If you’re anything like me, washing dishes is one of those household chores that just never seems to end. No matter how carefully I scrape and rinse each plate and bowl, my sink always seems to overflow with dirty dishes that need scrubbing.
Like many home cooks, I used to rely on placing my freshly-washed dishes in the dish drainer beside the sink and letting them air dry. But all too often, they wouldn’t fully dry and ended up with stubborn spots and film.
That led me on a mission to find the perfect dish rack with a drainboard – one that would not only neatly organize my clean dishes, but allow them to dry quickly and thoroughly. A good dish rack can make all the difference in ensuring dishes are hygienically dried and ready to be put away.
After testing countless models on the market, I’m sharing my top recommendations for dish racks that get the job done beautifully. I’ll go over the key factors to consider when shopping for one, our top 5 picks for quality and value, pro tips for keeping your rack and drainboard clean, and answers to frequently asked questions.
Let’s start with why a dish rack with drainboard deserves a spot on your countertop or wall.
Why Invest in a Dish Rack with Drainboard
A dish rack neatly corrals your clean dishes and glassware while the drainboard underneath catches any drips and allows everything to air dry. There are several benefits to using this system rather than just placing dishes in the dish drainer or on a towel.
- Dishes dry faster and more thoroughly when they are elevated on a rack with space between them. The drainboard also prevents water from pooling. This allows for better water runoff and air circulation.
- A dish rack keeps your kitchen counters dry and free of water marks. No more annoying puddles of standing water or damp towels leaving streaks.
- The upright design is more sanitary than letting dishes sit flat on a surface while drying. It prevents bacteria growth by allowing dishes to dry evenly.
- Many racks come with handy features like adjustable shelves, cutlery holders and cup stands for optimized organization.
- Mounted on the wall or designed vertically, a dish rack takes up minimal counter space. Even freestanding racks have a small footprint.
For such a humble kitchen staple, a quality dish rack really does make a huge difference. The right one can make washing dishes feel downright seamless.
Next, let’s go over the key factors to keep in mind while shopping.
Choosing the Best Dish Rack – What to Look For
With so many sizes, designs and styles on the market, choosing the perfect dish rack for your needs takes some consideration. Here are the key factors to keep in mind:
Size and Capacity
Consider how much space you need your dish rack to hold. Measure the interior dimensions of your sink or the counter space available for a rack. Larger households may benefit from a double rack that can accommodate more dishes. If your space is limited, consider a wall-mounted vertical rack.
Also account for odd-shaped items like cutting boards, pots and pans if you want to store them in your rack. The capacity should fit your daily dishwashing needs so you’re not cramped for space.
Design and Drainage
The design, or openness of the rack, directly affects how well it will drain. Solid flat racks do not allow for proper drainage and air circulation.
Look for a very open design with slots or steeply angled racks. This allows maximum water runoff and airflow so dishes dry quickly. Ample space between dishes prevents pooling water.
Make sure the drainboard is large enough to catch drips from the entire upper rack. Removable drainboards are handy for easy cleaning.
Will your dish rack sit on the counter or mount to the wall?
Wall-mounted racks are great space-savers, freeing up precious counter real estate. But make sure you have a suitable spot with studs to securely attach the rack.
Freestanding racks typically have a small footprint while still offering ample drying room. Just ensure it fits nicely within your existing space.
The most common dish rack materials are stainless steel, plastic, and metal with a plastic coating.
Stainless steel is the gold standard for durability, longevity, and sanitation. It won’t rust, stain, or degrade over many years of daily use. Plastic racks are inexpensive but may stain or warp.
Consider which extra features will provide added convenience in your routine:
- Adjustable or removable racks to accommodate larger items
- Cutlery holders to organize utensils
- Removable drainboard for easy cleaning
- Integrated glassware holders like wine glass tines or cup stands
- Non-slip feet to avoid countertop scratches
- Dish grips to hold plates upright
Evaluate whether the add-ons are truly useful or unnecessary clutter.
