chainsaw mill

Best Chainsaw Mill Reviews and Buying Guide 2019

Best Chainsaw Mill Reviews 2019

Most of the time, you use a chainsaw to tear things down, whether that be branches or an entire tree. However, some projects actually call for raw wood and need accurate, precise cuts to satisfy a particular style. This is why we put together a list of the 5 best chainsaw mill reviews of 2019. We also provide a helpful buyer’s guide and thorough FAQ, so you understand when and how to use a chainsaw. We found the Granberg G777 and imony to be the best for most people, but you have to keep reading for our best value and heavy-duty picks.

Product Image
Best Seller
Granberg Chain Saw Mill, Model# G777
Top Pick
chainsaw mill Portable Chainsaw mill 36" Inch 304 stainless steel and Aluminum Planking Milling Bar Size Cutting Milling
Best Value
Carmyra Portable Chainsaw mill 36" Inch Planking Milling Bar Size 14" to 36"
Alaskan Mark-IV Chainsaw Mill - (36")
Granberg MK-IV Alaskan Chainsaw Mill with 30" Rails (Model G778-30)
Model
Granberg Chain Saw Mill, Model# G777
chainsaw mill Portable Chainsaw mill 36" Inch 304 stainless steel and Aluminum Planking Milling Bar Size Cutting Milling
Carmyra Portable Chainsaw mill 36" Inch Planking Milling Bar Size 14" to 36"
Alaskan Mark-IV Chainsaw Mill - (36")
Granberg MK-IV Alaskan Chainsaw Mill with 30" Rails (Model G778-30)
Customer Rating
248 Ratings
25 Ratings
102 Ratings
46 Ratings
19 Ratings
Prime
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Best Seller
Product Image
Granberg Chain Saw Mill, Model# G777
Model
Granberg Chain Saw Mill, Model# G777
Customer Rating
248 Ratings
Prime
-
Top Pick
Product Image
chainsaw mill Portable Chainsaw mill 36" Inch 304 stainless steel and Aluminum Planking Milling Bar Size Cutting Milling
Model
chainsaw mill Portable Chainsaw mill 36" Inch 304 stainless steel and Aluminum Planking Milling Bar Size Cutting Milling
Customer Rating
25 Ratings
Prime
Best Value
Product Image
Carmyra Portable Chainsaw mill 36" Inch Planking Milling Bar Size 14" to 36"
Model
Carmyra Portable Chainsaw mill 36" Inch Planking Milling Bar Size 14" to 36"
Customer Rating
102 Ratings
Prime
Product Image
Alaskan Mark-IV Chainsaw Mill - (36")
Model
Alaskan Mark-IV Chainsaw Mill - (36")
Customer Rating
46 Ratings
Prime
-
Product Image
Granberg MK-IV Alaskan Chainsaw Mill with 30" Rails (Model G778-30)
Model
Granberg MK-IV Alaskan Chainsaw Mill with 30" Rails (Model G778-30)
Customer Rating
19 Ratings
Prime
-

Granberg Chain Saw Mill, Model# G777 – Best Seller

Sale
Granberg Chain Saw Mill, Model# G777
248 Ratings
Granberg Chain Saw Mill, Model# G777
  • Lightweight mill can access nearly all timber
  • High-quality mill cuts beams or lumber from 1/2in. To 13in. Thick and 17in. Wide
  • Attaches to saw without drilling bar

Granberg is likely one of the more respected and well-known companies on our list with easily the longest-running history that begins over 6 decades ago. On top of that, Granberg is also one of the few companies around that specializes almost exclusively in chainsaw accessories, though they do also sell a few pieces of outdoor equipment– though not chainsaws, oddly enough. Even better, Granberg is one of the few companies out there that might be more well-known for their chainsaw mills than for anything else. That said, the Granberg G777 chainsaw mill is likely the best seller for reasons other than pure capability.

