There is no doubt that hamsters are among the most popular pocket-sized pets, but how much does a hamster cost? Are hamsters expensive? Do they cost less than other pets like cats and dogs?
Since many hamster breeds exist today, there is a wide range of prices you must consider. Other factors, such as color, size, and sex, may also affect the cost of your future furry friend.
So if you are interested in getting a hamster for yourself or your kids, keep scrolling! Aside from the initial prices, this article will also help you with the monthly and annual costs of owning a hamster. Let’s jump right in!
How Much Does a Hamster Cost?
The average price range for hamsters is between $5 and $75, depending on your location, the type of hamster you want to buy, and whether or not you are buying it from a reputable breeder.
It is also worth noting that shipping can add another $20 to $100 to the final cost of a hamster.
For starters, there are various types of hamsters: Syrian or golden, Chinese, Roborovski, Winter White Russian, teddy bear Syrian, and dwarf hamsters. Hence, one can expect that they all come at different price points.
For example, if you fancy teddy bear hamsters, you can expect to spend anywhere between $10 and $75 for one.
However, if you are aiming for a pretty cheap option, then you may want to go for the dwarf hamsters, which usually cost around $5 to $70.
The table below summarizes the price ranges of hamsters by breed:
|Types of Hamsters||Price Range|
|Syrian Hamster||$5 – $75|
|Chinese Hamster||$5 – $70|
|Roborovski Hamster||$10 – $75|
|Winter White Hamster||$16 – $75|
|Teddy Bear Syrian Hamster||$10 – $75|
|Dwarf Campbell’s Hamster||$15 – $50|
|Dwarf Hamster||$5 – $70|
For those who are wondering why these hamster cost ranges vary so much, it’s because there is a lot more than just the price of the animal itself that comes into play.
According to the California Hamster Association (CHA), hamster breeders should be inspected by state agencies before they can sell animals — a process that can be expensive.
But this ensures that each hamster they produce is healthy and free from any genetic diseases.
Initial Costs of Owning a Hamster
Before you rush out and buy a hamster, you should understand the initial costs of owning one. From hamster food to toys to a hamster cage, there’s no way around it — hamsters are still pricey pets.
To assist you in getting started, here is a list of all the initial expenses involved in owning hamsters:
- Hamster Food and Treats: The first thing you have to do is to purchase hamster food and treats. You’ll want to make sure that you are getting quality food, as this will make all the difference in your pet’s longevity. One bag of pellets should cost you around $8 to $20.
- Vitamin Supplements: If your hamster is prone to vitamin deficiencies, it is crucial that you supplement its food with vitamins. You can find these at any pet store for about $5 to $10.
- Food Bowl: As nocturnal animals, hamsters usually eat at night. Automatic feeders are therefore recommended for hamster owners. Be prepared to set aside anywhere between $2 and $15 for this.
- Water Bottle: Aside from food, treats, and feeders, water bottles are a must for hamsters. A high-quality water bottle will run you between $5 and $20.
- Hamster Cage: For roughly $10 to $150, you can buy a hamster cage that will be large enough for your pet and its accessories. You can opt for a wire one or an aquarium tank, but make sure the cage is escape-proof, particularly if you have a dwarf hamster.
- Bedding and Shavings: Another very important expense is bedding for your hamster’s cage. You can buy this at around $10 to $30 at your local pet store or online.
- Hideout or Hut: A hamster needs a hideout or hut to feel comfortable and safe. You can make one out of cardboard and other materials available at home; however, you can also buy them from pet stores for about $2 to $15.
- Running Wheels: Since hamsters love to munch on food and snacks, they will live longer if they have a running wheel. Anticipate spending between $10 and $30 for a good-quality wheel that is safe for your hamster.
- Exercise Ball: Investing in an exercise ball is another great way to keep your hamster active. It also helps them develop their muscles, making them stronger and less prone to injury. Exercise balls will set you back by about $6 to $15.
- Sand and Litter Box: Due to their fast metabolism, hamsters need a lot of food. For this reason, you will need to buy a litter box and sand for your hamster. Expect to spend anywhere from $9 to $20 for these items.
- Playpen: If you wish to get your hamster a playpen, there are several options available out there. In fact, you can even make one yourself. But if you choose to buy one, you will need to pay around $14 to $30 for the item.
- Initial Vet Visit: To ensure that your new hamster is really healthy, you should head to the vet for a checkup as soon as possible. This can range from $50 to $500, depending on where you live and what kind of vet clinic you visit.
- Travel Cage or Carrier: For those who plan on transporting their hamster from place to place, it is important that you invest in a travel cage or carrier for them. A durable pet carrier usually costs around $10 to $30.
- Chew Toys: Known for their continuously growing teeth, hamsters will benefit greatly from chew toys. A good set should set you back by approximately $2 to $20, but remember that they will need new ones every couple of weeks.
- Cleaning Supplies: To guarantee the health and safety of your hamster, cleaning supplies are essential. On average, you will need a hamster-friendly disinfectant, a rag, and a cage scrubber. Expect to spend anywhere between $3 and $20 for these supplies.
