February 16

4 Best Chainsaws for Ripping Logs

While selecting a chainsaw for ripping logs, it's important to consider the motor's power, whether it's a gas-powered saw or an electric model, and the length of the guide bar. A longer bar reaches through wider logs, and higher engine power translates to smoother cuts through dense wood without bogging down.

The quality of the chain itself, one specifically designed for ripping, can make a significant difference in the quality and ease of the cut.

The key features to look for when shopping for a chainsaw for ripping logs include motor power, guide bar length, chain type, ease of use, and ergonomics. Ensure the chainsaw has a comfortable grip and is balanced for safety and efficiency on long ripping tasks. 

Durability is also critical, as ripping is a demanding activity that can wear down lesser tools quickly. Understanding your specific needs and the characteristics of the wood you will be cutting will help guide your purchase to ensure you get a saw that performs well for your intended projects.

With these factors in mind, I invested time in researching and testing various chainsaws to determine which are best suited for ripping logs. The goal was to identify chainsaws that combine power, precision, and durability, leading to efficient and quality cuts for various woodworking projects.

The 4 Best Chainsaw for Ripping Logs

1. FARMMAC Chainsaw- Best Overall

2. Zchoutrade Chainsaw Mill 14" - Best Value

3. Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill - Lowest Price

4. Wood-CNL Chainsaw Mill - Best Heavy-Duty

Top Chainsaws for Ripping Logs

In preparing to tackle your woodwork projects, finding the right chainsaw for ripping logs is crucial. I've researched extensively and tested a variety of models to ensure that you can find a chainsaw that will meet your needs for efficiency, power, and ease of use.

Whether you're a seasoned woodworker or just starting out, my roundup includes options that deliver on quality and performance. 

Let's dive into the best chainsaws that stand out in the market today.


Ripping logs into usable lumber isn’t an easy task. If you don’t choose the right chainsaw for the job, you may end up ruining your logs, wasting more time, or worse, hurting yourself. That’s why I’m writing this article. I went along and did the research to source the 4 best chainsaws for ripping logs this year.

The 4 Best Chainsaws for Ripping Logs: Reviews

How does every chainsaw operate? Does it offer any perks? Are there any downsides to consider?

These are some of the questions that I’ll answer in each of the following reviews.

FARMMAC Chainsaw

If you’ve been in the market for a chainsaw for a while, you must’ve heard about Husqvarna. This giant manufacturer has been around since 1689!

The best thing about the 455 Rancher is the light build. At 13 lbs, it puts a lot of the commercially famous chainsaws to shame.

FARMMAC Chainsaw-Mill-Portable-Saw-Mill - 36 Inch Chainsaw Mill Kit Planking Milling, Gas Powered

If you're looking to turn logs into custom-sized lumber, the FARMMAC 36" Chainsaw Mill has got you covered with precision and durability.

Pros

  • Powerful cutting capacity for large logs
  • Built with materials that endure rigorous work
  • Simple to move around despite its sturdy build

Cons

  • Assembly instructions could be clearer
  • The bar length gets significantly reduced by the mill attachment
  • Initial setup might be daunting for beginners

I've recently had the chance to test out this chainsaw mill on some sizeable oak and pine logs in my backyard workshop. With the impressive 36-inch cutting capacity, I've seamlessly sliced through the logs, creating planks for a robust garden table and benches. The mill's refinement of cuts gave the lumber a professional appearance, making me quite proud of the end product.

Transporting this tool around my woodworking area was not an issue at all. Despite the solid construction, it was portable enough to position it exactly where needed for efficient work flow. The fact that I could easily take it to the logs rather than hauling timber around saved me time and effort.

Assembling the mill did present a challenge, however. While the instructions could definitely benefit from additional details, once I got past that hurdle, the usage was straightforward.

Keep in mind, if you're new to such tasks, you might need a bit of patience and perhaps a helping hand to get it assembled.

It's worth mentioning that while working with this tool, you'll lose some of the bar length due to how it attaches to the chainsaw. Nevertheless, this is a common trade-off with chainsaw mills and didn't outweigh the benefits gained from its performance.

Overall, I can say the FARMMAC 36" Chainsaw Mill is a well-invested addition to any woodworker's toolkit.

FARMMAC Chainsaw-Mill-Portable-Saw-Mill - 36 Inch Chainsaw Mill Kit Planking Milling, Gas Powered
  • 【Large cutting capacity】The 36-inch chainsaw mill allow you to mill large logs and create custom-sized lumber for 14''-36'' projects, giving you the flexibility to tackle bigger woodworking jobs.
  • 【High-quality materials】The chainsaw mill is constructed with high-quality materials, making it sturdy and long-lasting. This can ensure that the product can withstand heavy use and last for many years with proper maintenance.
  • 【Precise cutting】With a large cutting capacity, the chainsaw mill allows for precise and even cuts, giving you a professional-grade finish on your lumber.
  • 【Portability】Despite their large sizes, the chainsaw mill is still portable and can be transported to different locations easily. This feature allows you to mill logs right where they are felled, saving time and energy.
  • 【Excellent after-sales guarantee】Our company provides an excellent after-sales guarantee. If any problems arise with the product, you can contact us at any time, and we will do everything possible to help you resolve the issue.

