Best Dish Rack of 2021
The Simplehuman Kitchen Compact Steel Frame proves to be a valuable asset in the kitchen. The stainless steel design is sleek and modern, and the ever-versatile swivel spout can move with you, making it easy to turn if needed. As the highest scorer all around, it has excellent ratings for its ease of use, drainage and drying capacity, and aesthetics. The Simplehuman is ready to use out of the box and is compact enough to use in smaller kitchens. The four-piece design makes it easy to clean when needed, and surfaces take seconds to wipe dry after use; it appears it will keep shining for a long while in your kitchen.
It is hard to find fault in the Simplehuman, but the compact option only comes with two slats to hold glasses on the side. For a larger household or as a personal preference, this may not be sufficient. The design has an excellent organizational capacity, as it holds full-size plates, a multitude of cookware, and silverware with ease, and it dries dishes for a family of three without difficulty.
The iSpecle 201 Stainless Steel 2-Tier Dish Rack is found to be quite handy in the kitchen. It is a versatile rack that can be used in vertical or horizontal alignment at the sink because the drainboard is removable, and the width is under 10". It handled our eight pound cast iron skillet with excellent stability, whether on the top or bottom rack during testing. It holds plates, bowls, and other cook and dishware without worry. We are also pleased with the removable utensil holder, as the silverware holds vertically in place while drying. The removable cutting board holder is a bonus, making the drying rack customizable to the tester's preference.
Despite its high scores on our metrics, the iSpecle did have some setbacks. For example, assembly is required, and if using the two inch included wrench is not your cup of tea, purchasing an assembled dish rack is recommended. However, if you want to work on basic assembly skills, it builds relatively fast and appears to be a steadfast partner by the sink. Another disadvantage is the silverware caddy does not have a drain rack, although it appears other models have one now. Overall, the iSpecle's compact yet sturdy build handles various dishware with ease, making it an excellent choice for a smaller-sized household.
The SANNO Large Expandable rack is a top performer in the sturdiness and reliability categories. During our side-by-side testing, we found it highly manageable to move the rack from the over-the-sink position to the countertop and back. The expandable handles are a sturdy feature and hold our 8lb cast iron skillet without waver. The stainless steel build did not yield any signs of corrosion or rust after more than a week of daily use either. Overall, this rack is recommended for those who prefer an in-sink rack to clear up countertop space.
Despite its high-performance marks, we do miss having cup slats on our rack. The SANNO's large capacity does have plenty of room for dishware and cups alike; however, after a multi-course meal or a surplus of dishes, we find cup slats do go a long way to free up extra drying space. All in all, the SANNO comes highly recommended for its sturdy design; we envision its use not only for daily dish duty at home but also on the go due to its expandable handle design, possibly holding supplies for a picnic.
The PremiumRacks Professional has it all and we put it to good use. The two-tiered setup is a breeze with clear instructions and visuals to refer to when assembling. There was plenty of room for our set amount of dishes, our chef's knife dried nicely in the knife block, and our glasses and cutting board even had their own side drainage trays. If you are looking for a drip-free countertop experience while washing the dishes, PremiumRacks is a nice choice, as it comes with two draining board types underneath and a microfiber mat for catching water to utilize as desired. The silverware caddy is large, holds a variety of utensils, and also easily detaches for cleaning when necessary.
Due to the accessories, the PremiumRacks can start growing "wings" and take up counter space, as it expands out to 21" with the side drainage systems in place. We find the drainage system attachments a bit cumbersome at times and feel they are less practical for smaller households where fewer dishes are done at a time, or if you don't mind a quick wipe of the countertop to get a few water drops while the dishes are drying. However, if you have a bigger household, the size and add-ons of the PremiumRacks might be a perfect fit.
The Neat-O Deluxe Chrome-plated Steel Small Dish Drainer showed us some impressive dish-handling and drying skills during our side-by-side testing. Excellent sturdiness was seen during our stability testing; it held our cast iron skillet and fragile glassware with unwavering strength. It is also convenient to lift the full rack and place it in the sink to allow sufficient drying time while freeing up counter space, even with the two glasses on the outside slats. We also like the sleek contrast of black and chrome and found no issues with corrosion or material integrity during our testing.
The Neat-O is a two-piece set, so if you are looking for a rack with more frills, this is not for you. The one accessory is the silverware caddy, which is removable; however, the 1/4" slats to divide the container tend to not keep the utensils vertical, and it is common for the silverware to lean when loading the rack, which may be a bit cumbersome. All in all, the Neat-O is useful for a compact kitchen and best for small loads of dishes, although it is sturdy enough to stack away.
The OXO GoodGrips Convertible Foldaway receives one of the highest scores in design aesthetics, highlighting the ease of storing it after use. The construction is useful, unique, and sturdy; it simply folds up even with the utensil caddies in place and tucks away into a cupboard, leaving the countertops clean and open after use. The rack can efficiently hold pint glasses side by side on their slats — something that not all racks can do. It holds various plates, dishes, and cookware without difficulty, as this was verified during our load testing.
