The Best Dish Racks of 2018

By Kori Perten

If you’ve ever washed anything by hand, you understand the necessity of a good drying rack. Choose well and the rack will hold lots of dishes securely for optimum drying, choose poorly and you’re in for a wet countertop and broken plates. And make no mistake—having the right dish rack matters, because you’ll use it every day.

That’s why we made it our mission to find the best dish rack for your kitchen, testing seven of the most beloved racks on the market to determine the top performers. Whether you have lots of counter space or none to spare, our favorites, like the PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack (available at Amazon), are exactly what you need.

Here are the best dish racks, in order:

  1. PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack
  2. Joseph Joseph Extend Dish Drying Rack
  3. OXO Good Grips Peg Dish Rack
  4. Simplehuman Kitchen Steel Frame Dish Rack
  5. Polder 4-Piece Advantage Dish Rack
  6. Neat-O Deluxe Chrome-plated Steel Small Dish Drainer
  7. Rubbermaid Antimicrobial Sink Dish Rack Drainer Set
— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated May 08, 2018

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Best Overall Best Overall
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack

Premiumracks
  • Editors' Choice

PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack

Best Overall

Before I unboxed this bad boy, I never knew dish racks could have so many bells and whistles. Its countertop footprint isn’t as big as you’d expect for something that can hold as many dishes as the PremiumRacks—but that’s only because it happens to be a smartly designed double-decker. The bottom portion is your standard featureless rack, fine for balancing bowls or perhaps a colander, but 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. The most stressful part of the rack is simply assembling it, which could take 10 minutes and a good look at some Ikea-style visual instructions, but 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 a double-decker rack, then I highly recommend this rack. It’s sturdy, shiny, and uses space pretty efficiently—what could be so bad?

Best for Small Kitchens Best for Small Kitchens
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Joseph Joseph Extend Dish Drying Rack

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  • Editors' Choice

Joseph Joseph Extend Dish Drying Rack

Best for Small Kitchens

For all the PremiumRacks’ stainless steel flash, Joseph Joseph’s Extend Rack offers a quieter kind of presence that I’m totally in love with. At a glance, it’s just a small plastic rack with metal prongs and a cutlery basket—fine, but nothing special. 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 they seem to hold most items without too much wobbling. The only limit here is its small size, which can easily meet the needs of one or two people with a cramped kitchen. But if you’re hosting a dinner party and want more space, the Extend Rack—surprise!—extends to almost twice its size. The process is smooth and easy to do even when you have dishes on the rack, and it gives you a lot more space to work with. I won’t pretend the grooved plastic of the extension is the most successful drying surface ever, but if you’re someone who wants a small rack for every day with the option of something larger when the need strikes, the feature is a godsend.

Also awesome is the drain spout, which can be opened to tip excess water into the sink or plugged if you’d rather deal with any puddles later. It’s worth noting that during testing, I never actually witnessed water moving through the spout—it seems that smaller amount of water will pool in the base, but larger amounts should be able to drain out.

How We Tested

Testing dish racks
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The Tester

Hi, I’m Kori Perten, former Home and Outdoors editor at Reviewed and current cooking enthusiast. As someone who spends a lot of time preparing food, I also spend a lot of time washing dishes. And as someone who has moved between apartments several times in the past few years, I’ve experienced my fair share of terrible drying racks. Last year I did not have a dishwasher and struggled to fit all my cookware on a small, flimsy wire rectangle. Last month I shattered my roommate’s beloved bowl when it toppled from a particularly precarious rack. Let’s just say I was ready to find a better option—and now that I’ve tested several top dish racks, I can safely say that I have.

The Tests

I tested seven top-performing dish racks, noting how securely they held all kinds of kitchen tools, from plates to colanders to glasses. I observed whether dishes actually dried on each rack, and I checked to see if water pooled on the counter or in the bottom of the rack. I also scored based on efficient use of space, special features, and customizability.

During testing, I used each rack to dry two place settings, then again to dry the dishes needed for a four-person dinner party. I also dried a bunch of oddly-shaped objects on each rack, like a water bottle, colander, shot glass, and vegetable peeler. After two hours, I noted whether objects were dry.

These tests helped me determine whether the racks used space efficiently. Some smaller racks fit plenty of dishes, while some bigger ones weren’t up to the task. They also helped me see whether plates and bowls sat comfortably in place, or if they seemed on the verge of toppling. After multiple days and many, many wet dishes, I was able to make confident recommendations based on data and personal observation.

Polder dish rack
Credit: Reviewed.com / Kori Perten

Other Dish Racks We Tested

OXO Good Grips Peg Dish Rack

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OXO Good Grips Peg Dish Rack

The only peg-style dish rack I tested was honestly a pleasure to use. The medium size and lower profile make the plastic rack unimposing. Every object I placed on the rack felt secure and not at all wobbly. The pegs definitely give you some versatility with regard to placing dishes of all kinds of shapes in all kinds of configurations. That said, I had trouble comfortably fitting some bowls, as the pegs were a little too close together to fit their bulk very naturally. A drain tray clips into place underneath the rack to guide water into a nearby sink. I think the OXO is a great purchase, but one best suited for use by one or two people, rather than a larger family.

Simplehuman Kitchen Steel Frame Dish Rack

Simplehuman

Simplehuman Kitchen Steel Frame Dish Rack

This rack stands out. Its legs lift it high off the counter, and smooth, shiny stainless steel encases its very large body. A clever wine glass holder with a fold-out tray for catching any drips extends high off the side, as do cup holders and a large cutlery basket. Beneath the rack, you’ll find a removable drain 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 I tested, this was the only one that successfully drained most dripping water through the drain spout. It was also probably the sturdiest rack I handled, though there’s a five-year warranty if it fails.

This may seem great, but I actually hated using this pricy 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. The thing sits very tall over the counter, whether or not you add height with its optional feet, so it becomes a focal point of your kitchen—not typically what I want from my dish rack.

Polder 4-Piece Advantage Dish Rack

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Polder 4-Piece Advantage Dish Rack

The medium-sized Polder has plenty of space, but it uses it poorly. I couldn’t balance so much as a shot glass on its cup holders without the glass toppling down. When I placed dishes in the rack, they wobbled and fell on one another in a way that made it feel like breakage was inevitable. Like the Simplehuman, there's also a lot of unstructured space that seemed like it could be put to better use.

There’s a big divided cutlery basket to hang off the side, a drain 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.

Neat-O Deluxe Chrome-plated Steel Small Dish Drainer

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Neat-O Deluxe Chrome-plated Steel Small Dish Drainer

There comes a time in many people’s lives when they just want to spend less than $20 on a very small dish rack and suffer the consequences. That’s fine. The Neat-O is exactly what it seems—lightweight, flimsy, and devoid of any extras unless you count a few dicey cup holders on the side. It doesn’t even come with a tray to catch water, so you’ll want to rest it on a dish towel or buy a tray of your own to go underneath. The Neat-O doesn’t have much space to work with and offers very little structure. You just kind of pile your dishes in there and hope for the best.

Rubbermaid Antimicrobial Sink Dish Rack Drainer Set

Rubbermaid

Rubbermaid Antimicrobial Sink Dish Rack Drainer Set

Like the Neat-O, the Rubbermaid is a cheap, flimsy, unstructured dish rack. It does come with a tray, but in this case, the tray doesn’t feel like much of a boon. The tray slants down, which causes water to spill from the side instead of pooling in the bottom. In theory, it’s a good idea, but in reality it dumps as much water on the counter as it dumps in the sink, and the slant means that any glasses you place on its surface (which you have to do, because there aren’t any glass clips) 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.

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