Barred cages are a popular choice. The advantages of a barred cage is that they’re typically lightweight and easy to carry, come premade for those who aren’t interested in DIY cages, have doors which allow easy access and the bars make attaching toys and water bottles easy. There are also a couple disadvantages to barred cages; exposed bars increase the risk of having your hamster chew the bars which can damage their teeth and cause medical complications. Also the bottom tubs of these cages are tapered, which results in a significant reduction of usable floorspace. Floorspace is inadequate for all the barred cages listed (other than the Critter Nation) unless they are filled with bedding all the way to the top of the plastic tub. There are multiple, easy DIY solutions to help keep bedding from falling out such as adding a strip of cardboard or plexiglass to the lower bars. Given the bedding level, fitting a 12” wheel may be challenging. When choosing between the Prevue 528 and an aquarium (40 gallon breeder or larger) I always recommend an aquarium to minimize the risk of complications.
Adequately sized barred cages are difficult to find in the US, but here is a list of available options that meet the size requirements:
~ Prevue 528 Universal Small Animal Home ~
The Prevue 528 is a bar style cage with a plastic tub bottom and a second-floor landing. This cage provides easy side and top access and is of good quality. It typically costs 65-75$ on Amazon.com and occasionally goes on sale at tractorsupply.com. The Prevue 528 is not stocked in stores and is available online only. This cage is typically the most reasonably priced barred cage available in the USA.
Reminder: When choosing between the Prevue 528 and an aquarium (40 gallon breeder or larger) I always recommend an aquarium to minimize the risk of complications.
~ Critter Nation ~
MidWest Critter Nation Deluxe Small Animal Cages are large, top-of-the line, bar cages commonly used for rats, chinchillas and ferrets with tight enough bar spacing to accommodate hamsters. They do require some easy modifications for your hamster’s safety. Critter Nations can be expensive if purchased new, but the people who use them end up being Critter Nation converts. Check out Cheeks and Squeaks Hamsters’ fabulous page on Critter Nations for more information! We use Critter Nations at Hubba-Hubba Hamstery.
The following cages don’t offer much bang for the buck, but are worth mentioning as the variety of appropriate hamster cages available in the USA is limited.
~ Savic Hamster Heaven ~
For those who like the colorful tube cages and want to house their hamster humanely, there is the Savic Hamster Heaven. The wheel included is too small to be suitable for Syrian hamsters. One complaint about this cage is the tubes are difficult to replace. However, the cage will still work well without them. The Savic Hamster Heaven is available online only and ships from Europe. The international shipping cost is baked into the price which makes this cage expensive.
~ Lixit Savic Mickey ~
The Savic Mickey is another European bar cage that meets the size requirements. It includes accessories like a second level, a hide and a wheel. Unfortunately, the wheel is designed for smaller animals and needs to be replaced. The second level and ramp are made of wire bars and can damage a hamster’s feet, so it needs to be modified to use. However, this is still a great cage even with these the accessories removed. The major complaint about this cage is that the door need to be latched one rung tighter than the cage is designed for to close securely. The Savic Mickey is available online and can be purchased through Amazon.com.
~ Marchioro Kevin 82 ~
This barred cage is a recent discovery for us. The Marchioro Kevin 82 is just slightly larger than the Prevue 528. It also provides easy access through large doors. This item is only available online and the price of this cage reflects that it comes from Europe. The cage comes with a few fun extras but unfortunately, the wheel, hide and tubes provided are intended for mice and are too small for Syrian hamsters.