When you get your first hamster, there is a lot of conflicting information online, especially about the hamster cage. We have tested, researched, and received feedback from readers on a variety of hamster cages, so here are the best available today.
|Hamster Cage / Tank||Size Rating||Price/sq. in. Rating||Overall Rating|
|Niteangel Vista Hamster Cage – Medium||A+||A||A+|
|Niteangel Vista Hamster Cage – Large||A+||A||A+|
|Aivituvin Upgraded 3 Tier Hamster Cage||A||A+||A+|
|Prevue Pet Products 528 Universal Small Animal Home||B||A+||A|
|Aqueon Standard Glass Aquarium Tank 40 Gallon Breeder||B||A+||A|
|New Age Pet ecoFLEX Park Avenue Indoor Small Animal Hutch||A||A||A|
|Aqueon LED 29 Gallon Aquarium Kit||D||A||B|
|Kaytee CritterTrail Super Hamster Habitat||C||A||B|
|Top Fin Open Glass 40-gallon Aquarium||C||A+||B|
|SeaClear 40-Gallon Acrylic Fish Tank||C||F||C|
|Lifegard Crystal Bookshelf Aquarium||C||F||C|
|Niteangel Vista Hamster Cage – Small||C||D||C|
|REPTI ZOO 50 Gallon Tempered Glass Reptile Large Terrarium Tank||B||F||C|
|LANDEN Rimless Low Iron 50 Gallon Aquarium Tank||B||F||C|
|Tetra Aquatic Turtle Deluxe Kit 20 Gallons||D||F||D|
Real Evaluations By Real People
We really did evaluate all these items. This is not just a bunch of affiliate links to whomever we can make money from. Just to show you one sheet in our evaluation tool, here’s a screenshot of one step in the process to bring you real data.
While we looked at dozens of models of hamster cages, few wire cages made it to our final round list. Similar to plastic hamster cages, many commercial wire cages do not meet the minimum size requirements for a hamster.
Our Pick For Best Hamster Bedding
Studies and research suggest that paper bedding is best for our hammies. The Carefresh natural paper bedding for small animals is our top pick to use, today.
What We Like:
- Natural paper bedding
- 99% dust free – Reduced cause of respiratory issues for hamsters and human in some cases.
- Up to 10 Days of ammonia odor control
- Good for tunneling and burrowing
- Reduced chance for cuts from sharp portions
- Good absorbency
Evaluation: Hamster Habitat Size Requirements
Does your hamster spend it’s time chewing on its current cage? If so, it may be symptom of stress and time to look at getting a bigger habitat for them.
According to the ethical hamster breeders at Nantucket Hamstery, the minimum floor space for a single Syrian hamster is 450 sq. in. We recommend a minimum of 600 sq. in. of “unbroken” floor space for a hamster.
A level of space that is not obstructed or broken is considered an unbroken level. In other words, we are looking for big open areas for the hamster.
In addition, a larger hamster cage allows more room for you to place accessories, toys, and deep bedding.
Finally, a larger enclosure with the right materials can help ensure good ventilation and airflow which is important.
The internet will tell you the minimum cage size for a hamster is 12” W x 12” D x 24” H but, those resources are wrong when it comes to a happy and healthy hamster. We see too many hamsters that are unhealthy and stressed out in a cage that small.
Nantucket Hamstery recommends “The bigger the home the hamster is housed in, the happier the hamster will be… Hamsters will not be happy or healthy in a small cage. ” and we couldn’t agree more.
So, our recommendation for the minimum recommended size for hamster cages is 15” W x 12” D x 30” H which is 450 sq. in. In fact, you’ll have an even better opportunity at a happy, healthy and friendly hamster by moving towards a 15” W x 12” D x 40” H cage which is 600 sq. in. or loving space to forage, play, and burrow.
Don’t miss out on the word “forage” above. Rather than dumping hamster food in a bowl, try to encourage the natural foraging behavior.
Sprinkle a portion of the food over the bottom of the habitat, on top of the bedding material, so they can search to find it. A bigger cage helps make this possible.
