Best Chainsaw Mills2018-10-19T21:19:20+00:00

Top Portable Chainsaw Mills

chainsaw mill reviewsThe portable chainsaw mill, also known as an Alaskan sawmill, is essential for anyone looking to make their own lumber without paying exorbitant prices at the lumber mill. It is important to do your research before purchasing an Alaskan mill.

Alaskan sawmills are basically a metal apparatus that turns your regular chainsaw into a functioning, portable lumber mill. They are even portable enough to allow for milling of lumber right in the same spot you just felled the tree.

The first step is to place the log into a steady position. On top of two stumps or smaller logs is usually the best option when doing this in the woods. If you have a guide board, placing this on top of the log allows you to maintain a cut parallel with the grain of the wood as you move your chainsaw. The metal frame of the Alaskan sawmill holds your chainsaw in place while you move it across the top of the log. Once you do this across opposite ends of the log, you end up with a nice, fresh piece of lumber that can be easily sawn into smaller segments if necessary.

This design of the chainsaw mill allows you to make perfectly straight cuts of lumber by hand, without having to go to a sawmill and pay for the work. It can be tiring working the heavy logs, but it is a very cost-effective way to turn your lumber into high quality planks.

Chainsaw Mill Reviews

There are many different sawmills available, and they all have varying dimensions and features. Some are better than others for certain kinds of wood, some are lighter and more portable, and others are able to handle larger loads.

Here is a look at five of the top chainsaw mills on the market and their varying specifications.

1. Granberg MK-IV Alaskan Chainsaw Mill

Granberg MK-IV review

The Granberg MK-IV Chainsaw Mill

Granberg has been a trusted name in manufacturing chainsaw mills for decades.

The MK-IV is one of their most popular models, and is one of the finest and most reliable on the market.

Features

  • Can be assembled in less than an hour, and easily disassembled for portability.
  • Cuts Beams and Planks as big as 26” wide and at a depth of up to 13”
  • Steel parts and aircraft aluminum tubular extrusion
  • Works with chainsaws up to 30” bars and at least 60cc of displacement
  • Mounts easily to chain bars
  • Designed with anti-vibration metal runners
  • Made in America

Pros

  • Fits most chainsaws
  • Can cut larger planks
  • Assembly is easy
  • Anti-vibration

Cons

  • More expensive than others on the market
  • Heavier than similar models

Breakdown

The Granberg MK-IV is perfect for larger logs and jobs that involve a lot of lumber. While this sawmill is a little bulkier than others, eighteen pounds is still portable enough to allow for carving your own lumber right where you’ve felled the tree.

The MK-IV can handle logs of a good size, but there are others that can cut larger pieces. There are also models that are significantly lighter. Overall, this sawmill is a great middle-of-the-road purchase. It has a manageable weight and assembles easy but can hold its own when dealing with big jobs.

Perhaps what makes it stand out the most is its anti-vibration design. Lessening the fatigue that comes with sawing multiple logs can make all the difference when considering which sawmill to invest in. Made of high-quality American steel, the Granberg MK-IV will last for years and more than pays for itself over time.

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Granberg MK-IV Alaskan Chainsaw Mill with 30' Rails (Model G778-30)
28 Reviews
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
  • Designed and manufactured in USA
  • Quality steel and aluminum construction

2. Haddon Lumbermaker

Haddon Lumbermaker review

The Haddon Lumbermaker Chainsaw Mill


The Haddon Lumbermaker has made it easier and more intuitive than ever to turn your chainsaw into a fully functioning Alaskan sawmill.

Haddon is also a trusted name in the industry, and the Lumbermaker is a practical and portable tool that makes any logger’s life easier.

Features

  • Weighs less than four pounds
  • Made in America
  • Can create beams, planks, and boards on the spot
  • Includes 30-page owner’s manual
  • Lifetime guarantee

Pros

  • One of the lightest on the market
  • Fits all chainsaws
  • Instruction manual is helpful for newcomers
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Not many extra features for ease of use
  • Works better in conjunction with other sawmills

Breakdown

The Lumbermaker is definitely one of the lightest Alaskan sawmills available. This makes it perfect for a logger that is making deep treks into the forest for their lumber, or anyone who already has a lot to carry on the job. Weighing only four pounds, this handy sawmill is only a quarter of the weight of most other models. The weight is mostly attributed to a simpler design with less bells and whistles. It lacks the anti-vibration features of the Granberg, and it requires a little more finesse on the part of the user to get the same reliable cut.

It actually cuts differently than other sawmills as well. Rather than going across the top of the log and making a horizontal cut with the chainsaw, the Haddon Lumbermaker instead positions your chainsaw into a vertical cut as you go across the side of the log. Because it has a slightly different functionality than other models, some users have recommended using it in tandem with a ripping chain for your chainsaw. The Haddon is a useful piece of machinery on its own but can also increase the capabilities and effectiveness of other tools in your arsenal.

The instruction manual included with the Haddon Lumbermaker is an extremely helpful guide. If you’re new to the process of sawing your own lumber, their thirty-page booklet included with the sawmill will break down the whole process from start to finish.

Haddon Lumbermaker
77 Reviews
Haddon Lumbermaker
  • Cut any size lumber you need right where the tree falls, use for a cut off saw,
  • Make boards, beams, planks, and more with your chain saw and this inexpensive tool!
  • The HADDON LUMBERMAKER fits all chain saws, & attaches to the bar in seconds.
  • MADE IN THE USA, includes 30 page "how to" owners manual, fits 2x4 or 2x6 guide board
  • Works with regular chain, saw swivels for PLUNG cuts, has a LIFETIME GUARANTEE!!!

