What is the Best Chainsaw for Milling? Product Reviews and Buying Guide (2022)

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If you plan to mill wood, you should know that it is a very laborious task. And if you’re not equipped with a good chainsaw, you won’t be able to cut wood precisely and safely. Don’t compromise your safety in handling big logs and machines.

Here, we’ll share the best chainsaws for milling and what makes each a perfect tool for this type of task. 

Premium Option
Echo CS-590-20AA
Editor’s Choice
Husqvarna 460 Rancher
Budget Option
Coocheer 62CC Chainsaw
Echo CS-590-20AA
Husqvarna 460 Rancher
Coocheer 62CC Chainsaw
• 59.8CC engine
• 2-stroke motor
• Translucent tank
• 5-year warranty
• 60CC engine
• 3.62 Horsepower
• X-torq motor
• Anti-vibration system
• 62CC engine
• 3.5 Horsepower
• Air filter system
• Slip-free handles
Premium Option
Echo CS-590-20AA
Echo CS-590-20AA
• 59.8CC engine
• 2-stroke motor
• Translucent tank
• 5-year warranty
Editor’s Choice
Husqvarna 460 Rancher
Husqvarna 460 Rancher
• 60CC engine
• 3.62 Horsepower
• X-torq motor
• Anti-vibration system
Budget Option
Coocheer 62CC Chainsaw
Coocheer 62CC Chainsaw
• 62CC engine
• 3.5 Horsepower
• Air filter system
• Slip-free handles

Reviews of the Top Chainsaws for Milling

1. Husqvarna 460 Rancher Chainsaw

Featuring a 60.3cc engine and a 20-inch bar, the Husqvarna 460 Rancher is one of the top chainsaws for milling due to its powerful engine

An inertia-activated chain brake ensures your safety in a mechanical failure, which is highly laudable. The 9000 rpm motor speed and x-torque design enable quick milling with minimal energy and waste. The chain’s tension is easily modified thanks to a side-mounted chain tensioning device.

Due to the machine’s automatic oiling system, you don’t need to spend much time maintaining it. The chainsaw is lightweight and easy to handle, making it ideal and portable for chainsaw milling tasks anywhere.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

2. Echo CS-590-20AA

This chainsaw’s 59.8cc, 2-stroke engine is built for Alaskan Mills and professional use and delivers consistent performance over extended durations.

Manufacturing slabs, beams, and planks from downed trees is a breeze with the Alaskan Mill. Several saws were tested with the Alaskan Mill before we settled on the Echo CS-590-20 as the best option.

Thanks to the integrated filtration systems, automatic oiling system, and built-in decompression valve, you can count on the highest levels of user ease. The five-year warranty that comes with it also contributed to why it is our second best chainsaw for milling and you won’t find this warranty in other chainsaw models.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

3. Coocheer Chainsaw 62CC 20-inch Gas Powered Chainsaw

High-end power tools built to withstand the rigors of milling lumber can cost a pretty penny. We believe, however, that we have located the perfect saw for a milling job at a reasonable price—a 62cc, 20-inch gas chainsaw from Cocheer.

The components of the Coocheer 62CC chainsaw thoughtfully positioned to provide effortless and balanced operation in your chainsaw milling projects. The vibrations generated by the chainsaw’s motor and chain bar are mitigated thanks to the handles’ lack of slipperiness, providing added firmness.

The chain bar has superior durability, the air filtering system also does an admirable job, and the automatic oiling system keeps things running smoothly with minimal upkeep.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

4. Husqvarna 20-inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw

This milling chainsaw allows you to choose between an 18- or 20-inch chain bar, which will function admirably with a 55.5 cc gas engine.

The 455 Rancher has an X-Torq engine, which can reduce fuel usage by up to 20% compared to conventional engines. It is also 75% more efficient in emissions, making it environmentally friendly and one of the best.

In the event of a mechanical failure, its engine chain brake will engage. We made countless cuts with this saw, which never once slowed down or gave us trouble. It’s also remarkably easy to start, especially for gas-powered equipment.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

5. Poulan Pro 20-inch 50cc PR5020

When working through dense forests, the Poulan Pro PR5020’s OxyPower engine technology kicks in to give you that extra push you need. The functionality and power are perfectly balanced in this chainsaw.

The chainsaw’s starting mechanism requires 30% less effort than most other models. You can operate the Poulan Pro with the utmost firmness because of its ergonomically designed back and front handles. The incorporation of stop control prevents engine flooding and enables rapid engine startup.

The chainsaw has a 20-inch bar and an excellent air filtering system, making it suitable for milling purposes and lumber with a wide range of thicknesses.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

6. XtremepowerUS 22-inch 2.4HP 45cc Gas 2-Stroke Chainsaw

A more reasonable milling chainsaw option for high-priced chainsaw models of Echo and Husqvarna is the XtremepowerUS 22′′ inch 2.4HP 45cc.

However, it lacks the strength of its rival but is still handy for cutting and milling fallen trees because of its convenient features. The 22-inch bar, two inches greater than most saws, is easily our favorite feature.

The saw fires up so quickly and readily exceeded our expectations. Unlike many gas-powered saws, it never threw a tantrum. The engine is 45cc and produces only 2.4 horsepower, less than a bigger-size chainsaw engine, but it is still sufficient for typical chainsaw milling work.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

7. Salem Master 6220G

When it comes to milling lumber with a chainsaw, the Salem Master 6220G is a miraculous find. It is equipped with a 62cc gas-powered engine with extremely low emissions, making it suitable for environmentally sensitive areas.

