Top 5 Best Chainsaws for Milling Lumber 2021 [Expert Picks]

Are you looking forward to build a stationary mill far away from your home? Face it, a portable chainsaw can turn away itself as a portable mill.

Traditional sawmills are expensive, whereas chainsaws are affordable. It means, you are saving your money as well as finding a convenient way to start a mill.

Typical chainsaws are not a good performer for firewood. Are you wrinkling your eyes and thinking why?

Because the best milling chainsaws are capable enough to turn a log in to lumber. And you don’t need to worry about using those lumber to make crafts and furniture for your home.

But question is how will you find out the best chainsaws for milling? No worries, we gave a deep dive into the ocean of chainsaw stores and wrote reviews of few best chainsaw that are highly optimized for milling.

We came up with some buying guide to choose the best chainsaw also. Enough horn totting, let’s roll together.

Preview
Top Pick
Husqvarna 20 Inch 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw
Runner Up
Husqvarna 20 Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw
Echo CS-590-20AA 20 in. 59.8 cc Gas Chainsaw
Poulan Pro 20 in. 50cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw, PR5020
Makita XCU04PT LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 16" Chain...
Title
Husqvarna 20 Inch 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw
Husqvarna 20 Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw
Echo CS-590-20AA 20 in. 59.8 cc Gas Chainsaw
Poulan Pro 20 in. 50cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw, PR5020
Makita XCU04PT LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 16" Chain...
Powered Type
Gas Powered
Gas Powered
Gas Powered
Gas Powered
Battery Powered
Bar Size
20 Inch
20 Inch
20 Inch
20 Inch
16 Inch
Weight
12.79 Pounds
12.8 Pounds
20.1 Pounds
17 Pounds
18.56 Pounds
Features
side-mounted chain tensioning, Quick-release air filter, Adjustable oil pump
X-torq engine, quick-release air filter, ide-mounted chain tensioning
Digital ignition, Anti-vibration system, G - force technology
Instant chain stopping feature, Oxy power engine technology, The purge bulb
Tool-less chain tightening, Auto power-off feature, Bucking spikes
Prime Eligibility
-
-
-
Top Pick
Preview
Husqvarna 20 Inch 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw
Title
Husqvarna 20 Inch 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw
Powered Type
Gas Powered
Bar Size
20 Inch
Weight
12.79 Pounds
Features
side-mounted chain tensioning, Quick-release air filter, Adjustable oil pump
Prime Eligibility
-
Runner Up
Preview
Husqvarna 20 Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw
Title
Husqvarna 20 Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw
Powered Type
Gas Powered
Bar Size
20 Inch
Weight
12.8 Pounds
Features
X-torq engine, quick-release air filter, ide-mounted chain tensioning
Prime Eligibility
-
Preview
Echo CS-590-20AA 20 in. 59.8 cc Gas Chainsaw
Title
Echo CS-590-20AA 20 in. 59.8 cc Gas Chainsaw
Powered Type
Gas Powered
Bar Size
20 Inch
Weight
20.1 Pounds
Features
Digital ignition, Anti-vibration system, G - force technology
Prime Eligibility
-
Preview
Poulan Pro 20 in. 50cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw, PR5020
Title
Poulan Pro 20 in. 50cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw, PR5020
Powered Type
Gas Powered
Bar Size
20 Inch
Weight
17 Pounds
Features
Instant chain stopping feature, Oxy power engine technology, The purge bulb
Prime Eligibility
Preview
Makita XCU04PT LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 16" Chain...
Title
Makita XCU04PT LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 16" Chain...
Powered Type
Battery Powered
Bar Size
16 Inch
Weight
18.56 Pounds
Features
Tool-less chain tightening, Auto power-off feature, Bucking spikes
Prime Eligibility

In order to make a well informed purchase, read our other reviews, Best farm and ranch chainsaw reviews, Best 60cc chainsaw reviews, Best chainsaw under 300 reviews,

5 Best Chainsaws for Milling (Review-2021)

1. Husqvarna 460 Rancher  (Top picks)

best chainsaw for milling lumber

Husqvarna 460 is highly optimized to tackle your milling task. Husqvarna never compromises on quality and safety that you required.

