For those of you, who are in a hurry: Here’s our top pick, the Exotic Nutrition Silent Runner 12″ Wide.
We spent hours searching for the best hedgehog wheel. It was really not easy to find wheels that are large enough, easy to clean, silent, safe and stable. We came across other websites promoting products, that are either too small or from bad quality. So we thought it might be interesting and helpful to share our view with you. Here they come!
In this article we are going to review the following 5 hedgehog wheels:
- Top Pic: Exotic Nutrition Silent Runner 12” Wide
- Runner up: Suncoast Sugar Gliders Wodent Wheel Senior & Tail Shield
- Treadmill Wheel (11″ Green; flying saucer)
- Felix & Fido Spin Safe 15″
- Ware Manufacturing Flying Saucer Exercise Wheel for Small Pets, 12-Inch
- 1 Why you should buy a hedgehog wheel?
- 2 What to consider when choosing a hedgehog wheel (Buying guide)
- 3 Wheels you should not buy for a hedgehog
- 4 Hedgehog wheel reviews
- 5 Conclusion
Why you should buy a hedgehog wheel?
Hedgehogs are very active animals and they have an inherent instinct to run. In the wild, these nocturnal critters make it over several miles per night. Actually they can run up to an impressing 12 miles with a top-speed of 12 mph. Calculated to their size this is more than a marathon.
Due to these facts, it seems obvious, that hedgehogs need a possibility to exercise in their cages. This does not only reduce boredom but is essential for the hedgies’ health. A wheel can be a good choice and often tends to be the main activity of your prickly pal.
What to consider when choosing a hedgehog wheel (Buying guide)
There is more to choosing the best hedgehog wheel than just looking at price and noise level. Depending on your and your critters’ needs, several types of wheels can be a good fit. In this article, you will learn more about the different aspects of exercise wheels.
The right size is one of the most important qualities your exercise wheel should fulfill. Some blogs tell you that it should not be smaller than 7 inches. We think this is not enough. Hedgehogs are fairly large critters and therefore we recommend a diameter of 12 inches.
Even if your hedgehog will use smaller wheels, it is important, that his spine is not turned in any unnatural positions. If this is disregarded it can lead to issues with spine curvature in the long run.
When looking for wheels that fit this criterion, you will see, that most are ineligible. Anyhow, sometimes you will have to make some compromises and if it is because of cage size. Have in mind, there might be additional space needed for the stand or some hedgehog bedding underneath the wheel. Because of this, we decided to review wheels up from a diameter of 10 inches.
In most cases, the compatibility is tied to the cage size as mentioned in the paragraph above. So have in mind, that the wheel should not be as high as the cage. In some cases this a good argument for a flying saucer. If you don’t know what that exactly is at this point: you will figure it out in our reviews.
There are freestanding or cage-attached exercise wheels. Attached ones won’t suit for plastic bins and all cage types without wire bars. Freestanding wheels will work with every cage, as long as they fit in.
Safety, of course, is a very important aspect you should have in mind when choosing the wheel for your hedgehog. When buying things for your pets you should always be mindful of potential causes for injuries.
You should always have an eye on parts that could harm the feet or tail of your beloved pet. In the case of exercise wheels, this means, that you should avoid open hinges or axles by all means. The same stands for holes and small gaps. Complete open wheels are often the best choice. Prefer soft and textured surfaces.
In the case of freestanding wheels make sure that there is no way they can flip over.
If your hedgie is the first small pet that likes wheels, this might get lost in the shuffle of new things. Depending on their materials and parts exercise wheels can get very loud. Additionally, the fact, that hedgehogs are nocturnal does make it even more important.
Most metal wheels tend to be quite sneaky at some point. You can easily fix this with some lubricant for your and your hedgies’ comfort. If the hedgehog cage is far away from your bedroom you can be more tolerant of the noise. If you want to do yourself a favor have a look at moving parts and choose a wheel with ball bearing.
Sturdiness is important not only form the safety perspective as these typically do not tip over. If you choose a durable wheel your hedgie can run in it for years to come. Even a wheel from very good quality and at the pricier end of the range can be more favorable when you take this into consideration.
To gauge the sturdiness you should take a look into the reviews of each product.
There are 3 different materials that are often used for exercise wheels:
- Metal: Most durable, but can become squeaky. You can fix this as mentioned with lubricants like plant oils. Don’t place these direct under ceramic heat emitters as some can get to warm for your hedgies’ feet.
- Plastic: Long-lasting and easiest to clean. It can bring problems with heat when placed under an emitter.
- Wood: The most natural and often good looking wheels. Sadly they are not easy to clean as the wood can absorb liquids like urine. Often they start to smell at some point.
Ease of Cleaning
Usually, exercise wheels of plastic are the easiest to clean. Especially when they are completely open you can simply put them into the dishwasher.
Independent from the materials all surfaces should be reached without obstacles. Generally, the more minimalistic the design, the easier to clean, is the rule.
Wheels of metal or plastic can be cleaned with a brush, warm water and mild soap without much effort. If necessary you can disinfect the toy every now and then.
When you make your choice, have in mind, that wooden surfaces are usually the hardest to clean. And you have to clean them properly as hedgehogs like to make their toilet when running.
Some running wheels come with features that are fun or make maintenance of the cage easier.
Most notably there are 2 things that are practical or exciting:
- Hedgehog wheels with litter boxes
- Hedgehog wheels with odometer
Wheels you should not buy for a hedgehog
There are two types of wheels that you should not choose for your little hedgie. Both can lead to serious injuries.
