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Hamster Wheel Guide - USA

Berry

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PART ONE:

Hey guys! So I just wanted to provide a resource of hamster wheels you can find in the USA, and what sizes and types of wheels you should look for.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional, nor have I owned or tested all these wheels that will be exampled. My information is coming from past experience and experience from other hamster owners. As well as some German care standards. Also while Chinese hamsters are technically a dwarf, I will refer to them by themselves and use the term 'dwarf' for winter whites, Campbells, robos, and hybrids.

Wheel Types:
Believe it or not, the type of wheel you choose could permanently affect your hamster's life, whether it be for the worse or the best. It's important to choose a safe, good quality wheel.

Saucer wheels should not be used as the main wheel. For some hamsters it is okay to provide as an extra form of enrichment, however, they can cause problems if used as the main wheel. Smaller hamsters, such as roborovskis also have a hard time staying on the wheel and could end up flying off and getting hurt. "The reason for why I will discourage the use of flying saucers for anything other than very short term usage or supervised playtime fun is not because their backs may curve; it’s because they are a sloped, circular running surface. Some of them are so heavily sloped that the human equivalent would arguably be equal to you running diagonally up the side of a mountain. Not just once every now and then, but every single time you went running. Now add that you’re favouring running clockwise around the mountain on top of all that. It is the perfect recipe for poor muscle development and joint issues." (Quote)

Upright Wheels are what you should use as the main wheel. A hamster should always be provided with an upright wheel unless otherwise stated for health or safety reasons. However, there are some limitations to upright wheels. Wire or mesh wheels should never be used. These can cause many many injuries. A hamster's head, limb, toe, and more could get caught. It can cause bumblefoot as well. If you are using any of these wheels take them out ASAP as they are very dangerous. Any solid wheel, such as plastic, or wood should work. However, wood wheels with raised rungs usually have bad quality and will splinter. These are considered unsafe and should not be used.


Wheel Sizes:
It's important to have a good-sized wheel so your hamster does not get injured. A too-small wheel can result in their back bending, which can cause lifetime damage if not properly resolved. You want your hamster to be able to run comfortably on their wheel.

Below are the sizes I personally find recommended amongst most ethical hamster owners and german care standards. (Since I'm talking about the USA, the sizes will be in inches)
Syrians: 11-12"+
Chinese: 10-12"+
Campbell dwarf: 8-12"+
Winter White: 8-10" +
Roborovski: 8-9" +
Hyrbids (RCD+WW): 8-12" +

You may be able to get away with a smaller wheel size depending on your hamster's personal size. Below I'll show a few examples of what your hamster should look like on their wheel. You can also provide a larger wheel than what is recommended above. A robo for example is recommended to have an 8-9" wheel, however, you can provide them with a 12" too. You can't go too large unless the wheel is bad quality and is too hard for a smaller hamster to push. The larger the wheel the less likely your hamster is to flip out as well. When I first got my hamster, she had a flying saucer, I then upgraded her to an upright wheel, however, it was only 6.5" and she kept flipping out. Now she has a 12" and hasn't flipped out since :) Larger wheels are not only more comfortable but also safer in many ways.

Here is a perfect wheel size, as you can tell the hamster's back nor head is bent and it's smooth running:

This picture is a very obvious too small wheel. The hamsters head and spine are curved massively and this hamster will surely experience back issues and other problems if they continue to run on this wheel:

This is a bit less obvious, but still a too small wheel. The head is forced at an upright angle and you can see a slight curve in the back:

(Images Source)
 

Berry

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Joined
Nov 16, 2020
Messages
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PART TWO:

Good Wheels:

Since all the information above might be a bit overwhelming, I also wanted to link you guys to some good wheels you can buy here in the USA :) I have not tested nor owned all of these wheels, but after asking around these seem to be the favorite amongst ethical hamster owners here in the USA. Most wheels sold at PetSmart and Petco will not be suitable for your ham (some might) so most of the following will need to be ordered off of Amazon or other websites.


The Silent Runner is a safe and appropriately sized hamster wheel. Most are very silent to the point where all you can hear is the pitter-patter of your hamster's paws running. These wheels come in 3 sizes. The small, which is a 9" The regular, which is a 12" and the wide which is also a 12" but has a wider running track.

