A hamster wheel is not just a toy. It’s a piece of furniture inside your hamster’s cage that will help them stay healthy, active, and happy. Letting your hamster use a hamster wheel will help them get a lot of exercise, burn their energy, and keep them entertained.
However, choosing a hamster wheel is not an easy task, there are a handful of options out there and you want to get the one that is the most suitable and safest wheel for your hammy.
There are also safety things you need to know before letting your hamster use a wheel and cases that you should remove the wheel. A hamster wheel is one of the basic accessories that a hamster house should have for many reasons. In this article, we will discuss the basic information about large hamster wheels, what size to get, what types are available, and safety tips.
ALSO READ: Taking care of senior hamsters
WHY DO HAMSTERS RUN ON WHEELS
Hamsters in the wild run up to 21 miles in a day. Domesticated hamsters still have this need and instinct because, through breeding, they didn’t lose the amount of energy they need to burn.
Hamsters are also very prone to obesity, diabetes, and other common illness for hamsters. Running on wheels keep your hamster happy, healthy, entertained, and has their extra energy burned. You can read more about why hamsters run on wheels in this article.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN THE BEST HAMSTER WHEEL
Before you go and buy a hamster wheel, you should know what are the things you must look for a suitable and safe one for your hamster. There are great options out there but there are also ones that you should avoid. This section will help you decide which large hamster wheel you should choose depending on the species of your hamster.
An exercise wheel is one of the hamster essentials that you have to have before you even pick up your hamster from the shop or the shelter.
RELATED POST: Fun hamster toys
Buying the wrong size is one of the common mistakes a new hamster owner makes. Choosing the size of the best hamster wheel is the most important part. First, you need to know what species of hamster you have before you can pick the right big hamster wheel:
- Syrian – 28 cm (12 in) or bigger if your hamster is a pedigree
- Dwarf species – 20 cm (8 in), Winter White, Campbell, Hybrid)
- Roborovski – 16 cm (7 in)
- Chinese – 20 cm (8 in)
All these sizes are measured from top to bottom of the wheel itself (not including the stand).
Run with a straight back
For safety reasons, your hamster should be able to run on the wheel without having to arch its back (their back to be straight). Hence, buying a bigger wheel is better.
The best hamster wheel should have a solid base and not with metal rungs or wire mesh. Letting your hamster use a mesh wheel can cause bumblefoot or foot injury, such as breaking bones on feet, which would lead to amputating limbs of your fur baby.
HOW TO SAFELY USE A HAMSTER WHEEL
Here are some tips on using a hamster wheel safely:
Don’t place the wheel too far from the ground
It is important not to place the wheel too far from the ground or the beddings. Placing a wheel too high will give your hamster a hard time getting on it and getting off it. This will result in your hamster jumping off the wheel and hurting itself.
Clean the wheel once a week
Most hamsters pee on their wheel for some reason. Hence, you should wash it at least once a week to keep the hamster cage clean and pleasant in your hamster’s nose. A dirty cage or wheel can cause distress to your hamster.
When the wheel is making noise
You can actually run some oil on the gear of the wheel to avoid the squeaky noise instead of buying a new one. If it doesn’t work and the noise still bothers you, you should opt for a silent wheel.
AFRAID YOUR HAMSTER WILL FLY OFF THE WHEEL?
We all have seen a video or witnessed with our own eyes that a hamster running on an exercise wheel could fly off. This is can be a terrifying and worrisome issue.
This situation happens when there are too many moments, and a hamster suddenly stops without slowing down first. This is common with young hamsters who are still learning to use its running wheel.
If this is a concern, you can opt for a wooden wheel. Those are much heavier, which means even when your pet is running at speed, it can’t go too fast and cause accidents. This is also the reason why you must get an extra large hamster wheel.
If your pet is still a baby or you have a Robo hamster, getting a bigger wheel means it’s heavier.
Another solution is to put extra bedding just under the wheel, which could prevent the wheel to run too fast.
If you prefer using a silent wheel, you can hot glue some items on it to make it heavier such as a piece of chew toy. Hot glue a whimzee (which is heavy in weight) at the back of the wheel. In case it falls off or your hamster finds it, they can chew the whimzee without you worrying about them ingesting toxic material.
TYPES OF HAMSTER WHEELS
There are different types of hamster wheels. You can choose what you want depending on your budget or the theme of your hamster’s cage. As long as it meets the size and it has a solid base, you’re good to go. Check the list below:
A silent wheel is best for those owners who hate the noise/squeak that a regular wheel makes. If your hamster’s cage is in the same room as where you sleep, you are better off with this one. Hamsters are known to be most active at night. I let my hamster use a regular plastic one and boy, it woke me up all the time!
Those with a “nature” theme for a hamster cage prefer a wooden wheel. They are good and expensive looking. If you buy a good brand, they shouldn’t make any noise either. The only cons of using a wooden wheel are when the wood is not well shaved and finished (not 100% smooth). These tiny pieces of wood can injure your hamster’s feet.
