When it comes to powering air tools, one of the problems that I run into again and again is the trade off between power and size.
The most powerful compressors are borderline stationary. The smallest on the other hand, struggle with anything short of a nail gun.
Because of this, I was eager to try the Dewalt D55168. At 92 pounds, it’s never going to be considered light. Considering the 15 gallon tank and max 200 PSI, however, it is very much lighter than the competition. And being a stand up compressor, it also takes up significantly less space.
I’ve been a fan of Dewalt for quite some time now. Does the D55168 live up to their high standards?
The first thing that you should know about the D55168 is that the 200 PSI rating refers to tank pressure, not hose pressure. In other words, you can’t plug in a tool and jam to PSI up to 200. In actuality, the highest pressure that I’ve managed to reach is 150.
The good news is that 150 PSI is more than enough pressure for most tools. The 15 gallon tank is also pretty impressive for the price but it does limit the compressors applications somewhat.
I’ll start with what it can do. I’ve used this compressor extensively on both nail guns and impact wrenches. It does the job perfectly. I’ve also used it for blowing out various tools and inflating a few tires. Again, it takes these tasks in its stride.
Problems begin to appear when you start looking at air heavy tools like grinders and sanders. The D55168 has more than enough PSI for these tools but it just doesn’t have the tank capacity.
Another perk of the D55168 is the decibel levels. At 75.8, it’s significantly quieter than most similarily powered machines.
As I mentioned earlier 92 pounds isn’t light. It does however come equipped with a well designed stand and very sturdy tires. This results in a compressor that you’ll have no problem moving from room to room provided no stairs are involved.
My favourite thing about this compressor is its size. It measures 20 by 25 by 45. Because it’s a stand up compressor, the 45 is largely irrelevant. And as a result, it can fit just abou anywhere.
The D55168 is oil free and this means that it’s pretty much maintenance free. Aside from having to drain it after every use, the only thing it requires is safe storage.
As you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of this compressor. Having read a few customer reviews however, it turns out that quite a few people disagree with me. At the time of writing, it’s been reviewed over a hundred times on Amazon. And yet it’s only achieved a very lukewarm score of 3.6 out of 5.
It turns out that while many people loved it for the same reasons that I did, quite a few people have experienced some major durability issues. Multiple reports suggest that the compressor eventually just gives out for no good reason. And these reports aren’t coming from hardcore builders either.
Personally, I love this compressor. The trade off between power and portability isn’t always easy to make. And yet, Dewalt have managed to do so perfectly here, even keeping the decibel levels down to boot.
After reading the mixed reviews on Amazon however, I do think it’s important to order with caution. It does appear that if you’re looking for a compressor that will last you many years, this probably isn’t it. I will update this review at the one year mark.