Zchoutrade Chainsaw Mill 

I recommend the Zchoutrade Portable Chainsaw Mill for anyone needing to mill lumber with precision and portability.

Pros

  • Simplifies the process of creating uniform planks
  • Easy to transport and set up on-site
  • Adaptable to various log sizes

Cons

  • Assembly directions could be clearer
  • Additional tools may be required
  • Center support could offer tighter fit

Chainsaw Mill, Portable 14Inch to 36Inch Guide Bar Chainsaw Milling Planking Milling Wood Lumber Cutting Sawmill, with 9Ft Rail Mill Guide System

Handling the Zchoutrade Chainsaw Mill gave me a newfound appreciation for portable milling. Once assembled, which was a bit more challenging than expected due to somewhat confusing instructions, it transformed my chainsaw into a mobile milling machine.

The ability to adjust the mill to various log sizes offers impressive versatility, and I was able to cut slabs ranging from half an inch to a substantial 14 inches in thickness.

Durability is not in question with this kit. Both the aluminum and stainless steel components seem tough enough to withstand thorough outdoor use.

Porting the equipment to a remote log was simple, and the mill provided a flat surface for making my first cut—a crucial step for any milling endeavor. The final outcome was remarkably consistent and precise lumber.

After putting the Zchoutrade Chainsaw Mill to the test, I concluded that while the rail system is, in essence, lightweight and robust, one must be ready to use their own set of tools. The included multi-tool didn't quite meet the demands of the job.

Once dialed in, however, the mill performed admirably well, creating smooth and even cuts, although I did find that the center support bar could've been a bit more rigid to eliminate any unwanted movement during operation.

Chainsaw Mill, Portable 14Inch to 36Inch Guide Bar Chainsaw Milling Planking Milling Wood Lumber Cutting Sawmill, with 9Ft Rail Mill Guide System
  • ★This set includes:one 36" chainsaw mill and one 9 FT Rail Mill Guide System
  • ★Mill slabs from 0.5" to 14" thick and 36" wide, meet your different demands for constructions.
  • ★Size:9-FT rail mill guide system in combination with the saw mill creates a straight and level first cut along a lo

Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill 

Based on my hands-on experience, this Carmyra Chainsaw Mill is worth considering for its solid performance in log ripping, despite some minor drawbacks.

Pros

  • Quick to set up
  • Robust build quality
  • Adjustable for different bar sizes

Cons

  • Instructions can be confusing
  • Initial assembly can be challenging
  • Additional bolts may be needed

Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill 36 Inches 304 stainless steel and Aluminum Planking Milling Bar Size 14 Inches to 36 Inches

After a week of turning large logs into planks, I found the Carmyra Chainsaw Mill to be a reliable ally. It clamped onto my chainsaw bar without a fuss and remained secure throughout the ripping process. Adjusting it to accommodate different log sizes was straightforward once I got the hang of it, empowering me to work with various types of timber.

The mill is robust; even after several hours of milling oak and pine, the frame showed no signs of wear—this to me speaks volumes about its durability. As I worked, I found a steady rhythm; the chainsaw mill gliding along the log and the neat planks emerging behind it brought a sense of satisfaction.

That being said, a point of frustration was the assembly instructions. They were a bit of a puzzle to decipher. However, after overcoming this initial hurdle and replacing some bolts with larger ones for a better fit, the performance was smooth sailing. I'd advise keeping a set of extra bolts handy just in case.

Overall, the Carmyra Chainsaw Mill is a solid piece of equipment that, once set up, should help you efficiently rip through logs. Despite the less-than-clear assembly instructions, once assembled, it didn't falter in delivering the desired results.


Wood-CNL Chainsaw Mill

If you're considering turning logs into lumber, this chainsaw mill impresses with its steel and aluminum construction and adjustable settings.

Pros

  • Solid build enhances durability
  • Easily adjustable for different log sizes
  • Portable design allows for use in various locations

Cons

  • Assembly might be a bit intricate
  • Some included hardware may lack strength
  • Ground guide for first cut not included

chainsaw mill Portable Chainsaw mill 36' Inch steel and Aluminum Planking Milling Bar Size Cutting Milling

Having just used the Wood-CNL Chainsaw Mill for ripping through some sizable logs, I can confidently say its robust build can stand up to the task. The combination of steel and aluminum offers a sturdy but not overly weighty feel, which becomes a significant advantage when milling lumber out in the field. It's a piece of cake to adjust the height and width, letting me work with logs of various sizes. I could practically take it anywhere in the forest, thanks to its portability, turning a daunting task into a smooth operation.

