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It finally happened, you got a hamster. Did your kids wear you down and convince you (like me)? You could also be someone looking for a tiny friend to keep you company. Either way, now it’s time to research hamster cages and you might be stuck trying to find the perfect home for your adorable new pet. With hundreds of options available, it can be hard to be sure that you’re picking the best hamster cage. I have been in your shoes before, and have decided to comprise a list of the top five best hamster cages.
Not even sure where to start? Don’t fret. Below you’ll find key features to look for when buying a hamster cage.
The Best Hamster Cage
In a hurry? Jump right to it with our top choice:
The Prevue Pet Products 528 Universal Small Animal home is our top rated hamster cage for our furry friends.
With all of the key hamster cage features, like its tight wire spacing and easy access entry points, it is the safest and most convenient option for homing your hamster.
This cage is also easy to assemble and has adequate ventilation.
Important Features to Consider
Given the thousands of hamster cage options available, it can become complicated to ensure you’re choosing the right one for your tiny friend. However, we have broken down the main key features you’re going to look for when researching the best hamster cage.
1. Size – the bigger the better
A hamster cage should be a minimum of 450 square inches (3.1 square feet) and 15 inches high (between the wire cage and the plastic tray base), however, the bigger the better.
This allows for plenty of space for your critter to roam around with plenty of ventilation. It is also important to consider the space you’ll need for food, water, and an exercise wheel if you choose to have one.
Because hamsters like to burrow, make sure that the plastic tray is at least six inches deep.
Research shows that if your hamsters cage is inappropriately sized, it can impact their health. If a hamster is happy in their cage, it will reduce wire bar gnawing as well as stress levels. If you notice your hamster is spending too much time in their exercise wheel, it might be time to consider a bigger cage. (Fun fact: the average Syrian hamster is able to run up to five miles a day in their exercise wheel. That’s more than I run in a month).
A hamster with plenty of room to play and burrow is a happy hamster.
2. Easy to clean
Let’s face it, these tiny pets poop and they poop a lot; therefore, ease of cleaning is an important factor to consider when purchasing a hamster cage.
Typically, a wire cage with a plastic base is going to be the most easy to clean.
Remember, the more complicated the cage is, the more complicated it will be to clean. You should be able to wipe down the wire mesh and plastic base, replace the bedding and accessories, and be on your way. Simple as that.
Check out my article for the full scoop on cleaning hamster poop.
3. Safety and security
Do you have a hamster that reminds you of Houdini? Find a cage that will keep them in place while also allowing them to climb.
The wire bars on your cage should be a maximum of half an inch apart (is you hamster chewing on its cage bars? Find out why here). Also, don’t get confused- hamsters are smarter than you think, and will quickly learn how to open the cage door. Make sure the wire mesh is properly connected to the tray/plastic base as well.
Doors should be able to be clipped or locked into place; you wouldn’t want your hamster to free fall without a parachute (and neither would you). If you feel as though the locks on the cage aren’t secure enough, feel free to add sliding latches, like you would find on a dog leash.
The Top Picks of 2020
When it came time to choose a cage for our hamster, Daisy, the choice was obvious. This top rated cage is spacious with plenty of room for your hamster to roam around and play on cage accessories, while at the same time being easy to maintain.
The wire top simply pops off the plastic bottom, allowing for quick and convenient cleaning. I can clean out Daisy’s cage in about 15 minutes. Also, if you have two kids like I do, you’ll find that having an easy cage to maintain is a top priority.
The plastic bottom, or basin part of the cage, is deep. I’m able to provide Daisy with ample bedding for her to tunnel through. The large cage size is great for accessories – our 9 inch exercise wheel fits without an issue with the water bottle and plenty other fun-time accessories.
Two large entry doors (located at the top and side of the cage) create easy access to the inside. ⅜ inch wire bar spacing and twist knob closures keep your critter safe and sound. It also includes a 14-inch ramp that leads to an 18-inch platform.
