There is a lot of misinformation about the correct type of cage, cage size, and which accessories are suitable for a hamster cage. Even many pet stores sell products that are not fitting for hamsters or even harmful and dangerous.
When it comes to safety and security, there are several important considerations.
- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM
As a pet parent, it is your responsibility to offer your sweet little hammy good living conditions, nourishing food, and everything else they need to lead a happy and healthy life. And we’re here to help you do exactly that.
Here is our top 5 for best cage for hamsters – safe, spacious, vet-approved, and loved by hamster owners. And if you want to learn more about hamster cages, just scroll down to our detailed buyer’s guide.
Best Hamster Cages – The Top 3
When looking for a hamster cage, these are the key factors to consider
- Space – hamsters need a lot of space. Is the cage spacious enough?
- Wire spacing – is the spacing small enough to prevent escaping?
- Accessibility – are the openings big enough to clean the cage and feed your hamster easily?
- Safety – are the materials safe and parts securely attached?
- Accessories – are there any included?
- Depth of the bottom – is it suitable to hold enough bedding for burrowing?
With these features in mind, here are our top choices for hamster cages; spacious, vet-approved, and safe for your hammy.
Best Syrian Hamster Cage
1. Prevue Pet Products 528 – Highly popular and reasonably priced
- 32.5 x 19 x 17.5 inches
- 3/8" wire spacing
- 6 1/4'' -deep bottom
- Two large openings
- Platform and ramp included
- 608 square inches of living space
This Prevue Pet Products 528 cage is highly popular among hamster owners because of its size, hamster-friendly features, and affordable price. You can check the price here.
Often, hamsters are kept in cages that are too small. Even pet stores recommend cages that simply don't provide enough space and stress out hamsters causing them to chew on bars. The Prevue 528, however, is sufficiently sized for Syrian hamsters and allows them enough room for all the accessories, toys, and running space they need. The cage also has the height required to accommodate an adequately-sized wheel that has a diameter of 10-12".
The bar spacing is 3/8", which is suitable and secure for hamsters. The top is attached to the bottom part with six latches, so the whole cage is safe and secure to keep your hammy safe and to prevent escaping.
There are two openings, one on the top and one on the side. Both openings measure 12 ¾" long and 9 ¼" wide, so you have easy access to the cage when cleaning, feeding, and taking care of your hamster. The cage also comes with a ramp and platform you can use to decorate the cage.
This is our top recommendation simply because it offers your pet what they need. The 608 square inches of living area exceeds the minimum requirements, and the cage is safe when it comes to bar spacing and sturdiness. To top it off, the cage is reasonably priced – although you do have to add the cost of accessories, which the next cage has included.
+ Large cage with enough room for larger hamsters
+ Two large openings for easy access
+ Safe bar spacing and latches
+ Platform and ramp included
+ The bottom part is deep to allow bedding for burrowing
+ Affordable pricing
- No accessories included
2.Savic Hamster Heaven Metro Cage – Huge, fun, and includes many accessories
- Dimensions: 31.5 x 20 x 20 inches
- 620 square inches living space
- It comes with many accessories, including a water bottle and two houses
- Bar spacing is 9.5mm
- Deep bottom for bedding
- Handles for safely moving the cage
- A large opening on the side
This Savic Hamster Heaven Metro Cage is huge and offers your hamster ample space for exercise and play. It is also very customizable, and although it comes with many accessories, you can pick and mix to see how your hamster likes to have its cage set up. See what other hamster owners say about this cage.
Unlike many other cages marketed for Syrian hamsters, this one actually has the space they need. However, the cage comes with a wheel, but its diameter is only 7,” and the recommended size for Syrian hamsters is 10-12”, so you do need to get a bigger one.
Luckily, the cage is big enough for a larger wheel, and you can opt for a silent spinner wheel which ensures your hammy won’t keep you awake at night when exercising. Otherwise, this cage will give your Syrian all the space they need to live happily.
The materials are sturdy and secure, and the cage has a handle on each side to make moving this ample-sized cage easier and safer. The bar spacing makes the cage safe for both Syrians and dwarf hamsters, and the large opening on the side makes it easy to attend to your pet and spot clean the cage.
The tubes have good ventilation and can be taken apart to make cleaning easier. All in all, the cage does contain many parts and accessories, which can take time to clean, but you would have to get your hamster hideouts and toys anyway. And because the bottom of the cage is pretty deep, you can offer your hammy lots of bedding for burrowing, which they love.