It will never let your trust go down in terms of optimal performance.

Are you looking forward to handle big milling application? Its 20-inch bar works aggressively on big task.

No matter what happens, Husqvarna 20 Inch Rancher Gas chainsaw will always make your milling task easy.

You will never feel uncomfortable while using this chainsaw because of its ergonomic and efficient design.You are free from all worries too about its engine life.

It features an air injection centrifugal air cleaning system that will keep its air filter away from any kinds of debris or larger dust that may reduce engines lifespan. Because of its powerful performance this chainsaw is our top pick 

Also, it has long bar that will give you amazing cutting experience. It is easy to start and you will get a continuous, stressful cutting performance.

It has also other great features that you will easily identify the difference between a serviceable chainsaw and this milling chainsaw.

Features and Benefits of Husqvarna 460 Rancher Chainsaw

Features

Benefit

Simple and side-mounted chain tensioning system

You can adjust the chain whenever it gets displaced, even during working.

Quick-release air filter

Air filter cleaning becomes easy and comfortable.

 460 Rancher

Makes it durable for any kinds of job. Whether you need to cut a tall tree or wood for your fireplace.

 Reflex chain oiling system

Continuously supply oil to bar and chain for secure and active work.

 2-cycle engine

It minimizes emissions by up to 60% and fuel consumption by up to 30%.

Safety features

To confirm safety, it features front handguard and chain brake. This feature specially designed to reduce the risk of kickback. Also, reduce the tendency of chain brake and assure safety while working.

Adjustable oil pump

It helps to adjust oil pump function depending on the weather condition. If you are working in a wet condition, improve the oil flow to support it. If the weather is dry, choose to cut the softwood.

3.62 HP engine

Makes it so much powerful that you will feel like you are ripping paper.

Pros

  • Fast performer
  • Impressively powerful
  • Ease to use
  • Longer lasting service
  • Anti-vibration system minimizes the vibration level
  • Easy to change and use with different-sized bar
  • Confirms comfortable chainsaw operation

cons

  • Expensive

2. Husqvarna 455 Rancher (Best Chainsaw for Alaskan Mill) - Runner up

Best Chainsaws for milling

Husqvarna 455 rancher chainsaw is big and weighty enough to perform well against your milling task.

It is suitable for landowners and full-time users who require a massive, powerful workmate that is able to cut off your backyard trees to tall oaks.

It offers the best features than its ancestor with advanced, smoothing tools and ergonomics. Controlling a chainsaw is barely hard due to its heavy vibration.

Nothing welcomes on fatigue faster than trying to handle a chainsaw that is vibrating badly. Husqvarna 455 Rancher has a vibration controlling system that will make your work safer than ever.

The 455 Rancher is available with operation manual, a defending bar case, a multipurpose tool to eliminate the clutch cover and tensioning the chain.

Features and Benefits of Husqvarna 455 Rancher Chainsaw

Features

Benefit

Front handguard

Protects your hands in case of losing balance and come in contact with the chain.

Rear handguard

Protects the hand from all types of debris and accident.

Chain catcher

Prevent a slipped or snapped chain injuring the user.

Throttle lockout

Its throttle lockout features to control the throttle to keep you safe from any accident.

 X-torq engine

Powerful engine keeps it strong and minimizes the emission of fumes to let you breathe in clean air. Also, confirms air quality as per legal standards.

 2 - stroke engine

Starting a chainsaw is one of the frightening works. But its 2 -stroke engines feature make it easy to start without any hassle.

 Chain oil system

Its automatic and adjustable chain oil system makes it both convenient and flexible. You don’t need to push any switch because when you start working with it, the oil will automatically release.

 Nose sprocket at guide bar

Helps to reduce friction and enhance cutting performance.

 Maintenance kit

Kit includes air filter, fuel filter, spark plug and 2 stroke oil so you can quickly perform essential chainsaw maintenance on your schedule.

Pros

  • Tremendous performance for the price
  • Stable and robust construction
  • Outstanding features that will lead you to ease operation
  • Starts quickly without creating any unnecessary problem

cons

  • The oil tank is a bit small

3. ECHO CS-590-20'' 

Best chainsaw for milling

ECHO is a chainsaw manufacturer who never compromises on quality and value.

