You might be a little surprised when you first shop for a rat cage at just how expensive a cage can be. Don’t worry, you don’t need to spend a fortune on a cage to ensure that your rodent friend is happy and safe and we’ve found 12 excellent cages that cost less than $150. Some of them much less than $150.
Our 10 best rat cages for under $150 are the Ware Chew Proof Four Story Cage, Kaytee My First Home Habitat, 3 Levels Small Animal Cage, Favola Hamster Cage, Prevue Pet Products 528 Universal Small Animal Home, Prevue Rat and Chinchilla Cage, Kaytee Habitats Multi-Level Exotics, Kaytee My First Home Deluxe 2X2 Multi-Level with Casters, Prevue Hendryx Black Feisty Cage, Yaheetech 37/52-inch Metal Cage, Savic Extra Large Hamster Cages and the Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation.
But before we get to our reviews of the best cages, we need to look at the important things to consider when you buy your rat a cage.
What To Consider When Buying A Rat Cage
Your main consideration when buying a cage is your rat’s overall wellbeing. You want a space in which he/she feels happy and safe and which works well for you and your lifestyle too.
So, it’s a good idea to weigh up a bunch of different factors before you lay out any money for your rat’s cage.
The Size Of The Cage
We’ve seen some peculiar estimates of how much space a rat needs to live in. Some say things like 2 cubic feet but we feel that’s on the small side and given that your rat is going to spend almost all of their life in a cage – we’d like to think that you’re going to be generous with the space you can provide.
Our recommendation is to buy the biggest cage that you can a.) afford and b.) fit in your home. That second part is very important, we’ve known a few people shell out for giant cages and then find that there’s no room at home for them. They then have to go through an awkward returns process to try and switch it for a lesser model.
The more space you have in the cage, the more cool stuff you can put in there to keep your furry chum (and you) entertained. Wheels, hammocks, digging boxes, etc. all take up space and you can’t put them in the litter tray and cross your fingers and hope it will all turn out right for your rat.
Most importantly, rats are social animals and at a minimum you should be buying 2 rats – which means they need twice as much space (at least).
How Easy Is It To Get Inside TO Clean?
While you are buying the cage for your rat, you’re also buying it for you and that means you probably want to pay attention to how easy it will be to clean. You’re going to want to deep clean the cage about every 7-10 days and every day you’ll need to change bedding, litter, etc.
So, check for a full-width door that you can easily remove your pet through and which you can reach into the cage to give things a wipe or remove stuff as necessary.
How Well Ventilated Is It?
We need to be clear about this (and we’ve written a long form post about this here – because this issue is really important) – a fish tank is for fish and not for rats. This is, mainly, because you cannot adequately ventilate a fish tank.
This might not sound like a big deal, but it is. Rat urine is pretty heavy on ammonia content. This is not a big deal under normal circumstances because the air current moving through the cage prevents ammonia from building up.
In a fish tank there is no such current and the ammonia will build up until it starts to gas your rats. This will firstly cause chemical burns in their lungs and mouth and eventually it will kill them. It will also stink to high heaven.
The best ventilated cages have metal bars because that allows air to freely pass through the cage.
How Visible Is The Interior?
You also don’t want to choose a cage with plastic sides or tinted glass side panels because you should be able to keep an eye on your rats at all times. Anything that prevents you from seeing in reduces the pleasure of owning rats and risks that you might miss a problem when it occurs.
Is The Design Rat Friendly?
We know, your rat isn’t a design critic, but the design of the cage really does matter. The layout of the interior isn’t a trivial factor, it defines how easy it is for your rat to get around their home and how you can stock the home out to make it comfortable.
At a minimum you probably want a solid floor in the cage because this allows you to put in fleece or paper bedding without it falling through the bars. However, there is another school of thought that prefers bars because then you can put paper under the cage and poop and urine will fall through and soak into it.
We think wire floors are a risk, however. Not only can a rat get caught in this kind of flooring and injure itself, walking about on wire all the time significantly increases the odds of a rat getting bumblefoot which is a painful condition involving ulcers on the base of its feet. In fact, bumblefoot can eventually lead to disability or death for the rat.
You should pay close attention to shelves, ramps, etc. inside the cage. You really want these to be easy to adjust and move as you need to. There’s nothing more frustrating than realizing your rat can’t navigate the cage properly and having to build something to act as a bridge because you can’t lower a shelf or change the angle of a ramp.
The ramps also ought to have some form of texture on the upper side as this ensures that you rat can properly grip on to the shelf while it wanders around the cage.
How Secure Is The Design?
We’ve written a guide to how to find a lost rat because it’s a serious issue for rat owners. No matter how careful we seem to be, sooner or later one of our little ones goes walkies without us expecting it and then we have to spend hours or days nervously trying to track them down and hoping that they won’t come to any harm.
The easiest way to cut this kind of episode down to the bare minimum is to buy a cage that really does keep your rats inside at all times. Rats are clever souls and if they see that your latch mechanism can be bumped out, they’re going to work out how to bump it themselves – so, you want to ensure that when the door closes, it stays that way unless you put some real effort into opening it.
