Best Milling Machine Reviews 2018

A milling machine is the heart of a workshop. Whether you’re working on big or small projects, you want machinery from a reliable brand with good customer service and experience in the field. That’s why we’ve looked into machines that have satisfying customer results, and covered a range of prices and features to suit your needs. Check out the highlights on our five favorite best milling machine brands on the market and find the right fit for you.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Table Size
Type
Motor Power
Spindle Speed
Weight
Our Top Choice
Shop Fox Deluxe Variable Speed Mill / Drill
Shop Fox provides excellent customer service and makes a wide range of workshop equipment, including this mill with push button variable speed and adjustable steel feet.
Over 14 inches of headstock movement with 90-degree tilt. Emergency stop button and see-through chip guard with safety switch. Simple hole threading with quick reverse tapping.
Only handles medium-sized jobs.
6” x 21”
Combo
1 HP Brushless, 110V
100-1,750 RPM
364 lbs
Best Value
Sherline 5400A/5410A Deluxe Mill Package A
Sherline is an expert manufacturer of lathe/milling machines that offer updated features like oil reservoirs for constant lubrication on the X, Y, and Z axis. This includes the 5400A/5410A.
Assists in accurate measurements with laser engraved 12” base that gives 2” of additional Y-axis travel. Adjustable zero hand wheels. 1/4” drill chuck & draw bolt. Leadscrew cover.
Extremely lightweight mill, but that may be preferred for home workshops.
2.75” x 13”
Vertical
.33 HP, 90V
70-2,800 RPM
40 lbs
Jet Mill/Drill With R-8 Taper
People have used Jet milling machines for years with satisfying results. This model is a lightweight alternative to quality mills that can weigh upwards of a ton.
Extra-large work table. Quick-stop knob. Easy-to-read internal depth gauge. Quick slide latch makes fast adjustments to the belt for changes in spindle speed.
Gauging alignment after lifting and lowering the head can sometimes be tricky.
9.5” x 31.25”
Combo
2 HP, 115V/230V
150-3,000 RPM
660 lbs
OTMT X2 Variable Speed Mini Mill
OTMT machines are sold exclusively through the Travers Tool Company, which specializes in metalworking tools and industrial supplies. The X2 model is versatile and affordable.
A great starter mill with a head tilt of up to 45 degrees. Comes at an accessible price with 2 speed variables, a .47” T-slot, and an easy-to-read dial at .0001” for accuracy.
Not a full-sized mill.
3.62” x 15.35”
Mini
.5 HP, 110V
0-2,500 RPM
110 lbs
Granberg Small Log Mill
Granberg specializes in chain saw attachments. This machine allows you to efficiently saw trees on site and produce lumber that can be used for building or woodworking.
A lightweight, mobile option for milling work. Perfect for carpenters, woodworkers, or property owners. Accommodates up to 20” Bar.
Not as fast as a professional milling machine, but it’s a nice portable sawmill. You may want to invest in a pair of Kevlar chaps for safety.
n/a
Portable sawmill
50+cc chainsaw
Saw not included
10.8 lbs

(Updated )
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How Do I Choose the Best Milling Machine?

It’s an exciting prospect getting your very own milling machine to be able to cut, drill, and work on your dream projects or get that DIY chore done to the best standard. And sitting proudly in-between your tool cabinet and power tools you are safe in the knowledge that you have the equipment to make, build, and construct projects you will be proud of.

Even though milling machines are versatile and the gem in anybody’s workshop, there are some things that are just as important that you shouldn’t forget! When bits of shrapnel and scrap are flying off whilst being cut, carved, and smoothed down, safety glasses are an absolute must—so no excuses!
Price
A milling machine is an excellent piece of machinery and should be seen as a great investment in any workshop, which means that it definitely isn’t the cheapest tool in the shed but will be worth the money! Saying that, there are milling machines at a range of prices to suit everyone.

The price range of our selected products starts at around $170. For this price, you shouldn’t expect any less quality than that of more-expensive machines, but it is better-suited for smaller projects and won’t work at the same speed as an industry-sized option. If you’re on a budget, ensure you are picking quality for the money you can afford and don’t just buy the first cheap milling machine you see on offer as it may not live up to your expectations.

If you’ve got a bit more money to play with then there are plenty of other machines to choose from, including our top-end product at around $2300. At this price, you will find the machine has built-in safety features such as an emergency stop button and see-through chip guard. On top of that, the designers have thought thoroughly about how to make your job easier—from variable speed, headstock movement tilt, and reverse tapping. You’ll wonder why it’s taken you this long to purchase such a brilliant creation.
Features
If you’re still milling around trying to choose the right product for you, then take a look at our list below for some more tips on buying the right machine for you.

