Last updated: August 17, 2021

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For those who don't have enough space for a large pet like a dog or cat, but would like to have a pet, a hamster is a good alternative. Today, we will talk about the different types of cages that exist for your furry friend.

These small rodents are easy to care for and are quite sociable with humans. They also have high energy levels that keep them moving around all day long. For this reason, it's a good idea (and a good gesture) to provide your pet hamster with a nice space that allows him or her to live comfortably and have fun.

In this guide, we'll show you the best cages for your pet. We'll also explain what you should consider when choosing a cage that will meet your hamster's needs and, of course, yours too. Read on to find out more about the best cages for your beloved furry pet.




Summary

  • A hamster cage is a compartment in which such a rodent can live. It is common for them to have features, such as tunnels, wheels and burrow-like compartments, which are intended to recreate qualities of the hamster's habitat. They are also intended to allow the hamster to carry out instinctive activities, such as running.
  • Both slatted and plastic hamster cages are available. Grid cages are simpler, but commonly offer everything a hamster needs to stay active. Plastic cages always have tunnels, towers, compartments and levels, and are often modular. This allows the cage to be expanded without limit.
  • In choosing a good cage to keep your hamster happy, comfortable and busy, it is important to consider the ease of cleaning and the accessories included. It is also important to take into account the hamster's own characteristics to avoid escape or fighting (in the case of hamsters living together).

The best Hamster Cage: Our Picks

Buying Guide

Now that you know the best hamster cages on the market, let's go over all the details and information you need to consider to choose a home your hamster will appreciate and enjoy. It's relatively simple to make a good choice, but read on for the most important details.

A wheel is an essential cage element to keep your rodent busy and entertained. (Photo: _Alicja_ / pixabay.com)

What is a hamster cage and what are its advantages?

Hamster cages are living compartments specifically designed for the needs of hamsters. Since hamsters have been used as pets/companions for centuries, the cage has always been an essential element for keeping them in captivity in a comfortable and convenient way.

In some cases, hamster cages are designed to mimic the hamster's natural habitat. Such is the case with those that include tunnels, for example, as hamsters are avid diggers who are accustomed to slipping through tight spaces and burrowing into burrows. There are countless different designs.

Advantages
  • Easy to transport
  • Generally easy to clean
  • Fairly affordable
  • There is a wide variety of designs and formats
Disadvantages
  • Some are at risk of hamster escape
  • Limited space if the hamster grows
  • Grid cages can let out a lot of substrate
  • Cleaning can be tedious

Grid or plastic hamster cages - what should you look out for?

There are two main versions of cage design: the slatted cage and the plastic cage (commonly called a "habitat"). In most cases, both offer basic essentials such as natural ventilation, drinking trough and wheel. The base of both is usually covered with substrate or wood sawdust, which absorbs urine.

Grid cages. These commonly consist of a base, sometimes known as a tray, on which the litter is spread and to which the upper slatted structure is attached. This allows the grate structure to be easily removed for cleaning. They may sometimes have tunnels and compartments extending from the grate structure.

Plastic cage. These are often referred to as habitats because of their greater space and exploration options for the hamster. They always have tunnels and compartments. Many models are modular, so there are parts sold separately that allow you to expand and customise the cage; the possibilities are endless.

Grid Cage Plastic Cage
Cleaning Very easy Moderately easy
Tunnels and compartments Some All
Estimated set-up time 2 minutes 20 minutes
Expansion and customisation Limited Unlimited

How much does a hamster cage cost?

You can buy a very good and comfortable grid cage with a wheel, drinking trough and even a tunnel or tower. If you are one of those people who like to pamper their hamsters to the fullest, you can invest in modular plastic cage parts. These, however, can be somewhat expensive.

Another way you can make your hamster's cage more comfortable is by purchasing extra accessories. These, unlike the modular parts, are installed inside the cage and not as a part of the cage itself. Examples are houses, extra wheels and even hanging 'nests'.

Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate different models of hamster cages

Hamsters are very small animals, but that doesn't mean they should be treated with any less care than a large one like a dog. Here are the most important factors to consider in order to give your small pet a decent, comfortable and safe home.

  • Ease of cleaning
  • Breed of hamster
  • Accessories included
  • Anti-escape safety

Ease of cleaning

The base of all hamster cages is covered with substrate or wood shavings. This has two functions: to absorb the rodent's urine and to provide a soft, manipulable surface that the hamster can use to create small 'nests' or 'burrows'. The cage cleaning process consists of changing the soiled substrate.

Grid cages. These are easier to clean as only the grid structure needs to be detached from the tray to remove the soiled substrate. However, consider that if the inside of the cage has several accessories such as houses, they should be removed before cleaning. This can be tedious for many.

Plastic cages. These are a little more complicated. In addition to the shavings in the base, it is also important to clean the tunnels and compartments to maintain hygiene. For this process, it is necessary to disassemble the cage and reassemble it once it is clean. This is particularly difficult if the cage has many tunnels and towers.

If you have the time to constantly disassemble and reassemble the cage and want to pamper your hamster as much as possible, we recommend a plastic modular cage. If cleaning is tedious and you don't have enough time, a grid cage is the best option for you.

The substrate or shavings are essential to maintain hygiene inside the cage (Photo: CrizzlDizzl / pixabay.com)

Hamster breed

Many people buy more than one hamster and large cages with the idea that they will live together. Before purchasing a large cage for this purpose, consider that Syrian/golden breed hamsters (the most common) are territorial and prone to fighting. If you are interested in keeping more than one Syrian, we recommend purchasing two individual cages.

It is also worth considering the breed of hamster for space reasons. You don't want your hamster to get too big and cramped, as you will probably have to invest in a new cage. Golden/Syrian hamsters can grow up to 15cm, while dwarf hamsters do not usually exceed 10cm.

Accessories Included

It is always cheaper to choose a cage with built-in accessories than to buy the accessories separately. However, if the cage you purchased does not have them, here are the most important accessories to consider. A complete cage should have the following accessories as a minimum:

Drinker. In the case of grid cages, it is hung over the grids. In plastic cages, it usually stands alone or is integrated into one of the plastic parts. This drinker is easy to refill and has a dosing system that allows the hamster to drink droplets of water, preventing the water from dripping.

Wheel. The wheel is essential as the hamster requires play and physical activity. If it doesn't have one, it could become stressed and fall ill. It is worth choosing one with a simple, low-noise spinning mechanism, as hamsters are prone to running around at night while you sleep. If it is noisy, you can easily grease it.

Food container. It is always important to have this accessory for hygiene and convenience. If food is served directly onto the substrate or shavings, it can end up mixing with excrement and absorbed urine. To avoid it getting dirty and ending up all over the cage, it is worth having a container.

Anti-escape safety

Plastic cages. Their design makes it virtually impossible for the hamster to escape, as the doors are often parts that only a human could remove. Ventilation holes are often at the top, where the hamster cannot reach. Escape is more of an issue in the slatted cage.

Grille cages. It is very important to consider the size of the hamster and the spacing of the grids. Grids can be up to 1.5 cm apart. If your hamster is a dwarf hamster, it may slip through this space, so we recommend choosing a cage with grids at least 1 cm apart.

(Featured image photo: Alicja / Pixabay.com)

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