Great Build
While a chainsaw mill is ostensibly designed to provide great cuts, there are a number of different factors that go into determining that quality. Out of all the chainsaw mills that we reviewed, few are likely better than the Granberg G777 chainsaw mill when it comes to the build quality. This technically includes other Granberg chainsaw mills we came across as well, though it is likely not for the reason most might think. Specifically, this is the only chainsaw mill on our list that actually comes with a polycarbonate safety guard. On top of that, the G777 chainsaw mill is made out of zinc-coated steel and aluminum, so you do not have to worry about general durability or its performance in wet conditions.

Decent Cuts
One thing that definitely surprised us, considering that the Granberg G777 chainsaw mill is a best seller, is the fact that it does not support the largest chainsaws. With a maximum bar size of only 20”, you will likely have to use a chainsaw smaller than recommended for milling larger logs. That said, the G777 chainsaw mill still offers support for engines between 50 cc and 70 cc, so the chainsaw can still be plenty powerful. That said, the bar limitations of the Granberg chainsaw mill definitely tends to make milling the timber take longer than with some of the other products on our list. Though, the Granberg G777 chainsaw mill at least offers a comparable milling thickness.

Granberg Chain Saw Mill, Model# G777

Pros

  • Is a less expensive chainsaw mill
  • Comes with a safety guard
  • Is made of steel and aluminum
  • Has a maximum thickness of ½” to 13”
  • Has anti-vibration brackets
  • Is CNC machined

Cons

  • Has the smallest bar fit
  • Takes longer to cut

chainsaw mill Portable Chainsaw mill 36″ Inch 304 stainless steel and Aluminum Planking Milling Bar Size Cutting Milling – Top Pick

chainsaw mill Portable Chainsaw mill 36' Inch 304 stainless steel and Aluminum Planking Milling Bar Size Cutting Milling
25 Ratings
chainsaw mill Portable Chainsaw mill 36" Inch 304 stainless steel and Aluminum Planking Milling Bar Size Cutting Milling
  • High Quality, 304 stainless steel and Aluminum Construction,Lighter and stronger
  • Chainsaw mill 36 inch length fits chainsaw bar length 10"-36”
  • Chain Saw Mill works for 36" diameter logs, Planking Milling Height & Width Adjustable

imony is definitely not going to be the first company you think of when you think of chainsaw mills. In fact, imony has very little presence online or in official documents, likely being the product of a Chinese factory. Part of this assessment comes from the fact that it is one of the few chainsaw mill manufacturers we reviewed which makes their products in China. However, imony does at least have the advantage of making this product exclusively which provides some expertise in the field. While the company may not necessarily provide any comfort, this is still a surprisingly capable chainsaw mill, especially at its price, which is why we ranked it our top pick.

Good Cuts
Considering its cost and absence of prestige, the cuts the imony chainsaw mill can provide are definitely surprising. For one, the imony chainsaw mill ties for first in the largest bar that it can accommodate at 36”. On top of that, the imony chainsaw mill also tops the list with the smallest bar size it can fit at 10”. This easily provides the largest range of chainsaws on our list, though it does not come without caveats. Specifically, while the imony chainsaw mill can handle smaller chainsaw bars, it does not do so terribly well. In fact, the imony chainsaw mill is noted for placing a bit too much strain on smaller bars and may cause them to bend.

Decent Build
One area where offshoot brands often struggle when competing with established companies is in the build-quality department. More often than not, a low-level company can add all of the requisite features to compete with bigger companies, but they do not always do as good of a job when it comes to the build quality. When it comes to the imony chainsaw mill, this is thankfully not much of an issue with the company even taking a unique approach. For example, this is actually the only chainsaw mill on our list to use 304 stainless steel as well as aluminum. This means that all of the materials used are naturally water and corrosion resistant without having to worry about a coating wearing off.

chainsaw mill Portable Chainsaw mill 36' Inch 304 stainless steel and Aluminum Planking Milling Bar Size Cutting Milling

Pros

  • Is a less expensive chainsaw mill
  • Is made of steel and aluminum
  • Has a maximum thickness of ½” to 13”
  • Fits a 10” to 36” bar
  • Is easy to assemble
  • Is a lightweight chainsaw mill

Cons

  • Not ideal for smaller chainsaws
  • Has minor accuracy issues

Carmyra Portable Chainsaw mill 36″ Inch Planking Milling Bar Size 14″ to 36″ – Best Value

