The most satisfying part of hand washing your dishes is seeing every plate, utensil, and glass drying after a job well done.
Even if you have a dishwasher, not all your dishes are dishwasher safe, so you still need a good dish rack that can dry your plates, glasses, pots, and utensils without leaving puddles all over your countertop. And if you have limited drying space, a bin that can sit in the sink or collapse for easy storage is a lifesaver.
We tested the most popular racks on the market for weeks to find the best fit for any kitchen. Our favorite is the PremiumRacks Professional(available at Amazon). The Prepworks by Progressive Collapsible (available at Amazon) is our best value pick.
These are the best dish drying racks we tested ranked, in order:
Best Overall: PremiumRacks Professional
Prepworks by Progressive Collapsible Dish Rack with Drain Board
Joseph Joseph Extend Dish Drying Rack
OXO Good Grips Convertible Foldaway
Shanik Expandable Draining Dish Rack
Simplehuman Dish Rack
Polder 4-Piece Advantage
Rubbermaid Antimicrobial Sink Dish Rack Drainer Set
PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack
Material: Stainless Steel Dimensions: 18”L x 13”W x 11.5”H
Before unboxing the PremiumRacks, we never knew dish racks could have so many bells and whistles. This cleverly-designed double-decker delivers large capacity with a small countertop footprint, making it our top pick.
The bottom portion is your standard featureless rack, fine for balancing bowls or perhaps a colander, while the top portion holds plates more securely than most racks. A cutlery basket hooks onto the side, as does a second basket that can be topped with a lid specifically designed for sharp knives. The cup holder clips don’t work as well as they should, but you have plenty of space to dry your cups on the rack itself—especially if you dry your cutting boards in the special cutting board attachment.
The rack also comes with two drain board options—one meant to let water pool, and the other designed to tip any water into the sink—plus a microfiber cloth to set underneath.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the features, don’t be. Assembly just takes 10 minutes and a good look at some Ikea-style visual instructions, and once it’s assembled, everything is fairly straightforward. All of the extras are optional, including the top rack, but if your cabinets are high enough to accommodate it, then we highly recommend using the double-decker. It’s sturdy, shiny, and uses its space efficiently.
Prepworks by Progressive Collapsible Dish Rack with Drain Board
Material: Plastic Dimensions: 16”L x 19”W x 2.5”H
Putting things together can be just as much of a pain as washing dishes, so when we discovered this Prepworks is ready to go out of the box, we fell in love. Just push the bottom to make it as deep or shallow as you need.
The optional drainboard is set up to run off into the sink if you want to keep this Prepworks on the counter. However, it also works extremely well in one side of a double sink, where holes in the bottom let the water run straight out, helping dishes dry quickly.
The rack has plenty of grooves so plates and bowls can stack and stand easily, and one side has a slotted section for utensils. Unfortunately, if you expand the rack to its full depth, the slots become too large, and you may have to work harder to get your silverware to stand up so that it can dry.
This large but lightweight rack is beautifully simple, with just two pieces. Because it’s collapsible, you can slide it underneath the counter and out of the way if you want to use the sink or just keep it out of view.
Material: Plastic or stainless steel Dimensions: 6.25”L x 12.5”W x 14.25”H
The Joseph Joseph Extend Rack is perfect for small spaces, with a quieter presence that we love. At a glance, it’s just a small plastic rack with metal prongs and a utensil holder. But take a closer look, because this rack is seriously great.
The prongs offer a lot of flexibility for holding everything from standard dishes to oddly-shaped objects, and in testing, they held a lot of items without too much wobbling.
The only limit here is its small size, which is suited for one or two people with a cramped kitchen. But if you’re hosting a dinner party and want more space, the Extend Rack can reach almost twice its size. The process is smooth and easy, even when you have dishes on the rack, and it gives you a lot more space to work with.
We won’t pretend the grooved plastic of the extension is the most successful drying surface ever, but if you want a small rack for everyday use with the option of something larger when the need strikes, the feature is a godsend.
