How To Choose A Bird Cage: Buying Guide For The Right Bar Spacing, Size & Style For Your Pet Birds

If you are a new bird owner or have never researched parrot cages before, the process of selecting the right cage for your bird can be a true challenge

Common questions we get all the time:

  • How big should the cage be for my parrot?
  • What if I have multiple birds?
  • Stainless steel or powder-coated?
  • Does the brand name really matter?

Because of this uncertainty we created this guide to aid you in the process of choosing the perfect cage.


While we would LOVE this process to be black and white, the truth is each bird’s lifestyle and living situation is different. 

Some birds roam freely throughout your home all day, only to return to their cage at night to sleep. Others share an enclosure with multiple companions. Some prefer to fly about their cage while others are more tranquil. 

The list goes on and on...

...So instead of providing exact recommendations, we will present the basic principles you can utilize to select the perfect cage for your feathered friend’s situation.

That said, let’s get to it:

Step 1: Bar Spacing

Bar spacing is the amount of space between the bars of the cage. While other elements of the bird cage are more subjective, bar spacing is the most straightforward and non-negotiable factor to consider when selecting a cage. Basically, your bird should not be able to stick his head between the bars.

The bar spacing should be sized appropriately as to prevent escape and injuries but also to promote physical activity, such as climbing, flying, or playing. See the chart below from our popular Bar Spacing Guide and click on your bird’s species for more details.

Step 2: Internal Living Space

Second only to bar spacing, the internal "living space" of the cage is crucial to get right. Basically, you don’t want to cramp your bird. It is vital to your bird's health to have plenty of internal room in the cage (within the confines of the bar spacing standards listed above, that is). If your bird feels confined within her cage, she's going to develop attitude and health problems over time. 

Also, many owners skip over the fact that birds are not the only ones that will be taking up space in the cage. Toys, food dishes, water bowls, treat dispensers, and perches are all essential items that will help stimulate intelligence and instincts in your bird, without her feeling overcrowded with accessories if a large enough cage is selected.

Small species (like Canaries, Doves, Finches, Lovebirds and Parakeets) deserve wider cages because these birds travel side-to-side. Medium and larger birds have a different set of needs so let’s apply some common sense. Do you have a big bird? Are you away a lot? Then try to get a bigger cage. Bigger cages allow birds to move about much like we move about our home.

In general, the larger the bird is the larger her internal living space needs to be. Make sure the cage is big enough so they can turn around without rubbing feathers on the bars, and that when on the perch their tail doesn’t touch the cage sides or bottom. 

Step 3: The Look

After we've considered the above health and happiness factors for the bird, the look and design of the cage is also quite important to us parrot parents. In addition to meeting the requirements of your bird, the cage should blend in with your lifestyle

The cage(s) may reside in a casual family room or a formal living room. Maybe you’re even lucky – or crazy! ;) – enough to have your very own bird room. 

We want something that looks high-quality, but also goes well with the style of the room or space it's going into. It's recommended that you strongly consider not only the colors in the space, but also the color of your bird. 

A cage puts your bird on display. So you want the color of the cage to contrast well with the dominant colors of your bird. Besides, when the cage is the same color as your bird, it's hard to admire your bird from outside of the cage!

Stainless Steel vs Powder-Coated

Most cages on the market today are powder-coated, which is a textured finish applied to wrought iron cages that come in a variety of colors. Cages from Avian Adventures come in Platinum, White, and Red while A&E Cages and Prevue Hendryx are available in an even wider assortment of colors.

If your budget allows, stainless steel is a great finish to consider for your bird's cage. It looks great with the decor and style or virtually all spaces, and it contrasts well with the color of most birds. Stainless steel cages are also easier to keep sanitary for your bird & offers many other amazing benefits. It's really the way to go if you can afford it!

We’ve got a blog post on the different options that you can click here to check out.

Step 4: The Shape/Style

Now it’s time to choose the “top” style of the cage. 

Here is a visual with examples of the most common cage tops available:

Play Top

Dome Top

Flat Top

Here is an overview of each type:

Play Top

The Play Top cage gives the bird a place to be when outside the cage. If you spend time with your bird near the cage, this may be helpful. If you move the bird to another room when he or she is out, a playtop may not be necessary.

Dome Top

A Dome Top cage allows more height inside the cage. May or may not open. If it opens, it’s hard to hang toys here.

Note: If you do go with a dometop bird cage, you will not have any sort of playpen or playtop for the bird to play on outside of the cage, so it's recommended that you also get a playstand of some sort.

Flat Top

Flat Top cages allow for play gyms or supplies to be placed up top. May also allow for stacking of other cages - though you can find double & triple-stacked cages too.

Regardless of which top you ultimately go with, it's important that your bird has some sort of activity center outside of the cage and is able to utilize it on a daily basis.

And last but not least...

Step 5: Time To Make Your Choice!

Phew! That was a lot to take in but you’re in the top 3.7% of parrot owners when it comes to selecting the perfect cage for your bird. 

So welcome to the club :)

Now that you know the rationale behind the most important aspects of bird cages, you are ready to get down to business and make your selection... 

Our top bird cages for sale is just a click away where you'll hopefully find the right cage of your choice for your pet bird. ;)

Final Steps

To make this last step super easy and actionable, all you really need to do now is:  

  • Head over to our Bird Cages By Species Page
  • Click on your bird’s species where you will find the cages pre-filtered by the optimal bar spacing for your parrot. 
  • Then, scroll through the options shown keeping in mind the above points about cage size, color, and top to find one of your liking that works for your home.

I sincerely hope you found this guide helpful, and that you and your bird(s) enjoy their new home!

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