Carmyra Portable Chainsaw mill 36' Inch Planking Milling Bar Size 14' to 36'
102 Ratings
Carmyra Portable Chainsaw mill 36" Inch Planking Milling Bar Size 14" to 36"
  • High Quality Steel and Aluminum Construction
  • Cut Cedar, Walnut and Oak into High Quality Lumber
  • High-Quality Mill Cuts Beams or Lumber from 0.5“ ”To 13“ Thick and 36” Wide

Carmyra is another company with virtually no online presence nor many financial documents to track and provide any sense of who they are. However, they are also another company who makes their chainsaw mills in China, so they could easily be a single factory. That said, much like many other Chinese factories in this market, they do at least focus exclusively on a single product, providing some sense of expertise. On top of that, the Carmyra chainsaw mill is also a cheap chainsaw mill coming in at a significantly lower price than most of its competitors.

Decent Cuts
While the Carmyra does not necessarily blow us away with its box specs, neither are they substandard either. While not the widest range that we came across, the Carmyra chainsaw mill still offers one of the wider ranges of bars that we found. With a maximum chainsaw bar size of 36”, the Carmyra chainsaw mill ties for the largest bar size on our list. While a minimum bar size of 14” is not really near the lowest we found, it is still one of the more reasonable sizes. To be fair, too much smaller than that, and you will be extremely limited in regards to the timber you mill regardless of the chainsaw mill used.

Iffy Build
While the Carmyra can compete in terms of cut ranges, its budget-friendly approach definitely shows up in other regards. While most cheap chainsaw mills come with some build issues that can be a pain to deal with, the Carmyra chainsaw mill definitely suffers more than most. Specifically, the Carmyra chainsaw mill sees too many quality control issues and has some of the least accurate or precise machining that we came across. On top of that, the Carmyra chainsaw mill also comes with some of the oddest hardware on our list, often lacking hardware necessary to assemble it. Thankfully, the Carmyra chainsaw mill does at least use steel and aluminum for their materials and is also one of the lighter chainsaw mills we reviewed.

Carmyra Portable Chainsaw mill 36' Inch Planking Milling Bar Size 14' to 36'

Pros

  • Is a less expensive chainsaw mill
  • Is made of steel and aluminum
  • Has a maximum thickness of ½” to 13”
  • Fits a 14” to 36” bar
  • Is easy to assemble
  • Is a lightweight chainsaw mill

Cons

  • Has QC issues
  • Does not come with the necessary hardware

Alaskan Mark-IV Chainsaw Mill – (36″) – Runner Up

Sale
Alaskan Mark-IV Chainsaw Mill - (36')
46 Ratings
Alaskan Mark-IV Chainsaw Mill - (36")
  • Designed and manufactured in USA
  • Mounts to chain bar with a few turns of a wrench
  • Cut slabs from ½” to 13” thick, and up to 27” wide, where the tree falls

Granberg makes another appearance on our list, but this time it is definitely meant for a more experienced user. While the best seller product was a bit easier to use and even came with a safety guard, this one is meant for more rigorous tasks. In fact, this is actually the most professional-grade chainsaw mill on our list, though it is also one of the most expensive too. However, the difference between the Mark-IV and the Mark-III might be enough to entice you to spend a little bit more for a more capable chainsaw mill.

Great Cuts
Out of all the chainsaw mills that we reviewed, few can truly compete with the Granberg Mark-IV 778-36 chainsaw mill in terms of the cuts it provides. For example, this Granberg chainsaw mill ties our list with the largest maximum bar size, allowing for a much quicker cutting time than most of the other products we reviewed. On top of that, it can also handle chainsaw engines that none of the competitors can come close to with a maximum engine displacement of 120 cc– something few DIYers are likely to ever touch. Even better, the Granberg Mark-IV does not actually have the smallest minimum chainsaw bar size and can accommodate even some of the smallest chainsaws– though this will definitely impact the cutting speed.

