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Best Hamster Bedding for 2020

Hamsters require both a substrate in the base of their cage to act as a lining and a nesting material in which they can burrow.

It needs to be comfortable, safe and absorbent, and you will also probably want to consider the price. There can be division over the best materials to use, but we have picked out the best options whatever your thoughts.

These are the top hamster beddings, reviewed.

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    Our Top Picks

    Image Product Details
    Petlife Safebed Paper Wool
    • Made from long strands
    • Good in absorbing waste
    Check Price
    Carefresh Complete Natural Paper Bedding
    • Available in different colours
    • Large bag
    Check Price
    Supreme Petfoods Tiny Friends Farm Eco-Friendly Bedding
    • Long-lasting
    • Compostable after use
    Check Price

    The Top 10 Best Bedding for Hamsters Reviewed

    1.
    Petlife Safebed Paper Wool

    This disposable soft bedding is a non-toxic, fully absorbent option to help keep your hamster cosy as well as soaking up any mess.

    It is paper wool, so not harsh on their feet or bodies. Made using natural plant fibres, it is good for them to dig and burrow in to. The good thing about the paper wool is that it creates no dust or mess, and it is disposable along with your general waste.

    When it arrives, it comes as long strands, so you can tear it up and get it down to the right size for your animal, whether a small Dwarf hamster or if you also have guinea pigs or rabbits.

    Features

    • Made from long strands
    • Good in absorbing waste

    Specifications

    • Type: Bedding/Substrate
    • Material: Paper wool
    • Capacity: 2kg/10kg

    2.
    Carefresh Complete Natural Paper Bedding

    Described as “pillow-soft, ultra-absorbent comfy fluff” for small animals, this confetti bedding is small pieces of soft paper which are perfect for your hamster to both walk and sleep on.

    The small pieces mean it is ideal for burrowing into without you having to worry about them becoming tangled up. As it is natural-based, it features Odor-Stop technology which is proven to suppress ammonia smells for longer.

    It is 2x more absorbent than shavings, which is great if you want to try and leave it a bit longer in between cage cleanouts.

    Features

    • Available in different colours
    • Large bag

    Specifications

    • Type: Bedding/Substrate
    • Material: Paper
    • Capacity: 10L

    3.
    Kaytee Clean and Cozy White Small Animal Bedding

    This super-soft, absorbent bedding is from one of the leading brands in small animal care on the market.

    It is soft and fluffy, to encourage burrowing and nesting. But it can also absorb up to twice as much liquid as wooden shavings, making it perfect for using throughout their cage. This high absorbency means less odour over time.

    As it is 99% dust-free, it won’t create much mess and will also be perfect for your little hamster to be around. Perfect for people who also may have respiratory issues.

    Features

    • Smaller size for small hamsters
    • Absorbs 6x weight in liquid

    Specifications

    • Type: Bedding
    • Material: Paper
    • Capacity: 49.2L

    4.
    Supreme Petfoods Tiny Friends Farm Eco-Friendly Bedding

    Eco-friendly, this bedding is sustainable from start to finish, and soft on little paws.

    The material used is surplus paper which would have otherwise gone to landfill, which they collect and take to their farm, which is supplied with energy by wind turbines. Then, biomass boilers fully dry the paper out, to make it fluffy, highly absorbent and soft.

    After it has been used, the paper can be recycled or composted, and the packaging is even recyclable. Using 4,000 fewer product miles than some rivals, it is also great for the planet in terms of pollution.

    You get 15L of paper in each bag, which has been highly compressed to ensure it takes up less space during delivery and storage. We will say it is slightly on the dustier side and a bit rougher than some other paper wool alternatives, so would be best as a liner as opposed to bedding.

    Features

    • Long-lasting
    • Compostable after use

    Specifications

    • Type: Substrate
    • Material: Paper
    • Capacity: 15L

    5.
    Oxbow Pure Comfort Bedding Natural

    Made from 100% pure, never-printed paper, this material is clean, safe and ultra-soft.

    It offers great odour absorption and also dries quickly to make for a more comfortable home for your pet. This means you will likely have to change it a bit less, which is great for anyone wanting to keep waste and cost to a minimum.

