7 Best Chainsaw For Milling Lumber – Unbiased Review

So you have decided you want to start milling your lumber. While it may seem a daunting task, it can be accomplished with the right tools. And the number one tool you need for milling lumber is a chainsaw.

However, not all chainsaws are designed for milling lumber. The latter is a task that requires power and precision. Therefore, you need a chainsaw with at least a 24-inch bar and chain and with enough power to cut down trees.

So, which of the many chainsaws available on the market is the best chainsaw for milling lumber? This is the question we will be looking to answer in this article. We have compiled a list of seven chainsaws that we found to be excellent at cutting lumber.

Reviews Of Todays Best Chainsaw For Milling Lumber

Makita EA7900PRZ1 79 cc Chain Saw

The Makitas EA7900PRZ1 chainsaw proves that a powerful chainsaw doesn’t need to be overly bulky to be efficient. This chainsaw has one of the best performance-to-weight ratios on the market.

Powered by a 79 cc engine that churns out 5.7HP, it is capable of rotating the chain at speeds of up to 12,800 RPM. With such power, it will slice through large logs of timber effortlessly. And the best part is that it only weighs 14 pounds, without the chain and bar included.

It proved to be quite a workhorse thanks to its heavy-duty air filter. More importantly, its automatic-half throttle lock makes it easy to start.

What we liked

  • The chainsaw is relatively lightweight considering its power
  • Is a professional-grade chainsaw with enough power to fell trees
  • It is relatively easy to start compared to other gas chainsaws
  • The heavy-duty air filter means it can run longer
  • Has an excellent vibration dampening system for reduced vibrations when using it

What we did not like

  • Does not come with the bar and chain
  • The chain tensioner is not the best


  • 79 cc engine
  • 14.7 pounds weight, bar, and chain excluded
  • ⅜ inch pitch
  • 25.4 oz fuel capacity
  • 14.2 oz oil capacity

In terms of raw power, this saw has it in plenty. But what makes it a particular favorite of ours is its performance to weight ratio.


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The Echo CS680 is a versatile chainsaw that can be used for a wide range of applications. This is because it is available in three chain variants. The smallest is the 20-inch variant while the largest is the 27 inch.

For purposes of this article, we tested the larger 27-inch model. And as you would expect, the 27-inch bar and the chain is large enough for cutting through large logs of timber. But a large chain and bar isn’t the only good thing about it.

It is powered by a 67cc engine that is sufficiently powerful. On top of this, you get an automatically adjustable oiling system. While the handle is made from aluminum and has a rubber covering for added comfort when using it.

What we liked

  • Has a powerful engine that performed well
  • The handle is comfortable to hold, and its rear design makes it ergonomic
  • Is a versatile chainsaw that is compatible with three chain and bar sizes
  • Its automotive air filter is easy to access
  • Comes with an adjustable oiling system with a manual override for controlled oil consumption

What we did not like

  • Is quite big for some people
  • The sprocket plug is made of plastic


  • 67 cc two-stroke engine
  • 27-inch bar and chain
  • 12.5 oz oil capacity
  • 21.6 oz fuel capacity
  • Automatic adjustable oiler

The Echo brand of chainsaws is known for its affordable quality. And this one is no exception. It performs really well and can be used to do a wide range of things.

Husqvarna 20 Inch 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw

The Husqvarna 460 chainsaw is one of those that is designed specifically for cutting or slicing wood. This chainsaw had no trouble chewing through pieces of oak. 

Its main selling point is the x-torq engine. This 60.3 cc engine consumes fuel moderately. And when you combine it with the chainsaw’s large fuel tank, you get longer run times. Thus no need for frequent refueling.

With a power output of 3.62 HP, it is not a professional grade saw. However, it is the closest thing you can get to a professional grade saw. Also, it is priced relatively lower than high-end professional-grade chainsaws.

What we liked

  • Is very efficient with its fuel consumption which translates to longer run times
  • Has an adjustable oil pump that can be set depending on your needs
  • Has plenty of power to cut through wood such as oak
  • Despite its large fuel tank, it is relatively lightweight
  • Comes with an impressively large fuel tank

What we did not like

  • It is not as powerful as some of the other entries on our list
  • Has a smaller 20-inch bar and chain


  • 20-inch bar and chain
  • 60.3 cc two-stroke engine
  • 9000 RPM
  • 14.04 oz oil capacity
  • Quick-release air filter

This chainsaw is ideal for homeowners looking for something a bit more manageable and pocket-friendly. While it is not as powerful as professional-grade models, it is efficient.