Good Build
Like most Granberg chainsaw mills, the Mark-IV 778-36 chainsaw mill comes with a good build that can handle plenty of abuse. For one, the product is made of steel and aluminum for a solid frame that will not struggle or bow under the weight of a larger, heavier chainsaw. That said, this is also one of the heavier chainsaw mills on our list and will require a little bit more time to set up properly. Still, the Granberg Mark-IV 36” chainsaw mill features CNC machined components, including a fully CNC machined design, so you do not have to worry about inaccuracies like with some other models we came across.

Alaskan Mark-IV Chainsaw Mill - (36')

Pros

  • Has anti-vibration brackets
  • Is made of steel and aluminum
  • Is coated in zinc
  • Has a maximum thickness of ½” to 13”
  • Fits up to a 36” bar
  • Is CNC machined

Cons

  • Is a more expensive chainsaw mill
  • Is a heavier

Granberg MK-IV Alaskan Chainsaw Mill with 30″ Rails (Model G778-30) – Also Consider

Granberg MK-IV Alaskan Chainsaw Mill with 30' Rails (Model G778-30)
19 Ratings
Granberg MK-IV Alaskan Chainsaw Mill with 30" Rails (Model G778-30)
  • Mounts to chain bar with a few turns of a wrench
  • Cut slabs from ½” to 13” thick, and up to 27” wide, where the tree falls.
  • Cut cedar, walnut and oak into high quality lumber

Our last product is another Granberg, though you should not necessarily consider its spot so far down our list as a reflection of its quality. Much like other Granberg products, the Granberg Mark-IV 778-30 is a high-quality chainsaw mill. However, this is also one of the more expensive chainsaw mills on our list, but it does not really offer anything the others lack. In this case, you can consider the Granberg 30” chainsaw mill something of a reverse Goldilocks where everything is just right not better than its competitors.

Good Build
Like the other Granbergs on our list, the Mark-IV 778-30 chainsaw mill features a better build than most of its competitors. Also, much like the other Mark-IV chainsaw mills that we came across, it comes with fully CNC machined components which helps ensure accuracy and precision. It also uses the standard Granberg material combination of extruded aluminum and zinc-coated steel, so you do not have to worry about rusting or corroding. That said, the Granberg 778-30 chainsaw mill is still one of the heavier models without offering the robust range of other products we reviewed.

Good Cuts
While the maximum bar size of 30” is not bad by any measure, it is still a full half-foot shorter than multiple products on our list. Thankfully, this Granberg Mark-IV chainsaw mill features the same minimum bar size as the rest of the Mark-IV lineup which still affords it a solid bar range. Much like the larger Granberg Mark-IV chainsaw mill, the 30” chainsaw mill can also handle chainsaws with an engine displacement of up to 120 cc. As is fairly standard among this market, the 778-30 chainsaw mill can also cut a thickness range of ½” to 13”. Finally, like other Granberg products the Mark-IV 30” chainsaw mill features sturdy brackets that provide an anti-vibration quality.

Granberg MK-IV Alaskan Chainsaw Mill with 30' Rails (Model G778-30)

Pros

  • Has anti-vibration brackets
  • Is made of steel and aluminum
  • Is coated in zinc
  • Has a maximum thickness of ½” to 13”
  • Fit up to a 30” bar
  • Is CNC machined

Cons

  • Is a more expensive chainsaw mill
  • Is a heavier chainsaw mill

Best Chainsaw Mill Buying Guide 2019

Materials

While this is not necessarily the most important factor to consider, it is definitely one that needs to meet a minimum standard. Basically, with the power of a chainsaw combined with the sheer weight and mass of milling logs, you need to make sure your chainsaw mill can handle the task. Outside of general durability, you also need to make sure that the chainsaw mill can maintain a rigid structure for accuracy and precision.

Thankfully, most chainsaw mills are made out of similar materials, though particular components can vary in terms of durability. The most common material composition of a chainsaw mill is some combination of steel and aluminum. The use of steel provides a fairly sturdy frame to keep the cuts accurate and precise while strategic use of aluminum can help keep the weight down.

On top of the general durability and precision of a chainsaw mill, the materials can also play a big role in how well the mill responds to environmental pressures. The most common issue in this instance is water from rain or other sources, though aluminum is naturally resistant to rust and corrosion. With regards to the steel, the use of stainless steel serves a similar function as aluminum while mild steel will often be coated with zinc. It is worth noting that zinc works well to prevent rust and corrosion, but it will eventually wear away over time.