Check out our step-by-step guide on assembling the Prevue Pet Products 528 Hamster Cage.
· Dimensions: 32.5 x 19 x 17.5 inches with 6.25 ” deep basin
· This is a lightweight, easy to assemble, and perfect for Syrian hamsters
· How to Clean the 528 Universal Small Animal Home:
Things We Like:
· Spacious with plenty of room for toys and accessories
· Meets security standards to ensure your hamster’s safety
· Easy to clean
Things We Don’t Like:
· No lock on top entry
The AmazonBasics Pet Habitat comes in at a close second on the list of the best hamster cages.
It comes in three different sizes: standard, large, and jumbo, giving you options to pick the perfect size for the room.
The large is a popular size, and measures around 800 square inches, giving your little critter plenty of room to play.
The cage is comprised of an iron wire frame and a hard plastic base, making it durable and long-lasting.
The frame has two openings, one large opening on the top and a smaller one on the side, allowing for easy access and cleaning.
We suggest this cage if you’re looking for a deal or are on a budget. Not only do you get a new home for your hamster, but you also receive a balcony and access ramp, a hay guard, non-drip water bottle, and a tip-proof food dish.
· Dimensions (large size): 42.1 x 24.2 x 19.7 inches.
· This is the best cage with easy assembly
Things We Like:
· Durable and long-lasting
· Multiple size options
· Best bang for your buck
· Ventilated and spacious
Things We Don’t Like:
· Not as easy to clean
· Large top opening can make for an easy escape if not closed completely
This cage is known for its ease of cleaning.
So, if you’re on the go and looking for convenience or teaching your children how to care for a hamster for the first time, this would be a great choice for you.
The Kaytee Pet Habitat comes with a built-in “EZ Clean System” that lets you pull out the bottom tray, sweep dirty bedding and poop into the trash, and slide it back it.
No need to disassemble. Not only that, it is built with chew-proof locks and wires, providing worry-free safety and security.
· Dimensions: 30 x 18 x 19 inches
Things We Like:
· Easy to clean
· Chew proof wires
· Cage comes with accessories
Things We Don’t Like:
· Product material feels cheap
· Bar spacing is too wide (one inch) potentially allowing your hamster to escape
The Favola by Ferplast hamster cage is the best choice if you’re looking to provide a playful environment to exercise in for your critter.
It has two floors: level one for playful burrowing, privacy and sleeping, and level two for eating, drinking, and a 5.5-inch exercise wheel.
The cage also includes a plastic ramp to run up and down on. The best part? Everything is included in the cage. It’s spacious, ventilated, and easy to clean.
· Dimensions: 23.6 x 14.4 x 4.75. ¼ inch wide wire cage.
· This is the best wire cages for dwarf hamsters
Things We Like:
· Promotes exercise and play
Things We Don’t Like:
· Only one door
· Exercise wheel can start to squeak
· Hard to clean
· Could be too small for Syrian hamster
Like the AmazonBasics cage, the Living World Deluxe Habitat comes in three different sizes: standard, large, and extra-large.
The wire frame and plastic base are easily assembled without the use of tools, and create a properly ventilated and safe cage for your hamster.
Like other hamster cages mentioned, the Deluxe Habitat includes a ramp, food dish, and a water bottle.
If you’re looking to provide maximum comfort for your little guy/girl, the small hideaway makes for a perfect space to hide or sleep.
· Dimensions (standard): 30.7 x 18.9 x 19.7 inches
· Manufacturer’s warranty available by request
· Watch the simplicity and ease of assembly:
Things We Like:
· Durable/chew proof bars
· Spacious and ventilated
· Easy assembly
Things We Don’t Like:
· On the expensive side
· Hard to clean
· Included accessories are flimsy
Types of Cages to Avoid
One trip to your local pet store is enough to notice the vast amount of colorful plastic hamster cages and the lack of wire cages.
