What Do I Need To Buy For A New Hamster? (Price Guide)

It’s exciting times getting a hamster, but it’s also a time where you need to be organised. Before you can run out to the nearest pet shop and pick up your ball of fluff, you need the essentials first. Below is a list of all that you need to take care of a hamster when you bring them home.

What You Will Need:

  1. Cage
  2. Bedding
  3. Nesting Material
  4. House
  5. Food
  6. Treats
  7. Food Dish
  8. Water Bottle
  9. Wheel
  10. Toys

How much does a hamster cost?

On average, purchasing a Hamster will cost 10 to 15 pounds ‘$15 to $20’. However, when you include the bare essentials, such as the cage, wheel, house, bedding and food, the total price of owning a hamster is more. On average, the start-up cost of owning a hamster is 80 to 175 pounds ‘$110 to $240’. With an ongoing monthly fee for food, bedding, treats and toys of 20 to 30 pounds ‘$27 to $40‘.

Break down:

  • Hamster = 10 to15 pounds ($15 to $20)
  • Start-up essentials = 80 to 175 pounds ($110 to $240)
  • Ongoing monthly cost = 20 to 30 pounds ($27 to $40)

#1 Cage

Most Hamsters will only ever have one cage their entire life, so when choosing an enclosure, make sure it’s going to be their forever home. Get a decent size cage with a few different levels for them. Having extra levels or tubes will keep their cage exciting and extra room to climb through and on.


  • 30 to 60 pounds ($40 to $80)

Ongoing Monthly Price: Zero

#2 Bedding

You will need some standard bedding on the bottom layer of a hamster cage, such as wood shavings, dried grass, or hay. Don’t get cedar shavings as it can cause your hamster irritations, such as nasal and bronchial.

When you change the bedding each time, swap a bit out for new. Never replace the entire layer unless you have to. By doing this, it will keep your hamster happy in the cage with there scent.


  • 5 to 25 pounds depending on the size of the bag ($7 to $35)

Ongoing Monthly Price: 2 to 5 pounds ($3 to $7)

#3 Nesting Material

Hamsters love to nest it would be best to provide them with a good amount of nesting material to build a warm and secure spot.

Avoid These Hamster Nesting Options

  • Cotton balls
  • Polyester stuffing
  • Felt stripes
  • Cotton batting
  • Coconut fibres

Best Hamster Nesting Options

  • Unbleached Paper Wool
  • Unbleached White Paper Bedding
  • Nesting Bedding Hair


  • 5 – 10 pounds ($7 to $14)

Ongoing Monthly Price: 5 pounds ($7)

#4 House

A hamster house is also known as a hide box or hideout. Hamsters will need a house within their cage, and this is where a hamster will sleep and sometimes store food. The hideout is where you put the nesting bedding in and has a roof over it. Cage’s can often come equipped with one, but you can also get a nicer one for your hamster, and you will find plenty around in pet shops or online.


  • 8 to 15 pounds ($11 to $20)

Ongoing Monthly Price: Zero

#5 Food

Well-balanced food is an essential part of a hamsters diet. What you choose will help them live a long healthy life. Below are some of the best grade foods you can get a hamster.

High-grade Hamster Food

  • Soy Free – Oxbow Animal Health Critical Care (Amazon)
  • Supreme Tiny Friends Farm Harry Hamster Tasty Mix (Approved by the National Hamster Council) (Amazon)


  • 8 to 15 pounds ($11 to $20)

Ongoing Monthly Price: 3 to 4 pounds ($4 to $6)

#6 Treats

Hamster treats are a great way of keeping your hamster happy by providing them with various other flavours other than their usual well-balanced food. You can buy specially made treats for hamsters, or you can give them some human food treats. However, be careful not to provide them with any foods that will harm them. Here I have written an article with a list of safe and unsafe hamster human food treats.


  • 5 – 10 pounds ($7 to $14)

Ongoing Monthly Price: 5 pounds ($7)

#7 Food Dish

Some of the hamster cages already come with a food bowl. However, when picking your bowl, get a ceramic bowl, not a plastic bowl, as these often are made with harmful chemicals. Also, with a ceramic bowl, they can’t chew through it and eat the plastic, which is very dangerous. 


  • 3 to 5 pounds ($4 to $7)

Ongoing Monthly Price: Zero

#8 Water bottle

Some hamster cages will come with a water bottle included, and they are generally cheap to buy. Most water bottles fit all enclosures.


  • 5 to 15 pounds ($7 to $20)

Ongoing Monthly Price: Zero

#9 Wheel

Some cages will come with a wheel bottle included. When you buy a hamster cage, consider spending a little bit more in getting one with a wheel. Hamsters love the wheel, and it keeps them fit and healthy.


  • 5 to 10 pounds ($7 to $14)

Ongoing Monthly Price: Zero

#10 Toys

Toys might not seem like a necessity for a hamster. However, the toys will keep them happy and entertained in their new home. Toys also help to keep their teeth clean and healthy. Please don’t buy any plastic toys as they absorb heat which is terrible for hamster during the hot weather. Best hamster chews are wooden to get. It would be best not to get them salt licks or mineral chews, and they contain hazardous chemicals, which is poisonous to rodents.


  • 5 – 10 pounds ($7 to $14)

Ongoing Monthly Price: 5 pounds ($7)

How long do Hamsters live?

Depending on what type of hamster you buy, the lifespan can vary from 1 year to 4 years. See below for a table on the specific hamster types.

Hamster Type:Lifespan:
Roborovski dwarf hamster2 – 3 years
Chinese hamster2.5 – 3 years
Syrian (Golden hamster)3 – 4 years
Winter white dwarf hamsterTwelve months
Campbell’s dwarf hamster2 – 2.5 years
The lifespan of the top five ordinary pet hamsters

Do I need to bathe my hamster?

It would be best if you dont bathe your hamster in water. However, you can provide a hamster with a sand bath. You can use hamster sand bath, reptile sand or chinchilla bath sand, not the dust version. Get a little bowl and shake some in to keep them clean. Also, provide fresh sand each bath time and never leave it in the cage.

Buying Awareness

If you have one cage, you must only buy one hamster as they are solitary creatures. They do not like to share their living space with other hamsters, even their siblings. You will see them in the pet shop in the same tank; however, these are under ten weeks old, and they don’t yet have the desire to not get along. Read here an article I wrote on having multiple hamsters, and that is not a good idea. You will need separate cages if you decide to get more than one. Most pet shops will have helpful members of staff to ask any questions. You could always write your questions down before you arrive, just in case you forget.


I hope the above has given you a head start on what you need for a hamster. You make sure you have the above before you go to the pet shop. Good luck with being a first-time hamster owner, or perhaps you’re buying the hamster as a gift to your child. Hamsters and children are a perfect match, something to care for and look after. I had so many when I was younger, and im sure your child will love a hamster.

Happy Hamster Parenting! 

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By Teresa Mine

Teresa has studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition. She loves sharing her knowledge and educating through her articles. She loves binge-watching animal documentaries. Teresa has some pets; she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster.