Choosing a dish rack can almost be as much of a chore as washing the dishes themselves. It’s the kind of household purchase that’s often made unceremoniously — but simply buying whatever is cheapest in the dish-supplies aisle is a mistake. There’s a big difference between a bad dish rack that leaves your countertop sopping and a good one that gives once-dirty plates and bowls a sturdy place to perch. I don’t want to spend any more time at the sink than I have to, and I’ll do just about anything to avoid mindlessly towel-drying my glassware like a Stepford Wife. To find the very best dish racks, I asked a number of professional organizers, recipe developers, and Strategist staffers about theirs. I’m also testing as many of their recommendations as I can and updating this guide often with the results (yes, Yamazaki and Simplehuman are worth it). Read on for an over-the-sink one that doubles as a trivet, another that folds down completely, and many more.
What we’re looking for
To assess the durability of a dish rack, pay close attention to what it’s made out of. “While wood and bamboo look pretty, water is not their friend,” explains Lisa Zaslow, owner of Gotham Organizers. Steel, plastic, and silicone are your best bets instead, with steel coming in as the odds-on favorite. These racks are usually finished with a powder coating to prevent rust. For practicality’s sake, comparatively cheaper plastic and silicone can weather constant splashes from the sink and are easy to clean. Oftentimes, you’ll see the latter featured in foldable racks because it is lightweight, says professional organizer Caroline Solomon.
Dish racks have a reputation of being, let’s say, not the easiest on the eyes. That’s why we searched for a balance between form and function, pointing out features that make dish-drying easier or that make a dish rack stand out aesthetically (or both).
Knowing a dish rack’s dimensions will let you decide whether it’ll fit comfortably on your countertop, which is why we listed the measurements of each recommendation below (in height, width, and length). Since size is also related to portability — maybe you’d rather not have your dish rack in the open — we mentioned the weight of each, too.
Best overall dish rack
Material: Steel, wood, resin | Design: Handles, removable utensil holder and drainboard | Size: 7.87” x 18.5” x 13.19” and 4.08 pounds
No competitor came close to Japanese homeware label Yamazaki among our experts. This dish rack took the best-in-class blue ribbon in part for its appearance. “Just look at it! It’s the best-looking dish rack you’ve ever seen, isn’t it?” says cookbook author and recipe developer Anna Stockwell of the Scandinavian-inspired steel silhouette with wood-wrapped handles. But it’s not all about aesthetics. Strategist kitchen-and-dining writer Emma Wartzman reports that “it really is well made,” and Stockwell says it has held up well through years’ worth of cleanups so far.
Since naming it our “best overall,” I’ve had the fortune of trying it myself after Yamazaki sent it to me. The rack really is good-looking — sleek without feeling industrial. It’s cleverly designed, down to the curved prongs that hold plates in a neat row and the raised edges of the drainboard to avoid accidental spills on the countertop. You do have to lift the rack off the drainboard to wash out leftover dishwater, so the handles are there for a reason. (They read a little whimsical to me, which I like for an object that’s usually so utilitarian.) I thought these might get worn from the dishwater — but so far, so good. There’s enough clearance beneath the bottom of the rack and the tray that you won’t end up with still-dripping dishes after a while. It holds a lot, too — I’ve made impressive stacks of mugs on it, and stowed plates, bowls, cups, and utensils from dinner parties without any trouble.
Best (less-expensive) dish rack
Material: Steel, wood, resin | Design: Handles, removable utensil holder and drainboard | Size: 16.5” x 12” x 5.5”
If you like the look of our best overall pick but think it’s too much of a splurge, take a cue from Alexandra Shytsman, recipe developer and founder of The New Baguette. She went on the hunt for a Yamazaki dupe once her old Ikea dish rack rusted out. That search led her to this Tomorotec that’s nearly a third of the price for a similar, minimalist look. One difference is that the Tomorotec dish rack comes with a two-compartment utensil holder instead of the three-compartment holder on Yamazaki’s. As for the rest of the design, Shytsman praises the not-too-tall plate slots — so you can dry off other tableware comfortably (and not on an angle) — and the easy-to-clean detachable tray.