Stihl ms880

Stihl is a company that is synonymous with chainsaws. And some of the best chainsaws for milling cutting logs are stihl models. One such model is the Stihl ms880. This is a heavy-duty chainsaw that is ideal for milling logs.

Everything about this product screams professional-grade performance. The engine is a 121.6 cc powerhouse. In terms of power to weight ratio, it stands at an impressive 2.535 LBs/horsepower, which means it will not get bogged down by arduous tasks.

Stihl uses rubber vibration dampeners on this chainsaw. While they do help reduce user fatigue, we would have loved to see steel spring isolators instead.

What we liked

  • This is a powerful chainsaw designed for heavy-duty works
  • Can use bar and chain sizes of between 17 and 59 inches
  • Weighing 21.8 pounds, it is a considerably lighter chainsaw than some of its competitors
  • Comes with an automatic oiler
  • Has a large fuel tank for longer run time

What we did not like

  • Uses rubber-based vibration dampeners that are not as good as steel spring ones
  • This is a chainsaw intended for professional use and may not be safe to use for everyone


  • 121.6 cc engine displacement
  • 10.1 kg powerhead weight
  • 44.0 0z fuel capacity
  • Stihl ElastoStart
  • Side access chain tensioner

As already mentioned, this is a professional-grade chainsaw. Therefore, it may not be for everyone. However, it is the best for milling lumber with a chainsaw.

Echo CS-590 20″ Timber Wolf Chainsaw

Another 20-inch chainsaw that you can use for milling lumber is the Echo CS-590 Timber wolf chainsaw. So should you spend your money on this Echo chainsaw or go for something bigger.

While it is not a professional chainsaw, it has a lot going for it. For one, it has a large 21.8 oz capacity fuel tank. Thus it holds plenty of fuel to get you through hours of work. Furthermore, it has some excellent features that make it easy to start.

One such feature is the decompression valve. The latter releases pressure from the combustion chamber, making it easy for the chainsaw to start when you pull the starting cord. 

What we liked

  • Has a large capacity fuel tank
  • It is relatively easy to start compared to other gas chainsaws
  • Comes with an automatic oiler that keeps it well oiled
  • Has a five-year warranty which is longer than that of other chainsaws
  • The handle is ergonomically designed to reduce stress on your body

What we did not like

  • The chainsaw is quite heavy weighing 17 pounds
  • Has a rather small chain and bar


  • 59.8 cc two-stroke engine
  • 20-inch bar and chain
  • 21.8 ounces fuel capacity
  • 10.1 ounces oil capacity
  • Decompression valve

For without spending arms and legs this chainsaw is best for home use. While it is quite bulky, it excels when it comes to performances. It handles itself very well. 

Husqvarna 20 Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw

The Husqvarna 455 rancher is a sibling of the 460 Rancher. And the two models have almost the same features. This includes a 20-inch chain and bar and Husqvarna’s trusted and proven x-torq engine.

With a 55.5 cc engine, the saw proved itself capable of slicing through hard maple wood. But what we loved about this chainsaw is its vibration dampening system. The low vibrations help reduce fatigue when using this chainsaw.

Safety is essential, and this chainsaw has inertia activated chain brake. It is activated when it detects sudden jerking motion. This means you do not have to worry about kickback related injuries.

What we liked

  • It is easy to start compared to other gas chainsaws
  • The saw is very well built and should serve you for a long time
  • It is offered at a relatively affordable price tag
  • Despite its chain size it can handle cutting large logs
  • Has a great 2 to 4-year warranty

What we did not like

  • Has a pretty small fuel tank
  • May not be ideal for limb pruning


  • 55.5 cc two-stroke engine
  • 4.1-inch overall length
  • 20-inch chain and bar
  • 9000 RPM speed rotation
  • 14.88 fl. Oz fuel capacity

This is yet another chainsaw designed primarily for home use. For a homeowner, it is one of the best chainsaws for milling lumber

Milwaukee – M18 FUEL 16″ Chainsaw Kit

Can a battery-powered chainsaw be powerful enough to mill lumber? This is what we sought to find out in our test of the Milwaukee m18 fuel chainsaw. The latter provides itself a handy outdoor companion.

