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The Best Hamster Wheels for Your Pet

brown and white hamster in a solid, clear plastic hamster wheel atop an outdoor tableHamster wheels are a classic feature of many a hamster cage and for good reason. Also known as exercise wheels and running wheels, hamster wheels are a crucial way to provide your little furry friend with a way to exercise and let off energy whenever they feel the need. It’s also a source of fun and play for hamsters, as they actually enjoy running in wheels. In their natural habitats, they tend to run for miles and miles every day, which is why they always seem to be scurrying around nonstop. Since cages have such small surface areas, hamsters can’t run for miles in them as they would in the wild. A hamster wheel provides a perfect solution and gives hamsters an outlet for their natural instinct to run and run. It also helps prevent them from growing bored and allows them to maintain a healthy weight. If you’re looking for a new hamster wheel to add to your little furry friend’s cage, here are a few we recommend.

What to Consider in Hamster Wheels

Here are a few things to think about before buying a hamster wheel:

  • Material: The overwhelming majority of hamster wheels will be made from plastic, acrylic, or metal. Metal is the most durable choice of the three and will hold up best to your hamster gnawing on it. Polished or coated metal wheels are also quite easy to clean. Plastic and acrylic models can provide a greater range of aesthetics and colors. They also, acrylics especially, tend to be less squeaky than metal wheels and will never rust. Regardless of your material choice, look for a wheel that is as smooth as possible and made of a nontoxic substance. You’ll also want to avoid any wire hamster wheels or models with open rungs, as these can be dangerous for your pet. If their foot or leg gets stuck inside one, they can get stuck and even break bones. (Rungs inside a closed, solid surface frame are fine.)
  • Size: Despite the name, hamster wheels aren’t limited just to hamsters. You can buy an exercise wheel for just about any type of small, furry, domesticated rodent, from mice to gerbils to chinchillas. (Note that they aren’t recommended for some larger rodents like rabbits and guinea pigs, however.) You’ll want to pick your wheel’s size according to the type of pet you own. They should be able to run in the wheel with their backs stretched out flat rather than arched; the latter indicates the wheel is too small for them to run comfortably. A good rule of thumb is to buy a 4.5-inch wheel for mice and dwarf hamsters, a 6- or 6.5-inch wheel for standard hamsters and gerbils, a 10-inch wheel for large breed hamsters such as teddy bear hamsters and sugar gliders, and a 12-inch wheel for chinchillas and rats. The wheel should be slightly wider than your pet but not so wide that they have a difficult time running in it.
  • Design: There’s nothing wrong with a classic hamster wheel, an open-sided, upright wheel mounted on a stand or a pair of stub axles. They’re classics for a reason, after all. But there are several other design options if you want to mix it up. Some classic hamster wheels can be mounted on the side of the cage to help save space. Others are designed to look like cars or other fun shapes, which may add an aesthetic appeal or match any colorful plastic tubing in the cage. There are also “flying saucer” hamster wheels. These are plastic, angled saucers where the wheel is mounted on its side rather than upright, providing a running surface rather than an enclosed wheel. Some pet owners prefer this type of wheel as they’re easier to clean and provide better ventilation for their pet. Alternatively, look for upright wheels with some aeration holes on the non-open side of the wheel. There are also silent hamster wheels that won’t squeak or make noise as they rotate, a feature well worth a little extra expense since hamsters are largely nocturnal creatures.

Quietest Wheel: Exotic Nutrition Silent Runner Wheel

large plastic yellow hamster wheel on a black stand beside a brown and white hamster and cage attachmentsHamsters are nocturnal creatures by nature, so they’re most active at night. This means they’ll likely use their wheel the most at night. And since many wheels squeak and creak as they rotate, you may find yourself being kept up all night while your pet runs and exercises. This hamster wheel eliminates that problem. Two stainless steel ball bearings are placed in the wheel’s backplate to take the place of the traditional center axle that creates the noise and squeaking in classic hamster wheels. Thus, this innovative design keeps the wheel smooth and silent as it turns. The lack of an axle also means there’s no center bar for your pet to accidentally get their fur or tail caught upon, leading to injuries. The interior of the wheel is smooth and solid, with a textured, nonslip surface. The size is perfect for any species of hamster as well as gerbils and mice. You receive a wheel, stand, and cage attachment washer with your purchase, giving you the choice to mount your hamster wheel on the bottom of the cage or on the bars of the cage itself. It is not recommended for avid chewers.