Best dish rack with swivel spout
Material: Steel | Design: Removable swivel spout and utensil holder, capped plate holders, glassware frame and hooks, fingerprintproof finish | Size: 11.5” x 22.3” x 20.2” and 7 pounds
Zaslow describes this Simplehuman as “the Rolls-Royce of dish racks” for its practical features, including a utensil holder with compartments to separate knives from forks and spoons, hooks for drinking glasses, and a rack to hold wineglasses upside down. Its most useful detail, though, might be the swivel spout (versus the traditional flat-drip tray) that funnels excess water into your sink without making a mess. Unlike others on our list, you can choose between a more compact model (which has a smaller utensil holder, fewer hooks for mugs, and no rack for wineglasses) and the full-size “standard” version that’s around $20 more (and has the distinction of being the most expensive recommendation on this list).
It’s become beloved by Strategist staffers. The swivel helps keep the rack “practically spotless” without a pool of soapy water at the bottom, says former associate editor Louis Cheslaw. In a second Strategist endorsement, writer Lauren Ro loves how its box shape allows the rack to “accommodate a bunch of dishes, no matter how high you pile everything.” I’m another convert after Simplehuman sent it to me for review. What impressed me the most was how quick dishes were able to dry. The wired, grid-patterned frame inside the rack prevents dishes from drowning in a bath of dishwater and allows for a lot of airflow underneath, as it’s raised higher than a board that guides drips toward the swivel spout and into the sink. You really can stack things high, and the silicone-capped “spikes” even keep platters and sheet pans in place. Though the hooks for drinkware on one side are small, I’ve never worried about bigger mugs falling off. It really feels like the brand thought of everything in making the rack. (Even my dad, who never notices these sorts of things, complimented it when he washed a couple of pots.)
Best (less expensive) dish rack with swivel spout
Material: Aluminum | Design: Retractable swivel spout, drainboard, removable utensil holder | Size: 9.9” x 11.8” x 16.5” and 3.39 pounds
A cheaper option with a similar drainage spout is this rack that comes recommended by Hadley Sui, author of Oishisou!! The Ultimate Anime Dessert Cookbook. It’s also from Tomorotec, maker of the more affordable Yamazaki dupe above. This two-tiered rack features a swivel spout that’s similar to the spout on Simplehuman’s, but it’s retractable instead of removable — so you can tuck it in when you don’t need to use it. This design detail is what initially drew Sui to the Tomorotec dish rack: Tired of how her old dish rack produced ponds on the counter, she was awed by the Tomorotec’s telescopic drainage system. Now, even when water manages to escape from the spout, the tray acts as a guard. And Sui likes that the rose gold is a (non-distracting) pop of color.
Best dish rack for small kitchens
Material: Steel, resin | Design: Removable rotating spout and utensil holder | Size: 6.69” x 16.54” x 9.06” and 3.97 pounds
If you can’t spare much square footage on your countertop, here’s a space-saving Yamazaki. It’s small but mighty: Rebecca Firkser, a writer and recipe developer, has fit a Dutch oven, plates, cups, and a coffee pot all onto the rack, which has a similar rotating spout to Simplehuman’s. Firkser’s advice is to keep the rack propped up at a slight angle on one side (she uses two deli-cup lids to do this) to make sure all the water drains out. At just shy of $60, it’s pricier than her previous dish racks, but she has found it to be a worthy investment. In the two years since she bought it, the unit has held up through regular washes (of the utensil holder, base, spout, and accompanying stopper) and wipes (of the wired rack).
Best two-tier dish rack
Material: Steel, resin, silicone | Design: Rotating swivel, removable drainboard and utensil holder, hooks to hang supplies | Size: 13” x 16.1” x 8.7” and 5.5 pounds
This double-decker dish rack counts professional organizer Britnee Tanner and Jessie Sheehan, author of Snackable Bakes, as fans. Though width-wise the rack may be best suited for bigger kitchens, it’s laden with space-saving features that Tanner describes as “thoughtfully designed.” That includes the shape itself, which can fit into a tight space without sacrificing drying ability. The second tier features side hooks designed for odd-shaped utensils or a sponge wand, while the lower level comes with a draining board with the same Yamazaki spout that can be removed to free up counter space. Sheehan originally owned our best overall pick, only to upgrade to this version. “Sturdy, streamlined, simple, and sophisticated, this is the dish rack to end all dish racks,” she says. As for its quality, Sheehan is impressed by how unscathed it looks, particularly as she “basically does dishes for a living.” She adds, “It’s strong and can easily handle a large clean Le Creuset pot dripping away on the bottom — or even top — tier.”
