Sadly, your dirty dishes aren't going to clean themselves. And not everyone has the luxury of owning a dishwasher. Dish drying racks are probably the least sexy thing you can have in the kitchen, but they're also one of the most functional and necessary. After all, you don't want to hand dry everything you cleaned (how clean is that towel anyway?), and you definitely don't want to put your wet dishes away (oh, you like mold and mildew?).
Dish racks promote optimal airflow to help dry dishes efficiently and quickly because you already did the hard work of cleaning them. Not all dish racks are the same, however, and the right one for you can depend on a few factors like how much space you have to spare, how many dishes you tend to clean at once and more.
From a double-decker dish rack to one that collapses into virtually nothing, here are the seven best dish drying racks to shop right now.
- Best Overall Dish Rack: Simplehuman Compact Steel Frame Dish Rack
- Best Splurge Dish Rack: Yamazaki Sink Dish Rack
- Best Budget Dish Rack: Farberware Classic 3-Piece Dish Rack
- Best Collapsible Dish Rack: Joseph Joseph Stainless Steel Dish Rack
- Best Two-Tier Dish Rack: Yamazaki Tower Dish Rack
- Best Bamboo Dish Rack: The Container Store Folding Bamboo Dish Rack
- Best Over-the-Sink Dish Rack: Five Two Over-the-Sink Drying Rack
What to Look for in a Dish Rack
Tip #1: Size Matters
Counter space is precious, and a dish rack is very likely to always stay on your counter, forever rendering a portion of your counter occupied. You'll either opt for a small dish rack or a dish rack that can collapse and be stored away.
You'll also want to take into consideration how many dishes you do at once. If you're just cleaning up after yourself, a small dish rack will suffice. But if you live with others, or you tend to host large dinner parties, you'll want a bigger dish rack — like a two-tier dish rack — to accommodate more dishes.
Tip #2: Know the Different Drying Rack Types
Traditional dish racks: Your run-of-the-mill dish rack will usually comprise a wire frame atop a platform on which water can pool off. The platform will either be completely level, to allow water to evaporate naturally, or slightly sloped to let water run into the sink.
Collapsible dish racks: As its name implies, these are dish racks that collapse onto themselves to store away after use. These are good for those with limited counter space or people who don't think a dish rack on full display is in line with their interior design aesthetics.
Two-tier dish racks: If you can't build outward, build up. By utilizing vertical space, two-tier dish racks allow for more dishes to dry at once. These are good for homes that tend to go through a lot of dishes at once, but a common pain point of this style of dish racks is that water drips from the top layer onto the first layer, which means the bottom layer of dishes takes longer to dry.
Over-the-counter dish racks: By creating a ventilated platform over your sink, you can let your dishes dry without having to take up counter space. You'll obviously be limiting how much sink space you have, but this style of dish racks is good for those with fewer dishes.
Tip #3: Consider the Material
Your dish rack is going to get very wet, very often, so rust and/or discoloration can happen. Dish racks can be made of anything from plastic to stainless steel to metal, so make sure to get something that can resist rust. Also, if you take care of your dish rack, as in regular cleaning (because even your dish rack should be cleaned), you can stave off rust.
The Best Dish Racks of 2021
Simplehuman's compact dish rack is as clean as the dishes you put in it. Besides its overall great look, it has a fingerprint-proof coating, rust-proof materials and an anti-residue coating. There's ample space to fit dishes and a pot and pan, plus it has a built-in utensil holder. The whole thing is easy to assemble out of the box, and it makes it less of a hassle to clean the whole contraption. The drain spout can swivel so you can orient the dish rack in a way that makes sense for your counter space.
- Sturdy and spacious
- Swivel spout means you can place the dish rack however you'd like
- Side glass holders allow water to drip onto the counter
Yamazaki's dish rack retains a lot of the minimalist characteristics that the Japanese houseware brand is known for. It's made of a powder-coated steel that is lightweight and also resistant to rusting. The high walls of the dish rack keep everything safe and allow you to place larger items in there like pots and pans without worrying about the whole thing toppling over.
- Attractive on the counter
- Lightweight and transportable
- Big enough to accommodate pots and pans
- Have to manually dump out water drippings
- Expensive while lacking any truly special features
Despite its low price, the Farber dish rack holds its own against dish racks twice its price. It lacks the bells and whistles of the Simplehuman dish rack, like the special coatings to keep it clean and durable, but it holds your dishes (a lot of them in fact), and it drains itself. This may be a little too big if you have a small kitchen, but if you can spare the counter space, this is an excellent pick.
- Low price
- Ample space
- Prone to rust
Whether you have a lot of dishes that need drying or just a couple things, the Joseph Joseph dish rack has you covered. At first glance, it's a fairly small square dish rack with prongs to keep your dishes in place and separated for air flow. When you need more room, slide open the dish rack for almost double the space.
- Good for small and large kitchens
- Attractive design
- Adjustable drain spout
- Low sides makes it hard to put cookware and dishes
For those with small counters, a two-tier dish rack could be the way to go (that is, if you also have enough clearance between counter and cabinet). Yamazaki makes one of our favorites with a removable bottom try with drain spout, steel construction and adjustable hooks to hang awkwardly shaped items. It's a little too small to comfortably place a large pot, but the top layer can dry a pan and still have space for a couple more dishes.
- Removable bottom layer for easy cleanup
- Clean design
- Includes moveable hooks to hang dry items
- Like other two-tier dish racks, top layer drips onto first layer adding to dry time
Bamboo dish racks are pretty pared down, and that also makes them fairly cheap. The Container Store makes its bamboo dish rack foldable, so it can be stored away when not in use, and the slats help with airflow for faster drying. The dish rack doesn't come with a utensil holder, but there is one sold separately for $8 that attaches to the side. There's also no water tray or drain spout, so we suggest adding a drying mat underneath to prevent puddles from forming on your counter.
- Folds away for storage
- No utensil holder, but one is sold separately
For those with sink space to spare, an over-the-sink dish rack can help save you room on the counter. Food52's in-house brand, Five Two, made its version of the disk rack multifunctional: it can work as a colander to wash produce, and it's heat safe up to 550°F, so it operates as a trivet. There's a built-in utensil holder, and you can utilize the stretchy silicone to hold up items while saving space for more dishes that need drying.
- Smart design
- Rolls up into almost nothing
- Has built-in utensil holder
- Can't hold that much