What Size Chainsaw for Milling? Detail Explanation

Last Updated on January 6, 2023 by Sarker C. Weber

Chainsaws come in different shapes, sizes, and builds. And most importantly, they’re made for several distinct functions in mind.

It’s noteworthy that a chainsaw you use for cutting down a small tree is different from a chainsaw for milling.

This is because milling chainsaw has numerous extra requirements, and the wrong choice could leave you dissatisfied. And knowing what size chainsaw for milling you need to use is very vital.

The best chainsaw isn’t restricted to a particular brand. And there’re decent products you can get from generic makers too!

But people easily get lost when it comes to the size of the chain perfect for their milling process.

If that’s the case, then don’t despair! You’ll be getting the right set of info that’ll link you directly to everything chainsaw.

With this info, your chainsaw mill will operate much better, giving you more rest along the way.

Let’s delve directly into all the relevant info. It’ll surely help you select the perfect chainsaw size for milling your lumber with peace of mind!

Don’t forget to check out our other reviews: 16-inch Chainsaw reviews, Power to weight ratio chainsaw reviews, 200 dollar chainsaw reviews, 50 cc Chainsaw reviews

The Essence of Choosing a Right Chainsaw for Milling

What size chainsaw for milling

Many people desire a Husqvarna chainsaw for milling, while some swear by the efficiency of a Stihl chainsaw.

On the flip side, the minimum cc for chainsaw mill should be your focus when picking the ideal milling chainsaw.

Choosing the right chainsaw for milling is hard, but with the right info, you’ll get the facts right for a more natural selection. An ideal chainsaw for milling will fit right into your daily operation, and you’ll fare much better for it.

What Size is best for Milling?

Chainsaws engage in many actions during the operation, and it’s a fact that the faulty unit could underperform.

So, to ensure the highest level of performance when you’re in a lumbering operation, size should interest you greatly.

But there’re other points to consider for the most quality performance from your chainsaw. Here they are;

Engine power

The power of your engine determines the performance of your chainsaw. For a standard cutting operation, a 50cc power chainsaw is perfect for milling. But if you’re in the hunt for more power, you could select a much higher saw.

Bar Length

Your selection should solely depend on the operation you wish to engage in. For example, for a one-person lumbering operation, it’s advisable you get a chainsaw within 20 – 24 inches.

Selecting such a bar length is perfect for avoiding kickback. Also, other bars could measure up to 36 inches in length. These bars are commonly used in two-person lumbering operations.

Minimum power

Chainsaws depend on power, and for a seamless cutting experience, the right specs are essential. For example, a 2–horsepower chainsaw is perfect for milling, and it’s possible to get a more powerful chainsaw for lumbering.

What size chainsaw is best for milling?

The size of logs you intend to mill plays a huge role in selecting the right chainsaw.

For a better, plainer finish, it is recommended that a more powerful chainsaw be used for much larger logs. 

The same goes for leaner logs, as they’ll require smaller milling chainsaws to slice them into planks neatly. First, however, let’s take a look at our recommended size chart below:

Log Diameter (Single Machine)

15 – 36 inches


50cc to 80cc

Bar Size Inch (Minimum)

20 inches

Bar Size Inch (Maximum)

30 inches


2HP above

Ideal cutting angle

30 – 45 degrees

Preferred power type


Frequently Asked Questions

How Big of a Chainsaw Do I Need For an Alaskan Mill?

Based on the operation you’re running, the size of an Alaskan Mill chainsaw you need may differ. Also, the size of your operation determines the number of handlers of your chainsaw.

For small-scale milling, the perfect kind of chainsaw is a single chainsaw. However, for a much larger mill, two operators, each holding a chainsaw at both ends of the mill, could be required.

If you are cutting an 18 to 36-inch log, then follow our above recommendation. On the other hand, if you are cutting 36 inches or larger logs, we recommend you go for at least 80cc to 110cc.

In most cases, some lumbering operators will opt for a 110cc chainsaw with a 36-inch bar on two ends for an absurdly large log for plainer cuts.

What’s the Best Way to Prevent Kickback While Operating a Milling Chainsaw?

Kickback is dangerous and could turn everything south quicker than a flash. So for those who haven’t seen kickback happen, please do everything you can to prevent it.

The best way to keep kickback at bay is to avoid operating your chainsaw with the tip on your wood. Using the tip end of your chainsaw could cause easy friction with what you’re cutting.

When this happens, your saw could spring back at you.Use your chainsaw by placing the central part of the blade on the object you intend to cut.

Among Gas, Battery, and Electric-Powered Chainsaws, Which is the Best for Milling? 

Electric and battery-powered chainsaws function well when you’re cutting much smaller stuff.

But for an assurance of power, gas chainsaws are currently in a realm of their own!

Do I Have to Oil a Battery-Powered Chainsaw?

If you’re engaged in a very small milling operation, you could fancy a battery-powered chainsaw.

And when you’ve made this choice, there’s no need to worry about oiling your chainsaw’s engine. Instead, you’ll only need bar oil for more precise cutting.


If you’ve gotten to this point, it’s a sure thing you now have a wealth of info. Make proper use of these facts for a seamless, quality-assured chainsaw operation.

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