Despite its convenience, the OXO does have some issues with drainage, as water tends to pool at the edge of the rack toward the drain spout. It needs a little effort on behalf of the user to give it a slightly higher slope to empty the remaining water (only a couple of teaspoons). The main rack construction of sturdy BPA-free plastic (with slightly raised lines) provides air circulation; a raised surface for dishware does not give as much air circulation as other models, such as a wire rack. However, this is why the OXO is durable and folds away with good resilience. Due to the solid design, it may be perfect for someone traveling in an RV or those who prefer to stow away after each use.
If you are looking for a primary rack for a two-person household or larger, the Surpahs is not recommended. The total surface area is large and sturdy enough to stack dishes and cookware; however, if attempting to stack larger diameter plates, the rack may stretch, and silverware may slip through. We appreciate the multi-functional design of the Surpahs and recognize that it is an excellent addition for a kitchen of any size.
The Sweet Home Collection 3 Piece Dish Drainer Rack Set brightens our test kitchen in a refreshing mint color. The 19"L rack is optimized on our countertop, holding the set amount without hassle. The mobile silverware caddy opening widths of approximately 2.5" hold utensils vertically with an excellent drying capacity. The matching color drainboard did the job with a wide-mouth spout facing the sink to unload excess water successfully, adding a sense of mid-century practicality. Additionally, the rack fit into our sink, freeing up countertop space and allowing the dish drain to be quickly dried or stowed away. The Sweethome is a beneficial addition to our kitchen.
We did see some issues with the Sweet Home, one of them being it arrived with five small chips in the mint vinyl coating. One chip was slightly significant; the others were noticeable upon closer examination. The other issue is that plates tend to lean when in the rack holder. They may stand up briefly, but when placing other dishware, one of the plates may unexpectantly lean forward, hitting the others. Despite these issues, it's a functional addition to our tester kitchen, serving a household of three.
The Polder KTH-615 is a four-piece set that comes with a highly sturdy dark gray plastic drainage rack that sits at an angle to allow the draining water to pour out of the five inches mouth of the board. The stainless steel rack is stout, with six glass holders lining the outside, which is a useful feature. It stacks large-sized plates and bowls with excellent stability on the dish rack posts. The removable drying tray is a handy feature to utilize when tackling a larger load size, and the cutlery bin is one of the largest seen in our side-by-side testing. Overall, the Polder scores highest in the durability and sturdiness metrics, making it a solid sidekick for your sink.
Despite being recognized for its sturdiness, we did have some issues. Namely, when setting up the sturdy drain rack, it did not lock or snap into place onto the stainless steel rods, making it somewhat cumbersome to set up again if misaligned. Despite the angle of the drainboard, which sloped at five degrees, the water tends to pool up and stop at the edges; this can be a common theme with many of the wide mouth drainboards. The good thing is that drainage boards can easily be dumped and dried out after use. On the whole, the Polder provided plenty of space for our dishes and cookware pieces; it may also be a good fit for larger household sizes.
The Rubbermaid Antimicrobial Sinkware Set is user- friendly due to the included sponge holder and a kitchen brush. We put them to use right out of the box, alongside the dish rack and drainboard in our tester kitchen. The clear drainboard and chrome finish are appealing and kept our kitchen bright without overpowering, like other bold designs and larger size racks are prone to do. It held 95% of our set amount of dishes with an excellent drying capacity. It also is quick to wipe clean and dry as part of regular maintenance.
The Rubbermaid does have its drawbacks, such as no cup holder slats, which reduces total load capacity. This was a factor in not passing our stability test in which a cast iron skillet was loaded beside three fragile glasses. The Rubbermaid could hold two out of three glasses safely; there simply was not enough room for the other glass. Despite this issue, this may be a perfect choice for a single or two-person household; it also is a great starter set as well.
The Masirs Collapsible Rack performed best in the reliability for drainage and drying category and its unique design with universal pegs across the bottom of the rack held full-size dinner plates with good ability. It was easy to load our frequently used same-size bowls in a nesting position, too. With its collapsible design, it easily fits in a cabinet, and we recommend this rack to accommodate a small size household or those who prefer to take it on the road.
Despite its convenience, the Masirs rack does have limitations. During our load test, it did not accommodate all of the items; also, during stability testing, the cast iron skillet compressed the rack by 20%, thereby reducing its sturdiness. Yet, we find this rack's positive attributes to rise above any negative. Because of its capability to collapse and hold a variety of dishware and an abundance of silverware and utensils, this rack may serve a kitchen with honorable performance, especially for those who desire to store it away after use.