You also need to look at bar spacing, for adult rats ½” spacing should be enough to keep them securely at home when you’re not watching but for baby rats – that’s too much room and they’ll be through the bars and away if you’re not careful. You should have ¼” spacing if you intend to breed your rats. Even babies can’t make it away through that gap.
What Materials Were Used To Construct It?
It ought to be obvious but the better the materials that are used to make your rat’s home, the longer that it’s going to last and that means you’re not going to spend as much money in the long run. We’ve found that a good quality wire cage can last nearly forever as long as it’s properly taken care of.
The plastic components inside cages aren’t generally as long-lasting but a heavy-duty plastic can last for years (as long as you don’t leave it in direct sunlight and you shouldn’t place a rat cage in direct sunlight) whereas cheap plastic components may not make it more than a year or two.
You want to ensure that the metal won’t rust (stainless steel is good, but anything coated properly to avoid rust is fine). We’ve also found that a cage finished with a powder coating or even a PVC coating can last longer than those without.
Can You Move The Cage Easily?
Finally, it’s important that you can move your rat’s home around when you need to. Some cages are light enough to carry easily, others have casters on the feet to ensure that you don’t need to pick the cage up at all in order to move it.
This is one reason that we don’t recommend buying wooden cages – they may look pretty but the weight of solid wood substantially increases the challenge of moving it around. The other reason we don’t recommend wood is that unless it’s been perfectly treated, it can start to absorb rat urine and that makes it stink.
You should also ensure that if the cage disassembles that it’s relatively easy to put it back together again. Everybody loses the instructions after a week or two, so, ease of use is imperative.
Why Are Rat Cages So Expensive?
We don’t think rat cages are particularly expensive – the cheapest cage in our reviews is approximately $40 and the most expensive will save you a penny on $150. Given that rats live for about 3 years this isn’t a huge investment.
If you buy more rats after your rats pass on, they can live in the cage too and that reduces your costs even more. We know it can be a bit of a shock to see a huge price tag on a rat cage (there are cages that cost up to $500!) but you do tend to get what you pay for.
However, assuming you’re operating under a somewhat tighter budget, then you can certainly find something of good quality which will keep your rat happy in the 12 cages we’ve laid out below.
The 10 Best Rat Cages For Under $150
We’ve tried to put the cages in descending order of price – starting at the most expensive and working down to the cheapest. However, Amazon pricing does vary, so, the order may not be perfect as some cages are very similar in cost to each other.
Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation
The best of the best but with a price tag to reflect it is the Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation cage. We really love this brand and everything they make is nice to look at and built to last. This is designed with rat happiness and easy cleaning in mind. You can’t ask for more than that.
The full-width double doors give you easy access to keep things clean. All the features and accessories that are included in the box are well made and simple to clean too. We like the fact that the design was specifically made to prevent dangerous falls for your rats too.
It’s “no tool” assembly but sadly, that won’t make it easy to put together. If you’re not that handy, you probably want to allow an hour or two to build this – we had fun building ours but we’re glad that we don’t have to do it every day.
|½” bars are perfect spaced to ensure your rat stays at home||It really ought to come with more accessories at this price|
|The dual-locking doors are a delight to use||As with any of the more expensive cages, it takes a bit longer to assemble than you might like|
|The plastic pan on the floor makes cleaning this a very easy thing to do|
You can find the Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation on Chewy here.
Savic Extra Large Hamster Cage
This cage is a pure joy to look at because it comes packed with fun design twists and accessories. The bright colours they’ve used will definitely appeal to some owners who don’t like the more traditional cage too.
There are no wheels on this cage but the two handles on the roof make it very easy to shift from place to place when you want to move it around. We like the fact that it was made in Belgium too as this means that the cage is guaranteed to be well-engineered.
If you want to make the interior more exciting for your pets, they offer other tubes, etc. that are designed to coordinate with the design system used here. You don’t need to buy these at the same time as the cage, either.
|Great size and has loads of fun things for your rat to do inside||There’s a bigger price tag when you want to be different|
|Really well ventilated and despite the complexity of the design – it’s also very easy to clean||This is a real pain to assemble and it took us much longer to put together than we would have liked|
|Lots of floor space for your rats to chill on|
You can find the Savic Extra Large Hamster Cage on Amazon here.
Yaheetech 37/52-inch Metal Ferret Cage
This is a nice large cage (25” x 17” x 51.5”) that will sit proudly in the corner of a rom. It’s reasonably priced and very solidly built with an iron frame. We also like the slide out tray on the base which makes cleaning up after your rats much easier.
|Casters make this easier to move around than it might otherwise be||It’s a bit big for most places and you might struggle to accommodate it|
|Really durable build with no cheap plastic in sight||It’s really awkward to put together, you won’t be disassembling it in a hurry|
|Ramps and platforms are included which is a cost saver|
You can find the Yaheetech 37/52-inch Metal Ferret Cage on Amazon here.