Quietest Wheel

Silent Runner Wheel - 9" Regular - Exercise Wheel (Yellow)

A large hamster wheel without the center axle that creates the squeaking noises in traditional models.

Most Size Options: Niteangel Hamster Exercise Wheel with Adjustable Stand

brown and white hamster inside a clear, solid plastic hamster wheel with a light brown backNo matter how small or large of a critter you own, you can buy this spinning hamster wheel in the ideal size for them to run and play in comfortably. It’s available in small (8.2-inch diameter), medium (10-inch diameter), and large (11-inch diameter) sizes to better suit hamsters of all sizes. The stand can be adjusted anywhere between an inch and 4 inches in bottom height, so you can raise or lower as needed to make it easier for your pet to climb in and out of safely. The solid base ensures it’ll fit equally well in cages, terrariums, or glass tanks. The wheel is made of transparent plastic, while the base is sturdy acrylic, both of which are chew-resistant for long life. It’s mounted on dual ball bearings for a quieter spin and less squeaking. The comfortable design will prevent your hamster’s back from bending as they run. It’s available in 12 different color options to better suit your cage or home’s aesthetics.

Best Design: Kaytee Critter Cruiser Small Animal Toy

blue car-shaped hamster wheel with flames on the sideIf you’re looking for a more uniquely designed hamster wheel than a classic upright circle, you’ll love this car-shaped model with its four functioning wheels, painted-on headlights, and flames along the sides. It works just as well as a traditional hamster wheel despite its unique shape, providing your hamster or gerbil with plenty of fun and exercise. You can adjust the wheel inside the car to be stationary, mobile, or on a hamtrac, allowing the car wheel to function outside the cage as well as inside while keeping your pet safely contained. It’s also a great place to keep your hamster or gerbil for them to play while you clean out their cage. Measuring 6 by 12 by 9 inches, this wheel is not recommended for mice or dwarf hamsters. Note that the color may vary; the wheel may come in blue, red, yellow, or pink.

Best Design

Kaytee Critter Cruiser Pet Powered Exercise Car for Hamsters and Gerbils

A colorful car-shaped hamster wheel that functions equally as well as a traditional model despite its unique shape.

Best Flying Saucer: Wontee Hamster Flying Saucer Exercise Wheel for Small Animals

blue flying saucer shape hamster wheel on three legs with a small white hamster insideFlying saucer hamster wheels are a modern take on classic models, without some of their drawbacks. The open 7.07- by 7.07- by 4.32-inch design is completely safe for your pet, with no open rungs or wires for their feet to get caught on or axles to catch their tail or legs. No walls also mean your pet will be able to breathe without hindrance at all times. And since there are no central axles, this flying saucer won’t squeak or make noise as your hamster runs. Despite the unique design, this non-traditional hamster wheel works just as well as classic models, and your little furry friend will love running on it. The radical stripes along the bowl increase the wheel’s friction, preventing your hamster from slipping and falling as they run. The material is odor-resistant and easy to clean, with no curves or bends to trap dirt and debris in hard-to-reach places.

Also Great: Kaytee Hamster Silent Spinner Wheel

open, plastic green hamster wheel still in its packagingThis classic and versatile upright hamster wheel is safe, comfortable, and designed with patented ball-bearing technology. This wheel can be mounted on the included floor stand or placed directly into the wire or bars of your cage, depending on your personal preference. It’s made out of durable, high-quality, and solid two-toned plastic that is solid but ventilated to ensure your furry little friend’s safety as they exercise. There are no wires or open rungs to accidentally catch or pinch your pet’s feet and cause unintentional injuries. The plastic also has raised treads for increased traction and better grip. The ball bearings ensure this wheel is quieter than other similar, traditional axle models. The 6.5-inch diameter is the perfect size for hamsters and gerbils. Note that color specification isn’t available for this wheel; you have equal chances of receiving a pink, green, purple, or blue wheel.

Also Great

Kaytee Silent Spinner Wheel For Pet Hamsters and Gerbils, Regular 6.5 Inch

A durable, versatile, and safe plastic hamster wheel that can be either freestanding or mounted on cage wires or bars.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and How-To Geek and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »
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