In June of 2008 Rubbermaid launched its well engineered and well tested lineup of commercial vacuums. Their vacuum cleaner line ranges in price from two hundred dollars up to eight hundred dollars. The full vacuum line encompasses a full genre of vacuums each well suited to a particular task. The Rubbermaid UL12 is the smallest and lightest of the lineup making it comparable to the Oreck XL at almost half the price tag. The UL12 vacuum cleaner consists of a compact base and large front cloth bag system that has ample room for large amounts of debris. The vacuum stands quite tall for a compact vacuum with an extra wide cleaning path and side bristles for convenient edge cleaning for carpeted and bare floors.
The debris recovery area is designed simply yet very effective in its compact nature. The handle on this vacuum cleaner doubles as the pickup hose connecting the base unit to the bag assembly. Clogging could occur where the vacuum handle connects to the bag if larger debris is sucked into the unit. The bag on the vacuum is large for a compact model with almost three times the capacity of the average commercial vacuum cleaner. The bag is friction fitted to the recovery nozzle and is very easy the change taking only one minute for total bag replacement. The soft cover unzips quickly and is made from quality materials with a plastic backing plate adding to the sturdiness of the bag. Weighing in at only ten pounds this vacuum is highly recommended for the elderly or buildings that are multi level. The vacuum cleaner can easily be carried from level to level with ease and stores into tight spaces quickly and easily. The cord on the unit is forty feet long, five feet longer than most commercial vacuums giving a little extra reach when needed. The cord is easy to wrap up and unravel and can be wound neatly from a hook on the upper handle to a large hook midway down the rear shaft. The switch is located on the handle and easy to operate with one finger, making the vacuum easy to switch on and off
The base of the unit is very simple in both design and features. The suction hose connection can be easily unhooked from the base if debris clogs the main recovery tube. The vacuum cleaner rides on the main brush giving deep penetration of carpet fibers and no need for height adjustment. The brush roller is made from quality materials that will hold up to deep pile caret but also be gentle on hard flooring. The rear wheels are smaller than most commercial vacuum cleaners making the vacuum cleaner slide around corners but the rubber coating does give excellent traction on hard floors. The wheels are securely fastened to the rear axle with very little play evident. A unique feature to this vacuum are whisker like side bristles that create extra suction close to the baseboard removing debris other vacuum cleaners will not.
Overall the Rubbermaid UL12 is a great light duty commercial vacuum cleaner. The vacuum motor has ample suction for light to medium vacuuming tasks but lacks a handy onboard tool kit or wand. The vacuum is very colorful sporting a yellow and black motif making it very unique in looks. At one hundred dollars less than Oreck's flagship vacuum the UL12 will give the XL a run for its money. The vacuum cleaner tears down quickly into three pieces and can fit in a small box for extended storage or easy transportation. This vacuum is recommended for residential use and light duty commercial cleaning where weight and portability is a factor.