The drain spout is also awesome. It can can be opened to tip excess water into the sink or plugged if you’d rather deal with your puddles later. During testing, we never actually witnessed water moving through the spout—it seems that a smaller amount of water will pool in the base, but larger amounts should be able to drain out.
Material: Stainless steel/plastic Dimensions: 19.4”L x 12.5”W x 3.87”H
This OXO is a good product for a small kitchen. Assembly is simple, it doesn’t take up much counter real estate, and it folds for easy storage when not in use.
There are pegs for glasses and two containers for utensils, and you can fold features up and down as you need them. There are plenty of drain holes and a spout you can open or close to drain the rack. The rack's legs can also be extended so that it tilts to help drain into the sink.
The OXO has a modern look, and the dishes dried pretty efficiently. However, its small size may be an issue if you have a lot of dishes or if you want it to sit over your sink. Still, someone who doesn’t have a large volume of dishes might be happy with this cute little one-stop-shop dish rack.
Material: Stainless steel Dimensions: 13”L x 13”W x 6”H
This dish rack fits in or over the sink instead of using a drip tray or drainboard. The arms extend to fit over sinks of any size. However, the drying space is compact, and extending the arms doesn’t create more space for dishes.
It’s great for drying a few dishes—and we stress a few—then tossing under the sink and out of sight. Neither drying nor draining was an issue, and it had enough slots to hold plates and cups securely.
A little assembly is needed to snap the utensil holders in place, but there are no other accessories. This rack is for someone who occasionally needs to wash a plate and a glass, not a family.
Material: Stainless steel/plastic Dimensions: 20.2”L x 23”W x 11.5”H
Note: Simplehuman has released an updated version of this model that we have not yet tested. You can purchase the updated version from the same Amazon product page
The Simplehuman dish rack is full-size and noticeable. Its legs lift it high off the counter, and smooth, shiny stainless steel encases its large body. A clever wine glass holder with a fold-out tray for catching drips extends high off the side, as do cup holders and a large cutlery basket. Beneath the rack is a removable drip tray that can be pulled out to catch water from the cup holders and a spout to guide water into the sink.
Of all the racks we tested, only this one successfully drained most of its water through its swivel spout. It's also easy to clean, thanks to the anti-residue coating on its tray. It also felt the sturdiest, and while it doesn't have a lifetime warranty, the brand guarantees its products for 10 years, which isn't bad for something you'll probably use every single day.
However, we actually hated using this pricey tool. The structured part of the rack causes dishes to lean back in a way that’s both precarious and an inefficient use of space.
The rack is extremely large, but much of its space is not structured at all, meaning you can’t fit as much as you’d think. Cups were unsteady on the cup holders. On top of that, it’s large and tall enough that it becomes a focal point of your kitchen.
Material: Stainless steel Dimensions: 14.96”L x 20”W x 7”H
This dish rack is nice to look at and great for pots and pans, but plates had trouble standing up, making drying times longer. It was also too big to fit in the sink, though its drip tray tilts slightly so that water runs into the sink. No assembly is required.
Material: Stainless steel Dimensions: 9”L x 14”W x 6”H
The medium-sized Polder has plenty of space, but it uses it poorly. We couldn’t even balance a shot glass on its cup holders without it toppling down. Dishes placed in the rack wobbled and fell on one another in a way that made breakage feel inevitable. There's also a lot of unstructured space that seemed like it could be put to better use.
There’s a big divided utensil holder that hangs off the side, a drip tray that collected but did not drain water during testing, and a removable drying tray that doesn't seem particularly useful. You’ll want to pass on this one.
Rubbermaid Antimicrobial Sink Dish Rack Drainer Set
Material: Wire Dimensions: 14.31”L x 12.49”W x 5.39”H
This Rubbermaid is a cheap, flimsy, unstructured dish rack. It does come with a drip tray, but not a particularly good one.
The tray slants down, causing water to spill from the side instead of pooling at the bottom. In theory, it’s a good idea, but in reality, it dumps as much water on the counter as it does in the sink. There are no glass clips, leaving you to place glasses on the slanted surface which then slide down to the bottom of the slope.
