The Best Dish-Drying Racks for the Kitchen

Save your dishwasher for big loads and use one of these handy dish racks instead. Guaranteed to make kitchen clean-up a cinch!

BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Best Dish Drying Racks for the Kitchen

Photo: depositphotos.com

A dish-drying rack simplifies your kitchen clean-up routine by giving you a place to set clean dishes and utensils to air dry. The best ones also minimize the possibility of dish ware being chipped or scratched by holding such things as plates and bowls securely in an upright position. Thanks to the evaporative power of air, dish racks require no electricity and take up minimal space—especially if you buy the right one for your sink.

Whether you need a small rack for the odds and ends that can’t go in the dishwasher or a rack large enough to keep up with daily meal prep, we have the solution for you. Ahead, our tips on what to look for in a dish-drying rack, along with details on our top-favorite picks in the category:

  1. BEST OVERALL: PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack
  2. BEST FOR LIGHT DUTY: Sweet Home Collection 3 Piece Rack Set
  3. BEST FOR HEAVY DUTY: HEOMU Over The Sink Dish Drying Rack
  4. MOST ECO-FRIENDLY: Bambusi Collapsible Dish Drying Rack
  5. HONORABLE MENTION: Neat-O Over-The-Sink Kitchen Dish Drainer Rack
Best_Dish_Drying_Rack

Photo: depositphotos.com

Key Shopping Considerations

Luckily, dish-drying racks are a pretty straightforward purchase. That said, there are still a few things to consider beforehand. You’ll want to weigh the best design options that are compatible with your kitchen sink area, as well as determine the size, material, and accessories that will make your dishwashing and drying time easier and faster.

Countertop vs. In-Sink Design

To choose the best design for your dish-drying rack, consider your kitchen sink and surrounding countertop space.

  • If you have a square section of countertop right beside your sink, this may be the perfect spot to position a countertop dish rack. This self-contained unit is easy to pick, move, and store, and it requires no installation and minimum set-up.
  • A behind-the-sink rack, also known as an over-the-sink rack, is designed to sit on the countertop space behind rather than beside your sink. For this option to work, you’ll need to measure carefully and ensure that you have at least a foot of free space behind your kitchen sink.
  • If you have a double-bowl kitchen sink, an in-sink rack cuts down on countertop loss. This type of rack fit into the smaller sink bowl, using coated wire handles that sit on top of the sink’s lip. No need to worry about drainage, since wet dishes drip directly into the sink. One potential downside is the inconvenience of lifting the rack in and out when you need to use your whole sink. In-sink racks are also smaller than countertop models, so you’ll have a bit less room for drying dishes and cookware.

Size

While each brand makes racks to different specifications, you can find drying racks in three main size categories:

  • Compact racks are perfect for small countertops, apartment living, and even dorm rooms. For countertop racks, expect to use up to about a foot or more of space beside your sink. Look for dimensions around 12” x 19” x 5” or smaller. In-sink racks are great options for small kitchens and measure approximately 13” x 8” x 5”.
  • Classic racks are suitable for average-sized kitchens, with enough countertop space beside the kitchen sink. They come in a range of sizes between 12” x 19” x 5” and 18” x 12” x 13”. You’ll want to measure your countertop space before purchasing. Also, look for a rack that collapses and stores easily.
  • High-capacity racks measure around 18” x 12” x 13” and often come with extra attachments, as well as expandable trays for even more drying space. Behind-the-sink racks are even larger—measuring 36” x 12” x 31” or more. These racks make use of both vertical shelving and horizontal stacking, for storing and drying more dishes.

Material

You’ll find drying racks in the following types of material or a mix of metal and plastic parts.

  • Stainless Steel: The benefits of stainless steel include durability and, in most cases, rust resistance. However, if the stainless steel is exposed to too much dampness or humidity, it still can rust, so make sure to wipe down your rack after heavy use. Most high-quality drying racks are made of 304 stainless steel, which contains both nickel and chromium. These metals boost the rust-resistance of stainless steel and are common in kitchen implements. Expect to pay $40 to $50 for a good-quality stainless steel drying rack.
  • Vinyl-Coated Wire: An alternative to stainless steel is vinyl-coated wire. The vinyl coating helps protect your dishes and utensils from scratches and is also rust-resistant and easy to clean. Vinyl-coated racks should be less expensive than stainless steel. You can find sturdy units for around $20.
  • Plastic: Typically, drying racks are not solely composed of plastic, but instead contain plastic accessories like utensil or knife holders. Plastic is lightweight, won’t scratch your cookware, and is easily sanitized with soap and water or a cleaning spray. It also doesn’t rust.
  • Bamboo: For a 100 percent sustainable material, bamboo drying racks are also affordable (around $20) and easy to maintain. Just wipe with a little food-grade oil every once in a while to preserve the wood grain and integrity of the material. Bamboo also has anti-microbial properties, resists odor, and won’t rust.

