Best Portable Sawmill for the Money in 2024: Top Affordable Options for Beginners


Looking to turn big logs into neat planks of wood at home or out in the woods? A portable sawmill could be your new best friend. But with so many options out there, picking the right one can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. Fear not! We’ve rolled up our sleeves to find you the best portable sawmills that won’t break the bank. Whether you’re building your dream project or just want to try something new, we’ve got something for everyone.

List of the Portable Sawmill for the Money:

From heavy-duty workhorses to light and easy options, let’s dive into a world where cutting wood is less of a chore and more of an adventure. Ready to find the perfect tool that’s worth every penny? Let’s get started!

Best Portable Sawmill for the Money Top Picks

1. TimberKing 1220CRZ – $14,995.00

TimberKing 1220CRZ on a white background

The TimberKing 1220CRZ stands out for its rugged design and American craftsmanship. Its “Big 3 Super-Structure” ensures durability with a solid-welded 4-post head, twin-beam log deck, and a big beam power core. The mill can handle logs up to 33″ in diameter and 17′ 9″ long, boasting a 29″ wide cut throat. Features like the electric blade clutch, greaseable blade guides, and a manual or aircraft cable feed system underline its efficiency and ease of use. The 23HP V-Twin electric-start engine provides ample power for demanding cuts. It’s full-time portability and comprehensive feature set make it a top choice for serious hobbyists and semi-professionals looking for a reliable mill made in the USA.

Maintenance and Operating Costs

For the TimberKing 1220CRZ, the maintenance costs are on the higher side due to its complexity and robust construction. Regular maintenance routines include blade sharpening or replacement, lubrication, and the occasional swapping out of worn parts such as belts and bearings. The operating costs are also higher because of the powerful 23HP engine, although this is offset by the machine’s efficiency and speed in cutting. Fortunately, obtaining replacement parts is straightforward, with TimberKing known for its excellent customer service and readily available parts.

2. Woodland Mills HM122 Portable Sawmill – $2,499.00 – $2,749.00

Woodland Mills HM122 Portable Sawmill on a whiteback ground

The Woodland Mills HM122 is designed for hobbyists seeking an affordable sawmill without sacrificing functionality. It can manage logs up to 22″ in diameter and offers a 20″ wide cut capability. The HM122 is built with a 4-post head design for stability and features a Kohler gas engine, available in 7.0 HP or 9.5 HP options. Noteworthy is the RapidChange™ blade system for quick blade changes and the auto lube system that activates with the throttle. This mill combines efficiency, convenience, and performance in a budget-friendly package, making it ideal for new sawyers or those with limited requirements.

Maintenance and Operating Costs

The Woodland Mills HM122 Portable Sawmill presents relatively low maintenance costs, benefiting from a simpler design and a common engine type (Kohler) that simplifies maintenance and part replacement. Blade sharpening and occasional replacement are necessary, but the smaller engine size helps keep operating costs economical. The type of wood being cut and the mill’s efficiency can influence fuel consumption. Woodland Mills supports its products with a comprehensive catalog of parts and accessories online, ensuring that even more generic parts are easily sourced.

3. Hud-Son HFE-30 Homesteader Portable Sawmill – $6,495.00

Hud-Son HFE-30 Homesteader Portable Sawmill on a white background

The HFE-30 Homesteader by Hud-Son is a compact sawmill with a 30” log capacity, designed for homeowners and farmers. It features manual height adjustment for precise cuts and a built-in blade lubrication system to keep the blade cool. The mill’s simplicity, combined with its ability to tackle significant logs, makes it a valuable tool for producing lumber for construction projects, furniture, or fencing. Its affordability and size make it accessible for those looking to mill their lumber on a moderate scale.

Maintenance and Operating Costs

For the Hud-Son HFE-30 Homesteader Portable Sawmill, maintenance costs are moderate, encompassing routine blade maintenance and the upkeep of the engine and mechanical parts. The 14hp gas engine strikes a balance between power and fuel efficiency, with regular costs including fuel and lubricants. Hud-Son provides excellent support and parts availability through its website and dealer network.

4. Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill – $69.98

Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill on a white background

The Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill is an incredibly affordable solution for those who already own a chainsaw and need to mill lumber occasionally. It’s suitable for bars 14″ to 36″, allowing for a wide range of log sizes. Despite its low cost, it offers the flexibility to cut lumber to a variety of thicknesses and widths up to 36”. This mill is ideal for DIYers or anyone needing a portable and minimal investment option for milling lumber.

Maintenance and Operating Costs

The Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill requires low maintenance, mainly involving the chainsaw it’s used with. The mill itself needs minimal upkeep beyond basic cleaning and adjustments. Operating costs vary depending on the chainsaw model, including fuel for the chainsaw and chain oil, alongside the need for regular chain sharpening and replacement. Replacement parts are widely available since they’re mostly for the chainsaw.

5. Granberg Alaskan Chainsaw Mill MKIV G778-36 – $312.00

Granberg Alaskan Chainsaw Mill MKIV G778-36 on a white background

The Granberg Alaskan Chainsaw Mill MKIV is a robust, portable mill designed to be clamped directly onto your chainsaw bar. It’s capable of cutting planks and beams up to 32” wide and 13” deep. This mill is perfect for sawyers who need to mill lumber at the site of the fallen tree, offering a high degree of flexibility and mobility. It’s an excellent tool for homeowners, woodworkers, and professionals who require portability and the ability to mill various sizes of lumber.

Maintenance and Operating Costs

Maintenance costs for the Granberg Alaskan Chainsaw Mill MKIV G778-36 are similar to those of the Carmyra, with low maintenance primarily concerning the chainsaw used. The mill’s simplicity means there are fewer parts to worry about. Operating costs are dependent on the chainsaw, with efficient operation minimizing fuel and chain oil expenses. The widespread availability of chainsaw parts and the mill’s minimalistic design ensure excellent ease of obtaining parts.

6. Wood-Mizer LX50SUPER Portable Sawmill – $4,295.00

Wood-Mizer LX50SUPER Portable Sawmill on a white background

The LX50SUPER from Wood-Mizer offers premium features at an entry-level price, making it one of the best-valued portable sawmills in its class. It can handle logs up to 26” in diameter, with a 23-1/2” width of cut and a 12’ 5” length of cut. Upgrades include a more powerful KOHLER gas engine and a heavy-duty steel frame. Designed for hobbyists and small-scale sawyers, it provides a perfect balance between performance and affordability, allowing for efficient sawing of both softwood and hardwood logs.

Maintenance and Operating Costs

The LX50SUPER Portable Sawmill by Wood-Mizer has higher maintenance costs due to its more sophisticated design and the specific need for Wood-Mizer blades and parts. Regular maintenance includes blade care, lubrication, and component checks. Although the 14HP KOHLER engine is efficient, fuel costs can add up with heavy use. Wood-Mizer provides a well-established supply chain for parts and accessories, though some parts may come at a premium due to brand specificity.

Comparative Analysis of the Best Portable Sawmill for the Money

Feature / ModelTimberKing 1220CRZWoodland Mills HM122Hud-Son HFE-30 HomesteaderCarmyra Portable Chainsaw MillGranberg Alaskan MKIV G778-36LX50SUPER by Wood-Mizer
Price$14,995.00$2,499.00 – $2,749.00$6,495.00$69.98$312.00$4,295.00
Max Log Diameter33.5″22″30″36″ (depends on chainsaw)32″26″
Max Cut Width29″20″31″Varies with chainsaw barUp to 32″23-1/2″
Power Source23HP V-Twin Engine7.0 or 9.5 HP Kohler14hp Gas Manual StartChainsaw (not included)Chainsaw (not included)14HP KOHLER Gas Engine
PortabilityFully PortablePortablePortableHighly PortablePortablePortable
Made InUSACanadaUSAUSAEurope
ProsRugged build for durability, Made in USA quality, Comprehensive features for professional useAffordable, Good for beginners, Packed with features like RapidChange blade systemVersatile for various home projects, Manual adjustments for precision, Good log capacityExtremely affordable, Ultra-portable, Simple to use with existing chainsawEasy on-site milling with minimal setup, Durable and portable, No drilling requiredGreat value for entry-level professional use, Premium features at a lower cost, Strong and reliable KOHLER engine
ConsHigher price point may not suit all budgetsLimited max log diameter and cut width compared to higher-end modelsMay require additional accessories for full functionalityLimited by chainsaw quality and power, No advanced milling featuresRequires a chainsaw, Limited precision compared to dedicated sawmillsLess portable than smaller models, May require additional investment in accessories

