Today we are going to talk about something a little more complicated. We are looking at the best chainsaw for milling, and milling is a very serious application. To have the best chainsaw for milling, you need precision, balance, power, and so much more.
Milling involves cutting many different lengths through large logs. Not only do you need a good balance, but you need a chainsaw that has the perfect balance. Any unwieldy or unbalanced chainsaw is going to cause you issues while you are ripping logs. Not only should you already be comfortable with a chainsaw, but you should already have a pretty good idea of what you need for milling.
Today I will show you the three best chainsaws you can use to start milling. Whether you are an amateur or a pro, all of these chainsaws will help you to cut boards to size. They are easy to use, they are powerful enough for the task, and they are very lightweight and versatile.
Top Rated Chainsaws For Milling
Husqvarna 455 Rancher
Black & Decker LCS1240
Echo CS-590 Timber Wolf
Husqvarna 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw – Best Overall
The Husqvarna 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw is the king of chainsaws. With a very strong 20” bar and chain, you can expect very easy milling with this chainsaw. It has an ergonomic handle, it is lightweight yet sturdy, it has the guts to see you through a full day of hard labor, and it has an engine that will never fail.
Powerful Milling Tool
This is a powerful milling tool. It has a 55.5CC engine with a solid bar and a very sharp chain. It is hard to find a lightweight chainsaw that is this powerful. In fact, most gas chainsaws that only have a 16” bar or 18” bar are even heavier than this model.
When you buy the 455 Rancher gas chainsaw, you are getting a clean-burning tool that is fuel-efficient and better for the environment than other similar chainsaws. You will notice very few toxic emissions going into the atmosphere when you use this tool.
But most importantly, the power is good for the job. One of the most important things with milling is that your chainsaw stays on point until you are finished, and that is what you get with the 455 Rancher
Easy to Maintain
This is a pretty easy chainsaw to maintain. It has a lot of self-cleaning features that make it a breeze to take care of, like the automatic chain oiler. There is even a smart air injection system for keeping the air filter and the internals of the machine clean.
Black & Decker LCS1240 Cordless Chainsaw – Budget Pick
The Black & Decker LCS1240 Cordless Chainsaw is undoubtedly the best cordless chainsaw for milling. This chainsaw is obviously smaller and weaker than the other chainsaws on this list, but that does not make it any less useful. With only a 12” bar, you can still use this chainsaw for milling, but you are going to be milling smaller pieces of wood.
Small & Lightweight
This chainsaw is super tiny. It only has a 12” bar and a single battery, so as you can guess this is not a very heavy tool. And while that may seem like a bad combination for milling, it really isn’t. The battery is very strong and gives you over 60 lumber cuts on a single charge. When converting that to milling, it is at least a couple hours of non-stop work.
Because this chainsaw is lightweight, it is actually ideal for small milling projects. You obviously cannot do the same kind of damage as with a 20” chainsaw, but you can still effectively slice long boards of wood. And you can do it without hurting yourself or straining your muscles because the chainsaw weighs almost nothing.
40 Volts of Power
These are some pretty good batteries. When you purchase the Black & Decker 40V, it comes with a 40V MAX lithium-ion battery that gives you unmatched runtimes. Most ordinary battery-powered chainsaws only give you a 20V battery, which is not a lot of power.
With this chainsaw, you get 40 volts of power, and that is enough to run the motor, to keep the automatic oiling system going, and to keep spinning your 12” premium bar and chain.
Echo CS-590 Timber Wolf Gas Chainsaw
The Echo CS-590 Timber Wolf Gas Chainsaw is one beast of a machine. This is exactly what you are looking for in a quality milling chainsaw. It boasts a 59.8CC engine that gives an unparalleled performance. Also, this chainsaw comes equipped with a very tough 20” bar.
If you have been looking for a heavy piece of cutting equipment to get you through some big milling projects, this is definitely one of the best chainsaws to do it with.
This chainsaw has an awesome balance. You can tell the moment you pick it up that it is easy to maneuver and that everything is designed to give outstanding balance and easy portability. These are key features when hunting for a reliable milling chainsaw. Without proper balance, it is a huge issue trying to cut straight boards.
The value of this chainsaw is amazing. The price is very low, and this is a little surprising considering it is such a robust piece of equipment. This really is a strong chainsaw, with a dependable bar, a lightning-fast chain, and an ergonomic design.
If you have a milling project on the go and don’t want to spend tons of money, but you still need a replacement chainsaw to see you through a few weeks or months of cutting, I highly recommend the Echo Timber Wolf Chainsaw.
Best Chainsaw for Milling: A Complete Buying Guide
Milling is an extremely complicated procedure, and there is a lot that goes into the process. To make sure your chainsaw can hold up to the rigors of milling, there are some important features that it should have. Your chainsaw needs to be strong, it needs to be well-balanced, and it needs to work for long periods of time.
Milling is not a boring application. Your chainsaw is going to be put through the wringer. Before buying a new chainsaw for milling, make sure it has the guts to work properly.
Toughness is Key
Your chainsaw had better be tough if you are thinking about milling. You need a big engine with a lot of power, considering you’ll be running the chainsaw consecutively for long periods without stopping. This means you need an extremely tough chainsaw that will continuously eat through wood without quitting, overheating, or malfunctioning.
It is also important that your chainsaw can operate for a long time without needing to be refilled with gas or recharged. For this reason, I always suggest buyers go with a gas chainsaw for milling. Electric chainsaws simply are not that reliable unless you are doing some very small pieces of wood. Electric chainsaws are more prone to dying because of their unreliable batteries.
There are a lot of gas chainsaws that are lightweight and maneuverable, and I highly suggest finding one of these over an electric unit.
An automatic oiler is very important for milling. This is because you don’t have the time or freedom to continuously oil your chain and bar. However, because milling is actually extremely taxing on your chain, it absolutely must be oiled and lubricated at all times.
The best way to do this is by using a chainsaw that has a reliable automatic oiling system. Simply fill the reservoir with oil before you start, and the automatic system does the rest for you. If you ever see black fumes coming from your bar and chain, it means they are not being lubricated properly.
If your bar and chain are not lubricated properly, you will begin to have trouble cutting through wood. You will experience kickback and all kinds of other nasty problems that can slow down your production.
Maneuverability is very important considering the kinds of awkward orientations your chainsaw will be in while milling. You must have total control over your chainsaw so that you can cut straight lines without skipping a beat. Try to find a chainsaw that has an ergonomic wrap-around handle for the easiest maneuvering.
Best Chainsaw for Milling: Final Thoughts
Each of the chainsaws we have gone over today come with unique features and unique uses. The Black & Decker LCS1240 Cordless Chainsaw is a very useful cordless chainsaw that you can use for doing small milling, while the Echo CS-590 Gas Chainsaw is much better for long-term milling applications where you are cutting large slabs of wood.
However, the Husqvarna 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw is undoubtedly the best of the three. It has an incredibly strong 20” bar that makes slicing lengthwise through pieces of wood extremely easy. You can do this all day and never burn out the motor or the chain.
If you need a heavy-duty chainsaw that is lightweight and easy to handle, and you need it for a lot of milling, this is the ideal piece of equipment for you. You can use this Husqvarna’s model for years on end without worrying about replacement parts or buying a new chainsaw. So long as you take care of this one, it will take care of you.