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If you don’t have a dishwasher or prefer to wash certain kitchen items by hand, you'll need a dish drying rack. There are a lot of different kinds out there with useful features to suit various 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.
We love the KitchenAid Full-Size Dish Rack because it has high sides for easy stacking and a removable silverware tray—plus, it looks good on a countertop. Our budget pick, the Umbra UDRY Rack and Microfiber Dish-Drying Mat, is absorbent, easy to store and clean, and able to be configured in any orientation you need.
Here are the best dish drying racks for every household, according to our research.
Best Overall: KitchenAid Full-Size Dish Rack
High sides for easy stacking
Removable and adjustable utensil caddy
This large-capacity rack from trusted brand KitchenAid has 10 slots for dishes, cup storage, a removable silverware caddy, and sides nearly 7 inches tall for plenty of stacking. The grippy feet on the rack protects your countertop from scratches while keeping it stable, and the angled drainboard effectively funnels water away and can be repositioned to fit your sink configuration.
The three-compartment utensil caddy is a real highlight. It’s adjustable, so you can customize it to your dishes, whether that be larger silverware, reusable straws, spatulas, or ice cream spoons. Even better: You can remove it to put away your utensils around the kitchen without having to go back and forth. When the dishes are dry, the rack easily disassembles for cleaning.
Material: Stainless steel, plastic | Dimensions: 20 x 15 x 6.7 inches | Mounting Type: Sink, countertop
Best Stainless Steel: simplehuman Steel Frame Dish Rack
Intuitive design for efficient drying
Resistant to rust
This modern-looking dish rack has many innovative and thoughtful features that set it apart from the crowd. For example, the built-in drainage tray with a swivel spout features a hydrophilic coating that spreads water out to dry more efficiently and prevent mold buildup. The ample size of the rack will fit plates and larger pots and pans.
If you have crystal wine glasses or other delicate stemware, you’ll appreciate the integrated wine glass rack that securely hangs four large wine glasses so they dry efficiently. The utensil holder is another nice feature that keeps silverware and serving pieces organized while drying. Updated silicone-capped plate holders keep fragile dishes secure even when the rack is fully loaded. Finally, the stainless steel construction resists corrosion and stains, and the fingerprint-proof finish stays shiny with minimal maintenance.
Material: Stainless steel, silicone | Dimensions: 25.5 x 15 x 7.5 inches | Mounting Type: Countertop
Best Budget: Umbra UDRY Rack and Microfiber Dish Drying Mat
Easy to store
Easy to clean
Apartment kitchen cooks, rejoice. The Umbra UDRY Rack and Microfiber Dish Drying Mat are the answer to dishwashing woes. The absorbent microfiber mat dries dishes while protecting countertops from scratches and excess water, and the removable plastic dish rack, which has 19 slots for standing dishes, can be used in the middle or side of the mat, depending on your dish load. Another version even includes a small cutlery caddy and four wine glass holders.
Designed by David Green for Umbra, this modern, low-profile design can accommodate a large number of dishes. When the dishes are done, it folds up for easy storage, keeping your countertop clutter-free. Plus, it's dishwasher safe on the top rack for easy cleaning.
Material: Microfiber, plastic | Dimensions: 20 x 13.25 x 2 inches | Mounting Type: Countertop
Best Roll-Up: Surpahs Over the Sink Multipurpose Roll-Up Dish Drying Rack
Saves counter space
Easy to store
Dimensions may not fit all sinks
Blocks access to sink
This multifunctional piece of kitchen gear unfurls over your sink when you need a place for hand-washed dishes to air dry and then rolls up for easy storage. It’s made with stainless steel, which makes it sturdy enough to hold even your heaviest pots and pans. It also creates space for drip-drying your delicate china, ceramic, and porcelain items.
That’s just the start of this clever item’s uses. It's also a handy place to stash clean fruits and vegetables as you're washing them at the sink. Additionally, you can use it to hang dry any of your kitchen linens, like dish towels, cloth napkins, pot holders, and rags. Since its slatted design allows air to circulate, it’s a good option for quickly and safely defrosting frozen items, too. And finally, it’s heat resistant, making it a good stand-in for a trivet when you need space to rest things like hot skillets off the stove, casseroles out of the oven, and cooling baked goods.
