For those of you, who are in a hurry: Here’s our top pick, the Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation.
Of course, this is not the first review and buying guide for rat cages. Sadly most reviews advertise cages that don’t meet the needs of our little friends. Choosing the wrong cage can lead to escapes and bumblefoot. Unfortunately, it wasn’t even easy to find 5 cages that really suit. But here they come!
In this article we’re going to review the following 5 hamster cages:
- Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation
- Kaytee My First Home 30 x 18 Multilevel
- Prevue Pet Products 528 Universal Small Animal Home
- Large 2-Level Universal Animal Home Critter Habitat
- Savic Zeno Rat Home
How to choose the best rat cage?
Choosing the best rat cage is slightly different from finding a suitable hamster cage. Here’s what to look for when choosing the habitat for your little friends.
Even if most people think of rats as dirty animals, the opposite is true. That is, even more, the case when we talk about pet rats.
In fact, rats are very unimmunized especially when it comes to air contaminants. Therefore good ventilation is inevitable. This concludes that glass tanks, Aquariums or enclosures made of plastic aren’t suitable for rats. The risk of health problems is too high as ammonia and humidity can build up fast.
A metal wire cage has definitely the best ventilation and meets the needs of rats best.
As rats sometimes tend to be escape artists you should have an eye on the bar-spacing. If your rats are still young, you should aim for ¼ inch. Through these little gaps even baby rats can’t come through. If you’re going to keep adult ones, ½ inch should be narrow enough.
After ventilation, cage size is the most critical aspect. The bigger the cage, the more comfortable your rats will feel. When getting young or even baby rats, keep in mind that they will reach their adult size within 4 to 5 months.
Rats are way more active than most gnawers. In contrast to hamsters, we suggest to determine the cage size on cubic feet and not square inches. Most experts recommend at least 2 cubic feet per rat.
There is a difference applied to gender too. Female rats generally love to climb and explore higher levels and balconies in the cage. Male rats on the contrary like to have more ground space as they tend to be territorial.
Rats are curious and playful. For their well-being, they need different rat toys, hideaways and hammocks. And of course, after all these things there has to be enough place left for just moving around.
As rats are very social you should keep them at least in pairs. The number of rats you want to keep has a critical effect on the cage size you need.
To help you with your decision, we will calculate the cubic content for every cage.
Coming to the materials the most important aspect is being chew-proof. Rats are known as quite heavy chewers and some will make their escape even through a flimsy bottom of plastic. So make sure, that all the plastic on the cage is heavy-duty. This is also for the longevity of the cage in terms of parts that bleach out and become crumbly.
When a wire cage is generally a good choice, there’re things that have to be solid: all floors, balconies and everything else the rats get their feet on. This will avoid bumblefoot, an illness characterized by sores, swellings and infections.
Of course, the metal wire should be rust-resistant. An additional coat from sleek powder or PVC will make it last longer. Just be sure that these are not toxic, as your rats will gnaw on the wire.
When the cage comes with ramps, these should have a textured surface. This helps your critters to explore the higher levels of their cage.
As we already wrote, rats are very clean pets and of course, they expect the same from there habitat. So, for your pet rats to be happy, we recommend, that you clean the cage once a week. As this can be a lot of work – all parts of the cage have to be cleaned separately – the process should be as easy as possible.
Some cages need to get fully disassembled to clean them properly. Others have wide doors and all you need to do is placing the residents in a temporary enclosure to get full access for cleaning.
Also plastic is always easier to clean than powdered metal. Have this in mind when you buy a coated wire cage. Your rats will pee onto the wire when climbing and you have to clean it, even if you can’t see any dirty parts.
Sometimes you need to move the cage. As metal cages can become quite heavy it is a huge advantage when it has wheels. Smaller cages should have some handles for transportation.
Rat Cage Reviews
The Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation is the biggest cage we found still meeting the needs of rats. You can opt for 2 different setups: Single story and 2 story. There’s an add-on available so that you can add even an additional story later. In this review, we refer to the 2 story setup.
Besides the 2 bottom trays, the cage includes 2 shelves and 3 covered plastic ramps. The powder-coated wires are rust-resistant and sturdy. Your rats won’t bite through these!
2 full-width doors provide access to the whole cage. They make it very easy to clean despite its size.
Assembling the cage is easy and can be done within 20 minutes. Sometimes a few parts don’t seem to fit. In these cases, a rubber mallet is all you need to put everything in place.
The cage itself offers multiple options for adding hammocks, tubes and other toys. If you want you can customize it to a very individual and comfy habitat.
Transportation is easy through the 4 wheels with lockings.
From our view, the only con is the depth of the pans. Your rats will kick out their bedding as soon as you put them into the cage due to the flat walls. Luckily there is more than one option to fix this. Of course, you can install your own walls or search for a fitting tub. If you want the quick fix, you can just order the available scatter guards with the cage. Just make sure that you pick the right one as there’s a special one needed for the upper level.
