We haven't seen much lately about the cordless race for higher voltage, since tool companies started realizing what contractors have known for years: If you're going to work with a cordless tool all day, 18 volts gets the job done–but 24-volt tools are too heavy. "The breakthrough," tool experts would tell us, "will be in the batteries." And many would point to lithium-ion batteries used in cell phones and computers as the next generation–if only they could figure out someday how to get them to perform under the conditions tools would require.

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Well someday is here. At the International Builders' Show, Milwaukee introduced its V28 cordless tool lineup, the industry's first full-sized heavy-duty tools powered by 28-volt lithium-ion batteries that provide more power and twice the run-time of an 18-volt tool, with slightly less weight. We could clearly tell the power difference in the tools we tried compared to the 18-volters, and the V28s run with fade-free, consistent power right up to the end of their charge. Each V28 battery comes equipped with a fuel gauge that indicates how much power is left in the "tank."

The V28 line initially will include a portable band saw, hammerdrill, circ saw, Sawzall recip saw, impact wrench, and work light, as well as a battery charger. More products will be introduced next year.

For more information, contact Milwaukee, 800-729-3878 or www.milwaukeetool.com.