Chainsaw Size

The chainsaw size that a mill can accommodate is definitely important, though it will weigh heavier depending on the type of wood you mill as well as the size of slabs you cut. Basically, you want to use as large a chainsaw as you can in most instances, though particular situations might actually call for a somewhat smaller chainsaw. That said, when milling large pieces of timber, you definitely need a larger chainsaw not only for its cutting size but also for its power. Keep in mind, milling timber with a chainsaw places more strain and weight on the bar and chain which larger engines handle better. On the other hand, milling wood from smaller pieces of timber can make using the mill a bit more difficult than it needs to be and introduce unnecessary vibration into the cut.

Ease of Use

Not often is the ease of use one of the more important factors when it comes to “professional” chainsaw tasks. While they are always appreciated, even by the most experienced chainsaw users, they do not always offer the best value. However, with a chainsaw mill, ease of use is actually more important than many of the box specs. This is because a chainsaw mill attempts to make a powerful, imprecise tool into a precision cutting tool. As such, you need the chainsaw mill to work fairly easily and accurately or else deal with hours of finish work– assuming you even have workable lumber in the end. In this case, one of the most important things to consider is how the chainsaw mill is machined, though this is not always a quality available at your fingertips. Basically, the more precisely and accurately the chainsaw mill is machined, the more accurate and precise the chainsaw mill will perform– and this is arguably the most important quality of a chainsaw mill. While the assembly of a chainsaw mill falls under this heading as well, it should not be considered anywhere near on par of importance as the machining.

FAQs

Why Choose a Chainsaw Mill?

More often than not, if you use a chainsaw to cut wood, it is not in the capacity of controlled cutting. Instead, chainsaws are usually used for trimming branches or cutting down trees which can generously be classified as maintenance or outright demolition. The most common situations where you would use a chainsaw for any kind of controlled wood cut comes in the form of cutting firewood. However, even here, a chainsaw does not necessarily need to be too terribly precise or accurate and can still get by with some of the roughest cuts imaginable.

That said, there are a few instances when you need to make accurate and precise cuts on a large piece of timber.
This comes up most often when you want to use raw timber to make furniture, decorative siding, or some other similar project. Basically, anytime you want to begin a project that would be classified within the “rustic style,” you need to make accurate, precise cuts out of raw wood or timber. While you can certainly try to make these kinds of cuts with a chainsaw unaided, the sheer power of a chainsaw is liable to add significant amounts of finishing to any cut you make on an intended workpiece. This is when a chainsaw mill really comes in handy as it allows you to make relatively standardized, accurate, and precise cuts on raw wood or timber.

How to Use a Chainsaw Mill?

One of the better qualities of a chainsaw mill is they are not usually that different from one another, so once you know how to use one chainsaw mill, you generally know how to use them all. While there are certainly some exceptions to this rule as well as a number of additional features or components that can amend the use instructions, chainsaw mills are not terribly complex or varied.

That said, using them definitely requires some preparation and a fairly specific set of instructions. However, an important preparation step is to make sure you know what kind of lumber the timber will provide. This is more of an issue regarding where on the bole of the tree you cut with lumber milled from the base of the trunk providing harder wood than lumber milled higher up, closer to the branches. Also consider that trees with knots, saps, or oils can also make milling lumber from a log significantly more difficult, time-consuming, and can wear heavily on your chainsaw.

One of the first things you need to do before using a chainsaw mill is to set up the timber itself. At the very least, you need to make sure that the wood is positioned in such a way that you do not have to worry about it moving while making the cut. On top of that, you also need to make sure that the log is positioned so the chainsaw does not have to worry about anything around it.

For example, you should always place the timber onto a bucking stand that keeps it off of the ground– whether you use a makeshift log horse or a dedicated one. Keep in mind, unlike general cuts to logs with a chainsaw, bucking stands made out of a cross-section of the log itself may not necessarily work depending on the level of the ground and the quality of the bucking stand.