    This moisture control also makes the eventual cleanup easy. As it is 99.9% dust-free, it won’t affect you when you’re dealing with it, and also won’t negatively affect your hamsters breathing.

    Features

    • Soft, hygienic and safe
    • Good for all small animals

    Specifications

    • Type: Bedding/Substrate
    • Material: Paper
    • Capacity: 8L/16L

    6.
    Chipsi Classic Wood Shavings for Small Pets

    These wood shavings are simple, yet completely natural and dust-free.

    Made from softwood, derived from spruce and fir, they’re naturally absorbent without the use of chemicals. They give off a natural scent, which is pleasant yet subtle enough to not bother your pet.

    Odour-binding, they won’t allow your hamsters waste to start effecting the smell of your home. Practically dust-free, it is easy for you to clean up and won’t create any tracking pads.

    Features

    • Large bag
    • Great value

    Specifications

    • Type: Substrate
    • Material: Softwood
    • Capacity: 60L

    7.
    Harrisons Small Animal Tissue Bedding

    Tissue bedding is great for providing a soft burrowing area or being gentle on your pet’s paws.

    100% biodegradable, it won’t have a negative effect on the planet and is non-toxic. It is warm too, creating the perfect cosy environment for your hamster to sleep in during the day.

    It is all a nice size for your hamster to collect and make into a bed themselves, and it can also be torn up smaller if you wish. It’s quite a large pack, so should last for quite a while.

    Features

    • Soft and creates warmth
    • Ready to use

    Specifications

    • Type: Bedding
    • Material: Paper
    • Capacity: 120g

    8.
    Pillow Wad Wood Shavings Pet Bedding

    While pine chips are usually not recommended, these are soft thanks to the type they use, so are safe for your hamster to walk on.

    Made from Norwegian spruce pine and other soft trees, these wood shavings remain soft under small paws while still giving your hamster opportunity to make their house a home.

    It is very absorbent so great used as a liner or substrate, and it gives off a natural pinewood scent which masks the smell of urine and waste without being overpowering and chemical-based which can harm such small noses.

    They are larger shavings as opposed to fine sawdust, which should create less dusty byproduct and be a lot easier to clean out and replace.

    Features

    • Odour-free
    • Dust extracted

    Specifications

    • Type: Substrate
    • Material: Pine
    • Capacity: 1kg/3.6kg

    9.
    Pet's Dream Paper Pure Universal Cat & Small Animal Non-Clumping Litter

    This is a type of cat litter which can also be used as a small animal substrate, so there are few materials which can bind liquids and prevent nasty odours better.

    It can be recommended that litter is not used due to the dangers of digestion, but this paper option will break down in your hamster’s stomach and dissolve.

    As it is universal, it could be good for any multi-pet households. It doesn’t clump, so it is easy to remove any waste and keep the cage fresh in between full cleans.

    The litter can be disposed of in normal household waste. As it is 100% biodegradable, it can also go in the composting or garden bin when you dispose of the soiled litter. The pellets are smaller than with other paper litters, and there is no dust so little tracking.

    It is an easier to clean up and simpler alternative to sawdust and is relatively soft under paws although will have to be mixed with other small materials if using for a hamster.

    Features

    • Pellets for better moisture collection
    • Biodegradable

    Specifications

    • Type: Substrate
    • Material: Paper Pellets
    • Capacity: 10L/20L

    10.
    Pets at Home Small Pet Wood Litter

    Wood litter is good for all types of hamster and other small animals. It makes a great cage lining and is easy to manage from a human perspective.

    It is biodegradable so safe for the environment, and the majority of dust has been extracted so it is safe for your pet’s little lungs and respiratory system. Featuring natural odour control there is no chemical masking, just full absorption to keep your home smelling fresh.

    Should they eat any, it is safe to do so as it is safe from artificial additives. The pellets do go into dust when wet, so wouldn’t swell up in stomachs. It is quite hard though, so will need to be mixed in with softer materials and bedding.

