A dish rack provides a secure space for dishes, utensils, and other kitchenware to air-dry after they have been washed. We purchased 20 dish racks and tested them in the real world to evaluate each product on setup, flexibility, durability, ease of cleaning, and overall value. Our tester spent over 50 hours researching and thoroughly assembling, loading and unloading, and assessing the materials and stability of the racks.
Katie Berry, The Spruce's Cleaning Review Board member, notes that you should consider the types of counters you have when adding a dish rack to your cart. "If you have butcher block counters, it's especially important that you choose a waterproof drying tray," she advises—so you don't harm the stylish surface.
Our top pick, the OXO Aluminum Fold Flat Dish Rack, is sturdy and well designed, and it folds up flat for easy storage. Plus, you can reposition the utensil cup to your liking. It also has a draining board that will protect your countertops, a feature in line with Berry's advice.
Here, the best dish racks to make drying dishes a breeze in your home, backed by our testing.
Best Overall: OXO Aluminum Fold Flat Dish Rack
Folds flat for compact storage
Doubles as a draining board
Spacious and sturdy design
Can reposition the utensil cup
Not ideal for larger cookware
Water pools on drainage rack
What do buyers say? 93% of 400+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
After testing for several hours, OXO’s Fold Flat Dish Rack was the clear winner, receiving a perfect score in all categories. Thanks to its two-level design, this dish rack provides plenty of drying space, and its compact size works well in a small kitchen. The rustproof aluminum top rack is perfect for drying plates and bowls, while the ridged bottom rack holds cups, mugs, and glasses. Perhaps the biggest advantage of this spacious, two-tiered rack is that it folds up flat for easy storage. Our tester's counter space is limited, so they loved how they could put the rack away when it wasn't in use. When folded flat, the rack can double as a draining board for smaller loads of dishes, as well.
Although it’s easy to store, this dish rack is stylish enough to leave out for everyday use. The modern design made a nice addition to our tester's kitchen. They appreciated the removable utensil cup, which can be positioned at either end of the rack. Thanks to nonslip feet, the rack sits nice and sturdy on a countertop, too. The drainage tray at the bottom has ridges that elevate dishes. The ridges allow for quick drying and countertop protection. Water does pool on the tray, but that's to be expected because it is flat and wasn't a total dealbreaker.
All in all, the rack consists of three pieces, which come apart easily for a quick cleanup. Our tester noted that they didn't have any trouble getting into the nooks and crannies of the rack to clean it, and overall, "despite its compact size, this dish rack is more spacious than I expected it to be." The rack never needed to be adjusted and remained stable, sturdy, and free of wear and tear throughout testing. Due to the "outstanding quality," they'd actually be willing to pay more for it, which is why we believe it's ultimately worth every penny and our best overall slot.
Best Budget: Rubbermaid Antimicrobial Large White Dish Drainer
Fits easily in small kitchens
Spacious and well designed
Detachable silverware cup
Easy to clean
Tray is sold separately
Not ideal for heavier cookware
This Rubbermaid Dish Drainer is a stellar performer, and it comes with an incredibly affordable price tag. With 13 slots for dishes and a detachable silverware cup, our tester was impressed with its spacious and durable design. Made of coated plastic wire, the slots are deep enough to hold large dinner plates and thicker stoneware. Rubber feet on the bottom keep it securely on the counter, and the rack stays in place if you bump into it.
Measuring 6 x 13.8 x 17.6 inches, this rack fits comfortably in a smaller-sized kitchen and takes up a minimal amount of counter space. Plus, it’s very easy to clean with mild soap and water. After using it multiple times daily, our tester didn’t notice any grime, wear and tear, or discoloration. Being a budget model, this rack isn’t as strong as some of our stainless steel picks, which is to be expected. For that reason, we wouldn’t recommend drying heavier pots and pans on this rack. Despite that one drawback, our tester still gave this dish rack 5-star ratings in all categories. Just note: The rack doesn’t come with a drying tray. You will need to purchase one separately. However, it otherwise checks off all the boxes and gets the job done. "Considering the inexpensive price, I think the quality is much higher than expected," said our tester of their experience.
