The best hamster wheel for your pet is designed to deliver entertainment and exercise as needed. Hamster wheels come in various sizes and types, so the best hamster wheel for your individual hamster will depend on what kind of hamster you have. Hamster exercise wheels are typically made of plastic or wire. Popular styles include quiet hamster wheels and even silent hamster wheels, since your pet may decide to exercise in the middle of the night.
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- 6.5 inch hamster wheels
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- Large hamster wheels
- Extra large hamster wheels
- Silent hamster wheels
- Metal hamster wheels
- Hamster wheel cars
- Hamster exercise balls
- Saucer wheels
The Importance Of Exercise Wheels For Hamsters
Hamsters need a wheel almost as much as they need food, water and veterinary care.
To that point, many exotic “pocket pet” veterinarians now recommend that you set up your hammie’s entire habitat before you bring him home. That includes picking out and installing an exercise wheel ahead of time.
So why do hamsters run on wheels? For starters, an exercise wheel is a natural antidote to boredom and loneliness.
Since hamsters are nocturnal (awake mostly at night) when you are asleep, both boredom and loneliness can be a real issue. This is especially true if your hammie doesn’t have access to an exercise toy to while away the hours.
Did you know? Some hamsters have been known to run up to five miles per night on their wheels!
Why Do Hamsters Run On Wheels?
Perhaps the main reason why these little pets run relates back to their life in the wild, long before they were a popular pet.
Wild hamsters are small, bite-sized and delicious, meaning they have lots of natural predators. Snakes, hawks, owls, foxes, coyotes and even feral cats will readily snack on hamsters.
In some cultures, even people consume them!
Running is, therefore, naturally built in to a hamster’s needs.
So when you see your pet racing away for hours, you can now understand that a hamster exercise wheel meets multiple needs. And he should never be without access to one for daily use.
The Best Hamster Wheel
In everyday life, the saying “hamster wheel” has become a catch-phrase for all kinds of daily challenges.
But in hamster life, it means one thing and one thing only – that fabulous circular exercise toy that keeps your hammie busy and happy. Not to mention slim and trim and healthy!
If you are a newbie owner, it might seem like a simple matter to hop online or head to a local pet shop and pick one out. But that assumption can quickly fade when you confront the mountains of options before you.
From a silent hamster wheel to a metal hamster wheel to a wooden hamster wheel to a hamster saucer wheel, and the choices go on. What makes a product a good choice for your pet?
Well, there are a number of features to consider. Let’s look at them one by one.
Hamster Wheel Size
Choosing the right hamster wheel size is named as one of the top most important aspects of proper hamster care.
For instance, a Syrian hamster wheel size should be different than a dwarf hamster wheel size. This reflects the different size, weight and strength of large, medium and small breeds.
Here are some general sizing guidelines can help you select the right type and size for your needs.
Syrian Hamster Wheel
Syrian hamsters are the largest of the popular pet hamster breeds. They can grow up to 7 inches long and weigh up to 7 ounces.
Here, it is obvious that this breed, while still fragile overall, is bigger and stronger than their dwarf or hybrid cousins. So they can easily navigate a big hamster wheel that would be too weighty for smaller breeds to move.
A Syrian hamster wheel should measure at least 8 inches in diameter, and larger as needed.
Dwarf Hamster Wheel
The smallest hamsters will reach only one to two inches in length and weigh up to 1 ounce.
The largest of the dwarf breeds will generally top out at 4 inches in length and weigh around 2 ounces.
These teensy pets need smaller wheels because they are not as strong as their Syrian cousins.
Depending on the breed, age, and size of your hammie, you should aim for a size of between 4.5 and 6.5 inches in diameter.
The former is better for young dwarfs, while the latter will be suitable for most adult dwarf breeds.
Safe Hamster Wheels
There are two critical safety considerations to keep in mind when selecting the best wheel for Syrian hamsters versus the best wheel for a dwarf hamster. Those two considerations are diameter and running surface.
The wheel diameter should be sufficient to keep your hamster’s back from arching while she is running. If she can’t keep her back straight, she can begin to suffer from muscle, tendon, joint and even skeletal health issues.
The running surface is another issue.
Regardless of what your hamster spinning wheel is made of (plastic, wood, metal, et. al), the surface your pet runs on must be smooth and safe. It is fine if the running surface has a bit of texture so she won’t slip while running. But there should be no holes, openings or gaps that could cause her tail, toes or feet to become lodged in the wheel.
Also, texturing should be minimal and only for non-slip purposes, since their feet are very sensitive and can become easily bruised or injured.
What Are Hamster Wheels Made From?
