Your hamster doesn’t have a whole lot to its name, but with the right equipment, their cage can feel like a kingdom. Comfortable, appropriate bedding is one of the easiest and most fundamental ways to keep your pet happy and healthy.
But how to know when one product is better than the other? We’ve made a point of evaluating dozens of different bedding options to make sure your pet enjoys only the best of the best. We’ve also made sure to cater to people with a wide range of different budgets, so read on for some hamster bedding reviews!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 9 Best Hamster Bedding – Reviews 2020
1. Carefresh L0405 Small Pet Bedding – Best Overall
The Carefresh is compatible with rats, chinchillas, hamsters, and guinea pigs. The bedding is made of reclaimed fiber with several benefits. For one thing, the recycling factor reduces the environmental impact. The fibers themselves are also softer and more effective than many alternative materials.
It features odor absorption capabilities for up to 10 days, and it is twice as absorbent as shavings and other similar materials. The Carefresh also doesn’t dust or crumble the same way that other bedding materials do, which makes the cleanup process considerably easier.
Unfortunately, the luscious fibers may be too thick. For hamsters that like to burrow, it can become difficult to move through the fluffy material.
2. Kaytee 100037607 Clean & Cozy Bedding – Best Value
The Kaytee is our best hamster bedding for the money. It’s an affordable product that will be great for the buyer on the budget. The bedding is made of shredded paper and is rated as being twice as absorbent as wood shavings.
It also has the benefit of being 99% dust-free, making it fairly easy to keep a relatively clean habitat. The materials are available in several different colors, and the strands are also very easy to move through, which will be great for pets that like to burrow.
Unfortunately, odor absorption isn’t quite as effective as we care to see. You may find yourself changing out this bedding more often than you usually would just to avoid odor build-up, which subsequently can wind up cutting slightly against the value.
3. Small Pet Select Natural Paper Bedding – Premium Choice
Small Pet Select natural bedding features virgin paper to avoid the contaminants that can sometimes show up in recycled materials (i.e. printer ink, etc.). However, that’s not to say that the material is unsustainable. Instead, it has been harvested form unused, food-grade plant matter.
The material is also super easy for burrowing, which will be great for pets that like to move. Unfortunately, it is one of the most expensive options on our list—probably largely because of how the materials are harvested. There also isn’t much to say in way of odor absorption, so factor for that as well.
4. Vitakraft 34754 Crumble Bedding
The Vitakraft features 14 days worth of odor absorption, helping to ensure that you can use your bedding for longer than comparable packages. The paper strands also expand when unpackaged, making the material super absorbent, and easier for your pet to move around in.
The paper is completely biodegradable and compostable, ideal for the environmentally-conscious consumer. The paper is soft, unbleached, and baking soda-free making, it great for people that want to make sure that the cage is kept as natural as possible.
Unfortunately, we found one of the manufacturer’s claims to be less than accurate. While they claim their material is 99.5% dust-free, we noticed a good deal of crumbs in the bag that we tested. While this doesn’t mean that every bag will come packaged this way, it is nevertheless something to be mindful of.
5. Healthy Pet L0004 Natural Bedding
The Healthy Pet is a 14-liter bag that is made from tightly crumbled paper strands that expand when exposed to moisture for better absorption and fuller utility. The strands can absorb 3X their weight in moisture for long-term use, and the materials double in size when they are unfurled. The strands are also padded and easy to move through.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of problems. For one thing, the material is not nearly as soft as many of the other options on our list. It’s also not super great at handling odor, which means you will probably be replacing it often.
6. Living World 61276 Wood Aspen Shavings
The Living World is an affordable 20-liter package. The wood shavings are highly absorbent, holding up to 4 times their weight in liquid. The wood is also completely natural and hypoallergenic, making it good for pets that have some health sensitivities.
Unfortunately, we noticed that the wood isn’t pulped very thoroughly. The bags often contain large, jagged chunks of wood that may be hazardous to pet health, should your hamster come into contact with them.
For the price, some may decide to simply handpick the chunks out themselves to save money. Still, it is something worth monitoring.
7. Kaytee 100032000 All Natural Aspen Bedding
The Kayree is an affordable 20-liter Aspen wood bedding package. The materials are free from oils and other materials that may prove hazardous to the health of your pet. It’s also entirely biodegradable, helping to ensure that it has a very limited environmental impact.
Unfortunately, in saving money, you encounter some issues that you may prefer to avoid. For one thing, the material tends to crumble, producing a good deal of dust. It also isn’t very good at absorbing scents, which means the cage will probably have a strong ammonia smell after several days.
Regardless, it is still a good way for budget buyers to get plenty of bedding at a very affordable price.
8. Sunseed 18220 Small Animal Bedding
The Sunseed is an affordable bedding of recycled paper. It’s devoid of harsh chemicals, and instead, uses baking soda for odor reduction, ensuring that it should be non-toxic for your pet. The materials are easy to move around in and able to absorb up to 3 times their weight in moisture.
Unfortunately, though, we also found the paper to be a good deal tougher than we typically prefer to see. Granted, your hamster isn’t likely to voice any complaints, but you will probably want to be aware that there are more comfortable options out there.
9. FiberCore Eco-Bedding
The FiberCore Eco-bedding comes in a 4.5-pound bag and is available at a very moderate price. The material consists of recycled paper and can be composted to reduce environmental impact. It also expands significantly, with 36 liters acting more like 125 liters in terms of moisture absorption.
However, some issues this bedding towards the bottom of our list. For one thing, the fibers of the paper tend to get tangled up within each other, which can trap your pet. This element of the bedding also makes it very difficult to clean incrementally.
If you like to remove bedding the moment you observe a mess, you’ll wind up taking out much larger clumps of paper than you intended.
You’ve seen the products, but did one of them speak to you? If not, it may help to keep these buying considerations in mind. Read on!
Type of Material
There are several different types of materials that you may encounter. Each has its own set of pros and cons.
Paper is valued for its softness, as well as the ease with which your pet will be able to navigate through it. It’s also often highly compostable, which may reduce the environmental impact. However, quality can be inconsistent, and it’s also often not excellent with odor absorption.
Wood shavings tend to be the cheapest option but there is a broad range of issues that accompany them. For one thing, it tends to be very crumbly or “dusty”, which makes the eventual cleanup a lot harder.
Wood can also even contain sharp or jagged points that may prove harmful to your pet.
Still other bedding is made of processed fiber—though what this ultimately means can vary substantially from unit to unit. For example, one of the units on our list was made from processed coconut husks.
These fibers tend to be softer, but they are also often more expensive. You will also want to investigate each unit closely to find the one that is right for you.
Naturally, you want something that will be able to reduce the various smells that tend to accumulate in a pet cage. Every product has its way of handling this situation. For example, some use chemicals, others use baking soda, while still others just rely on the natural absorbent properties of the material.
Animals with health sensitivities will probably be best served by something organic, though this may also mean that you will need to change the bedding out more often. Organic solutions are not always as potent with their odor mitigation.
Size of the Packaging
The vast majority of the packages on our list come in at the 20-liter quantity. However, determining how much mileage you get from each bag is more complicated. For example, you have to account for the product’s absorption capabilities, as well as its ability to expand, and handle odor.
Ultimately, getting the most bang for your buck may be a matter of trial and error.
You’ve read our hamster bedding reviews. Now it is time to make your final decision. Perhaps you really appreciated the high levels of quality provided by our top choice, the Carefresh L0405 Small Pet Bedding.
However, you can also get a great product at a very competitive price. Budget buyers are well-advised to take a look at our runner up choice, the Kaytee 100037607 Clean & Cozy Bedding.
Of course, all of the products here are great, and hamster bedding goes fast, so you may wind up trying out several of these selections eventually.
Featured image credit: Healthy Pet HPCC Natural Bedding, Amazon