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.

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.