This cage might be a good choice if you keep multiple rats and want to offer a spacy habitat that can easily be extended.
Bar-spacing: ½ inch
Cubic content (cage only without bottom rack):
- Single story: 36 x 25 x 25 inch (13 cubic feet)
- Two story: 26 cubic feet
- Largest cage available
- Coated steel wire
- Full-width doors (very secure latched)
- Flat walls of trays
- Quite pricy
The multi-level design of this cage makes it an ideal habitat for a pair of female rats no matter if they are jumbo or fancy. One of the 3 balconies can be used as a hideaway to by placing it nearer to the bottom.
The cage includes 3 ramps and a food dish, but there is a lot of space for additional toys and accessories. We also like the deep base that prevents the pets from scattering their bedding around.
The door sadly provides only poor access and cleaning is also a bit difficult. This is mainly because the ramps are hard to attach, the same is for base and wire-top.
Escapes are prevented by a secure latched door. But we recommend to zip tie the corners of the cage just to be sure.
Bar-spacing: ½ inch
Cubic content: 30 x 18 x 30 inch (9.3 cubic feet)
- Deep bottom
- Multi-level with lots of space
- Chew-proof wires
- Small doors
- Hard to clean
With 6+ cubic inches, this cage offers a pair of rats lots of space. The ⅜ inch bar-spacing making it secure and escape-proof, even for baby rats. But to be fully sure you have to make some additional preparations we talk about later.
The Small Animal Home comes with a balcony and ramp. Other accessories are not included and you need to buy them separately.
For cleaning the wire-top has to be removed. That sounds easy but can become quite difficult when it comes back to setting up the balcony and ramp.
Two doors give you access to your critter. With them comes the first con: They don’t seem securely latched. But it’s an easy fix with some metal clamps (office supply).
Product quality seems ok. Even though it’s of course not bad quality, the bars are relatively weak and tend to bent when attaching wheels or bottles.
Bar-spacing: ⅜ inch
Cubic content: 32.5 x 19 x 17.5 inch (6.25 cubic feet)
- Deep (6.25 inch) bottom for high bedding
- Easy transportation through handles
- Easy to put together
- Doors not 100 % secure
- Ramp hard to use
- Not too easy to clean
This cage has more than enough space for 2 rats. Due to its price, we would say it might be a good choice for the money. But we say also that it’s far away from premium quality. To make it suit for your rats you even have to make some modifications.
There’re 2 doors one on top and one on the side. Gaps can occur between bottom and side door such as to the bottom tray which fits not snuggly in the cage. If you still want to go with this cage, some zip ties will fix the problem.
The good thing: The slide-out pan in addition to the large doors makes this cage really easy to clean.
Wires are painted in silver (non-toxic) and the heavy-duty base is chew-proof and deep for the extra layer of bedding.
Bar-spacing: ½ inch
Cubic content: 32 x 18 x 20 inch (6 ⅔ cubic feet)
- Low price
- Deep bottom
- Easy to clean
- Easy to assemble
- Bottle included
- Wires tend to bend
- Gaps in the wire between bottom
- Shelves are bouncy
The Savic Zeno Rat Home is available in 3 different sizes called “Zeno 2”, “Zeno 3” and “Zeno Empire”. In this review, we focus on the Zeno 2 which is the smallest one.
The cage includes a balcony with ramp, hammock, water bottle and food dish. This might make it good for starting out, but there are some cons we will discuss later.
First, the bottom of this cage is very deep. So you can add some extra bedding to make your friends a comfy home. The door has a strong latch that can’t be opened by the rats.
All-in-all the cage seems a bit flimsy. Corners can crack if you handle it too rough. You won’t find a top door, which makes cleaning difficult. Also assembling the cage is a nightmare as the side tends to collapse. You are definitely better off by doing it together with another person. To prevent escapes the corners have to be zip-tied as there can be gaps in some cases.
The hammock can’t be readjusted unless you have your own rings.
For us, the cons outweigh the pros and we don’t recommend to buy this cage. In fact, it isn’t cheap either.
Bar-spacing: ½ inch
Cubic content: 31.5 x 20 x 27.5 inch (10 cubic feet)
- Deep bottom
- Large size
- Included accessories
- Pricy for this quality
- Hammock can’t be readjusted
- Hard to clean
- Hard to assemble
If you want a cage that meets the needs of your rats and is good to handle, the Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation is our top pick. Compared to the other cages we reviewed through its wide doors it is the easiest to clean. The large space makes it possible to create a whole world of well-being for your little critters. It even offers more options for the future if you plan to expand the habitat.
Even though it’s on the pricier end, we think long term and therefore it tends to be the best decision. Not only because of its endless possibilities but also because of its sturdy design.