You can find these products made from several different materials. Plastic is the most common, though you can find metal and even wooden hamster wheels, too.
As a matter of fact, we have some of the top choices for other materials listed in this article.
Best 6.5 Inch Hamster Wheel
As we mentioned in the previous section here, getting the right size hamster wheel is such a critical part of meeting your hamster’s exercise and running needs.
If the hamster wheel is too big, your hammie won’t have the strength to propel it to spin.
If the hamster wheel is too small, your hamster’s back will begin to arch while running, causing pain and injury.
In general, hamster wheels in the 6-inch range do well for adult dwarf hamsters. So you can adjust upwards or downwards from there depending on the full-grown size of your hamster breed.
Kaytee Silent Spinner Exercise Wheel
The popular Kaytee Silent Spinner Exercise Wheel comes in two sizes (4.5 inches, 6.5 inches).
Owners say this wheel is quiet but not silent. Colors vary, but they are all bright and fun.
Love Hamster Silent Spinner Exercise Wheel
The Love Hamster Silent Spinner Exercise Wheel comes in several sizes (5.5 inch, 6.89 inch, 8.3 inch).
Kaytee CritterTrail Snap-On Comfort Wheel
The Kaytee CritterTrail Snap-On Comfort Wheel is designed for use with other Critter Trail accessories such as tunnels and tubes.
Owners say it is very quiet – nearly silent – and sturdy. And that their dwarf hamsters love running on it.
Best 8 And 9 Inch Hamster Wheel
Hamster wheels for Syrian hamsters need to be larger than those designed for their dwarf or hybrid cousins.
Syrian hamsters are stronger and will enjoy the extra challenge of propelling these larger hamster wheels as they run.
Plus, a larger 8 inch hamster wheel or 9 inch hamster wheel will also offer a roomier running surface, making for a more comfortable overall fit.
Kaytee Large 8.5″ Comfort Exercise Wheel
The popular Kaytee Large 8.5″ Comfort Exercise Wheel measures a comfy 8.5 inches and is a best-selling hamster wheel product.
It even features a “tail safe” design.
Love Hamster Wheel 8.3 Inches Pet Silent Spinner Exercise Wheel
The unique Love Hamster Wheel 8.3 Inches Pet Silent Spinner Exercise Wheel comes in a variety of sizes and two colors (yellow, blue).
It is a perfect size for small to average-sized Syrians.
Exotic Nutrition Silent Runner 9 inch Pet Exercise Wheel
The fun and safe Exotic Nutrition Silent Runner inch hamster wheel is a good choice for young, senior and active adult hamsters.
There is no central axle so you don’t have to worry that your hammie will get a foot or tail caught while running or exiting the wheel. The color is bright yellow.
Best 11 Inch Hamster Wheel
Even Syrian hamsters can vary in size within the same litter.
One Syrian hamster might be the runt of the litter while another Syrian baby might be the firstborn and have the extra benefit of their birth order to get the most food and grow bigger.
10 inch and up will work well for most medium to large-sized adult Syrian hamsters.
An 11 inch hamster wheel and a 12 inch hamster wheel provide the roomiest running experience for naturally big, overweight and pregnant Syrian hamsters.
11″ Diameter Wodent Wheel Dark Blue
This newer Wodent 11 inch is especially designed for larger furry “pocket pets” such as Syrian hamsters.
Suncoast Sugar Gliders Wodent Small Animal
The eleven inch wheel from Suncoast Sugar Gliders is a closed design, which some small pets may prefer to an open wheel.
Best 12 Inch Hamster Wheel
There can be a fairly large range of size between hamsters, which means that there should be a large range of size for their exercise toys!
These 12 inch extra large hamster wheel options will offer the roomiest, comfiest fit for large, overweight or pregnant Syrian hamsters.
Kaytee Silent Spinner Wheel, Giant 12-Inch
The wonderful Kaytee Silent 12 inch spinner is not just large and roomy.
It can be attached to the side of a cage or operated using the included floor stand. Colors may vary.
Exotic Nutrition Silent Runner 12″ Wide
The Exotic Nutrition Silent 12 inch uses ball bearings for a more silent operation.
It offers a running track with a bit of texture to naturally trim nails. Because it has no center axle, there is a much lower risk of injury.
You can mount it to the side of the cage or use the metal stand for freestanding use. Owners say it is quieter than others they have tried.
Interpet Limited Superpet Comfort Wheel (by Kaytee)
The deep and roomy Interpet Kaytee 12 inch makes the perfect choice for even large or pregnant Syrian hamsters.