Evaluation: Hamster Habitat Price Per Square Inch
We also looked at the price of these hamster cages and tanks for hamster enclosures. Price is a determining factor for many hamster owners. Being frugal and getting the best deal is awesome, and we love that we can help guide you in this way.
For each of the tanks, cages, and enclosures we evaluated, we looked around and found the best prices possible. We averaged those prices as the cost we calculated the price per square inch against.
It was interesting to see that tanks are not necessarily the least expensive option for hamster enclosures. The Aqueon 40-gallon breeder tank really led the pack when it came to straight-up price at $0.17 per sq. in.
Surprisingly, there were a few quality enclosures that were at a great price point and even beat out some of the tank options. Specifically, the Niteangel Vista Hamster Cage – Medium that ended up being our best overall hamster cage winner. Heck, you can even order it on Amazon which couldn’t be easier.
Evaluation: Hamster Bedding Depth
When selecting hamster cages, bedding depth is one criteria that is missed by many new hamster owners. Yet, it is a significant factor in hamster health, stress reduction and reducing fearful behavior likes biting.
We’ve written extensively about hamster bedding depth. You can read more about how to calculate it. To keep it simple, we even created a hamster bedding calculator to help you know how much bedding to buy.
Depending on your hamster’s height, bedding depths vary. Put simply, we can’t fill the hamster cage with bedding to the top or your hamster will pull a Houdini trick and escape.
The general rule is that the taller the enclosure, to deeper the bedding you could put into it. The bigger the hamster, the more space is needed between the top of the bedding and the top of the tank.
[Also Read] – How To Choose A Hamster Home
Learn more about how big hamsters get! Not all hamster species are the same size. The bigger they are, the larger their habitat needs to be. How big will your hamster get?
Our Top Hamster Cage Picks (Ready To Buy)
No drama, and no suspense. Here are our picks.
Best Overall Value: Niteangel Vista Hamster Cage – Medium
The best overall hamster cage for 2022 is the Niteangel Vista Hamster cage in the Medium size. This flat-packed cage is fairly straightforward to assemble and provides a whopping 924 sq. in. of space. That’s a lot of living space for a solitary hamster.
The slotted design is similar to some 3D puzzles but way easier. Then there are a few screws to hold everything in place. One person can certainly put this together, although a second set of hands might make it go faster. It’s about a 20-30 minute project.
There is a massive viewing window both on the front face and the hinged and angled top lid. This is a hamster cage that is built more like a tank with lots of viewing options.
The hinged lid is unique in that it is angled for easy access to water, feed, cuddle your hamster. This design also makes cleaning much easier since you don’t have to get totally over the top of the enclosure to reach in.
With kids, be careful with that hinged lid though. With the design, it is possible that someone could try to flick open and back so hard that the hinges may break. Although, you would also be scaring your poor hamster to death.
The last thing we love that Niteangel thought of was that you can buy the add-on casters specifically made for this hamster cage. That will make moving the cage super easy for vacuuming under and behind the cage. We didn’t buy those for this review but love the idea.
This hamster cage is made of birchwood and MDF. Some folks like MDF and some don’t. If you don’t, look at the tank options below. To be clear, these Niteangel cages are made of finished wood that has been sealed. Urine does not soak through into the wood. Woohoo!
Finally, Niteangel’s refund policy states that only “unworn or unused” products are available for return/refund. So, check out the product when it arrives to make sure it meets your expectations before using it with your hamster.
Real World Example
We found a user on hamstercentral.com who did a wonderful review video with a very cool setup that might be helpful before buying. Unfortunately, we’re not permitted to embed it here so, here’s a link to it.
Best Budget: Aqueon Standard Glass Aquarium Tank 40 Gallon Breeder
Aquarium tanks have long been used as fantastic hamster homes and the Aqueon 40-gallon Standard Glass Aquarium Breeder Tank is no exception. It is actually the best price per square inch option coming in at an incredibly budget-friendly $0.17 per square inch.
Tanks are just that, aquarium tanks made for fish. Fish are very susceptible to chemicals and other harmful products. Therefore, tanks are great for hamsters that are more resilient to such things.
