When you think you are in need of a sawmill it is important to do some homework about what type and model are best for your needs. That way you get one that can do what you need now and hopefully last into the future too. Sometimes with the first one, it is more about cost than about anything else, but when you want a portable mill it often makes sense to save a bit longer to get a better quality one as you do tend to get what you pay for. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a portable sawmill.
What will you be using it for?
About 50% of people who are buying mills are doing so to replace one they already have that was limited in production capacity! So that means even as you think about what you are using it for now, you also need to think a bit grander than that to not end up in the same boat buying another one because the first did not have enough production. Roughly a third of buyers are in the I need this for a hobby club. But once they have had the portable mill for a while they join the doing it for some kind of income club. People see what you can do and ask if you can come and do it for them. It might start as something small and a side job, but if you want it to, it can grow. Therefore it makes sense to buy a mill straight off that can handle more types of lumber and more sawing than you might think you need right now.
What product are you milling?
If you do want to make a living with the mill you will want something with hydraulics as it speeds up the process and takes less strength and time to do. If you are focussing on cutting longer boards then hydraulics are less important, you want to make sure the mill can handle longer board lengths.
Is it reliable?
There are known and reliable brands that get good reviews and offer outstanding customer service. It makes sense to use such a portable sawmill so you can rely on them should something go wrong, during the warranty or outside of it. If you have a product that is a few years old and of course no longer covered by a warranty, you want a company who will still offer troubleshooting tips and advice on maintenance if you need them!
When you are looking for a new stationary or portable mill there are some things to keep in mind to make sure you are happy with your choice and are not having to go out and buy another 2 years later. In general, it makes sense to buy one that has better productivity than you think you need in case you start milling for others, or turn it into a business. It is always better to have a mill that is a little more than you want, rather than quickly realising you a mill that is a little less than you need. It is also always a good idea to go with a manufacturer with a reputation for good mills even if that means paying a bit more.