+ A large cage with good living space for Syrians
+ It comes with accessories you can use to decorate the cage
+ Sturdy, high-quality materials
+ Deep bottom to hold enough bedding for burrowing purposes
+ A large opening on the side
+ Bar spacing keeps you hammy safe
- The wheel is too small for Syrians and needs to be replaced
Best Dwarf Hamster Cage
3. Kaytee CritterTrail Super Habitat – Large, secure, and good for burrowing
- Dimensions 18 x 30 x 16.5 inches
- 540 square inches of living space
- Perfect for dwarf hamsters
- It can be connected to other critter trail accessories
- 1/4" bar spacing to prevent escaping
- The cage includes a shelf, ramp, and connectors
This super-sized cage from Kaytee is actually the first product from this brand that meets the requirements space that hamsters need.
CritterTrail products do not have the best reputation, as they are often considered bad for hammies, but this Kaytee CritterTrail Super cage makes a welcome exception. It offers 540 square inches of living space, which offers ample space for dwarf hamsters especially. Read what other hammy owners say about this cage.
The opening on the top is big, which makes it easy to attend to your hammy and keep the cage clean. You can also detach the shelf and the ramp if you want more floor space for toys or the wheel.
We love that the base is deep, so you can add a lot of bedding for your hamster to burrow in without it being scattered outside the cage.
The wire top is attached with clips that keep your pet safe but are easy to open when you're cleaning the cage. Because the cage is made of plastic and wire bars, you can easily wash it with a cage cleaner and water when doing a thorough cleanup.
+ We love the size of this cage
+ Deep base for ample bedding
+ Easy to assemble and take apart for cleaning
+ Safe bar spacing for tiny escape artists
+ Large opening on the top
+ Easy to clean
+ Good ventilation
+ Fits a 10" wheel
- Not as sturdy as the Prevue 528
Recommended Hamster Cage Size
When it comes to hamster cage size, there are contradictory statements and divided opinions. Different animal rights groups and animal welfare organizations suggest other measurements regarding the minimum cage size.
Hamsters prefer spacious living arrangements – the bigger, the better.
To be more precise, these are the minimums cage size recommendation from several welfare organizations:
- The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says the minimum cage size for hamsters is 200 square inches or 1290 square centimeters.
- The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) states that the minimum size for wire cages for all hamsters should be 2 square feet (576 square inches or 3616 square centimeters), and for aquariums, it should be 288 square inches or 1858 square centimeters (24" x 12").
- The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) recommends using the largest cage possible without stating the minimum. This is because there is no objective evidence determining the right minimal size. In the past, according to the RSPCA, the minimum cage size for dwarf hamsters was 70cm x 40 cm cages or 430 square inches, and for Syrian hamsters, 80cm x 50 cm or 620 square inches
According to less "official" sources (online forums), the above-listed measurements are way too modest and do not satisfy the hamster's space needs.
For example, a few years ago, Hamster Hideout (famous and commonly cited hamster forum) changed the minimum cage size from 360 square inches (20-gallon tank) to 450 square inches (40-gallon tank) or 4194 square centimeters.
All sources agree upon that it is better to get a much larger cage for your hamster than one size smaller. Hamsters love spacious living environments, thus affecting their overall health and wellbeing.
It should be emphasized that all these numbers refer to the continuous (or uninterrupted) floor space. What does continuous floor space mean?
Well, it means that separate rooms, balconies, ramps, tubing, and ledges are considered bonus space and do not contribute to the stated minimum.
For example, the connectable hamster cages popularly sold in pet stores are not continuous – they comprise several smaller spaces mutually connected with tubes and tunnels. These connectable cages do not meet the criteria official and unofficial sources dictate.
And why is the continuous space important? Despite their diminutive size, hamsters need big spaces so they can run freely and stretch their legs.
Good Hamster Cages –
The hamster cage pet market is quite diverse – there are different designs, sizes, and types of hamster cages. Each cage has its perks and drawbacks, which makes choosing the right one a rather challenging task.
Many factors affect the overall quality of the cage, but at the end of the day, safety and practicality are the most important.
To make a well-educated choice, you need to evaluate several important hamster cage factors and considerations.
1. Different styles of hamster cages
In general, there are three basic types of hamster cages:
- Wire cages
- Modular cages
- Glass aquariums (tanks).
