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Oftentimes, you don’t realize how much you need a good, solid dish rack until you don’t have a good, solid dish rack. Even if you are lucky enough to own a dishwasher, there are plenty of pots, pans, and delicate dishes that are best washed by hand.
A dish rack’s job sounds simple enough—safely house wet dishes as they dry—but a quality one is deceptively tricky to find. You’ll want one with a subtle drainage system, a modern design, and a non-slip component (so Grandma’s china stays safe).
To help you narrow down the options, we’ve rounded up the best dish racks of different styles, sizes, and price points so you can choose the perfect fit for your kitchen.
Best Overall: Neat-O Chrome-Plated Steel Dish Rack
Fits easily in small kitchens
Sturdy and well designed
Tray is sold separately
A simple dish rack is all you need to get the job done of laying your dishes and utensils to dry after a good wash. Neat-O’s Deluxe Chrome-Plated Steel Small Dish rack gives you space to dry your dishes, cups, and utensils all at once. The color coated base creates a soft barrier to protect your dishes from any harm. You can remove the plastic cutlery cup to allow for more room if you need it.
This model measures 12.8 x 14.2 x 5.2 inches. It will definitely fit in most kitchens comfortably. If you have a double sink, this would be great to place on one side while you use the other to wash. Or you can also place it on the counter beside the sink. The capacity is always something to think about, so if you have a large or medium family, don’t be afraid of the small size of this model. Just note the tray is sold separately.
Best Wooden: Sagler Wooden Dish Rack
Inexpensive and effective
Collapsible for easy storage
No silverware carrier
Cannot customize the configuration
Everyone has a preference when it comes to materials. Perhaps wood goes best with your cottage-inspired décor in your kitchen. Sagler’s Wooden Dish Rack is collapsible, so you can store it away when you finish using it. It’s also made with bamboo to ensure its lasting ability. The design gives you various options when it comes to drying your dishware.
The two-level design has fourteen slots on each level so you can use up each one for a regular-sized dish, or for bread plates. You can lay flatware in between plates. Or simply use the top level for dishes and the bottom for cups and utensils. Plus, when it comes time to clean the dish rack, you can use water and mild soap which won’t stain the bamboo wood. This design measures 16 x 13 x 2 inches. You can use it in more confined spaces as well, without worrying about it taking up too much of your counter space.
Best Foldable: OXO Good Grips Foldaway Dish Rack
Folds to be stored away
Versatile design makes room for large cookware
Water can pool on drainage rack
This model is meant to be folded up and stored away on its side, so it’s out of your way, and you can easily pull it back out whenever you need to use it. The plate rack was made to fold down to fit any large bowls, pots, or pans comfortably. The tines can hold cups, mugs, and glasses, plus you can also remove the utensil cup to make room for more dishes. When folded out this model measures 19.4 x 15.5 x 5.13 inches.
Speaking of small spaces, many people choose to leave out their dish rack for everyday use, while others prefer to tuck their rack away at the end of the night. No matter your preference, having a folding dish rack can be a game-changer.
Best Stainless Steel: simplehuman Steel Frame Dish Rack
Includes a drainage system with a swivel spout
Sleek, modern design
High price point
This model measures 20.2 x 22.3 x 11.5 inches and features an innovative drainage system that will lead any water to the sink rather than your countertop. The fingerprint-proof stainless steel finish stays clean and sleek throughout use. You also get a wine glass holder that fits four glasses and hangs upside down so water drips onto the designated tray. A dish rack that keeps just about everything in mind is quite rare to stumble upon.
Forget your regular, old dish rack. If you are looking for one that makes a statement, then simplehuman has you covered. Their Steel Frame dish rack combines function and aesthetics in such a beautifully crafted, multi-use kitchen must-have.
The tray sports an advanced anti-residue coating which causes water to spread rather than gather. The drainage system has a swivel spout that rotates in three different directions so you can position the dish rack to your liking.
Best Multi-Tier: Toplife 3-Tier Chrome Kitchen Dish Rack
Saves space in small kitchens
Smart organization for plates, bowls, and silverware
No drainage tray
Unfortunately, this model doesn’t come with a tray to capture any drainage. So you either have to purchase one separately or risk a wet counter that may end up dripping on the floor. This is especially tricky for small spaces. You could also always lay a dish towel beneath this if you haven’t purchased a tray yet. This stacked dish rack measures 17.5 x 9.85 x 12.8 inches. It does add a fresh look to any modern kitchen.
Why store across when you can store vertically? Toplife’s 3-Tier Chrome Kitchen Dish Rack is modernly designed to fit in small spaces, and large spaces alike. Because you store up, rather than horizontally, you are saving space on your counter with this durable chrome dish rack. The top rack has designated slots for plates, while you can use the bottom two racks for bowls, pans, and mugs. The sides have a wire utensil box and cup holders.
Best Over-the-Sink: Surpahs Over the Sink Multipurpose Roll-Up Dish Drying Rack
Can be rolled up and put away when not in use
Allows water to drain directly into sink
Blocks access to your sink
Not a large capacity
If you have a double sink, then chances are that you plan on using one of those sinks for dishes. This is the perfect way to save space while making practical use of your kitchen as well. It’s made of high-quality, silicone-coated steel which is rust-resistant, anti-slip, and durable. It is also heat resistant, making it dishwasher safe.
Plus, Surpahs boasts a lifetime warranty with your purchase. It is a standard one-piece dish rack, so there isn’t a separate cup for your flatware. You also may feel comfortable laying your dishes flat on this rather than on their sides. It is a good multi-use item that can work well in small kitchens.
What to Look for When Buying a Dish Rack
It sounds simple enough, but so often we forget to check the dimensions of a product before realizing (too late) that it’s either too big or too small for our space. Consider both the size of the dish rack and the amount of counter space you’ll be left with. If you’re working with a small kitchen, consider a dish rack that can easily be rolled or folded up when not in use.
Bigger is not always better. Like a dishwasher, a dish rack is only as good as its configuration, allowing you to fit as many dishes in as little space while still allowing plenty of airflow. Be sure that the dish rack you’re considering fits everything you’ll need it to in an efficient way.
Before committing to a dish rack, consider how easy (or difficult) its material will be to clean. Can it be put in the dishwasher? Will it chip easily? Degrade with time? Plastic dish racks are light and easy to clean, but more prone to breaking. Stainless steel, meanwhile, is sturdy and also easy to clean, but more expensive.
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 wayward drips of water. 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?
This article was written and researched by Wendy Vazquez, a writer for The Spruce. She has worked with brands—both on the editorial and public relations side of things—in the fashion, beauty, lifestyle, business, and technology industries. Additional research was done by Megan McCarty, a writer for The Spruce and MyDomaine with over 13 years of experience in both print and digital media. She regularly contributes to design-focused outlets such as Architectural Digest, Domino, House & Home, and Hunker.