Prevue Hendryx Black Feisty Ferret Cage
We really like this model and for the price it’s a very good deal, indeed. It weighs in at 31” x 20” x 54” and that’s a pretty large space. It also comes with a good collection of fittings already in place and that cuts your other costs down in the long run.
|We love the escape-proof doors – your rats will be really secure||Starting to get a little expensive but we think it’s amazing value for money|
|The 2 platforms, 3 ramps, 1 hammock and a grille that come in the box||We did find that not all the included pieces fit perfectly|
|The storage shelf to keep all your rat-related stuff together|
You can find the Kaytee My First Home Deluxe on Amazon here.
MidWest Homes For Pets Deluxe Ferret Nation
MidWest make great quality products and this is no exception to the rule. The 1-year warranty is a nice touch and it does come with all the basics you need to get going. If you really want to invest n a system, you can expand this one as your rats get older and need more space. It is very easy to clean when compared to some other models. The design is meant to prevent dangerous falls for your pets.
|Expandable when you want more space||We’d really like to see some more accessories, this cage isn’t cheap|
|Only one ramp in the starter model but a decent two level layout||This is possibly the hardest cage to assemble of all the products in our reviews – it’s worth it but be prepared to be exhausted when building it|
|It’s on wheels and really easy to move around|
You can find the MidWest Homes For Pets Deluxe Ferret Nation on Amazon here.
Kaytee My First Home Deluxe 2X2 Multi-Level with Casters
We really liked this model but it’s not without its problems. Our real concern is that the plastic fittings are all a bit “budget” and not in a good way. We think they’ll be problematic in the long run. However, it does come with a lot of fittings.
|Safety ramps, spiral slides, hammock, trail funnel and shelves included||You’re probably going to need to replace the parts|
|Lots of space for your rats to run around inside||The plastic parts don’t all fit together in the way that they were intended to|
|You can replace the parts easily enough||The ramps are really low quality and they break|
You can find the Kaytee My First Home Deluxe on Amazon here.
Kaytee Habitats Multi-Level Exotics
This is a nice cage for a pair of rats. You’ll find that the 30.5” x 8.5” x 18.5” interior is much roomier than the previous cages in our review. It’s really well made and we liked the 1/2” bar spacing which we think is essential for adult rats.
|The deeper base keeps bedding in the cage rather than through the bars.||The water bottle they supply is way too small. You’ll need to replace it.|
|It’s very robust, this cage feels like it will last for years without issue.||The wheel supplied in this cage isn’t suited to any but the smallest of rats.|
|The locks are chew proof and designed to stay closed no matter what.||The plastic isn’t chew proof which seems to be an odd decision to us.|
You can find the Kaytee Habitats Multi-Level Exotics on Amazon here.
Prevue Rat and Chinchilla Cage
There’s a big price jump here but as the name suggests – this is the first purpose-built cage for rats and this is definitely a good cage for a single rat and at a push it could even accommodate two rats. We do strongly recommend that you buy rats in pairs whenever possible as they are social creatures.
|Much better quality materials than in cheaper models and the wire is spaced properly.||It could still be bigger. Rats thrive in pairs.|
|The doors on the roof and front panels make this great for access to your pet.||We felt that this model was more prone to rust than other cages.|
|We like the little storage shelf on the bottom of the cage.|
You can find the Prevue Rat and Chinchilla Cage on Amazon here.
Pet Hutch Cages (Generic) Expandable And Stackable
This is a low cost and potentially stackable, expandable system which is very much aimed at the rat owner on a very tight budget. It’s not ideal for a big rat without at least purchasing one expansion and possibly two – there are better larger cages on the market, though. So, only look at this one if you’re really pushed for money at the point of purchase, you’d be better off spending a few bucks more and getting a single piece system.
|Fully expandable – want more space? Just add it on.||The build quality isn’t the best but this is reflected in the price.|
|Designed for easy cleaning which is very handy.||You will need to buy more than one unit and put them together – the single unit is definitely not enough room for more than a single young rat.|
|There is a range of tailored accessories to complement this with though sadly they’re not included in the box.|
You can find the Pet Hutch Cages (Generic) Expandable And Stackable On Amazon here.
3 Levels Rats Small Animal Cage
As the name suggest this has 3 levels inside and it’s very well ventilated. We find the 24.1” x 16” x 24” just roomy enough for your rat to have a good time of things. It’s very easy to clean and we like the fact that it’s resistant to wear and tear too.
|The slide out base makes cleaning this cage out even easier than the other low budget models.||We found the bar spacing to be a little broad for a our smallest rats and it’s possible they might escape from this.|
|The handles on top make it very easy to move this cage around even when it’s full of rats.||The overall build quality is a bit suspect, there’s a lack of attention to detail.|
|The material used to make the cage is surprisingly good quality.||It’s easy to disassemble but putting it back up again is hard work.|
You can find the 3 Levels Rats Small Animal Cage on Amazon here.
We hope that our guide to the 10 best rat cages for under $150 has helped you to make a decision about which cage is right for your rats and your home. You don’t need to spend a fortune to make a happy home for your rats but we would recommend that you buy as big a cage as your budget and space allow – to give your rats the best chance of a very happy life.