If you have ever worked with wood before, then you would know how resourceful a suitable milling attachment and chainsaw can be. You can cut your board to the preferred sizes without much hassle with a tad of practice.
But to ensure you get it right, you need to hone the use of chainsaw for milling to get the best out of it. And, the very place to start is choosing the best chainsaw for milling.
Milling requires cutting several lengths through logs, which means you need to invest in a sturdy, high-quality chainsaw. However, considering the plethora of options, the decision-making process may be a bit challenging.
Fortunately, we've done the hard parts, and here's a comprehensive review of the best chainsaws to mill woods without any hassle.
Table of Contents
- Best Chainsaws for Milling Lumber - Comparisons
- Best Chainsaws for Milling Reviews - (Updated)
- Things to Consider When Choosing a Chainsaw for Milling
Best Chainsaws for Milling Lumber - Comparisons
Best Chainsaws for Milling Reviews - (Updated)
Without further ado, let's take a look at the best chainsaw mill packing impressive power and long blades to ensure better cutting results on the market.
1. Husqvarna 20 Inch 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw
Powerful 60.3 cc engine. Easy to clean using its quick-release air filter. 20-Inch bar to cut just about any lumber size. Minimal fuel consumption and emissions.
Not so Good
On the pricey side. The air filter can't be reused.
This is our top pick for the best milling chainsaw on the market. Husqvarna 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw comes with a 20-inch bar to ensure you complete jobs requiring a longer bar easily. This power tool features 60.3 cc of engine displacement, which makes a go-to for people looking to work on logs.
That's not all: it has a 2-cycle gas engine built with safety in mind coupled with the innovative inertia activated chain brake. Although this model is not as large as professional chainsaws from Husqvarna, it packs sufficient power enough to handle all your milling jobs. Nevertheless, non-professional users will also find Husqvarna 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw useful and accessible.
Even better, this chainsaw offers a quick-release air filter that allows you to easily replace the air filter and make cleaning it a breeze. Not just that, it sports an automatic chain oiler, which means while you are working, the saw delivers a constant oil supply to the chain and bar for effective performance and safety.
You also enjoy a simple chain tensioning system mounted on its sides to allow you to make super-fast chain adjustments as you work. This milling chainsaw incorporates X-torque to minimize emission as well as fuel consumption.
2. Husqvarna 20 Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw
2.0HP engine capability. Low noise and vibration. Less cleaning and maintenance and cleaning. 55.5cc X-Torq motor to offer an impressive driving force. Completely tool-less chain tension adjustment.
Not so Good
Small-sized fuel tank, which means you need to refill frequently.
Another spot, another Husqvarna chainsaw. It comes with a lot of robust gears to ensure you handle tougher jobs with ease. Husqvarna 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw packs an ample of features that need to go about your lumber-related work and make it hard to beat in this category.
This model is an all-round chainsaw featuring efficient output, lightweight structure, and high power. The Husqvarna 455 runs on an X-Torq engine, which helps minimize fuel consumption by up to 20%. In terms of emission, this chainsaw is equally efficient by 75%, considering its 55.5 cc gas engine.
Moving on, this 55.5cc gas-powered saw brings a maximum power of 3.49 HP, which is good at handling heavy workloads. Coming with a 2-stroke type engine, and offer an excellent power to weight ratio in the market.
However, Husqvarna 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw is best used with 87 or lower octane grade. Else, you may have hampered engine performance. The length of the chain and bar are 20-inch long, which is one of its most striking selling points. The bar length makes this unit versatile to cut down a tree limb with a wide range of thicknesses.
3. Poulan Pro 20 in. PR5020 50cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw
Anti-vibration design for reduced noise operation. Easily accessed manual chain tension adjustment. Good portability since it weighs about 17 pounds. Saves up a reasonable amount of fuel consumption and emission.
Not so Good
Best used for massive works, and not advisable for people looking to use a chainsaw to mill on an occasional basis.
Next up on our list is Poulan Pro PR5020, which is a perfect combo of usability and power. This model is a gas-powered chainsaw with a 50cc engine capacity. This chainsaw for milling is labeled Oxypower engine with a 2-cycle engine type.
The bar and chain come with a 20-inch overall length, which is an ideal choice for any professional use. Aside from its cutting length and engine, this model packs a lot of impressive features. The practical chain tension mounts on the right-side panel to offer easy access and better cutting performance.
Its sturdy construction and design make it not only long-lasting but also easy to carry around in your workshop. Poulan Pro PR5020 weighs about 17 pounds with the oil tanks and fuel tank empty, and won't make a lot of difference if they were full.
Further, it features the Oxypower engine, which means the emission level is reduced by about 70% as well as fuel consumption. Also, it comes with an impressive 9000 RPM rotating power, which makes it more than suitable for cutting any kind of wood.
4. Echo CS-590 Chain Saw
59.8cc 2 stroke professional engine. Quick start digital ignition system. See-through fuel container.
Not so Good
Requires you to pull manually.
Making it to our list is Echo CS-590. This tool is one of the best chainsaws for milling lumber on the market, combing a massive 59.8cc motor power and capacity with a speed of 13,000 RPM output. This beast sports a 20-inch bar and chain length, a 0.050-inch gauge length, and a ⅜-inch pitch.
However, this model is quite heavy even without the cutting gear, but it still does your cutting work impressively. Moving forward, this power tool runs on the oil and gas mix, and the ideal gas and oil ratio is 50:1. Also, it's recommended to use 89-grade Octane.