Each type of cage has its pros and cons, and which one you will choose depends on your and your hamster's personal preferences.
Wire cages are easy to clean (the inside), yet they are associated with more bedding scattering around the cage. They ensure proper ventilation, but if your hamster tends to chew on the wires, the chewing sound can be annoying.
Not to mention that your hamster can damage its teeth and eventually cause rusting of the wires. However, if living in a multiple pet household, wire cages are the safest alternative (you do not want close meetings between your cat and your hamster).
Modular cages are made of plastic and usually include different parts that can be added or upgraded based on your space. Modular cages (mainly if featuring multiple levels) are environmentally rich and offer physical and mental stimulation opportunities.
On the downside, they are harder to clean and lack satisfactory ventilation. If going for this type of cage, make sure there is at least one part of the cage featuring bars instead of plastic.
Glass aquariums or tanks
Tanks are a trendy hamster cage choice. This is because they contain the bedding material (prevent scattering) and enable a good view of the hamster.
However, tanks can be hard to clean and do not support adequate ventilation. Another concern is the top lid. The top cover should fit tightly, but it must not be air-tight.
The top three material choices for hamster cages are metal, plastic, and glass. Some cage models feature different materials, for example, plastic and metal.
Standard hamster cages are usually made of plastic bottom and metal wired sides and top, while modular enclosures are made entirely of plastic. Some modular enclosures can have a balcony – a small part covered with wire bars. Finally, tanks are made entirely of glass. The only exception is the lid which can be made of plastic or wires.
In the past, wood cages were popular too. Today, there are not considered a good choice for hamsters because of two main reasons. First of all, hamsters chew on wood and can quickly destroy the cage. Secondly, the wood absorbs urine which can lead to a constant and unpleasant odor.
As already mentioned, the ideal hamster cage size is a hot topic with lots of different opinions among hamster parents, forums, and welfare organizations.
Contrary to popular belief, more space means less cleaning when it comes to hamster cages.
To ensure you're not buying a cage that is too small, you can consider the recommended measurements and purchase a cage that meets those requirements or is larger. It is better to get a cage that is too big than a cage that is too small. Hamsters prefer spacious living arrangements – the bigger, the better.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that contrary to popular belief, more space means less cleaning when it comes to hamster cages. If provided with enough space, your hamster will have a separate area for toilet purposes, making the spot cleaning more straightforward.
4. Bar spacing
Hamsters are very skilled at squeezing themselves through, particularly small spaces. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that the gaps between the bars are not big enough to allow escaping if using a wire cage.
Obviously, dwarf hamsters can squeeze through smaller gaps than Syrian hamsters. Generally speaking, the bar spacing in cages for dwarf hamsters should not be wider than 0.25 inches or 0.63 cm, and for Syrian hamsters, no bigger than 0.5 inches or 1.27 cm.
If in doubt, it is advisable to choose the cage with smaller bar spacing than risk having your hamster squeeze through the bars and escape or hurt itself.
Ventilation is essential because urine evaporates and can make the enclosure unpleasantly smelling and cause respiratory issues for your pet. It goes without saying that wire cages ensure the best ventilation. On the other side, modular cages and tanks lack this feature.
However, if you prefer modular cages or tanks, you can safely use them as long as you practice more frequent cage cleaning. For example, instead of cleaning the cage weekly, you can clean it every three or four days. That way, you will prevent fume buildups.
6. Ease of cleaning
Wire cages with plastic bottoms are the most straightforward option in terms of cleaning. The plastic base can be washed under the shower and then thoroughly dried. Wire cages that are easy to assemble are also easier to clean.
Modular cages and tanks are harder to clean. Plus, modular enclosures can be a bit challenging when it comes to re-assembling.
Cleaning also refers to the area around the cage. Because of the burrowing habits, hamsters usually scatter more significant amounts of the bedding material around the cage. Getting a cage with an extra deep base will limit the amount of scattered bedding material.
7. Safety and security
Safety and security refer to the sturdiness of the cage – how well are the different parts attached to each other and whether there is a risk of some part breaking and hurting the hamster.
Safety and security also include the escape-proof factor of the cage. Syrian hamsters are escape artists, but dwarfs should not be underestimated either. It is paramount that the pen is well-closed, and there are no chances of finding a way out (close-fitting between the different parts and door strength).
