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Best hamster toys: Keep your pocket-sized pal happy

best hamster toys
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Investing in a few of the best hamster toys is one of the most important things you can do for your little pocket pet's mental and physical health, and if you already have one of the best hamster cages, you'll find you're spoiled for choice when it comes to fun playthings to fill it with.

When we think about toys for pets, the first furry friends that often come to mind are dogs and cats. But all domestic animals great and small need toys, not just to exercise their bodies but also as a way of ensuring their minds stay sharp. Toys are a great way of enhancing your hammy's quality of life and ensuring their days are fun and enjoyable. 

When it comes to choosing toys for your hammy, there are a few things worth considering. First up, how much space do you have? Obviously the bigger the cage, the bigger the selection of toys you'll be able to offer your pocket pet. But, if you have a small cage, never fear - simply select two quality toys and rotate them every month or two so that your hamster gets plenty of variety. 

And speaking of variety, try to pick different toys that tap into your hammy's natural love of burrowing, digging, climbing and chewing to ensure your little one doesn't get bored. We highly recommend things like tunnels, bridges, chew sticks, hammocks and anything else that your hamster can hide in or under. An exercise wheel is also a must as this will fulfil their love of running, allow them to stretch their legs and help to ward off obesity. 

Whatever toys you choose, it's super important that you stick to ones that have been designed specifically for hamsters as toys made for other pocket pets are not always suitable. Plastic toys should be used with caution as it's a well known fact that hamsters love to nibble on things and swallowing toxic plastic is not going to be good for their health. Steer clear of painted toys unless food-grade paint has been used as once again, you don't want your hammy ingesting anything that's going to harm them. 

While a lot of pocket pets are not overly fond of being handled, if you'd like to engage in play time with your hamster to strengthen the bond you share with them, check out our helpful guide to how to play with a hamster, which has lots of tips and tricks to ensure you don't cause them any unnecessary stress. And to help you find the right playthings for your pocket pet, here's our round up of the best hamster toys currently available.

PetsRadar's pick of the best hamster toys

Hamster toysBest buy award

(Image credit: Trixie)

Trixie Suspension Bridge

Best overall hamster toy

Specifications

Pieces: Four
Dimensions: 17cm x22cmx 15cm
Material: Natural wood, polyester, rope
Suitable for: Hamsters, mice and other small rodents

Reasons to buy

+
Loads of activities
+
Visually appealing
+
Promotes exercise and curiosity

Reasons to avoid

-
You'll need a large cage
-
May get messy

Your hamster may not be Bear Grylls, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t want to explore. The Trixie suspension bridge will bring out the intrepid adventurer in your cute little pet. It incorporates loads of features; a rope ladder, suspension bridge, hoop and rope ring, all in one bright and attractive toy that hangs from the roof bars of the cage.

This little hamster gym will tax even the most active of pets, with monkey bars to really build their muscles! The suspension bridge is made from wood, as is the rope ladder, making it safe if your pet stops its workout for a quick snack or nibble. While this has the benefit of keeping their teeth in shape as well as their body, it would be wise to check the accessory from time to time to look for signs of wear and tear. After all, you don’t want them taking a tumble.

When your pet has finished working out, there’s a fluffy hammock for them to chill out in. We bet lots of pets will love to have a nap in it, and as hamsters sleep for between six and eight hours a day – mostly during the daylight hours – there will be plenty of opportunities to get cosy in the fluffy, fleecy bed. The hammock is made in a brightly trimmed nylon and is lined in soft polyester fleece, making it fairly durable, but owners will likely want to mop up any accidents quickly to avoid it becoming smelly. Despite this, the hammock is a lovely addition if you want to spoil your pet and is useful in providing a great hideaway where they will feel comfortable and safe in their cosy lookout. 

An important consideration of this accessory is its size, more particularly the hanging space required in the cage. It is more suited to larger hamster cages with a decent drop. That said, if your hamster has a sizeable residence, it will enjoy scaling this imaginative toy. Given the multipurpose nature of this accessory, its play and discovery possibilities and the added bonus of somewhere cosy for your hamster to rest its tiny paws at the end of the day, it offers plenty of bang for its buck.