- Miscellaneous Supplies: As a prospective hamster owner, you will need to set aside a budget between $3 and $10 for a few miscellaneous supplies. These items will include but are not limited to cage decors, cage covers, and a first aid kit.
The table below shows a breakdown of the initial costs you can expect to incur if you decide to bring home a hamster:
|Type of Expense||Cost|
|Hamster Food and Treats||$8 – $20|
|Vitamin Supplements||$5 – $10|
|Food Bowls||$2 – $15|
|Water Bottle||$5 – $20|
|Hamster Cages||$10 – $150|
|Bedding and Shavings||$10 – $30|
|Hideout or Hut||$2 – $15|
|Hamster Wheels||$10 – $30|
|Exercise Ball||$6 – $15|
|Sand and Litter Box||$9 – $20|
|Playpen||$14 – $30|
|Initial Vet Visit||$50 – $200|
|Travel Cage or Carrier||$10 – $30|
|Chew Toys||$2 – $20|
|Cleaning Supplies||$3 – $20|
|Miscellaneous Supplies||$3 – $10|
|Total Initial Cost||$149 – $635|
Whether you decide to buy or adopt a teddy bear, Syrian, or dwarf hamster, keep in mind that they all require some initial investment.
Fortunately, a few of these items are one-time purchases and can be used repeatedly.
Annual Expenses of Owning a Hamster
As stated by other hamster owners, the annual cost of rodent ownership can quickly accumulate, especially when you start adding essentials like food, toys, hamster accessories, and other supplies.
So while it is important to ask, “How much is a hamster?” it is just as important to know how much you’ll have to pay for your hamster annually.
For your reference, the following is an outline of the estimated annual expenses associated with hamster ownership:
|Type of Expense||Yearly Estimate|
|Hamster Food and Treats||$32 – $80|
|Vitamin Supplements||$20 – $40|
|Bedding and Shavings||$30 – $90|
|Chew and Play Toys||$5 – $100|
|Sand and Sandbox||$36 – $80|
|Cleaning Supplies||$12 – $80|
|Routine Vet Visits||$100 – $400|
|Treatment for Parasites||$35 – $100|
|Miscellaneous Supplies||$6 – $20|
|Yearly Total||$276 – $990|
|Average Monthly Cost||$23 – $83|
These annual costs can add up to hundreds of dollars each year if you are not careful. Nonetheless, when broken down into monthly expenses, they are relatively affordable.
Additionally, be sure to keep scrolling, as some money-saving tips have been included in the latter part of this article!
Other Potential Expenses
As with cat and dog ownership, buying a hamster is associated with some other additional costs. Though some of these are optional, others may be required to provide your pet with the best care possible.
Listed below are other potential expenses associated with owning a hamster:
- Cage Replacement: Whether you go for an aquarium or a standard cage, your hamster’s home needs to be replaced once every few years. The replacement cost will vary depending on what type of cage you choose and where you buy it from, but you can expect to pay around $10 to $150 for a new cage.
- Shipping Fee: In addition to the hamster cost, you will need to factor in the shipping fee. Some hamster breeders offer free shipping on their pets for sale, but others do not. Thus, anticipate paying about $15 to $300 for shipping costs.
- Emergency Vet Visit Costs: As health care costs continue to rise, it is advisable to establish an emergency fund in case your hamster becomes sick. Set aside a budget of $500 to $1,500 for this.
- Hamster Insurance: Surprisingly, many pet insurance companies offer coverage for hamsters. The cost of insurance can be anywhere from $9 to $20 per month, depending on the plan and the company you select.
- Dental Care: Because hamsters have teeth that continually grow, they need to be worn down by gnawing on things. To avoid painful infections and tooth loss, a vet can trim your hamster’s teeth for a fee of roughly $10 to $30.
- Hamster Sitter: If you are planning to go on vacation or need someone to watch your dwarf hamster while you are at work, a hamster-sitting service will cost you between $15 and $25 per hour.
By being aware of all these possible expenses, you can plan your budget ahead and avoid any unpleasant surprises when it comes time to pay the bill.
Places to Find Hamsters for Sale and Adoption
While pet stores are the most common place to buy a hamster, they are not necessarily the only option. In reality, there are tons of breeders and rescues across the country that offer health-guaranteed hamsters.
The following is a list of trusted sources where you can find healthy baby hamsters for sale:
- California Hamster Association’s Breeder Listings – Since your top priority is to find a reputable source, it is best to start with the CHA’s list of trusted breeders. This club has adopted a code of ethics for hamster breeding, which its members follow diligently.
- Holmden Hill Haven – As a member of the Internet Hamster Association of North America (IHANA), Holmden Hill Haven has been recognized for its dedication to providing high-quality Syrian and dwarf hamsters since 2003. Note, however, that the breeder charges $40 for a hamster.
- Poppy Bee Hamstery – For aspiring owners searching for baby hamsters sporting rare colors, such as dove, golden, Russian blue, and silver grey, Poppy Bee Hamstery has your back. To guarantee the hamster you want, you may reserve it by paying a waitlist fee of $35. This deposit will be credited to your final bill.