If using a tank, make sure the lid is tight-fitting (but not air-tight!). This will keep the hamster inside its enclosure and if you have other pets, keep them outside of the tank.
Best Hamster Habitat – What Else Do You Need?
Before explaining how to enrich your hamster's habitat, we should say a word or two about finding the right place for the cage.
The hamster cage needs to be placed in a spot with an even temperature, not directly exposed to sunlight or draft. The ideal place should be relatively quiet without too much traffic.
With that being covered, let's go through the necessary items for enriching the cage's interior.
In the wild, hamsters would dig deep holes and travel miles in search of food and mates. In captive conditions, the best way of mimicking this activity is through an exercise wheel.
There are several types of exercise wheels. Some are open from the front, while others are closed with holes the hamster can use to climb in. The closed-wheel designs are a safer option since they prevent slipping and injuries. You also have a saucer-style wheel that is not standing up vertically.
Most importantly, you need to make sure the surface the hamster runs on is not wire mesh or runged. This type of surface is dangerous as it can cause your hamster's foot to get caught, causing severe injuries.
The wheel size matters too – ideally, the wheel's diameter should not be less than 10-12 inches. Especially Syrian hamsters need a large wheel, so they don't have to arch their back while running. This, too, could cause serious health issues.
Do not be fooled by the hamster's size. In the wild, in its natural habitat, the average hamster can burrow in depths of as much as 0.7 meters. Burrowing is an instinctive drive and makes hamsters happy.
To enable this experience in the enclosure setting, you need to make sure the bedding layer is thick enough. By thick, we mean at least 15 cm or 6 inches in depth.
When it comes to bedding, it is not just the depth that matters – finding the suitable bedding material is vital. There are many bedding options available on the market, and some are better than others. In general, aspen and paper beddings are the top two choices.
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This may sound like stating the obvious, but in addition to a high-quality and nutritionally balanced diet, hamsters need treats and chews.
You can use commercially available chews or serve fruit and veggies chunks (you need to check the safety and portion size of the treat before serving it).
Short apple tree branches (that have not been treated with pesticides) and oven-roasted bread crusts make excellent chewing snacks for hamsters – they are tasty and will keep the teeth growth under control.
It is advisable to provide your hamster with two water sources – a vacuum-action inverted water bottle and a water bowl (plastic or ceramic).
Some hamsters prefer using the first and some the latter. However, since proper hydration is vital, it is best to offer both options.
Finally, the water in both sources needs to be changed daily. Nobody wants to drink stalled water, and your hamster is not an exception. Plus, if you change the water regularly, you will keep track of whether your hamster is drinking enough (the lack of water appetite is a red flag).
To ensure your hamster's wellbeing, it is important to provide other items apart from food and water. The hamster wheel is the most important toy. In fact, it is so vital that we should classify it as a must-have necessity.
Provide your hamsters with as many toys as possible (while considering the overall space in the cage).
- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM
Other toys include commercially available hamster play areas, willow balls, tubes, nests, climbing structures, and hammocks. If you are not sure which toys your hamster likes, provide several different toy models. Later on, if your hamster dislikes some and refuses to use them, you can simply remove them.
Summing up – The Best Cages for Hamsters
With so many hamster cage choices finding the right one requires thorough investigation and review. Many factors affect the overall quality of the cage, but at the end of the day, safety and practicality are the most important.
Finally, when choosing the right hamster cage, consider the number of hamsters you have. While dwarf hamsters do not mind living in pairs, Syrian hamsters are not fond of roommates.
Nobody wants to live in a dull environment. Your hamster, just like you, appreciates a spacious and prosperous interior design.
Hamsters spend most of their time within the enclosure, thus making the importance of environmental enrichment critical.
Provide your hamsters with as many toys as possible (while considering the overall space in the cage).
It is also vital to replace any damaged toys and cage parts as they pose a danger to your hamster and trigger injuries.
- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM
Ivana Crnec is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine specialized in domestic carnivores. She graduated from the University Sv. Kliment Ohridski, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bitola, Republic of Macedonia. Ivana is a certified canine nutritionist and also certified in HAACP food safety system implementation. She currently works as a veterinarian while completing her postgraduate studies. Her research has been published in international journals.
NOTE: Advice provided within this article by FeedingMyPet.com is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your hamster's specific dietary needs (based on his breed, weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.