Best over-the-sink dish rack
Material: Metal | Design: Utensil and soap holders, hooks for cups, top tier specifically for plates| Size: 20.5” x 26.8” (expands to 34.6”) x 12.4” and 9.48 pounds
The chore that Gracie Bensimon, founder of Gracie Baked, once dreaded most was cleaning her dish rack; it would “just get so gross” from standing dishwater. “I would think, I’m cleaning my dishes and then leaving them to dry in filth,” she recalls. This freestanding over-the-sink drying rack changed everything, leaving her with “no countertop wasted and no watery mess to clean up later.” As the dish-drying happens, excess water drips right into the sink. And you can expand the rack’s width for a precise fit, from a minimum of 26.8 to a maximum of 34.6 inches. (Pay close attention to the height — 20.5 inches, plus you’ll need clearance for putting dishes into it — if you happen to have cabinets overhead.) The storage is plentiful, with a spot for soaps and sponges, a section that’s plates-specific, and hooks to hold cups. The drawback, Bensimon warns, is that you don’t have much space for pots and pans. (Instead, she’s a “big advocate for cleaning those items and then leaving them on the stovetop to dry.”)
Best (less expensive) over-the-sink dish rack
Material: Steel, silicone | Design: Perforated edges, removable utensil holder, becomes trivet and colander | Size: 20.5” x 12.25” (when opened), 20.3” x 3 (when closed) and 5.28 ounces
The freestanding rack, above, works best as part of a more permanent sink setup. But this over-the-sink dish rack — from Food52’s Five Two line — is a bit more nimble. It’s a favorite of Brittany Nims, former associate director of e-commerce partnerships and business development at Vox Media, who has been using it since the company gifted it to her years ago. The rack does its dish-drying job admirably, rolling out across the sink, draining leftover dishwater, and featuring a portable, perforated caddy. Nims likes it for quick rinses and washing up after small meals. You can also use it as a trivet (it’s heat-safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit), a produce-rinsing station, or even an extra stretch of countertop.
Best (even less expensive) over-the-sink dish rack
Material: Steel, silicone | Design: Folds over one side of sink | Size: From 17” x 11.8” and 9.9 ounces
Hannah Starke, a former member of the Strategist’s social team, has a kitchen so small (22 square feet) that the fridge doesn’t even fit. Her host of creative storage solutions includes this rack, which, when unraveled, “creates a surface that allows the dishwasher to drain or things to dry while still leaving some sink space for me to use,” she says. When Starke needs her entire sink, she can roll it back up.
Best in-sink dish rack
Material: Metal, polypropylene | Design: Nonslip rubber feet, removable utensil holder, expands with bottom handles, low-profile | Size: 5.5” x 11.75” x 14.5” and 2.64 pounds
Umbra’s Sinkin racks scored shoutouts from interior and prop stylist Cait Gury and Sharon Lowenheim, owner of the Organizing Goddess. This rack works inside, outside, or over the sink (you can expand it to rest on the sink’s top edges by pulling out handles at the bottom of the rack). It doesn’t have a tray or spout; instead, it can sit directly into the sink to avoid puddles and wet dish towels on the counter, Gury says. Lowenheim, on the other hand, uses another, simpler version. Since she doesn’t have much to hand-wash, she leaves the rack outside the sink (her pro tip: Add a drainer underneath since it doesn’t have one). She likes that the edge of the rack allows her to balance any dishes that are still damp from the dishwasher, including Rubbermaid food-storage containers that are hard to dry off completely in there.
