Vertical Mill vs Horizontal Mill – Difference Between Horizontal and Vertical Milling Machine


Although vertical and horizontal milling machines come in similar designs, they vary significantly in their capabilities. Best equipment for specific CNC milling parts depending on the requirements, complexity, precision and more factors. To decide which type of milling machine or machining center to choose, here let’s take a look at the complete difference between horizontal and vertical milling machines (vertical mill vs horizontal mill).

What is a Horizontal Milling Machine?

Horizontal milling machine is a commonly most popular type of milling machine, the spindle features a horizontal orientation and the cutter mounted on the spindle is rotating in the horizontal axis, this type of machine is ideal for developing some types of grooves and slots. Horizontal milling centers come with a variety of customization such as multiple cutters or rotating universal beds to cut various angles. 

What is a Vertical Milling Machine?

A vertical mill is characterized by a vertically oriented spindle that holds and rotates the cutting tool against the workpiece. In a vertical milling machine, the part is fixed on the table and the table is moved crosswise by the saddle movement and maybe feed in the longitudinal, cross and vertical directions. You can even control the speed of the cutter, through high-speed rotation, the cutting edges shear the workpiece in form of small chips. A vertical mill is preferred when we need to carry out special types of operations. Vertical machines can be divided into turret milling machines and bed milling machines. 

Difference Between Horizontal and Vertical Milling Machine - Vertical Milling vs Horizontal Milling

A horizontal milling machine usually consists of the base, column, spindle, overarm, knee, saddle, worktable, yoke, arbor, vertical guideways, horizontal guideways, cutter, and knee elevating screw. Vertical mills have the same basic parts, the most significant difference between them is the location of the spindle and rotation of the cutter. What other differences were caused by the reason?

1. Spindle axis. In a vertical milling machine, the spindle axis is aligned vertically, while in a horizontal milling machine, the spindle axis is placed in the horizontal direction. 

2. Accuracy. Vertical milling centers have greater accuracy than horizontal machines. 

3. Cost. Generally, a vertical mill is cheaper in price when compared to a horizontal mill.

4. Surface finish. A horizontal milling machine offers a better surface finish.

5. Efficiency. Horizontal milling has a higher material removal rate at the same tool speed in the same amount of time. 

6. Speed. Horizontal milling cut faster and can make multiple cuts simultaneously. 

7. Customization. Horizontal mills are more customizable than vertical machines, it can work with various tools. 

8. Capacity. Horizontal milling machines can be used to process multiple sides, while vertical mills often used to perform the machining on a single plane. 

9. Tools. Vertical machining centers usually feature long and thin tools, and horizontal machines use short and thick tools for removing large amounts of materials from the piece. 

10. Cuts. Due to the difference in cutting tools, a horizontal milling machine can perform deep and heavy cuts at high speed, vertical mills usually do general works but drilling on the part. 

11. Tool Life. Tools used in horizontal milling can get a longer service life. 

12. Working area. Horizontal mills require a larger area. 

13. Weight. Vertical milling machines are generally lighter in weight and less powerful than horizontal machines. 

14. Chip removal. Chips can be removed properly and easily from the horizontal mill, but that can’t be done in a vertical mill. 

15. Applications. Horizontal milling is more suitable for a large production run due to greater speed and precision. 

16. Durability. Horizontal milling can handle larger and heavier materials without damage to the machine. 

Horizontal Milling Machine

Vertical Milling Machine