For those of you, who are in a hurry: Here is our top pick, the Kaytee Clean & Cozy White Small Animal Bedding.
It’s easy to see why hamsters are such popular pets: you can hold them, watch them stuff their cheeks, or let them roam the house in a plastic ball.
I’ve rounded up my picks for the best hamster bedding so you can give your furry friend a safe, comfortable home.
In this article we are going to review the following 6 beddings:
- Kaytee Clean & Cozy White Small Animal Bedding
- Kaytee All Natural Aspen Bedding
- Living World Pine Shavings
- Small Pet Select Unbleached White Paper Bedding
- Carefresh Small Pet Bedding
- OleyHemp OH! Small Pet Bedding
Top Six Hamster Beddings For Your Pet
Best Paper Bedding: Kaytee Clean & Cozy White Small Animal Bedding
This soft paper bedding takes my top spot on the best hamster bedding roundup. After trying many products, I find myself returning to the Kaytee Clean & Cozy bedding because it’s natural, dye-free, and contains no artificial scents.
My favorite thing about this bedding is the bright white color that makes it very easy to see soiled areas. I can conveniently scoop out the dirty spots and extend the life of the bedding between changes. It makes a great dwarf hamster bedding because it holds up around tunnels and nests.
I’m also impressed with how the bedding expands after it comes out of the package. It’s so light and spongy that once it’s fluffed up, I can get several bedding changes out of one bag.
Last but not least, this material is truly close to being completely dust-free. You can see the difference when you dump it into the cage because thousands of particles don’t fly into the air.
The one downside to this product is that it’s not quite as odor-resistant as other bedding types I’ve tried. Perhaps this is because it has no artificial scents or chemical additives. Regardless, it still holds up and smells fresh for quite a while between changes.
- 99.9% dust-free
- 2x more absorbent than wood shavings
- Affordable price point
- Less odor absorption than other brands
Best Aspen Bedding: Kaytee All Natural Aspen Bedding
My hamster loves to burrow in aspen bedding! I pick up the Kaytee All Natural brand as a solid second choice because it has a wonderfully natural, woody aroma that doesn’t get overtaken by rodent smells.
When you buy aspen bedding for hamsters, take care to find a product that doesn’t have big chunks of wood that could hurt your hamster’s paws as he runs around his habitat. I’ve never had this problem with the Kaytee All Natural bedding, which comes shaved into perfectly thin, delicate pieces that fluff up wonderfully around the cage.
This aspen bedding is specially processed to remove dust and debris, and it doesn’t contain any aromatic oils that can be harmful to hamsters when ingested or inhaled. This particular brand is high on my list of best hamster cage beddings because it’s biodegradable, so you can feel good about using an environmentally friendly product.
The main downside of this product is that its packaging can be confusing at first. Its measurement sells it once it expands out of the bag, not when it’s tightly packed inside. Conversely, some aspen bedding for hamsters is measured inside the bag, so be aware before you buy.
- No inks or aromatic oils
- Misleading packaging
Best Pine Bedding: Living World Pine Shavings
If your hamster prefers her cage lined with wood shavings, I recommend the Living World Pine Shavings bedding for its natural scent and comfortable texture.
One of the perks of wood shaving bedding is easy cleanup. Because Living World processes their pine shavings to remove dust and debris, you won’t have to worry about picking sandy grains out of your hamster’s living space. It’s easy to suck up with a vacuum, and it holds plenty of moisture between changes.
Living World also kiln-dries their pine bedding for hamsters to remove aromatic oils that cause breathing irritation. When using wood shavings, quality is of the utmost importance, and I appreciate that this brand goes to great lengths to prioritize your hamster’s safety.
The downside to this bedding is, well, it has a particularly strong odor that won’t help if you don’t like the smell of pine and cedar trees. As with any wood shaving bedding, you’ll also have to inspect the mixture to remove large pieces with sharp edges that may cut your hamster.
- Odor absorption
- Easy cleanup
- Some large pieces
- Strong scent
Best Cheap Bedding: Small Pet Select Unbleached White Paper Bedding
If you’re shopping for your hamster on a tight budget, I find this unbleached paper bedding by Small Pet Select checks all the boxes of my favorite products at a fraction of the price. Namely, it’s white, soft, and ultra-absorbent.
The white paper makes it much easier to spot a soiled cage needing a fresh layer of cheap hamster bedding. Small Pet Select uses unprinted paper, so you don’t have to worry about your pet ingesting traces of harmful ink.
Of course, some hamster owners are nervous about using bleached materials for their pets, which is why I appreciate that Small Pet Select sources white paper instead of chemically processing their bedding.
This paper bedding for hamsters is 99% dust free and contains no irritants. It feels soft and plushy, like your hamster will be walking on a cloud.
The main drawback to this product is that it’s not fully biodegradable. It’s about 95% of the way there, unlike Small Pet’s brown paper bedding that you can compost after use.
- Low price point
- White shade for spotting messes
- No bleach or ink
- Not biodegradable
Best Odor Control: Carefresh Small Pet Bedding
You might be struggling to rid your home of “that hamster smell.” Finding truly odor-resistant bedding that works for your pets is a big part of the process. Of all the products I’ve tried out, Carefresh’s Small Pet Bedding does the best job of covering up nuisance smells.
The secret to the Carefresh bedding is its maximum absorbency, meaning it sucks up and holds moisture that would otherwise fester into strong, unpleasant scents. It’s proven to suppress ammonia odors for up to 10 days, and when it’s time to clean out the cage, it won’t clump into a soggy mess.