Best expandable dish rack
Material: Steel | Design: Nonslip rubber arms, removable utensil holder, low-profile | Size: 4” x 15” x 12” (expands to 21”) and 1.54 pounds
Like the Umbra before it, you can leave this rack on the counter or use it in or over the sink. It’s expandable once you pull on the rubber handles. The low-profile design is decidedly minimalist, with the rack resembling a grocery-store shopping basket. “What makes this stand out is the fact that it doesn’t stand out,” says Heidi Lee, founder of the home-organization service Prune + Pare. She adds that the unobtrusive rack is “functional but not fussy.” It is so simple that it doesn’t come with a drip tray, either. That’s a plus for Lee, as she’s had trays get moldy over the years with other dish racks. You could also upgrade the included plastic utensil holder to this matching steel one and have the rack pull double duty as a colander for produce, Lee suggests.
Best folding dish rack
Material: Metal, silicone | Design: Removable drainboard and two utensil holders, hooks to hold glasses | Size: 12.4” x 14.57” x 12.99” and 2.47 pounds
Dutch brand Brabantia makes a collapsible dish rack that’s Solomon-approved. In contrast to other foldable options, she explains, this one comes with its own drip tray that doubles as a place to dry glassware and cookware and cleans easily because of its shallow, grill-like grooves. The dual silverware canisters — which you can attach to each end of the top shelf — are cleverly situated outside the drying rack, ensuring that there’s enough ventilation for everything to air dry properly, Solomon says. Once you’re done, you can store its parts separately. “This is the dish rack you wish you bought first before the other dinky versions,” she promises.
Because of her recommendation, I asked Brabantia to send me one to try out. There’s some compromise involved with this dish rack — it does take a fair amount of countertop space, but you’re getting a good deal of storage in return. The top easily holds plates from a four-person feast, and the rack comes with a number of silicone tubes (you can buy them separately if you need more) that you can slide onto the rack for plates (like dessert dishes) that may be too small to fit. I stack glasses on the top level whenever the bottom tray is full — the V shape keeps them from falling into the sink. This version of the rack also comes with hooks for wineglasses (its cheaper counterpart doesn’t include these). These are strong enough to cradle the most delicate stems even when they’re upside down. Since it’s made mostly out of silicone, the rack is super-easy to clean — it never shows any water spots. I don’t mind looking at it while cleaning the dirtiest of dishes, either.
Best (less expensive) folding dish rack
Material: Aluminum | Design: Built-in drainboard, removable utensil holder, folds completely flat | Size: 2.25” x 15” x 21” and 3.3 pounds
Strategist writer Katherine Gillespie included this collapsible rack in one installment of our monthly Strategist Haul series. It’s from OXO, the makers of some of our favorite food-storage containers and sheet pans. Its “space-saving design is MoMA-approved,” she points out. “This thing is solid and sturdy with the grooves on the top rack perfectly spaced to hold my on-the-chunkier-side stoneware plates and bowls,” Gillespie explains. Additionally, because the drip tray beneath is grooved, “you can play Tetris with larger pots and pans without them slipping out onto the counter.” She considered herself “rack-agnostic” before converting to this option, but has since come to appreciate that you can arrange the OXO at different angles as needed, depending on the size of your dishes, and prop it up to have one or two tiers. Gillespie adds that “whichever way you do it, there’s still enough elevation for drainage.” This versatility means she doesn’t have to “precariously stack” dishes, and makes it a big improvement over its predecessor, a rickety wire model from Rubbermaid.
