Which dish racks are best?
Washing dishes by hand is usually a pretty tedious kitchen chore, but it can be even more of a hassle when you need to find space to dry your dishes. With a dish rack, though, your dishes can dry safely and securely without taking up too much space on your countertop.
Dish racks are available in several different types and materials so that you can find the best option for your kitchen. If you’re looking for a sturdy, attractive dish rack that holds plenty of dishes, the Simplehuman Steel Frame Dish Rack is the top option.
What to know before you buy a dish rack
You can choose from several different types of dish racks, depending on the size and set-up of your kitchen.
- Full-size dish racks have tall sides and typically feature flatware, plate and glass holders. They take up the most space on a countertop, but they can usually hold plates and silverware for up to four people. A full-size dish rack comes with a drain tray to catch drips too.
- Compact dish racks are similar to full-size models but can only hold dinnerware for up to two people. If you have a small kitchen, these are usually the best option.
- In-sink dish racks fit inside one of the sinks in a double sink. They typically have holders for plates, cups and flatware. They don’t have a drain tray because the excess water drips right into the sink.
- Over-the-sink dish racks are an ideal option for double sinks. Some models feature a rollable wire design to cover the sink when in use, while others have feet that connect to the sides of the skin. Like in-sink racks, they don’t have a drain tray because they drain into the sink. Over-the-sink dish racks are best suited for drying glasses, cups and pots, but some larger models also feature plate and flatware holders. They’re usually smaller than full-size and compact dish racks too.
- Wall-mounted dish racks are the best choice if you don’t want to take up any space on your countertop or sink. They’re usually made of stainless steel and connect directly to the wall. The rack then folds out over or beside the sink. Wall-mounted dish racks generally don’t have flatware holders, so they work better for drying cups and plates.
- Collapsible dish racks can work well in a tiny kitchen. They typically use flexible rubber, so they fold easily. They often have holders for dishes, cups and flatware and come with a drain tray or mat that sits beneath the rack. Collapsible dish racks are available in compact, in-sink and over-the-sink styles.
Dish racks can utilize several materials, which affect their appearance and durability.
- Wood or bamboo racks are best if you don’t need to dry dishes too often. They use sustainable materials, but they’re more prone to moisture damage than other materials.
- Stainless steel racks are the most durable option and are sturdy enough to handle the weight of many dishes. Unfortunately, these racks can also scratch or chip some dishes. You may prefer a stainless steel rack that’s coated with rubber or plastic to avoid possible damage.
- Rubber is the most common material used for collapsible dish racks. While they fold and collapse easily, they aren’t the sturdiest or most durable option.
- Plastic racks are typically the most budget-friendly option. They can pick up stains easily and aren’t as durable as stainless steel racks, though. A plastic rack can also lose its shape over time. For a more durable option, opt for a rack made of a combination of plastic and stainless steel.
For more information about dish rack materials, check out the complete dish rack buying guide at BestReviews.
What to look for in a quality dish rack
It’s crucial to ensure that you have enough space on your counter for any dish rack you’re considering. Full-size dish racks typically measure 9 x 14 x 6 inches, while compact dish racks are generally 12 x 5 x 4 inches. Measure your countertop before buying so you know just how much space you have.
In-sink and over-the-sink dish racks typically fit most standard sinks, but you should still measure your sink to be sure. If you’re considering a collapsible rack, verify that there’s room for it on your counter in both the collapsed and unfolded positions.
When choosing a dish rack, think about how many dishes your family usually uses in a day so that you can find a model with the appropriate capacity.
A full-size rack is typically your best bet for a family of four to fit all the plates, bowls, cups and flatware you use daily. However, if you have a family of one to two people, a compact rack usually works well. In-sink and over-the-sink racks can also work for up to two people, though some models are large enough for bigger families.
How much you can expect to spend on a dish rack
You can find some inexpensive dish racks for less than $25, but you’ll usually pay $25-$75 for full-size models made of durable stainless steel. However, the sturdiest, most attractive dish racks can cost more than $75.
Dish rack FAQ
Can a dish rack hold glasses without breaking them?
A. When you’re placing delicate glass items in your dish rack, it’s vital not to overload it. If the items are all crowded together, there’s a better chance that a glass will slip and fall. You can also find some racks with an expandable or detachable wine glass holder that holds the glasses by the base of the stem for more secure drying.
What are the benefits of a two-tiered dish rack?
A. A two-tiered dish rack provides more drying space without increasing the rack’s overall footprint, which can be highly convenient in a small kitchen. However, remember that while a two-tier rack doesn’t require as much horizontal space, it does require more vertical space.
What’s the best dish rack to buy?
Top dish rack
What you need to know: This dish rack scores major points not just for its durability but its attractive, modern appearance and convenient features.
What you’ll love: The frame is made of sturdy, durable steel and includes a wine glass holder. It offers a hydrophilic coating to help your dishes dry more quickly. It has a swiveling spout for easy draining. It also comes with a 5-year warranty.
What you should consider: It can rust over time, and some buyers report water stains on the steel.
Top dish rack for the money
What you need to know: Coming in at an affordable price point, this dish rack can save serious space on your counter while still providing plenty of room for drying items.
What you’ll love: The flatware bucket is detachable, so you can free up space when you don’t need it. It includes a translucent drainboard and has a striking brushed chrome finish. It’s durable and easy to keep clean.
What you should consider: It can’t fit tall items on the lower rack, so you may have trouble accommodating some mugs and glasses.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This dish rack allows customization to fit your needs to a tee, but it isn’t as durable as some other models.
What you’ll love: It uses high-grade stainless steel. The interchangeable pieces allow you to customize the layout for more efficient drying. It also features a detachable knife holder for safe drying.
What you should consider: It can be challenging to put together and is more expensive than some other models.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.