Silent Hamster Wheels
Very little in a hamster owner’s life is more prized than discovering a truly quiet hamster wheel.
For most owners, the ultimate goal is a silent spinner hamster wheel. But very few if any small or large hamster wheels can qualify as completely “silent.”
Probably the closest match to an authentic silent choice is a metal hamster wheel with ball bearings. But in reality, part of how quietly (or not) one operates will always relate to how your pet uses it.
Some hammies seem to have an inbuilt need for speed, such that they can run and run and run at top speed until the wheel itself finally needs to be replaced!
In most cases, owners say that their so-called silent or quiet hamster wheels are only quiet when their hammie is running at a leisurely pace. Once the pace increases, so does the noise level.
Best Quiet Hamster Wheels
According to hamster owners, these silent hamster wheel Syrian and dwarf choices come closest to being quiet enough not to disturb your slumbers.
Just remember the caveat above!
Petzilla Quiet Silent Spinner, Sunflower Design
The uniquely lovely Petzilla Quiet product comes in two sizes (7.5-inch, 9-inch) to accommodate hamsters of all sizes.
Owners say it truly is silent so long as it is not attached to anything that might vibrate or make noise.
Exotic Nutrition Silent Runner
Let’s see it again! The Exotic Nutrition Silent Runner comes in two sizes (9-inch, 12-inch) and three colors (orange, yellow, lime green).
The metal stand is sturdy and stable. Owners say their hamsters love this wheel and they do too because it lets them sleep at night!
Best Metal Hamster Wheel
Metal hamster wheels are less common than their plastic counterparts, but they do have some advantages.
In general, metal wheels are easier to clean and sanitize than either plastic or wood wheels. They can also be quieter, which is due in part to how sturdy they are. Metal wheels also curb your hammie’s interest in chewing, meaning they often last longer than wooden or plastic wheels.
The one caveat when choosing a metal hamster wheel is that you must take care to provide the smoothest possible running surface.
Luckily, it is usually possible to buy or create your own smooth flooring inserts to put inside the wheel itself.
But if this is not possible, you may want to steer clear of any metal hamster wheel that isn’t completely smooth, as these types of wheels may in time cause tenderness or soreness to your hamster’s delicate feet.
Kaytee Run-Around Giant Exercise Wheel, 11-Inch
The popular Kaytee 11 inch hamster wheel is made out of wire, which offers great ventilation for your hammie as she runs.
The running surface is just a bit less than 5 inches in width. Whilst it is not silent, the wire mesh is safer than more open designs because there is less risk of getting a toe or tail caught while running.
Exotic Nutrition Metal Flying Saucer Wheel – The Treadmill Wheel
The unique Exotic Nutrition treadmill metal hamster wheel is shaped exactly like a flying saucer. It comes in two colors (black, green) and two sizes (11 inch, 14 inch).
Owners say it really is a quiet wheel and more durable than most plastic ones they’ve tried.
Prevue Pet Products SPV90013 Wire Mesh Hamster Wheel – 8-Inch
Opinions are divided as to whether wire or metal mesh is a good choice for hamsters, as these delicate pets tend to have foot sensitivities.
However, the Prevue Pet Products very close wire mesh hamster wheel is specifically designed for hamsters and gerbils. And the wire can be more sanitary and hygienic than most plastic options.
It is also much sturdier if your hammie is a persistent chewer.
Best Hamster Wheel Car
Once you see these hamster wheel cars with your own two eyes, you may soon decide your hammie can’t live without them (or, more accurately, you can’t live without them).
Just imagine the adorable photos you will take as your hamster “drives” around using only his hamster wheel for “fuel!”
Best of all, owners say these racing wheels really work and their hamsters love them. Hitting the hamster wheel jackpot can’t get any better than that!
Interpet Limited Critter Cruiser Racing Wheel (by Kaytee)
The super-cool self-contained Kaytee hamster wheel car looks exactly like what it sounds like – a hamster wheel inside a car.
This is an awesome choice for out-of-cage play and cage cleaning times. It is 9.06 inches high and 11.87 inches wide, so it is roomy enough even for large hamsters to enjoy.
Race Car Two Wheel Hamster Cage
Somewhat along the same lines, but to a larger degree, this super-fun hamster wheel cage features a race car design with two exercise wheels which turn the tires on the outside of the cage.
Best Hamster Ball
It is great to provide your hamster with 24/7 use of an in-habitat exercise wheel. But what happens when you need to clean hammie’s cage?
You need to have some viable options to safely contain your hamster while you clean out her cage, change the bedding and spruce everything up.
