Written by Laura Grace, January 15th, 2020.
A hamster of any species needs 450 square inches of solid, unbroken floorspace at the bare minimum. If you can get more, especially for Syrians, then go for it. But cages that size are very hard to find in retail stores. Hamster owners struggle with this problem, and so did I.
Beanie’s lived in three different cages, each bigger and different from the last. Here you will get my opinion as well as the pros and cons of wire cages, tank cages, and bin cages, all of which Beanie has lived in.
I will also be naming a few really good cages at the end, so you can check them out.
These cages are the most popular, and probably what you envision when you think of a cage. Wire cages have been around for ages, and can be found pretty much anywhere. The issue is there are so few wire cages big enough for hamsters. When I say big enough, I mean that it reaches the required size (450 square inches), is tall enough for an appropriate wheel (6-12 inch), and has a deep enough base for the 6+ inches of required burrowing substrate.
- Excellent ventilation.
- Great for hamsters who love to climb, shelving is easier to add.
- Hamsters can shove bedding/food/poop/pee through the bars.
- Hamsters can climb and fall.
- Hamsters can chew the bars resulting in dental issues.
- Big enough ones are $40-$150.
- Easier to escape from than other cages.
- Can be hard to clean.
Overall, if you can find a large enough wire cage and the price is not an issue then wire cages can work very well for many people, but most people prefer cages without the risk of bar chewing.
Glass Tank Cages
Tanks are also very popular. Tanks prevent bar chewing, shoving things out onto the floor, climbing up bars and falling, and are quite escape proof. Tanks may need DIY lids, unless they are very tall. Tanks are readily available at most pet stores or fish stores.
- Readily available.
- Nice appearance.
- No bar chewing.
- No climbing and falling.
- No shoving things through bars.
- Quite expensive.
- Heavy and difficult to move around.
- Harder to ventilate.
Overall, tanks make very good cages, and I highly recommend them if you get the correct size. They are very safe, cozy, and hamsters can look out at the world.
Bin cages are awesome. They are lightweight, cheap, readily available, customisable, and make great cages. Bin cages are large, cheap storage bins with wire mesh in the lid and/or sides. I’ve seen people put door pieces from small wire cages onto the front so you don’t have to remove the lid so often. I do not recommend these for Gerbils due to their plastic chewing reputation.
- Readily available.
- Simple DIY.
- No bar chewing/climbing unless you install wire on the sides.
- No putting things through bars, unless side bars installed.
- Pretty easy to clean.
- You get so much space for so little money!
- You have to DIY mesh onto it; drilled holes are not sufficient.
- Can crack when customizing.
- Unless you put loads of mesh, not super ventilated.
- Plastic may be foggy.
- Can be escaped from if the hamster chews diligently.
Overall, bin cages are very popular, and I feel like the pros outweigh the cons. This is Beanie’s favorite cage yet, and the cons will not stop your hamster from being happy in this cage style.
Awesome Cages To Consider:
- Prevue 528 Wire Cage
- 40 Gallon Breeder Tank Hamster Cage
- Ikea Detolf Hamster Cage
- 200 Quart Sterilite Bin Cage for Hamster
I hope this blog post was helpful for those looking to upgrade their hamster, or are going to get a hamster and are looking for good cages. I’d personally love to try out all the cages I’ve recommended, from all my research they seem really awesome! Please comment down below in the ‘Reply’ section if you use any of those cages, and let me know what you think!
If you’re interested in more hamster-related content be sure to like this post and follow the blog, and I’ll be back on Tuesday with more small pet care, DIYs, recipes, cage setups, stories and more, have a ham-tastic day!
Great advice. I’ll keep this stuff in mind for my future hammy’s cage. Do you recommend a Syrian or a Robo for a first-time hamster owner?
I would not recommend a Roborovski Dwarf hamster as a first hamster. They are the smallest, fastest, and hardest to tame. Robos also live the longest of any species, around 3-4 years, and you must consider any drastic events that may take place in your farther future because that would be very irresponsible if you had to rehome your hamster. As for a Syrian as a first hamster, that would do fine depending on the characteristics you’re looking for. Syrians are known to be ungrateful, and they should have a very, very large cage of around 600-900 square inches. But you could also consider Winter Whites, Campbell’s, Chinese, and Djungarian hamsters, which are a Campbell’s/Winter White mix, and are all also very good species. But I’ve personally never owned any of those species, so I would suggest further research elsewhere.
Hey i wish I owned a Hamster
Hamsters make very good pets, they are low(er) maintenance then some other pets. Hamsters do, however, need specific care. I hope you learn a lot about hamster care, and what to expect if you eventually own a hamster 🙂 Learning as much as possible about a pet before bringing them home can really leave less room for failure, so I recommend learning as much as possible, and I hope you find my posts informative and entertaining.