We Tested The Best Dish-Drying Racks for Quicker Kitchen Cleanup

Save time and let freshly washed dishes air-dry in a handy energy-saving rack.

By Andreana Lefton and Lizzy Briskin | Updated Feb 5, 2024 4:36 AM

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more.

A group of the best dish-drying racks placed together on a kitchen counter.

Photo: Lizzy Briskin for Bob Vila

A dish-drying rack streamlines kitchen cleanup, offering a place for clean dishes and utensils to air-dry—no more soggy dish towels. We researched dozens of dish racks and tested eight of the most popular models in the real world to help find the right rack for your kitchen.

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 the daily dishes of a large household, this guide offers a solution. Take a look at what features to consider, from size to drainage type and more, when shopping for the best dish-drying rack.

  1. BEST OVERALL: KitchenAid Full-Size Dish Rack
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Kitsure Dish-Drying Rack With Extendable Tray
  3. MOST VERSATILE: Simplehuman Steel Frame Dish Rack
  4. BEST FOLDABLE: Oxo Good Grips Foldaway Dish Rack
  5. BEST PORTABLE: Seropy Roll-Up Over-the-Sink Dish-Drying Rack
  6. BEST IN-SINK: Umbra Sinkin Dish Rack
  7. BEST FOR SMALL LOADS: Yamazaki Home Steel Wire Dish Rack
The best dish-drying rack on a kitchen counter loaded with just a few drying dishes.

Photo: Lizzy Briskin for Bob Vila

How We Tested the Best Dish-Drying Racks

To find the best dish-drying racks, we first surveyed the market to identify the most popular models and most well-respected brands. Then, based on customer reviews and product features, we narrowed down our search to eight of the most popular dish racks within a wide range of price points, from $8 to $100. We also sought several different designs, sizes, and styles to fit into a variety of kitchens.

We then put each dish rack to the test by assembling it; loading it with wet, freshly washed dishes of all kinds; and letting it do the work overnight. We noted how well the products drained when they were full of wet dishes, how well the rack accommodated (or didn’t) awkward cookware like heavy stainless steel pots and muffin tins, and how easy it was to move when full.

We also assessed each product for ease of assembly and space efficiency. Finally, we accounted for price and looks, since most homes will have their dish rack on the counter at all times.

Our Top Picks

After hours of testing, we found these options to be the best of the bunch, providing ample drying capacity without taking up too much space. Made of premium materials, they also look great, too.

Best Overall

The KitchenAid Full-Size Dish Rack on a white background.
Photo: amazon.com

For its design, functionality, and durability, we preferred the KitchenAid full-size dish rack to the competition. The rack is made from durable, sturdy materials and feels like it will last for years. We also love the nonslip feet, which hold the rack in place on the counter. Even when the rack was jostled or bumped into over the course of a day, the dishes didn’t collapse into each other.

The KitchenAid dish rack also has ample space for large and small dishes with well-placed wire dividers, including some designed for extra-large serving platters and dinner plates. We found that the rack could accommodate heavy cast-iron items as well as delicate china, though its ample capacity can make it difficult to move when full.

Cup and mug holders along the outer edge of the dish rack make efficient use of drying space, as does the external utensil holder. Water drains directly onto a sloped drip tray and empties into the sink. This design kept our countertops dry during testing. The drainage board is also removable for cleaning with soapy water.

Finally, the rack looks great on the counter—or at least as good as a dish rack can look—thanks to gleaming stainless detailing that matches many kitchen appliances, ours included. One downside we noted was that the drainage ramp only works on one side of the rack, which is a minor drawback for an otherwise great product.

Read our full review: KitchenAid Full-Size Dish Rack

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 7 inches tall by 20 inches wide by 15 inches deep
  • Materials: Stainless steel, metal wire, plastic
  • Style: Countertop

Pros

  • Spacious and efficient design holds up to 4 place settings
  • Sturdy wire easily holds heavy plates and cookware upright
  • Well-designed plastic mat drains water well, keeping countertop dry

Cons

  • Heavy when full, making it difficult to move if required
  • Drainage does not rotate, which may hinder convenient placement in some kitchens

Get the KitchenAid dish-drying rack at Amazon, Wayfair, or Walmart.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Kitsure Dish-Drying Rack With Extendable Tray sitting on a kitchen counter next to a kitchen sink and loaded with drying dishes.
Photo: amazon.com

It’s hard to beat the price of this well-designed wire-framed dish-drying rack from Kitsure. We loved that the cleverly designed Kitsure rack can extend from 19.2 inches to 26.7 inches wide to accommodate more dishes when needed and that its drainage spout rotates to better suit a variety of kitchen countertops.

In testing, the rack was not as good at draining when fully extended, as some water remained on the drainage mat. However, when we dropped a bowl or glass full of water onto the fully extended tray, the water did make its way out. We also found that the larger drip tray makes this rack a bit more complicated to clean, and assembly isn’t as breezy as it is with some of the more straightforward racks on this list.

That said, this sizable drying rack has plenty of room for large, small, and awkward dishes and glassware. We also appreciated its separate utensil section with a slotted bamboo cover for knives. This removable cover keeps delicate blades separated as they dry, which will help preserve their sharpness and prevent rust. However, bamboo tends to absorb water and needs to be maintained regularly with food-grade oil so it lasts. Still, for its smart design and option to expand for larger dish-drying needs, the Kitsure is a great buy.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 5.9 inches tall by 19.2 to 26.7 inches wide by 12.9 inches deep
  • Materials: Metal, plastic
  • Style: Countertop

Pros

  • Expandable design accommodates larger dish loads
  • The drainage spout rotates, allowing users to orient the rack to suit their countertop
  • Slotted bamboo cover in utensil caddy protects knife blades

Cons

  • Bamboo cover on utensil caddy may wear easily if not maintained properly
  • More difficult to assemble than nonextendable dish racks

Get the Kitsure dish-drying rack at Amazon or Kitsure.

Most Versatile

The BSimplehuman Steel Frame Dish Rack loaded with drying dishes on a white background.
Photo: amazon.com

This Simplehuman dish rack is a workhorse, spacious enough to handle the large load after a holiday meal as well as smaller everyday dish loads. To make the most of its drying real estate, the dish rack has wire holders for mugs and cups on the outside that drip directly into an expandable drip tray, though users could also position the rack close enough to the sink that they don’t need the drip tray. It comes with a detachable wire rack for hanging stemware. A rotating plastic spout under the drip tray directs water into the sink.

Because of the ample size, this rack wasn’t the easiest to move when full. We also found it to be the most complicated to assemble, given the multiple detachable parts. Though it does seem to be made of durable materials that are easy to clean and look good on the countertop, there is still a lot of plastic—particularly at its higher price—that may warp or bend over time.

We found the many detachable accessories on this dish rack to be helpful for drying a variety of dishes, including wine glasses, mugs, and cups of all sizes. The product was also easier to clean than fully static models because we could remove individual parts for deeper cleaning. However, we recommend keeping the instruction manual on hand for reassembly.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 11.5 inches tall by 22.3 inches wide by 20.2 inches deep
  • Materials: Stainless steel, silicone, metal wire, plastic
  • Style: Countertop

Pros

  • Stainless sides match many kitchen appliances for a cohesive look
  • Ample space for hard-to-dry items like stemware
  • Available in black, white, or gray to suit a variety of kitchens

Cons

  • More expensive than other options
  • Detachable accessories make it more complicated to assemble

Get the Simplehuman dish-drying rack at Amazon, WayfairThe Container Store, or Simplehuman.

Best Foldable

The Oxo Good Grips Foldaway Dish Rack loaded with drying dishes on a white background.
Photo: amazon.com

This nicely sized model from Oxo doesn’t dominate the countertop and folds up for compact storage when not in use. It’s also well designed, combining form and function. We found that the extra-tall plate dividers kept heavy dinnerware from tipping, including large platters. They also fold flat to make space in the center of the rack for other dishes, like mixing bowls, pots, and pans.

This rack has raised nonstick feet that will prevent scratches and maintain air circulation between dishes and the counter. For drainage, the Oxo rack has a plugged spout that allows dishes to dry (and drain) near the sink or away from the sink, if necessary. However, we found that when the spout is plugged, water will pool in the drip tray, so this rack needs to be dried fully before storing.

Between the sturdy plastic plate dividers and spikes for cups, there’s a bit of center space where users can dry bowls and glasses upside down, but this rack does not have lower dividers that accommodate bowls and other rounded dishes. Still, it’s sturdy, well made, and ideal for occasional dish rack users.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 5.1 inches tall by 19.4 inches wide by 15.5 inches deep
  • Materials: Stainless steel, plastic
  • Style: Countertop

Pros

  • Sturdy, heavy-duty plastic construction holds up heavy dishes
  • Nonslip feet prevent damage to countertops and maintain stability
  • Easily stores in cabinet or closet to clear counter space when not in use

Cons

  • Only 1 configuration with no detachable parts
  • Plug-style drain is not as effective as open-spout drains

Get the Oxo dish-drying rack at Amazon, The Home Depot, The Container Store, or Oxo.