3. Granberg Chain Saw Mill, Model# G777

Granberg G777 review

The Granberg G777 Chain Saw Mill


This is another chain saw mill designed by Granberg, and it is Granberg’s answer to the vertical cutting offered by the Haddon Lumbermaker.

It is compact and lightweight, although still slightly heavier than the Lumbermaker. This chain saw mill is another option when looking for something very portable and simple to use.

Features

  • No drilling required to attach to chainsaw
  • Designed for chainsaws up to 20”
  • Pressure bolts tighten to chain bar
  • Allows cuts up to 18” wide and 13” deep
  • Made in America

Pros

  • Simple to use and set up
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Not as effective for larger projects

Breakdown

Part of what makes the Model G777 so appealing is the how easily it attaches to your chainsaw. Small enough to fit in your toolbox, the Model G77 simply uses pressure bolts to hold the chainsaw in place as you move along the wood.

This model is one of the simplest to use and put together, and it comes with the trusted Granberg name, so you know you are getting a quality product made to last for years.

The downside to this one is that you are limited to the size of both the wood and the chainsaw you can use. It is meant for smaller saws, with a maximum blade length of 20 inches. You can still make cuts of up to 17 inches wide and 13 inches deep.

Overall, this model and the Lumbermaker are both perfect for small jobs or onsite milling in hard to reach places. If you are looking at a job with a lot of logs to cut, however, it is recommended that you look for a horizontal mill that can hold a larger chainsaw.

Granberg Chain Saw Mill, Model# G777
202 Reviews
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
  • Designed to fit chain saws with 20in or less bars

4. Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill 36 Inch Planking Milling Bar Size 14in to 36in

Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill review

The Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill


The Carmyra brand of portable chainsaw sawmills allows for cutting large pieces of lumber with ease.

While they are still referred to as Alaskan sawmills, the design has gone worldwide, and there are several overseas companies that have started manufacturing portable sawmills.

Features

  • No drilling required
  • Allows cuts up to 36” wide and 13” thick
  • Constructed from high quality aluminum and steel
  • 17 pounds

Pros

  • Can handle the largest logs
  • Usable with any size chainsaw

Cons

  • One of the heaviest on the market
  • Newer company without the trusted reputation of its older competitors

Breakdown

This sawmill is capable of dealing with larger logs than the Granberg MK-IV and is significantly cheaper as well. It is on the heavier side, but that is definitely excusable considering its price and its capabilities. If you want a machine that can handle big pieces of wood at a low price, this is a great option.

Made from premium-quality aluminum and steel, the frame is highly durable and strong. The manufacturer says that it works best with oak, walnut and cedar; though we’re sure other types of wood could also be cut with the Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill. However, a guide bar is not included in the price on Amazon, so a separate will need to be purchased.

Carmyra Portable Chainsaw mill 36' Inch Planking Milling Bar Size 14' to 36'
45 Reviews
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
  • Attaches to saw without drilling bar
  • Lower price

5. Zchoutrade Portable Chainsaw Mill 14-36 Inch

Zchoutrade Portable Chainsaw Mill review

The Zchoutrade Portable Chainsaw Mill


This large-load portable sawmill is the lighter alternative to the model manufactured by Carmyra.

Zchoutrade also offers their sawmill at a very affordable price, and their steel and aluminum designs are just as reliable as the American brands.

Features

  • No drilling required
  • Allows cuts up to 36” wide and 13” thick
  • Constructed from high quality aluminum and steel
  • Lightweight at 15 pounds

Pros

  • Lighter than the Carmyra while being able to cut the same size logs
  • Cheaper than most smaller models

Cons

  • Also from a newer company, yet to prove themselves

Breakdown

The Zchoutrade is the perfect option for a logger on a budget, and its lighter weight could make all the difference when considering a sawmill capable of making the largest cuts. Lesser weight enables this frame to be used by a wider customer base.

Despite this, if used with a heavier or larger chainsaw, customers report that it could take two to operate it, which could be a problem for lone workers. (Though you should always consider having someone else around while operating heavy machinery in case of emergencies.)

This device is best recommended for experienced chainsaw mill users – its directions aren’t the most intuitive and assembly can be complicated for those who have little experience in the field.

Zchoutrade Portable Chainsaw Mill 14-36 Inch Portable Aluminum Steel Mig Welding Saw Mill 36' Planking Lumber Cutting Bar
11 Reviews
Zchoutrade Portable Chainsaw Mill 14-36 Inch Portable Aluminum Steel Mig Welding Saw Mill 36" Planking Lumber Cutting Bar
  • 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
  • Attaches to saw without drilling bar
  • Shipped from USA with UPS

Final Thoughts

All of these sawmills are high quality, reliable products. Their major differences are found in price and what kind of job they can handle.

When you’re looking for an Alaskan sawmill to purchase, the most important things to keep in mind are your specific needs and your budget.

The smaller, vertical cut mills will be less expensive and are perfect for single jobs, like a fallen tree in your backyard or a project that only requires a few pieces of lumber. The horizontal cutting sawmills are typically more of an investment, but they can easily handle larger logs and hold up better to sustained use and long-term projects.

If you’ve never used a portable chainsaw mill, here is a good YouTube demonstration:

Regardless of which one you end up purchasing, Alaskan sawmills are great investments that pay for themselves. Just remember to know what kind of job you’re getting into and what your budget is before making a purchase.