Once you have the timber properly positioned and relatively secure, you need to make sure you also have proper guide rails. Some chainsaw mills will actually come with guide rails, but other models may require you to purchase them separately. That said, you can also make your own guide rails, though you need to be sure that they are accurate and precise or risk having a lot of finish work ahead of you after making your cuts. In fairness, some chainsaw mills incorporate guide rails as part of their design, but this can definitely be a bit hit or miss depending on the manufacturer.

Once you have the guide rails, you can then attach the chainsaw mill to the timber, but make sure that the guide rails extend off of the timber by about 6” on both sides to maintain stability. Once you have attached the chainsaw mill, consider carefully how wide you need the lumber to be as this will determine the depth of your first cut. Basically, you are unlikely to use the first cut made with the chainsaw mill as this slab will include the exterior bark from the tree along one face of the slab.

While there are plenty of projects that can make use of this piece of lumber, it is definitely not the easiest to work with. In fact, this slab is best reserved for decorative work or to be used as an accent with rustic-style projects. It is worth noting that some people will actually debark the timber to provide for more usable wood, though the effort put into it rarely bears enough fruit to be worth it.

On top of that, the wood closer to the center of the tree is almost always denser and stronger than that at the exterior. Keep in mind, the first cut is often considered the most important since your chainsaw mill will use the accuracy of that cut all the way down as you cut each slab. If your first cut is inaccurate, then you following cuts are also going to be inaccurate– especially if you use a precise chainsaw mill. If at all possible, try to put a felling wedge into the open cut at increments of every 3’ to 4’ but only if you can maintain control of the chainsaw at wide open throttle while doing so.

Once you finish the first cut, you no longer need the guide rails and can remove them with the cut face serving as a guide for the rest of the milling process. However, it is worth noting that the guide rails can still offer additional support when making the cut, so you might want to keep them. Though, this does technically reduce the maximum cutting thickness of the slab that the chainsaw mill can make by 2” or so.

On the other hand, the guide rails also offer a bit more stability when making thinner slabs of a 1″. You may also want to cut a cant into the timber which is essentially the same kind of cut as the first cut except for the bottom. However, making a cant cut is not recommended when milling timber “in the wild” and is best reserved for a more controlled setting.

Following the first two cuts, you will need to roll the timber onto its side on one of the remaining sides with bark and repeat the steps of the first cut. This should leave you with a log that has three clean-cut sides, free of bark, and accurately milled. Be careful to properly measure the third cut so that it is square with the first two, or you will need to remill the cant.

What to Look for?

Despite the various specs out of the box, by far the most important quality of a chainsaw mill is its accuracy and precision. It does not really matter how well built the chainsaw mill is if it always leaves you hours of finishing work on your slabs. Unfortunately, the accuracy and precision of the chainsaw mill is not something you can determine by looking at its specs. Instead, the accuracy and precision of a chainsaw mill are determined far more by its overall machining than anything else. On top of that, you need to make sure to use high-quality hardware, though this is a fairly easy and inexpensive fix if the chainsaw mill comes with substandard hardware.

In terms of the box specs, one of the more important qualities to consider is the size of the bar the chainsaw mill can support. This is because milling timber is one of the more taxing jobs you can ask of a chainsaw, arguably more taxing than felling a tree. As such, the larger the chainsaw, the better it will be able to handle the rigors of milling timber into lumber– though the engine displacement definitely matters as well. Keep in mind, you should not try to mill timber into lumber with an electric chainsaw of any type as they do not provide the kind of torque necessary.

Conclusion

As we can see, the best chainsaw mill will depend as much on what kind of lumber you mill and the projects you need it for as it does the mill itself. The Granberg G777 is definitely a bit more limited in some capacities, but it is also one of the safer options on our list. The imony may not have the name recognition of Granberg, but it offers a surprisingly competitive product at a lower cost. The Carmyra is a cheap chainsaw mill, but you might need to modify it after purchase as well as get better hardware. The Granberg G778-36 might be the best-performing chainsaw mill for milling large logs, but it is also fairly expensive. Finally, the Granberg G778-30 is still one of the more expensive mills without really providing anything more than other high-end options on our list.