(Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp.)

When it comes to cordless tools, power is the name of the game and a Wisconsin-based tool manufacturer has upped the ante significantly.

Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp., Brookfield, Wis., has ripped through the popular, 18-Volt cordless tool category with a new, 28-V battery pack.

The platform uses lithium-ion storage cells that weigh "slightly less" than comparable 18-V nickel batteries and run up to two-and-a-half times longer, according to Gary Meyer, Milwaukee manager of research and development.

A first round of 28-V tools, costing about 40% more than 18-V models, will start shipping in April, says Rich Peterson, brand manager. They will include a cordless band saw, hammer drill, circular saw, reciprocating saw, impact wrench and work light. The company also plans to introduce a 28-V rotary hammer and jobsite radio later this year or early next year, Peterson adds.

The 28-V breakthrough bodes well for Milwaukee Tool, now under new ownership. Stockholm, Sweden-based Atlas Copco Group sold the unit last month for $713 million in cash, along with a German-built lineup of AEG-brand power tools. The buyer, Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong, owns the Ryobi and Homelite brands of home consumer tools. Atlas Copco’s tool division previously had $730 million in annual revenue.