Choosing the best chainsaw mill is a must if you are into woodworking. No matter how you use a chainsaw — cutting tree logs into boards and planks, constructing houses or other buildings, or making firewood for your parties — this tool is essential.
All these things need to be cut precisely, by size, and smoothly. A chainsaw mill provides everything, making the angles precise and flat surfaces. Still, compatibility nuances and various use cases may appear; that’s why you should ensure your chainsaw mill is suitable for your work. For most cases, the mill by Carmyra is the optimal choice, but others are also worth a look.
- 1 Top 7 Best Chainsaw Mills Reviewed
- 2 Buyer’s Guide
- 3 FAQ
- 4 Milling the Planks
- 5 Best chainsaw mill – comparison table
Top 7 Best Chainsaw Mills Reviewed
- Carmyra PD-7692 — Our Top Pick
- JMTAAT CB-RACK-A96— Runner Up
- GRANBERG Alaskan Mark-IV— Premium Pick
- Hihone Chainsaw Mill
- ALASKAN G777 Granberg Chainsaw Mill
- Imony Portable Chainsaw Mill
- VBENLEM 14”-36” Chainsaw Mill
1. Carmyra PD-7692: Top Pick
Our top pick is the one by Carmyra, a surprisingly unsearchable brand with which we have to trust Amazon or Walmart. Yet the mill is decent, Alaskan-style; the optimal model with bars from 14” to 36”. It’s made of high-quality steel and aluminum, sturdy enough to cut hardwood relying on this mill, and is easy to assemble.
It’s made for cutting beams or lumber up to 13” thick and 36” wide, which is okay for most furniture works and many construction ones, too (though for bigger projects, there is a version for beans up to 48” wide). It’s also compatible with bars that don’t have holes.
It comes without a guide bar or rail, so you have to make it yourself or buy it separately. The weight of the mill is about 16.5 lbs. Closed at the tip, it lets you partially use the bar length, shortening it by about 5 inches. That relates to most Alaskan-style mills.
Given its price (slightly short of $120), it’s a decent tool. It’s more affordable than its analogs by established brands, and the quality is not disappointing if you know how to handle it.
- Accuracy: 8.0
- Ease of use: 6.6
- Value for money: 7.2
- Easy to assemble
- Durable materials
- Compatible with various bar lengths
- No drilling required
- Reasonable price
- No step-by-step manual
- An obscure manufacturer
2. JMTAAT CB-RACK-A96: Runner Up
This mill is for chainsaws with bars from 14” to 36”. Again, the manufacturer is represented by sellers like Amazon or Walmart only. Yet it’s a solid piece of aluminum and steel and can make beams or lumber from 0.5” to 13” thick. The design is portable, so the tool is easy to take wherever your worksite is. It’s even lighter than the one by Carmyra (at 13.6 lbs.).
The acrylic screen it comes with adds to the safety and keeps the construction stabler. When you see the measurements in the description, you should remember that the actual width of your cut will be 5-6” less. It comes with mounting hardware; given the price and the no-name manufacturer, some parts may be missing, so you’ll have to buy replacements elsewhere rather than contact support and wait for the delivery.
The overall quality is decent, but not perfect. On the other hand, the price (under $70) justifies it. Don’t expect miracles; it’s just a decent tool worth its money.
- Accuracy: 9.2
- Ease of use: 7.8
- Value for money: 8.0
- Decent materials
- Easy to assemble
- Protective screen
- Easy connection
- More than affordable
- Some parts may be missing
- The manual is vague
3. GRANBERG Alaskan Mark-IV: Premium Pick
And here comes a brand with an established reputation and years of experience. The Alaskan-style chainsaw mill by Granberg is as original as can be, given that Erik Granberg invented this type of device. It is made of steel and aluminum (what else did you expect?) and looks simple and minimalistic yet functional. The materials are premium, aircraft-class aluminum, and zinc-plated steel.
It’s meant for smaller cuts than its counterparts above, the maximum width being 32” (formally 36”), yet the thickness is still from 0.5” to 13”. The construction is sturdy enough to cut hardwood, though it means it’s heavier than others, at 20 lbs.
The tool boasts innovative brackets that reduce vibration and have better durability. Granberg constantly updates its products, but this constant optimization has a downside: the tool may come with a manual written for the previous version. Still, common sense will help you to figure everything out.
