DEWALT FLEXVOLT 60V MAX AIR COMPRESSOR
— Product Evaluation —
By the staff of Dirt Wheels
We have always kept portable compressors on hand to maintain and adjust ATV and UTV tires to the proper air pressure for best machine performance, though we have resorted to tank-less little compressors to adjust our hauler’s tires in a pinch. When you have no tank to store the air, you can only fill a tire at the rate the compressor can handle air. That is usually a rate quoted in CFM (cubic feet per minute) or SCFM (standard cubic feet per minute), and that rating is at a specific pressure. The more CFM, the more load on your electrical system. If the compressor has a storage tank, you can have a pressure relay that cuts the compressor back on any time the pressure in the tank drops to a certain point. Then you have a full tank to start with, and there is no need to wait for the air one piston-full at a time.
When we saw the new Dewalt DCC2560T1 Flexvolt 60V Max 2.5-gallon cordless air compressor, we knew we had to have one. The tank helps with filling tires or especially when running air tools since it can fill the tank to 135 psi.
This little pancake compressor has a great deal of utility and portability, but like any cordless tool powered by lithium-ion batteries, you pay for that portability. The Dewalt has a retail price at Home Depot of $299 for the compressor, a fast charger and a battery. It comes with a lightweight self-coiling air hose, an air chuck, a blower nozzle and a small assortment of hose connections. This compressor is built in the USA utilizing some global products. It is the battery that raises the price. It comes with a single battery, but Dewalt has two-pack battery kits for those who need longer run-time between charges. Two 6.0-Ah batteries are $279 and two 9.0-Ah batteries are $379. A Dewalt corded pancake compressor is around $150, but when you don’t have a place to plug it in, you have to go cordless.
We have a small 120-volt corded compressor that is easy to take when camping or riding, but it requires a 4000-watt generator to run it, so what is the advantage of the compact compressor? We don’t have quite the power with the cordless Dewalt, but it works great anywhere. It has a brushless motor paired with a heavy-duty oil-free pump. It has a protected, sealed on/off switch; a handy, comfortable carry handle; and a steady base. It fills to the maximum, but a dial on the face lets you set the pressure you want coming out. That is handier for air tools than with tires, though. The whole compressor weighs only 21.5 pounds. Since it is job-site equipment, care has been taken to keep it quiet. At a 79-decibel operational noise level, it isn’t annoying, though you won’t want it running inside your tent or RV while you are sleeping.
The output is rated at 1.2 SCFM @ 90 psi, but what does that mean in terms of tires? Starting with the compressor completely empty, it takes a little over two minutes to fill to the shut-off pressure of 135 psi. We let the air completely out of a 29-inch Maxxis Bighorn front UTV tire. With the compressor tank full, we inflated the tire for 15 seconds and checked the pressure. It was up to 5 psi. The compressor kicks back on before the tank pressure drops to 90 PSI, and it did kick on in that 15 seconds. It took 25 seconds for the tank to return to full pressure. Obviously, if you are merely adjusting pressure, this will be much faster and easier than using a 12-volt corded compressor!
TIPS AND HINTS
It stands only 15.5 inches high, and the body is 14 inches by 12.5 inches. The compressor kit comes with a quick-disconnect for the air hose mounted. We needed Teflon tape to get the included quick-disconnect fittings sealed to the air hose and air chuck, but then everything worked perfectly. We aren’t sure how much air we left in the tank after our last trip, but after a month we checked, and the tank was still holding 60 psi.
It works quickly for quad and UTV tires and the relatively low pressure they require. We haven’t used it to seat new tires, but we think it would work in a pinch. For the large, high-pressure tires on our Ford F250, it takes longer, but the important part is that it will work! The same is true of our trailer tires.
The Dewalt Flexvolt cordless air compressor kit may be more pro-caliber than your off-road outings require, but we love it for our trips with multiple machines. We like having the option of running air tools, as well as inflating tires. For information, look at www.dewalt.com or check the Home Depot website.