Unfortunately, while they might be cute and at a better price point, they are unhealthy and fail to meet the required hamster cage features.
Typically, a plastic cage will be too small and unable to provide proper ventilation for your hamster. Without enough room, your hamster is subject to higher stress levels and lower amounts of exercise.
Also, because these hamster cages are too small, they will begin to gnaw or chew at the cage. Eventually, small pieces of plastic will start to crumble, posing a choking hazard to your hamster that could potentially be fatal. If the plastic pieces are swallowed, your hamster will be at risk for internal damage.
The one and only time a plastic cage might be okay, is if you have chosen a dwarf hamster. However, wire hamster cages will always be superior.
All in all, finding the best hamster cage can be pretty tough. I felt like I looked for days on end before I found the perfect fit for both Daisy and my family. If you haven’t had a hamster or other small pet before, you might not have realized how important the specifications can be to keep your new little friend happy.
Between the size, the convenience, and the safety, it can quickly become overwhelming.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What else do I need to put in my hamster cage?
A: Your cage will need a few more items, some are necessities, some are optional.
A substrate as a bottom layer, bedding (so they can burrow), a food dish, and a space to sleep are all necessary additions.
When you give your hamster water, it is best to use a plastic bottle that is attached to the wire bars instead of dish; hamsters are keen on filling dishes with things like food or wood shavings.
If you want to, feel free to add an exercise wheel and other fun accessories to keep your hamster entertained.
Although, I would debate that a hamster wheel is a necessity, seeing as they will need a place to run and exercise.
Be sure that items in the cage are not too tall and cannot be climbed on, your new pet might try to escape.
Q: Which type of substrate/bedding should I use?
A: A layer of substrate at the base of the cage is crucial for keeping your cage clean.
It absorbs any moisture and controls odor, and is usually made out of recycled paper shavings (Did you know hamsters can be potty trained? ).
Because hamsters love to burrow and hide, finding a good bedding is important as well.
Typically, it’s made of wood shavings, like Aspen. Shavings made of other types of wood, like pine and cedar, can be too sharp and rough.
Q: Do I need a different type of cage for a dwarf hamster?
A: The necessary specifications for a proper hamster cage apply for dwarf hamsters, too.
However, because they are smaller, there are other features to take into consideration to keep them safe.
For example, make sure the space between the bars (if you chose a wire cage) is no larger than ¼ of an inch. Also, be sure that any structure in the cage isn’t too high, as you don’t want your dwarf hamster to fall from a long distance.
Q: How much do hamster cages cost?
A: That is completely dependent on the type of hamster cage you want to purchase.
The bigger the cage, the bigger the price tag. However, that does not mean that you cannot find a good cage for a great price. If you are on a tighter budget, opt for a cage that includes a majority of the accessories you’ll need.
The AmazonBasics Pet Habitat, recommended above, is a great example.
Q: What if I have more than one hamster? Can they live in the same cage together?
A: No. Hamsters (more commonly Syrians) are known for being small but mighty, and can be very territorial creatures by nature.
If more than one is kept in a cage together, there is a higher risk of them attacking each other.
However, dwarf hamsters can typically live peacefully in the same habitat.
Keep in mind, if you have one male and one female, you could end up with a lot more hamsters than you started with.
(Fun fact: female hamsters are known for eating their babies when feeling threatened or bothered. Yikes.)
Q: Where should I place my hamster cage?
A: While it doesn’t seem as important, cage placement is key as well.
Make sure the cage is easily accessible for cleaning and play.
Although it doesn’t seem favorable, being able to see and smell your cage allows you to be more aware of when it is time to clean.
Maybe your son or daughter’s room doesn’t seem so bad after all.
Q: If something happens to my cage and I need temporary housing for my hamster, what would be the best option to use?
A: This is a definite possibility and can be scary when it happens.
The solution is simple: find an old shoe or clothes box (avoid anything plastic) and modify it to fit the needs of your hamster.
