Adria 552pk caravan – Sphere washing machine review & installation

Our Sphere 3.3kg washing machine product review and install inside our Adria 552pk caravan – including video!

Our Adria Altea 552k Sport Australian model European caravan

Our Adria Altea 552k Sport Australian model European caravan

Dealing with the family wash on the road when you’re caravanning with kids is never easy, but I think I’ve finally got it sorted so that I can get our clothes clean AND not spend endless wasted hours serving time at the local or caravan laundry!

I bought my Sphere upright mini washing machine over two years ago now, and it’s been a real game-changer. Especially since I’ve had it installed inside my caravan.

A Sphere 3.3kg mini washing machine - stock photo

A Sphere 3.3kg mini washing machine – stock photo

No time to read? Watch our Adria 552pk Sphere washing machine review here.

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This page contains affiliate links. If you book a stay through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for your support!

No more launderettes on holiday

A caravan park laundry

A caravan park laundry can be time consuming and expensive

My pet hate when on holidays is wasting time at launderettes – even laundries in caravan parks. And if we are caravanning at a showground without a laundry, then I have to drive off to find a launderette and spend a couple of mundane hours washing and drying our laundry away from camp, or driving backwards and forwards. It’s all such a waste of what should be fun or relaxing time whilst I’m on holidays with my family.

Sure, with a washing machine at our camp site I’m still doing the laundry, but at least I’m with my family and can relax. I can have a cup of coffee and spend my time in my caravan in comfort – not at a launderette with strangers!

Having a washing machine in your caravan can save money

Our Sphere 3.3kg washing machine installed in our Adria wardrobe

Our Sphere 3.3kg washing machine installed in our Adria caravan wardrobe

Launderettes, whether town laundries or caravan laundries are often expensive – and it adds up! I found that on average I was spending between $10 to $20 dollars a week in launderettes on coin washers and dryers. Plus you always need change on hand.

Service washes can save time and trouble, but of course they cost even more.

To justify the cost of the Sphere 3.3kg automatic washing machine (about $350 and later an extra $400 to have it fitted) I decided that the machine would eventually pay for itself – and certainly even on holidays, time is money too! I’ve also seen much more expensive machines in caravans that do far smaller loads, so the Sphere does represent very good value for money. The con being that the Sphere does take up more room in your caravan, as it does have a larger capacity.

Then I bought our Sphere 3.3kg washing machine

At first I carted our Sphere washing machine around caravan parks with us, strapped on the inside of the caravan during transit and then installing it under our awning when we arrived.

A Sphere 3.3kg washing machine under the caravan awning

At first we used our washing machine under the caravan’s awning at caravan parks

This was still a big improvement on using launderettes, but it was a pain to lift in and out of the caravan. Then it needed to be hooked up to a hose manually to use, depriving the caravan of water when it was washing.

It also added to set-up time when we arrived at a holiday park – when you really just want to get down to the serious business of doing nothing!

Getting our caravan washing machine fitted

Our Sphere washing machine is fitted over the fuse box

Our Sphere washing machine is now installed inside our caravan

Recently I had the Sphere washing machine fully installed into our Adria 552pk 2017 caravan by a Sydney Adria caravan service centre. It cost around $400 to have it fitted. Having the washing machine fitted into the caravan has made it even easier to use the machine to do the family washing when we are away from home on holidays, or road tripping! Now it’s just a matter of switching it on and turning a tap – perfect!

My Sphere washing machine review

The Sphere 3.3kg mini washing machine looks fragile. It’s plastic on the outside, and reasonably lightweight for it’s size compared to full-sized washing machines, coming in at just under 19kgs. But this little machine gives a lot of grunt for it’s size and price – plus is far tougher than it looks! Take a closer look at this washing machine on the Kogan website here.

Is it big enough to do a family wash?

Our Sphere washing machine is a 3.3kg. I have seen smaller and larger models, but I’m very happy with this small but adequate size.

I have a small single parent family – just me and the two girls, and this machine does a couple of days (summer) outfits, underwear and pyjamas in one load. Or a bed sheet and some undies. Or a small blanket. So it’s a matter of doing a small wash every couple of days and pegging them out on our little portable washing line. Any big bedding gets done at home after our holiday.

You can see a normal sized wash in my Sphere video review here.

How do you use a Sphere 3.3kg washing machine?

The Adria 552pk caravan washing machine water outlet

The Sphere washing machine is self filling and emptying

My Sphere machine is a full cycle automatic washing machine. It fills, washes, rinses, empties and spins the clothes ready for hanging – and then auto turns off . All just like a normal, large washing machine. It’s just a smaller load.

The full load cycle including rinses goes for 38 minutes. This washing machine also plays musical cues at you – just like the big brand washing machines, including when you turn it on and when the washing cycle completes. There are options for the size of the wash, the wash cycle only, rapid cycles and spin only. See our video for the timings of each option as I go through the buttons!

