When we got our hamster, Mr. Bubbles, we were excited and after a while, a little disappointed.
We just had a feeling that he wasn't really enjoying his life and the answer quickly become clear: His hamster cage was too small!
That very same cage we were told that was large enough, didn't live up to the size requirements (more on that later).
So we dug through the information and found the perfect cage for him. And today, we'll show you excactly what you need when it comes to hamster cages.
PS: Mr. Bubbles lives a hamsterrific life now 🙂
If you're in a hurry, you can find our pick of the best hamster cages right below the cut.
Below this, you'll find an extensive guide on how to set up your hamster cage.
The best hamster cages out there
After researching more than 20 different kinds of hamster cages, we have found 3 large hamster cages that we can truly recommend for all hamster owners out there.
These three cages are simply the best options so whether you are looking for the best dwarf hamster cages or the best syrian hamster cages we've listed them below.
Here are the five main reasons:
- Large hamster cages with lots of ground space to explore
- The bars in the cage are close together - not even the thinnest hamster will squeeze out!
- Very easy to clean
- Lots of interior decorating options
- Houses 1 Syrian Hamster or 1-2 Dwarf Hamsters
For more information each of these hamster cages, keep reading and we'll get to it!
The name "Hamster Heaven Cage" promises a lot and luckily, it lives up to it. This Lixit Cage is with some distance, our preferred hamster cage out there with a lot to love.
First off, the cage comes with build-in tunnels that are wide enough to fit both Syrian and Dwarf Hamsters. With these, our little furry friends can run up and down these tunnels, peaking their curiosity and allowing it to get its much needed exercise.
Speaking of exercise, the cage comes with a built-in wheel. If you for some reason want another wheel, the built-in wheel can easily be replaced and another wheel can be attached to the cage.
With dimensions of 31.5 x 20 x 20 inches, it is the largest cage we recommend and there is ample room for your hamster to run around and explore the cage.
Further, we also really enjoy the colorful material and find that these works great for kids.
With its allergy-friendly, high-quality material and practically odor-less environment, we recommend it as the top pick of the available hamster cages out there.
Measures 31.5 x 20 x 20 inches
Contains A LOT of accessories already including play tubes, igloo houses, wheel and water bottle
Made in Belgium
Easy to move around with the help of the handles on top of the cage
Included accessories are fun and interactive
Clear tunnels expands the play area of your pet
Plastic platforms can get slippery when wet
If you are looking for a more budget friendly option, you will not regret purchasing this cage for your hamster. It has plenty of room for your hammy to run around and for you to put additional accessories and toys for your pet’s entertainment.
A lot of hamster owners swear on the great quality and performance of this cage. It keeps them confident that their beloved pet won’t be able to escape between its gaps. There is no doubt that you will get your money’s worth with this cage – it is well-built and will definitely last a long time.
Clean-up will not be an issue. The bottom tray is made up of easy to clean plastic – just wash with soap and water and you’re done.
Measures 32 ½’’ L x 19’’ W x 17 ½’’ H
3/8’ Wire spacing
With two doors – one on top, one in front
With 2 handle bars on top
The gap of the wires are close enough to prevent escape
Portable with the handle bars on top
The simple lock mechanism can get your hamster to break out
Among the 4 cages, the Favola is the only one that is a two-storey structure. We believe that it is a good way to make extra ground room for other stuff to be placed inside the cage. The transparent base is made of robust plastic. It’s clarity will help you watch your pet and see the situation inside easier.
The floor of the second story is made of wire mesh. Although not likely, these can pose a threat on your pet’s hands and feet but you can just top it with a mat or anything to create a solid ground.
For the price, it is a really great hamster cage and comes with a lot of features to like including: water bottle, feeding dish, exercise wheel, hideaway and a ramp.
Measures 23.6 x 14.4 x 11.8 inches
Accessories like nest, feeding bowl, wheel and bottle are included
The transparent base makes it easier for you to see your pets activities
Accessories are already provided
The 2nd level made of wire mesh is not safe for your pets hands and feet
The Mickey hamster cage is a good quality cage. It is quite expensive though since this cage was made in Belgium. In addition, the set already includes a wire platform, bottle, house, an exercise wheel and a feeding bowl.
If you think about it, you can already purchase a cage with the same or better quality than this one with a cheaper price. The good thing about this is you won’t have to buy separate items anymore which save you time and effort. Talk about convenience, right?