First, secure the opening so your hamster can’t escape.
Next, poke holes all around the box so it has ventilation and can breathe.
Finally, place food and water inside and you should be all set.
Remember, this should only be used short term. A tight space will stress your hamster out.
Q: I’m teaching myself/kids how to take care of a pet, which cage is easiest to clean?
A: If you’re new to the small pet scene or still at a beginners level, it would be smart to choose a cage that best fits your needs.
An easy to assemble cage would be key here, too. The Prevue Pet Products 528 Universal Small Animal Home is the perfect example, and one of the main reasons we chose this cage for Daisy.
Simply removed the wire mesh from the base, take out any accessories you may have chosen to add, and clean it with your products of choice.
Replace soiled bedding, refill food and water, make sure all parts are connected and you’ll be on your way.
Q: How often should I clean my cage?
A: You’ll want to clean your cage at least once a week, however, this does not mean that a full deep clean is necessary that often.
The bedding and substrate will need to be changed weekly (or more if you have a particularly “regular” hamster).
If you’ve changed both of those and notice the cage still stinks, then it might be time for a more in-depth cleaning.
Remove the base and wash with warm, soapy water.
Clean the food dish and water bottle and your cage should smell good as new.
Q: Are multi-level hamster cages unsafe?
A: Absolutely not! In fact, if you haven chosen a Syrian hamster, a multi-level cage might actually be your best choice.
Two levels gives your hamster a more private space (fancy, right?) to keep their food, burrow, and sleep.
The top portion is an open range for play and exercise.
Even better, a multi-level hamster cage will usually measure bigger in size and space.
Make sure the bars are properly connected to the bottom to avoid injury.
Q: I have an old cage from previous pet. Can it be re-purposed into a hamster cage?
A: Yes. Whether you’re on a budget or are looking to reduce waste, being able to “create” your own hamster cage can be really helpful.
There are two main types of cages that work best for this situation:
Bird cages are typically large enough to home a hamster and the necessary accessories (like a food dish, exercise wheel, etc.).
The wire mesh provides proper ventilation while the bottom gives your hamster plenty of floor space to run around.
However, there one important renovation that needs to be made before the cage is ready.
A typical bird cage will have a wire grid that sits right above the base.
The bars will be too far apart, which could cause discomfort to your hamsters feet and allow for messes if food inevitably falls through.
Simply replace the wire mesh with a plastic base and you will be good to go.
In the past, it was very common for owners to use 10-gallon aquariums as a cage for their hamster.
However, the downfalls include inadequate ventilation, which is not only unsafe for the hamster, but easily traps odors as well.
If you have the time and, unlike myself, the craftiness, revamp the aquarium to fit all of the necessary requirements.
Place a wire cage on top of the tank and build a make shift ramp that guides to the top of the cage. Voila.
If you don’t have either a bird cage or ten gallon aquarium, make sure that whatever you are using is the right size (450 square inches and 15 inches high), provides adequate ventilation, and is easily secured to prevent escapes.
Q: My hamster seems bored in his/her cage. What safe items can I add for entertainment?
A: There are plenty of hamster-safe toys and foods you can add to keep them from getting bored.
“Cage enrichment” is anything added to a hamster’s cage that isn’t a water bottle, food dish, or a den to sleep in.
If you want to opt for simplicity, try something like PVC pipe. They can gnaw on it, store food inside, and if they’re small enough, even sleep inside!
If you’re looking for something a little more fun and colorful, your local pet store has no shortage of hamster toys.
Chew blocks, balls with bells inside, and wooden toys are all great examples of what you can use to enrich your cage and are all relatively inexpensive.
I had a friend who enjoyed pulling small branches off of his orange tree and adding them to the cage.
If you want to give your hamster a treat, safe foods include coconut shavings, carrots, blueberries, and plain popcorn. Just be sure not to over stuff your cage; as fun as the toys are, your hamster will still need room to play and roam around.