Best (even less expensive) folding dish rack
Material: Steel with an acrylic lacquer coating | Design: Collapsible with two tiers | Size: 9” x 11.38” x 18.88” and 4 pounds
If extras like a drip tray and silverware caddy are less important to you (or you’re on the hunt for a more budget-friendly, but foldable, rack than the Brabantia and OXO above), you should consider the Kvot dish drainer from Ikea. It’s best described as minimalist: All you get is the folding steel-wire frame. But it’s still plenty functional. Melina Hammer, recipe developer, food stylist, and author of A Year at Catbird Cottage, has had hers for over a decade. In her line of work, there’s “always a pile of dishes to be done” and Hammer owns a number of fragile, one-of-a-kind pieces that can’t be put into the dishwasher. She considers the under-$15 rack a “score” for how much fits on its two tiers. “It’s not unusual for it to balance a ‘tower sculpture’: first a neat row of plates, followed by mixing bowls or a couple of saucepans, then sometimes — if I’ve been batch-making sauces or pastry doughs — food-processor pieces, along with a constant variety of Tupperware, a few jars, and silverware.” (She repurposed a utensil holder from another rack since the Kvot doesn’t come with one.) The hinged V-shape holds tablewares in a tidy row, and there’s enough space to spread things out so that high-ticket items (like her Danish mid-century steak knives) don’t touch anything else. Plus it doesn’t look cumbersome on the counter.
Best dish rack with a (removable) drying tray
Material: Steel and plastic | Design: Removable utensil holder and drain tray, built-in plate and cup holders | Size: 19.8” x 14” x 6.9” and 4.84 pounds
The “advantage” of Polder’s Advantage is the addition of a detachable drying tray. It can slide out from underneath the drainboard and be used as another place to dry dishes when the rack’s full. Though Strategist writer Erin Schwartz actually lost that part of the four-piece design — which includes the drip tray, separate drying board, a utensil holder, and the wired frame — early on (or it might have been missing since the rack was inherited from their roommate’s mother), they confirm the rack “gets water away from dishes ASAP.” Schwartz is admittedly “obsessive about optimizing dish rack–slash–dishwasher real estate” and found arranging different-size dishware on this Polder “non-frustrating.” It’s more “high capacity” than it looks, too. Schwartz’s sister even put the rack on her wedding registry after hearing Schwartz’s recommendation.
Best dish rack with a drying mat
Material: Polypropylene, microfiber | Design: Removable rack, drying mat, and utensil holder | Size: 2” 13.5” x 8” and 8.2 ounces
As food stylist Drew Aichele puts it, we can all be “guilty of leaving our dishes to dry longer than we should.” But with the Umbra U Dry, you’re forced to put dishes away sooner so you can clear more counter space, he says. It’s the second cheapest rack on our list and one of the most compact — it rolls up tight with an attached tie once the dishes are returned to the cabinet. The plate frame is detachable, with slots on the ends to slide over the edge of the mat. Zaslow mentioned to me that while the model is low-profile, it’s sturdy enough to keep platters vertical, with raised prongs on the frame to hold things upright and ensure that delicate items like glassware don’t topple over. I asked Umbra to test this mat myself and found that the tray remained steady even with the mat folded in half, which is how I used it when I didn’t want to give up as much space near the sink. The mat is made from layers of microfiber, foam, and mesh; I loaded it with still-dripping pans, and it absorbed water well and didn’t take too long to dry. I did miss having a utensil holder — forks, knives, and spoons can pile up — but it’s a fair exchange for something so space-saving.
• Louis Cheslaw, former Strategist associate editor
• Rebecca Firkser, writer and recipe developer
• Katherine Gillespie, Strategist writer
• Naeemah Ford Goldson, owner of Restore Order Professional Organizing
• Cait Gury, interior and prop stylist
• Melina Hammer, recipe developer, food stylist, and author of A Year at Catbird Cottage
• Heidi Lee, founder of the home-organization service Prune + Pare
• Sharon Lowenheim, owner of the Organizing Goddess
• Brittany Nims, former associate director of e-commerce partnerships and business development at Vox Media
• Lauren Ro, Strategist writer
• Erin Schwartz, Strategist writer
• Jessie Sheehan, recipe developer and author of Snackable Bakes
• Alexandra Shytsman, recipe developer and founder of The New Baguette
• Caroline Solomon, professional organizer
• Hannah Starke, former member of the Strategist’s social team
• Anna Stockwell, cookbook author and recipe developer
• Hadley Sui, author of Oishisou!! The Ultimate Anime Dessert Cookbook
• Britnee Tanner, professional organizer
• Emma Wartzman, Strategist kitchen-and-dining writer
• Lisa Zaslow, professional organizer and owner of Gotham Organizers
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