A wheel is a vital part of any sugar glider cage. It provides them with exercise, entertainment and it is a stress reliever. My gliders run on their wheel (off and on) for hours. I have no idea what they’d do without it!
It’s important to find a good, glider safe wheel. Hamsters wheels are absolutely NOT SAFE. Anything that has a center axle is NOT safe. For more information on what makes a wheel safe, click here.
When I first got my gliders, I wanted to get a wheel as well. I had recently spent a ton of money on other sugar glider supplies and I didn’t want to spend $50+ on a wheel. So I bought the Exotic Nutrition 12-inch Silent Runner wheel.
There are mixed opinions on whether Exotic Nutrition’s products are safe or not. Their diet and a lot of their toys are NOT safe. However (and there are MANY opinions here) I believe that their wheel is safe. Not ideal, but not really dangerous either.
Recently, I decided to switch to the Apollo wheel because the Silent Runner was really hard for me to keep clean (because of the closed front). I will do a whole different post about the reasons why I decided to switch later. However, I will be keeping my Silent Runner and using it as a travel wheel.
Now that I’ve had both, I will be sharing the pros and cons of the Silent Runner and the Apollo wheel.
Pros & Cons of Silent Runner
Noise: Despite its name, this wheel is NOT quiet. If you have your gliders in a completely different part of your house, this may not bother you. But as I have mine in my bedroom, the noise was incredibly loud. It drove me insane the first few nights that I had it. After a while, I found the sound almost soothing. But this wheel is anything but silent.
Cleanliness: This was one of the main reasons that I decided to switch wheels. The Silent Runner is incredibly hard to keep clean. Because of the enclosed front, it’s really hard to get it clean without taking it apart completely. Obviously, I didn’t want to do that every couple days. I felt like I could never get it fully cleaned – and as soon as I scrubbed it down, it got dirty and slimy again.
Cost: The Silent Runner is super cheap. $24.95 plus shipping. It’s super affordable and is the cheapest of glider safe wheels.
Installation: My cage doors are TINY and the wheel barely fit through. Once it was in, it was fairly easy to attach it to the back of the cage. One annoying thing was that it was constantly coming loose from the cage. Not so much that it was in danger of falling off, but it would rattle and make a ton of noise and I had to constantly retighten the bolt in the back to keep it secure.
Track/Enclosed Front: The Silent Runner has a solid track and an enclosed front. The front means that only one glider can run on the wheel at a time. The solid track means that the gliders are constantly running in their poop/pee and can lead to staining on their chests.
Size: This wheel is much smaller than the Apollo wheel. It is half the width, which means that only one glider can run on it at a time. This is just a matter of preference.
General Appearance: Guys. It’s neon orange. *gags* First of all, I hate most shades of orange. Secondly, NEON. YUCK. Thirdly, neon orange really doesn’t go well with a lot of color schemes.
Pros and Cons of Apollo Wheel
Noise: The noise level is so much less than the Silent Runner. There is still some noise and stuff, but nothing like the Silent Runner. The Apollo wheel is also much less jerky and so much smoother.
Cleanliness: This wheel is so much easier to keep clean! Without the enclosed front, I can reach inside and clean all of the nooks and crannies. Because of the mesh track, the poop/pee doesn’t build up like it did with the Silent Runner and it doesn’t require such intense scrubbing.
Cost: The Apollo where is about $60 (depending on where you get it) plus shipping. It is quite a bit more expensive than the Silent Runner, but the quality is so much better. This wheel will last for a long time and I was afraid that the Silent Runner would give out too soon.
Installation: The Apollo wheel wouldn’t fit through my cage doors, so I had to slide it up through the bottom grate and install it that way. It was a bit more challenging than the Silent Runner. You should definitely have someone there to help hold it while you tighten the bolts. It’s so much easier than trying to do it yourself.
Track: The Apollo wheel has a mesh track. While this is not ideal for other animals, it is perfect for sugar gliders. They grip the mesh with their feet and use it as traction to run. The mesh track also allows the pee/poo to fall through so that they aren’t constantly running in their own waste.
Size: It’s a big wheel. It takes up a lot of space. But it is totally worth it. Because the track is so much wider than the Silent Runner, it allows for two or gliders to run at the same time. They enjoy this immensely.
General Appearance: The Apollo wheel is completely black. It fits well with any color scheme and is so much better than the neon orange of the Silent Runner. It has a well built look about it and adds a lot to the whole cage.
I like the Apollo wheel much better than the Silent Runner and am so glad that I switched. I hope that you found this comparison helpful if you are researching glider safe wheels.