The price is justified by the quality, though it’s well more expensive than the analogs, being slightly above $300. For this money, you get premium quality, steady support, and the real feel of the most inventive sawmill.
- Accuracy: 9.5
- Ease of use: 9.0
- Value for money: 9.0
- The most original
- Quality materials
- Reduced vibration
- Easy to install
- Great support
- The manual can relate to earlier versions
- Quite expensive
4. Hihone Chainsaw Mill: Rail Included
Here is a generic sawmill that comes with a 9-foot rail. It simplifies the setup for the first cut, serving as the rail for the consequent ones, and thus, is the most problematic. As for the sawmill by Hihone, it’s just what you might expect after the earlier ones. It is made of steel and aluminum and is rather lightweight.
The mill allows for thicker cuts, 0.5” to 14”, and the width is the same 36”. The comfort of adding the rail results in better precision. With a connector, you can use 2 or more rails for long cuts. The mill does not require holes in the chainsaw bar, as it clamps right into it. The built-in measurement tool is also quite precise and usable.
You have a right to feel skeptical after reading about “Warranty 12 Monthes” (sic!), certainly not indicating the manufacturer’s Elizabethan origin. Indeed, some inaccuracies, like nuts that don’t always keep tight, so you may need to double-nut them. Yet this tool shows the best side of Chinese industry, and, given the price of $200, including the rail, it’s a bargain.
- Accuracy: 6.8
- Ease of use: 7.0
- Value for money: 7.8
- Sturdy build
- Easy measuring tools
- Decent price
- Rail included!
- The brand is obscure
- You need to keep it tight
5. ALASKAN G777 Granberg Chainsaw Mill
This sawmill is very simple and portable yet capable of enabling straight, smooth cuts 0.5” to 13” thick and 17” wide (which requires a 20” bar chainsaw). It’s made of steel and aluminum, with a polycarbonate safety guard, and the materials used are top-notch.
This portable chainsaw mill requires more accuracy from the worker, as it’s designed for finer jobs. Yet it is simple if you know how: the bolts are tightened to the bar to attach it, and the mill slides over the rail smoothly. This one is compatible with a simple aluminum ladder if you need a rail. Granberg’s exclusive solutions are here as well, that is, CNC-machined billet end brackets that hold the bar greatly. Of course, the manufacturer recommends using it with its own ripping chains.
The quality of the materials is perfect, though there may be some problems with assembling it for the first time. The replacements (if required) can be bought from the manufacturer. As for the price, it’s about $170 — more expensive than many wider models. Yet the quality and the support make up for it entirely.
- Accuracy: 8.4
- Ease of use: 9.2
- Value for money: 9.2
- Great overall quality
- Easy to assemble
- Pro 4
- Steady support
- Rather expensive
6. Imony Portable Chainsaw Mill
The 36” wide chainsaw mill by imony (this manufacturer is another one represented by retailers instead of itself) is similar to others, except for supported bar length. It is compatible with saw bars from 10” to 36” long (with the familiar adjustment, the actual cut will be narrower). This model is lighter than most other 36” ones, about 15 lbs.
It doesn’t require a hole in the bar, holding it by clamping. Though it lacks patented technologies by Granberg, it’s also relatively solid and usable. But if you are using it, don’t forget to take a measuring tape because the built-in scale is not that precise. You may need to make some cuts just to get used to its specifics, but after that, you’ll make all the adjustments automatically.
Overall, it’s a good product but not stellar. Its manual lacks details for assembling it, only the pictures, so your common sense should come to the rescue. Given its price, that’s about half as much as that of a similar Granberg tool. The support is also better than one could expect from such a no-name manufacturer, with replacement parts being delivered quickly.
- Accuracy: 7.2
- Ease of use: 8.0
- Value for money: 7.6
- Decent materials
- Easy to assemble
- Good support
- The scale lacks accuracy
- Responsive to vibration
7. VBENLEM 14”-36” Chainsaw Mill
No wonder those imitating Granberg Alaskan are mostly Chinese brands with nearly no official representation. But the products they make are often almost on par with the original. This one by a manufacturer whose name is anything but slips off the tongue is a worthy version of an Alaskan-style sawmill with decent grips and a protection screen.