In the end, you get a nice 40-gallon tank. No accessories. No mesh lid. No hamster wheel. So, you get to choose each piece according to your hamster’s breed, size, and temperament and pick what is high-quality. You’re not paying for inferior “freebies” that are not free.
[Also read] – Are hamster wheels safe?
The tank is 36.19″L X 18.25″W X 16.94″ tall giving you approximately 660 sq. in. of unbroken floor space. It also allows you to add approximately 9-10 inches of bedding in spots.
This is a great overall tank with an excellent price-point. Be sure that the furniture you place it on is very stable with the weight of the tank on it. You’re talking about 58 pounds! It’s not light and nobody wants their friends, family, kids or hamster to fall.
You’ll need to also purchase a mesh lid to go with it. The best budget-priced one we could find on Amazon is the Zilla Reptile Terrarium Fresh Air Screen Cover. But, there are many other 36″ X 18″ 40-gallon mesh lids from many manufacturers at many different price points. There are even some that are hinged.
Best For Syrian Hamsters: Niteangel Vista Hamster Cage – Large
The Syrian breed of hamster can get pretty big. It only makes sense that you need a large hamster cage. And the Niteangel Vista Hamster Cage delivers with a whopping 1069 square inches of unbroken floor space.
You’ll need about 7.5 square feet of space in your home to put this bad boy. The optional casters may be a great investment to make moving the Niteangel Vista a bit easier for cleaning under and behind it.
Much like a tank, you’ll want to be sure that anything you set it on can easily support the 43.25 lbs. of weight plus the weight of anything you put in it.
The windows are made of PET Plastic, not glass and not acrylic. PET Plastic may scratch a little bit easier than acrylic but is way stronger than glass. I might call this “kid friendly”. Come on, if you have kids, you know what I mean.
There is also a white laminate version of this to better fit your decor or make keeping it clean a bit easier. Now you can match your furniture.
In this large version, you can easily achieve 15-16″ hamster bedding depth in the areas you want. Fabulous. This is finally getting to the recommended ideal of 15″ or more bedding depth.
Best For Dwarf Hamsters: Aqueon Standard Glass Aquarium Tank 40 Gallon Breeder
Don’t get us wrong, a Roborovski or other dwarf hamster can use larger cages. But, if you are looking for a great quality and value based option, the Aqueon 4-gallon breeder tank could be a good option. Yes, this was our budget recommendation as well.
With dimensions of .19″L X 18.25″W X 16.94″ you are getting 660 sq. in. of unbroken floor space for your dwarf hamster. The almost 17″ height means we’ll be able to get 10″ of bedding depth in places as best suites your hamster.
While other tanks could work well here, the 40-gallon breeder tank is a standard size. This makes finding mesh lids, that you will need to purchase separately, pretty easy. However, you could roll up your sleeves and take on a 90-minute project to build your own from a kit. We’ve included a video about this at the end of the article.
A good secondary option would be the Niteangel Vista Hamster Cage in the Small size if you would prefer something other than a tank.
Hamster Cage vs. Tank – Which Is The Best Value?
The average price of a tank is $0.46 per square inch, while enclosures average $0.28 per square inch, and cages average $0.25 per square inch. While cages seem the least expensive, most are undersized, leaving hamster tanks and enclosures as the best value hamster home.
Best Value Under 600 Square Inches
Under 600 sq. in. of unbroken floor space, the Top Fin Open Glass 40-gallon Aquarium is the best value at $0.19 per sq. in. At 17.25″ tall, there is the ability to keep at least 10″ of bedding which will allow for burrowing.
Best Value 600-800 Square Inches
In the 600-800 sq. in. size, the Aqueon Standard Glass Aquarium Tank 40 Gallon Breeder is the best value at $0.17 per sq. in. This tank is slightly shorter at only 16.94″ tall which will still allow for approximately 9-10 inches of bedding depth. This tank makes a great hamster cage in the 600-800 square inches range.
Best Value 800-1,000 Square Inches
The Niteangel Vista Hamster Cage – Medium provides the best value at $0.27 per square inch in this 924 sq. in. version. This enclosure has a vaulted, cathedral-type top which is taller in the back than the front. Still, you should be able to get in 10-12″ of bedding depth for plenty of burrowing action.