Measures 20 x 31.5 x 15 in
Comes with metal wire platform, drinking bottle, house, exercise wheel and feeding bowl
Made in Belgium
Accessories are already provided
Durable and easy to clean
Huge front door makes for easy for you to pick your hamster up when necessary
Narrow wire gaps
Wire platform may hurt your pet’s hands and feet. You may top it with a mat to make a solid course
This cage is quite expensive. You can get a better quality cage for a cheaper price
How to choose the best hamster habitat
Now, we have just given you the short answer regarding which hamster cage to pick. However, if you want to venture on your own and find one, or just want to figure out how we know “what is best”, we have outlined our methodology below.
Hope you enjoy it – below is an overview of the topics and you can just click these links to be taken to our research.
- Large hamster cages: Make sure your hamster has enough space!
- Choosing between a wire or a plastic cage
- Hamster bedding: Getting the right type and depth
- The importance of hamster tubes, toys and accessories
- Hamster toys
- Hamster house: Create a snuggle nesting area
- Hamster food, water and treats
Large hamster cages: Make sure your hamster has enough space!
The minimum size of your cage naturally depends on the type of hamster you bring home.
Generally speaking, there are two types of hamster: The larger, Syrian Hamster and the smaller dwarf hamster. The latter comes in various types and you may already have heard of breeds such as Campbell Hamster and Robo Hamster.
When getting a hamster cage your need to make sure there is ample space to run and play and also room for other accessories such as a wheel, tubes, sleeping area and a toilet area.
360 square inch hamster cage = minimum hamster cage size
The minimum recommended sizes are the following (but remember, bigger is always better!):
- For a Syrian Hamster you need a large hamster cage with a floor space of at least 360 square inches (30x12 inches) (2,300 square centimetres) and a total area of 2 cubic feet (55 liters). The space between the bars should not be more than half an inch apart (1cm).
- Dwarf Hamsters are more active and have the same requirements. For each dwarf hamster you add, you should double in size. For dwarf hamsters, it is best to get an acquarium so they do not squeeze through the bars.
The Hamster House: Choosing between a wire or a plastic cage
When getting a cage, you are faced with two options: A wire cage or a hamster aquarium.
Either will work fine with both having its pros and cons.
- The main things to consider when choosing a hamster cage are:
- Natural place for you hamster to climb – but make sure it cannot fall too far!
- Very easy to clean – just lift it open and remove the bedding
- Very good ventilation and thus, good air quality – just make sure it is not in a draft
- Your hamster can become obsessive chewing the bars
The main reasons for choosing a hamster aquarium are:
- Escape proof – there are no bars it can chew open or squeeze in between. Also, other house pets cannot bother your hamster
- Still relatively easy to clean but can be somewhat clumsy and heavy to clean
- Worse air quality than the cage
As you can see, there are pros and cons for both types.
Rule of Thumb regarding Hamster Cages
If you have other “free roaming” pets such as a cat or dog, we recommend a hamster aquarium. Also, the smaller your hamster the safer it is with an aquarium. If you get an aquarium make sure to get a climbing wall, a wood ladder or climbing blocks for your hamster.
If your hammy is the only pet in the family and it will be placed far away from any air condition equipment or other things creating a draft we recommend getting a hamster cage. It is easier to clean, has better air quality and will create a natural place for your hamster to become a little mountain climber.
Hamster bedding: Getting the right type and depth
Unfortunately, not all hamster bedding materials sold in pet stores are suited for hamsters.
What hamster bedding to avoid:
This is most pronounced with pine and cedar wood shavings. This is often sold as hamster bedding but we recommend staying away from that as it can be abrasive and splinter into sharp pieces that can harm your hamster.
Another unfortunate feature of wood is a risk of your hamster getting a skin reaction from the dust. As such, although there are suitable wood types for hamster (most notably Aspen wood) it is easier to just stay away from it and run no risks.
Choose paper based bedding:
Instead you should choose paper based bedding.
If you are in urgent need of bedding, you can use non-inked and non-chemical paper (such as toilet paper). However, this does not do a good job of disguising odors and your cage will quickly get smelly.
In stores, you can get a much better paper based option for containing the smell, which we recommend getting. Some stores also sell scented paper (to hide any odor) but we do not recommend this due to the risk of hamster allergy.
Getting the right amount of bedding in the cage:
Once you have decided on the type of hamster bedding you need to give it the right depth. By instinct, hamster love to burrow and thus, you need to make sure there is something to burrow in.