How do you dry the clothes when camping, especially in wet weather?

The Sphere washing machine’s spin cycle is very effective. It does get the thumps if the clothing gets off balance by not being distributed evenly, so you do need to pause the spin cycle and rearrange the clothing inside before restarting it. It does auto shut off when it gets off balance.

The spin function gets the clothes drip-free. When the wash is finished I just peg the clothes onto our portable washing line and they air dry quickly. In wet weather I hang the clothes under our caravan awning.

What clothes washing method works best for off grid camping?

The caravan and camp sites at the Ettamogah Pub

Free camping can make clothes washing difficult

When you’re camping off grid, water – and power – can be precious commodities. Automatic washing machines become more of a liability.

Can you use the Sphere washing machine free camping?

If you are planning to do more free camping than show ground or holiday park camping, I wouldn’t recommend getting an automatic washing machine. Due to their power and high water usage, automatic washing machines aren’t ideal for off-grid washing. Particularly on full cycle a lot of water is used,

If you do intend to use a Sphere (or any) automatic washing machine off grid you’ll need to conserve and manage both water and power.

As the Sphere runs on mains power – 240v – you’ll need to have an invertor or generator to power it (We have a 1000w invertor with lithium batteries, but I haven’t used it to power the Sphere).

To conserve power and water, the Sphere does have the option of running smaller loads and shorter cycles.

I would recommend that to conserve water you use the rapid wash option or wash cycle only and skip the washing powder. Alternatively use woolwash instead of washing powder so that you don’t need to rinse the clothes. Another consideration might be using recycled water from the shower to wash the clothes, and/or recycling the water from the wash for other uses.

Off grid bucket washing & spin buckets

Off grid, better alternatives may be as simple as doing your washing by hand the old fashioned way in a bucket, or by using a hand-cranked spinning or rotating bucket (available to purchase from camping stores) to save water.

Tip for washing the clothes when doing the lap

I’ve read on Facebook caravan forums that one of the simplest forms of washing clothes when on the road or doing the lap is to use an ordinary bucket with a lid! Pop your clothes and woolwash in, chock the bucket well so that it can’t fall over, and then let the motion of your driving to your next destination slosh your clothes around in the bucket – when you get to your destination, just wring the clothes out and hang them up!

Why I chose a Sphere over other caravan washing machines

Our Adria 552pk caravan

Our Adria 552pk caravan – the Sphere is perfect for caravan parks

We do show ground or caravan park camping with some free camping. So we usually have power and water.

Bucket washing machines need to be filled by hand, and often need to be worked by hand too – such as a hand-cranked or spinning bucket. Then you need to wring the clothes out by hand too. So whilst they can be great for off-grid camping, they are a lot of unnecessary work at a caravan park where you have already paid for power and mains water.

The smaller or cheaper automatic washing machines that you sometimes see at Aldi or camping stores can be hard work too. Machines with twin tubs may require you manually fill them with water, and then to refill them to rinse, and/or move the clothes from one tub to the other to rinse or spin, or wring out by hand.

The Sphere does it all – put the clothes and powder in – the machine washes, rinses and spins them – then you get the clothes out at the end and hang them – done! It offers much of the home washing machine or launderette convenience whilst you are caravanning.

Test run and still using it

I love my Sphere washing machine. I feel like buying my Sphere was a sound financial decision, and it has definitely freed me up a lot at caravan holiday parks now. Holiday time is expensive and family time is precious – I don’t want to waste any more time than I need to doing daily chores like washing the clothes!

Two years later it’s still not missing a beat, and I can very happily recommend this caravan washing machine to you!

Where can I buy a Sphere caravan washing machine in Australia?

You can buy a Sphere 3.3kg here at the official Kogan website with free postage (this was the cheapest Sphere washing machine online I could find, even without the free postage – I priced postage/freight at around $80 Australian dollars extra from several other websites with exactly the same washing machine). This is an affiliate link, which means if you buy a machine I will receive a commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

The Sphere washing machine at a glance:

Pros:

  • Does a reasonably sized family holiday wash
  • Fully automatic and easy to use
  • Great washing results
  • Cheap to buy and readily available automatic caravan washing machine
  • Reliable, good quality, travels well and long-lived

Cons:

  • Uses a lot of water
  • Needs supervision during spin cycle if clothes become unbalanced (but does eventually auto shut off)
  • Not as suitable for off grid camping due to water and power usage
  • Uses a larger space inside caravan
This page contains affiliate links. If you book a stay through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for your support!

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About LetsGoMum

Hi, I'm Barbara, mum of the Let's Go Mum blog. We'd love to hear from you! You can contact me anytime with ideas on where you think we should go or what you think we should try...just drop me a line at barbara@letsgomum.com.au!