Don’t underestimate the importance of choosing a rack with style that matches your existing kitchen decor! The shape, color, and finish should coordinate with the overall aesthetic you’re going for.
Dish racks vary widely in price from $20 entry-level options to $200 for premium models. Set a budget that fits the quality and functionality you need.
With those factors in mind, let’s look at some stellar options!
The Top 5 Dish Racks with Drainboards
After extensive testing of all the top-rated products, here are my 5 favorites to consider for your kitchen:
Simplehuman Steel Frame Dish Rack
If you’re looking for a durable, long-lasting dish rack that can handle years of daily use, Simplehuman is a top choice. This stainless steel rack has an open frame design that allows for excellent drainage and drying.
Dimensions: 17″ L x 14.4″ W x 16.3″ H
Capacity: Can hold plates up to 10.5 inches. Fits up to 4 wine glasses.
The swivel spout at the corner directs water right into your sink. The integrated drip tray pulls out for easy cleaning. This substantial rack feels sturdy and well-made while holding a large capacity.
Pro Tip: Angle your larger dishes on the rack so water drips off evenly.
- Commercial grade stainless steel
- Generous capacity
- Heat-treated rust-proof coating
- Removable drip tray
- Expensive but worth the investment
- Can scratch delicate glassware without care
Price Range: $100 to $200
Available on: Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, WayFair, Overstock, Simplehuman, and more
Standing Metal Dish Rack by DecoBros
This freestanding over-the-sink dish rack is a great space saver, fitting right over your existing sink. The durable chrome-plated steel won’t rust or corrode.
Dimensions: 23.6″ L x 12.2″ W x 27.6″ H
Capacity: Three-tier rack holds plates, cups, mugs, utensils, pots and more.
I love the utensil holder and separate drainage tray. The legs fold up when not in use for easy storage. Just be sure to thoroughly scrape food debris from plates to prevent clogging the drain openings.
Pro Tip: Periodically sanitize the legs and contact points in the sink.
- Heavy duty steel construction
- Fits over most sinks
- Foldable legs for storage
- Utensil holder included
- Drainage holes can clog with debris
- Minor assembly required
Price Range: $50 to $70
Available on: Amazon, Target, Walmart, WayFair, Overstock
Two-Tier Dish Rack by Simplehuman
This compact two-tier rack is perfect if you’re short on space but still need ample drying room. The sleek stainless steel design looks great on countertops.
Dimensions: 21.3″ L x 16.6″ W x 10.8″ H
Capacity: Holds plates, mugs, glasses, and some cookware across two-tiers. Utensil holder sold separately.
The extendable drainage spout, removable drip tray, and sloped plate racks make drainage a breeze. The tines are coated to prevent scratches.
Pro Tip: Use the top rack for glasses and bowls, bottom for plates and pans.
- Durable, rust-free stainless steel
- Removable drip tray
- Extendable drainage spout
- 5-year warranty
- On the smaller side
- No utensil holder
Price Range: $70 to $100
Available on: Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Crate & Barrel, Simplehuman
Surpahs Over Sink Roll-Up Dish Drying Rack
If you need a dish rack that can collapse or stash away when not in use, this roll-up rack is the ticket. It fits right over the sink to maximize space.
Dimensions: 19.5″ x 14″ roll-up size
Capacity: Expands to hold plates, cutlery, cups, pots and more.
The bamboo finish gives it a nice look. Just roll it up when your dishes are dried and store out of the way. The stainless steel bars allow for good drainage. Handles make it portable.
Pro Tip: Immediately wipe up any water drips on the counter from the rack.
- Expandable roll-up bamboo rack
- Fits over sink to save counter space
- Collapses for easy storage
- Handles make it portable
- Bars may be too widely spaced for small items
- Not as durable as metal
Price Range: $25 to $40
Available on: Amazon, Walmart, eBay
Dish Drying Rack by Ahyuan
If you want a dish rack with all the bells and whistles, this feature-loaded model delivers. The steel rack comes in a bronze or silver finish.
