Which hamster wheels are best?
The image of a tiny hamster running endlessly on a spinning wheel has become an iconic part of owning these small, energetic animals. While often used symbolically as a metaphor for endless toil, a hamster wheel provides your pet with a reliable and necessary source of exercise. Popular among all species, it’s no wonder that the classic wheel has become an integral part of hamster ownership.
With so many options available to hamster owners, it can be a challenge to select the best hamster wheel for your pet. The Silent Runner 9″ | Wheel + Cage Attachment hamster wheel is designed with your pet’s safety and comfort in mind. This rugged, quiet hamster wheel allows you to provide your pet with constant activity without having to worry about being kept awake at night.
What to know before you buy a hamster wheel
Your hamster’s species
Understand your hamster’s species and size while shopping for a wheel. Select a model that will allow your pet to easily fit within the wheel and run effortlessly with minimal arching of its delicate spine. Large hamster wheels allow for less back strain. However, hamsters that are especially small also require special consideration, as they may not be able to quickly start and stop big, heavy wheels. This can increase the likelihood of injury due to stumbling or falling while the wheel is in motion.
Your cage space
Select a wheel that will fit your hamster’s cage without overcrowding. Your hamster will spend a great deal of time using its wheel, but that doesn’t mean it should come at the sacrifice of a large amount of cage real estate.
Your hamster’s wheel should be located in an area of the cage where it will not rub against nearby items or get clogged with bedding. Keep clearance around the wheel for safety and to allow any other hamsters you may be housing to move around it without risk of injury. Some wheels include a weighted base that allows you to simply set it down where you wish. Others are designed to mount to the side of your hamster’s cage, clamping the bars. Some models allow for either option. Consider where you want to place your pet’s wheel in its cage and opt for a model that will allow for ideal installation.
What to look for in a quality hamster wheel
Hamsters are especially active at night, spending hours running and playing on their wheel. Because of this, you should choose a silent hamster wheel that is designed to operate noiselessly. A squeaky wheel can turn your quiet hamster companion into a source of nightly disturbance.
Some hamsters and other small animals have been known to get their paws or tails caught in their wheels. This can cause harm, stress and even death to your pet. To ensure your hamster’s safety, select a wheel that does not include an exposed axle or any opportunities for your pet’s limbs or tail to get stuck in gaps between its bars, handles or spokes. Opt for a solid running surface. Wheels with rungs are not recommended.
LIke all of your pet’s cage furniture, your hamster wheel will require regular, thorough cleaning. Select a model with minimal nooks and crannies that can be easily wiped down, rinsed and dried.
Different wheel models and types allow for different mounting options. Some tightly mount to the side of your pet’s cage, while others are designed to sit on the floor of the enclosure. Assess the room your cage affords and purchase a wheel that will make efficient use of your hamster’s space.
Hamster wheels can be made from metal, plastic and even wood. Plastic wheels are light, easily cleaned and tend to be the quietest, while metal wheels are prone to squeaking and might be dangerously heavy if tipped over. Wooden wheels provide a natural option, but are hard to keep clean and can be chewed up and destroyed by your pet.
Hamster wheel tips
- Consider investing in two wheels if you house a pair of hamsters in the same cage. This allows both animals to exercise at the same time and helps prevent any fighting or territorial squabbling over the wheel.
- Because of the activity they provide for animals that naturally spend much of their time on the move, a wheel is a necessity for hamsters in captivity. If you find that you are unable to place a wheel in your pet’s enclosure due to the amount of items or toys already present, it would serve your hamster best to rearrange their habitat in order to accommodate it. Better yet, invest in a larger cage.
- Hamster wheels are also great for other small animals. Owners of mice, rats, gerbils, sugar gliders and even hedgehogs have found wheels to be valuable cage additions.
How much you can expect to spend on a hamster wheel
Hamster wheels can be purchased for anywhere between $15-$35, depending on size and construction quality.
Hamster wheel FAQ
How will my hamster learn to run on its wheel?
A. Once your hamster discovers how its wheel works, it will likely immediately begin running. Hamster wheels are popular and effective toys because the animals they are used for seem to inherently understand how they work and universally enjoy using them.
How do I clean my hamster’s wheel?
A. Your hamster’s wheel should be regularly cleaned with warm water and a pet-safe detergent to help keep germs and odor at bay. Wipe any visible grime off of the wheel and allow it to dry completely before reintroducing it into your hamster’s cage.
How much time will my hamster spend on its wheel?
A. Wild hamsters do a great deal of nocturnal traveling. According to data collected by the ASPCA, a pet hamster may cover as many as 6 miles on their wheel in a single night. Pet hamsters are known to spend between 4 and 6 hours a day on their wheel, making them invaluable when it comes to keeping your pet healthy.
What’s the best hamster wheel to buy?
Top hamster wheel
What you need to know: This wheel allows for multiple installation methods and encloses your pet while it exercises to prevent falling.
What you’ll love: This wheel’s solid running surface and fully enclosed, silent ball bearing protects your pet against injury. It can be placed on your cage’s floor or mounted to the side. Various sizes are available.
What you should consider: This wheel can be hard to clean thoroughly, due to its safety walls.
Top hamster wheel for the money
What you need to know: Affordable and easy to clean, this plastic wheel is great for hamster owners on a budget.
What you’ll love: Available in two fun colors, this wheel is designed to clip directly to the side of your hamster’s cage and is very quiet.
What you should consider: It is small in size and only suitable for dwarf hamsters.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This saucer-shaped toy provides a fun, interesting alternative to the traditional hamster wheel.
What you’ll love: Give your pet a new way to play with this saucer spinner. Plastic construction makes it easy to clean. It is available in multiple colors.
What you should consider: Because of this spinner’s horizontal orientation, it takes up quite a bit of space in the cage.
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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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