6 Best Hamster Wheels That really run (Review & Guide)

For those of you, who are in a hurry: Here is our top pick, the Silent Runner Exercise Wheel.

Getting the best hamster wheel is crucial to mimicking their wild habitat and giving your furry friend enough exercise, which will keep them healthier and happier throughout their life. Ever since I was a boy, I’ve loved animals, and I now aim to educate people on being better pet owners.

That is why we’ve put together a list of six best hamster wheels, as well as some additional information to help you decide between them. These options will help you be the best pet owner possible, and give you a happy hamster for years to come!

In this article we are going to review the following 6 wheels:

Me reviewing accessories for pets

Top Six Hamster Wheels For Your Pet

Top Pick: Silent Runner Exercise Wheel

Pros:

  • Safer, axle-free design
  • Uses quiet ball bearings
  • Disassembles completely for thorough cleaning
  • Has a sturdy base
  • Can attach to sides of cages

Cons:

  • Hard to get into some cages
  • May need a lock nut to solve wiggling

Exotic Nutrition Store’s Silent Runner exercise wheel is a sturdy option with a few design elements that set it apart from the competition. It uses two ball-bearings for rotation, providing quieter operation, while the center avoids the axle common to other designs.

Axles can be dangerous for hamsters, so this design helps reduce the chance of problems like fur or tail getting caught in the middle of the wheel. It also disassembles completely, which means you can thoroughly clean each part and avoid trapping feces or other waste in hard-to-reach corners.

As if that wasn’t enough, this wheel is also side-mountable if you don’t want to use the heavier base, which is useful for some designs. Overall, we consider this the best hamster wheel currently available.

The main problems here are that it’s relatively large, and you may need to tweak it a little to reduce wiggling. The manufacturer uses a wing nut to keep things in place, but a 5/16 lock nut (and some 5/16 washers) can stabilize things if needed.

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Runner Up: Niteangel Super-Silent Exercise Wheel

Pros:

  • Quieter than most of the competition
  • Adjustable height
  • Features anti-rust metal parts for longevity
  • Available in several colors
  • No central axle

Cons:

  • Not available in black
  • Not particularly durable

Niteangel’s quiet exercise wheel is a little bright for some pets, who may prefer darker colors that mimic their natural environment. However, it also features an impressive design with a few qualities that help it stand out.

Chief among these is the adjustable height system on the back. This system has about a three-inch range where you can raise or lower the wheel, giving you added versatility when designing your hamster’s cage’s layout.

Like our top choice, this unit also features dual-ball bearings and avoids a central axle, giving your pet plenty of space to hop around without worrying about getting entangled. The wide acrylic base provides better stability than wheels that rest on legs, too, and it’s easy to add weight on top of the stand if you need to.

The main problem with this wheel is its durability. The running drum’s plastic can handle hamster behaviors just fine, but small falls outside of the cage (such as when you’re cleaning the wheel) can crack it open. This isn’t a bad wheel, but you do need to be careful with it if you want to get the most from it.

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Budget: Kaytee Silent Spinner

Pros:

  • Available in variable colors
  • More affordable than most competitors
  • Attaches to any wire cage
  • Has an enclosed spinner hub to protect hamsters
  • Has a solid running surface

Cons:

  • Not as good for small hamster breeds
  • Lighter base than most others

Kaytee’s Silent Spinner isn’t as good as our top two options, but it’s also somewhat more affordable. Its multipurpose design attaches well to most wire cages, which is good because the base is significantly lighter and more wobbly than the solid bases of our top options.

The running area is also larger than it looks at first glance. This exercise wheel comes with a colored plastic wheel, but the running surface also includes white plastic on the inside. Like our top choices, this wheel ditches a central axle in favor of a quiet ball-bearing design.

This wheel isn’t heavy, but it works best for larger breeds like Syrian hamsters. Smaller hamsters may prefer a narrower wheel style, possibly with more of an enclosure to help them feel safe while they’re running.

With all that said, keep in mind that you don’t get a lot of savings by buying a budget hamster wheel instead of a better option. The price difference isn’t particularly significant if you can afford to own a pet, so we recommend getting a higher-quality exercise wheel instead. 

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Wall-Mounted: Zacro Hamster Exercise Wheel

Pros:

  • Transparent and easy to see through
  • Uses ball bearings for quiet running
  • Includes a removable, surface-protecting film
  • Mounts on most cages
  • Easily height-adjustable

Cons:

  • The central attachment is easier to bump into
  • Requires more assembly

Zacro’s best hamster wheel doesn’t have a base at all, though a version with a base is available. The main feature that sets this exercise wheel apart is its focus on wall mounting. It rests well on any horizontal bar in a cage, so depending on your setup, you could mount this almost anywhere around your hamster’s living area.