Hamster toysPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Rosewood)

Rosewood Boredom Breaker Shred-a-log Corrugated Tunnel

Best budget hamster toy

Specifications

Pieces: 1
Dimensions: 18cm long, 9.5cm diameter
Material: Corrugated cardboard
Suitable for: Small pets, including hamsters

Reasons to buy

+
Multipurpose tunnel for play, chewing and sleeping
+
Safe, non-toxic materials
+
Cheap

Reasons to avoid

-
It won't last long

This has to be one of the best budget options for any small caged pet. To you, it might be just a simple tube made of corrugated cardboard and designed to look like a log, but to a hamster it’s an activity centre, hideaway and delicious snack all in one.

Cardboard has some big advantages: It’s cheap, easily recyclable and incredibly appealing in texture and taste for little hamsters. The only drawback is that it may prove too irresistible, with hamsters keen to explore and nibble it, taking a ‘seek and destroy’ approach! At best, they are likely to play with it for a toy for a while before shredding it, but you can rest assured the material used is safe and non-toxic, and the product, even when shredded, has no sharp edges like plastic. Even though it may seem like a waste, all the shredding will keep your pet stimulated and its teeth trimmed and healthy. They might even use it as bedding, which would save you topping up the sawdust.

Nibbling, gnawing and shredding apart, the play and exploration possibilities are many and varied. Most hamsters just love scuttling through the tube and peering out from the ends of the tunnel. Others quickly discover that they can have fun chewing the tube. For some, though, it’s just a good place to have a quiet nap. Just as important as providing physical and mental stimulation is the need to give your hamster somewhere to feel safe and secure, and the tunnel is a perfect place to hide.

andwe Coconut Hut Hamster House Bed

(Image credit: Amazon)

andwe Coconut Hut Hamster House Bed

Best cozy hamster hideaway

Specifications

Pieces: Two
Dimensions: 5.3" H x 2.2" D x 4.7" W
Material: Coconut shell

Reasons to buy

+
Natural material
+
Safe and comforting hideaway
+
Looks beautiful

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires strong glue for the base to stay connected to the top

This has got to be the most adorable little hamster bed we've ever seen! While it's technically not a toy, it's a lovely accessory that we felt was well worth adding to this guide. Made from a coconut shell, it's 100% natural, safe and non-toxic.

With easy access into and out of the shell, this coconut hut will provide your hammy with a cozy and peaceful hideaway for them to retreat to when they're needing a bit of down time. Furnish it with bedding materials and you'll create the comfiest little bed your pocket pet will have ever slept in.

Eco-friendly, super durable and beautifully designed, this will coconut hut will really add a talking point to your hammy's cage. The only downside is that the base often comes unstuck during the shipping phase, so you'll want to have some strong glue on hand to reattach it to the shell itself.

Hamster toysPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Happy Pet)

Happy Pet Fruit Nibblers

Best hamster chew toy

Specifications

Pieces: Four
Dimensions: Each approximately 8.5 cm,
Material: Wood
Suitable for: Hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbit

Reasons to buy

+
Multipack for convenience
+
Promotes natural chewing behavior
+
Colour and attractive

Reasons to avoid

-
Might not last very long

It’s a fact that your hamster’s teeth never stop growing. Gnawing on hard objects plays a vital part in keeping its teeth healthy and their growth in check. A hamster will gnaw on just about anything it can get its little paws on, so it’s wise to provide objects made from a natural, safe material such as wood, otherwise it may resort to nibbling on the metal bars of its cage, or worse still, plastic toys.

Cue Happy Pet Fruit Nibblers. Your hamster can’t fail to be attracted to these sweet looking fruit shapes, which are brightly coloured and designed to stimulate curiosity, which is a must for a caged pet. Yes, it’s true that you could just put a piece of wood in your hamster’s cage, but these chews are so much more fun for your hamster and look nice, which may be of interest, particularly if a cage is on display.

While the wooden toys might seem to be something of a luxury, they could save you costly visits to the vet to have the hamster’s teeth trimmed. Your hamster will thank you for it; not only will it be practising good dental hygiene, but it will also be having fun into the bargain as it explores play possibilities. It’s not unusual to see a hamster dragging or rolling one around their cage, perhaps for fun, or for some reason only known in their furry little brain.

Coming in packs of four, the nibblers are an affordable alternative to finding your own wooden logs and more convenient too. Multipacks are also great as you’re less likely to run out… for a while at least. Of course, the nibblers will be worn down fairly quickly, so it’s important to regularly check for wear and tear as small pieces could break off the fruit shapes and you don’t want your hamster to get them lodged in its little throat. But if you’re careful, your hamster will have had great fun with the shapes and replacing them certainly won’t break the bank.