After unboxing, it took me a little time to get all the parts together correctly, but once I did, the mill was as solid as a rock. That said, the hardware that came with the kit could be of better quality – I might replace some of it down the road for peace of mind. I also realized I needed to create a straight edge for the first cut – something not provided with this chainsaw mill, so a bit of ingenuity and additional equipment were necessary.

Despite these minor hiccups, the mill proved its worth, especially given its attractive price point. It saved considerable money I would have spent on pre-cut lumber, not to mention the satisfaction of milling the wood myself. With each pass of the chainsaw, it became evident that this tool is a game-changer for DIY woodworkers or anyone looking to get into milling their lumber.

chainsaw mill Portable Chainsaw mill 36" Inch steel and Aluminum Planking Milling Bar Size Cutting Milling
  • High Quality, steel and Aluminum Construction,Lighter and stronger
  • Chainsaw mill 36 inch length fits chainsaw bar length 10"-36”
  • Chain Saw Mill works for 36" diameter logs, Planking Milling Height & Width Adjustable


What to Consider Before Buying a Chainsaw for Ripping Logs

When selecting a chainsaw for ripping logs, I consider several key features to ensure I get the best tool for the job.

Power Source

I evaluate the power source, which can be electricbattery, or gas. Gas-powered chainsaws offer the most torque and mobility for heavy-duty tasks, while electric and battery-powered models provide convenience and ease of use, especially for less demanding tasks.

Bar Length

The bar length is crucial, and I look for a chainsaw with a bar length appropriate for the size of logs I plan to rip. Normally, a bar length between 16 and 24 inches is suitable for most ripping tasks.

Chain Type

I examine the chain type; a standard chain may struggle with ripping, so I specifically search for a chainsaw with a ripping chain that features a specific tooth design to cut parallel to the wood grain.

Motor Power

The power of the motor, usually measured in cc for gas saws or amps for electric, is another factor. I need sufficient power to handle the log dimensions and hardwood types.

Safety Features

To minimize risk, I prioritize safety features like a chain brakeanti-vibration handles, and kickback protection.

Ergonomics

For comfort during extended use, I look at the ergonomics of the chainsaw. Features like cushioned grips and weight distribution are important for managing fatigue.

Maintenance

Lastly, ease of maintenance impacts my choice. A chainsaw that allows for easy access to air filters, has a tool-free chain tensioning system, and has a straightforward process for adding bar and chain oil is important to my decision.

By closely considering these features, I can confidently choose a chainsaw that will perform well for ripping logs.

Frequently Asked Questions

In my experience, answering common questions can significantly aid in selecting the right chainsaw for milling logs.

What are the top features to consider when selecting a chainsaw for milling logs?

I'd recommend looking for a chainsaw with a powerful engine, long bar length, and low vibration features. These components are critical for efficient and precise cuts.

How do professionals rate the durability of chainsaws used in ripping logs?

Professionals typically assess the durability of chainsaws on their build quality, brand reputation, and user reviews focused on long-term use. Models with metal components are often rated higher for durability.

Can you recommend chainsaws that are compatible with Alaskan mills?

Certainly. Chainsaws like the Husqvarna 395 XP and the Stihl MS 661 C-M are well-suited for Alaskan mills due to their powerful engines and bar lengths suitable for attaching milling attachments.

What models do expert loggers prefer for heavy-duty log ripping tasks?

For heavy-duty tasks, expert loggers often go for the Stihl MS 880 Magnum or the Husqvarna 3120 XP, as they offer high power output and robustness suited for continuous ripping.

Which chainsaws offer the best performance to price ratio for milling slabs?

The Echo CS-590 Timber Wolf and the Husqvarna 460 Rancher strike a balance between performance and cost, making them excellent choices for milling slabs without breaking the bank.

What should be considered when choosing a chainsaw for both felling trees and milling?

For dual purposes, I'd consider a chainsaw with a good balance of weight, power, and maneuverability. The Stihl MS 391 and the Husqvarna 455 Rancher are versatile enough for both felling and milling.

Engine Size

Chainsaws dedicated to ripping and milling logs must have engines that can sustain a powerful performance for the whole length of a log.

The good news is, you probably don’t have to worry about it. If you picked the right bar size, you can be certain that it’s paired with a proper engine.

In the following table, I’ll list my suggested engine power that corresponds to different bar lengths.

About Me.

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Cut The Timber. On this site, I share everything that learned and continue to learn about wood. From grains, to projects, to saws, and everything in between. 

I grew up camping with my family and ended up becoming an Eagle Scout. Currently, my family and I live on a ranch outside of Montana with tons of trees and fire pit fun. 

If you have any questions, feel free to email me: jeremy@cutthetimber.com


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