For hamsters the idea of endlessly spinning around in a wheel is no joke, these little guys love their hamster wheels and in fact they are a vital part of a domesticated hamsters life. Hamsters like to run as much as 5 miles a day and theirs simply no other way for them to do it in a enclosed space except through a hamster wheel. so therefore picking the right kind of wheel is very important for your hamster friend.
Should I get a metal or plastic one?
Despite the title of hamster wheel not all wheels made for hamsters and other furry rodents are safe for your hamster. Metal wheels while having much greater durability than plastic ones are often made with mesh or wires which can injure or even break the tiny legs of our fuzzy friends. Plastic while usually having less durability than metal are usually made as a solid piece which is much gentler on the legs of a hamster. Which ever one you get it is vital that it not have rungs which as said earlier can severly injure your friend, which nobody wants to happen.
What size hamster wheel should i get?
This depends greatly upon the breed and specific size of your hamster. An important rule of thumb is that your hamster when running inside of his wheel should not have to arch his back. A hamster constantly having to run with an arched back as you imagine is not at all healthy for him. Just imagine your self having to run long distances with your back stretched back and you can probably sympathize with the pain that a hamster must feel in such a situation.
So the wheel should be big enough to allow your hamster to run without an arched back, if you see him running in the wheel and his back is arched your going to need to get him a bigger wheel.
For smaller breeds like Roborovski’s and dwarf hamsters a wheel that is 6.5 inches should hopefully be enough. While for the larger and more common syrian hamsters (also known as golden hamsters) your probably going to need a larger wheel around 8 inches or so.
Remember though that these are merely guidelines and estimations, the size of your hamster could vary and if you see his back arched while running your going to need a larger wheel.
Wheels for dwarf hamsters
Dwarf hamsters are littlest guys in the great hamster family. Almost all dwarf hamsters are going to come out to a length less than 4 inches. So for these guys you can usually go with a much smaller wheel than there larger Syrian cousins.
Because these hamsters are smaller they are also weaker in strength so too big of wheel might overwhelm them, so your going to need a wheel that is big enough that they don’t need to arch their back to run in it while also being small enough for them to get good movement out of it.
Depending on the specific size of your dwarf hamster(since their can be a good bit of size variability with these little guys) we recommend that you get them a wheel from 4.5 inches to 6 inches in diameter. Remember though your still going to need to estimate based on your hamsters unique size.
Syrian hamster wheels
Syrians or teddy bear hamster are the biggest in the bunch, getting up to a whopping 7 inches (yea I know 7 inches doesn’t seem like a lot but for hamster it is huge).
Their going to need the largest hamster wheels, a smaller wheel designed for a dwarf for these guys would be like you trying to run inside a playground tube. Their back would get all kinds of messed up and their are no hamster chiropractors( that i know of)
We recommend that you get a wheel at least over 8 inches in diameter, though some of the best wheels for these guys will get up to 11 inches in diameter. But your going to have to take account of your hamsters individual length to be completely certain what size to get.
Why the classic wheel with rungs are bad for hamsters
If I say hamster wheel, for most people the picture that will pop into their head is of a wheel with little rungs kinda like those ladders that kids climb on the playground. Climbing them using hands and feet ain’t so bad but imagine seeing a kid haul out run on them and you might gasp.
This is what wheels with rungs are like for hamsters, it can be very easy for their tiny legs to get caught and when that happens bones can break, toes can crack. Not good, not good at all. So please avoid these wheels for your furry friend and instead get them a nice big wheel with a solid floor so that your pet is’nt running on a monkey bar treadmill.
What to do if your hamster wheel is noisy?
A noisy hamster wheel can be quite a nuisance depending upon where the hamsters cage is located. Hamsters are very nocturnal creatures so unfortunately for light sleeping humans a hamster is most likely to be using his wheel while your trying to get some shut eye.
One of the best solutions is try to place the hamsters home in a part of the house where he won’t disturb anyone when he goes for his nightly jogs. If that is not doable for some reason than if the wheel is very squeaky theirs a little trick you can try. Take a dab of olive oil and rub it in where the wheel connects with the spindle, doing this should hopefully take care of any excessive squeaking noises.
There are also good wheels available on the market now that are very silent, so getting one of those can be a good option as well.
Please whatever you do, don’t leave your small friend without his wheel. A hamsters wheel is an important way he gets exercise and helps to alleviate boredom and chewing problems. A hamster without a wheel will be very unhappy and will develop psychological problems.
Best Hamster wheels reviewed
Suncoast Wodent Wheel
This wheel is one of the best and largest wheels on the market for hamsters, It can also be used for some other small pets as well such as sugar gliders and rats.
It has a tailguard to help prevent your friend from injuring their tail while going for their happy jogs.
Possesing a well designed axle with a little bit of grease squeking should not be a problem. This wheel comes in three different sizes with their largest model being big enough for even the biggest hamsters at 11 inches in diameter, 12 inches if you count the sturdy stand that it comes with.
Silent Runner Review
The stealthy option when it comes to hamster wheels, This well designed product uses dual ball bearings instead of an axle leading to quiet nights and happy hamsters. Without the axle there is no need for a tail guard so you can feel safe knowing that your hamsters rear appendage won’t get hurt.
Coming in at 9 inches diameter it should be a good size for all except the absolute largest of hamsters, This wheel should be good for most dwarf hamsters as well as syrians but you have to ultimately judge it based on your pets individual size.
A good option for owners who treasure peace and quiet but want to have a happy hamster as well.