DeWalt D55151 Review

My crew and I use a compressor most every day of the week. Usually it is powering the nail guns we are using to frame walls or installing doors and millwork. Sometimes we use a compressor to supply the air to a drywall hopper gun to spray texture on new walls and patches. Our setup involves a twin stack compressor running multiple air hoses to different areas of the jobsite. In this review we’re going to take a closer look at my pick for best overall air compressor, the DeWalt D55151, and see why it’s the one that is on our jobsites every day.

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The Controls

The D55151 doesn’t come with a ¼” quick disconnect coupler already installed so you’ll have to purchase one separately. The female coupler screws on to the threaded output pipe. We usually run a two or three-way adaptor for multiple air lines. Next to the quick disconnect is the pressure regulator knob. Turning this knob will adjust the amount of air pressure you are sending to the tool. The gauge next to the knob shows the air pressure that you’ve dialed in for the tool. The gauge on the top tank shows the air pressure in the tank. The maximum of 125 psi is more than you’ll need to drive any nail gun or other air powered tool.


The Handle

Weighing in at 53 pounds, the D55151 is not what I’d call light, but it’s fairly easy to pick it up and transport it by the handle that is positioned top center. The compressor is evenly balanced, so carrying it one handed works best.


Motor/Pressure Switch

This is the switch that starts and stops the air compressor. In the on position, the motor will come on automatically whenever the pressure in the tank drops below the factory set level. The motor will run until hitting the factory set cut out pressure. It takes about 3 minutes to fill completely empty tanks and about 20 seconds to recover to full strength during use.

Also note the pressure release valve on the side of the top tank. This is the valve that gives us the familiar whoosh sound of a tiny bit of air being discharged at the end of every pump up cycle. Discharging that little amount of air makes it so the motor can start freely the next time it comes on.


Dual Soft Start Valves

Speaking of starting up freely, the D55151 is equipped with dual soft start valves that dramatically improve the motor startups in cold weather conditions. If you’ve ever plugged in a compressor on a cold morning in the 30’s, only to have the motor slowly churn until it pops the breaker, you’ll appreciate this feature. The 14-amp motor will work well on any standard 15-amp AC circuit.     


Motor Overload Breaker

The motor is equipped with breaker to protect it from excessive spikes in the power supply. If tripped, the stem will pop out of the housing. Simply press it back in to reset.


The Pump

At the heart of any air compressor is the pump. It works by moving a piston in a cylinder. On the down stroke, air is drawn in through an air intake valve. On the upstroke, air is compressed and then forced through the discharge line into the tank. The D55151 has a 1.1 horsepower motor, which is powerful enough to run two framing nailers simultaneously, at a maximum of 125 psi. The cast iron cylinder adds a little bit of heft to the overall weight, but it will outlast any cheap lightweight plated steel cylinder.


Oil Lubricated

The pump is lubricated with SAE 40 oil, which comes supplied with the compressor. Use the red dipstick to check the oil level and if you change the oil periodically, there’s no reason the pump won’t last for years and years.    


Tank Drain Valve

Draining the tanks should be done daily by opening the drain valve to remove any moisture that may have accumulated in the tanks.


How does it Perform?

The DeWalt D55151 is a great all around air compressor. It has plenty of power to keep up with any small framing or finish carpentry crew. It really outperforms any pancake style compressor when it comes to jobs that require a constant amount of air volume. It’s able to put out 3.2 cfm at 100 psi – constantly. So if you are spraying wall texture or paint, or sheeting a roof or subfloor, it can keep up with the demands for air. Compared to a typical pancake compressor putting out 2.6 cfm at 90 psi, there’s no comparison.    

If you’re a pro looking for a solid portable air compressor for daily use, or a serious DIY-er looking to start your air tool collection with a well-built compressor that will last, you can’t go wrong with the D55151.

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DeWalt D55151

Steve Wright

Steve Wright is a general contractor who over the last 30 plus years has built hundreds of new homes, ranging from first time affordable homes to multi-million dollar custom homes and everything in between.