Best Portable

The Seropy Roll-Up Over-the-Sink Dish-Drying Rack on a white background.
Photo: amazon.com

Small kitchens need an equally small dish-drying rack, and this roll-up model from Seropy is about as compact as it gets. It’s also great for camping, RVs, and travel. The rack is made from a series of stainless steel rods connected by rubber footing that rests over the edge of the sink; our tests showed that the footing needs at least an inch of space to rest for a secure fit.

The rubber footing is pretty stable, but not entirely resistant to bumps, so dishes could slip into the sink. As long as the rack is well anchored, though, we found that it doesn’t have to be loaded with equally weighted dishes on both sides.

Of course, users will not be able to move this rack once it’s laden with dishes and there’s no drainage spout or drip tray. But, that also makes this rack easy to keep clean, and the entire rack can be popped into the dishwasher.

The rack may not make as efficient use of space as racks with plate and bowl dividers (plates have to dry face-down on the rack), but it’s a cinch to set up and owners can even use it to extend their countertop space. In fact, we placed a cutting board on top of the rack in testing and found it to be fairly stable. (Just note that it’s important to be sure that the rack has a solid few inches of grip on either side of the sink before you start cutting.)

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 0.2 inches tall by 17.5 inches wide by 11.8 inches deep (4 additional sizes available)
  • Materials: Stainless steel, silicone
  • Style: Over-the-sink

Pros

  • Narrow size and foldable construction make it easy to store at home or for travel
  • Dishwasher-safe for quick and easy cleaning
  • Multifunctional design for use as a produce colander, trivet, and more

Cons

  • Does not include utensil caddy or other accessories to maximize drying space
  • Covers sink space; not ideal for kitchens with a single sink

Get the Seropy dish-drying rack at Amazon.

Best In-Sink

The Umbra Sinkin Dish Rack with a few dishes drying on a white background.
Photo: amazon.com

The Umbra Sinkin dish rack is perfect for homes with minimal counter space. It sits inside a sink and drains without a drip tray or drainage spout, so there’s no pooling water to deal with. The rack is smaller than many others that we tested, but we found it to efficiently use space thanks to metal dividers that hold heavy, large dinner plates upright. It also has a small detachable utensil holder that accommodates one to two place settings.

The rack is made from sturdy metal wire that should hold up well to regular use. We found it to be one of the easier racks to move, even when fully loaded with dishes, thanks to its smaller profile. We also appreciated the nonslip plastic-coated feet, which keep the dish rack in place and prevent scratches on the counter.

Of course, one of the drawbacks of an in-sink dish rack is that owners can’t use their sink much while dishes are drying—dishes will get wet again every time the faucet is turned on. However, it’s easy enough to load up the rack and let dishes dry overnight, or to remove the rack from the sink when needed. Overall, this is a reasonably priced, well-designed dish rack that’s effective and saves countertop space.

Product Specs

  • Dimensions: 5.5 inches tall by 14 inches wide by 11 inches deep
  • Materials: Coated metal wire, plastic, rubber
  • Style: In sink

Pros

  • Nonslip rubber feet keep the rack in place
  • Lightweight and easy to move, even when full
  • No pooling water in a drip tray or spout
  • Available in different colors to coordinate with a variety of kitchens

Cons

  • No drainage options for countertop usage
  • Utensil caddy is very small

Get the Umbra dish-drying rack at Amazon or Umbra.

Best for Small Loads

The Yamazaki Home Steel Wire Dish Rack with a few drying dishes on a white background.
Photo: amazon.com

This small wire dish rack from Yamazaki Home gets the job done for small loads. It doesn’t have fancy attachments or even wire loops to hold drinkware, but it’s durable and provides great draining, thanks to its 360-degree rotating drainage spout. Plus, at just 16.54 inches wide by 9.06 inches deep, this dish rack takes up minimal space, which is a bonus for kitchens where counter space is at a premium.

If users regularly have to move things around to make space for kitchen prep, they’ll also appreciate the 5.5-inch sides on the Yamazaki Home dish rack. The high edges keep everything contained if the rack must be moved from one spot to another when it’s fully loaded, as we noticed in testing. Though this rack doesn’t have loops or prongs to divide dishes, standard dinner and salad plates fit snugly between the wire slots on the bottom and sides of the rack.