ECHO CS-590 gas chainsaw is available with a wide range of features that made him unique from all other chainsaws and includes a transparent fuel tank, reduction of air pressure feature, 2 - piece mesh air filter.

Its 2 – stroke engine runs using fuel, and you can use a mix of gas and oil. You need to use minimum 89 octanes unleaded gas and 2 – stroke oil maintaining 50:1 ratio.

The capacity of the fuel tank is 21.8 oz, and the tank is translucent that make it easy to give a look when fuel is about to finish, and without any delay, you can fill it up. Its 20-inch bar length makes it suitable for milling work.

Features and Benefits of ECHO CS-590 Milling Chain Saw

Features

Benefit

59.8 cc, 2 - stroke engine

Offers any performance with great comfort. You can cut tall and large trees like ripping a paper.

Dual post chain brake

Immediate safety against kickback. Inertia and handguard operated. Reduces the chance of injury while sudden kickback happens.

Air shutter

During winter, you will not face carburetor not working problem. It will let you work in any weather.

Digital ignition

Makes starting of the tool easier and provides smooth acceleration.

Decompression device

Reduce cylinder compression when starting.

Easy maintenance

Help you in terms of frequent checking of the chainsaw such as cleaning the air filter and chain oiler area. The chain required continuous checkup to let it work with correct tension and sharpness.

Warranty

5-year consumer warranty and 1-year commercial warranty

Anti-vibration system

Minimizes vibration at the handle and let you work intently as you don’t have any worry about vibration.

G - force technology

Pre-cleans air before injecting it into the engine. Ultimately, this results in a longer-lasting engine, as it slows the rate of degradation.

Pros

  • Minimizes vibration greatly
  • Made by Japan
  • Includes Chain, Bar, Operators Manual
  • Auto/Adjustable Chain Oiler

cons

  • Plastic is used to make the guard. It may need replacement within a short period
  • You may feel this chainsaw as bulky in weight

4. Poulan Pro PR5020 (Best for the Money)

Best chainsaws for milling lumber

For the last 100 years and more, the name Poulan has been related to value and affordability.

The Poulan Pro 20 in. 50 cc 2-cycle gas chainsaw is a mid to high level performer, without any doubt this unit provides impressive service with an affordable price.

It's engine is exceptionally powerful that makes this model sturdiest and more dependable than comparable models.

You will barely find a chainsaw within the similar price range that is as much powerful like this Poulan pro 5020 gas chainsaw.

The PR5020 model is an excellent choice for your everyday household works like pruning, chopping branches, or cutting firewood. It has all the power you’ll need with a price tag that keeps it from being too highly commercial.

That means, if you are looking for a chainsaw for professional use, this probably is not the model for you.

Features and Benefits of Poulan Pro PR5020 Milling Chainsaw

Features

Benefit

20 in. bar length

Provides you extra bit that you need while cutting thicker logs. (without the need to make a second, third or fourth cut to get the job done to completion).

 Kickback and chain

This chainsaw is designed to reduce the kickback amount feel by a user and enables it not to transfer any vibration to its user’s hand.

Instant chain stopping feature

Confirms you will never fall in injury while using this chainsaw. While storing it, the chain guard can save anyone who might accidentally get in touch to the chainsaw blades.

Design

Its unique design confirms comfortable cutting to get your job done successfully. The thumb rest on this chainsaw ensures you’ll have no issues guiding the blade, even when you’re halfway through already making the cut.

Oxy power engine technology

This feature will help you extra power to accomplish any task. This technology confirms more powerful engine as well as 70% less emission and 20% less fuel consumption.

Pull starting system

To give you an easy starting this feature reduces 30% hassle to let you keep secure and finish your work appropriately.

The purge bulb

Enables the carburetor with fuel and within fewer pulls, you will be able to start this chainsaw. Provides protection and reduces the chance of injury.