- Crossbar wheels can cause accidents when your hedgehog tries to get off while the wheel is still spinning.
- Mesh Wheels can take hold of the hedgies’ toenails or even legs. Bleeding wounds or broken bones can be the result.
Hedgehog wheel reviews
The Silent Runner Wheels are well-liked by many customers. This 12 inches/wide variant was specially designed for hedgehogs. Sadly there are 2 bad reviews that might distract you when learning more about this wheel.
2 ball bearings ensure smooth and silent spinning. Some buyers complain about terrible noise, while most confirm the silence. Especially in the case of exercise wheels, noise can be connected with improperly attaching. We found a video that shows the easy assembling and gives you an impression of the “noise” it makes in the end.
There is no crossing axle, that not only eliminates the risk of tail or fur entanglement. It although offers more free movement.
The track itself is textured in favor of more grip. It can be replaced with an auto-clean track with a drainage system or a sandy track for nail filing. Both have to be purchased separately.
The Silent Runner can be attached to the cage and also comes with a stand. When you use the stand, you have to ensure that it doesn’t move.
Disassembling is very simple and cleaning easy as a result. There are no nooks for feces to hide. The front panel ensures stability but can also be removed if you want.
Diameter: 12 inches
- Silent through ball bearings
- Freestanding and attachable
- No crossing axle
- Textured running track
- Easy to clean
- On stand it might slip over the bottom if not additional fixed
This wheel has a diameter of 11 inches when you use the stand, it is 12 inches high. Even if we recommended an diameter of 12 inches we think this wheel works very well for hedgehogs.
With 4.6 stars out of 5, this Suncoast Wheel is the, by its customers best-rated wheel. For the quality, you get the price is really ok, as it is average compared to other ones. Plan to have a durable toy you can use for years.
You won’t find an exercise wheel that is completely silent, but this one gets surprisingly near to it.
The running track has a solid and flat surface which is good for providing injuries. The axle is completely covered by the tail shield, which covers other potential risks. The front plate protects your hedgie from flying off the wheel. Besides hedgehogs usually prefer enclosed wheels.
Even if it comes with a stand, you can attach it to wire cages with zip ties from the metal base. Just be sure to make this very properly so that there are no places that can create noise.
There is one thing we really can complain about. It is hard to clean, especially when used by hedgehogs. Disassembling is difficult but necessary in our case as hedgehogs like to poop while running. Getting feces out of the wheel is tough.
Diameter: 11 inches
- Good value for the money
- Really silent
- Solid and flat running track
- Safed axle through the tail shield
- Hard to clean
Treadmills or flying saucers can be a good alternative if your hedgie doesn’t want to run in a wheel. In contrast to other flying saucers made of plastic, this one made of powder-coated metal is very durable.
The ball bearing makes the treadmill silent but definitely needs some maintenance. The center cartridge must be oiled occasionally for smooth and silent running. When cleaning, water and soap contact must be avoided with the cartridge. Apart from that, cleaning is possible in a breeze.
A flat running surface prevents curvature of the spine. Moreover, there are no potential sources of injuries.
The whole wheel stands very stable because of its heaviness this is even when it stands on loose bedding.
As most things about flying saucers sound very positive, there are some cons too. In some cases, feces are scattered around through the momentum. This can be quite disappointing when they land on your floor. Another thing that you should have in mind is that treadmills need more space in the cage.
Diameter: 11 inches
Hight: 7 inches
- Durable powder-coated metal
- Easy cleaning
- Feces might be scattered around
- More ground space needed
This 15 inches large wheel is originally designed for chinchillas but of course, it meets the needs of your hedgie too. Some people will complain about the price, but honestly, it is made of very high-quality materials. For example, you won’t find any plastic.
The ball bearings make spinning very silent, but it can be loud when it is bouncing against the bars of the cage. You can prevent that by following every single step exactly like it is said in the instructions.
Safety is ensured by a flat surface and axle free design.
Even if we like this wheel very much, we won’t recommend it because of a combination of price and potential noise.
Diameter: 15 inches
- Natural design through wood and metal
- 100% safe
- Makes noise when not correctly attached
The Ware Manufacturing Flying Saucer is the second treadmill we review. First, it makes a good impression as it is toe safe, has a solid running surface and is affordable.
Flying saucers from this manufacturer are usually very good, so we thought this might be a good recommendation. Sadly that is not true for the large 12-inch wheel. The toy itself can’t bear much weight, so the spindle is often cracking after 1 or 2 months in use.
As you guess, we do not recommend this wheel. But if you are on the search for smaller flying saucer you can give Ware Manufacturing a chance and try the 7.25 inch or the 5-inch versions a try.
Diameter: 12 inches
Height: 7.5 inches
- Toe safe
- Solid running surface
- Good price
- Cracks easily
Our top pick is the Silent Runner from Exotic Nutrition and here we are going to tell you why.
Compared to our runner up there is especially one main difference: the Silent Runner is easy to clean. If you don’t want the front panel you can easily remove it and let your hedgie run without it. We think the 2 bad reviews are overweight and come from incorrect usage. Every wheel will cause some problems like noise if you don’t install it properly. When a hedgehog is not fitting in this wheel, he will fit in no one.
If you found that your prickly pal doesn’t want to run in a wheel, just try a flying saucer. As ist is very sturdy and from metal, we recommend the Treadmill Wheel. It won’t break easily and we think it will last for years in most cases.