not love.
The Imony is designed especially with larger chainsaws in mind, but don’t assume that the size of your blade is the size to which it can cut. Plan to take a couple of inches off for a more realistic cutting distance.
4. Granberg G555B Edging Mill
The G555B from Granberg is a great addition to a chainsaw mill inventory. It excels at specialty cuts as opposed to general-purpose lumbering. It’s also priced to be an accessory rather than your first choice for chainsaw mills.
The G555B can accommodate a wide range of chainsaw sizes, from the smallest size intended for trimming off limbs to the biggest intended to bring down hardwood trees. Whereas most mills are built to cut lumber for its most basic uses, this one is designed to hold a chainsaw fast for more specific cuts; for example, in roofing or making joints.
The primary drawback is that it sacrifices some ability to make pretty standard lumbering cuts. As such, it’s a great secondary mill for the workshop. The great thing is that at the price, you can probably afford it.
5. Carmyra 36″ Portable Chainsaw Mill
If you’re experienced and confident with chainsaw mills, Carmyra’s portable chainsaw mill offers a lot of promise to you. Chainsaw mills don’t need to be complicated to be effective, and this one is proof positive of that.
It’s safe to use with a wide range of chainsaws and delivers accurate cuts. The price-point is among the lowest in its class. When you add solid construction, dependable safety, and adequate results, you’ve got a prime recipe for good value.
If you’re thinking about buying the Carmyra, we’d hope that you have a good familiarity with how chainsaw mills operate, because the assembly instructions are poor. You’ll also probably have to make some adjustments on the fly, which isn’t something you want out of a chainsaw mill.
6. TTF Chainsaw Mill Attachment
One important quality of a good chainsaw mill is stability. Does it hold the saw securely? That makes for quality cuts and a safe working environment. We can’t stress enough that if your mill has a loose grip on the chainsaw that you stop and tighten it up.
TTF’s Chainsaw Mill Attachment is a great example that you don’t need to lay out a ton of cash for a mill that will hold your saw in place. In fact, among the mills we looked at, it had some of the best results when it came to stability and safety.
It also had some of the poorest construction. The materials used to construct it are pretty flimsy and have a tendency to break under only minor stress. The welds used to hold it together are also a joke.
7. CO-Z Portable Chainsaw Mill
Most of the chainsaw mills we’ve looked at are intended for basic lumber cutting. The CO-Z portable chainsaw mill is one that can do that basic work but winds up doing a better job at a specialized task.
In this case, it happens to be shaping wood planks for making furniture. The mill can accommodate a wide range of blade lengths and generate basic lumber, but the results are even and smooth enough that they are perfect for making furniture.
If you don’t have a lot of experience with chainsaw mills, this one will take a little experience getting up to speed. The assembly instructions are also pretty crude. Make sure your cabin has a good Internet connection so you can pull up a YouTube video.
8. RCTEC 24″ Portable Chainsaw Mill
RCTEC’s 24-inch chainsaw mill is another chainsaw mill that works best as a second mill in your inventory. You can use it as your primary, but it has very real size limitations that prohibit you from using it on the biggest trees.
Where it stands out is in offering value if you need to mill trees using 24-inch chainsaws. You can get bigger mills to tackle medium- and large-sized trees, but they will cost you a bit more money.
Its performance, even on medium trees, is pretty basic. The results aren’t going to wow you and it’ll need some extra adjustments after you get it operational.
9. Tengchang Portable Chainsaw Mill
When it comes to chainsaws, we don’t tend to think that it’s a good idea to skate by on bargain-basement prices. The Tengchang portable chainsaw mill is a perfect example of that.
Its price is very attractive, and it might have utility if you just need a mill that you can carry into the woods and not worry so much if it comes back in one piece. That is especially true if you aren’t so concerned about the results it delivers.
The construction is fairly poor and while some people have reported getting a lot of work from their Tengchang mill, others report that it breaks pretty quickly. So if you want to roll the dice and take your chances, this is an option.
10. Farmertec Portable Chainsaw Mill
We’re tempted to recommend Farmertec’s portable chainsaw mill as a specialty mill. If you need a mill to haul into the more rugged parts of your land and lumber a big fallen tree, it can do that work at a price that won’t have you hollering if it breaks or gets sucked under the mud.
