Best Soap Dish of 2021
The Passionier Lofekea Ceramic has an intuitive, well-thought-out design that puts the rest to shame. This dish has three parts — a ceramic holding container, a metal rack that holds the soap bar, and a silicone pad that acts as a catchment for excess water and soapy residue. The design keeps the counter clean and the bar dry, and allows for easy drainage of excess water whenever the ceramic dish gets full. We especially liked the metal holding rack that sits inside the ceramic container because it stays clean and provides an elevated surface for the bar to rest on. We were also pleased that this one comes at a reasonable price, adding to the long list of reasons why we love this soap dish.
There was a bit of confusion among our testers about the purpose and usefulness of the silicone pad that comes with this one. Though the idea makes sense, we often felt like, in practice, the silicone pad wasn't that useful.
For a simple, straightforward soap dish with minimal features, look no further than the AmazerBath Bamboo. This set is a simple bamboo design, made from a single piece of wood. This is an important distinction between the AmazerBath and other wooden options we reviewed that are constructed using glue to attach individual slats of wood together. Because the AmazerBath is all one piece of wood, it is easier to clean and much more durable. The slats keep the soap bar dry, but excess water drains out onto the counter or side of the sink since this dish doesn't have an integrated catchment system.
Though the AmazerBath keeps the soap dry and fresh, it doesn't have a great drainage system, which is our biggest complaint with this one. If used in the shower, water can just drain out onto the floor, but if used on a countertop, this one makes a bit of a mess. For these reasons, this dish gets lower scores in both drainage and versatility.
Aesthetically, the mDesign Decorative Ceramic is one of our favorite soap holders in this review. We love its antique glaze and the timeless shape. This is an excellent option for sink-side use since it keeps excess water off the counter. It can also be used in a shower or bath and will perform similarly. There are small ridges that keep the soap bar elevated for drying, though they are not high enough to keep the bar entirely out of water.
Our biggest issue with this dish is its lack of drainage. Though it keeps water contained and off of the counter, it doesn't provide anywhere for the excess water to go. That means that unless it is frequently drained, it runs the risk of turning the soap gummy and soggy. To mitigate, this dish has to be drained and frequently cleaned.
Some soap holders contain excess water and have to be drained frequently. Others are simple designs that allow water to drain from the bottom with no catchment. The final category is the self-draining soap dish, which directs water back into the sink. The Yamazaki Self-Draining dish is our favorite of this style. It is subtle and has an intriguing design, and is made entirely of silicone, which makes it durable and easy to clean. The silicone pegs keep soap elevated and dry, while an angled surface underneath directs water back into the sink or tub.
Our biggest complaint with the Yamazaki dish is in its self-draining design. We found that this was a tricky dish to place — it has to be right next to the sink in order to drain effectively, which can make the sink area feel overcrowded. Ideally, this dish would probably have its own catchment system, but we liked the aesthetic and materials a lot.
For a simple, wooden set of soap dishes, the Onowon Hawaii Styleset is a good choice. There are few other options in this review that come at such a reasonable price for a fairly durable, and well-made product. This set seems to have a bit more of a solid finish on it, as compared to the other wooden soap dish in this review. The design keeps soap dry and allows for ample drainage.
There are few issues with this dish design, though. First, there is no catchment system built into the Onowon's design. This means water will drain out onto countertops and create a mess. We were also a bit concerned with the overall construction of this set. The slats are simply glued together, which runs the risk of the dish coming apart after long exposure to water and soap.
This chrome-plated, wall-mounted dish is excellent for folks who only use bar soap in the shower. The HASKO suctions onto bathroom surfaces (it works best on tile or plastic shower walls) and holds a single bar of soap, though the basket is rated to hold up to 22 pounds. It is easy to install, even if you aren't incredibly handy. We liked the grid pattern of metal that makes up the bottom of the basket, as it can hold a bar of soap until it's paper-thin and almost disintegrating.
As mentioned above, this dish is pretty much only useful for the shower. It also only adheres to specific surfaces, so make sure to check your shower before installing. If the surface it is applied to is porous or uneven (very small tile or wood), then the HASKO won't stick.
This fun, flexible, and durable three-pack is an excellent option for a guest bathroom, a kid's room, and other high-use areas. The AIMAIAIMAI Silicone soap dish is one of two self-draining options in this review. This means it has to be placed on the edge of the sink or tub to drain excess water back into the sink, as opposed to onto the countertop. We liked the shape and feel of this dish, and it is big enough to accommodate large or oddly shaped bars of soap. Since it is both inexpensive and durable, we felt that this was a solid option for anyone needing to outfit multiple sinks with soap dishes.
Perhaps it is the silicone material that the AIMAIAIMAI is made out of, but this dish seemed to attract grime and soap residue. We found that this was the quickest to get dirty- it seemed to get covered in soap after only a few rounds of hand washing. On the plus side, it is also one of the easiest to clean, since its flexible, silicone body can easily be rinsed off in between uses.
Almost identical in style to our award-winning hanging dish, the HOME SO is a chrome-coated wall-mounted soap dish that is designed for in-shower use. We like how the suction feature is removable — if you don't like how it was placed initially, it's easy to de-suction and switch up the position. We were also fans of the overall aesthetic of this dish, as it has an inch-high wall to hold the soap in.
Upon installing both hanging soap dishes, we found that one remained in place while the other splatted to the shower floor after about an hour. Unfortunately, the suction issue with the HOME SO dish remained for the duration of our testing period. We also were not as into the construction of the basket on this hanging dish — we found the woven metal bottom on the award-winning hanging basket to be better than the parallel design of this model.