Pros

  • User-friendly
  • It's grip provides real protection and enough stability
  • Hassle-free starting and greater consistency

cons

  • Heavyweight.
  • Reduction of vibration system should require better performance

5. MAKITA XCU04PT LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 16” Chainsaw

Best chainsaws for milling

Do you need a powerful chainsaw to get an ease operation at your woodwork? Shake your hands with Makita XCU04PT chainsaw.

Its powerful brushless motor offers enough power that will permit you to go about your duties with comfortable.

Makita always takes care of their tools to give an exceptional cutting experience to their customer.

In XCU04PT design, they introduced an advanced variable speed trigger system to let you experience with unique cutting performance.

You don’t need any tools in order to adjust the chain that permits you to utilize its full efficiency suitably.

It comes with two 18V LXT Lithium-Ion battery to give your immense support to work for a long time if you are performing an extensive woodwork task.

Wave your hands to all your worries about its maintenance as it is free from emissions.

You don’t need to sweat your forehead thinking about changing engine oil, replacement of the spark plug, cleaning and clearing the air filter. Also, it is unnecessary to drain the fuel for storage.

All you need to do is, pick the chainsaw, give it power using 18V LXT Lithium battery and start using it.

Significantly simple! If you are looking for electric chainsaw for milling, then undoubtedly you can choose this model.

Features and Benefits of MAKITA XCU04PT cordless chainsaw

Features

Benefit

16-inch guide bar

This 16-inch bar makes it the right choice for your milling task. 

Bucking spikes

Makita uses metal bucking spikes. As a result, it becomes durable and can cut any hard materials. The bucking spikes create an excellent partnership with the bar length too.

"Tool-less" chain tightening

Chain tightening becomes more straightforward in this chainsaw. Follow 3 steps and note that no tools are required to do this. Firstly, press the spring loaded-lever; secondly, swing it out and finally, start to turn it that makes it loose from the bolt.

Front Handguard

Developed to actuates chain brake while it is engaged in work.

Chain brake

Just after you release your hand from its trigger, the chain will stop working automatically.

Performance

Its incredible performance will let you feel that you are cutting trees like using a heated knife into butter.

Auto power-off feature

This feature will let the chainsaw switched off when the job is delayed for additional Battery life.

Pros

  • Highly efficient brush-less motor.
  • Ease handling with ergonomic design.
  • Compact rear handle design offers improved performance and users comfort.
  • Variable speed trigger and high chain speed.

cons

  • Auto switched off feature affects works consistently.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Chainsaw For Milling

Are you purchasing a chainsaw for the first time? Are you Little bit confused which one to buy because a lot of variations are available in the market?

While selecting the perfect saw for your mill, you need to take care of a few essential factors that I am going to share with you below.

Safety Features

A chainsaw without safety features may lead you to serious injury. Many of us shut our eyes in terms of checking the safety features of a chainsaw, whereas we need to keep an eagle eye.

Inspect your chainsaw intently and ensure all safety features like hand-guard, anti-vibration features, automatic oil lubricator, and to name a few are available in your selected chainsaw.

Bar Length

You chainsaw’s guide bar has to possess the right length to be ideal for milling. On average, your milling chainsaw should have an 16” bar length.

Based on the trees you intend cutting, you may need to get much longer guide bars on a milling chainsaw

Engine Power

Your chainsaw’s engine power is another very critical point to consider before purchasing a saw. In most cases, you’re between two power types for a milling saw electric or gas-powered.

If an electric-powered milling chainsaw is your choice, you’d have to select a chainsaw from 12 – 15Amps. Lower placed amp chainsaws won’t function optimally in milling lumber.

Also, if you make a gas-powered chainsaw your pick, its power is measured in cc. For a top-performing milling chainsaw, you’d have to get a choice from 50cc to ensure significant cutting power. 

There’re also some choices that could go well over 50ccs to assure more comfortable slicing through stuff.

Since you’re not purchasing these saws for light to moderate use, getting the highest engine power should be your focus, power-type regardless.

Durability

Milling operations require saws that have to be of optimal performance at all stages. For the perfect milling chainsaw, you’d have to consider your selected machine’s material makeup, engine performance, and more.

All major features that’ll ensure your machine keeps performing for longer need to be present.

