Choosing the best cage or enclosure for your hamster is important for the hamster and making the right choice is also important for your pocket! Information below, and please do post on the forum as well, for ideas and suggestions.

Hamster Cage Size and enclosure size

The forum recommended cage sizes are approximately:

  • 100cm x 50cm or larger (800 square inches or more) for all species of hamster. Bar chewing is rare once a cage is 100cm or larger.
  • Please see our guidance on if and when to upgrade your cage if your current cage is less than 100cm by 50cm.

The Blue Cross say

The ideal home for a hamster is housing no smaller than 100cm x 50cm floor space, by 50cm tall. The bigger the better as hamsters love to explore and roam.

Wood Green Animal charity say

All species of hamster should live in an enclosure that’s at least 100cm long and 50cm wide. All dwarf species will need an enclosure that is at least 40cm high with 6mm bar spacing. Syrian hamsters need to live in an enclosure that is at least 50cm high and with 1cm bar spacing.

The PDSA cite the Veterinary Association for Animal Welfare (based in Germany) with their minimum cage size of 100cm x 50cm.

Happy Hamsters Uk Hamster rescue has rehoming requirements of at least 100 x 50cm x 50cm for Syrians and 100cm x 50cm x 40cm for dwarf hamsters.

The exception may be in unusual or exceptional cases - for medical reasons (eg to use a smaller cage as a hospital cage) or temporarily as a rescue or holiday cage.

Please check out our list of available and suitable cages on the link at the bottom of this page for the Uk, Europe and USA.


  • A cage should be not too tall (some rat cages are very tall) and should be set up carefully to avoid fall risks from a height.
  • For roborovski hamsters, and russian dwarf hamsters, height should not be more than about 25cm to 30cm above substrate level (in a barred cage) as these are tiny creatures who can be injured by falls. For Syrians 30cm to 35cm height above substrate level (in a barred cage). Hard or pointy items that could be sharp if landed on, should be placed under something (eg a shelf or roof hanging item).
  • Bar spacing: Should be 1cm or less. For small roborovski's narrower bar spacing may be necessary.
  • Tank style cages should have plenty of ventilation - a meshed roof at least. 1cm squared mesh or less.
  • A cage should fasten securely or have a lock.
Other Needs
  • Out of cage time in a safe environment such as a secure playpen or a sectioned off part of a room.
  • Plenty of depth of substrate in the cage for burrowing and to cushion falls. Please see the BEDDING AND SUBSTRATE article for more information.
  • Plenty of enrichment in the cage. Please see the ENRICHMENT article for further information.
  • An appropriate sized hamster wheel. Please see the WHEELS article for more information.
  • Enough overhead cover. Hamsters often don't like a lot of open space above them, being prey animals. A shelf or platform is fairly essential so they have something to sit under. And roof hanging items like plastic sputnik hammocks, grass hammocks or egg box hammocks (no fabric) (in a barred cage), give overhead cover too, as well as added enrichment. In a tank cage, where it can be harder to add hanging items, deeper substrate will enable them to feel safe by burrowing and plenty of large floor hides like cork tunnels.

It's not just the amount of floorspace (square inches) that is important in a cage - it's also the depth (width) of a cage. A cage that is very long and narrow doesn't give the same benefits as one that's at least 38 to 40 cm deep (ideally 50cm or more).

Levels and shelves don't count towards floorspace, although levels and shelves do add enrichment. Hamsters are basically ground dwellers and diggers and need enough space at floor level, and plenty of substrate, to have normal behaviours. Levels and shelves give them somewhere else to go and something to do and are good, but they should be easily accessible and not be too high.

Cages that are particularly tall, like some rat cages, can be risky for hamsters, who will climb, but don't see well and aren't very good at getting down again, so tend to just "drop". They can injure themselves leading to suffering for the hamster and vet bills for you.

Deeper bedding can effectively reduce the height of a taller cage.

Types of Hamster cage or enclosure

There are pros and cons to both tank style and barred cages. Hamsters need very good ventilation and they also need good enrichment.

Barred cages have very good ventilation. Some have front access which can be good for taming and interaction with the hamster and this can be good for particularly nervous hamsters who don't like a hand coming from above, and also for owners who like front access! They offer a lot of scope for enrichment with attaching items to the bars and roof, for hanging items and overhead cover. The base of a barred cage has limited depth for bedding but there are options to increase this. With barred cages, deeper bedding can be achieved by putting cardboard, chill and chew mats, or perspex inside the bars so the substrate/bedding doesn't fall out of the bars.

Tank style cages

These can offer more scope for deeper bedding. They tend to be mainly top opening only, although some have front access. And while not being able to attach things to the roof and side so easily, they can offer a lot of scope for enrichment at floor level/landscaping and terrain building. They have less ventilation than barred cages, so the entire top lid needs to be meshed, at least.

BIn Cages
This is probably the cheapest option to make a diy hamster cage. However there aren't any bins big enough in the Uk (although there are in the US), and it might mean needing to join two bins together using hot glue, to create something large enough. Bin cages need plenty of ventilation adding - a meshed lid at least and ideally mesh at the front also.

Choosing a Hamster cage

Some of it may come down to personal preference of the owner, whether they prefer one style or the other. It may also come down to what you find easiest to use as well, what you're used to, your budget is, and what suits a particular hamster on occasion. Sometimes, if a hamster has been in a barred cage previously they may adapt to another barred cage better, and vice versa with tank style cages or bin cages. But there is no hard and fast rule.

Access is an important consideration - being able to get larger items in and out of the cage - but also access to the hamster for interaction. Large front opening doors are popular for that and can also make interaction and taming with the hamster easier and spot cleaning easier. Although most hamsters are best tamed out of the cage - their behaviour is different out of the cage than inside it. See the TAMING article for tips there. Large opening top roofs are also good for taking larger items in and out of the cage.

Hamster Cages and Enclosures

Below is a link to our list of available and suitable cages, including options in the Uk, Europe and the USA. There are also many tutorials for diy cages, so feel free to ask questions on our forum for ideas and suggestions. There's also a "Show us your cages" thread on the forum for ideas and inspiration!

The cage shown above is the Savic Plaza 120 or Savic Plaza XL (the new larger version of the Savic Plaza cage), which was released in December 2022. More floor space than a detolf! It's available at Pets at Home online (and in some stores) and Zoar's Ark in Wales (although they only do click and collect or pallet delivery at a cost). It is probably the largest hamster specific commercial barred cage at 118cm x 64cm deep and 52cm tall. Approx 1,170 square inches. It looks identical to the current 100cm Savic Plaza - but bigger. There is a review of this cage HERE (click here)