Material: Silicone-wrapped steel | Dimensions: 20.5 x 13 x 0.3 inches | Mounting Type: Sink, countertop, over the sink
Best for Baby Bottles: Boon Lawn Countertop Drying Rack
Securely holds bottles and more
Easy to clean
Not the most versatile
Requires manual draining
The last thing new parents need to deal with is stress around their baby's bottles. That's why this well-designed lawn-style rack is helpful for making dishwashing time 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 up a couple of accessories from the company to hold tiny items, like bottle nipples, teething toys, and pacifiers.
Material: Polypropylene | Dimensions: 11.02 x 2.36 x 13.39 inches | Mounting Type: Countertop
Best Folding: Oxo Good Grips Folding Stainless Steel Dish Rack
Packs away when not in use
Adjustable drainage tray
Two utensil trays
Utensil holders only attach to short sides
No incline to direct water to sink
A folding rack is 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.
Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 19.8 x 17.1 x 6.1 inches | Mounting Type: Walls, sink, countertop
Best Over-Sink: Chasstoo Over-the-Sink Dish Drying Rack
Maximizes counter space
Water drips directly into sink
Compartments are customizable
Dimensions may not suit some kitchens
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.
The included baskets and compartments are movable, so you can set it up to suit your specific organizational needs. There’s an integrated paper towel holder, too, 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, since you need to have the right dimensions for this or any over-the-sink rack.
Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 34.5 x 14.2 x 5.5 inches | Mounting Type: Countertop, over the sink
Best Compact: Chef'n DishGarden Dish Rack
Great for small kitchens
Unique design holds a surprising amount
Angled to guide water into sink
Water from cups drips onto counter
Utensils cup doesn't have holes
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. 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.
Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 13.25 x 13.25 x 6.25 inches | Mounting Type: Countertop, over the sink
Best Large: X-Cosrack Dish Drying Rack Stainless Steel Dish Drainer with Drain Board
Vertical design saves counter space
Hooks and baskets don't drip into tray
Too tall for cabinets when filled
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 Sunday for the week ahead. It can hold up to 15 plates, 18 bowls, 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.
Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 15.7 x 11.2 x 24.4 inches | Mounting Type: Countertop
Best Bamboo: Bambusi Bamboo Kitchen Folding Dish Rack
Folds away to store
Wood requires maintenance
No designated place for silverware
Bamboo dish racks are popular with many home cooks for their classic look and natural material. This one rises to the top of the category. Though this rack is on the small side, it easily fits full-size 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 renewable and eco-friendly material.
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.
Material: Moso bamboo | Dimensions: 17.75 x 11.5 x 1.5 inches | Mounting Type: Countertop
For an all-purpose rack that will handle your drying needs for many years to come, get the KitchenAid Full-Size Dish Rack, which features high sides for easy stacking and a removable silverware tray. Our budget pick, the compact Umbra UDRY Rack and Microfiber Dish-Drying Mat, can be configured in whichever way is convenient for your countertop and is super absorbent.
What to Look for in a Dish Drying Rack
Drying racks are constructed of many types of materials, including metals, plastic, wood, and cloth. Aesthetically, wood or stainless steel are the best choices. Stainless steel is resistant to rust, but will eventually oxidize like other metals. Woods, like bamboo, are generally sustainably sourced and resistant to odors.
Like outdoor woods, repeated exposure to moisture may lead to mold and cracking. Cloth options, like drying mats or towels, are often inexpensive and easy to store, but do not provide the stacking options of other models. Plastic is lightweight and easy to clean, but it's not always the most attractive option when your drying rack sits out on the counter.
There are a few considerations in this category. Do you have a dishwasher to handle the heavy loads of regular dinnerware? If you do, a rack will mostly be for delicate hand wash items and pots or pans. An easy-to-store option, like a drying mat or collapsible rack, might be the way to go. If you do not have a dishwasher, you might want to opt for the models that have multiple levels or can accommodate a larger load since everything will be washed by hand.