However, cups can move around a bit, and we found it harder to place oversize or awkward dishes in this fenced-in compact rack, despite the detachable three-slot plastic utensil caddy.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 6.69 inches tall by 16.54 inches wide by 9.06 inches deep
  • Materials: Steel, ABS resin
  • Style: Countertop

Pros

  • Can be easily moved, even when full of dishes
  • Drains well with spout, keeping countertops dry
  • Comes in 2 color options to suit different aesthetics

Cons

  • More expensive than other comparably compact dish racks
  • No dedicated cup dividers, so cups can slide around in the rack

Get the Yamazaki Home dish-drying rack at Amazon, Walmart, or Yamazaki Home.

ALSO TESTED

We also tested the Attom Tech Home Wood Handle Dish Rack, which didn’t make the cut due to its design, namely the wire rack. The low plate dividers struggled to hold up heavier and thicker dishes, including large dinner plates. Based on this lack of stability, particularly for a product that sits out on a countertop, we can’t recommend this dish rack.

Jump to Our Top Picks



What to Consider When Choosing a Dish-Drying Rack 

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

The best dish-drying rack on a kitchen counter with a few dishes in it and some small kitchen appliances in the background.

Photo: Lizzy Briskin for Bob Vila

Type

To choose the best design for a dish-drying rack, shoppers will want to consider their kitchen sink and surrounding countertop space.

  • If there is a square section of countertop right beside the 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 setup.
  • 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 the sink. For this option to work, shoppers will need to measure carefully to ensure proper clearance.
  • If you have a double-bowl kitchen sink, an in-sink rack cuts down on countertop loss, as this type of rack fits right into the sink. 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 the whole sink is needed. In-sink racks tend to be smaller than countertop models, so there’s a bit less room for air-drying dishes and cookware.

Size

Countertop space is valuable in any kitchen, regardless of square footage, so the size of the dish-drying rack is key as well. The right size rack should also hold the number and type of dishes or cookware users will put in it.

Small dish-drying racks, like the Yamazaki or the Seropy above, hold one to two place settings or a few cookware items, making them perfect for compact spaces or for those who occasionally need a dish-drying rack but don’t want to leave them out. In those cases, small dish-drying racks fit in a cabinet or pantry more easily, too.

Larger options generally hold at least four place settings or a dinner’s worth of pots and pans—or some of both like the Kitsure. These often come with extra attachments as well as expandable trays for even more drying space.

Material

Drying racks are most often made of one or a combination of the following materials:

  • Stainless steel is durable and, in most cases, rust-resistant. However, if the stainless steel is exposed to too much dampness or humidity, it still can rust, so make sure to wipe down the 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.
  • Coated wire often makes up the interior of a dish-drying rack. The sturdy interior metal reliably holds up a variety of kitchenware from heavy plates to frying pans. The exterior coating, often vinyl, helps protect dishes, utensils, and cookware from scratches, and is also rust-resistant and easy to clean.
  • 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 cookware, and is easily sanitized with soap and water or a cleaning spray. It also doesn’t rust.
  • For a sustainable material, bamboo drying racks are also 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 antimicrobial 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 the 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 users will want to monitor moisture on the surface of the sink and faucet area. Bamboo racks, which are built in an X shape, collapse easily but don’t have any drainage features, so they should be placed on a surface that can be dried easily.

Extra Features and Setup

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 users can customize the rack to suit their needs. Most racks require little installation or setup, though shoppers will want to measure carefully, especially for an in-sink or behind-the-sink rack, to ensure that their spatial requirements match up.

FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions that arise when shopping for and using a new dish rack.

Q. What is the best material for a dish-drying rack?

The best material will dry just as quickly as your dishes. Avoid unfinished wood, and stick to inert materials like stainless steel, metal, plastic, and, for an eco-friendly option, bamboo.

Q. How do you clean a dish-drying rack?

To clean your rack, first, check out the manufacturer’s recommendations. Some, like the Seropy dish-drying rack, can be cleaned in a dishwasher (of course, you may not have one, given your interest in a rack). Most can be cleaned in the sink with warm water and mild dish soap.

Q. What do you put under a dish-drying rack?

A good dish rack should drain right into the sink with no leaking onto the counter, so you don’t need anything under it. If you find a lot of water pooling around your dish rack, however, you can place a dish towel underneath.

Why Trust Bob Vila 

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

Meet the Tester

Lizzy Briskin is a trained chef, writer, and avid home cook. She has over 7 years of experience in the food industry including as a food editor at Real Simple, Food Network, and Pioneer Woman Magazines. She contributes to Wirecutter, The Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, and Simply Recipes. Living in NYC, she treasures every inch of counter space, so having an efficient dish-drying rack is essential.

Additional research provided by Andréana Lefton.