What’s The Best Type Of Cage For Small Mammals Like Hamsters Or Guinea Pigs?

If you’re looking to provide the perfect habitat for your furry little friend, it’s essential to choose the right cage for small mammals like hamsters or guinea pigs. With a wide variety of options available in the market, finding the best type of cage can seem overwhelming. However, fret not! This article aims to guide you through the different options and help you choose the most suitable cage that promotes their well-being, comfort, and overall happiness. So, let’s explore the world of cages and find the perfect home for your beloved small mammal companion.

Factors to Consider for Choosing the Right Cage

When it comes to selecting the right cage for your small mammal, such as a hamster or guinea pig, there are a few key factors that you should consider. These factors include the size of the cage, the material it is made from, the ventilation it provides, and the level of security it offers. By carefully evaluating each of these factors, you can ensure that you provide your furry friend with a comfortable and safe living space.


One of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a cage for your small mammal is its size. The cage should be spacious enough to allow your pet to move around freely, exercise, and engage in natural behaviors. Hamsters, for example, require a cage that is at least 12 inches by 18 inches, while guinea pigs need even more room and should have a cage that is at least 7.5 square feet in size.


The material of the cage is another crucial factor to consider. Common cage materials include wire, plastic, and glass. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to weigh them carefully before making a decision.


Proper ventilation is vital for any small mammal cage. Good airflow helps maintain a healthy and comfortable environment for your pet. Look for cages that have adequate ventilation holes or mesh panels to ensure proper air circulation.


Keeping your small mammal safe and secure is of utmost importance. Make sure the cage you choose has secure latches or locks to prevent any accidental escapes. You should also consider the spacing between the bars or gaps in the cage to ensure your pet cannot squeeze through or get stuck.

Cage Options for Small Mammals

When it comes to choosing a cage for your small mammal, there are several options available. Each type of cage has its own unique features and advantages. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common cage options for small mammals like hamsters and guinea pigs.

Wire Cages

Wire cages are popular choices for small mammals due to their affordability and accessibility. They often feature a metal frame with wire mesh sides and a plastic or metal base. Wire cages provide excellent ventilation and allow for easy cleaning. However, it’s crucial to choose a wire cage with a suitable bar spacing to prevent your pet from escaping or getting stuck.

Plastic Cages

Plastic cages are another common option for small mammals. These cages are typically made of durable plastic with various levels and compartments. Plastic cages often come with built-in tunnels, ramps, and hideouts, providing a stimulating environment for your pet. They are easy to clean and can offer good ventilation if they have appropriate air holes. However, it’s essential to ensure that the plastic used is non-toxic and safe for your pet.

Glass Tanks

Glass tanks provide a different type of housing for small mammals. They offer excellent visibility and can be a good choice for owners who want to observe their pets more closely. Glass tanks are also great at retaining heat and maintaining a stable temperature. However, they often lack proper ventilation, so additional measures must be taken to ensure adequate airflow. Glass tanks require regular cleaning to prevent odors and maintain a hygienic environment.

DIY Cages

For those who enjoy a hands-on approach, building a DIY cage can be a rewarding option. DIY cages offer the flexibility to customize the size and design based on your pet’s needs. They can be constructed using various materials, such as wire grids, wood, or acrylic panels. However, DIY cages require careful planning and construction to ensure they are secure and suitable for your small mammal.

Wire Cages

Wire cages have long been a popular choice for small mammals like hamsters and guinea pigs. They offer several advantages that make them appealing to pet owners.


One of the main advantages of wire cages is their excellent ventilation. The wire mesh sides allow for optimal airflow, keeping the cage fresh and preventing the buildup of odors. Wire cages also provide great visibility, allowing pet owners to easily observe and interact with their furry friends. Additionally, wire cages are typically lightweight and easy to move around as needed.


