The Dewalt D55146 is a contractor grade air compressor that certainly delivers the goods as far as PSI storage and CFM output goes, but what other pros and cons does the Dewalt have? Read our complete Dewalt D55146 review to find out.
Motor and Pump:
The 1.6 Horsepower motor runs at only 1,750rpm RPM which reduces wear on the engine / pump and also decreases noise and vibration. Working at this low speed I would have expected the fill times to be quite slow, but they are in fact very quick, with the 4.5 gallon tank filling from empty to 200 PSI in approximately 70 – 90 seconds and recharging from 160 – 200 PSI in approximately 20-30 seconds!
The Cubic Feet per Minute output of 5 CFM @ 90 PSI and maximum pressure of 200 PSI would be enough to power a wide range of air tools without forcing the motor to run continuously.
Surprisingly enough the pump on the D55146 is oil-free which commonly leads to more noise, however, Dewalt have manufactured this compressor with a belt and flywheel drive system that reduces the RPM and results in less noise.
Dewalt states that the pump is able to operate continuously, But, to extend the life span of the compressor, it’s advisable to maintain a 50-75% duty cycle, which means that the compressor shouldn’t be run longer than 30-45 minutes in any one hour. So, with that in mind I’m going to list the Dewalt D55146 as having a 75% duty cycle.
IMPORTANT – Although not very well documented, there is a run-in procedure that must be followed before using the compressor for the first time. This involves opening the air tank drain valve, running the compressor for 15 minutes and then closing the drain valve to let the pressure build to maximum.
IMPORTANT – This compressor requires that you use a 3/8 air hose that is rated at 300 PSI. If you already have an air hose, check to see if it is suitable.
Design & Build:
The design of the D55146 has been very well thought out and implemented. The steel tubes that run over the top of the compressor protect the motor, pump and instruments from any damage and they also double as lifting handles when moving the compressor in or out of a vehicle.
Read Real User Reviews of the Dewalt D55146
The plastic shroud that covers the top of the compressor provides protection from dust and accidental damage and also helps to funnel air from the cooling fan to the motor and pump.
The Dewalt weighs in at 83 LBS and although it is on the heavy side transporting the compressor shouldn’t present a problem due to its 10-inch non-flat foam tires, the vertical lifting handle and the pull out handle.
The compressor can also be stored vertically when not in use which is a real bonus for those with limited space. The build quality of the Dewalt D55146 is very good and looks like it will withstand the punishment of typical job site conditions.
The only design flaw that is apparent is that the compressor needs to be tilted to an angle of 45 degrees to fully drain the tank. Not a serious issue, but one worth mentioning.
The tank pressure gauge and output pressure gauge are recessed into the steel housing plate above the air tank. The air pressure regulator that sits in between the gauges is quite large and easy to operate by pulling it out and turning to raise or lower the output pressure and then pushing it back in to lock it in place.
Two universal quick couplers are also located to the right of the gauges and allow for two tools to be connected and used simultaneously. Noise: At 78 Decibels the D55146 produces less noise than a lot of the compressors in the same class and is under the threshold for needing hearing protection when exposed to the noise for 8 hours. One reviewer wrote “When this thing is running I can actually hear my wife talking to me” and then wrote “I wish I had bought a louder model” – No comment!
- Large, clear gauges that are very easy to read
- Easy to transport with collapsible handle and wheels
- Very high CFM output and PSI
- Good design and built to last
- Can be stored vertical to save storage space
- Quiet for this class of compressor
- Oil free pump means no maintenance
- 2 Universal quick couplers
- Tank is difficult to drain
- Quite heavy if you need to load it into a vehicle
- Owner’s manual is very poor
DEWALT D55146 Review video
When you combine an output of 5 CFM @ 90 PSI, 200 PSI max pressure and a solidly constructed compressor the outcome is one of the best contractor grade compressors on the market. Yes, it is expensive, but if you want a quality air compressor that will produce the power that a professional contractor requires then you have to expect to pay that bit more. All in all the Dewalt D55146 is good value for money and we highly recommend it.
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