You can also search for Facebook groups dedicated to hamsters. Keep in mind that connecting with hamster owners can be incredibly helpful when it comes to finding a reputable breeder.
If you are looking for more affordable options, though, here are some rescues that have hamsters available for adoption:
- Wee Companions Small Animal Adoption Inc. – Founded in 1998, this organization rescues small animals, including guinea pigs, chinchillas, and hamsters, from shelters and adopts them out to loving homes. They also provide education about proper care for these animals.
- Mel’s Neighborhood Rodents – For a fee amounting to $10.95, MNR has several different hamster breeds available for adoption. They also offer free shipping within the United States if you choose to adopt from them.
- Lala’s Playhouse and Rescue – Based in Washington, Lala’s Playhouse and Rescue takes pride in its ability to rescue and find safe homes for hamsters and other little animals. If you are interested, expect to pay $12 for each of their adoptable hamsters.
In addition to the California Hamster Association’s directory of reliable breeders, the organization also maintains a list of hamster rescues for you to check out.
However, if you tried all of the places above and were still unsuccessful, talk to a vet in your area. They might be able to recommend someone who knows where you can get a hamster close by!
Money-Saving Tips for Hamster Owners
Although hamsters are pretty cheap to get, they can be expensive to keep. Unfortunately, hamster food, bedding, accessories, and vet costs can add up quickly if you do not plan ahead.
To help you save money on hamster care, refer to the list of money-saving tips below:
- Use toilet paper rolls. Instead of buying pine or cedar shavings, which are considered harmful to a hamster and can potentially cause respiratory problems, create your own bedding by using toilet paper rolls. It is cheap, easy to find, and gives your pet something cozy to burrow into.
- Feed your hamster fresh foods. If you want a healthy alternative to commercial pellets, feed your hamster fresh fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, apples, seedless cherries, berries, spinach, and broccoli.
- Skip fancy hamster cages. When selecting a cage for your hamster, choose one that is easy to clean, provides ample room for your furry friend to run around in, and is not overly complicated.
- Look for secondhand or discounted items. Before you buy new supplies, take some time to look for refurbished and used hamster accessories online. You can often find them at a reduced cost, which will make all the difference in how much money you spend.
- Be sure to set up regular appointments with your hamster’s vet. In order to care for your hamster properly, you must ensure that it remains healthy. Regular visits to an exotic vet can help with this.
Luckily, pricey routine vaccinations are not part of the hamster ownership experience. You just need to be prepared for emergency vet care when your little fur ball gets sick.
Your saved cash will come in handy when that happens — and it will be a lot easier on your wallet than getting stuck with huge vet bills!
If you need more tips or additional info on how much are hamsters, watch this video:
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does a Hamster Cost in PetSmart?
If you want to know how hamsters cost in PetSmart, note that they charge around $15 to $23 for their long-haired, short-haired, Roborovski, Winter White, Chinese, and Syrian hamsters.
It is worth highlighting, however, that PetSmart’s teddy or fancy bear hamsters are usually priced higher, with a cost range of approximately $24 to $30.
Are Hamsters Cheap to Own?
Hamsters are pretty cheap to own. But keep in mind that the total lifetime cost of owning a hamster will still depend on how much cash you are willing to spend on it.
For instance, if you want your pet hamster to have a luxurious living environment, you will have to invest in an expensive cage as well as fancy accessories and toys.
On the other hand, if you have the time and patience, you can save more money by making some of your hamster’s cage decorations and toys yourself.
Are Hamsters Good Pets?
Because hamsters do not need a lot of space or special care, they are an excellent option if you are searching for an easygoing pet. They are also inexpensive and can live quite a long time.
But while they do not require much, regularly cleaning their cages is important to keep them from getting sick.
Hamsters can die from different causes as well. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you closely observe your pet hamster’s behavior from time to time.
Is It Okay to Have One Hamster?
Given that hamsters are known for being self-reliant and territorial, it is okay to have just one hamster. In fact, if you are planning to buy two, they should be housed separately from each other.
Hamsters are solitary animals that thrive alone. They generally do not get along well with other hamsters, and if they are forced to live together, they will fight, which can be harmful and even fatal.
If you are interested in owning affordable small animals, consider hamsters. These cute creatures are highly suggested if you want to keep a pet but don’t have enough space in your home for a dog or cat.
Hamsters also come in wide varieties, including Syrian, Chinese, Roborovski, teddy bear, and dwarf. Therefore, you can easily pick a breed that suits your preferences.
However, you should note that their prices will vary, as some hamster breeds can be costlier due to rarity. That said, most breeders sell them at a reasonable price that won’t break the bank.
The cost of hamster ownership is a different matter, though. You should remember that setting aside cash for one-time costs, ongoing fees, and other expenses for your new pet is necessary as well.
If you still need help figuring out how much hamster care costs will run, feel free to leave a comment below!
My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I’ve got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.