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Flying Saucer vs Wheels: Which one is better for Hamsters?

Flying Saucer vs Wheels Which one is best for Hamsters

Hamsters make excellent family pets. Small hamsters are friendly and take up little space in the house. They do, however, require adequate exercise due to nocturnality. They require an adequate wheel that keeps them active for exercise. Wheels come in a variety of sizes and types, so you must decide which one is best for your hamsters. Although the majority of hamster wheels are made of plastic or wire, there are many other wheels on the market that are hazardous to them.

We recommend that you keep both in your cage just in case and see what your hamster prefers. Perhaps your hamster uses both, or just the wheel? It is entirely dependent on the hamster. Syrian hamsters prefer wheels, while dwarf hamsters prefer saucers.

Flying saucer wheels and hamster wheels are the two wheels for hamsters. The flying saucer is a disc-shaped wheel that provides a wider space to run and is suitable for small hamsters. In comparison, hamster wheels are upright wheels which are preferable for Syrian hamsters. To decide which one is better for a hamster, you need to know three things: 

  • correct size
  • smooth surface
  • perfect wheel fit. 

Both are excellent in their own right. However, we can’t decide which is better because both have advantages. So, to learn more about wheels and saucers, consider the following points to determine which is best for your hamsters.

Flying Saucer vs. Hamster Wheels 

There are three things to remember whenever you buy wheels for hamsters, i.e., safe surface, noise level, and size of wheels. A flying saucer wheel is a disc-shaped wheel perfect for small hamsters. It is completely resistant to tail and foot snags. Hamster wheels come in various materials wheels like plastic wheels, wire wheels, wooden wheels, etc. Hamster wheels are upright wheels that are perfect for Syrian hamsters. Hamsters can run on wheels even if the space is confined. In hamster wheels, the hamster does not fly off while running, but in flying saucer wheels, if the hamsters run very fast, they would fly away and fall. 

To know more about both the wheels, Here are some advantages and disadvantages of the flying saucer wheel and a hamster wheel.

Flying Saucer for Hamsters

Saucer shaped exercise wheel

A flying saucer wheel has a slant running surface, perfect for dwarf hamsters who like to run together. It has a very smooth running surface, which is safe for hamsters’ feet. It has tiny grippers which prevent the slipping of hamsters. It seems to be the perfect wheel for hamsters as it does not have rungs like a traditional wheel which causes injury. Also, it doesn’t sound like a traditional wheel, i.e., a very silent/quiet wheel. It seems to be the safest wheel for Robo and dwarf hamsters. Exercise is essential for hamsters, and flying saucers will be the perfect addition. 

Advantages of flying saucer

  • Physically fit and healthy: Running is a good exercise for hamsters, flying saucer wheel helps them run, making them physically fit and healthy. Exercise also reduces stress which is very good for your hamster’s health. In addition, it reduces health issues like diabetes and digestive problems.  
  • Ideal for dwarf hamsters: The flying saucer wheel comes in different sizes, but it is perfect for Robo and dwarfs hamsters as they can run together in the same saucer wheel. 
  • Silent/quiet wheel: It runs quietly, providing hours of running and excitement. When hamsters run on it, it makes very little noise. As a result, it is also known as the quiet wheel. It outperforms all other wheels because it is much quieter.
  • Reduces bending back: It has solid running and a flat surface which helps in reducing bending back. In addition, it reduces the u-type spine problems which occur in traditional hamster wheels. 
  • Prevent slipping: Flying saucer wheels have a solid running surface, and it is safe for hamsters’ feet as it does not have rungs. Also, unlike traditional wheels, It has tiny grippers that prevent hamsters from slipping. 
  • Tail or paws do not get stuck: Flying saucer wheels do not have rungs or wires. Unlike a traditional wheel, the hamster’s tail or paws don’t get stuck in a flying saucer because of a flatter running surface. 

Disadvantages of flying saucer

  • Fly off while running: In the flying saucer wheel, hamsters like Robo and dwarf fly off while running. This may be because of the size of the wheel or because of excitement they run very fast. When the size of the saucer is not proper, the hamsters will end up getting hurt. 
  • Slant surface: In a flying saucer wheel, the surface is flat/slant which is uncomfortable for some hamsters. Syrian hamsters have to curve their body to run and stop, which causes various back issues.  
  • It takes lots of space in small cages: Because of its plate-style structure, the flying saucer wheel takes up a lot of space in the smaller cage. Its wider coverage doesn’t allow it to fit in smaller cages.
  • Too small for Syrian hamsters: The flying saucer wheel is not ideal for Syrian hamsters as they are large enough for saucer wheels. Also, they don’t run properly on saucer wheels. 
  • C type spine problem: Some hamsters like Syrian get c-type spine problems in flying saucer wheels. They have to curve their body to run on wheels. This type of wheel does not allow a natural running position. They have to side-arch their body to run. 