Dimensions: 32″ L x 12″ W x 5.4″ H
Capacity: Holds a full set of dishes for the whole family.
With two shelves, removable utensil and cutlery holders, a drainage tray, and space for cups, mugs, and wine glasses, this rack aims to please. The rubber feet prevent slipping and scratches.
Pro Tip: Remove utensil holder when not fully loaded to allow for better drainage.
- Non-slip rubber feet
- Two-shelf design
- Removable cutlery holders
- Accommodates cups, glasses, plates
- Drainage tray separates from rack
- Hand-wash only
Price Range: $50 to $80
Available on: Amazon, eBay, Walmart
Keeping Your Dish Rack Sparkling
To keep your dish rack and drainboard hygienic for handling clean dishes:
- Allow dishes to fully air dry before putting away to prevent bacterial growth in cabinets.
- Gently dry any residual moisture on dishes with a soft towel before storage.
- Don’t cram dishes too tightly in the rack. Allow water and air to circulate.
- Periodically sanitize the entire rack and drainboard using hot water and vinegar or a strong cleaner.
- Empty the drainboard frequently to prevent standing water, which breeds bacteria.
- For racks with removable utensil holders or racks, take them out to fully dry after use.
- Scrape food residue thoroughly from dishes before washing to keep drain openings from clogging.
- Wash the rack itself with hot soapy water regularly to remove built-up residue.
- Avoid harsh scouring pads or abrasives that can damage the finish.
With a little care, your dish rack will look like new for years of washing!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re still debating which is the best dish rack and drainboard for your needs, here are answers to some common questions:
What size/capacity dish rack should I get?
Consider the number of place settings and individuals in your household. Also measure the interior dimensions of your sink or where the rack will sit. Get a rack size that fits your dishwashing needs without being cramped.
Which is better, plastic or metal dish racks?
Metal is naturally more durable but plastic is lighter if you need to move it. Opt for coated metal racks to prevent rusting. Go for high-quality materials that will last.
Are dish racks hard to keep clean?
With regular maintenance like emptying excess water, gentle scrubbing, and sanitizing, dish racks stay fresh. Avoid cramming in dishes too tightly.
How can I prevent my drainboard from getting gross?
Empty standing water frequently, thoroughly scrape dishes before washing, periodically sanitize the entire setup, and remove the drainboard itself to clean debris buildup.
Where should I place my dish rack?
Most convenient is right beside the sink. Wall mounted or countertop models work. For wall mounting, ensure you hit studs and anchors are secure before loading dishes.
How do I add extra drying space to my small rack?
Opt for models with expandable drying trays or extra rack layers. You can also use dish drying mats next to the rack for additional capacity.
Should I get a rack with a built-in utensil holder?
Holders keep flatware organized but can take up valuable rack space. Decide if that feature is useful or unnecessary for you. They are often removable.
What types of dishes can go in a rack?
Ensure racks have a scratch-free coating or feet to protect delicate glassware and dishes. Don’t overload. Let plastic fully air dry before putting away.
What’s the best way to fully dry dishes?
Allow good airflow circulation within the rack. Gently hand dry remaining moisture on dishes with a soft towel before storage. Don’t overload the rack.
How can I prevent rust with a metal dish rack?
Select coated steel or stainless steel racks. Be diligent about fully drying the rack between uses. Avoid harsh scrubbing that can deteriorate the finish.
Finding your perfect dish rack and drainboard ultimately comes down to your available space, budget, and desired features. Measure your kitchen footprint, understand your must-haves, and select a durable, high-functioning rack that seamlessly fits into your routine.
With a little regular maintenance, it can tackle piles of dirty dishes with ease for years on end. Having clean, organized dishes ready for storage will make tackling this daily kitchen chore so much smoother.
Our top recommendations check all the boxes for quality construction, smart design, and value. But do some measurements and hands-on comparisons to decide which is the ideal match. Your back and dishes will thank you!