Included in the packaging are a sponge caddy and scrub brush, which are likely more useful than the rack itself.
I’m Tanya Ballard Brown, a seasoned editor and project manager, and 2019 fellow with the Nieman Foundation for Journalism. After Kori Perten, a former Reviewed editor, first tested dish drying racks two years ago, I was tasked with updating this guide and reviewing new products.
I have a small kitchen and even with a remodel I wasn’t able to squeeze in a dishwasher—oh how I tried!— so washing dishes now falls to me and my hands. With limited counter space and a general need for my counters to be clear of clutter and kitchen appliances at all times, I really value a dish rack that is compact or that can rest in the sink.
My kitchen is also open to the rest of the house, so being able to put it away when guests are visiting helps soothe the neat freak in me.
Kori is a cooking enthusiast who spends a lot of time preparing food, which means a lot of time is spent washing dishes, too. After trying to stack heavy-duty cookware in a small, flimsy wire rectangle, and shattering her roommate's beloved bowl when it toppled from a particularly precarious rack, she was eager to find better options. Thankfully, after the first round of testing, she did.
Since our first round of reviews, we’ve tested over a dozen products. Each one was evaluated over several weeks, noting how securely they held all kinds of kitchen tools, from plates to colanders to glasses and coffee mugs. We observed whether dishes actually air-dried on each rack and checked to see if water pooled on the counter or in the bottom of the rack. We also tested for efficient use of space, special features, and customizability.
During testing, we used each rack to dry two place settings, then again to dry the dishes needed for a four-person dinner party. We also dried a bunch of oddly-shaped objects on each rack, such as a water bottle, a small cookie sheet, a Dutch oven, and baking dishes. After two hours, we noted whether objects were dry.
These tests helped compare the performance of each dish rack: Do the dishes fit? How many dishes will fit in the rack? Is it easy to put together? Are all the dishes dry after a reasonable amount of time?
After several weeks and many, many wet dishes, we are able to make confident recommendations based on data and personal observation.
Tips for Buying a Dish Drying Rack
Since the main purpose of these products is to dry dishes, they should perform that function. But there are other things to consider while shopping. Think about the size that works for you, accessories, assembly, and materials to help find the best fit for your kitchen.
What size should a dish rack be?
Maybe you need a rack that can accommodate wine glasses. Maybe you want your dish rack to sit inside or across the sink rather than beside it on the counter. You should also consider the dimensions. Find the balance between “small enough for your space” and “large enough for the dishes you wash every day.”
Accessories and Assembly
Look hard at any accessories that come with the rack. Are they things you’ll actually use? Don’t pay for features you don’t need.
Also consider: Do you want something that is ready to use out of the box, or are you willing to spend a little time assembling? Also, if you have small children or pets, simpler is better. You don’t want lots of pieces that might fall off and end up in their mouths, and even if you don’t have small children or pets, you don’t want pieces falling off.
Draining and Storage
Finally, consider water flow and storage. Does it drain via a spout, or is it able to tilt so that water isn’t pooling in the drain board? Do you want something that can be hidden away when not used? Do you want a specific color or style to match your kitchen decor?
What Materials are Best for Dish Racks?
Material can make a huge difference in a dish rack. You want something sturdy, that's easy to clean and maintain.
Rubber or plastic may stain or require occasional washing. They also won’t look as sleek, and cheaper plastics may deteriorate over time. Stainless steel holds up well and can resist rust, but isn’t impervious to it. You can find wood or bamboo options, as well, and while they have advantages, they’re also susceptible to mold.
Kori began her journalism career as a teenage fashion blogger and has enjoyed covering a wide variety of topics ever since. In her spare time, she’s an amateur poet, avid reader, and gluten-free cake baker extraordinaire.
Tanya Ballard Brown is a seasoned journalist and project manager as well as a neophyte comedian who likes to try things. She has reviewed books, movies and television shows, and now Ballard Brown is reviewing all (ok, maybe some) of the things. She does this work so you don't have to.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.