Cage, food dish, food, water bottle, bedding, shelter, and wheel are the essentials. If you like, you can also get an exercise ball, toys, and treats. Hamster cages are best when there's a solid base with caged top so the hamster has places to climb around and it's well ventilated. I'd suggest aspen bedding because it leads to far less respiratory problems and it provides a natural chew toy. For shelter, a simple hut or plastic igloo works well. The wheels can be a bit loud, but there's a "silent spinner" wheel that's fantastic and really quiet.
If you go to a pet shop, they have cage kits with everything you need except food and bedding. You need a cage, water bottle, food dish, bedding, food, chew sticks, and a wheel. The wheel is for them to get their exercise. With hamsters it does not matter which type wheel you get but gerbils require the solid type, not wire. The best type of bedding to get is the paper type. It is made from recycled paper. The cedar bedding will make them terribly sick, do not get it. The oils are poisonous to them. Toilet paper or paper towel tubes are greatly loved by them. They will chew them apart and it will be added to the bedding.
Mine always just nestled into the bedding and did not use shelters. Their teeth continue to grow for their life and so the chew sticks are to help keep them from getting too long.
Anything else you get for them is not basic, it is for fun and their or your enjoyment.
I raised quite a few hamsters in my day. They require more attentiion than most people think. Carefull not to get a male and female unless you are ready for dozens of hampsters. It helps if you live near a snake zoo, like I did.
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