Contemporary steel frame includes handy wine glass holder. Swiveling spout makes it versatile and easy to use.
It's more expensive than other models on our shortlist.
Interchangeable components make it versatile for various needs. We love its detachable knife holder.
It's challenging to assemble, and falls on the higher end of the price range.
Boasts a sleek, stainless steel design that easily fits most sink tops and kitchen decor. Comes with a drain board.
The silverware holder is in on the small side, but this isn't a major concern considering the price.
Has removable parts for easy cleaning. Drain board has large opening for precise draining.
Its large design holds a lot of dishes, but it might be too bulky for limited spaces.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
The right dish rack can make your life in the kitchen much easier. For those without a dishwasher, a sturdy dish rack is a must-have kitchen item that saves time and space. Even if you do have a dishwasher, you can place your dishes on the rack to dry instead of running them through your dishwasher dry cycle, thereby shaving a bit off your energy costs. If you’re thinking of buying a dish rack, whether out of necessity or for energy-saving purposes, you’ll need one with the right capacity and a good combination of stability and durability. And of course, you want one that looks great with your kitchen décor.
We can help with that. At BestReviews, we want to be your go-to site for product information and in-depth reviews. We interview experts, test products, and read through consumer reviews to bring you the information you need to find the best products available.
Below, we provide a shopping guide to help you look through the dish rack options and features that might work for you. Be sure to take a look at our five favorite picks at the top of this page when you’re done reading.
Full-size dish racks have a flatware holder, tall sides, and holders for plates and glasses. They consume more counter space than any other dish rack option, but they’re big enough to hold dinnerware for three to four people. They also include a drain tray to catch water.
Compact dish racks have the same features that full-size dish racks do, but they hold enough dishes for only one or two people. If you’re short on counter space, a compact dish rack might have the dimensions you need.
In-sink dish racks fit into one side of a double sink. They have flatware, plate, and cup holders. Like over-the-sink models, they don’t have a drain tray because the water drips directly into the sink.
If you only need to use a dish rack once in a while, consider a compact or collapsible model that can be stored beneath your kitchen sink until needed.
Many people prefer the convenience of an over-the-sink dish rack. These racks work best in double sinks.
The rack may have feet that extend outward and attach to the sides of the sink, or it may be a “rollable” wire that covers the sink. Neither design requires a drain tray, as the water drips directly into the sink.
Over-the-sink dish racks work best for drying cups, glasses, and pots. However, some have space for flatware and plates, too. They’re smaller than both full-size or compact models.
Keeping your countertop clear is easy with a wall-mounted dish rack. They’re often seen in Europe, but they’ve gained popularity in the U.S. as well.
Typically made of stainless steel, a wall-mounted dish rack adheres directly to the wall and folds out over or next to the sink. A wall-mounted dish rack is a more permanent option than some others, but most are well-built, and some offer two tiers. You may wish to purchase a separate mat to go beneath the rack.
Notably, many wall-mounted dish racks do not have flatware holders, making them more suitable for drying plates and cups.
Before buying a wall-mounted dish rack, consider how it mounts to the wall. Some models require a separate hanging bar or anchors to be installed before you can attach the dish rack.
If you have limited storage and counter space, a collapsible dish rack might be a good choice for you. Some collapsible racks are made of flexible rubber that folds down easily. Others have a wood or metal frame that folds down to make the rack smaller.
A collapsible dish rack may have space for flatware, dishes, and cups. Most models also include a mat or drain tray to go beneath the rack. You can find collapsible dish racks in compact, over-the-sink, and in-sink form.
Two-tiered dish racks give you more drying space with a relatively small footprint. Many of these racks have a dish rack on top and a flat rack on the bottom for bowls, cups, or pots. Flatware holders extend off the ends.
If you’re thinking about buying a two-tiered dish rack, keep in mind that although these configurations don’t take up a lot of horizontal space, they do take up a lot of vertical space, and most aren’t collapsible.
Before purchasing, consider how often you’ll use the dish rack. If you’ll be using it every day, you might look into a two-tier stainless steel model. However, if you only need to dry a pot every now and then, a collapsible over-the-sink model might help you save space.
How much space can you expect your new dish rack to take? The average full-size dish rack measures around 9 x 14 x 6 inches, and the average compact dish rack measures around 12 x 5 x 4 inches. Check the measurements before you buy to be sure you have enough room on your countertop.
In-sink and over-the-sink dish racks are designed to fit a standard kitchen sink, but it’s a good idea to measure your sink anyway, just to be sure. As for collapsible dish racks, we advise potential buyers to check the dimensions of the rack when both open and closed to make sure it can be accommodated.
Some dish racks have expandable features, such as a wine rack or cup holders. When not in use, these features stay attached to the dish rack but slide or fold back into the frame.
How many dishes does your family dirty each night? The capacity of your dish rack ideally reflects this number.
If you have a family of four, chances are high that you’ll need a full-size dish rack that can accommodate all the plates, cups, flatware, pots, and pans you need to dry after a meal.
If you have a family of one or two, a compact dish rack could work for you.
Over-the-sink and in-sink dish racks usually accommodate one or two people, but some have room for more.
Collapsible and wall-mounted dish racks vary in size and capacity.
When fully loaded, a quality dish rack shouldn’t bend or change shape. It should also be balanced enough that it won’t tip over, even if one side is more heavily loaded than the other.
When shopping for a new dish rack, you’ll find models made of plastic, stainless steel, rubber, wood, and bamboo. Which should you choose? Here’s a look at the different materials on offer.
Wooden or bamboo dish racks work best for those who only dry dishes once in a while. Though they’re made of sustainable materials, they don’t withstand moisture as well as plastic or metal.
By far the most durable material used to make dish racks, stainless steel can withstand the weight of a lot of dishes and hold its shape. It also offers the best stability. On the downside, high-gauge stainless steel is tough enough to scratch or chip delicate dishes. Some dish racks have a stainless steel frame coated in plastic or rubber to protect dishes.
Know your cooking style. If you plan to use your dish rack for drying oddly shaped items like pots, pans, food storage containers, and ladles, look for a stainless steel model that offers extra strength and has several types of holders to accommodate the variety of utensils you use most often.
Rubber and rubber-like materials are used in some collapsible dish racks. They fold down and store easily, though they don’t hold their shape as well when fully loaded.
Lightweight and inexpensive, plastic will always be a popular choice. However, it stains easily and isn’t as strong as stainless steel. Over time, a plastic dish rack may lose its shape. Many dish racks are made of both plastic and stainless steel to benefit from the best qualities of both materials.
Some plastic dish racks have antimicrobial properties, but you’ll still need to clean them regularly and be sure that all water is removed from the drain tray after the dishes have dried.
Inexpensive dish racks
For less than $25, you can find dish racks that hail from all the different product types, including some two-tier models. Materials used to make these racks include plastic, rubber, wood, bamboo, or plastic/stainless steel combinations.
Mid-priced dish racks
Between $25 and $75, you’ll find more full-size dish racks and two-tier dish racks made completely stainless steel. These larger, sturdier dish racks provide enough space and stability for the dishes of three or four people.
Expensive dish racks
For over $75, you’ll find full-size dish racks with some unique designs. These racks often have an architectural flare not found in the lower price ranges. You’ll still see some stainless steel and plastic/stainless steel combination models, too.
Some dish racks come with a rotating spout attached to the drain tray. A rotating spout gives you the flexibility to place the dish rack where it’s most convenient for you.
When it comes to dish racks, cleanliness is best for the prevention of problems like mold. Wash and dry the drainage tray after you’ve put away your dishes to prevent issues associated with standing water. Some dish racks can be disassembled for cleaning in a dishwasher.
Check stainless steel dish rack components occasionally for rust. Although stainless steel is rust-resistant, rust can still begin to form if the coating gets nicked.
Looking for a dish rack with added versatility? Some dish racks come with several attachments, such as a cutting board or cup holders, that extend off the sides of the dish rack.
For cleaning ease, look for a dish rack that’s easy to assemble and take apart. That will make it easier to get to all the hard-to-reach places where water might hide.
Q. Can a dish rack hold a standard-size cutting board?
A. A full-size dish rack can hold a standard-size cutting board. If you hand-wash and dry your dishes, you may want to look for a dish rack with a separate cutting board attachment. These attachments hook onto the side of the dish rack so you won’t take up valuable space inside the rack.
Q. Can dish racks safely hold wine glasses?
A. If you’re putting delicate items in a dish rack, be sure not to overload it. You don’t want crowded items, especially delicate ones, to slip, fall, or get scratched. Some dish racks have expandable or detachable wine glass holders. They hold the glasses upside down by the base of the stem.
Q. How does a dish rack drain water?
A. The answer to this question depends on the type of dish rack you own.
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