Best Hamster Wheels For Fun & Safe Exercise

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Best Hamster Wheels

Every single hamster owner can agree that hamsters love their wheels. In fact, hamsters are regularly recorded running about 5 miles every single night. This can be chalked up to many different reasons from a need for activity, a substitute for exploration, and a natural instinct. Even when given other toys, hamsters spend a massive amount of time running on their wheel.

By looking at the research that's been done regarding hamster wheels, it's safe to assume that they are an extremely important aspect of a hamster cage. Every hamster should have a wheel that's safe and high quality in order to maintain their well-being. While it may be intimidating trying to find the perfect wheel for your hamster, we've compiled a list of the best hamster wheels as well as a comprehensive buying guide to understand what your hamster needs.

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   Product

OUR #1 RATED

Exotic Nutrition
​Silent Runner 9"

A very well-built hamster wheel that's built to be safe, has a silent ball bearing for quiet running, and an added cage attachment.


Transoniq
​Wodent Wheel 8"

Very easy to spin for even small hamsters, this wheel also spins very quiet while having secure walls and a smart design.


Ware Manufacturing
Flying Saucer Wheel

This wheel is more of a dish, providing a unique and fun style that's more natural for hamsters to run on.


​Exotic Nutrition
​Silent Runner 12"

A very large wheel that's still quite easy to turn and runs silently while keeping a hamster inside safe.


​Petzilla
​Silent Wooden Wheel

Great for hamsters that tend to chew, this wheel is made of safe wood that's easy to spin and surprisingly quiet.

Benefits Of Using Hamster Wheels

In the wild, hamsters are extremely active creatures. Hamsters spend most of their time awake running around to gather food, dig burrows, and escape predators. With such a large portion of their lives spent running, it's clear why hamsters still need to run while in captivity -- it's programmed into them! Therefore, every hamster cage should have a wheel for your hamster as a cage doesn't provide nearly enough space for a hamster to run.

With hamsters being recorded running around 5 miles per night, they're bound to reap some sort of benefit from such consistent exercise. Some of the most prominent benefits are as follows:

  • Weight control - Running is obviously a very healthy activity, and it's no different for hamsters. Running on a wheel will not only help a hamster control their weight, but it will also strengthen their heart, lungs, and other organs. This increases their average life expectancy.
  • Prevents "cage paralysis" - Cage paralysis is a serious condition that hamsters can run into if they don't get enough exercise. Inactivity can lead to muscle and bone degeneration. This will, over time, lead to loss of function in the back legs or overall paralysis. Luckily, this condition can be treated with regular exercise and care if caught early.
  • Keeps hamsters busy - Regular exercise is fantastic for a hamster's mental health as well. A hamster that is not significantly stimulated can become self-destructive, often chewing on their own flesh or their cage and breaking teeth. Because hamsters are so inquisitive, they benefit greatly from this regular stimulation.

Types Of Hamster Wheels

Hamster wheels often come in 3 different materials, and those are plastic, metal, and wood. Each of these materials comes with benefits and drawbacks, and understanding what those pros and cons are is important when finding the best hamster wheel for your situation.

Plastic wheels are usually constructed from one solid piece of plastic with a solid plastic backing and sometimes a partial front piece. These wheels are generally pretty safe, but can be chewed up by rodents that love to chew. Regardless, they're rust-free and most of them are very safe.

Metal wheels last the longest, but have runs that the hamster runs on instead of a solid surface. These rungs can be bad news, as a toe or foot can become stuck and get severely injured. This problem can be fixed with a little bit of DIY, such as running a piece a weaving a piece of cardboard between the rungs.

Wooden wheels are another option, although not many good options exist. These wheels are entirely made from wood, and pose almost no opportunity for harm to a hamster. These wheels are usually chosen for rodents that chew plastic, such as gerbils. The downside to these wheels is that they don't last a very long time and there can be design flaws.

No matter the material, hamster wheels come in many different shapes and sizes. It's important that you get a wheel that's large enough for your hamster, fits well into their cage, and is as quiet as possible (for your own sanity).

