Re-Potting Cacti - How Big A Pot?

I have some miscellaneous cacti that need repotting. So I am looking to find out the appropriate size to upgrade to.
For example, some are small, in 10 centimetre (4 inch) diameter pots. Some are in pots about twice that size, but are probably even more root-bound, since they have been in those for longer time.
The small ones are inside, on a window ledge, and the larger ones are outside.
There is also an aloe Vera outside that looks desperate for more space.
I am thinking of using pots twice the current size(?) Basically, I want to minimise the frequency of this trauma (for both the plant and for me) but without using overly large containers. I don't want to do it again next year, but I don't want to take up too much indoor space.
Any tips on protecting my hands from the spines while I molest the cacti?
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On Nov 10, 5:39 pm, Coffee's For Closers <Usenet2...@THE-DOMAIN- IN.SIG> wrote:

It is my experience with cacti and succulents over the last many years that most of them prefer to be root bound in well draining soil. I have combined many smaller cacti into larger dish like clay pots though to cut back on the number of containers. Then I mulched the top of the sandy soil with small pea rocks to drain the moisture away from the cactus. If you see roots coming out of the pot, then bump them up a size larger. Four to six, etc. I'd use clay or glazed clay with a good drain hole. I have sturdy kitchen tongs to hold the cactus while repot them. The square ones that have handles that resemble scissors are the best and don't bite into the flesh of the cactus like the other ones. If you don't have kitchen tongs, they're a good investment at a Wal-Mart or bargain store where they have a nice selection of kitchen tools for sale. Before I used kitchen tongs, I used to fold newspaper into a thick but flexible strip and us it as a holding strap, but the tongs are far easier to use. I'm about to have to get serious about where to place my own collection of cactus and succulents and tender African bulbs inside our house because we've had unseasonably warm weather and I know the honeymoon will soon be over and I will be hauling in old fashioned metal and heavy plastic milk crates of pots with wicked spines at the last minute because the local weather man/woman has said hard freeze and frost. I have quite an assortment of things spiny and mean. I don't envy you repotting your cactus. Why not wait until late winter before you do this? It's heading towards winter and they're dormant and not doing much growing right now. Just remember to barely water them and keep them cool. 40° will get them to set buds and maybe bloom for you next year as well. by the way, what kind are the larger outside ones? and the aloe vera doesn't need to be repotted. it will live quite happy with bound roots. I have one in an old fashioned tea kettle and if it rained too much, I'd just lay it on it's side and let the water drain out the spout.
I hope this helps a bit. I have some that need repotting as well, but I am going to wait until late Winter to do it. That way when I am house bound and needing to get my hands into dirt, I will be able to pot my cactus.
Eva Shovelful gardening near the Mississippi River somewhere in zone 7b
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On Tue, 10 Nov 2009 15:39:08 -0800, Coffee's For Closers

It is better to move up to a slightly larger pot rather than a pot 2X the size. Large clay or ceramic pots are heavy and may need a dolly, wagon, or some other means to move them around and lifted off the floor. I have had cactus in the same pot for 10+ years, but do feed them sparingly during the growing season.
For succulents, including aloe vera, the larger the pot, the larger the plant. I prefer to keep some plants in small pots (including aloe) to keep them from getting too big and top-heavy. I have a 12" jade plant in a 4" pot--yes it does want a larger pot but the only thing itis getting now is neglect.
Most cactus are resting and would not want to be disturbed this time of year. Unless you are in the southern hemisphere it is better to wait until early spring to repot most cacti.
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