You should at least have 2 inches (6cm) of suitable bedding and beneath it, the bottom of the cage should be solid (if you have a wired cage at the bottom, put in some cardboard.
The importance of hamster tubes, toys and accessories
By now we know what type and size of cage to get and what to use as bedding.
And that is all very practical so now we finally get to the fun stuff: Hamster tubes and toys.
This is where your hammie will shine and seeing it crawl through tubes, run on its wheel and chewing on toys is where your hamster’s personality will really shine.
So, let’s get right into what you should place in your cage.
Hamster tubes are mimics of the real-life environment for a hamster. Here, they dig their own tunnels underground and by placing tubes in your cage, you can give them the same feeling.
You can buy plastic tubes at the store. Otherwise, it works well putting in toilet paper rolls in the cage.
Hamsters run. They run a lot. Therefore, it is very important to have a hamster wheel in your cage.
You can get both metal and plastic wheels. However, metal wheels are becoming a thing of the past and you should absolutely get a plastic wheel. The reasons are:
Reasons for getting a plastic hamster wheel:
- Metal wheels are made with rungs (like a ladder). Your hamster can fall through the haps and hurt itself
- Metal wheels are made of several pieces and often with sharp edges. This increases the risk of your hamster getting injured as well
- Contrary to metal wheels, plastic wheels are made of one piece which is moulded together. There are a variety of both open and more enclosed options
What you decide to get is up to your personal preference as the single most important thing in a hamster wheel is the size.
For a Syrian hamster, the diameter of the wheel should be at least 12 inches (30cm) and for a dwarf hamster it should be at least 20 inches (As with cages, hamsters generally prefer larger wheels to smaller wheels.
Below you can see a good hamster wheel. It cannot fall through and there is no arching in the back, i.e. it is sufficiently large.
Your hamster is very active during the night and besides a wheel and tubes, it should also have some toys.
These toys will give the hamster something to chew on while relaxing after a good run.
The teeth of your hamsters are constantly growing (yes that’s not a typo) and like a dog, hamsters low to chew.
At the pet store, you can get wooden pet toys that your hamster can chew on. In addition to wooden chew toys, cardboard is also great. Again, you should buy these at the store and make sure they are chemical free.
We do not recommend getting plastic toys for hamster. This is due to the risk of your hamster gnawing plastic loose and digesting it.
Hamster habitat: Create a snuggly nesting area
Within your hamster cage, you should design an area for your hamster to sleep so it can snuggle up and feel safe. At the pet store, you can find a variety of huts. Alternatively, you can use half a coconut as a house. Most importantly, it should be dark inside.
Hamster food, water and treats
Like us humans, our little hamster friends eat plants, seeds and meat (insects).
Besides the insects, this is mimicked in the hamster food you can get.
However, there are many types of hamster food out there and it can be a challenge to figure out what is best. Generally, there are two types of food you can buy:
- Seed Hamster Food
- Pelleted Hamster Food
Historically, seed hamster food has been the main choice of food when getting a hamster. While it can be okay, it does risk your hamster being picky only eating its favorite seeds. This will lead to a diet that is not balanced and worse, your hamster will not get all the vitamins it needs.
Thus, if you go with seed hamster food, make sure the food bowl is empty before giving it more food.
Pelleted hamster food is now seen as a better option. In it, everything is mixed together so every bite your hamster takes is by definition balanced. Pelleted food usually looks like small biscuits, cookies or cereal.
Due to the ensured balanced diet, we also recommend getting pelleted hamster food.
What is pelletted hamster food?
Pelleted foods, a rather recent innovation in animal nutrition, gives your hamster the optimal nutrition in an easy-to-eat, easy-to-serve format. Each pellet (or nugget), contains a baked, healthy blend of grains, seeds, vegetables, fruits, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
As pelleted foods are also specifically made for other animals such as birds and rabbits, it is important to buy pelleted foods specifically for hamsters. An example of pelleted food is below.
Putting it all together: Our current hamster ground floor plan
By now you may have information overload trying to make sense of hamster cages, hamster accessories and where to put the hamster house.
Luckily, it’s not rocket science. In the video below, a hamster habitat is shown that works really well.
Back to where we all started - the best, large hamster cages
With this said, we are back to the beginning and for your convenience we have listed our two top picks below.
If you have any questions, just ask them below and we'll be happy to answer them 🙂