We Tested 13 Dish Racks—These Ones Make Drying Dishes Easy

We Tested 13 Dish Racks—These Ones Make Drying Dishes Easy

a bunch of dish racks against a white background and on a wooden countertop
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

If you cook or eat, then washing dishes is a fact of life and, by extension, so too are dish racks. As such, they’re an essential item for home cooks.

Which means, of course, there are an incredibly amount of dish racks out there: full-size models that can handle a dinner party’s worth of dishes, compact ones best-suited for apartments or small households, and over-the-sink models for those extremely short on counter space or if you’re just looking to add some drying room. To find the best dish rack for every kitchen, we tested 13 models in a variety of styles.

The Winners, at a Glance

The Best Full-Sized Dish Rack: KitchenAid Full Size Dish Rack

Also available at Walmart.

This large, luxe dish rack is solidly constructed, and can hold a dinner party’s worth of dishes without wobbling. The sidewalls keep dishes neatly in place, and the drain mat is easy to remove for cleaning.

The Best Budget-Friendly Full-Sized Dish Rack: Rubbermaid Dish Drainer and Drain Board

Also available at Walmart.

This is a no-frills rack with plenty of space for plates, glasses, silverware and more. The angled mat drains water away quickly, but it must be purchased separately.

The Best Over-the-SinkDish Rack: Five Two Over-the-Sink Dish Drying Rack

This silicone and steel dish rack is small and strong. It can hold up to 50 pounds and comes with an included basket for silverware. This rack also rolls up for easy storage.

The Best Dish Rack for Small Kitchens: Simplehuman Compact Kitchen Dish Drying Rack With Swivel Spout

Also available at Walmart and simplehuman.

This compact rack can hold a surprising number of dishes without taking up a lot of space. Sidewalls add stability, and the swivel spout drains water quickly.

The Tests

a pot, glasses, whisk, fish spatula, and utensils on the food52 dishrack over the sink.
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi
  • Drain Time Test: We placed each dish rack next to the sink, then with the drain spout (or mat) positioned near the edge of the sink, we poured two cups of water into the dish rack. We timed how long it took for the water to drain away, and inspected the rack’s mat to ensure no water remained on it.
  • Capacity Test: We loaded each dish rack with plates, pasta bowls, wine glasses, and tumblers. For full sized-dish racks, we aimed to fit four of each. For compact dish racks, our goal was two. 
  • Versatility Test: We loaded each dish rack with large cookware, including a Dutch oven, a sheet pan, and a medium saucepan, to see if it held up.
  • Cleanup and Storage Tests (Winners-Only): We tested the winning models for ease of cleanup and storage by cleaning according to manufacturer instructions and seeing how easily they fit into a standard cabinet.

What We Learned

Fast Drainage Was Key

a dish rack with plates and bowls and two wine glasses on it draining water
A steeper, more angled dish mat ensured fast drainage.Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

As dishes air dry, water ends up at the bottom of the dish rack—either in the basin or on a drainage mat. Several models we tested, including the Yamazaki Home Wood-Handled Dish Rack, the Brabantia Compact Dish Drying Draining Rack, and the OXO Good Grips Aluminum Fold Flat Dish Drying Rack, have no solution for drainage—lacking even an angled enough dish mat or basin to encourage drainage. After drying, water simply pooled under the dishes. Our favorite models offered either a drainage spout or a draining mat with a steeper angle and very large opening for drainage.

A Dish Rack Must Be Very Stable

the oxo dish rack with two plates and two bowls.
Dishracks that were unstable threatened to tip over, taking our dishes with them.Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

You shouldn’t have to fear for the safety of your dishes during the drying process. If a dish rack isn’t stable, a plate could slip off and break, a wine glass could tip over and shatter. Most dish racks keep everything in place with prongs and slots—dishes rest in the slots and lean against the prongs to stand upright. Our favorite models easily held dishes in place, featuring additional side walls that helped to stabilize and contain things. Most of them also featured added prongs or hooks to dry wine glasses separately.

Dedicated Silverware Space Was a Must

the barbantua dish rack with utensil holder and cups and plates.
Dish racks with dedicated space for utensils ensure they dried quickly.Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

Without a dedicated storage area, silverware can take up a lot of space on a dish rack. Forks, knives, and spoons won’t dry as quickly if they’re all piled on top of one another. And the over-the-sink racks without dedicated utensil spaces meant butter knives and forks were prone to falling through the slots.

The Criteria: What to Look for In a Good Dish Rack

A seriously good dish rack: decent size, sturdy, high-quality material, drains into sink
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi / Grace Kelly

Look for a dish rack made from high-quality materials, like stainless steel and silicone. The best versions are designed to drain into a sink, preventing still water from growing a colony of bacteria on your counter. Models with sidewalls are extra stable and can confidently hold a large load of dishes, even when stacked…creatively. Before buying a dish rack, consider your individual needs—like how much available counter space you have and how often you hand-wash dishes.