Hamster wheel

hamster wheel

Hamster wheels are quite safe for hamsters only if the size, fit, and surface are correct. Unlike flying saucer wheels, these wheels help the hamsters to run even if the space is confined. It also prevents the boredom of hamsters. It is ideal for Syrian hamsters because of the wheel size. However, a poorly fitted wheel can cause serious physical injuries that may lead to a need for euthanasia. 

bar hamster wheel

This wheel is not good as a hamster’s feet and tail may get caught. X

mesh hamster wheel

Running on these can cause your hamsters bumblefoot which means abscess on feet. X

Solid hamster wheels

A solid plastic wheel with little grip on the inside and no spindle is great.

Advantages of the hamster wheel

  • Does not fly off: In hamster wheels, the small hamsters do not fly away because they do not have an open surface like a flying saucer, perfect for running. Also, these upright wheels help in fast running. 
  • Perfect for Syrian hamsters: These upright wheels are ideal for Syrian hamsters because of their size of the wheel. The running position is far better for Syrian hamsters with an upright wheel as compared to the flying saucer wheel.
  • Does not take much space in the cage: The upright wheels do not take much space in the cage because it does not have a wider surface, unlike saucer wheels. So, if you have a smaller cage and Syrian hamsters, then upright wheels are the perfect ones for them. 
  • Plastic wheels are perfect: There are many upright wheels on the market, but you have to choose the correct one for your hamsters. The plastic upright wheels are the ideal wheels for hamsters because they do not have rungs and other drawbacks that traditional wheels have.
  • Solid running surface: The upright wheels have a solid running surface. Some wheels get attached to the sides of the cage, which is perfect for the hamsters to run. 

Disadvantages of the hamster wheel 

  • Tail damage: Chinese hamsters have long tails. Therefore, upright wheels are not ideal for Chinese hamsters as their tails might get stuck while running on them. This is the main drawback of the upright wheels.
  • The death of cagemates: Dwarfs hamsters live in pairs. Two hamsters can not run on upright wheels at the same time. So there are many chances of death of the cage mates. If one dies, the other will also die sometimes because they cannot live alone.  
  • Dismemberment: Sometimes the legs of the hamsters get caught in the wire wheel and get ripped off. Non-solid track surfaces are the leading cause of dismemberment. This is also the main reason for the drawback of upright wheels. 
  • Fractures/broken bones: Wire-style wheels are the worst for your hamsters. Your hamster’s leg slips, or his leg gets caught between the wires. It may cause a fracture. Also, the hamster might break his bones while running at high speeds. They get tossed while running on smooth surface wheels.  
  • U type back issues: On average, hamsters run 6 miles per night. Continuously running with a bent back may cause long-term spine problems. If upright wheels are too small in size, then there are chances of u-type spine problems in hamsters. 
  • Bumblefoot: This is a bacterial infection that is caused by a cut to the hamster’s feet that then becomes contaminated. It is caused by a mesh surface and wire wheels. As a result, their feet get inflamed; they may also get ulcers, and scabs on their feet.  

Tips while choosing an exercise wheel for pet hamsters

  • Get a solid plastic wheel with no bars or mesh
  • Very light ribs on the inside surface of the wheel to prevent hamsters from slipping
  • There should be no spindle in the center to prevent the fur from tangling in it
  • Get the right-sized wheel
  • The back of your hamster should be straight while running
  • Always go for a large size wheel so that your hamster doesn’t outgrow it in size quickly
  • If you buy a saucer for your hamster then go one inch higher in size than the hamster wheel

Hamster wheel size guide

Hamster TypeWheel Size (get one inch bigger for Saucer)
Roborovski dwarf hamster5.5 to 6 inch
Winter white and Campbell’s dwarf hamster6 to 8 inch
Chinese hamster8 inch
Syrian hamster8 to 12 inch
This is a nice video for anyone researching good exercise equipment for their pet hamsters.

What we learned from all this

Exercise is very important for hamsters, and for that, they need a proper hamster wheel. They need to exercise daily to maintain proper weight, or else they will become fat and unhealthy. Both the wheels are perfect in their way. We can’t decide which one is better for hamsters, but a proper size, solid surface, and perfectly fit wheel make a saucer wheel or upright wheel perfect for them.

To be safe, we recommend keeping both in your hamster’s cage and discovering which one he prefers. Perhaps your hamster uses both the wheel and the hamster house?

Overall the most important thing to remember is that hamsters need daily exercise, and for that, a perfect hamster wheel is mandatory. If you can invest in a proper hamster wheel that allows your hamster to have fun and entertainment, then that is perfect for them. 

We hope you found this article informative about which wheel is better for hamsters and have answered your questions.

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anuja saxena author at anifirm

I am a dog lover who spent her childhood in the company of a friendly Labrador Retriever. I believe that pets make our lives more enjoyable and stress-free. So, here I am, attempting to share my experiences and knowledge to improve the lives of pets and pet owners.