Drainage

Countertop racks sometimes come equipped with drainage boards, especially those made of stainless steel or wire. Some have side-drainage channels, which drip directly into your sink. Others have a drain hole, which can be opened or closed as needed. In-sink racks are made of wire, so water drips directly into the sink itself.

Behind-the-sink racks may not have a drainage board, so you’ll have to monitor moisture on the surface of your sink and faucet area. Bamboo racks, which are built in an X-shape, collapse easily but don’t have any drainage features, so you’ll want to place them on a countertop or other surface that can be dried easily.

Extra Features and Set-Up

Most drying racks come with a separate compartment for holding utensils and knives. Deluxe drying racks may also have extendable drying trays, a microfiber mat, cup holder attachments, and various drain boards so you can customize your rack to suit your needs. Most racks require little installation or set-up, though you’ll want to measure carefully, especially for an in-sink or behind-the-sink rack, to ensure that your spatial requirements match up.

Our Top Picks

After weighing our shopping considerations against the top contenders, we selected these five as the best drying racks for the kitchen. We felt these options provide ample drying capacity without taking up too much space. They are also made of premium material types and look great, too.

Best_Dish_Drying_Rack_PremiumRacks

Photo: amazon.com

1. BEST OVERALL: PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack

For form, function, and maximum versatility, the PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack has it all. This fully customizable rack comes with two different drain boards, a microfiber mat, three separate cup holder attachments, a cutting board attachment, a wide utensil holder, and a knife holder attachment—all of which you can configure to your liking. The top shelf can be rearranged to suit your drying needs, and the rack features side drainage to prevent water build-up. Made of 304 stainless steel, this rack is resistant to rust, as well as corrosion from acids, salt, and atmospheric conditions. And its large capacity means that dishes, utensils, pots, and pans all have enough drying space.

Best_Dish_Drying_Rack_Sweet_Home

Photo: amazon.com

2. BEST FOR LIGHT DUTY: Sweet Home Collection 3 Piece Rack Set

Small is beautiful—and functional—where this drying rack is concerned. Sweet Home Collection has designed a traditional, affordable, and classic drying rack, which also comes in 12 different hues to blend in or add a pop of color to your day. Great for small kitchens and limited counter space, this set includes one dish rack, one plastic cutlery caddy, and one drainboard with a convenient lip which channels water straight into your sink. No frills, sturdy, and elegant, Sweet Home Collection’s drying rack is made of vinyl-wrapped wire, so it won’t chip, rust, or scratch your cookware.

Best_Dish_Drying_Rack_HEOMU

Photo: amazon.com

3. BEST FOR HEAVY DUTY: HEOMU Over The Sink Dish Drying Rack

Heomu’s behind/over-the-sink rack frees up counter space—and multiplies your dish drying capacity. The multifunctional design is perfect for a range of needs, including drying utensils, chopsticks, flatware, cookware, cutting boards, and more, with room for more than 32 dishes and bowls. The drying rack can also double as storage space for soap, sponges, and food containers. Constructed of high quality 304 stainless steel, it’s easy to clean and rust-resistant. The anti-slip pads on the feet won’t scratch your countertop or slide. Assembly is easy; just make sure you measure the space behind your kitchen faucet carefully before purchase.

Best_Dish_Drying_Rack_Bambusi

Photo: amazon.com

4. MOST ECO-FRIENDLY: Bambusi Collapsible Dish Drying Rack

Go green—and save money—with Bambusi’s stylish, sustainable dish rack. This compact drying rack accommodates full-size plates and cups. The upper slots hold dinner plates upright, and the lower shelf is designed for cups, mugs, glasses, and utensils. Made of 100 percent renewable bamboo and built in an X-shape for maximum sturdiness, Bambusi’s rack folds flat for storage. The beautiful wood-like finish won’t rust, tarnish, absorb odors, or scratch surfaces. Well-suited to any kitchen style, from rustic to contemporary.

Best Dish Drying Over The Sink

Photo: amazon.com

5. HONORABLE MENTION: Neat-O Over-The-Sink Kitchen Dish Drainer Rack

Reduce countertop clutter with Neat-O’s over-the-sink dish-drainer rack. While you’ll want to measure before purchasing, it is designed to fit easily into a variety of kitchen sinks. The coated wire base and handles protect the dishes, sink, and countertop area from scratching, while the rack’s chrome finish is resistant to rust and environmental damage. An added bonus is easy drainage. No need for a drainage board since your dishes drip directly into the sink. However, if you prefer a countertop rack, this rack will do the trick too. Just set it on its feet and voilà! Whether you use it in a sink or beside the sink, this rack works like a charm.