If you’re a trim carpenter, I’m betting the least-favorite moments in your day involve schlepping your compressor to and from your truck. They’re heavy and awkward (the compressors, not the trim carpenters), and if you’re like me, you’re also trying to carry a coil of hose and a nailer or two. Hey, that’s not being lazy, that being efficient! Then, once you’re on the job site, you need to locate a power source, which can sometimes be tougher than finding a Republican in Massachusetts. Some of the new cordless nailers are great, but they can be pricey, and for those with a fair bit of money invested in pneumatic nailers, it can be hard to justify buying all new nailers. That’s what motivated the folks in Yellow to come up with the new DeWalt FlexVolt Compressor. They sent one to us at HomeFixated so we could see if it has what it takes to be a reliable nail launcher.
My first thought when I saw the DeWalt FlexVolt Compressor was “Hmmm…it’s a cute lil bugger. Where’s the rest of it?!” The compressor IS small, but it has all the features of many larger compressors, along with a feature or two most of them DON’T have. It has a 2.5 gallon tank, with a quarter-turn ball drain valve for fast, easy tank draining. Its oil-free, brushless motor can put out 135 max PSI. My personal favorite feature is its weight – the DeWalt FlexVolt compressor weighs only 21.5 pounds without the battery! Here are the full features and specs from DeWalt, followed by an inspirational promo video:
• Drive up to 1220 brad nails on a single charge (using one DCB606 battery and a DEWALT DWFP12233 brad nailer)
• Brushless motor and heavy-duty oil-free pump provide cordless convenience with the power of a corded tool
• 2.5 Gal. tank and 135 max PSI to complete a variety of applications
• OneTurn regulator for fast and accurate pressure adjustment
• Only 21.5 lbs. for easy portability
• Heavy-duty roll cage for jobsite applications
• Quarter-turn ball drain valve for quick and easy tank draining
• DCC2560T1 kit includes (1) DCB606 FLEXVOLT battery and (1) DCB118 fast charger
The gory details:
Air Delivery SCFM @ 40PSI: 1.5
Air Delivery SCFM @ 90PSI: 1.2
Application Use: Air Brushing, Blow Cleaning, Brad Nailing/Stapling, Finish Nailing, Hobby Nailing, Inflation
Compressor Tank Capacity (Gallons): 2.5
Compressor Type: Light Duty
Compressor/Air Tool Features: Handle, Oil Free Compressor
Decibel Rating (Outdoor): 79 dBA
Horsepower (hp): .4
Product Weight (lb.): 21.5
Tank Material: Steel, pancake style
Prepping The DeWalt FlexVolt Compressor
The DeWalt FlexVolt compressor is sold only as a kit, the DeWalt DCC2560T1. Pop it out of the box, and it’s almost ready to go. Just charge up the included FlexVolt battery, slide it into place, set your pressure, and hit the switch.
The compressor has a pretty robust design. It’s surrounded by a roll cage, which protects the battery and gauges. Soft rubber feet help reduce vibration and prevent the compressor from walking, while protecting any finished surfaces. The switch lives in a little covered nook, and has a protective soft rubber covering to keep moisture and dust out.
Aside from its light weight, the feature I like best on the The DeWalt FlexVolt compressor is the OneTurn™ regulator. No need to fiddle with two gauges, measuring tank pressure and regulated output. With the DeWalt FlexVolt compressor, just turn the knob so the indicator points to your desired PSI, and the compressor will self-regulate. Easy peasy.
The DeWalt FlexVolt Compressor Plays With The Big Boys
The first workout I gave the compressor stretched its capabilities a bit. I recently tore out a pantry in a kitchen I’m renovating, and I’m getting ready to install some new cabinets, with a recess in between for the fridge. I needed to re-do some of the current framing, and extend a small section of one wall. I grabbed the DeWalt FlexVolt compressor, and introduced it to my framing nailer, loaded up with 3-1/2” nails.