Here are some of the important things to think about whilst shopping:
  • Table Size - This has to do with the surface you need available to accommodate the machine.
  • Type - This can include combo, vertical, mini, sawmill, etc.
  • Motor Power - The power is measured in horsepower and volts.
  • Spindle Speed - This will be measured in RPM (revolutions per minute—or in layman’s terms, rotations).
  • Weight and Portability - Milling machines can weigh anywhere between 40 pounds and 300 pounds; some designs are made with portability in mind.
  • Job Capacity - The information on spindle travel, swing size, drilling capacity, and cutter diameter will help ensure it will suit your tasks.
  • Measuring - This includes XYZ axis and features to improve precision.
  • Safety Features - Some features include emergency stop, chip guard, etc.
  • Extras - These are other features to help you achieve your goal.
If you need more guidance on these points, keep reading below.
Construction and Design
When it comes to the construction and design of your future milling machine, we have a few suggestions on what to look out for. The table size, type, motor power, spindle speed, and weight/portability are all of great importance. What you need to look for will vary depending on your intended use.

Table Size

Before starting to shop, make sure you know where you want your machine and that you have measured the area that you have available. Then it’s just a simple job of checking (and double-checking) that your desired machine fits into that space. Remember that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, so check to ensure that the other specifications suit your needs.

Type

A combination milling machine allows you to drill and mill with the same machine, and can be tilted to do horizontal milling as opposed to a vertical machine which only operates in the one direction. The sawmill design is suited to lumbering wood quickly and conveniently. A mini milling machine is simply on a smaller scale and better-suited to moderate jobs.

Motor Power

Motor power is described in HP and volts. Our five top picks range from 0.33 HP and 90V to 2 HP using 115V to 230V. If you go for a larger size, make sure that your power supply will be able to work with that number of volts without cutting out. Although going for the machine with the most horsepower is tempting just to ensure you have the meanest machine on the block, you may not need it, so consider your purpose for the milling machine and power before heading for the big guns!

Spindle Speed

Spindle speed is the number of rotations the spindle does in a minute and can range from 0 – 3000 RPM. The fastest ones are ideal for projects that need to be as professional and efficient as possible to produce a large number of quality products. However, many may not need to use a machine that can reach such a speed.

Weight and Portability

Ranging from 10 pounds—the handheld sawmill—to 660 pounds, weight is one of the biggest variants with this machine. Even with tabletop milling machines, if you know you may need to move it or reposition it, then ensure you can carry and hold the weight of the machine.
Performance and Ease of Use
When shopping around for a milling machine, you’ll want to ensure that it will offer you top-notch performance and won’t be too difficult to use. To help you find the best features for you, we recommend looking for its job capacity, measurements, safety features, and extras. More info on each factor is below for your convenience.

Job Capacity

Only you will know the details of your projects and what you require from the brand-spanking-new piece of machinery. To avoid disappointment, make sure you check out all the measurements:
  • Swing Size - usually measured in inches
  • Spindle Travel - measured in inches, describing the maximum distance the spindle can travel
  • Drilling Capacity – the diameter of the drill or the width of the hole it will create
  • Face Cutter Diameter – the diameter of the face cutter itself
Measurements

Most milling machines have an XYZ axis on them to assist in measuring the material and cut sizes during the job. Machines can also have lasers to help with accuracy and scales engraved onto the surface to reduce the risk of a mistake. There are also some with dovetail columns if you need more of a physical guidance to keep you on the right track.

Safety Features

From emergency stop buttons, to see-through chip shields and anti-backlash feed screws, there are many features that can protect you from a safety hazard you may not even have thought of yet. Remember to read the set-up instructions carefully to make sure everything is where it should be to keep you safe.

Extras

The smallest details can make our lives so much easier. Some machines let you have full control of the spindle speed so you can always work at your own pace. Others have reverse tapping to withdraw the tap from the hole or a coolant system that lets you create deeper cuts and drilling.

What is the Best Milling Machine?

With trustworthy brands that reflect high standards, we have looked through speed settings and extra features to fine-tune a list of high-quality milling machines that offer the accuracy and safety features you are looking for. Among milling machines that cut through anything from wood to steel, we have highlighted models with speed variance and cutting techniques that allow for precision accuracy, so you can get the right fit for your workshop and the quality you’re looking for. We’re sure you’ll find what you need from our top picks!
Our Top Choice
If you want more than your basic mill, you are going to love the Shop Fox M1111—6" x 21" with its high-quality features, such as variable speed, reverse tapping, and safety stops. If you are looking for a mill that can accommodate greater size, choose the Shop Fox M1004 9” x 49” Vertical Mill.
Shop Fox 6” x 21” Mill/Drill — Deluxe Variable Speed of 100-1,750 RPM — 14+ Inches Headstock Movement with 90 Degree Tilt

Shop Fox Milling Machine - M1111


Features
Woodstock International introduced its extensive line of Shop Fox machines decades ago for accurate and reliable wood and metal work. With a focus on customer service, it has a broad selection of specialized machinery to choose from for the DIY workshop or for commercial use. Other Shop Fox machines include wood and metal lathes, sanders, table saws, jointers, shapers, and planers.