    Features

    • Breaks down when wet
    • Can keep away odour

    Specifications

    • Type: Substrate
    • Material: Wood
    • Capacity: 7L

    Buying Guide

    Lining The Cage

    This substrate acts as a slightly softer surface for your pet to live on (a bit like carpets in a human house compared to the bare concrete), but also as a form of litter which should be able to soak up any urine.

    Traditionally, hamster owners would use wood flakes or sawdust to do this. This was made from pine, which is affordable and economical. It could be quite dusty though, and some edges would be sharp and abrasive, possibly splintering. Pine and cedar chips are therefore not recommended by some. Aspen is seen as a great material pick.

    Some people use wood or paper-based cat litter, as long as it is comfortable enough for their hamster to walk on. You would have to watch out in case it was eaten, however – they can struggle to digest it fully, causing issues.

    So now, the best option is usually seen as paper or natural cellulose/paper-based fibres. Ensure it is for hamster use and doesn’t have a print or anything on.

    You should generally avoid artificially scented stuff, as this is designed to just mask the smell of your hamsters waste as opposed to having a benefit for the hamster. They also have very strong noses, so what smells nice to us could be unbearable for them.

    Regular shredded paper or cardboard can also be used. If shredding your own paper, it is best not to use a shredder as the edges can be too sharp for their legs. Cardboard can be hard to shred, but you can always place full toilet roll tubes or pieces of a cardboard box in there which they can shred down themselves. The gnawing will also keep their teeth in good condition.

    It is worth remembering that whatever you use, it will get damp when your hamster goes to the toilet. Hamster urine is also quite potent if not absorbed, so you need something really able to deal with moisture.

    Nesting

    Hamsters are nocturnal, so need somewhere to curl up in during the day. It needs to be soft and comfortable, essentially nothing like their substrate.

    Tissue-based bedding is popular, such as kitchen paper if DIY or dedicated soft paper wool if buying. It can be torn up and your hamster will adjust to make it comfortable.

    Dedicated soft bedding can be bought from pet shops as you can see above, and this will all be safe for your small rodent which will put your mind at rest if you’re worried about doing everything correctly.

    Using things such as cotton wool and other items with small fibres is often not recommended. The fibres can get caught around your hamster’s legs, and may also be ingested which could cause issues.

    Some materials can be used for both lining and bedding, but it is important to use a bit of a mix of materials so they can choose what to use and can craft their home as they wish.

    Materials

    Paper

    Should not have ink or other forms of print on. Old newspaper etc is therefore bad. Should be hand-ripped as opposed to putting through a shredder so the edges can’t harm your hamster’s legs if they get caught. Softer than wood or other similar materials.

    Wood

    Most commonly pine or aspen. Often natural and biodegradable, it is seen as the best for absorbing liquid without disintegrating or causing smells. Never buy flakes or chips of wood though, as they can be sharp and splinter when used with hamsters.

    Hamster Breed

    The best hamster bedding for your pet could also depend on which breed they are.

    Syrian hamsters are found in hot, dry environments so could do with something cool. They usually burrow deep down for shelter so need something thick and cool.

    Dwarf Campbell Russians often live on dry grass and harsher surfaces, so you should ensure this grass is in with their bedding and it also is a bit rougher.

    Chinese hamsters tend to hibernate if it gets very cold, so you will need soft materials which are easy to keep naturally warm and maybe place their cage nearer a warm area of the house.

    Other Buyers Ask...

    How do I know if I have picked the best hamster bedding?

    Keep an eye on your hamster and their behaviour in the first few days of using the bedding. Look out for any issues such as if they aren’t as active or are clearing the bedding away as opposed to just trying to make it more comfortable.

    You may have to experiment with a few different types, to see which is easy for you as well as comfortable for your pet.

    How much bedding do I need to use?

    This can depend on your type of hamster and how they will treat the bedding and substrate. If they like to burrow and stay warm, a few inches will be needed, but any which need to remain cool will not need this much.

    All of the above bedding options will provide guidance on their packaging.

    What do I do if my hamster eats their bedding?

    If you are using wood shaving bedding, they can chew on it to maintain their teeth without properly digesting. Also, ensure they aren’t just holding it in their pouches to carry from A to B.