I slid in the 60V FlexVolt battery, connected the hose, set the PSI to MAX, and fired it up. It took about two minutes to fill the tank, and while the little compressor isn’t silent, it’s a helluva lot quieter than my pancake compressor.
I had to install some spacers and add some studs, along with adding the short section of wall. I used some new lumber, and some that I had reclaimed from the pantry demo, and some of the wood I was nailing into was 150-year-old timber. The DeWalt FlexVolt compressor did best with all new wood, setting almost all the nails flush.
When mixing new and old timber, it fully sank about 60%; the rest stood about 1/8” – 3/16” proud, and needed a whack from the hammer to set flush. The compressor cycled on after every 5 or 6 nails, but I was able to continue working while the tank refilled. I made it through the whole project on one battery, which still showed two bars of juice left at the end.
The DeWalt FlexVolt Compressor Hits The Trim
To give the compressor a more realistic workout, I decided to install some oak trim that had been patiently waiting. I grabbed my 15 gauge finish nailer, loaded it up with 2-1/2” nails, and assumed the position.
The DeWalt FlexVolt compressor had no trouble at all burying all the nails sub-flush, through the 3/4” oak, 1/2” of drywall, and into the studs behind. THIS is what the little compressor was designed for.
Next, I wanted to see how well the compressor could keep up when the nailer was used in rapid-fire mode. Although it’s rare for a finish gun to be used that way, I figured it would be a good chance for the DeWalt FlexVolt compressor to strut its stuff. I grabbed the 15 gauge nailer again, loaded it up, and took it outdoors to share the moment with the local wildlife.
I started banging away, and the compressor kicked on after about eight nails. I kept at it until the magazine was empty, and although the compressor kept running, the nails kept going in flush or sub-flush. If the DeWalt FlexVolt compressor can provide the oomph to bury the longest, largest-gauge finish nails in machine-gun mode, it should have no trouble at all keeping up with normal usage.
When the speed-fest was finished, I brought the compressor back safely indoors, and used it to install some 3/16″ spacer strips. The walls in the old house are all random thicknesses, and I needed to fur out some studs and a large header, so when I install the drywall it will be flush with the existing wall surface. I shot 1″ crown staples, and lots of them, and the compressor hardly kicked on at all. I also tried it out with my 23-gauge pinner; I could probably shoot that thing all day without having the compressor come on. It was nice how easy it was to adjust the pressure for the various nailers, with a simple twist of the dial.
Ready To Trim Some Weight From Your Trim Compressor?
Clearly, the DeWalt FlexVolt compressor is intended for light-duty work. It’s a fairly small tank, and at 1.2 SCFM @ 90 PSI, you won’t find many roofers using it. For most trim carpenters, though, this little compressor nails it. And in my framing nailer test, I was impressed with how well it did. That was a big nailer, shooting the biggest nails it can handle, into some tough wood, and it fared pretty well.
I think the little DeWalt FlexVolt compressor is a winner. If I installed trim for a living, and had pneumatic nailers I was happy with, I wouldn’t hesitate to grab one. It has plenty of power to launch finish nails through hardwood trim, and it’s fast and easy to set up and use. The ability to work where power is scarce or unavailable is a beautiful thing. And did I mention how light it is?
My only qualm, if I had a full day’s work to do with larger-gauge finish nails, would be battery life. I would definitely pick up a second battery, and bring along the charger, to make sure I didn’t run out of juice. This might be a good candidate for a hybrid version…
If you have lots of trim to install – and even the occasional 16D sinker – go take a look at the DeWalt FlexVolt compressor. DeWalt makes the compressors right here in the USA, and backs them with a three-year limited warranty and a one-year free service contract. They also come with a 90-day money-back guarantee, so you can give YOUR pneumatic nailers a taste of freedom.
Buy the DeWalt FlexVolt Compressor Kit – DCC2560T1 – for around $299 from the Home Depot: