Everything's fun and games when you're whipping up cream for chocolate mousse or tackling the Thanksgiving turkey and sides. But when that's all done, you must clean up. Whether you can’t fit it all in your dishwasher or you’re not fortunate enough to have one, you need a dish-drying rack that’s sized right for your kitchen, drains well, and loads and unloads easily.
Of course, there are plenty of options to choose from. You can go simple and basic, expandable with optional stemware racks, foldable, or an easily storable over-the-sink rack. In between are decisions about the material and how many plates exactly you'll need your rack to hold on a regular basis. Lastly, make sure to measure your counter space so it'll fit! Taking all of that into account and more, our favorite product is the KitchenAid Full-Size Dish Rack.
From a stainless-steel, tall-walled dish rack to a compact "dish garden," here are the best dish drying racks on the market.
KitchenAid Full-Size Dish Rack
What We Love: Tall sides accommodate a lot of dishes, warranty offers consumer protection
What We Don’t Love: May not drain well in all setups
With sides nearly 7 inches tall, the KitchenAid Full Service Dish Rack offers large capacity dish-drying storage, plus a removable silverware caddy. There are 10 slots for dishes with cup storage on one end, and those tall sides let you pile additional items on top.
Soft feet prevent countertop scratching, while the rack’s rust-resistant wires have a satin coating that protects dishes. The utensil caddy takes up an entire end and comes with three compartments for separation. A downside is the pitched drainboard, which some users complain isn’t sloped enough for drainage. The entire dish rack is easy to pull apart for hand washing. There's a lifetime limited warranty and a 1-year replacement policy.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 20 x 15 x 6.7 inches | Material: Stainless steel, plastic | Plate Capacity: 10
Rubbermaid White Twin Sink Dish Drainer
What We Love: Affordable, tall sides let you pile dishes high
What We Don’t Love: Drip tray not included, plastic-coated wire not as tough as other models
With tall sides and 11 slots for dishes, the Rubbermaid Twin Sink Dish Drainer delivers ample storage for a low price point. Rubber feet help the unit stay in place on the counter, while an included (though small) utensil caddy accommodates silverware.
This dish-drying rack is made of plastic-covered wire that’s coated with Microban antimicrobial protection to keep everything hygienic, but it’s also on the flimsy side. When our Commerce Editor Siobhan Wallace had this dish rack and a sink full of dishes, she needed to carefully balance everything or the entire rack would flip over. Since there’s no drip tray, you'll need to buy one separately.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 14.3 x 12.4 x 5.3 inches | Material: Stainless steel, plastic | Plate Capacity: 11
Best Stainless Steel
simplehuman Steel Frame Dishrack
What We Love: 5-year warranty, design promotes quick drying and protects dishes
What We Don’t Love: Limited capacity
The simplehuman Compact Steel Frame Dish Rack is made of naturally rust-resistant stainless steel with soft-coated steel wire that prevents scratching. The plastic drip tray has a hydrophilic coating for fast drying and a swivel drain spout that you can position it lengthways or longways. When placing cups on the side holders, you have the option to pull out the bottom drip tray beneath them. The interior wire rack is easy to lift out when you need to wash it down.
The biggest drawback is limited capacity, as there are only eight slots for dishes on a dish-drying rack that measures 7.5 inches in height. This product comes with a 5-year warranty.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 15.5 x 15 x 7.5 inches | Material: Stainless steel, plastic | Plate Capacity: 8
Related: The Best Dinnerware Sets
TOOLF Expandable Dish Drying Rack
What We Love: Multipurpose dish rack, protective coating prevents rust
What We Don’t Love: Drainboard not included
Whether you have a double bowl sink or simply need an extra drying rack for holiday feasts such as roast side dishes, you might want a dish rack that can handle being in or over your sink. That's where a dish rack like TOOLF's comes in.
This dish drying rack works three ways: on the countertop, in the sink, or over the sink. In the over-the-sink setup, it can expand from 13.8 inches to 20.8 inches. Made of black metal that's coated to prevent rust, TOOLF's dish-drying rack holds 9 plates, 8 glasses, and 15 pieces of cutlery. There's no drainboard, but if you're always using it over the sink, you won't miss it.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 13.8 x 10.7 x 4.1 inches | Material: Stainless steel, plastic | Plate Capacity: 9
Totally Bamboo Dish Drying Rack
What We Love: Folds up for storage, sustainable
What We Don’t Love: May develop mold
For many, plastic-coated steel drying racks don't fit in with their kitchen aesthetic or they don't want to use unsustainable materials. If that sounds like you, you should consider this wooden drying rack.
Totally Bamboo's dish-drying rack measures 19 x 18.5 x 10 inches when fully expanded and folds up for storage. This rack is sustainable since Moso bamboo is a renewable material, and is not the same bamboo as the species eaten by giant pandas. The standard rack holds up to 20 plates, with a lower shelf for cups and glasses; if you want to wash utensils, you'll need to buy the separate utensil caddy.
The main downside to this material is that bamboo can develop mold. If you notice black spots, replace your rack.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 18.6 x 13.75 x 10 inches | Material: Bamboo | Plate Capacity: 20
Sabatier Expandable Stainless Steel Dish Rack
What We Love: Expandable, soft coating protects dishes
What We Don’t Love: Difficult to clean, may rust
The Sabatier Expandable Stainless Steel Dish Rack is best for frequent entertainers and large families who need extra space. The dish-drying rack holds 8 plates, 6 cups, 4 wine glasses, and 1 pot, plus silverware. When expanded to 29.4 inches in length, there's room for additional pots and mixing bowls.
The interior wires are soft-coated to protect dishes. The drainboard guides water into the sink via a movable spout. The unit comes fully apart for cleaning, but some complain that reassembly is challenging and rust may develop.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 26.4 x 14.8 x 11.3 inches | Material: Stainless steel, vinyl | Plate Capacity: 8
Related: The Best Vitamix Blenders
Best for Small Spaces
Chef'n DishGarden Dish Rack
What We Love: Easy to clean, works in sinks and on a countertop
What We Don’t Love: No drainboard included
We've been longtime fans of the Chef'n DishGarden Dish Rack. This quirky-looking dish rack is designed for small counters or in-sink use but don't think that this can't handle big jobs.
The crown-shaped design accommodates larger baking trays as well as standard plates, with cups inverted over the crown tines. Green utensil holders move, allowing you to maximize space when needed. A sealable silicone drain spout directs water away from the dish rack. It's easy to wash and flexible to use, with its design supporting a wide range of dish loads, such as 6 to 8 plates plus several glasses and bowls piled around the edges. There's no drainboard, so you'll need to purchase one separately if needed.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 14.5 x 13.25 x 6.5 inches | Material: Plastic | Plate Capacity: 8
Oxo Good Grips Folding Stainless Steel Dish Rack
What We Love: Folds for storage, drip tray works with any kitchen configuration
What We Don’t Love: Includes plastic parts
By folding up when not in use, OXO Good Grips Folding Stainless Steel Dish Rack gives you back counter space. When expanded, this dish drying rack holds a dozen plates plus bowls, cups, and utensils. There's a utensil compartment for knives so they can dry safely, or you can place them (or other small items) on the separate knife rest. The wavy design feature keeps everything upright, which saves space.
Since the drip tray can change directions, the dish-drying rack can be set up to complement your kitchen’s configuration. While the rack is made of stainless steel, the drip tray and utensil caddies are plastic.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 20.1 x 17 x 5.6 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Plate Capacity: 12
The best overall is the KitchenAid Full Size Dish Rack (view at Amazon), which handles large loads and offers a blend of desirable features. If you need something compact, choose the Chef'n DishGarden Dish Rack (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in a Dish Drying Rack
Stainless steel, plastic, wood: each material has pros and cons. Knowing the benefits and limitations of each material helps you narrow the options.
Stainless steel resists rust, but it isn’t rustproof. If damp dishes tend to hang out there, rust will follow. Plastic is lightweight, easy to clean, and rustproof, but it’s also, you know, plastic so it might not look as refined as you'd like and it can deteriorate. Wood such as bamboo is sustainable, inexpensive, and odor-resistant, but it might develop mold.
What’s most important to you depends on what you cook and clean, the layout of your kitchen, and whether you have a dishwasher or you are the dishwasher. If your kitchen is small, a foldable or over-the-sink rack is ideal. If you cook for a crowd, you’ll want the flexibility of an extendable rack or, at the very least, one that lets you pile lots of dishes into its tall sides. Antimicrobial coatings like Microban prevent bacteria and odors, but so does putting dishes away and cleaning your rack in between uses.
To prevent mildew from growing, professional cleaner Kadi Dulude recommends cleaning your dish-drying rack weekly. Your future self will thank you if you choose a dish rack that’s easy to clean, so you don’t skip this task.
How do you prevent rust on a stainless steel drying rack?
Damp, humid conditions invite rust, so remove dishes and wipe the rack dry in between uses to prevent a stainless steel frying rack from rusting.
How often should you replace your dish rack?
There isn't a hard-and-fast rule. A dish rack in good condition, with no mold, mildew, rust, or broken parts, can be used indefinitely. Once your dish rack is wobbly or shows signs of age, like rust or loose joints, consider replacement.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Lindsey Danis is a former professional cook and a food writer for retail and trade publications. Based in the Hudson Valley, when she's not in the kitchen, you can find her hiking, kayaking, or traveling.
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Janeway, Kimberly. Yes, your stainless steel appliances can rust. Consumer Reports.
Gibbens, Sarah. You eat thousands of bits of plastic every year. National Geographic.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can control mold.