This bedding is another 99% dust-free option, which is an absolute requirement in my book. There are no synthetic dyes or chemicals used on the paper so that it won’t harm your hamster’s delicate breathing system. I only use paper bedding for hamsters because the soft and gentle texture is perfect for tiny burrowers.
While Carefresh has provided outstanding bedding for years, they appear to have changed this product’s formula. Rather than using recycled materials, they’ve switched to sourcing paper that comes from scratch. The new product is not as consistent as it used to be, and the color and texture can vary between bags. However, it is free of inks since the paper is not recycled.
- Ultra odor absorbent
- No synthetic dyes, inks, or chemicals
- No clumping
- The new formula may be less consistent
Best Hemp Bedding: OleyHemp OH! Small Pet Bedding
Maybe it’s time to break with the old bedding materials with their various ups and downs and try out some hamster bedding alternatives. We use hemp to make ropes, clothing, and even food, so why not try OleyHemp’s OH! Small Pet Bedding in your hamster’s cage?
Hemp turns out to be one of the best beddings for hamsters. It’s an amazing, renewable, US-grown product that you can feel good about using. It won’t clump when it absorbs moisture, and you can flush or compost the dirty waste.
The material does an excellent job of reducing odor. Perhaps that’s because it’s 7x more absorbent than other non-clay based litters, according to OleyHemp. The fluffy formula is chemical-free, so your pet can tunnel and chew through safe hamster bedding.
Interestingly, this hemp has a high thermal rating, which will come in handy if your hamster sleeps in a chilly room.
The list price of this hemp bedding can be misleading because it comes in a smaller bag than other products in my roundup, so keep that in mind when comparing cost options for hamster bedding alternatives.
- Flushable and compostable
- 7x more absorbent than other non-clay litter
- Warm insulation
- Small bag
Tips for Choosing the Best Hamster Bedding
I look for hamster cage bedding products that include these key features:
- Absorbent: you’ll need high-quality bedding that soaks up urine and spilled drinking water. Otherwise, the cage will give off more odor between bedding changes and even grow mold.
- Gentle: your hamster should be able to walk across the bedding without harming his tiny feet. Using natural, soft fibers without any chemical treatments is the best way to ensure your hamster burrows and runs comfortably.
- Non-Toxic: as I explained above, hamsters will gnaw on and eat their bedding from time to time. It’s important to find material that isn’t harmful to your pet’s digestion. Look for FDA-approved labels before buying.
- Dust Free: the best bedding for hamsters is rated at least 99% dust-free. Materials like sawdust can be dangerous to your little friend because they interfere with her respiratory system.
Bedding Materials to Avoid
Unfortunately, many pet stores sell harmful bedding materials for hamsters. Be sure to read the label for these common materials that you should avoid picking up:
- Cat Litter: typical cat litter is difficult for hamsters to digest. I will make an exception for wood-or paper-based litters, as long as they are FDA-approved, but cat litter is not the most comfortable choice for hamster feet either way.
- Straw: while this may seem like a natural material that hamsters would enjoy, straw can splinter into harmful pieces that prick your hamster when he walks across his bedding. It can get moldy because it’s not very absorbent.
- Untreated Cedar Shavings: untreated shavings, such as cedar, contain sharp edges and aromatic oils that cause respiratory issues for your pet.
- Sawdust: as I mentioned before, dust is a major concern when buying bedding. Using this material in a rodent cage can seriously harm your pet’s respiratory system.
- Untreated Corn Cob: unlike paper or wood products that resist moisture and keep the cage clean and dry, corn cobs are breeding grounds for harmful mold. Make sure they’re treated and FDA-approved for bedding use before buying.
- Cotton: although its fluffy texture seems harmless, cotton is a toxic material that is dangerous for hamsters to ingest.
How to Use Pine and Cedar Shavings as Bedding
Some pine bedding for hamsters contains larger pieces of wood that could scratch or injure your hamster’s feet. I always make sure to go through and pull out any big shards that I see in the bedding before I line the cage with it.
Cedar and pine wood shavings can also be dangerous because they release phenols that cause respiratory issues for your pet. These woods can be used as safe hamster bedding as long as they’re kiln-dried, which is a process that removes dust and aromatic oils.
Before I tried the Living World Pine Shavings bedding, I made sure to confirm that they use kiln-dried wood. I recommend you use pine wood shavings that are made by trusted brands that treat their materials properly.
Whether you’re looking for the best dwarf hamster bedding or a solid hamster substrate, the choice depends on your needs and budget. I’ve rounded up six of my favorite options, but only one of them is the product I’ve personally been buying for years.
When we think about absorbency, gentleness, odor control, and safety, Kaytee Clean & Cozy White Small Animal Bedding is the clear winner. Its color and long-lasting formula make cleanup a breeze while keeping your hamster safe and comfortable.
After all, the goal is to give your pet the best environment so she can thrive. Let this article be your inspiration to spoil your hamster with luxurious new bedding!
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about hamster beddings:
Why is my Hamster Eating its Bedding?
Rodents, including hamsters, have long incisor teeth that never stop growing. That’s why happy pet hamsters have lots of toys and chewing sticks, so they can gnaw throughout the day to keep their teeth trimmed to a healthy size.
It’s normal for hamsters to stuff their cheeks with bedding, as well as nibble on the material, as part of their burrowing and hoarding instincts. It’s safer to choose ink-free, natural options like the Kaytee Aspen Bedding in case your hamster does accidentally swallow small pieces of his cage lining.
How Often Should You Change Hamster Bedding?
Depending on the bedding quality, you might change it every few days or as rarely as every two weeks. You may opt to use hamster substrate to extend the life longer. Highly absorbent, odor-resistant options like the Carefresh Small Pet Bedding will last longer than a cheap hamster bedding.