Dewalt D55146 Air Compressor Review

I had been using an electric portable Dewalt air compressor for my jobs for about 7 or 8 years. The compressor was heavy and very cumbersome to move since it lacked wheels, but it got the job done, until this year. I had definitely been pushing the compressor to its limit by running two framing nail guns on my current build. Not to mention that one of the nailers had a leak at the trigger which kept the compressor cycling on way more often than it should. I knew its days were numbered, so I started researching different brands of portable air compressors and reading the reviews. The decision was made; I was going to purchase the Bosch CET4-20W 4 gallon w/wheels. So I went to Lowe’s, Home Depot, the local lumber yards, and local tool supply companies, nobody carried it. Both Lowes and Home Depot carried the Dewalt D55146. On top of that Lowes had a low price guarantee of beating their competitors price by 10%. Since Home Depot had the compressor listed for $300 ($50 less than Lowes) I had myself a new Dewalt compressor for $270 + tax.

Pro’s:

Beside the fact that it had wheels, upon pulling the compressor out of the box I noticed a couple of improvements over my old Dewalt. For starters, the cord on the new compressor looked to be a couple gauges heavier than the old one. The D55146 is oil-free which means less maintenance than the old compressor. Typically oil free compressors are louder than their oiled counterparts, but the motor uses a belt drive to reduce the number of RPM’s it has to turn and therefore results in less noise. The maximum pressure has also been increased on the D55146. Instead of only going to 120 psi for the tank pressure, the D55146 pressurizes to 200 psi. With this higher tank pressure the compressor cycles on less often, and you don’t see a change in the performance of the nail guns as the pressure in the tank approaches the set limit for kicking the compressor on. The D55146 is also lighter than the old compressor, but since it is wheeled we rarely have to pick it up. It is effortless to roll the compressor across the jobsite, even across rough ground. The wheel-base and shape of the compressor make it very stable over bumps and up steps.

Con’s:

Draining the tank at the end of the day is a bit of a pain. The compressor needs to be held at an angle (about 45 degrees) in order to fully drain (I assume it is fully draining) the water from the tank. It would be nice to be able to just open the drain cock and leave the compressor till its finished draining without have to find a way to prop it up at the necessary angle. In truth, I haven’t found many things I don’t like about this compressor besides the drain. However, I don’t have much to compare it with besides its predecessor, and anything would have been an improvement over that worn out compressor.
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One Response to Dewalt D55146 Air Compressor Review

  1. Robin Smith says:

    Oil Less compressors ‘usually’ have a shorter life cycle than compressor’s that require Oil Lubrication. Unfortunately most everyone I know, has never changed the oil in their compressor/s. Adding a drive belt into the equation adds another opportunity for failure, and maintenance. A compressor that can run at a higher pressure, also receives more wear and tear, etc. and likely will not last as long as a well maintained compressor that runs at a lower pressure. It would have been nice to know the model # of the ‘old’ compressor being compared.

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