Find out the pros and cons of each type of hamster cage in this in-depth guide to choosing the best hamster cage for your pet
Choosing a home for your new pet is exciting.
It can also be stressful.
How do you know which cage or habitat is the best choice for your hamster? Do different hamster breeds have different housing needs?
These questions are perfectly natural, but the answers can be hard to find.
Luckily, we have compiled a list of the best hamster cages and how to choose them to make your search easier.
What is the best hamster cage?
Before you let the sheer number of choices overwhelm you, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The best hamster cage for your pet will depend on a variety of factors. Ask yourself these questions:
- What kind of hamster do you have?
- Are you prepared to spend a lot of time cleaning your hamster’s cage?
- How big do you want your hamster’s cage to be?
- How much space do you have?
- Is this your hamster or a child’s pet?
As you search, you also need to be aware of the housing requirements for hamsters.
What kind of cage do hamsters need?
Hamsters need a cage where they feel safe and protected with lots of nesting material and bedding.
Cages should be at least six inches high, but big hamster cages are generally better, as they allow for deeper bedding and more room for your hamster to move around.
Your cage should be made of a solid material like glass, plastic, or wire, and should not have any sharp edges or be made of materials that your hamster can chew its way out of, like wooden hamster cages.
What should I put in my hamster cage?
In addition to the cage, your hamster will also need toys for mental stimulation.
And you’ll need to provide a water bottle, food dishes, and a place to nest.
There are several types of cages to choose from, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Types of hamster cages
If you’ve spent any time in a pet store, then you know that there are a lot of cages for hamsters out there.
From pink hamster cages to huge hamster cages, it can feel like there is a hamster cage for every possible type of hamster and home.
The reality is a little different.
Despite the large number of brand names, hamster cages can be broken down into a few types: wire cages, glass tanks, plastic cages, and habitat cages.
Choosing a hamster home gets easier once you understand the difference between these types.
Pros and cons of wire hamster cages
Wire cages like the Pico XL shown below, typically have a solid plastic bottom and wire sides. The wire gives your hamster something to climb on, which is great fun for your hamster.
But the gaps in the wire do mean that your hamster can get up to mischief.
Hamsters can kick bedding out of the wires, pull things through the wires, and in some cases, escape.
Bored hamsters may also chew on the wire bars, which can damage their teeth and keep you up at night.
Wire cages are not suitable for small breeds of hamsters, like Chinese hamsters and Roborovski hamsters, because they can fit through gaps in the cage.
Pros and cons of hamster tanks
Glass hamster cages, or tanks, often sold as aquariums or terrariums, offer some advantages over wire cages.
They are easier to clean, virtually escape proof, and quieter than wire cages.
The Carolina Terrarium above for example, weighs 40lbs.
They also take up more space and tend to be more expensive.
They do look great though, once they are set up and the big ones will give a hamster masses of space to climb and play!
Pros and cons of plastic hamster cages
Plastic hamster cages usually look like glass tanks. Some are brightly colored, and most come apart for easy cleaning.
Plastic hamster cages have the widest variety in style.
You can find built in wheels and ramps, multiple levels, and even travel sized plastic hamster cages in this category.
These cages are designed to give you and your hamster entertainment.
Many are composed of multiple, stackable levels, and most have connecting tubes that you can use to create additional play areas.
You can buy add-ons for some of these cages to keep your hamster entertained with new territory, but the downside of all this real-estate is that habitat cages are more difficult to clean.
All of those connecting tubes need to be scrubbed, which is more time consuming than cleaning a tank or wire cage.
Finding a big enough hamster cage
Once you have figured out the type of hamster cage you want, it is time to consider size.
Most pets like to have lots of space to explore and play, and hamsters are no exception.
The larger the home, the more room your hamster will have to exercise and explore.
Finding the right large hamster cages can be tricky.
Choose a purpose built home for your hamster
Large wire cages, like the kinds made for guinea pigs and rabbits, are the right size, but the gaps in the wires are big enough for hamsters to squeeze through and escape.
This means that a large wire hamster cage designed specifically for hamsters, a glass tank, or a plastic habitat is your best choice for hamster housing.
Best Hamster Cages
We like glass tanks, partly because they are nice and easy to clean
Glass tanks, often sold as both rodent and fish tanks, come in a variety of sizes.
The smallest you should consider for your hamster is 10 or 20 gallons, larger sizes, like 40, 55, 60, 80, or even larger are available.
Of course, these big hamster cages take up space so if you are short of space go for a wire or plastic cage.
Our pick of the wire hamster cages
Wire cages or plastic habitats with multiple levels are another option for maximizing space for your hamster without sacrificing space in your home.
We love the brightly colored Kaytee Critter Trail. This two layer hamster habitat gives your hamster lots of room to run around, climb, and play, all in brightly colored plastic that is fun for kids of all ages.
Wire topped cages with deep bottoms provide your hamster with lots of space to nest and burrow without kicking the shavings through the bars, and the wire top expands their living and play space.
If you are looking for something that won’t look out of place in a grown up’s room, check out one of these smart Ferplast hamster cages here on Amazon
This cage also has the added advantage of a clear bottom so that you can observe your furry friend as he burrows.
