Hamsters may be small, but in the wild, they can cover long distances by running for miles. As responsible pet owners, we must ensure that our hamsters have the opportunity to burn off excess energy. The best way to accomplish this is to purchase a good hamster wheel, which provides both exercise and entertainment.
A hamster wheel is a must-have for any cage, but you must consider your hamster’s size and growth potential, what time they are likely to be most active, and how easy it is to clean. We’ve compiled a list of the best hamster wheels available:
- Exotic Nutrition Silent Runner
- Suncoast Sugar Glider Wodent wheel
- Ware Flying Saucer Hamster Wheel
- Kaytee CritterTrail Snap-On Comfort Wheel
- Kaytee Comfort Wheel Giant 12 Inches
- JEMPET Hamster Silent Running Exercise Wheel
- Prevue Pet Products Quiet Wheels
- Kaytee Comfort Wheel Large 8.5 Inches
Things to consider when buying a hamster wheel
There are several factors to consider when choosing a hamster wheel:
- Firstly, you need to get the right size wheel for your hamster. It is really important that you buy your hamster the correct wheel for their current and potential size so that your hamster always runs with a straight spine. Running with an arched back can cause problems in the future, such as curvature of the spine. Most cages come with a built-in wheel of approx. 5”. These wheels are way too small, even for dwarf hamsters, especially as your hamster grows.
- Secondly, you need to consider when your hamster is most active. Most hamsters prefer to run around at night and therefore you may prefer a wheel that is quiet so that you can enjoy a peaceful sleep.
- Thirdly, remember to consider how easy the wheel will be to clean. Hamsters can be messy, and a fiddly wheel will make the whole cleaning of the cage take twice as long.
- Finally, you should think about the material of the wheel itself. Most hamster wheels are available in either plastic, wood or metal, but we would only advise buying a plastic or wooden one. Metal may be a stronger material; however, most wheels are made of mesh or bars which can be dangerous for your hamster. Your furry friend has fragile legs and toes and if they fall through the gaps or get caught between the rungs then they could get injured. Long term running on this type of material can also cause bumble foot, which are painful abscesses that develop on the bottom of the feet. Plastic wheels are much safer as they are made from one solid piece of plastic, so there are no gaps.
Having taken all of the above into consideration, we have reviewed the most popular hamster wheels that are currently available to buy, as well as answering any ‘wheely’ hard questions you may have.
Our guide to the best hamster wheels
Hamster wheels come in a variety of sizes and designs, but the ideal wheel is one that keeps them slim, trim, safe, and healthy!
- Exotic Nutrition Silent Runner – Best silent wheel
We like this hamster wheel because it is sturdy yet spacious, giving your hamster plenty of room to stretch out and run. And, while we all want our hamsters to stay fit, nothing is worse than a squeaky wheel.
The Exotic Nutrition Silent Runner is great because it doesn’t make any noise. It also has a non-slip textured running track, allowing your hamster to run around without risk of injury. It also serves the additional purpose of filing your hamster’s nails.
This free-standing wheel does not contain a centre axle, allowing your hamster to run with a flat back, lowering the risk of spinal injury. It is semi-enclosed with bean-shaped openings to keep your hamster safe inside. The Exotic Nutrition Silent Runner, which comes in a variety of sizes, is an excellent choice for all hamster breeds.
- No centre Axle
- Textured non-slip running track
- Available in a variety of sizes
- Can be tricky to clean
- Suncoast Sugar Glider Wodent Wheel – Safest hamster wheel
This spacious wheel is not only great for your hamster’s spine but has a wall to wall tail shield that completely covers the axle preventing any potential tail injuries.
We have always had an issue with keeping our hamster’s nails short, but with this wheel, you do not need to worry about trimming them. The Suncoast Sugar Glider Wodent Wheel has a built-in patented Nail-O-Matic™, that files them for you.
- Includes the patented Nail-O-Matic™ to reduce costly vets bills for professional nail trimming
- Easy to clean
- Includes tail shield
- More expensive than other wheels
- Need to replace the Nail-O-Matic™ part of the wheel every 3 years
- Ware Flying Saucer Hamster Wheel – Best saucer wheel
This free-standing wheel provides your hamster with a flatter running surface. The Ware is our favorite flying saucer, and we like that it comes in a variety of sizes and colors.
This wheel is ideal if you have more than one dwarf hamster in a cage because it can accommodate multiple runners. It also has a sturdy running surface to keep your hamsters’ feet safe and secure, and it is extremely simple to clean.
