Cracking the code, cutting a new edge, shifting a paradigm, or re-imagining the commonplace are the traits that drive companies, designers, and engineers forward. They are what makes them great at their jobs and what compels them to create the new tools, ideas, and innovations that make it easier for us to do our work–and make it possible for us to do our work to the very highest standards we can achieve. Each year, it is our honor to recognize those in our industry who take tools and the tool industry to new levels. This year, our awards span from re-invented hand tools like Stiletto's nail puller to Milwaukee's giant technological leap in batteries and cordless tools. No matter the idea or application–a new truck engine or a re-tooled hammer–the energy to create, grow, and improve is evident among this group of winners, and only makes us look forward even more to each year's Editors' Choice Awards.

–The Editors

2005 Editors' Choice Grand Award

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Milwaukee

Milwaukee In the rapidly evolving world of cordless tools, there has been one constant: more power means a heftier, larger tool. Until now. Milwaukee has broken new ground in the power vs. weight tug-of-war with its V28 line of lithium-ion 28-volt cordless tools that promise more power than standard 18-volters while weighing about the same.

Rising to this challenge has meant cracking the battery code for lithium-ion batteries (the same technology used in cell phones and laptops) to make them work in high-current-draw applications. After nine years of research and development, Milwaukee engineers used lithium manganese to formulate their lithium-ion technology, and, working with an energy partner, developed a cell with higher power and longer run-time. Internal tool circuitry allows the cell to be optimally used for wide temperature ranges, allowing the battery to be used with everything from a flashlight to a circ saw. V28 is the result of vision and hard work that paid off.

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Independent research released by Milwaukee supports the company's claims that V28 tools have equal weight and size as the traditional 18-volt platform, but offer up to 40–50 percent more power and up to twice the run-time. Tests also showed that the V28 circ saw can cut 60–158 percent more OSB than competing 18-volters and the Sawzall recip saw made twice as many cuts than competing tools in 2x10.

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In addition to delivering more oomph with less heft, Milwaukee says the tool batteries offer fade-free power throughout the charge cycle, and they are not affected by hot or cold temperatures. A built-in fuel gauge indicates remaining run-time.

The V28 line initially will include a circular saw, Sawzall recip saw, hammerdrill, impact wrench, band saw, and work light. More tools are in the pipeline. Milwaukee, V28 cordless tools: $419–$800 (kits and combo kits). 800-729-3878. www.milwaukeetool.com.