Niteangel Super-Silent Hamster Exercise Wheel

(Image credit: Amazon)

Niteangel Super-Silent Hamster Exercise Wheel

Best hamster wheel

Specifications

Pieces: 1
Dimensions: Variable
Material: Acrylic and plastic
Suitable for: Small pets

Reasons to buy

+
Ultra-quiet
+
Choice of colors
+
Durable and sturdy

Reasons to avoid

-
Running drum may be too small for some breeds

The ninja of hamster wheels, this beauty is so silent that you’ll be none the wiser when your furry friend is furiously working up a sweat. Designed with dual ball bearings to make it ultra-quiet, your hamster can happily run through the night while you get the beauty sleep you need.

With a wide running track and a reasonably sized running drum, your furkid’s back will stay relaxed while working out, giving their muscles a good stretch. Designed so your pet can get in and out safely and easily, the solid base offers excellent stability and the adjustable height means you can tailor it to suit your furbaby.

Available in a range of cool colors and three different sizes, this hamster wheel is made from durable plastic and acrylic and is the highest-rated product of its kind, with pet parents praising it for its sturdy design. It’s super affordable too and the mix of pastel and bright colors will really freshen up the decor of your furry friend’s habitat. 

Hamster toysPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Happy Pet)

Happy Pet Nature First Large Willow Ball

Best eco hamster toy

Specifications

Pieces: One
Dimensions: Approx 14.5cm diameter
Weight: 80g
Material: Natural willow

Reasons to buy

+
Aesthetically pleasing
+
Encourages your hamster to keep its teeth trimmed
+
100% natural product and pesticide free

Reasons to avoid

-
It's quite big
-
Your hamster will destroy it quickly

This simple but pleasing ball is one of the best-looking small pet toys and a clever addition to any hamster environment. A bonus is that pet owners will appreciate its carefully crafted, natural appearance that will look good in any hamster home. If you’re an eco-conscious pet owner, you’ll appreciate the toy’s natural construction, and as it’s compostable, there will be no waste when your pet has finished with it. 

The ball is made from natural willow and is pesticide free, with low levels of salicin, making it a safe and irresistible choice for small pets to nibble, gnaw and chew. Gnawing and chewing makes up quite a good portion of your pet’s day, and without a safe, hard material to gnaw on, they can develop dental problems. It’s a much better (and cheaper) option to provide your hamster with a material that will keep its teeth healthy, plus there are other benefits too.

At approximately 14cm in diameter and designed with a range of small pets in mind, this toy is quite large for a little hamster, but it will no doubt have fun pushing and moving it round its cage, or your floor when it’s playtime. This will provide the hamster with lots of exercise and contribute to its physical well-being as well as helping to prevent boredom and stress.

As with all-natural materials that appeal to gnawing animals, the willow ball’s condition should be checked for damage at regular intervals and replaced when it’s beyond help. It’s not one of the cheapest play balls on the market, but for the quality and health benefits, we think it represents good value for money and is the perfect toy for a hamster with an appetite for some gnawing destruction!

Hamster toysPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Trixie)

Trixie Small Animal Running Disc

Best for exercise

Specifications

Pieces: 1 running disc and stand
Dimensions: 17cm diameter
Material: Plastic
Suitable for: Dwarf hamsters and mice

Reasons to buy

+
Quieter than a metal wheel
+
Flat running surface protects the hamster’s spine
+
Provides enjoyable exercise for hamsters

Reasons to avoid

-
Plastic, which can be a worry

The clever design of this running disc makes it one of the best activity toys around for small pets. In their natural habitat, hamsters would cover a lot of ground just looking for food, so running is second nature to them. This wheel allows them to run to their heart’s content inside their cage.

Unlike the traditional running wheel with metal rings, this one has a flat, solid running surface which protects the hamster’s spine. The running disc is big enough for a small hamster to use without bending its back and the smooth-running disc means that it cannot injure itself on metal rungs. The running disc is slip resistant too, making it a safe place for a hamster to exercise while having fun.