The running wheel is a smooth plastic dome with no grooves or holes in the running area. This is a standard, easy-to-clean design that’s not particularly unique but can blend in well with various cages and designs.

However, this wheel is more challenging to assemble than many of its competitors. It comes with multiple extra pieces, and while the instructions are easy to follow, you’re also out of luck if you lose any of the parts. Furthermore, it only rests on horizontal bars, not vertical ones. That can reduce its flexibility in some cage designs, possibly to the point of uselessness.

This isn’t a bad exercise wheel on its merits. However, even as a wall-mounted wheel, it’s not quite as good as our top pick (which is also wall-mountable, and optionally so at that). That makes this much harder to recommend as a number one choice.

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Enclosed: Suncoast Running Wheel

Pros:

  • Comfortably enclosed design
  • Has a tail shield around the middle
  • Compatible with a nail trimming system
  • Extremely quiet with minimal oiling
  • Easy to take apart and clean

Cons:

  • Narrow wire stand
  • Has a central axle

Suncoast’s Wodent Wheel is an unusual design, but it has a few things that make it worth considering. Unlike most of the options on this list, it has a central axle for stability and support. However, this wheel also uses a large cover around the axle to prevent tails and other body parts from getting caught.

This would normally be a problem for running space, but the wheel is large enough for rodents to run freely, without much likelihood of bumping into the center. The enclosed design is also immediately noticeable and helps provide a feeling of security and protection while your hamster is running.

Another notable feature isn’t part of the primary product. Suncoast Sugar Gliders, the manufacturer, also sells a nail-trimming product you can insert into this wheel. This provides a safe, natural way to trim their nails. This isn’t necessary for all hamsters, but it’s a nice option to have available.

Unfortunately, like all products, this running wheel has a few flaws. The main flaw is that it rests on a long wire stand, which doesn’t provide the same stability or support as a full-size base. That’s not a deal-breaker, but consider weighing this wheel down if you buy it.

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Flying Saucer: Ware Manufacturing Flying Saucer

Pros:

  • Rarer horizontal design
  • Safe for feet and tails
  • Available in many different colors
  • Extremely quiet

Cons:

  • Only suitable for smaller breeds
  • Hard to pick the color you want
  • Requires more space

This running wheel is instantly and immediately different from all the others on this list, thanks to its flying saucer design. Unlike regular vertical exercise wheels, horizontal choices like this one have a flatter and more natural running surface for pets like hamsters. Note that despite the name, it’s closer to diagonal than totally horizontal.

That said, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want this wheel. First, it usually requires a small jump to get in and out of. Senior hamsters may have trouble with that, and it’s also harder to get this to line up with a flooring area perfectly.

Second, hamsters can fall off of this. That’s not usually a problem as long as you have plenty of soft bedding around it, but they’re more likely to fall off of this wheel than something like our enclosed option above.

Finally, this wheel requires a lot of horizontal space. It’s not significantly larger than a vertical wheel, but hamster cages are places where every inch can matter. Make sure you plan ahead and measure the installation area before you consider buying any flying saucer-style hamster wheel.

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What Are The Advantages Of A Hamster Wheel?

Hamster wheels have many advantages, which is why so many hamster cages come with them. However, such wheels tend to be low-quality to help keep manufacturing costs down.

The first advantage of a hamster wheel is it helps fulfill their natural instincts. Hamsters are quite literally born to run, with wild hamsters sometimes covering miles every night. Cages are far too small to support this, but wheels give them a place to fulfill their instincts and burn off their extra energy.

Wheels can also help reduce boredom in hamsters, who otherwise may have few opportunities to explore, play, or exercise. Large hamster cages with plenty of tunnels can help, too, but not as much as getting to run.

Finally, hamster wheels help prevent obesity. Hamsters want to consume and burn many calories, so if they don’t move enough, they’ll get overweight quickly. Playtime with humans isn’t remotely close to enough for them, so hamster wheels can help your pet maintain a healthy weight.

Features That Separate Hamster Wheels From Each Other

Several features help separate hamster wheels from each other.

Noise Reduction

Hamster wheels with no noise reduction can be even squeakier than the rodents running in them. Wheels can use many different techniques to reduce noise, ranging from grease to ball bearings. The best hamster wheels also tend to be the quietest, allowing hamsters to run without making irritating noises.