Best Value Over 1,000 Square Inches
Lastly, for a hamster cage that is 1000 square inches or larger, we recommend building your own as a DIY hamster cage project. This will allow the best price to square inch ratio and provide opportunities to custom it to coordinate and fit into your home decor.
For example, the popular Ikea Detolf hamster cage mod gives your hamster around 2300 square inches of space in its 62″ x 38″ dimensions. That brings the price ratio to approximately $0.04 per square inch. Interesting indeed!
Why does bedding depth matter? It’s all about hamster health which includes less stress on your furry friend.903pets.com
|Hamster Tanks||Unbroken Square Inches||Price / Square Inch|
|Aqueon Standard Glass Aquarium Tank 40 Gallon Breeder||660 sq. in.||$0.17|
|Top Fin Open Glass 40-gallon Aquarium||566 sq. in.||$0.19|
|Aqueon LED 29 Gallon Aquarium Kit||460 sq. in.||$0.28|
|SeaClear 40-Gallon Acrylic Fish Tank (Rimless)||540 sq. in.||$0.53|
|Lifegard Crystal Bookshelf Aquarium||560 sq. in.||$0.54|
|Hamster Enclosure||Unbroken Square Inches||Price / Square Inch|
|Aivituvin Upgraded 3 Tier Hamster Cage||768 sq. in.||$0.20|
|Niteangel Vista Hamster Cage – Small||566 sq. in.||$0.37|
|Niteangel Vista Hamster Cage – Medium||924 sq. in.||$0.27|
|Niteangel Vista Hamster Cage – Large||1069 sq. in.||$0.28|
|Hamster Cage||Unbroken Square Inches||Price / Square Inch|
|Prevue Pet Products 528 Universal Small Animal Home||618 sq. in.||$0.22|
|Kaytee CritterTrail Super Hamster Habitat||540 sq. in.||$0.28|
Which Hamster Cages You Should Not Buy
We also reviewed hamster cages and tanks that were just too small. They did not meet the 450 sq. in. rule for hamsters and certainly did not meet our recommendation of 600 sq. in. While the price points were good, we’re not going to provide a home for hamsters that is too small.
We list them here for reference only as ones you should not purchase for your hamster buddy. We won’t even link to these products for hamster home purposes.
|Hamster Tank/Cage||Size Rating||Price/Sq. In. Rating||Overall Rating|
|Aqueon Standard Glass Aquarium Tank 29 Gallon||F||A+||F|
|Aqueon Aquarium 20 Gallon Long||F||A+||F|
|Favola Hamster Cage||F||A+||F|
|Tetra 20-Gallon Tank||F||A+||F|
|Kaytee CritterTrail 1-Level Habitat||F||A+||F|
|Midwest Critterville Arcade Hamster Cage||F||A||F|
Did We Make A Mistake? – Measurements
As I write this post, there is a need to confess a mistake I made. Hamsters need unbroken floor space. In calculating the available floor space of our reviewed hamster cages and pricing, I measured the outside dimensions and not the inside dimensions.
Why is this important? Well, if the wall thickness is 1/4″, then the usable floor space is reduce by 1/4″ all the way around. This may add up to 10″ here or there. So if we reported 610 sq. in., the reality may be that only 600 sq. in. are usable.
So, that means that the actual usable unbroken space calculations may be a few inches less than reported here. In the end, the results will have remained the same however the sq. in. and price per sq. in. numbers will slightly vary.
We’ll know better next time. Honesty and integrity is important to us and felt you should know.
Make A Custom Mesh Lid
Some tanks are not a standard length and width like the Aqueon LED 29-Gallon tank listed above. For these, finding a mesh lid may be difficult, but there are various mesh lid kits available to make a perfect fitting mesh lid.
Here’s a short video for one of those kits.
If you think your pet is ill, call a vet immediately. All health-related questions should be referred to your veterinarian. They can examine your pet, understand its health history, and make well informed recommendations for your pet.903pets.com Staff