Best Mat: Umbra UDRY Rack and Microfiber Dish Drying Mat
Provides plenty of drying space
Combines a dish drying mat and dish rack
Folds away for easy storage
Include a removable wine rack
Has a fairly large footprint
Wine glasses drip on the counter
This multi-use dish rack, which combines a microfiber dish drying mat and a plastic dish drainer rack, allows you to dry an assortment of items at once. We liked that there were separate compartments for utensils and four designated hooks for wine glasses. The rack has 20 designated slots for dishes, and the slots are deep enough to accommodate all types of dishes, even larger-sized dinner plates. Meanwhile, the wide drying mat provides plenty of space for "hand-wash only" items and heavier cookware.
The elevated wine rack is a nice feature, and it can be removed when it’s not in use. Our tester's only complaint was that the wine rack extends beyond the drying mat, so when you’re drying wine glasses, they drip right onto the counter. Despite that one hiccup, they were still very impressed with the overall performance. Plus, the UDRY has a gray, low-profile design that looks nice in a modern kitchen.
Measuring 3 x 9.75 x 19 inches, the rack does take up a good chunk of counter space, especially in a small kitchen. The good news is that all of the pieces come apart, the rack is lightweight when it's not filled, and it folds for easy storage. For added convenience, the top rack is dishwasher safe, and the drying mat is machine washable. While no instructions were provided for assembly, setting it up was also a breeze. "The process is fairly self-explanatory," said our tester, who added, "referring to the product photo on the packaging was helpful."
Best Foldable: OXO Good Grips Foldaway Dish Rack
Folds flat for easy storage
Makes room for large cookware
Spout encourages drainage into sink
Offers plenty of drying space
Water can pool on drainage rack
This ingenious dish rack folds flat, making it easy to store when you’re not using it. Having a folding dish rack can be a game-changer, especially if you’re short on space. Foldability is this dish rack’s biggest selling point, but it has plenty of other convenient features. We loved the fact that there are designated spots for almost all of our tester's kitchen items. The center plate rack, which has six slots for plates, folds down to make room for larger cookware. Tines on either side of the rack hold cups, mugs, and wine glasses securely. There are two generously sized utensil cups. Each cup is divided into three compartments to separate silverware for faster drying, too, and they nest inside the rack when it's time for it to be stored.
The rack is equipped with a drainage spout, but it’s not 100 percent effective at leading water directly into the sink. As with most dish racks that we tested, our tester noticed some excess water left behind. However, the unit is incredibly lightweight, making it easy to empty out between uses. Even though this rack holds a lot of items, it didn’t take up too much space in our tester's relatively small kitchen either. The low-profile design is inconspicuous on a countertop, and it provides plenty of airflow for fast drying.
Best Heavy-Duty: simplehuman Steel Frame Dish Rack
Sleek, modern design
Designated spaces for a variety of items
Features a drainage system with a swivel spout
High price point
Bulkier than other options
Instructions not provided
This heavy-duty dish rack is very spacious and can hold a wide assortment of kitchenware. Our tester loved how the innovative design keeps almost all of their kitchen items in mind. There is an integrated wine rack that can hold up to four large glasses. Steel hooks along the side provide optimal drying space for mugs and cups. The detachable utensil holder is divided into three compartments, which keep silverware upright and organized. Another excellent feature is the drain spout, which can swivel in any direction, allowing water to drain into the sink regardless of how you position the dish rack.
It’s no big surprise that a dish rack this advanced comes with a hefty price tag. However, we think it’s well worth the splurge. The rack has some standout features that set it apart from the competition. Not only is the stainless steel construction extremely durable, but it also creates a sophisticated aesthetic and blends in nicely with modern kitchen appliances. An anti-residue and fingerprint-proof coating protect against water spots and smudges and keep it looking brand new.