Hamster Wheel FAQs

  • Are hamster wheels safe?
  • Although hamster wheels keep your hamster happy and healthy, that doesn't mean that they could never cause harm to your hamster. There are a few things that you want to make sure of in regards to your hamster wheel.

    First of all, make sure that the wheel is big enough for your hamster. A hamster should never run with an arch in its back, as this is unnatural and can cause serious spinal problems in the long run. If you notice an arch in your hamster's back, get them a bigger wheel immediately.

    Metal wheels that have rungs that hamsters are supposed to run on are not safe. A hamster's toe or foot can become stuck in the rungs and experience serious injury. Either get a wheel with an entirely flat surface, or weave a piece of thin cardboard between the rungs to reduce the risk.

    Hamsters can occasionally fly out of a wheel if it's going very fast. This can cause serious harm to a hamster and, although it looks funny, should be prevented at all costs. This is avoided by getting a wheel that has a solid back and a front that has small access holes.

    Additionally, hamsters can run too much and suffer from a problem called "wheel addiction". This is where excessive use of a wheel can cause foot issues such as sores and blisters. You can prevent this with a solid plastic wheel and provide other toys as a slight distraction.
  • Why won't my hamster use its wheel?
  • Most hamsters absolutely love running on their wheel. So, if your hamster isn't using their wheel, that's something that you'd want to look into ASAP. There are several reasons why a hamster wouldn't be using their wheel.

    If the wheel is brand new and hasn't been used at all, there's a good chance that something is wrong with the wheel itself. Make sure that the wheel is big enough for your hamster, can turn very easily, and is comfortable on the feet of your hamster. Although hamsters love to run, they can be picky, and one thing wrong with a wheel can make a hamster not want to use it.

    If the wheel was originally being used and now it's not, your hamster could have several health conditions, such as pregnancy, arthritis, a type of injury, or just general illness and lack of energy. If this problem persists for a longer period of time, it may be a good idea to take your hamster to the vet.
  • How frequently should my hamster use its wheel?
  • There's no forcing your hamster to use their wheel -- if they want to run, they'll run. Therefore, it's very important to give your hamster constant access to their wheel. Also, if you have multiple hamsters, it may be a good idea to provide more than one wheel in case they want to run at the same time.

    Hamsters primarily use their wheel at night, so if you don't see your hamster running, don't be alarmed. Their strong programming will get them running if they need to run.
  • Are hamster wheels noisy?
  • They can be! For an unfortunate portion of owners, squeaky wheels can be a terrible sound that they have to listen to day and night. It's especially awful as your hamsters will always seem to run on their wheel whenever you decide to go to bed. There are a few things that you can do to help this problem.

    First of all, moving your hamsters to another room away from you is always an option. If you want to keep your little guys close, though, you'll need another solution. Try rearranging the wheel, as it may be rubbing on a part of the cage and causing a weird noise. You can also add olive oil to the rotating part of the wheel to act as a lubricant.

    If all else fails, or if you don't want to deal with fixing your wheel, most owners opt to invest in a silent hamster wheel for pain-free running.

What Defines The Best Hamster Wheels?

All hamster wheels are not created equal. In fact, some hamster wheels are downright dangerous for your little guys! The best hamster wheels have most, if not all, of the features we've listed below:

  • Large size - Although your hamster may be small, that doesn't mean that its wheel can be small as well. The larger a wheel is, the less that a hamster has to arch its back. Since hamsters aren't supposed to run with an arched back, this is essential. Therefore, a minimum size of 6.5" is recommended for smaller hamsters with 8" for larger kinds.
  • Safe materials - Wheels can hurt hamsters in several ways if it's made with poor materials. The best hamster wheels have a solid running surface, as metal rungs can trap a hamster's foot and cause serious harm. Plastic wheels are also more gentle on a hamster's feet which is great for the long term. However, metal can last longer than plastic and can't easily be chewed up.
  • Safe design - While the general construction of a wheel should be safe, some wheels have added safety features. A solid back wall is very common in wheels, as it makes hamsters more confident in them. Wheels are commonly available with partially closed front walls, too, to prevent hamsters from being flung out of the wheel. Support bars on the wheel should also be avoided, as they can cause injury if a hamster's limb gets in the way.
  • Stand / attachment - A hamster wheel needs a sturdy and safe stand or attachment in order to work properly. Many wheels come with attachments that allow you to secure it to the wall of a cage. This allows you to keep it in place and not take up too much space in a cage. If it has a stand, it should be wide and not easily tip-able.