Regular Plastic Wheel
These type of wheels often comes with the hamster cage, however, it makes a really loud noise. If it makes a noise to the point that you can’t sleep, you should get a silent wheel instead. If the hamster sleeps in another room, then you should be fine.
Some hamsters simply don’t like using a large hamster wheel. If that’s the case, you can try a flying saucer, which is flatter or has more upright wheels. This is a controversial topic because it takes so much floor space and also sends the hamsters flying when they go too fast.
Same as the wheel, a flying saucer should meet the standard size requirements for each species of hamster.
WHAT ARE THE BEST LARGE HAMSTER WHEELS
In this section, we will list our recommended best hamster wheels according to our own experiences, which are always tried and tested by many hamster owners all over the world. We will list its best features and how to get them.
Niteangel/Getzoo Wooden Hamster Exercise Wheel
The design on both brands are quite similar – but are large hamster wheels which is the only kind we recommend you use. These are silent running wheels, so if the cage is inside your bedroom it will lessen the noise your hamster makes at night.
- size: 3.7 in track wide, 11.6 in diametre (9.3 and 29.4 cm)
Trixie is one of the trusted brands when it comes to hamster accessories. The wheel specifically has a quiet feature and is big in size which is both desirable for a Syrian and a dwarf.
One of the features that I like about their product is that it has front bars/plates making sure that your hamster will not fly away when it suddenly stops running on the wheel like what we see on some hamster videos on the wheels.
Trixie Wooden Wheel
Trixie has the best choice of the big hamster wheel, if you don’t want plastic and if your hamster’s cage has a “nature” theme, you probably want to opt for a wooden wheel instead. Trixie has this product too that is very good looking and of good quality. It comes in two sizes; 22 cm for Syrian and 15 cm for a dwarf.
Kaytee Silent Spinner
Kaytee is another very popular brand among hamster owners, they often produce hamster products that are safe and meet the requirements.
If the hamster will be in your room where you sleep, best to get the silent spinner, it works like magic! It is available in four sizes; 4.5 in (11.43 cm), 6.5 in (16.51 cm), 10 in (25.4 cm), and 12 in (30.48 cm).
We recommend the 10 in for Dwarf and 12 in for Syrian for safety.
Kaytee Comfort Wheel
If your hamster is not going to be in your bedroom, you can also try Kaytee’s Comfort Wheel. It can be loud but not too disturbing if the hamster is in the other room. It is available in three sizes; 5.5 in (small, 13.97 cm), 8.5 in (large, 21.59 cm), and 12 in (giant, 30.48 cm).
You can use the large size for Dwarf and giant for Syrian.
Suncoast Sugar Gliders Running Wheel
This running wheel is pretty silent but if it makes noise, simply add some oil to the gear. Having a closed wheel is pretty cool and some hamster prefers it too especially the dwarves to avoid flying away when they suddenly stop while running.
The size of this wheel is 11″ and 12″ with a stand. It’s a great size for dwarves but should also work for Syrian.
If you have a lot of space, you can try using a Flying Saucer, although it does take a lot of space and every space in the cage is vital for your hamster to be able to move around and burrow.
If you are going for a saucer, make sure to get a good brand, some saucers are very slippery for a hamster to run on. Often, they come in small sizes where Syrian can’t run comfortably.
Also, remember that a saucer doesn’t replace a running wheel. You can place both a running wheel and a saucer but you can’t have only a saucer without a running wheel.
VERDICT ON BEST HAMSTER WHEEL
If you are placing your hamster in the same room as where you sleep, definitely get a silent wheel, if not, my hamster loves the Sugar Glider and Trixie Wheel. A wooden wheel is great if you have a nature-theme hamster cage.
WHEN TO REMOVE THE HAMSTER WHEEL
There are situations where a hamster wheel must not be used and should be removed from the cage. Here are some situations where this step is necessary:
Your hamster is injured
When your hamster is injured or sick, it’s best to remove the wheel for safety. Hamster often doesn’t know when to stop moving too much, hence, leaving the wheel available in the cage can make your injured hamster run on it even when it shouldn’t.
When a hamster is pregnant
When your hamster is pregnant, you should definitely remove the wheel for safety reasons. Also, hamsters are often lazy when pregnant anyway. But leaving a wheel once the babies are born can cause injuries to the babies or worse death.
If it needs an upgrade
After leaving the wheel in the cage for a few weeks and you notice that your hamster barely touched it, perhaps it’s best to remove it and find a different solution. Some reasons that a hamster doesn’t use its wheels are it gives them back pain (meaning the wheel to too small for them), it hurts their feet (you are using a metal mesh wheel), or they simply prefer something else (flying saucer over wheels or vice versa).
Now that you know the best large hamster wheels in the market and which sizes are safe to use, you are one step closer to making your hamster’s life enjoyable and safer. If you’re in doubt, seek advice on these Facebook support groups.
If you know a large hamster wheel brand that should be on this list, let us know in the comment section below or if we miss some information that should be here.