The M1111 mill by Shop Fox includes improvements to the M1110 line, such as a quick-tilt headstock that accommodates horizontal milling with a 90-degree tilt. You can rely on the strength of the precision-ground cast iron table, and the machine can be leveled up with the adjustable steel feet. The table can travel 5 3/4 x 15 1/2 inches and is complemented by a fully geared lift system, allowing the headstock to rise and fall up to 14 3/4 inches for easy maneuverability.

This milling machine is safe to operate, with a convenient emergency stop button easily accessible on the front and a safety switch for the see-through chip guard. To control the speed, you can rely on the digital spindle tachometer to adjust the revolutions per minute anywhere from 100 to 1,750. Hole threading is made easy with the Tapping Mode that starts the process, then uses a quick reverse method to withdraw the tap from the hole.

With side-to-side maneuverability, the X-axis feed at the end of the table can be locked into position. Both the X and Y-axis handwheels can be calibrated to 0.001 inches for accuracy. The Z axis handwheel calibrates at 0.0005”. Use the digital depth scale quill for a variety of tasks. Spindle depth is reflected by a digital readout that features metric or inches, and has a zeroing function.

Here are the specifications in greater detail:
  • Dovetail column ways for accuracy
  • Push-button speed control
  • Coolant trough
  • 1 HP brushless motor, 110V
  • 18-inch swing
  • R-8 Spindle Taper, spindle travel is 14 3/4”
  • 1-inch drilling capacity
  • 2-inch face cutter diameter
  • 2.362-inch (60mm) quill diameter
  • Table size is 6 1/4” x 21 5/8”
  • 2-year warranty
This machine comes with a 5/8” drill chuck and arbor, an extra drive belt, 4 leveling feet, 4 hex wrenches, 2 open-end combo wrenches, and 2 T-nuts.
Best Value
Enjoy the updated features like permanent lubrication and a brass leadscrew cover on the Sherline 5400A/5410A Deluxe Milling Machine. Another great option from Sherline is the Standard 5000 Vertical Mill that has a Y axis of 3 (rather than 5) and a 10” base at a reduced price.
Sherline 5410A Deluxe Vertical Mill w/ 12" Base and Accessories (Metric)

Sherline Milling Machine 5410A


Features
With roots in Australia, the Sherline company has been fine-tuning their machinery for 50+ years, starting with the Sherline model 1000 Lathe in the 1960s. Ron Sher assisted in updating the design of the Lathe to include a high-torque motor with variable speeds, attachments to use it as a milling machine, adjustable Gibs for accuracy, and replaceable parts for easy maintenance.

This 5400A/5410A Deluxe Mill Package runs at variable speeds of 70–2,800 RPM without gear or belt changes, and offers a second pulley position for extra torque at a lower RPM, in case you need it. The spindle bearings are permanently lubricated with built-in oil reservoirs, and like all Sherline mills, this model offers dovetailed slides with adjustable gibs. The motor is a high-torque 90 VDC with adjustable preload anti-backlash feed screws.

The measurement scales are engraved right onto the table with lasers, making measurements easier. There are handwheels to adjust all 3 axis’ which are adjustable to zero. The X-axis travel is 8, the Y travel is 5, and the Z travel is 6.25. It's offered at a great price for a milling machine, and it comes with a 12” base.

This model comes with:
  • 1297 Headstock spacer block
  • 3072 1/4” Jacobs drill chuck with key
  • #1 Morse arbor with drawbolt
  • 2.75” x 13” table with 2 T-slots
  • 8-foot power cord
  • Pulleys and drive belt
  • Gib removal tool
  • Electronic speed controller
  • 3 hexagonal keys
  • Spindle bars
  • 1-year warranty
A new feature that has been added to this mill is the brass leadscrew cover to keep chips off the rear of the Y-axis leadscrew. You can also request to have the handwheels in red, if that’s your preference.
For excellent quality in a mill/drill machine, purchase the Jet JMD-18, which accommodates large-scale projects with its generous work table size. If you really want to go high-end, you can buy the JTM-2 Mill, which comes with an ACU-RITE 200S DRO and X-axis Powerfeed with high precision spindle bearings, and a heavy-duty spindle brake.
JET JMD-18 115/230-Volt 1 Phase Milling/Drilling Machine

Jet Milling Machines 350018


Features
Jet started with snowmobile and forklift production in the late 1950s. It began focusing on wood and metal working in the 1970s and ’80s, which brings us to its excellent JMD-18 milling machine with drill.