The Best Full-Sized Dish Rack: KitchenAid Full Size Dish Rack

Also available at Walmart.

What we liked: This is truly the Cadillac of dish racks. During testing it was the only model able to comfortably hold four plates, four pasta bowls, four tumblers, and four stemmed wine glasses with room to spare. It’s solidly constructed from high-quality, anti-microbial materials, and comes apart quickly for cleaning. The drainage mat slid out nicely, and the smooth silicone was easy to clean with just a few wipes of a sponge.

What we didn’t like: Also like a Cadillac, this thing is huge. Small kitchen owners (or renters) may not wish to sacrifice the counter space that this rack requires. The silverware compartment includes dividers that limit the storage capacity. If you prefer to toss silverware in by the handful, however, these dividers are removable.

Price at time of publish:  $62.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 14.96 x 20 x 7 inches
  • Materials: Stainless steel, silicone
  • Care instructions: Hand-wash
kitchenaid dish rack on wooden countertop
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

The Best Budget-Friendly Full-Sized Dish Rack: Rubbermaid Dish Drainer and Drain Board

Also available at Walmart.

What we liked : This dish rack offered a capacity comparable to the KitchenAid, without claiming quite as much counter space. The steep angle encourages quick draining, and the mat is easily separated from the rack for cleaning. The steel side prongs are a convenient way to dry tumblers and glasses while still leaving room for plates and bowls in the main compartment. 

What we didn’t like: While not ugly, this dish rack doesn’t add a lot of flair to your countertop. The drainage mat is sold separately.

Price at time of publish: $17 (for rack) and $16 (for mat).

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 17.6 x 13.8 x 5.9 inches
  • Materials: Stainless steel, rubber 
  • Care instructions: Hand-wash
rubbermaid dish rack on wooden countertop
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

The Best Over-The-Sink Dish Rack: Five Two Over-the-Sink Dish Drying Rack

What we liked: This over-the-sink dish rack is a good solution for someone who primarily uses a dishwasher or has very limited counter space. It’s strong enough to hold even the largest Dutch oven, with a stated max capacity of 50 pounds. The silicone-coated steel is heat-safe up to 550ºF, which means it can do double duty as a trivet. When not in use, it rolls up neatly and can be tucked away on a shelf or in a cabinet. The included silverware basket is perfect for large utensils that don’t go in the dishwasher, like olive wood spoons or silver-plated pie servers. 

What we didn’t like: While perfect for those special hand-wash only items, this rack is too small to be practical for everyday use. The flexible rods cannot hold dishes upright. Plates and bowls must be laid flat. During testing, this rack wasn’t able to hold more than two plates at a time (we didn’t stack them, as this would slow down the drying process). This rack also isn’t compatible with every sink: the manufacturer notes that it works best with sinks that are 19 inches wide or smaller.

Price at time of publish: $45.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 20.5 x 12.25 inches
  • Materials: BPA- and BPS-free platinum-grade silicone; stainless steel
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe
food52 over the sink dishrack on wooden countertop
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

The Best Dish Rack for Small Kitchens: Simplehuman Compact Kitchen Dish Drying Rack With Swivel Spout

Also available at Walmart, simplehuman, and Lowes.

What we liked: This is a mighty little dish rack. Considering its compact size, its capacity was impressive. The swivel spout can be adjusted depending on how the rack is positioned near your sink, and it drained water efficiently. The solid steel side walls add a lot of stability—you can stack this rack full of plates without anything rolling away or falling off. 

What we didn’t like: This rack is dishwasher-safe, but if you’re using it because you don’t have a dishwasher, that isn’t a huge help. The deep, solid basin may collect scum over time, and hand-washing requires reaching in to wipe clean. 

Price at time of publish: $80.

Key Specs

  • Material: Stainless steel, silicone, plastic
  • Dimensions: 15 x 25.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Care: Dishwasher-safe
simplehuman dish rack on wooden countertop
Serious Eats / Madeline Muzzi

The Competition


What’s the best material for a dish rack?

Stainless steel and silicone have anti-microbial properties. Racks made from these materials reduce the risk that your dish rack will transfer germs to your clean dishes. Ideally, the drainage mat does not come into contact with your dishes, so plastic or rubber construction is fine for this component. 

How do you clean a dish rack? 

Dish racks should be cleaned frequently to prevent mold or unwanted bacteria from growing. If your dish rack has a drainage mat, simply wash the mat with soap and water in your kitchen sink. For basin-style dish racks, separate the dish rack components and clean each part with soap and water. 

Are plastic dish racks dishwasher-safe? 

This depends! Before placing a dish rack in the dishwasher, check the manufacturer’s website for care instructions.

What’s the best way to hide a dish drying rack? 

If hiding your dish rack is a priority, consider an over-the-counter model that can be rolled away and stored easily. If you’re attempting to hide a full-sized dish rack, your best bet is to clean and dry it thoroughly and tuck it away for the time being.