The Best Dish Drying Rack, According to Our Test Kitchen
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Doing dishes by hand? You need the best dish drying rack to keep your dinnerware in order after a good scrubbing. Our Test Kitchen tried 10 popular options in this test.
Even if your kitchen is equipped with a dishwasher, you still have to wash dishes by hand on occasion. And for the dishwasher-less few, we wash day in and day out.
For sparkling clean dishes, we rely on these Test Kitchen-approved dish soaps, but what about after the dishes are done and the suds are washed away? Odds are those plates and cups are in a dish rack to dry.
While a drying rack might seem like a kitchen gadget you don’t think twice about, we all known the aggravation that comes with a rack that rusts, busts or just can’t hold all your dinner dishes. That’s why our Test Kitchen set out on a mission to find the best dish drying rack.
How We Found the Best Dish Drying Rack
To find the best dish drying rack on the market, our culinary crew grabbed the ten most popular brands out there and put them to the test in their own homes and our Taste of Home Test Kitchen.
For months, our testing squad washed dishes and took diligent notes about each drying rack’s performance. To get our stamp of approval, the dish rack had to check all these boxes:
- Size: Does the dish rack take up a lot of counter space? Can it accommodate a dinner’s worth of dishes? Can it be easily stored under the sink?
- Drainage: Does the dish drying rack drain well? Does it funnel the water away effectively?
- Durability: How does the rack stand up to everyday use? Are the components and finishes durable?
- Design: Does the drying rack hold dishes securely? Can it hold cookware like baking sheets, wine glasses, coffee mugs and other irregularly shaped dishes? Is the rack attractive enough to keep on the counter?
- Ease of cleaning: Is it easy to keep the drying rack clean? When it gets dirty, is it easy to clean up?
Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Dish Racks
After months of testing and hundreds of dirty dishes, our Test Kitchen team found four standout products. Our kitchen experts can confidently say that these are the best dish drying rack brands on the market.
Best Compact Dish Drying Rack: OXO Good Grips Foldaway Dish Rack
When you have a small kitchen, you know that every inch counts, including that precious counter space next to the sink and the storage underneath. If you’re conscious of every bit of space in your home, grab the OXO Good Grips Foldaway Dish Rack.
What caught our Test Kitchen’s attention with this drying rack from OXO was the collapsible sides. After washing a sinkful of dishes and popping them back in the cupboard, this dish rack could be made more compact and stashed right under the sink. Closed, this rack measures about 19x12x4″—pretty small for this gadget!
But this dish drying rack is so much more than its slim profile. When expanded, this OXO rack held eight plates plus plenty of other dinner extras like serving dishes and cups. With rubberized prongs in addition to traditional slats, this dish rack had space for dishes of all shapes and sizes.
Another bonus with this rack was that you could easily shut off the draining spout with an attached plug. It seems simple, but this gives you the ability to dry your dishes where you have a little extra room and then drain the dish rack when the countertop next to the sink is clear. It’s the little things like this when you work in a tiny space.
- Features: Collapsible sides for easy storage, divided and removable utensil holder, built-in plug for drainage spout
- Price: $42
Best Dish Drying Rack for Trendy Kitchens: Joseph Joseph Connect Adjustable Dish Rack
You might think that all dish racks look more or less the same, but the Joseph Joseph Connect Adjustable Dish Rack proves that idea wrong.
This dish rack is made up of three sturdy pieces that can be configured to suit your countertop and the dishes you’re drying. And thanks to the plastic spikes, you can arrange dishes however you see fit instead of being limited to the slots of more conventional dish drying racks. Our Test Kitchen pros were able to nestle all sorts of cookware and serveware into this rack. It even held up to a heavy Dutch oven—no tipping.
Our Test Kitchen team also loved the look of this dish rack. It’s a bit trendier than an old wire rack and can be disassembled for easy storage and easy cleanup—it’s dishwasher safe.
- Features: Three components can be reconfigured to suit your needs, dishwasher-safe for cleaning
- Price: $51
Best Dish Drying Rack to Splurge On: KitchenAid Full-Size Dish Rack
For a sleek countertop drying rack with plenty of nifty features, opt for the KitchenAid Full-Size Dish Rack.
While pricier, our Test Kitchen found it worth every penny for the useful features and generous size. This rack easily accommodated larger pots and pans along with their lids. Plus the configuration of the interior slats made it easy to fit in dishes of all sizes. The racks’ divided cutlery caddy is also super convenient. You can easily remove this component to bring silverware across the kitchen or to clean up.
Another great feature that our pros loved was the loops at the end of the rack for drying glassware. This allowed us to dry extra mugs and stemware without taking up space inside of the drying rack itself.
As far as drainage went, this dish rack funneled excess water away effectively and cleanly without puddles left in the drainboard or on the countertop.
- Features: Removable, adjustable flatware caddy, disassembles for cleaning
- Price: $63
Best Dish Drying Rack to Save On: Polder Aluminum Advantage Dish Rack
No need to break the bank when shopping for a dish rack. The Polder Aluminum Advantage Dish Rack has plenty of the features we look for in a drying rack without a spendy price tag.
This rust-proof aluminum dish rack was super sturdy. Even when empty, this rack won’t budge thanks to its grippy feet. And when loaded with dishes—even when the weight was distributed unevenly—the rack stayed in place without any worries of dishes falling or the rack tipping.
Size-wise, this rack had plenty of space to accommodate a meal’s worth of dishes for a typical family of four to six. And if there are any extra fragile dishes, like fancy cocktail glasses after a soiree, this Polder dish rack comes with an extra drying mat so you can keep those delicate items safe while they dry.
- Features: Slideout drying tray, divided utensil bin, five posts for drying drinkware
- Price: $38
Tips for the Cleanest Dishes
With the best dish drying rack on your countertop, you’ll be ready for sparkling clean dishes. But before you fill up your sink, here are a few dishwashing tips to bear in mind:
- Wear dish gloves: It might seem old-fashioned, but wearing these gloves really can help you get a better clean! With gloves to protect your hands, you can use hotter water for cleaner dishes. These rubber gloves also protect your hands—though you can still freshen up post-wash with these kitchen-friendly lotions.
- Wash from cleanest to dirtiest: This is one of our best dishwashing tips. Start with items like glassware and flatware then move onto dirtier dishes and finally to grimy pots and pans.
- Don’t use too much soap: More soap does not mean a better clean; it just might be one of the mistakes you’re making when washing dishes. Use enough in your dishwasher to get good suds (a tablespoon or so), but don’t overdo it. Too much soap can leave residue on your dishes.
- Upgrade your space: It’s a wonder what a few extras can do to make this chore less tedious. Make sure your wash station is stocked with supplies you love to use and great-smelling products.