This mill/drill machine combination by Jet has a one-piece cast iron column for sturdy support, and allows for dual coordinates. The quick slide latch on the belt cover provides lightning-fast belt adjustment for changes in spindle speed. The R-8 Spindle has a 5” travel with a quill diameter of 3” and a column diameter of 4.5”. With a large number of spindle speeds at 12, you can change the range from 150 all the way to 3,000 to accommodate your needs.

This model offers an angled vise for the drill press with a full circle head swivel. The drill chuck is 1/2” and comes with a guard. The Carbide face mill is also adjustable. The generous worktable size of 9.50 x 31.25” makes work more fluid. The longitudinal travel on the table is 20.5”, with a work table capacity of 400 pounds.

The 2 Horsepower motor operates with 115/230 volts. This model also comes with 4 T-slots at 5/8” with T-slot centers of 1 13/16”. It has an easy-to-read internal depth gauge and a positive quick stop knob.

Here are some additional features of the Jet JMD-18:
  • Drilling capacity is 1.25”
  • Maximum distance from spindle to table is 18”
  • Face Mill Capacity is 3”
  • End Mill Capacity is 3/4”
  • Swing is 15 7/8”
  • Heavy-duty tapered rolling bearings
You can purchase extra accessories as you go, allowing you to perform additional tasks and increase your proficiency. Get quick and easy maintenance repair with the two-year warranty.
Get this efficient X2 miniature milling machine by OTMT with dual speeds at a great price. If you have a bigger budget, we recommend the OTMT Super X3 Mill & Drill Machine with a 1HP motor, a multifunction digital scale on the quill, and a quick reverse tapping feature.
OTMT Variable Speed Mini Milling Machine - with 45 Degree Head Tilt

OTMT Milling Machines - Model: OT2213


Features
OTMT machinery is offered exclusively by the Travers Tool Company, which makes just about everything you can think of for industrial machining or home workshops. Besides machinery, it offers measuring and inspection tools, a variety of cutting tools, fluids, lubricants, abrasives, adhesives, and electrical equipment.

With the OTMT X2, there is no need to break the bank if you want to invest in a milling machine. This mini-mill comes with a drill chuck and an efficient 1/2 horsepower 110 volt motor. The variable speeds offer two settings: one low range that operates from 0-1,100 RPM, and one high range that runs from 1,100-2,500.

The spindle taper is R-8 and the head tilts 45 degrees. The headstock travel is 7.08”, and the table travel is 3.93” forwards and backwards, and 8.66” right and left.

Here are some additional details about this mini mill by OTMT:
  • Drilling capacity of .51”
  • End mill capacity of .62”
  • Face Mill capacity of 1.81”
  • X travel is 8.66”
  • Y travel is 3.93”
  • Z travel is 7”
  • Includes keys and way covers
OTMT has experience in the industry with a range of milling machines to choose from, as well as complementary tools.
Mill your wood on site with the G777 Chainsaw Mill by Granberg, which manages logs up to 17” wide. If you want a portable log mill that can accommodate a width of 32 inches, check out this heavy-duty Alaskan MK-III lumber mill by Granberg.
Granberg Chain Saw Mill

Granberg Milling Machines - Model G777


Features
Granberg has been in business for over 60 years, allowing on-site milling with its line of chain saw attachments that can transform downed trees into building materials with excellent dimensional accuracy.

The Granberg Chain Saw Mill has lots of satisfied customers. This one is a best seller, offered at a really good price. It has a zinc coating to protect it from the elements, a must-have when working outdoors.

The G777 cuts quickly and smoothly through small logs and accommodates a chainsaw up to 20” Bar. This is great for carpenters, woodworkers, or homeowners who want to repurpose wood on their property. It handles wood up to .5-13” thick and 17” wide. You can also look forward to excellent customer service with this manufacturer. Note that the rip chain must be purchased separately.

Get the Best Milling Machine of 2018!

These milling machines are capable of cutting through a variety of materials and suit many different projects. We hope you have found the milling machine for you, and if not, make sure to check out the other options from these reputable brands.

Our Top Choice
Shop Fox Deluxe Variable Speed Mill / Drill
Best Value
Sherline 5400A/5410A Deluxe Mill Package A
Jet Mill/Drill With R-8 Taper
OTMT X2 Variable Speed Mini Mill
Granberg Small Log Mill