Plus, sometimes it can be fun to offer your hamster play time that takes place out of the cage for some variety. The biggest challenge here, of course, is making sure your swift little fur baby doesn’t escape if you take your eyes off her for a second or two!
These hamster exercise ball wheel options are the perfect choice to give your hamster something fun to do while you tend to cage cleaning or just offer a change of scenery during playtime. Your hamster can run and explore to her heart’s content and you will always know exactly where she is!
For extra out-of-cage security, check out the third option on this list – it is a neat hamster track! You can place your hamster’s exercise ball into the center groove of the track so she runs only in a set pattern in a certain location.
Kaytee Run-About 7″ Hamster Exercise Ball, Moon Glow
The popular and highly rated Kaytee Moon Glow exercise ball offers a unique take on the traditional hamster wheel.
Owners say this ball is sized well for all hamster breeds and is easy to wash and clean.
This ball comes in various sizes, including a very spacious 11.5 inch size for very large hamsters. The “moon glow” refers to how the ball is designed to glow in the dark.
Lee’s Kritter Krawler Exercise Ball, Standard 7 inch
Lee’s Kritter Krawler Hamster Ball has a lightly “ribbed” interior to give your hamster a good solid grip as he runs inside.
Owners say the plastic seems very sturdy and since there is only one entry/exit, there is less chance of your hamster escaping.
Kaytee Hamtrac Exercise Loop
A hamster ball on a track! While this isn’t a hamster exercise ball wheel per se, it is designed to be used with one.
If you often have trouble locating your hamster after he has rolled off in his ball to explore, this is your perfect solution. The four pieces snap together to make a circular “track” and your hamster can run around and around the track inside his ball.
All together, a single track gives your hamster just over a foot (25 inches) of running track. You can connect up to four track sets together to make a larger exercise loop.
The color is black. Kaytee states that the track will work for any of their hamster balls, but owners say it is best to use the track with larger exercise balls.
Van Ness Hamster Ball With Stand
The Van Ness variation on a hamster wheel ball and wheel car may present the best of all worlds – a hamster exercise wheel ball on a stand.
The ball offers lots of ventilation and is easy to clean. The ball diameter is 22 inches and the color is clear.
Best Hamster Saucer Wheel
The hamster saucer wheel is a more recent addition to the menu of hamster wheel options. This wheel is nearly flat – it actually looks a lot like what most people imagine a real flying saucer might look like (which is how it got its name, of course).
Your hamster will run in a nearly horizontal pattern on a hamster saucer wheel, encountering only a small incline during part of the run cycle. Some hamsters like this type of wheel better, while others prefer the more traditional hamster wheel design.
The only way to know for sure which type of wheel your hamster prefers is to let him try out both kinds and see which one he chooses to run on more frequently!
Ware Manufacturing Flying Saucer Exercise Wheel for Small Pets, 7 1/4-Inch
The fun Ware Manufacturing hamster saucer wheel is especially designed to be protective of tiny toes, tails and feet while your hamster runs and plays.
Owners say this size is best for hybrid and dwarf hamsters. Colors may vary.
Keersi Hamster Flying Saucer Exercise Wheel
The Keersi flying saucer wheel comes in two colors (blue, pink) and measures 7 inches across, so it is suitable for dwarf, hybrid and Syrian hamsters.
Best Hamster Wheels
We hope you have enjoyed this curated list of the very best hamster wheel options in each major category!
While you still have lots of wheels to choose from, at least now you have a good idea of what size is best for your particular pet hamster breed as well as different features that different types of hamster wheels can offer.
It is also important to remember that there really is no single product that beats all the others. Different hamsters have quite different preferences, and sometimes these preferences can really surprise their owners!
So your ultimate goal is simply to find the best hamster wheel that most fully meets your pet hamster’s unique needs for exercise and enjoyment.
Have you found a wheel that your hamster just loves? Is the product on this list? Please leave us a comment below and tell us about it!
References and Resources
- Williams, G., “Hamster Care 101: How to Care For Your Hamster,” Pet MD, 2017.
- Davis, B., “What Animals Commonly Eat Hamsters in the Wild?,” Sciencing, 2017.
- Malka, S., DVM, “27 Common Care Mistakes of Exotic animals [LI Vet Shares Experience],” Long Island Bird & Exotics Veterinary Clinic, 2016.
- Zucker, I. et al, “Light-dark rhythms in hamster eating, drinking and loco-motor behaviors,” Science Direct: Physiology and Behavior, 1973.
- Pilny, A.A., DVM, “Excellence in Exotics: Enriching the Lives of Small Exotic Pet Mammals,” VetFolio Compendium, 2012.
This article has been extensively revised and updated for 2019.
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