The safety features, including handguards and a chain brake, are especially noteworthy for safety in lumber-related work. It also came equipped with a decompressing valve to alleviate similar beginning issues.

Finally, the engine’s cutting power and the chain bar’s ability to slash through wood make this one of the top chainsaws for a milling attachment and other similar heavy-duty chainsaw milling jobs.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

8. Greenworks 40V 16-inch Cordless Chainsaw

The fact that an Oregon chain bar is included in this portable sawmill package at no extra cost swayed us to consider purchasing this Greenworks 40V 16-Inch professional chainsaw. With it, you may make on-the-fly adjustments to the chain’s tension without stopping the engine.

Cordless operation and a short chain bar length of 10 inches make this the most transportable option available. You can choose various battery alternatives that boost power and battery timing to get the job done in the middle of nowhere in one fell swoop.

Furthermore, its lightweight construction, automatic oiling system, and wrap-around bale handle make it a good chainsaw for milling lumber. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

Chainsaw for Milling Buyer’s Guide

Design and Build

You probably don’t want to slash and lop with a chainsaw that weighs 30 pounds. You should look for a saw that strikes a decent mix between portability and productivity. 

As an added precaution, you shouldn’t get an ultra-lightweight saw because of the annoying vibrations it will generate.

Weight

Chainsaws are powerful tools, but regular use may be stressful for an operator. Having them hooked up to milling equipment might lead to frame strain. 

Most of them are built with sturdy materials, but cutting weight where you can save some is always a good idea.

Compatibility with Mill Attachment

You must ensure the mill connection will work with the chainsaw before settling on a specific model. 

There are several options available at various price points, and while it is possible to save money by purchasing a cheaper model, doing so is not ideal unless you plan to buy multiple units.

Lumber Size

A powerful chainsaw is required if the lumber is larger and thicker. To do so, you must assess the available engine power, as this will dictate the amount of force that can be applied.

Even a compact-sized chainsaw is adequate for cutting through small to medium-sized timber. You could make quick work of it; however, the precise amount of time you need would depend on the material’s dimensions and thickness. 

Chainsaw Bar Length

The bar length is crucial for milling in general. The bar length and chain on some versions are 20 inches, while the blade length on others is considerably more. You should base your decision on the workpieces you’ll use.

Power

When milling, you don’t want to make cross-sectional cuts in the wood. That will call for constant energy, maybe a lot of it. Milling equipment often has power constraints that must be adhered to when used in conjunction with other tools like chainsaws. 

If so, then stick to them. If not, it’s prudent to search for a powerful chainsaw. 50 cc is a popular option among users.

Gas or Electric?

You have to decide between bulk and reliability when selecting a power source. In most cases, gas-powered chainsaws will be more effective in milling lumber than their electric counterparts. You can put them to use, but be sure you don’t overburden them.

However, they are less noisy, which is an advantage if you plan on doing a lot of cutting. They are designed to be used with standard wall outlets so you can always keep your electricity on. Since there is no engine, these are easier to transport and require less effort to operate.

Maintenance

Using a gas-powered saw is often frowned upon due to the tool’s perceived extreme difficulty. If you want to get the most out of the one you buy, you’ll have to do some serious upkeep.

A few come with an automated mechanism that takes care of the maintenance. Cleaning the air with centrifugal systems, air filters, and others will help you save time and money on upkeep.

Built-in Safety Features

In any case, chainsaws are quite effective tools. You can only imagine the harm they could do to human beings if they are capable of cutting through solid hardwoods.

As a result, you must take every precaution to protect yourself from these lethal devices. Thankfully, numerous businesses have produced chainsaws with security in mind. 

Low kickback, an inertia-activated chain brake, guards, a chain collector, and so on are just a few safety features available on modern chainsaws.

Price

Choose the cheaper chainsaw if you choose between two that work with your milling machine. Keep in mind that the cost exceeds the retail value of the saw. Consider the ongoing operating costs [1], such as gas, maintenance, and repairs.

Reasons to Use a Chainsaw For Milling

Anyone familiar with the scale of the lumbers that need to be milled understands the logistical challenges. There are also expenses for labor and space at a neighboring lumber factory, where the logs are transformed into boards.

A chainsaw mill will be extremely handy if you need to construct a building some distance from the nearest fixed lumber mill. The cost of a chainsaw is much lower than that of a traditional sawmill, so you can get both cost savings and convenience from buying one.

FAQ

Do I need a special chain for a chainsaw mill?

Yes, you need a special chain called a “ripping chain” or “ripper chain” for a chainsaw mill. Ripping chains to make parallel cuts with the wood grain instead of cuts perpendicular to the grain. 

Are milling saws difficult to use due to vibrations?

Incorrect machining procedures cause harmful vibrations. In general, the vibration of a chainsaw is unavoidable. However, vibration is kept to a minimum thanks to vibration-less features included in many of the best chainsaws models on the market.

Our Top Pick For a Chainsaw for Milling:
Husqvarna 460 Rancher Chainsaw

The Husqvarna 460 Rancher is our top choice for the best chainsaw for milling lumber. The lengthy 24-inch bar that’s available on this chainsaw provides a greater range for you to mill the wood in larger sizes and amounts. 

The 60cc motor generates 3.62 horsepower, and the chain can keep spinning in any weather. Overall, it comfortable to handle, performs exceptional, and fuel-efficient.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson

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