One disadvantage of wire cages is that they can be challenging to clean compared to other cage types. The wire mesh can accumulate dirt and debris, requiring thorough cleaning to maintain a hygienic environment. Wire cages may also be unsuitable for some small mammals, such as those with tiny feet or delicate fur, as they may get caught or injured in the wire mesh.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning and maintaining a wire cage involves several steps to ensure the health and safety of your pet. Regularly remove soiled bedding and wipe down the wire mesh with a pet-safe cleaning solution. Occasionally, the entire cage will need a more thorough cleaning, including removing the wire top from the base to access all areas. Replace the bedding and any accessories, such as food and water containers, regularly to keep the cage fresh and free from bacteria.

Plastic Cages

Plastic cages offer their own set of advantages and are popular choices for small mammals like hamsters and guinea pigs.


One major advantage of plastic cages is their durability. They are made from sturdy plastic materials that are resistant to chewing and scratching, making them long-lasting. Plastic cages often come with multiple levels and compartments, providing ample space for your pet to explore and play. These cages are also generally easy to clean, as most plastics can be wiped down with a damp cloth or sponge.


Although plastic cages are durable, they are not entirely indestructible. Some small mammals may still be able to chew or scratch their way through certain areas of the cage, potentially leading to escape or injuries. Another disadvantage of plastic cages is that they may not provide as much ventilation as wire or glass cages. Extra care should be taken to ensure that the cage has adequate air holes or mesh panels to maintain good airflow.

Cleaning and Maintenance

To keep a plastic cage clean and hygienic, it is recommended to remove any soiled bedding or waste daily. Wipe down the plastic surfaces with a pet-safe cleaning solution regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria or odors. Pay close attention to any levels or compartments in the cage, as these areas can accumulate debris and require thorough cleaning. Replace any worn-out or damaged parts of the cage promptly to maintain its structural integrity.

Glass Tanks

Glass tanks offer a unique housing option for small mammals and have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.


One of the main advantages of glass tanks is their excellent visibility. The transparent walls allow pet owners to have a clear view of their furry friends, making observation and interaction easy. Glass tanks also provide a great thermal environment, as they retain heat better than wire or plastic cages. This can be particularly beneficial for small mammals that require warmer temperatures.


The lack of ventilation is one of the significant disadvantages of glass tanks. Since glass is non-porous, it restricts the natural airflow within the cage. This can lead to a build-up of ammonia and other odors if not properly managed. To overcome this drawback, additional measures must be taken, such as installing a mesh top or using a fan to promote air circulation. Another consideration is that glass tanks can be heavy and more challenging to move and clean compared to other cage types.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Maintaining cleanliness in a glass tank requires regular cleaning and attention to detail. Remove any soiled bedding or waste promptly to prevent odor build-up. Wipe down the glass walls and surfaces with a pet-safe cleaning solution regularly to remove any smudges or bacteria. Ensure that the glass top, if present, is also cleaned to maintain visibility and proper ventilation. It’s essential to monitor the humidity levels within the tank to prevent the growth of mold or mildew.

DIY Cages

For pet owners who enjoy a hands-on approach and want to tailor a cage specifically for their small mammal’s needs, DIY cages can be a great option. However, they require careful planning and construction.


The primary advantage of DIY cages is their customizability. You have the freedom to design and build a cage that suits your pet’s specific requirements and your personal preferences. DIY cages can be constructed using various materials, such as wire grids, wood, or acrylic panels, allowing for flexibility in terms of size and design. This option can be cost-effective, as you may be able to repurpose materials you already have or source inexpensive materials.


One significant disadvantage of DIY cages is that they require proper planning and construction to ensure the safety and security of your pet. Pet owners must have the necessary skills and knowledge to build a sturdy and escape-proof structure. DIY cages may also require more maintenance, as they may not have the same level of durability as commercially-produced cages. Additionally, if constructed poorly, DIY cages can pose a risk to your pet’s safety, such as sharp edges or unstable construction.