Portability/Working Location

Where do you want to use your chainsaw? If you decided to work in woodland, it is preferable to select gas powered chainsaw.

A battery powered chainsaw also will be an option, but the charge may finish before you finish your job.

Moreover, an electric chainsaw will be the right choice if you are living in a suburb.

Price

You can spend more than a hundred dollars to purchase a chainsaw, but all dancing and singing will be useless if you don’t utilize it to its zenith efficiency.

If you are looking to use a chainsaw to use for your home, purchasing less than $200 chainsaw will be an ethical decision.

Warranty

Do you love to buy a chainsaw item using more than $100 that has less lifespan? Undoubtedly your answer will be NO.

Check out the warranty because you are purchasing an item using your valuable money and you are expecting to get its service for a long time. Keep note; an expensive item will provide you long service.

Added Features

Modern chainsaws provides advanced technology than an old chainsaw. Advanced technologies like reducing vibration system, adjustable side-mounted tension, heated handle, a carrying case and no name a few.

Set a reminder in your smartphone about checking these additional features while purchasing.

Selecting the correct chainsaw is significantly essential because you can do mistake easily from the ocean of chainsaw showing in your nearest or online stores.

I believe the above information will help you a lot to purchase the right chainsaw for milling and fulfill your requirements. 

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

What is Milling?

Milling, when it comes to chainsaws, is the process of removing the rounded parts off a log and reducing the now rectangular log to smaller pieces.

Milled logs provide very useful lengths of wood for construction and other essential purposes. Over the years, milling has been practiced with a lot of crude methods, but technology has changed all that.

Is There Any Difference between Logs Milled in an Industrial Mill Machine and with a Milling Chainsaw?

Nowadays, there’re machines that could actually get a lot of logs milled in a short time. But since these industrial cutting machines are way over your budget, it’s better to get a milling chainsaw.

The small size of these saws doesn’t take anything from their performance, as it could be difficult to tell where a log was milled when you use your chainsaw right.

How Many Operators are required to Use a Milling Chainsaw?

A single-handed chainsaw usually requires only one operator to handle milling operations. On the flip side, the much larger double-sided chainsaw is only operable with two handlers, one on each end of the machine.

What Kind of Milling Chainsaw Do I Need?

This depends on your operation. If you’re milling through logs with much smaller diameters, you could cheaply get the job done with a single-handed chainsaw. But when you’ve got to cut through considerably larger logs, you’d have to get it done with a double-handed chainsaw.

Why You Need a Top Rated Chainsaw for Milling?

You need a top-rated chainsaw for milling to ensure you get the best performance. When in stores for a top-performing saw, it’s inappropriate to choose an inferior product.

Most chainsaw brands with top performance are already very popular, so it shouldn’t be difficult to get a top-rated choice. And to make your selection process a tad comfortable, this review features all the top-class saws you’ll ever need.

Gas or Electric, Which Power Type is best for Milling?

When it comes to milling chainsaws, gas-power has an edge over electric-powered chainsaws. Gas chainsaws come in a design that assures more cutting power than electric chainsaws.

Also, most gas engines from 45ccs can cheaply outrun an electric saw in a wide range of cutting tasks. So to ensure a top-notch cutting experience, go for gas-powered saws. Read more about gas vs electric chainsaw.

Should I Hire a Professional for Milling my Wood?

This totally depends on you. If you’ve got a lot of wood to mill with not enough experience to get it done, it’s better you get a pro to handle the job for you.

But if you’re well versed in cutting through a lot of logs with no hassle, there’s no need to waste that extra cash on hiring a lumbering pro.

How Much Power Do I Need For a Hassle-free Milling Experience

If you’ve got your sights set on an electric-powered milling chainsaw, you’d have to get one within the 12 – 15Amp power range. 

For gas-powered saws, get a chainsaw that has its engine power ranging from 50cc  or above.

Conclusion

Getting the best chainsaws for milling is much easier with all the info in this review. Since I’ve made the info as comprehensive as possible, it’ll become more than easy to get your milling operations running on all cylinders in record time as soon as possible. Make a choice for a milling chainsaw today, check out its price, and get your milling on track right now!