It’s also built to take some abuse, so you can feel confident in hauling it into the wilds that it won’t break until at least later in the day.
The packaging of the mill leaves quite a bit to be desired, however. Its assembly instructions are more like a list of parts. It’s a good bet that some of those parts will not come with the mill, so only buy this if you have a pretty comprehensive set of spare nuts, bolts, and washers in your workshop.
While it’s crucial to get the right chainsaw mill, buying the right one isn’t all that complicated – if you know what you’re looking for. Most of them follow a pretty standard design with the differences in the details. We wrote this buyers’ guide so you know which qualities to look for in choosing a chainsaw mill, and how to arrange them so you know which one is right for you.
Easy to set up
Although probably not the most important quality you’ll want, the ease by which your chainsaw mill is set up is often overlooked in favor of a focus on the quality of lumber it produces. Something to keep in mind when shopping for a mill is that you will probably put it together close to where you will work. You’ll want a mill that is simple and straightforward to put together. Not only will that guarantee that you can assemble it in less-than-ideal conditions but it also means that it has fewer parts to break while using.
The reason you’re buying a chainsaw mill is that you want to turn trees into usable lumber. The mill doesn’t make the cuts, but it does hold the chainsaw steady as you use it to make the cuts. In looking for a mill, you’ll want to look at the quality of cuts that it makes. If one model is a lot less expensive but doesn’t make consistent cuts, you’ll probably want to spend some extra dollars and get a higher quality mill.
Cutting lumber where the tree falls is by its very nature a hazardous work environment. It’s dangerous for the user and it also causes a lot of wear-and-tear on the tools. The further you operate from your workshop, the more sturdy you’ll want your chainsaw mill to be. Using sturdy tools where they might get whacked is safe, but it also will minimize downtime from breakage. Keep in mind, if you are a quarter-mile into the forest and your mill breaks you’ll need to take a trip to get repair and replacement parts.
Ultimately, price plays a role in every purchase we make. It’ll also be a factor in which chainsaw mill you choose to buy. Although they are usually much less expensive than the actual chainsaw, there is a significant range of prices between them. Rather than going either for the most expensive or the cheapest, it’s imperative to decide what features you need and go from there. You might need to spend a little more. You might also be able to find one that will save you a few dollars.
The importance of safety gear
We’d feel irresponsible if we didn’t wrap this up by acknowledging that when it comes to chainsaw use that safety is of paramount concern. This is especially true if you’re using one in the wilderness where it might take hours to get proper medical care. Always use proper safety equipment when operating a chainsaw mill.
Chainsaw mills are a great way to turn what is generally thought of as a crude instrument into a much more versatile tool. That’s important if you live in the backcountry where hauling in a lot of different kinds of tools will be a giant hassle. You’ll want one that is sturdy, capable of taking punishment and make quality cuts. The Alaska Mk-IV Chainsaw Mill did the best job of those in our reviews of delivering on all of it. It also happened to be the most expensive mill we looked at. If money is an issue, we liked the Granberg Chain Saw Mill Model # G777. It isn’t quite as sturdy as our top pick, but it does combine performance and value.
We hope you found these reviews useful and combined what you learned in our buyers’ guide. A chainsaw mill is an important investment if you need one, and it’s important to get it right.
Featured Image Credit By: Imony Portable Chainsaw Mill, Amazon
- A Comparison of Our Favorite Products
- 10 Best Chainsaw Mills 2020 – Our Reviews
- 1. Alaskan Mark-IV 36″ Chainsaw Mill – Best Overall
- 2. Granberg G777 Chain Saw Mill – Best Value
- 3. Imony 36″ Portable Chainsaw Mill
- 4. Granberg G555B Edging Mill
- 5. Carmyra 36″ Portable Chainsaw Mill
- 6. TTF Chainsaw Mill Attachment
- 7. CO-Z Portable Chainsaw Mill
- 8. RCTEC 24″ Portable Chainsaw Mill
- 9. Tengchang Portable Chainsaw Mill
- 10. Farmertec Portable Chainsaw Mill
- Buyer’s Guide