What Are The Best Hamster Wheels?

While it can be a bit overwhelming to learn about the needs of your hamster and then try and find a wheel that meets those needs, it's not a very complicated process when making sure that a wheel aligns with the guide given above. By going off of that guide, we've found five of the best hamster wheels available that would provide your hamster with a fantastic way to exercise.

our #1 rated

OUR TOP PICK

Exotic Nutrition

Silent Runner 9"

Quality

Value

Our Rating

Exotic Nutrition's Silent Runner is easily one of the best hamster wheels available today. This 9 inch wheel has hamster safety in mind with plenty of safe features. The solid back and semi-solid front make hamsters more confident when in the wheel and safer whilst running. The solid plastic floor inside is textured to improve grip, and has no spaces where a toe or foot can get caught. This wheel is entirely silent, too, as it depends on a ball bearing, not a center axle. Overall, the safety and effectiveness of this wheel is unmatched by other hamster wheels on the market.

Hamster owners that got their wheel for their hamsters have great things to say about it, frequently referring to it as the best wheel available. Nearly every owner notes how silent this wheel is, with some not being able to hear it spinning from just a foot away. This wheel has a very accessible design, and owners don't see any objections from their hamsters. Additionally, the cleaning of this wheel is very easy for owners, as it's sturdy but can be taken apart with ease.

When the wheel is built properly, it works exactly as marketed. However, a few owners have gotten wheels that were slightly off in their construction. This resulted in wheels that made a slight squeaking sound or wobbled a bit. Fortunately, Exotic Nutrition is very responsive to these concerns and deals with problems quickly.

PROS​

  • Axle-free construction
  • Completely silent ball bearing
  • Semi-enclosed front
  • Cage attachment included

CONS

  • Can squeak on occasion

our #2 rated

Transoniq

Wodent Wheel 8"

Quality

Value

Our Rating

Although Exotic Nutrition's Silent Runner is a top-level hamster wheel, the Transoniq Wodent Wheel is right up there with it. This wheel has a clean, simple, and solid construction that's made up of recycled plastics. A solid back wall and semi-solid front wall makes hamsters feel very safe and secure within it and keeps them contained. The wheel is overall large, mostly quiet, very stable, and attractive to hamsters with its design. Its easiness to spin and smooth running track keeps hamsters coming back to it to get their exercise fix.

Owners of this wheel state that it lived up to its expectation. The wheel is plenty big enough for even large hamsters and the semi-solid front panel keeps them contained easily. Most owners state how quiet the wheel is, with very few owners noticing anything but a faint rubbing noise from the axle. Additionally, it's commonly noted how easy the wheel is to turn and, when it gets messy, clean thoroughly.

A small minority of owners state that the wheel is a little noisy, which is a problem that can either be fixed with a little bit of olive oil on the axle or a replacement. Additionally, the wheel is pretty large overall, so it's important that you make sure that your hamster cage can fit it.

PROS​

  • Easy to spin
  • Secure side walls
  • Stable construction
  • Very quiet

CONS

  • Can squeak on occasion
  • Bulky

our #3 rated

Ware Manufacturing

Flying Saucer Wheel

Quality

Value

Our Rating

Ware Manufacturing's Flying Saucer Wheel brings a bit of diversity into the world of hamster wheels. This wheel is shaped like an angled saucer, giving more of a flat surface for hamsters to run on (which is more natural). This design is commonly seen as a safer option, and it's understandable to state that. Hamsters' toes and feet are totally safe from being pinched, and there isn't a center axle that can cause spinal damage. The design is also wonderfully silent while staying robust and easy to clean.