Since this rack is on the larger side and has multiple parts, it will take some time to clean it thoroughly and assemble it. Overall, our tester found the cleaning process to be fairly painless and gave it 4 stars for ease of cleaning. However, they wished the rack came with instructions to avoid some of the trial and error methods they had to use to put it together. Measuring 12.2 x 20.1 x 16.1 inches, this rack is better suited for a larger kitchen. If you’re looking for something with a smaller footprint, simplehuman offers a compact version that measures 7.7 x 15 x 11.9 inches.
Best Multi-Tier: Simple Houseware 2-Tier Dish Rack with Drainboard
Easy to assemble
Two-tier design saves counter space
Sturdy and well designed
Smart organization options
Drainboard slides around a bit
Not ideal for larger cookware
Utensil basket sits on an angle
The beauty of this two-tier rack is that items can be stored vertically, freeing up valuable counter space. Our tester appreciated its spacious design and loved the fact that they could load a full sink's worth of dishes onto it. The top rack has designated slots for plates, while the bottom can be used for bowls, cups, and smaller pans. There are hooks along the sides for coffee cups, and the removable cutlery bucket can be placed on either side of the rack.
Another noteworthy feature is the translucent drainboard, which has a lip that allows water to drain directly into the sink. Since the drainboard is flat, our tester realized they had to place something underneath it to create an angle for better drainage. A potholder or dish towel will do the trick, though. The dish rack isn’t attached to the drainboard, so it slides around a bit if you bump into it. However, despite some minor flaws, including the utensil basket being at an angle that keeps the silverware from standing upright, it’s a solid multi-tier option at a reasonable price point.
"The chrome material isn't quite as sturdy as stainless steel offerings, but the lower price reflects that," said our tester. The rack requires minimal assembly, as well. It only took us a couple of minutes to put it together. All of the instructions were nice and clear.
Best In-Sink: The Container Store Stainless Steel In-Sink Dish Drainer
Inexpensive and effective
Drains water directly into sink
Frees up counter space
Blocks access to the sink
The beauty of this in-sink dish rack is that it frees up precious counter space and lets water drain directly into the sink. It can be easily adjusted to fit sinks up to 21 inches wide. Clear plastic tubing on the expandable arms protects surfaces from scratching and keeps the rack securely in place. Measuring 5 x 11.5 x 13.75 inches, this drainer isn’t the most spacious model, but it’s a great option for light-duty dish drying in a small kitchen.
This rack has designated slots to store plates vertically. While bowls, cups, and smaller plates fit just fine, our tester had an issue with their large dinner plates, which are on the thicker side. The plates slid out of the slots when they added other items. However, this drying rack comes with a removable plastic caddy that holds utensils, which can be positioned to your liking.
Ultimately, we think the rack is better suited for a double sink (which our tester didn't have). It took up more than half of their single-basin sink, but they were able to wash most items with the dish rack in place. One drawback to an in-sink unit is that the rack needs to be removed when you need full access to the sink. All that being said, our tester said the rack was very easy to clean. "It didn't attract any grime or get discolored after multiple washes," they said.
Best Roll-Up: Surpahs Over the Sink Multipurpose Roll-Up Dish Drying Rack
Versatile and space-saving design
Rolls up for easy storage
Allows water to drain into the sink
Can double as a trivet or food prep surface
No extra features or compartments
If you’re looking to free up counter space, consider this versatile dish rack that fits right over the sink. Since it drains water directly into the sink, there is no need for a drying mat or drainboard. Made of silicone-coated steel, this rack is rust-resistant, anti-slip, and extremely durable. In fact, the rack is so sturdy, that it provides a nice surface for meal-prepping as well. It is heat resistant up to 400 degrees, which means it can also be used as a trivet. The rack can go in the dishwasher, making cleanup a breeze too.
This dish rack is better suited for a double sink. When spread out, it took up more than half of our tester's single basin sink and limited the faucet’s functionality. Since it is a standard one-piece dish rack, it doesn’t have any extra features or compartments. The rack doesn’t hold all that many items either. You can only store a few small dishes, bowls, cups, and utensils at a time. However, it came in handy for quick cleanups in our tester's small kitchen and could also be a great option for an apartment or RV. The rack rolls up for easy storage, which is another major plus in our book. Be warned, though: "Since it is a flat rack, you should be careful not to bump into it. If you do, dishes could fall right off," noted our tester.
