Hamster wheels are one of the most popular accessories found in a pet hamsters home. What types of hamster can make use of a wheel, what size wheel do you need and what is the best wheel available according to your needs? We will attempt to answer all of these questions and more. We will give you all the information you will require before making a purchase as well as collecting data on all the most popular wheels available and displaying them in a comparison table for easy comparisons. Hamster wheels are exercise toys that allow hamsters and other small rodents to exercise in a confined environment such as a hamster cage. Hamsters, in the wild have been know to run many miles in a night. According to Wikipedia, hamsters can run up to about 5.5 miles per night. All this exercise is great for your pet hamster. It helps them to burn excess calories and not become overweight.
Allowing your hamster to exercise in a wheel has other benefits such as giving your hamster mental stimulation and preventing them from becoming bored. A hamster with a wheel is far less likely to chew on their cage bars potentially giving you a good night’s sleep especially if you your hamster is in your bedroom.
Types of Wheel
There is a whole range of wheels for sale on the market today online and in pet chain stores like petsmart. They vary in size, material, color and features and come in a range of budgets. All types of wheel have pros and cons. Most wheels are either plastic or metal. Metal wheels are far more robust than their plastic counterparts and are likely to be long lasting. Plastic wheels are more prone to wear and tear especially when a hamster takes to nibbling on them.
Metal vs Plastic
Metal wheels tend to be made with rungs as opposed to a solid piece of plastic. This is bad for hamsters feet as they can sometimes get their legs trapped in the rungs. This can cause serious injury and sometimes broken bones when the hamster wheel is in full operation. Plastic wheels are much safer as the running surface is solid with indents for grip. There are a lot of wheels on the market that primarily focus on noise, or lack of. Wheels that don’t squeak tend to have more complex bearing axle mechanisms that don’t make noise or make little noise.
The size of the wheel is very important for the health of your hamster as a wheel that is too small causes the animal to arch their backs whilst running potentially causing straining and spinal injuries. The larger the wheel the flatter the running surface and the more it simulates real running in the wild. Unfortunately this information is not widespread and many hamster owners provide their pets with small wheels this is not helped by missguided specifications on the wheels for sale. Generally speaking, you cannot give a hamster a wheel that is too large within reason, so when choosing a wheel, if in doubt always opt for the larger one.
If you own a pair of Dwarf Hamsters providing them with an extra large wheel (for syrians) allows them to run together but bear in mind dwarfs sometimes become territorial over wheels and territory so be prepared to give them another wheel if they start fighting.
A noisy or squeaky wheel can be a problem especially if you house your pet hamsters in your sleeping area. The problem can be alleviated temporarily by using some pet-safe lubricant such as coconut oil to grease the wheel axle but it doesn’t last very long. Thankfully there are quiet hamster wheels on the market today such as the popular Silent Spinners. They are a little more expensive than the basic wheel but if you value peace and quiet they make a fantastic investment.
We have collected a range of the most popular hamster wheels and listed them in this helpful table. You can sort them via budget or size for your convenience.
$$$ – Premium, $$$ – Midrange, $ – Budget
|Kaytee Silent Spinner||Plastic||$$|
|Kaytee Run-Around Regular Exercise Wheel||Metal||$$|
|HamsFam Wooden Exercise Wheel||Wooden||$$$|
|Kaytee Natural Exercise Wheel||Wooden||$$$|
|Happy Pet Ultra-quiet||Acrylic||$$|
Flying saucers offer a fun alternative to hamster wheels that take up more floor space but offer some variation to a hamster. Saucers are excellent for Dwarf hamsters because they allow multiple dwarfs to fun at the same time.