List of Alternative Housing Options

Struggling to find an appropriately sized commercially available enclosure, and the words 'DIY' install fear into you? Struggle & fear no more, as this list compiles a few commonly available options that require no or very minimal level of skill to pull together!


IKEA detolf

Size: 163cm x 43cm (internally offers ~950"2/6,130cm2)

Price: Varies from country, but the detolf is a very inexpensive option costing as little as €55/£50/$60US

Availability: Ikea (may also be available on second-hand sites)

Suitable for: All hamster species

Notes: The Detolf display unit is not originally marketed for hamster use and as such, care must be taken - this enclosure is tempered glass, and will break if mishandled. Avoid compacting the bedding too much or the glass can shatter under the pressure. It is also advisable to remove the bars, particularly if using with a roborovski dwarf hamsters as there have been reports of individuals becoming stuck while attempting to squeeze behind them, and instead use silicone to seal the unit together (please ensure to use a non-toxic brand; aquarium silicone works quite well for this purpose). The unit must lay completely flat on its back and the glass must be fully supported. This can be achieved by laying it on a sheet of plywood, or more commonly it is often paired with the Kallax unit (also by Ikea) that it fits on perfectly. Whatever unit you choose to pair with your Detolf unit, it is important that each wooden end overhangs as so that the glass is laying on a flat surface (or if not; wedge a long piece of wood underneath it). The only DIY involved with the Detolf is the making of the enclosure lid (a lid must be used with Syrian hamsters especially). You can find several helpful & easy to follow tutorials on platforms the likes of youtube.

IKEA Kallax

Size: 147cm x 40cm x 77cm (Internally offers ~800"2/5,160cm2 of floorspace).

Price: Varies depending on supplies used. The enclosure above was created using black PVC u-channels, real glass & maple plywood. Including the cost of the unit itself (€65), the total came to ~€170.

Availability: Ikea

Suitable for: Dwarf hamsters only (due to the narrow interior of the cage when a bedding barrier is added, fitting Syrian sized supplies is near-impossible).

Unsuitable for: Syrian hamsters

Notes: A more expensive option, but a great choice for those with multiple hamsters and limited space as a converted 4 x 2 Kallax cage can hold a Detolf unit on top. It also offers additional storage space underneath. Easy to follow step-by-step instructions for how to convert the Kallax unit into a hamster enclosure can be found online.

IKEA Linnmon

Size: 100cm x 56.6cm x 46.6cm (offering approximately 800"2/5.160cm2 of floorspace).

Price: Varies from country, but costs on average £40 (excluding additional costs of lid; which absolutely must be used for Syrian hamsters)

Availability: Ikea

Suitable for: All hamster species.

Notes: The glass is no longer available at all locations, however you can easily source glass for this enclosure via a glass supplier and it will be relatively inexpensive (alternatively, you could use plexi glass if you wish). Please consider building an additional lid for added security - for all species, particularly if using tall cage items.

Bin Cages

Size: Varies.

Price: Varies, but are usually very inexpensive options compared to other alternative methods.

Availability: Storage boxes/bins are readily accessible across the globe, which is what makes them such an attractive option for many who struggle with DIY and who have little options available on a commercial scale.

Suitable for: suitability depends on the set up, but they can be made suitable for any species.

Notes: Please keep in mind minimum size requirements for the species you are housing when choosing a bin cage. Minimum spacial requirements for syrian hamsters are 800 square inches with 12 inches of substrate while for dwarf hamsters, it is a bare minimum of 620 square inches with 6 inches of substrate. Christmas tree bins are commonly used however these enclosures are often shallow, though this can be corrected by creating a raised lid. You can also use two identical bins and using a sharp cutting tool, remove a side from each to seal them together to create one open floorspace.

Note: All pictures belong to their respected owners.

Not a fan of the above options, and you'd rather have a ready-to-go enclosure but are struggling to find a cage availably commercially? Check this list out over here.