The parameters are standard for size: it supports bars from 14” to 36” long, allowing for cuts from 0.5” to 13” thick. It has a built-in scale, and it’s precise, unlike the one by imony. The manual lacks detailed step-by-step assembling instructions, but they can be derived from the pictures.
The screws used for connecting parts are solid, and the protection screen makes the process safer. The bar doesn’t have to be drilled to connect to the mill. It requires accuracy to tighten the bolts just right so the bar doesn’t slip and the chain isn’t blocked.
The price is slightly above $70, which looks quite reasonable. It’s funny they have to explain that it doesn’t include the chainsaw or the rail.
- Accuracy: 9.0
- Ease of use: 8.4
- Value for money: 8.8
- Decent build
- Easily adjustable
- Quality materials
- Poor manual
- Needs some trial and error to master
After these chainsaw sawmill reviews, you may decide they are mostly the same. Yet there are differences, and here’s something for you to consider before you bring them your money.
What to consider when choosing the best chainsaw mills
So, you decided to process those big logs yourself, and a chainsaw mill is a must. But how do you choose the best chainsaw mill for your purposes? Let’s break it down a little.
Every chainsaw mill is compatible with a certain range of bar lengths. It’s usually rather wide; no mill is versatile, so select according to your potential tasks.
Bar capacity and cutting depth
It’s all written down in the description. But remember that the actual cut width is always up to 6” less than your bar length. All the chainsaw mills use a part of the bar for holding. So if you need a 26” cut, you’ll need a 32” bar.
Ease of use
Installing a chain saw mill always takes time (though it results in overall time and material savings). So you need to get yourself a mill that won’t take long to install. Usually, just a few tools are required, and if they can’t be found in the box, generic compatible ones may already be in your workshop.
Portability and durability
Where are you going to use the mill? For home use, portability is not crucial: you may opt for a more sophisticated construction, making your job easier. If you are a pro and work elsewhere, you may need a more portable option that requires some extra installation tricks.
How to use a chainsaw mill
The idea is simple:
- Mount it on the top of the log you’re about to process. You may need a rail, but many models allow installing it with special bolts on top of the log.
- Mark the lines to cut.
- Adjust the cutting depth, which defines the thickness of the board, plank, or whatever you want to make.
- Set the thickness of the cut when installing the chainsaw
- Drive the working saw horizontally through the log, following the rail if there is one.
After the first cut, you can use the smooth surface as the rail.
Here are some questions that still may arise after reading the reviews and the rest. Let’s address them straight.
What’s the best size chainsaw to use with a chainsaw mill?
It depends on the size of the logs you’re about to process. They define the bar length you need, and then you search for a mill compatible with that bar. Usually, the mills are adjustable; for example, our top pick by Carmyra is compatible with bars 14” to 36”.
If I have a smaller bar, can I still use a larger mill?
Mills are not designed for fixed bar length. They are adjustable. So what you consider a larger mill may be shrinkable to your bar size. If not, you better find a compatible one.
What is a ripping chain?
A ripping chain is a type of saw chain used for finer surfaces with micro- or semi-micro chisel. The cutting angle of a ripping chain is 5-10°, which makes the surface smoother. These chains are highly recommended to use with chainsaw mills.
Do I need a rail for the mill?
In general, you do. You can buy one to install over the log, but experienced woodworkers can make one out of cut material. Some models can be attached with bolts right upon the log on its smoother side.
Milling the Planks
So, which sawmill should you buy to avoid overpaying and get a good product? Still, I’d recommend the one by Carmyra; though, if you prefer the original by Granberg or some other affordable model, I understand your reasons. All of these reviewed above are great tools for accurately cutting smooth planks and beams.
Best chainsaw mill – comparison table
|The model||Accuracy||Ease of use||Value for money|
|GRANBERG Alaskan Mark-IV||9.5||9.0||9.0|
|Hihone Chainsaw Mill||6.8||7.0||7.8|
|ALASKAN G777 Granberg Chainsaw Mill||8.4||9.2||9.2|
|imony Portable Chainsaw mill||7.2||8.0||7.6|
|VBENLEM 14”-36” Chainsaw Mill||9.0||8.4||8.8|
And if you have any questions regarding chainsaw mills, leave them in the comments below. This sort of talk is the best way to spend time resting between sawing sessions. Thanks in advance!