That said, some owners, like us, prefer squeaky wheels. This provides an audio cue that the hamster uses the wheel, which has some value in its own right. It’s hard to tell exactly how loud a hamster wheel is until your pet tries it out, so be careful about buying into manufacturers’ claims on this topic.

Instead, look at customer reviews and see what buyers have to say about the noise. If most people agree it’s quiet, you can trust that wheel a lot more.

Running Surface Design

Running wheels come with many different surfaces. However, most people prefer wheels with a solid running surface, whether that surface is plastic or another lightweight material. The main reason for this is that if the wheel has openings, a hamster running at high speeds could end up hurting themselves by tripping.

In rare cases, you may find wheels with different running surfaces in different areas. These tend to be particularly large wheels and give hamsters the choice of different-textured surfaces to run on.

Variety is important, so if you end up buying multiple wheels for one hamster, try to get wheels with different running surfaces.

Safety

Most hamster wheels are quite safe. The least-safe designs are those with a central axle that doesn’t have any protective coverings around it. This is because it’s much easier for a hamster to catch their feet or fur in the joints around the axle. Thinner, wire-like axles are the most dangerous, and you should avoid those.

Safety also comes into play with the potential for a hamster to fall out. Running wheels with a wall on both sides and openings for hamsters to get in and out through are safer than open-wheel designs.

Wheel Design

Most hamster wheels come in one of two designs: vertical and horizontal. Vertical wheels are the classic style. They’re easier to fit in most cages because they’re tall, and you can get them in many different sizes.

Horizontal hamster wheels, like the Ware Manufacturing Flying Saucer above, are lower and take more space than vertical wheels do. However, running across a mostly-flat surface is also more natural for hamsters, so we often prefer these over the compact designs of vertical wheels.

Do I Need More Than One Hamster Wheel?

That depends on how many hamsters you own! Some hamsters can live together, depending on which breed you have, but most need a generous amount of space to themselves. That’s why you should have one of each major lifestyle component for each hamster you have.

If you have two hamsters, this means two houses, two food bowls, two running wheels, and so on. Some hamsters may choose to share a large running wheel, but it’s still better to have two wheels in case they decide they’d rather run separately.

Where Is The Best Place To Put A Hamster Wheel?

The best place to put a hamster wheel depends on your cage setup. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, you should have a secure anchor for the wheel. This usually means having both feet on the ground, perhaps glued or weighed down for stability, but some hamster wheels can connect through their center instead.

Stability is important because a wheel rocking back and forth can be dangerous for your hamster. Remember, they could be running at high speeds, so a little bit of wobbling can carry a lot of force.

Second, it should be easy for the hamster to get in and out. They shouldn’t need to jump out, especially after they’re tired from running. They shouldn’t be in danger of falling, either.

Most people put hamster wheels on the bottom of the cage, but you can mount it elsewhere as long as there’s enough space to access it.

Finally, the hamster wheel should be away from their food and house. Placing things in different areas encourages your hamster to travel and explore, which is also part of getting enough exercise.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many features and design elements that help separate hamster wheels from each other. We think the Silent Runner Exercise Wheel is the best choice because it has a partially-enclosed design, offers a non-slip running surface, and has a dark interior wall for added comfort.

It’s also easy to get in and out, thanks to its hamster-shaped designs. The lack of a central axle improves safety, while the use of ball bearings reduces noise. Overall, this running wheel includes most of the best features products in this category can have, and it’s even mountable on cages instead of requiring its base.

The Silent Runner is easily the best choice for most owners, and therefore, it’s our top recommendation.

FAQ

Here are some common questions people have about buying the best hamster wheel for their setup.

Can A Hamster Wheel Be Too Big?

Yes. Small breeds like dwarf hamsters do best with wheels around 6 inches, while larger hamster breeds prefer 8-12 inches.

You can tell that a wheel is too large when your hamster has difficulty moving it. Larger wheels are inherently heavier, so if it’s too heavy to move, it can’t do its job.

How Do I Stop A Hamster Wheel From Squeaking?

The cause of squeaking in hamster wheels varies. However, in many cases, you can reduce or eliminate squeaking by adding a little lubricant to any area where parts move against each other. Make sure you use a hamster-safe lubricant, even if you don’t think they’ll be able to reach it.

In some cases, you can add washers or other weights to help stop wobbling. Jiggling back and forth can also create noise, so the smoother your wheel spins, the quieter it’s probably going to be.

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