Owners of this wheel say that their hamsters love it as much as a standard wheel -- sometimes even more so! The flat design keeps hamsters' backs from arching, and the size is spacious for all sizes of hamsters. It's also reported that the wheel is silent for the most part, not making much of a sound at all.

One downside to this design for a wheel is that it takes up much more space than a standard vertical hamster wheel. However, most owners say that it's well worth the extra space for the enjoyment that hamsters get from it. Additionally, some hamsters may have trouble using the wheel if they've gotten used to the vertical wheel design already.

PROS​

  • More natural running position
  • Completely safe design
  • Solid construction
  • Easy to clean

CONS

  • Requires more space
  • Confusing for some hamsters

our #4 rated

Exotic Nutrition

Silent Runner 12"

Quality

Value

Our Rating

This wheel from Exotic Nutrition is basically exactly the same as the 9" Silent Runner that's our top pick. For some larger Syrian hamsters, they may experience some back arch on the 9" wheel, so this would be a much healthier option for them. The same safety features are present on this wheel, with the semi-solid front wall and smooth and quiet ball bearing for the wheel.

Owners of this wheel have just about the same things to say about it as the owners of the 9" wheel. Hamsters love using this wheel and are attracted to the bean holes in the front wall. The overall construction of the wheel is solid, and wear and tear hardly shows after months of continuous use by one or more hamsters. The design isn't entirely silent, but it's as close as you can get without actually being silent.

A design flaw of this wheel is that sometimes the screw holding it together comes loose, making the wheel wobble around. The wheel is also pretty bulky, but that's to be expected from a hamster wheel that is a foot in diameter.

PROS​

  • Silent ball bearing
  • Large running area
  • Safe and secure build

CONS

  • Bulky
  • Sometimes makes noise

our #5 rated

Petzilla

Silent Wooden Wheel

Quality

Value

Our Rating

The Petzilla Silent Wooden Wheel is the only wooden wheel in this list of the best hamster wheels. It's a very decently-sized wheel at 7.5" and 9", allowing most hamsters to run without arching their back at all. Along with the large size, this wheel comes with a few more perks. First of all, the wheel is resistant to being soiled and is relatively easy to clean. Also, because of the fact that it's wooden, hamsters can chew on it without any problems (but most can't chew it at all). It's also surprisingly silent and overall sturdy in construction.

The owners of this wheel tend to be very happy with their purchase. Despite the fact that it's wooden, many owners have this wheel for months and say that it's holding up extremely well. Additionally, lots of people have no problem cleaning it with a little bit of soap and water. The wheel spins easily, is constructed in a safe way, and runs nice and silent.

The main issue with this hamster wheel is that it's not very stable. If you opt to place it on the ground instead of mounting it, be prepared to prop it up against a wall or secure it on the floor. Additionally, sometimes space may appear between the wood slats in the wheel. This can be a hazard for your hamster, so make sure that this problem doesn't occur and fix it quickly if it does.

PROS​

  • Not easily chewable
  • Runs mostly silent
  • Easy to run on

CONS

  • Unstable
  • Construction can be slightly off

Our Choice

While hamsters are generally happy, engaging, energetic pets, these characteristics can be negatively influenced if they don't have a proper wheel to run in. In the wild, hamsters run for miles and miles every single day. Even in captivity hamsters will see major problems if they don't get some good running in daily.

So, after carefully reviewing all of the hamster wheels available, we've determined that the best hamster wheel is the Exotic Nutrition Silent Runner 9".

This wheel is easily one of the best available on the market. The Silent Runner lives up to it's name by providing a silent running experience for hamsters of all sizes. The construction of the wheel is very safe and secure and would make an excellent addition to your hamster's cage.

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Zach David
Zach David
Zach is a life-long pet owner and enthusiast. He was born into a family with a dog named Murphy, and since then has owned several other dogs, mice, ferrets, fish, geckos, and a cat. This experience has given him the knowledge necessary to help others become excellent pet owners.