Although this wheel is relatively quiet, we discovered that the ones we bought began to squeak after some regular use, so you may need to oil it on occasion.
- Easy to clean
- Large enough to fit multiple dwarf hamsters
- Not completely silent
- Kaytee CritterTrail Snap-On Comfort Wheel – Best clip on hamster wheel
Although this wheel is fun and colorful, we would not recommend it as the main exercise wheel for your hamster – especially Syrians due to their size. Instead, this should only ever form part of an entertainment system for your hamster and a larger free-standing wheel will need to be installed.
What is great about the Kaytee CritterTrail Snap-On Comfort wheel is that it is great for your hamster to hop in and out of, is economical in terms of space and it is easy and quick to install when used in conjunction with CritterTrail cage systems.
The wheel itself is fully enclosed for your hamster’s safety plus it is sturdy and relatively quiet when your hamster is running at full pelt.
- Simple snap-on space-saving design
- Can only be used in conjunction with CritterTrail cages
- Too small to be used as a main exercise wheel
- Difficult to clean
- Kaytee Comfort Wheel Giant 12 Inches – Best wheel for a Syrian hamster
Syrian or teddy bear hamsters as they are otherwise known, are one of the largest hamster breeds, coming in at almost double the size of a dwarf hamster. Female Syrian hamsters tend to be larger than the males, but both genders are extremely solitary and territorial so will need to be kept on their own from around five weeks old. Averaging between 6-7” in size, they need a large wheel of between 8-12” which makes the Kaytee Comfort Giant Wheel perfect.
What is great about this wheel is that depending on the space available within the cage, it can be placed either free-standing or can be attached to the wire bars. They feature a tail-safe design, and are good for long-haired Syrian hamster, as it does not have any spindles.
This wheel also has easy access which makes entering and exiting a breeze, especially if your hamster is slightly older and finds it difficult to maneuver around.
- 12” in size allows plenty of space for large Syrians to run around
- Free standing or fixed attachment
- Tail safe design
- Available in a choice of colors
- You need plenty of space to house this wheel
- JEMPET Hamster Silent Running Exercise Wheel – Best wheel for a Robovoski
Roborovskis are the smallest of the dwarf hamsters, growing to just 2” in size so can easily enjoy running around in a 6” hamster wheel. There are no noticeable differences between male and female Roborvoskis either, so this hamster wheel size is perfect for both male and females.
The JEMPET Hamster Silent Running Exercise Wheel is made from natural wood so is stylish and versatile, doubling as an exercise and chew toy for your hamster (so is good for keeping their teeth in check). Plus you will find a safety stand and enclosed back which prevents your hamster from getting stuck.
The running surface is made of oak bark so is soft on your hamsters feet and greatly reduces the risk of injury.
- Super soft on hamsters’ feet
- Incredibly quiet design
- Made from natural wood
- Available in two sizes
- As it is gnawable it may need replacing
- Pruvue Quiet Wheel – Best wheel for Chinese Hamsters
Chinese hamsters are not dwarf hamsters and although they do look of similar size, they tend to grow to around 4”. Therefore, Chinese hamster wheels need to be a minimum of 8” in size.
The Prevue Wheel can be affixed directly to your hamsters habitat or used with a stand depending on your personal needs. The wheel itself is a simplistic yet modern design and can be disassembled for easy cleaning.
One of the biggest pros to this wheel is that it is super quiet so your Chinese hamster can exercise for hours without you even knowing it!
- Incredibly quiet
- Available in a variety of sizes (although we recommend at least the 8” for a Chinese hamster)
- Freestanding or fixed attachment
- Can be disassembled to clean
- Not suitable for Syrian hamsters
- Kaytee Comfort Wheel 8.5” – Best wheel for a Winter White or Campbell Dwarf hamster
Okay, so this is a bit of a cheat because we have already reviewed this wheel for Syrian hamsters, but we couldn’t help but mention it again – especially if you have a dwarf hamster.
The 8.5″ wheel is ideal for Winter Whites and Campbell hamsters, which require a slightly larger hamster wheel of between 6″-8″ because they can grow up to 4″. Although dwarf hamsters can share cages, it is recommended that they each have their own wheel, even if they prefer to run together.
See our review of the Kaytee Comfort Exercise Wheel Giant 12″ for a full breakdown of features for more information on this wheel and the pros and cons of its design.
A hamster wheel will make your pet very happy. Aside from the mental and physical benefits that many of these exercise wheels provide, there are also health benefits. Your hamster can have hours of fun working out at night, from filing their nails to keeping their teeth in check and their weight down.
If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on food, toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!
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