Cleaning and Maintenance

DIY cages should be cleaned and maintained in a similar manner to other cage types. Remove any soiled bedding or waste regularly and wipe down the surfaces with a pet-safe cleaning solution. Pay close attention to any materials used in the construction of the cage, such as wire grids or wood, as they may require specific cleaning methods. Regularly inspect the cage for any signs of wear or damage and make any necessary repairs to ensure your pet’s safety.

Best Cage Types for Hamsters

Hamsters have specific needs when it comes to their cages. Here are some of the best cage types for hamsters:

Wire Cages with Bar Spacing of 0.5 inches

Hamsters are master escapologists, so it’s important to choose a wire cage with narrow bar spacing to prevent any Houdini-like escapes. A bar spacing of 0.5 inches or less will ensure that your hamster cannot squeeze through the bars. Wire cages provide good ventilation and are easy to clean, making them a popular choice for hamster owners.

Plastic Cages with Multiple Levels and Accessories

Plastic cages with multiple levels and compartments offer a stimulating environment for hamsters. They provide plenty of space for your pet to explore, climb, and burrow. Look for sturdy plastic cages with secure latches to prevent any accidental escapes. Ensure that the plastic used is chew-proof and non-toxic for your hamster’s safety.

Glass Tanks with Adequate Ventilation

While glass tanks may not be the most common choice for hamsters, they can still be suitable if proper ventilation measures are taken. Installing a mesh top or using a fan to promote airflow can help overcome the lack of natural ventilation. Glass tanks offer excellent visibility and can create a cozy and secure environment for your hamster.

Best Cage Types for Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs have different requirements when it comes to housing. Here are some of the best cage types for guinea pigs:

Large Wire Cages with Solid or Jackson Style Flooring

Guinea pigs need plenty of space to roam and exercise, so a large wire cage is ideal. Look for cages with solid or Jackson style flooring to prevent any foot injuries. It’s important to choose a cage that is at least 7.5 square feet in size to provide your guinea pigs with ample room to move around.

Plastic Cages with Wide Openings and Solid Bottoms

Plastic cages with wide openings offer easy access to your guinea pigs and make cleaning hassle-free. Look for cages with solid bottoms to prevent foot injuries. Ensure that the plastic used is chew-proof and non-toxic for your guinea pigs’ safety.

C&C Cages with Grids and Coroplast

C&C cages, also known as cubes and coroplast cages, are popular among guinea pig owners due to their spaciousness and versatility. These cages are constructed using wire grids and coroplast panels, offering customization options based on your pet’s needs. C&C cages provide ample ventilation and can be easily expanded or modified as your guinea pig family grows.

Important Cage Accessories

In addition to choosing the right cage, providing your small mammal with the appropriate accessories is essential for their well-being. Here are some important cage accessories to consider:

Bedding and Nesting Materials

Choose a suitable bedding material that is safe and comfortable for your pet. Options include paper bedding, aspen shavings, or fleece liners. Provide ample nesting materials, such as shredded paper or hay, for your small mammal to create cozy sleeping areas.

Food and Water Containers

Select food and water containers that are sturdy, easy to clean, and designed specifically for your small mammal’s needs. Consider options that are chew-proof and spill-resistant to ensure your pet has a constant supply of fresh food and water.

Exercise Wheels and Toys

Small mammals like hamsters and guinea pigs require regular exercise to stay healthy. Provide them with a suitable exercise wheel or toy to keep them active and entertained. Choose options that are appropriately sized and designed for your pet’s species to prevent any potential injuries.


Choosing the right cage for your small mammal is a crucial decision that can impact their overall well-being and happiness. Consider the size, material, ventilation, and security of the cage before making your final choice. Wire cages, plastic cages, glass tanks, and DIY cages all have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Tailor your decision based on the specific needs of your pet, whether it be a hamster or guinea pig. Don’t forget to provide the necessary accessories, such as bedding, food and water containers, and toys, to create a comfortable and enriching environment for your furry friend. With careful consideration and attention to detail, you can ensure that your small mammal has a safe and happy home.