Sometimes, two levels are not enough.
This four-level cage is full of space for all your hamster’s toys, and the ramps offer exercise and room to roam.
Best Syrian hamster cages
Remember that different breeds of hamsters need different cages.
Syrian hamsters, also known as teddy bear hamsters or golden hamsters, are the largest of the popular pet hamster breeds.
They can grow up to seven inches long, which means you need a cage that will allow them plenty of room to run around.
Their large size also means you don’t need to worry quite as much about them squeezing through the bars of a wire cage.
Forty-gallon glass or plastic tanks are a good size for Syrian hamster cages.
These set ups can take up a lot of space, however, so you could also consider a multi-level wire cage.
Habitat cages with lots of tubes are fun for hamsters, but large hamsters like Syrian hamsters might be able to break free of these cages.
Some Syrian hamsters like to chew on connecting tubes, allowing them to escape.
If you decide to go with a tank with connecting tubes, keep an eye on your Syrian hamster to make sure he does not nibble on the plastic connectors.
Best cages for dwarf hamsters
Dwarf hamsters are smaller than their Syrian relatives. There are several different types of dwarf hamster.
For our purposes, we will focus on the Cambell’s Russian dwarf, dwarf winter white Russian hamsters, and the Roborovski dwarf hamster.
These hamster breeds need dwarf hamster cages that suit their needs. Not all dwarf hamsters are alike.
There are a few facts about dwarf hamsters that will influence your cage choice.
Cambell’s Russian dwarf hamsters are higher strung than friendly Syrians, which means interactions between dwarf hamsters and children should be supervised.
They are also more nocturnal than other breeds, and their tiny size means they can easily slip through wire bars during the night.
These hamsters need solid cages without bars or gaps where they can escape.
A dwarf hamster cage like this fun habitat from Habitrail gives your dwarf hamster plenty of room while also giving you lots of viewing space.
This will help you feel connected to your hamster without stressing her out with excessive handling.
Dwarf winter white hamsters, like Cambell’s Russian dwarf hamsters, are very small and need a cage they cannot squeeze out of.
This hamster breed has lots of energy, so you will also need to provide a wheel and plenty of room for your hamster to run, burrow, and explore.
A cage with a petting area is a good idea, as they are also sweet and enjoy human interaction.
We will get to the Roborovski hamster in just a moment.
As a general rule of thumb, a dwarf hamster cage with solid plastic or glass sides is the best cage for dwarf hamsters.
These cages will keep them safe and prevent them from keeping you up at night.
Best cages for Roborovski hamsters
Robovorski hamsters are the smallest hamster breed, growing to only two and half inches long.
They are also the fastest.
Robovorski hamsters are hard to hold on to.
This means that handling your Robovorski hamster is a challenge, but their petite stature is so cute that it makes up for it.
These little hamsters love to exercise, so space and a wheel are a must.
They also live the longest of the hamster breeds, and can even live in groups if socialized from a young age.
Wire barred cages are not a good fit for these tiny hamsters.
Cages with lots of toys and tubes can help you feel like you are interacting with your hamster without the risk of a hamster escape.
We think that the Habitrail range is ideal for these tiny pets – above are some more add ons that you can buy with the Adventure Pack.
Best cages for Chinese hamsters
Chinese hamsters are larger than Robovorski hamsters, but they prefer to be handled infrequently.
Your Chinese hamster will be happiest in a large, glass tank with lots of toys and deep bedding to dig in.
Check out this 20-gallon glass tank but do remember to check the delivery prices before you buy – glass tanks are heavy!
Chinese hamsters can become aggressive if they are bored, so make sure you supply your pet with stimulating toys to avoid nipping.
World’s best hamster cage?
Ask a hamster enthusiast which is the world’s best hamster breed, and you’ll get lots of different answers.
The same goes for the world’s best hamster cage.
With so many different cages to choose from, which one is the best will depend to some extent on you, your home, and your hamster.
If your priority is ease of cleaning, you need to chose glass. Glass tanks are probably the most secure and easiest to clean hamster cages available.
They come in a variety of sizes to suit your hamster’s needs, and are sold in pet stores around the world.
While glass tanks can get expensive, with the right care your glass tank should last you for many years.
As for the most fun hamster home, cages with lots of connecting tubes and fun add-on habitats take the prize.
Kaytee, Habitrail, and Rotastak hamster cages all come in fun colors and shapes, which can make them a good choice for children. Just watch Teddy Bear Hamsters with those connectors!
What is the best hamster cage for my pet?
The factors you will need to consider are your hamster’s breed, exercise requirements, cage cleaning requirements, and cage space requirements.
A Robovorski hamster, for instance, might do very well in a Rotostack hamster cage, since these small hamsters require lots of exercise and are difficult to handle. Rotostack hamster cages, with their colorful tubes, allow you to observe your hamster having fun without risking an escape.
The best cage for a Syrian hamster, on the other hand, could be a glass tank or a wire cage with lots of space and toys.
Once you have done your research, look for the cage that fits your hamster’s needs and your budget. That will be the cage that is best for your pet.
How about you?
What kind of home have you chosen for your hamster, and what do you think is the best hamster cage you have ever seen? Share your thoughts in the comments below.