Best Bamboo: Threshold Bamboo Dish Drying Rack
Lightweight and compact
Folds flat for easy storage
Dries items very quickly
Not ideal for stemware
No designated slots for silverware
This dish rack is a compact size, at 9.75 x 13.12 x 17.75 inches, making it ideal for smaller-sized kitchens and those who don't want their air-drying dishes to take up too much space. Despite its small footprint, our tester was pleasantly surprised by its storage capacity. Each rack has 17 slots, giving you plenty of options for drying your dishes. The top rack is best suited for taller items like plates, and the bottom rack can be used for bowls, mugs, and cups. The slatted design provides plenty of ventilation, allowing dishes to dry quickly. The rack has a very sturdy build, as well. It never slid out of place on our tester's counter, even when empty, and they never had to readjust it as they filled it up.
The only downside is this rack is not ideal for drying wine glasses with stems. When our tester placed them on the rack, they tilted upwards, causing water to pool in the bowl rather than drain down. Our tester doesn’t drink wine that frequently, so it wasn’t a dealbreaker. However, avid wine drinkers should consider other options. It’s also important to note that this rack doesn’t come with a drying mat or spot for utensils. You will need to purchase those separately. However, our tester noted the bamboo material was easy to clean. They wiped it down with a damp sponge every few days since cleaning instructions weren't provided with the product.
Best Stainless Steel: KitchenAid Full-Size Dish Rack
Sturdy and well designed
Drains directly into the sink
Has individual slots for silverware
Higher price point
Some water pools on drainboard
This sturdy, large-capacity dish rack provides enough drying space for an assortment of dinnerware, utensils, and larger pots and pans. There are hooks along one side designed for cups, mugs, and glasses. The removable flatware caddy has three compartments for silverware and other kitchen tools, and our tester liked that there are individual slots in the flatware caddy to separate utensils and keep them upright. Even when fully loaded, this dish rack remained stable. The heavy-duty wires didn’t cave under the weight of heavier cookware.
Another convenient feature is the removable drainboard, which sits at an angle and helps to drain water directly into the sink. The draining technology isn’t perfect; we noticed that some water pooled in the corners of the tray. However, you can easily remove the drainboard and wipe it down between uses. Even though the tray retained some water, our tester was pleased to see that it protected their countertop from any drips. Measuring 7 x 20 x 14.96 inches, this heavy-duty rack takes up a good deal of counter space, especially in a small kitchen. It is available in a more compact size, though, which measures 5.54 x 15.87 x 12.63 inches.
All in all, our tester was impressed by this product and said it is worth the higher price. "The dish rack was fairly easy to clean," they noted. "It did take some time to get into the nooks of crannies of the flatware caddy. The caddy attracts some grime but looks brand new after being cleaned."
Best for Small Spaces: Neat-O Deluxe Chrome-Plated Steel Small Dish Drainer
Can be an in-sink or countertop unit
Could easily hold dinner plates
Sturdy and well designed
Doesn’t come with a tray
Cutlery cup is not divided
If you need a simple dish rack to dry your dishes and utensils after a good wash, look no further than Neat-O’s Deluxe Chrome-Plated Steel Small Dish Drainer. The coated wire base protects dishes and countertops from scratching, while the feet keep the rack securely in place. If you have a double sink, you could use this unit as an in-sink rack to maximize space. We used it as a countertop model and thought that it worked great. Just note that it doesn’t come with a drying mat. You will have to purchase one separately.
Measuring 5.25 x 14.25 x 12.75 inches, this dish rack takes up minimal space in a small kitchen. Despite its compact size, it holds plenty of items. There are designated slots for dishes, four hooks along the side for mugs or glasses, and a detachable plastic cutlery cup. Our tester liked that the rack was deep enough to hold their dinner plates and remain sturdy. The elevated design allows items to drain easily and dry quickly.