The Simple Houseware 2-Tier effectively holds a variety of dishware, and the mug holders are quite useful, adding a charming and functional appeal. We enjoy the sense of lightness it brings to the kitchen due to its shiny chrome, underlined with a translucent drainboard.
As much as we liked the design, there were issues right from the start. The drainboard arrived with a one inch hole and cracked end, therefore it failed several of our tests. We found other online users also had quality issues with drainboards . The problem was modified using a towel to stop the leakage during use, as we prefer the translucent drainboard with the chrome finish. Overall, the rack held our set amount of dishes without difficulty; it may be an appealing rack for a budget-minded shopper.
Why You Should Trust Us
The lead tester for this review is Kate Irvin, who is the main dishwasher in her house, and has been for several years. She enjoys finding kitchen products that help keep her household happy and healthy, especially ones that facilitate a viable work/life balance. She does find a sense of satisfaction in a clean kitchen and was eager to jump on board to find a highly effective product. She is detail-oriented, and analyzing comes naturally to her, so having the opportunity to be the head tester was a welcomed challenge.
Our testing process is an extensive one, starting with researching the best available on the market. Next, the thoughtfully chosen were purchased and brought to the tester kitchen, where we put them to work for over 50 hours of dish drying duty. Each one was used for over eight hours in our detailed comparative testing process and put through specific testing methods to measure and rate a defined set of metrics to help assist you in finding a reliable product.
Analysis and Test Results
To hone in on the specifics of each rack, we utilized five metrics — sturdiness, ease of use, reliability for drying and drainage, durability, and design aesthetics — to break down and describe our hands-on experience with each model.
This metric is of particular importance because to effectively hold a typical dish load with a variety of plateware, cookware, and glassware, the rack has to be trustworthy and strong. We completed a load test for each rack, using a set amount of dishes. The set amount contained 19 pieces and reflected the number of dishes, cookware, and utensils used for three people for a meal.
Our top performer is the Premiumracks Professional for its undeniable and unwavering sturdiness; it handles the heaviest and most fragile with ease. Another top contender is the Polder, as it stacks up a variety of dishes with a high degree of steadiness. The SANNO also scored high in this category; the expandable arms held a multitude of dishware and cookware with good resilience.
The stability test was also completed where each rack held an eight pound cast iron skillet and three fragile glasses with the goal of rating security and safety while holding these opposing objects. Many of the dishracks did well with the stability test; however, we were impressed with the Neat-O Deluxe's performance in this metric.
Ease of Use
When scrutinizing ease of use, we looked at the organization of the rack, along with cleanability, rack type with potential use in multiple capacities, and finally, consideration of assembly required.
The Surpahs Over the Sink Roll Up was a top scorer in this category. It is handy, easy to wipe clean and dry, and its use is multi-faceted.
An essential part of having an organized rack is its silverware caddy, specifically ones that hold silverware and utensils vertically with good stability.
We appreciate the Simplehuman and OXO Good Grips removable silverware caddies as they hold all sorts of silverware and utensils with vigor and style.
The Premiumracks Professional has you covered for all of your organizational needs, including cutlery requisites with its nine knife capacity block, removable large utensil bin, and detachable cup holders.
Reliability for Drying and Drainage
We found all racks were able to achieve dry dishes at the two-hour mark, aside from a few drops here and there. When looking at drainage, we analyzed whether the rack had direct drainage to the sink and the type of spout. We took scrupulous notes of whether any drainboard had the capacity for pooling and if this impacted air circulation that could potentially leave moisture on any of the dishes, glasses, or silverware.
The iSpecle 201 does a great job of drying the dishes due to its stainless steel build and plentiful air circulation. Its build is a top performer with a removable drainage pan that can easily pour out and dry after each use.
The Sweet Home also boasts impressive qualities that assist in stout drying and drainage capabilities.
Our steadfast rack, the Simplehuman, is a star here too. The original design of the swivel spout proves to be efficient for drainage, and its drying capacity is excellent.
To test durability, we looked at any evidence of rust, corrosion, or other rack malfunctions that came up during our hands-on testing. We also tested by pouring cups of water through the rack to watch for pooling during its drainage process, how the materials handle water immersion, and a vigorous clean per the manufacturer's recommendations.
The OXO Good Grips is a highly functional and durable build of a rack and is one of our top performers in this section along with the Simplehuman, iSpecle, and the Premiumracks Professional.
When rating the design/aesthetics metric, we took into consideration the rack's level of appeal.
Does the design have a particular style? Can it blend in numerous amount of kitchen types due to its low-profile design? We answered these questions and also considered rack materials and storage capacity.
The Surpahs design is commended along with the OXO and Simplehuman. Masirs collapsible design is also recommended.
We've conducted an in-depth expert comparison of the best dish racks, detailing the outcomes of our rigorous side-by-side testing. Each metric has been thoroughly assessed and we report our findings. We hope you have gained valuable insight into what rack type is best suited for you and your kitchen.
— Kate Irvin