The third of the wooden slat-style soap dishes we tested is the Magift 2-Piece set. These dishes are simple and straightforward in terms of design and construction. Slats are stapled to two longer runners. The middle slats are carved out to create a subtle indentation where the soap bar lies. We appreciated that this wooden set comes with two dishes and a very reasonable price tag. If you are looking for a no-nonsense dish for sink or shower use, the Magift could work for you.
The major issues we had with the Magift set had to do with the durability and quality of the products themselves. Unfortunately, we were not impressed with how the Magift dishes held up throughout our test period. After only a few days of use, a few of the slats on one of these dishes started to come off. The staples that held them on seemed to detach after very little use/handling. We were also not crazy about the finish of the wood, which was rough and a bit spotty. It looked like some of the wood had been varnished, while other parts had not. These dishes work ok, but their construction was a bit disappointing.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our lead soap dish tester, Jane Jackson, has done extensive reviews on household products from bath towel sets to mixing bowls. She has spent almost half a decade assessing the performance of all matter of products. As a trained historian, Jane is no stranger to research. She applies the same attention to detail on her journey through the universe of bathroom products as she does to examining primary documents.
With that as a starting point, we started this review off with hours of online research to study up on the various types of soap dishes out there. We then selected the top nine options available online for hands-on testing. Luckily, we've been washing our hands a lot recently, so there were plenty of opportunities to test these soap dishes. Hundreds of rounds of handwashing later, we have selected our top picks and our least favorites among these soap holders.
Analysis and Test Results
We considered the following four metrics when testing these dishes. The first and most important was assessing the drainage capabilities of each model. Next, we assessed the ease of cleaning of each. Finally, we compared their versatility and holding ability since some are designed specifically for shower use or for square soap bars rather than round ones.
Out of the nine different soap dishes we tested, we found four distinct designs when it comes to drainage systems. The simplest is the wooden slat-style dish, which holds the soap and allows water to run off between the slats. Our favorite dish with this design is the AmazerBath Bamboo because it is made from one solid piece of wood, rather than a number of smaller pieces glued together. Next is the container-style dish. These holders keep the soap and soapy water contained as a solution to soapy run-off. Our favorite is the Passionier Lofekea Ceramic. Next is the self-draining style dish, which channels water into a sink or away from a countertop. We liked the Yamazaki best. The final design is the wall-mount style dish, which is designed for use in a shower; we preferred the HASKO Suction.
We tested the dishes in this metric by using them a lot. We made note of how much water ran off from each use, and how long it took for the container-style dishes to fill up. We also documented how much water ran off from the designs that come without a catchment system. The worst performers here were the wooden slat style dishes, like the Magift, which seemed to spill water everywhere. Similarly, the AIMAIAIMAI Silicone was finicky to place since the drain spout is narrow.
Everyone knows what a messy, grimy, soap dish covered in old gooey soap residue looks like. Yuck; not the look we are going for in our bathroom. That is why overall cleanliness is the next metric used to assess the performance of these soap holders. We found the Passionier Lofekea to be the cleanest one in this review. Its stainless-steel rack holds the soap, while excess water drains below. This keeps the soap dry and limits residue build-up. The mDesign also stayed fairly clean during our test period since it holds excess water above the countertop.
The wooden models, like the Onwon and the Magift seemed to get dirty the fastest. They are also the most challenging to clean since the slats create numerous small gaps where grime can collect. The silicone options, like the Yamazaki and the AIMAIAIMAI Silicone get grimy fairly quickly but are also easy to clean. The hanging metal dishes don't get very dirty because they are constantly draining back into the shower after every use. Be careful where you place it, though, since you don't want water to be pounding on the soap bar all the time.
This metric was a bit tricky to test as it's sort of subjective. We had to decide based on design and manufacturer information provided, what each dish was designed for — shower only use, sink-side use, or kitchen use. Some worked well in all washing environments, while others were clearly designed for specific uses. Dishes that worked for showers specifically got lower scores than those that work in a variety of applications. The AmazerBath Bamboo is a great versatile option — we liked using it in both the bathroom sink and the shower. We even placed it in our kitchen for testing and liked having it there too. The award-winning Passionier Lofekea Ceramic is super versatile and looks great in all handwashing settings.
The suction-mounted, wall-hanging holders are less versatile because they are really only designed for use in the shower. Both the HASKO and the HOME SO fall into this category. The self-draining options are versatile in that they work in both settings, but they have to be placed carefully so that they drain back into the sink or tub. The AIMAIAIMAI Silicone has such a narrow spout that it has to be directed into the sink with care, while the Yamazaki has a wider run-off spout to manage.
Soap bars come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. This metric assesses how each dish works with varying size soap bars. Many of the dishes we reviewed have an oval-shaped indentation in the middle; this works well for small bars but creates an awkward, teetering situation for round bars and oversized soaps. Some, like the Passionier Lofekea Ceramic, are rectangular and can accommodate a wide variety of bar sizes. The Yamazaki also worked well with both our round and square test soaps. The HASKO suction dish is big enough to contain a wide range of soap sizes.
The wooden dishes didn't do as well as their silicone, ceramic, and chrome counterparts. Both the Onwon and the Magift have a very small indentation where the soap is meant to lie. Unless the soap is very small, it doesn't fit in the indentation very well. For the less-neurotic out there, this isn't a huge problem, but for others, the wobbling soap bar is a bit of an annoyance.
If you are tired of soggy bars of soap and gooey soap build-up on your sink, it's an excellent time to invest in a soap dish. This simple object keeps countertops clean and soap dry and preserved. Some are great for showers, while others are perfect for sink-side use. This review is meant to guide you toward the proper dish to suit your bathroom accessory needs. Hopefully, we've shed some light on the differences between the wide variety of soap dishes available for purchase.
— Jane Jackson