Unfortunately, the cutlery cup isn’t divided, so utensils tend to tip over rather than sit upright. In addition, our tester noted they had to think about where they placed items and when. "I had to be cautious while loading the rack and make sure the weight was distributed evenly," they said. "There are cup holders along one side, and if you load the cups first, the rack will tilt a bit." The chrome-plated finish is resistant to rust and easy to clean, though. It also makes a nice addition to a modern kitchen.
After all our testing, the OXO Aluminum Fold Flat Dish Rack earned the top spot thanks to its innovative design. This two-tiered rack is versatile for drying all types of kitchenware and folds flat for easy storage. For a more affordable option, consider the Rubbermaid Antimicrobial Large White Dish Drainer. Though simple in appearance, it is sturdy, functional, and easy to clean.
How We Tested the Dish Racks
We purchased and sent 20 dish racks to our at-home tester, who put each option to work in their own kitchen and in real-world situations for over 50 hours. To start, they unboxed and assembled each rack on their countertop near their sink, noting how long it took to set up, if any instructions were provided, and if there was even an assembly process to begin with. Next, they loaded each dish rack up with a variety of items, including silverware, multiple plates, multiple bowls, multiple wine glasses, cups, mugs, and other kitchen items and utensils. During this test of flexibility, they noted if the rack was as spacious as they expected, if it could easily be moved to a new spot in their kitchen without items tipping over or the rack becoming unstable, and if the rack had any customization options.
Next, they tested each rack's durability by using it for a while and noting how stable it was. They tried bumping into it to see if the material scratched or showed wear and tear and noted if it was flimsy or firm. After using the rack a few times, they tested the ease of cleaning it, using the care and cleaning instructions as their guide. They noted if it looked fresh after being cleaned or if it felt like the rack lost some of its quality.
When all testing was complete, they used their entire experience and price point to rate the overall value of the product. All of this consistently applied data was boiled down to this list of—what we believe are—the very best dish racks on the market and for your home.
What to Look for in a Dish Rack
There are several types of dish racks you can add to your home:
Countertop models sit on the counter beside the sink. These freestanding units come in a variety of sizes and styles. Typically, smaller units—like Neat-O’s Deluxe Chrome-Plated Steel Small Dish Drainer—can be lifted and moved to another spot with ease and require little to no assembly. Larger racks, particularly those with multiple tiers, usually require some assembly and take up a lot more counter space.
If you’re working with limited space or simply don’t want to leave your dish rack out, consider a foldable or roll-up model. These types of racks can easily be tucked away and stored when not in use. Our tester particularly liked the foldable and roll-up models, such as the Surpahs Over the Sink Multipurpose Roll-Up Dish Drying Rack and OXO Good Grips Foldaway Dish Rack, for their home, as they were sturdy and offered plenty of drying space, but didn't take up precious counter space for too long.
An over-the-sink or in-sink rack is a great option if you’re short on counter space. Since they are placed over the sink, water drips directly into the basin, eliminating any drainage concerns. This type of rack usually works best with a double sink, as noted by our tester when they were testing The Container Store Stainless Steel In-Sink Dish Drainer. You can keep it on one side and use the other to wash dishes. Another option includes a dish-drying mat, which is often very spacious.
There are two things to consider before purchasing a dish rack: the dimensions of your kitchen and the rack itself. If you have limited counter space, a compact rack is your best option. Compact racks are also a great option for people who live alone and those that have a dishwasher but need to air-dry a few items. If you have a double sink, an in-sink or over-the-sink rack eliminates counter space loss.
If you do a lot of dishes by hand and have more than two people in your household, you will definitely need a larger rack with more drying space. Heavier-duty racks occupy a larger footprint and often include extra attachments, so be sure to measure your counter space before you buy one. To maximize storage space, consider a multi-tiered rack to take advantage of vertical real estate.
