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Whether you don’t have a dishwasher or you just prefer to wash certain kitchen items by hand, you'll need a dish drying rack. There are a lot of different kinds of dish racks out there with different features to suit all kinds of needs. Some home cooks need extra space, while others need something that works with little to no counter space at all. Our experts recommend basic designs that won't rust or wear with time. Look for one with a silverware holder for added convenience. Here, the best dish drying racks for every household.
This ubiquitous dish drainer can be found on kitchen countertops everywhere for a reason: Its utility for the price is unmatched. “I am a Rubbermaid diehard, and I have been since my first apartment. They hold so much,” says Debbie Koenig, food writer and creator of The Family Plan newsletter.
Koenig, who lives in Brooklyn and says she does dishes at least four times per day, adds that her favorite thing about this dish drainer is that it lasts well through years of heavy use. Its simple design holds 13 plates securely, even if they are large and heavy. The holder itself is extra deep, which means it can contain more than other models with the same or similar countertop footprint. And the flatware holder stashes plenty of forks, spoons, and knives.
Mugs and glasses slide safely onto eight prongs along the dish drainer’s sides. The surface is treated with Microban, a substance that fights bacteria growth to keep your dish drain from picking up unpleasant odors. Just don’t forget to add the Rubbermaid Universal Drain Board to your order—it sits beneath your dish drain and moves the water that drips away from your dishes into your sink, preventing it from pooling on your counter.
Folding racks are great for anyone who wants to be able to hide it when not in use. This model from OXO provides all the features you need in a drying rack, plus the convenience of foldability. Pots and pans, mixing bowls, up to 12 plates, and even delicate glasses all have a place in this surprisingly spacious rack.
Its clever design allows you to choose whether your knives will dry vertically or horizontally in a knife slot with the blade safely facing down. The utensil holder is subdivided, allowing you to pre-organize your flatware and making it easier and faster to put it away later. A built-in drainage tray can be positioned in multiple ways to best work with the countertop space you have. When you want to stash it away, the side-mounted glass and utensil holders detach, and the frame’s body folds flat for easy storage.
This modern-looking dish rack has many innovative and thoughtful features that set it apart from the crowd. The built-in drainage tray features a spout that swivels into position so that water flows directly into your sink, never wetting your counter. If you have crystal wine glasses or other delicate stemware, you’ll appreciate the wine glass rack.
Glasses hang securely upside down over their own expandable segment of drip tray for speedy, safe drying. (The other side of the drying rack features hangers for other types of glasses and mugs.) It's made of solid, durable materials, and is backed by a five-year warranty. The stainless steel resists corrosion and stains, and it won’t rust or discolor over time. Unlike most steel finishes, this one features a fingerprint-proof finish that will keep it looking new, clean, and fresh with minimal wiping.
These ingenious, space-saving over-the-sink dish drying racks are all the rage in Japan, where space is famously at a premium, and they are perfect for maximizing every square foot in your kitchen, too. Instead of placing your dishes into a rack that sits on and perhaps drips onto your counter, this model elevates everything directly over the sink, where it drips into the sink itself. It's made of heavy-grade stainless steel so it can hold even your heaviest Dutch ovens or cast irons skillets.
All the included baskets and compartments are movable so you can set it up to suit your specific organizational wants and needs. There’s an integrated paper towel holder, which frees up even more counter space. Though this tall rack looks impressive in your kitchen, it’s simple to put together. Just be sure to measure your space: You need to have the right dimensions for this or any over-the-sink rack to help you clean up and organize your kitchen.
This dish rack is small but mighty. It holds more plates, cups, cutting boards, and silverware than you might think at first glance. Its charming green-and-white design makes it even more appealing for those working with limited kitchen countertops. Alternatively, you can set it directly in the sink while your dishes dry.
The subtly angled design encourages the water that drains from your dishes to flow where you want it and not make a mess on your counter. And when it’s not in use, the spout snaps closed, preventing any remaining drips from escaping. Two movable utensil holders provide the perfect place to dry your knives, forks, and spoons. Its circular crown design is multifunctional. You can position large baking sheets or cutting boards across it, and you can use the spokes as holders for inverted glasses and mugs.
This well-designed dish drying rack makes use of vertical space to add enormous capacity to a typical drying rack. Three tiers of space allow you to dry everything a busy household might need to clean, even if you’ve let the dishes pile up all day. It would also be handy for people who undertake big cooking projects, such as batch cooking on Saturday or Sunday for the week ahead. It can hold up to 15 plates, 18 bowls, plus cups, mixing bowls, and other tableware.
The coated stainless steel won’t easily chip or scratch your dishes. Three detachable baskets can be moved around the frame to meet your needs. The feet are adjustable so you can make this tall rack stand securely on your countertop surface. All the materials and manufacturing processes involved in the production of these racks conform to international environmental standards, according to the manufacturer.
This multifunctional piece of kitchen gear unfurls over your sink when you need a place for hand-washed dishes to air dry, then rolls up into an easy-to-store cylinder that you can slip into any storage space. It’s stainless steel and sturdy enough to hold even your heaviest pots and pans. It also creates space for drip drying your delicate china, ceramic, and porcelain items.
But that’s just the start of this clever item’s uses. It can become a handy place to stash clean fruits and vegetables as you're washing them at the sink. You can also use it to hang dry any of your kitchen linens like dish towels, cloth napkins, pot holders, and rags. Because its slatted design allows air to circulate, it’s a good option for quickly and safely defrosting frozen items. And finally, it’s heat resistant, making a good stand-in for a trivet when you need a place to rest hot skillets off the stove, casseroles out of the oven, or cooling baked goods.
Bamboo dish racks are popular with many home cooks for their classic look and all the other benefits of this natural material. This one rises to the top of the category. Though this rack is on the small side, it easily fits full-sized plates and cups. The upper level accommodates 14 plates. The bottom shelf is the place for mugs, glasses, and utensils. It’s made from 100 percent bamboo, which is a totally renewable and eco-friendly material.
Bamboo also naturally resists bacteria and odors so you don’t have to worry about it becoming slimy and smelly. If friends are coming over for a dinner party, this design folds flat so you can store it away and get it out of sight. The only caveat is that bamboo isn’t necessarily maintenance-free. You may wish to oil your bamboo to maintain its appearance over time.
The last thing mothers need to deal with is stress when it comes to all the bottles and accessories they need to wash by hand and have in constant supply. This well-designed lawn-style rack is the best place for new moms to dry baby bottles, making dishwashing time that much less painful. The Lawn cleans up easily, is highly functional, and holds more stuff than you might expect.
The rack comes in two parts: the “lawn” where you set your bottles and the bottom tray, which collects the drips. The network of flexible plastic blades allows tons of flexibility, and it will conform to the shapes of whatever baby gear you may need to dry. Though the lawn name refers to the green color of the plastic, this drying rack is also available in white. Note you may want to pick a couple of accessories to hold tiny items like nipples, teething toys, and pacifiers.
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Joy Manning is a food writer and recipe developer. Her work has appeared in many publications including The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Washington Post. She’s the author of Almost Meatless and Stuff Every Cook Should Know.