Anyone who has a hamster knows just how annoying the noise generated by a hamster running on a wheel can be. The Trixie wheel is different in that it is not fixed to the side bars of the cage, so the cage doesn’t make a racket. Coupled with the smooth action of the free-standing running disc, this accessory is a much quieter affair than a traditional hamster wheel. When you consider that your hamster is most awake and lively when it is dark, the near silent action of this disc should not result in anyone being unnecessarily disturbed by their hamster’s exercise… just tell them to chew quietly!

The only drawback of this toy is its material, which may be a deal breaker for eco-conscious pet owners. Made of plastic, the disk may be easy to clean, but a metal wheel would last longer. If your hamster chews anything and everything you may worry about it consuming some pieces of plastic, meaning you would have to be vigilant checking its condition. And, when it is time to buy a new wheel, this one would probably be destined for landfill, which isn’t good news. 

Hamster toysPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Haypigs!)

Haypigs! Circus Hidey Hut

Best luxury hamster toy

Specifications

Pieces: 1 hut with 2 interchangeable ‘pee pads’
Dimensions: L 30cm x W 25cm x H 25cm
Material: 100% polar fleece with 100% polyester fiber non-toxic filling
Suitable for: All small caged pets including hamsters

Reasons to buy

+
Two ‘pee pads’ included in the price
+
Can be completely machine washed and dries quickly
+
A snug hideaway in a colorful and imaginative design

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite expensive

If you fancy spoiling your diminutive pet big time, the Haypigs! Circus Hidey Hut – Fleece Hidey Hut is a good place to start. The Hidey Hut is part of a wider range of well-made circus-themed pet accessories by British company Haypigs, whose aim it is to enrich the everyday lives of small pets and their owners. The Hidey Hut is designed for use outside the cage, when the hamster is being played with, or just introduced to a different environment.

This makes it the perfect place for your hamster to play or to stage a mini Instagram photo shoot… because the world needs to see how cute your hamster looks in a big top. It also acts as a lovely place for it to hide and rest, if scampering along the living room carpet gets a bit much.

As it is meant to be used for occasional play outside the cage, the hut can be squashed flat in moments for easy storage and will recover quickly without creasing when it is ready to be used again. A real bonus is that it comes supplied with two interchangeable ‘pee pads’, which can be switched over very easily so you can keep playtime going without any soggy unpleasantness. It’s also a very useful feature as it means that the whole hidey hut doesn’t necessarily have to be washed every time. The pads can be cleaned in the washing machine and dried over a radiator. But washing the whole hut is simple too. Being made completely of polar fleece, it can just be popped in to the washing machine and it will line dry within a short time.

The price of this item is a possible negative, but if you are thinking of buying an accessory for the hamster who has everything, and are looking for a head turning ‘des res’ to be proud of, this could be the product for you. And after all, you can’t put a price on the perfect Instagram photo.

hamster toys hutPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: WINOMO)

WINOMO Pet Hammock Hamster Hanging Toy Hut

Best hammock toy

Specifications

Pieces: 1 hut with 4 hanging clips
Dimensions: 9.9 x 5.7 x 1.3 inches
Material: Plush; metal
Suitable for: Hamsters, guinea pigs, rats and other small animals

Reasons to buy

+
Offers a cosy retreat 
+
Well-sized
+
Easy to clean

Reasons to avoid

-
Long chains can be difficult to attach

Treat your special friend to a super cosy WINOMO Pet Hammock Hamster Hanging Toy Hut and they'll have space to both sleep and play.

Featuring a super soft plush material, you can either sit the hut on the ground so it becomes a cosy place for your hamster to rest or clip it to the top of the cage using the hanging clips and it transforms into a hamster swing. 

If your hammy is a little on the larger side, then this snug retreat is much roomier than you might expect at first glance.

Multiple hamsters will love nipping in and out of the holes, which is just as entertaining for you as it is for your pet. Simply hang a bell or another hamster toy above it for extra entertainment value.

Some pet owners report having difficulty attaching chains to top of the cage or finding the chains too long but the multi-functional approach of having the hut either as a bed or swing means you're guaranteed to always find a use for it.  

hamster toys digging towerPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: TRIXIE)

Trixie Large Wooden Digging Tower

Best hamster digging tower

Specifications

Pieces: 1 tower
Dimensions: 10.39 x 9.61 x 9.61 inches
Material: Wood and acrylic
Suitable for: Hamsters, gerbils

Reasons to buy

+
Good quality
+
Satisfies a hamster's burrowing instincts
+
Roomy
+
Space to observe your hamster

Reasons to avoid

-
Size is big for small cages

A practical yet suitably adorable addition to any hamster cage, the Trixie Large Wooden Digging Tower satisfies your little critter's need to dig while you can watch them.