Even better, it comes with a 21.8oz of fuel tank capacity tank with translucency, which allows you to see the fuel level and know when it needs to be refilled. Sadly, this model does not feature a primer bulb but sport a digital ignition system for instant starting.
5. XtremepowerUS 22" inch 2.4HP Gasoline Chainsaw
Lightweight and ergonomic design. It requires minimal maintenance. Easy access to the chain for hassle-free chain tightness adjustment. Anti-kickback chain offering a safer alternative to a novice.
Not so Good
The carburetor needs adjustment more often than not.
The XtremepowerUS Gasoline Gas 2-Stroke Chainsaw is designed to cut through tough tress without burning you out. For many reasons, this model ranks high on our list, especially its anti-kickback chain, which makes it safe to use even for beginners.
That's not all: it features a 2.4 HP EcoBoost Engine to offer increased performance and efficiency. Also, it ensures reduced fuel consumption and emission. XtremepowerUS Gasoline Gas 2-Stroke Chainsaw comes with a clean engine air-intake system, which is meant to prevent dust from getting into the engine and, as such, extend your tool's life.
With easy access, you can adjust your chain tightness, air and fuel filters, and carburetor with ease. This unit provides you with total control and impressive adjust ability to ensure maximum efficiency.
6. Milwaukee Electric Tools 2727-21HD Chainsaw Kit
Steady speed under heavy loads. Ergonomic and durable design. Protection from over-discharge, overload, and overheating. HD12.0 battery ensures unparalleled run-time
Not so Good
Chains tend to jump off.
To begin with, this tool is designed to generate remarkable power and deliver top-notch performance. Besides, who wouldn't expect that from a 40cc gas engine. Coming with a premium pack construction to provide one of the best protection in the industry against job site conditions.
This unit is built with durability, performance, and ergonomic needs in mind. It features some intelligence protecting this tool from over-discharge, overload, and overheating. Also, the power state brushless motor ensures this unit is running at a steady speed, which makes it outperform other higher voltage or small gas systems.
Further, Milwaukee Electric Tools 2727-21HD Chainsaw Kit comes with a 16-inch Oregon bar and variable chain speed to offer you maximum control. This milling saw will bring enough power to your workshop to cut hardwoods faster than Gas powered engines.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Chainsaw for Milling
When milling lumber, one of the key components that determine your success is a good chainsaw. Buying the right saw doesn't mean you have to go for the most powerful option on the market, but pinning down the best fit for the job.
Before purchasing any model, the first thing to do is ensure your mill attachment will be compatible with the chainsaw. While there are several options at varying prices, purchasing a low-priced model isn't so bad, as long as you don't need to purchase more than one.
Milling is about cutting lengths of wood and not cross-sectioning. This will require an incredible amount of sustained power. For those with milling rig and trying to get the right chainsaw, you need to consider the power parameter is meant to work within.
Nevertheless, if you can't find them, then looking for a model that packs a real punch is a wise decision. The 50cc engine motor is a popular choice.
Most mills often have a parameter for the tongue-looking part protruding from the engine. The minimum standard length is 20 inches. Bear in mind that the bar length determines the maximum lumber width you can cut. Therefore, if you have huge trees, then you consider a model capable of more extensive cuts, especially for people milling wide boards.
Electric vs. Gas
When it comes to choosing the source of power, it all about the trade-off - quiet or heft consistency. Gas-powered models are much more powerful than an electric chainsaw. However, when using an electric chainsaw, you need to be careful, so you don't overtax them.
On the brighter side, they offer quieter operation and allows you to do more cutting than a gas-powered model. With a power outlet, you can keep working without having to check the fuel tank or pause to refill. Besides, the lack of a fuel tank makes them lighter.
Another consideration for a milling chainsaw is weight. For regular use, milling saw can fatigue and wear down human users. But when you connect it to a milling rig, then the fatigue also involves the frames since most models on the market are built using tough materials. This means considering a lighter model may not be a bad decision if you can do it.
The oil system
Gas-powered chainsaws are known for being ultra-troublesome. Therefore, you should be aware that owning one might require a solid maintenance effort.
Nevertheless, there are automated system designs to handle some of the cleaning and maintenance processors. For instance, there are air filters, centrifugal air cleaning system, and many more, which is geared towards lessening up the effort required for maintenance.
Obviously, your safety is of paramount importance when using these deadly machines. You need to ensure you consider the safety features of each chainsaw before making a choice. Know that each brand offers a different level of safety.
A 30-pound chainsaw while working will be nobody's choice, right? This means we need to get a good balance between capacity and size. However, you need to stay away from the ultra-lightweight model, because they tend to vibrate too much, which can be super irritating and cause harm to your work accuracy.
One of the last things to consider is the price tag. If you with a handful of chainsaw options compatible with your milling rig and nearly identical, then opt for a model that helps you save a couple of dollars.
Keep in mind that you are getting a model offering more value than what you are paying for. Also, put into consideration the cost of running the machines, including fuel, repairs, and maintenance.
The Editor's Take
The Husqvarna 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw is our top choice because it combines a decent long bar, power, and performance to ensure you cut mill boards with ease. Sadly, the main drawback is the noise level, which is a compromise for excellent overall value.
Another beast with a lot of safety features and excellent performance is Echo CS-590-20. Homeowners will be proud to have this chainsaw. Next chainsaw on our list was the Poulan PR5020 designed to withstand everyday use and not built to meet heavy-duty works.
Nevertheless, we hope our review has helped you narrow down your options and feel confident in making the right decision. Also, bear in mind the key factors we discussed in the buying guide section to ensure you are making an informed decision.
And whatever choice you make, ensure you use this milling saw safely.