The best chainsaw mill for milling lumber needs to have sufficient power. This cordless chainsaw might not be the most powerful, but it gets the work done. It is capable of slicing through limbs.

While it is compatible with any 18 lithium-ion battery, it works best with a REDLITHIUM high-output battery pack. This provides sufficient power without the hassle of gasoline and mixing fuel.

What we liked

  • The chainsaw has a good build quality
  • It is battery powered thus not need for refueling
  • Comes with an automatic oiler for proper oiling of the chain and bar
  • It is quite lightweight and easy to handle
  • Is easy to start and gets to max RPM in seconds

What we did not like

  • This is not as powerful as others on the list and will struggle with some tasks
  • It has a small and narrow chain


  • 16-inch chain and bar
  • 0.43-inch gauge
  • ⅜ inch pitch
  • 18-volt lithium-ion battery
  • Variable speed trigger

This is a small chainsaw for people looking for something a bit more affordable, but with sufficient power. It may not be the best for milling logs with chainsaw, but it has its uses.

How To Buy a chainsaw for milling?

Now that we have covered our top 7 of the best chainsaw for milling lumber with a chainsaw. Let’s look at what you need to consider when buying one.


Milling lumber entails cutting lengths of wood. As such, plenty of consistent power is needed to accomplish this task. Therefore, the number one factor to consider is power. Gas chainsaws are the most ideal for milling lumber.

But not just any gas chainsaw will serve you. For efficiency, it is recommended to find a chainsaw with a 50 cc engine at least.

Chain and bar length

To slice large timber pieces across the length you need a substantially big chain and bar. The minimum chain and bar size for the milling is 20 inches. Anything smaller than this will take time and effort, which will result in a poor and time-consuming cut.


Sometimes you may want to use your chainsaw for other tasks other than milling lumber. While there is always the option of getting a second electric chainsaw, a versatile one may be better. A versatile chainsaw will be capable of using different chain and bar sizes.

Therefore you will be able to change the bar and chain based on your needs and workload.

Chainsaw experience

Some chainsaws such as the Stihl 880 are large and lack safety features. This is because they are meant for professionals who are experienced in the handling of chainsaws. If you are not experienced in handling chainsaws, such a model may be too much for you.

As such, just because it is the best Stihl chainsaw for milling doesn’t make it the best for you. If you are new to milling a manageable chainsaw with the necessary safety features will be ideal.


Why Use a Chainsaw for Milling Lumber?

Raw lumber has to be cut into shape to be used in projects. Taking raw lumber to a professional for milling can add up the cost of a project. Thus the number one reason for milling lumber with a chainsaw is to save on costs.

What is the best chainsaw for milling?

If we had to pick the best chainsaw mill for milling lumber, we would go with the Sthil 880. This is a professional grade chainsaw that performs flawlessly. It may require experienced hands, but in the right hands, it is the best.

What is the best gauge for chainsaw milling?

For milling, we recommend a 0.63-inch gauge and a ⅜ inch pitch.

What size chainsaw is best for milling?

This depends mainly on the size of the lumber you are milling. However, the minimum size of a milling chainsaw is 20 inches. The bigger the lumber, the bigger the chainsaw necessary.


Not every chainsaw out there is built for milling lumber. The latter is a task that requires power and a large enough chain and bar. The seven chainsaws on our list offer powerful engines and considerably large chain and bar lengths.

Also, some come with the powerhead only giving you flexibility as to the size of the chain and bar to attach.

Daren Rifen
Daren Rifen
Hi! My name is Daren Rifen and I am a woodworker enthusiast. I love DIY projects, such as furniture that can be used in the home. Throughout my life I have been involved in many forms of woodworking: carpentry, cabinet making, boat building, sign painting to name just a few. I also enjoy doing hand-on tests and reviews about different types of saws for cutting different materials. I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and I have always been into making things with my hands. As soon as I was old enough to hold a hammer (about 4 years old), I would go around the house looking for things that needed fixing or building new from scratch. My parents often tell me stories of how they’d find me on the couch with all these tools spread out all over me while watching cartoons. My dad taught me how to use power tools when I was 7 years old and he got tired of putting up with all my annoying questions about what each tool does

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