Your dish rack's material will determine how it looks in your space, how durable it is, and how easy it is to clean. There are several different materials available:
Stainless steel is the most durable option, and it’s usually the more expensive one, as well. Although it is often resistant to rust, it still can rust after prolonged exposure to water and humidity. For that reason, it’s always a good idea to thoroughly wipe down your dish rack after each use.
Vinyl-coated wire is a more affordable alternative to stainless steel and still achieves a modern aesthetic. A dish rack with a vinyl coating will protect both your countertops and kitchenware from scratches. Wire is more susceptible to rust over time, so try to keep the rack as dry as possible between uses.
Plastic isn’t as durable as stainless steel, and it’s slightly more prone to chips, cracks, and other damage. However, it has some positive attributes. Plastic won’t scratch surfaces or rust, and it’s easy to clean and sanitize. Most dish racks aren’t entirely composed of plastic but contain some combination of plastic and metal parts.
Bamboo is a sustainable material that is easy to maintain. If your bamboo dish rack starts to look dull or feel rough, you can use food-grade, highly-refined mineral oil to condition the wood. Our tester was able to clean the Threshold Bamboo Dish Drying Rack with just a damp sponge every few days, as well, to keep it looking fresh.
Drainboard or Drying Tray
Some countertop dish racks come equipped with a drainboard or drying tray, which catches excess water and prevents it from dripping on your countertop. As Berry noted, this is particularly key if you have water-sensitive countertops, like butcher block countertops, that can be damaged by dripping water. For optional drainage, look for a unit with a water spout that drips directly into the sink. (Of course, over-the-sink and in-sink options remove the need for this feature entirely.)
Cup Holder or Wine Rack
Rather than precariously balancing delicate items on a flat rack, cup holders and integrated wine racks hold items securely and create more drying space. Consider a dish rack with these options if you have avid wine drinkers, athletes, or children in your household, or you frequently entertain. Make sure this feature is sturdy, as our tester was disappointed in how wine glasses tilted and spilled a bunch of water when testing.
More advanced units may have an adjustable design, allowing you to customize the configuration of your dish rack to suit your needs. Expandable trays can provide more drying space for larger cookware like pots and pans. A rack that collapses is certainly a bonus when it comes time to store it, as proved by our tester.
How do you clean a dish rack?
Regular maintenance is required to prevent mold, mildew, and bacteria from forming. Unless you have a rack with a built-in drainage system, you should empty it and wipe off any excess water with a clean cloth every time you use it. A good rule of thumb is to wash your dish rack at least once a week. Regular dish soap and warm water should do the trick.
If soap scum has accumulated on your rack, professional organizer Janelle Williams suggests you “use a cleaning solution like baking soda and vinegar to remove the buildup.” A dishwashing brush will help remove any grime from hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.
Since the cleaning process varies by material, be sure to refer to the manufacturer's care instructions to prevent any damage to the finish.
Are plastic dish racks recyclable?
Unfortunately, plastic dish racks are oftentimes not recyclable. (Extra incentive to find one you’ll love for a long time!) However, check the recycling instructions on the specific dish rack you purchase and follow the directions of your local recycling program.
What do you put under a dish drying rack?
If the dish rack you buy doesn’t include a drying tray, there are plenty of options to soak up the leftover drips of water and protect your countertops. A drying pad is a popular option and can be conveniently rolled up and put away when dry. A silicone drying mat is another option. Its grippy surface is key for precariously balancing drying dishes, and they’re ultra-easy to rinse off or throw in the dishwasher to clean. Another simple solution is a classic tea towel, which looks pretty and can be thrown in the washing machine as needed.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Sage McHugh is a home and lifestyle writer who has firsthand experience testing kitchen appliances and organizational products. She has written for The Spruce since 2019 and spent over 50 hours for this roundup testing and evaluating dish racks. She rated them on their assembly process, flexibility, durability, ease of cleaning, and overall value. For additional insight, she interviewed Janelle Williams, a professional organizer and the owner of Organized by JWC.
What Is Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend, and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all these products ourselves, though occasionally we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut. We also pride ourselves on transparency and will always let you know if we received a product for free.