Small, 9" - This wheel can be used for most dwarfs (Robo, WW, RCD, hybrid) though some dwarfs may need larger. If using this wheel, you should not use the sandy track or auto clean track as these can be unsafe or rough on the paws. There are two options for this wheel, one having it on a stand. Which you can set on a platform or low part of your cage. The second option is a cage attachment. If you have a wire cage you can mount it to the side of the cage. So make sure you look at what you are buying with the wheel! (This wheel can also be found on Amazon, Chewy, or other websites)

Regular, 12" - This wheel can be used for most all species of hamsters (Syrian, Chinese, Robo, WW, RCD, hybrid). Since this wheel is of good quality, all hamsters should be able to push it no problem. I use this for my roborvski, and she has no problem running on it. If using this wheel, you should not use the sandy track or auto clean track as these can be unsafe or rough on the paws. There are two options for this wheel, one having it on a stand. Which you can set on a platform or low part of your cage. The second option is a cage attachment. If you have a wire cage you can mount it to the side of the cage. So make sure you look at what you are buying with the wheel! (This wheel can also be found on Amazon, Chewy, or other websites)

Wide, 12" - This can also be used for most all species of hamster. The track is wider than the Regular size to fit larger animals such as hedgehogs more comfortably, however, besides that it is the same. If using this wheel, you should not use the sandy track or auto clean track as these can be unsafe or rough on the paws. There are two options for this wheel, one having it on a stand. Which you can set on a platform or low part of your cage. The second option is a cage attachment. If you have a wire cage you can mount it to the side of the cage. So make sure you look at what you are buying with the wheel! (This wheel can also be found on Amazon, Chewy, or other websites)


The Wodent Wheel is another safe and size appropriate wheel from Exotic Nutrition. I'm not sure how silent or loud they are, but I've seen them recommended amongst hamster owners. There are 3 different size options. The 8", 11", and 12".

8" - This wheel should be okay for most robos and smaller dwarfs, however, some dwarfs will need larger. This wheel only has one option, a stand. If using this wheel, you should not use the sandy track as these can be unsafe or rough on the paws. (This wheel can also be found on Amazon, Chewy, or other websites)

11" - This wheel should work for dwarfs (Robo, WW, RCD) and some Syrians and Chinese hamsters. However, larger Syrians and Chinese hamsters will need larger wheels. This wheel only has one option, a stand. If using this wheel, you should not use the sandy track as these can be unsafe or rough on the paws. T(his wheel can also be found on Amazon, Chewy, or other websites)

12" - This wheel should work for most all species of hamsters. However, it is a bit wide and may not fit as well in some cages. This wheel only has one option, a stand. If using this wheel, you should not use the sandy track as these can be unsafe or rough on the paws. (This wheel can also be found on Amazon, Chewy, or other websites))


The Carolina Storm wheel is a wheel sold on Etsy, many hamster owners love it and I've heard some are decently silent. However, I haven't had any personal experience with these.

10.3" - This is labeled as a Syrian wheel, however, it is only 10.3". It could work for younger or smaller Syrians, however, most Syrians will need to be upgraded as well. This size can accommodate most dwarfs and some Chinese hamsters. It is on a stand, so it must fit somewhere on a platform or base of your cage.

10.5" - This wheel is 10.5", it should accommodate most dwarfs and some Chinese hamsters. As well as smaller or younger Syrians. It's on a stand as well and will need to fit on a platform or base of your cage.


Niteangel wheels are one of the newer options in the hamster community. While I have not tried one myself I have heard they are very good quality and the silent ones are very silent. They have a variety of wheels to choose from.

Super Silent, Small - This wheel is 8.2" and should work for robos, and some smaller other dwarfs. It's very quiet and has smooth running. The height of the wheel on the stand is adjustable so you can fit it in some bedding or sand without it getting caught within the bedding or sand. (If that doesn't make sense, just look at the link and pictures and I'm sure it will!) It also comes in many different colors so you can match your cage theme.

Super Silent, Medium - This wheel is 10". It can accommodate dwarfs, some Chinese hamsters, and small and/or young Syrians. Just like the other one, it has quiet smooth running and it's adjustable on the stand along with many colors to choose from.

Wooden Wheel, Small - This Niteangel wheel is 8.6" and should work well for robos and some smaller dwarfs. It's silent and has smooth running. It has a cork running track to ensure your little friend can get a grip while running. And it has an adjustable height on the stand.

Wooden Wheel, Medium - This wheel is 10.2", meaning it can accommodate dwarfs, some Chinese, and small and/or young Syrian hamsters. It's silent and smooth running, with a cork running track. It also has an adjustable height.

Wooden Wheel, Large - This is an 11.6" wheel. It can be used for dwarfs, most Chinese hamsters, and some Syrians. Again it's Silent and has a cork track for smooth running. It has an adjustable height on the stand.

Silent Acrylic, Small - This wheel is 8.6", and should work for robos and some smaller dwarfs. It's made of acrylic to ensure your pet can get a safe grip while running. It has an adjustable height as well. And it's very silent.

Silent Acrylic, Medium - This Niteangel wheel is 10.1", it should work for dwarfs, some Chinese hamsters, and some small or young Syrians. Like the small one, it's made of acrylic, and it has an adjustable height along with being very silent.

Silent Acrylic, Large - This is an 11.8" wheel. It can be used for dwarfs, most Chinese, and some Syrian hamsters. It's silent, adjustable in height, and made of acrylic.

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please leave a reply below!

Some of the information in this guide can be debated and not all pet owners will feel the same. And there are other good wheels in the USA I did not include, so if you are unsure about one that isn't on the list you can reply below and I'll take a look!

Thanks for reading! I hope this is able to help :)
 
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