Thanks to the product's acrylic window, you can simply stand back and observe your small friend burrow their way through the sawdust. There's two entrances, including a top hole your hamster can poke their head through.

It's pretty sizeable too for your furkid to delve in deep and tunnel their way through. Be sure to check the measurements of your cage before purchase, however, as this handy hideout may look small but it's actually much bigger than you were expecting. 

As it made from wood, expect your hamster to enjoy chewing on the walls as much as diving in the contents, but it's reasonably high quality so should last a good while. 

How to choose the best hamster toy

You know your hamster best. Perhaps they like their treats a little too much and avoid exercise, or maybe they lack mental stimulation. Whatever the case, it’s best to choose a toy that’s tailored to their needs. Look at what the toy promises and try to think whether a toy’s function will suit them and enrich their little furry life… or simply clutter up their cage.

Another important consideration is the material from which a toy is made. Plastic may be easy to clean but can be a worry if your pet gnaws it. Wood, on the other hand, is eco-friendly and non-toxic, making it a better choice all-round. It tends to be fairly durable, but if your hamster is on a mission, it could gnaw through a toy in no time. Then there’s fabric. Cute hideaways can often be made of cosy fleece, but while your hamster may love snuggling up in them, you may not love the extra washing they create!

Last but not least, it’s important not to crowd your pet’s cage with too many toys or enormous gym kits if your hamster lives in a compact property. And of course, budget plays a role too. It may be tempting to splash out on something luxurious, but bear in mind you’ll probably have to replace toys sooner rather than later.

Types of hamster toys

Best hamster toys: hamster peeking out of a tunnel

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're considering what kind of hamster toys your furry friend will appreciate, then there's plenty on the market to choose from. From essential buys to little luxuries, our guide to hamster toys will run through what you need to know about each type. 

Hamster wheel 

Possibly the most common type of hamster toy out there, the hamster wheel is a classic addition to your hamster cage.  

It's a great way to provide exercise for your little critter but it also emulates their natural behavior in the wild. Hamsters will walk several miles in search of food.

When choosing a hamster wheel think about the size and material. A large hamster will require a minimum of 8 inches, while for smaller hamsters, its around 5.5 inches.  Your hamster's back should not be arched while using as this indicates it's too small for them.

Opt for a full weighted plastic version, and look for a wheel that's silent - for obvious reasons! 

Hamster chew toys

Like most small animals, hamsters love to use their teeth so it's important to  nurture their natural instincts. 

For a great budget option, simple cardboard tubes provide a way for your hamster to both hide and chew. Cardboard rolls from paper towels or toilet paper are common household items that can be popped into your hamster's home. 

When buying a chew toy for your hamster, the most important consideration is that it's made with non-toxic materials. Wood can be a great choice but ensure it's pesticide and chemical free. 

Hamster balls

A hamster ball is an exercise device that allows your furry friend to roll around the floor. It's often seen as a common toy for a hamster but it's not always regarded as the best choice by pet charities.

There are concerns that a hamster ball may actually cause stress to a hamster due to their eyesight being poor. You may instead wish to look to look for a larger cage or an exercise pen to allow them to explore their environment on their own terms. 

Climbing toys for hamsters

Hamsters enjoy climbing and are rather curious creatures. Look to provide opportunities for your furry friend to explore.

Key considerations here are safety. Hamsters do have poor eyesight so ladders with large gaps may present a hazard. A good option are large tunnels that imitate their natural environment in the wild and you may opt for bendy bridges instead.

Digging opportunities

Hamsters love to dig so look to provide a deep layer of sawdust at the bottom of their cage. Providing potting compost is a great option too and you can always consider a digging tower.

Often made from wood, this is a specific area for a hamster to exercise their love of burrowing. You fill it with sawdust and there's usually a hole at the top for your critter to jump in and enjoy.

Sarah is a freelance journalist specialising in science and nature. Having spent years in national newspaper newsrooms, she escaped to Cornwall and hopes to explore the beaches with a rescue dog soon.