Sawmill Buying Guide: How to Select the Right Sawmill

Selecting the right portable sawmill is a critical decision that can significantly impact your woodworking or lumber processing projects. To navigate through the myriad of options and find the sawmill that best suits your needs, consider the following factors:

  1. Size of the Logs: One of the first considerations should be the maximum size of the logs you plan to cut. Sawmills come with varying capacities for log length and diameter. Ensure the sawmill you choose can accommodate the size of your typical logs. If you foresee cutting large diameter logs, look for a sawmill with a wide throat and strong power output.
  2. Frequency of Use: How often you plan to use the sawmill can also guide your decision. If you’re looking at frequent, heavy-duty use, investing in a more robust and durable sawmill might be worth the cost. For occasional use, a more basic, cost-effective model could be sufficient.
  3. Available Space: Consider the space you have available not just for storing the sawmill, but also for operating it. Larger, stationary models require more space and a permanent setup, whereas smaller, truly portable models can be moved and stored as needed. Ensure your workspace can safely accommodate the sawmill’s operation, including space for handling and moving logs around the sawmill.
  4. Budget Considerations: Your budget will undoubtedly play a significant role in your decision. While it’s tempting to go for the least expensive option, consider the sawmill’s durability, efficiency, and the cost of potential upgrades or accessories. Sometimes, spending a bit more upfront can save money in the long run through better efficiency and lower maintenance costs.
  5. Ease of Use and Maintenance: Look for a sawmill that’s not only easy to operate but also straightforward to maintain. Check the availability of replacement parts and the support offered by the manufacturer. A user-friendly design, clear instructions, and accessible customer service can make a big difference in your sawmilling experience.
  6. Accessories and Upgrades: Consider what accessories or upgrades are available for the sawmill. These can significantly extend the capabilities of your sawmill, allowing for more versatility in the types of cuts and lumber you can produce. Options like extended tracks, log loaders, and more powerful engines can enhance your sawmill’s performance.
  7. Environmental Impact: For those concerned with sustainability, consider the sawmill’s environmental impact. This can include the efficiency of its engine, the use of renewable resources, or the ability to mill lumber from fallen trees or salvage operations.


The world of portable sawmills is diverse, with options available for hobbyists embarking on their first milling project to seasoned professionals requiring robust machinery for heavy, frequent use. Key factors such as log capacity, power source, portability, maintenance, and operating costs play significant roles in the decision-making process. Additionally, the availability of accessories and upgrades can greatly enhance the sawmill’s functionality and longevity, making it a more versatile tool in your woodworking or lumber production endeavors.

Given the analysis, for those seeking the best balance between price, performance, and versatility, the Woodland Mills HM122 Portable Sawmill emerges as a standout choice. It hits a sweet spot for hobbyists and semi-professionals alike, offering an affordable entry point without sacrificing essential features. Its ease of maintenance, coupled with the ability to upgrade and accessorize, presents a future-proof solution that can grow with your milling needs.

However, for individuals prioritizing specific needs such as maximum durability and cutting capacity, the TimberKing 1220CRZ remains an excellent choice, albeit at a higher price point. On the other end of the spectrum, for minimal investment and maximum portability, the Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill offers an intriguing option, particularly for those with occasional milling needs or limited space.

Overall Pick: The Woodland Mills HM122 Portable Sawmill is recommended for its compelling blend of affordability, functionality, and expandability, making it an excellent all-rounder for a wide range of users. This choice reflects a balanced approach to cost, performance, and long-term usability, ensuring that you get the most value and satisfaction from your portable sawmill investment.

Ultimately, the best portable sawmill for you will align with your specific milling requirements, budget, and how you plan to use the sawmill now and in the future. Regardless of the choice, each sawmill mentioned here has the potential to transform raw logs into valuable lumber, enabling endless possibilities for projects and creations.