Another consideration is your kitchen footprint. How much space do you have for a drying rack? You will need one expansive enough to hold your largest hand-wash item. With smaller kitchens, an over-the-sink model would be a great choice, especially if it can be folded up or tucked into a cabinet when you’re finished. If your kitchen is larger, you can afford to give up some counter space to a dish rack that's more stylish.
Along with dimensions, how your rack mounts will dictate how much space it will occupy. Traditional countertop mounts usually comprise a rack sitting over a drainboard or mat that collects the pooling water. The cloth versions are nice if you don’t have a lot of space, as they can be thrown in the washing machine and later stored with towels and oven mitts until needed.
Over-the-sink options utilize the space already designated to a sink basin, but take up a similar amount of space as the countertop models, as they need dedicated storage. The nice feature of this option is the built-in ventilation for dishes to dry over the sink basin, and if you have few dishes, you can just leave the rack over your sink basin permanently.
Collapsible dish racks are the answer to smaller kitchens or those who don’t want to dedicate a portion of their counter to dish rack display. These models collapse for easy storage and don’t interrupt your kitchen aesthetic.
Tiered or expandable racks are a great choice if you do not have a dishwasher or wash a lot of dishes by hand. They also don’t occupy more counter space, even though they are larger, because they expand up rather than out. The negative part of this model is that the dishes are on the bottom level will receive constant drips from the dishes above, making the drying process longer.
How do you clean a dish drying rack?
Regular maintenance will help your drying rack stay functional for a long time. A toothbrush or small scrub brush will get any nooks and crannies. Just be sure to completely disassemble your rack and fill the sink with warm water.
If your rack has a lot of mold or food debris, use the old standby of a cap of white vinegar, or you can use some dish soap and scrub the rack with your brush. Be sure to rinse with hot water and allow it to dry completely. If you have a stainless steel model, dry it thoroughly with a hand towel to prevent water spots.
What should you put under a dish drying rack?
The problem with racks that don’t have a drainboard is the excess water that drains from your dishes needs somewhere to go. Drainboards can be purchased individually, and many models have a spout you can position over the sink for less mess. Mats are another option that roll up for easy storage. The easiest solution is to use a hand towel or tea towel you already own and run it through the wash when finished.
How do you remove rust from a dish drying rack?
If you purchased a stainless steel rack and it begins to show rust, Bar Keeper’s Friend can help you out. Usually, a minute of soaking with BKF and a quick scrub will lift all oxidized spots. Rinse it thoroughly and dry completely. Rust may also be a sign it is time to replace your drying rack.
How can you hide a dish drying rack?
The best option is the cabinet under your sink. If you don’t have that space, you can also look at shelves in your kitchen or pantry, or evaluate other models like rollup or collapsible varieties. You can also use them for other functions, like holding washed vegetables, so they look less like a dish rack and more like another part of your kitchen.
What's the best way to load a dish drying rack?
Depending on the model you purchase and its accessories or features, the optimal way to load will reveal itself. The common wisdom is to load your knives and flatware first to ensure pointy ends are not sticking out, while flatter items, like plates and lids to Tupperware, come next because you can use them to lean against other items and maximize your space.
Next comes pans from smallest to biggest to continue utilizing space wisely. Heavier or bulkier items can be arranged last, especially colanders or bowls, so they rest over the top of other dishes to maximize space. If you have any acrylic glassware or Tupperware, find spots you can hang or nest those items—they won’t break if they fall off the stack.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats
The author of this roundup, 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."
Carrie Honaker, who updated this roundup, is a food writer who hates washing dishes, but when she must, she turns to her Simplehuman Steel Frame Dish Rack. As a restaurateur and avid home cook, she has washed thousands of baking pans and hundreds of delicate wine glasses, and she knows the importance of good air circulation to dry dishes. Carrie's work has appeared in many publications, including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.