  1. Can I realistically operate a portable sawmill as a complete beginner?
    Absolutely! Many portable sawmills are designed with the beginner in mind, offering user-friendly controls, comprehensive manuals, and online tutorials. Starting with a model like the Woodland Mills HM122 Portable Sawmill, which is known for its simplicity and ease of use, can be a great way to dive into milling without feeling overwhelmed.
  2. How much space do I need to store and operate a portable sawmill effectively?
    The space required can vary significantly between models. For instance, the Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill can be stored on a shelf and used in virtually any space where you can operate a chainsaw. In contrast, larger models like the TimberKing 1220CRZ require more room for both storage and operation, ideally a flat, open area of several hundred square feet to accommodate the mill and maneuver logs.
  3. Is it cost-effective to mill my own lumber for home projects?
    Yes, milling your own lumber can be highly cost-effective, especially for projects requiring large quantities of wood or specific types of lumber that are expensive to purchase retail. The initial investment in a sawmill can pay off through savings on materials over time, not to mention the satisfaction and customization of milling your own wood.
  4. Can portable sawmills cut all types of wood, including hardwoods?
    Most portable sawmills are capable of cutting a wide range of wood types, from softwoods like pine to hardwoods like oak. The key factors are the sawmill’s power and the quality of the blades. Models equipped with more powerful engines and designed for versatility, such as the LX50SUPER Portable Sawmill by Wood-Mizer, are well-suited for cutting both softwoods and hardwoods.
  5. What’s the environmental impact of using a portable sawmill?
    Using a portable sawmill can actually be environmentally friendly, especially if you source logs from sustainable or salvage operations. Milling lumber locally reduces transportation emissions associated with commercial lumber production and allows for more precise use of resources, minimizing waste.
  6. How long do sawmill blades last, and how often will I need to replace them?
    The lifespan of a sawmill blade depends on several factors, including the type of wood being cut, the frequency of use, and maintenance practices like regular sharpening. On average, a blade might last through milling several thousand board feet before needing replacement. Regularly checking and maintaining your blades can extend their life significantly.
  7. Can I upgrade my portable sawmill later on if my needs change?
    Yes, many portable sawmills offer the ability to add on accessories or upgrades. For example, you might start with a basic model and later add a hydraulic log loader, a larger engine, or extended tracks for longer logs. This modular approach allows your sawmill to grow with your needs.

We hope this guide has illuminated the path to finding your perfect portable sawmill. Whether you’re a seasoned lumberjack or just starting your wood-milling journey, we believe there’s a sawmill out there that’s just right for you. But now, we’d love to hear from you! Did we miss your favorite sawmill? Do you have any tips or experiences to share with fellow readers? Drop your thoughts, questions, and stories in the comments below. Let’s keep the conversation going and help each other make even more informed decisions. And if you found this guide helpful, why not share it with a friend or fellow woodwork enthusiast? Happy milling!

David Murray
David Murray
Forestry Author

I'm David Murry, a forestry equipment specialist with a focus on chainsaw operation. With over 13 years of experience, I've honed my skills in operating and maintaining a wide range of machinery, from chainsaws to log splitters. My passion for the outdoors and commitment to sustainable forestry drive my work, which emphasizes safety, efficiency, and staying updated with industry advancements. Additionally, I'm dedicated to sharing my expertise and promoting environmental awareness within the forestry community.


RIDE On mover

Daniel Adams
March 2, 2024 12:13 pm

Great machinery

Daniel Adams
Adam Mark Pike
February 28, 2024 12:11 pm

In Indonesia, the retail price is 5-8x. Makes it not affordable to buy

Kristin Watsons
March 3, 2024 8:40 am

The "lucus saw mill" would be the best if your looking for a quarter cut, your list there only offering half cut

Daniel Adams
Ed h
February 28, 2024 9:45 am

I purchased the Harbor Freight sawmill approx 8-9 years ago, at $899, and it still running great today

Daniel Adams
February 27, 2024 2:07 pm

Thanks Mate! The last one is a good choice.

Daniel Adams
February 26, 2024 12:44 pm

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