Which dish strainers are best?

Dish strainers, also known as dish racks, drying racks and drainboard sets, hold dishes in place after handwashing. Some people wash dishes by hand because they don’t have a dishwasher. Some with dishwashers prefer washing by hand, especially when it is only a few items and they don’t want to waste the hot water and electricity for less than a full load.

What you want in a dish drainer and drying rack is a product that is sturdy, durable and the right size for your needs. If you want a stylish stainless alloy steel rack for drying your dishes, the simplehuman Steel Frame Kitchen Dish Drying Rack is a great choice.

What to know before you buy a dish drying rack

Types of dish racks and strainers

  • Full-size dish racks have space for dishes, bowls, glasses, cups and flatware. Most full-size dish strainers sit on top of drainboards or trays that channel the water back into the sink to keep the countertop dry. 
  • Compact dish racks usually have all the same features as full-size dish strainers but only enough room for dinnerware for small households. Because they have smaller footprints, compact dish racks are also the choice of people who don’t have enough counter space for a full-sized rack.
  • Over-the-sink dish racks straddle the edges of the sink. Because the racks don’t extend outside the sink, they do not need drainboards. Over-sink drain racks are usually smaller than compact versions and are best for drying cups and glasses.
  • In-sink dish racks also do not need a drain tray because they sit on the floor of the sink. They are typically small enough to fit in one side of a double compartment sink.
  • Collapsible dish racks transform into small, compact packages for easy storage.
  • Wall-mounted dish racks have lots more capacity than any countertop, on-sink or in-sink drying racks. They take up no counter space, can be put anywhere and go vertical with two and three tiers of drying racks. People with wall-mounted dish strainers need no drain plates because they catch drips with a simple towel. Stylishly made wall-mounted racks often do double duty as storage shelves, too.

What to look for in a quality dish drying rack


  • Stainless steel is the most robust dish drain material. It holds the most weight while maintaining its shape and structural integrity.
  • Plastic is the cheapest and lightest. It is not strong enough to hold heavy items and easily loses its shape.
  • Rubber is the material of choice for collapsible dish strainers because it is so flexible.
  • Wooden dish racks work best if not used often enough to become saturated with water. They are sometimes the material of choice for wall-mounted dish strainers used as permanent racks not only for drying but also for storage.


Choose the dish strainer that best handles the type and quantity of glassware you use frequently. Wine glasses need careful handling and room between them to dry properly without damage.

How much you can expect to spend on dish drying rack

There are plenty of options for drying your dinnerware for less than $25. Larger racks made of better materials cost anywhere from $25-$75. Above $75 is where you will find top-tier dish racks and wall-mounted racks that also store your dishes and glassware. 

Dish drying rack FAQ

Why does my dish drying rack get scummy so quickly?

A. This is usually the result of not rinsing completely. The leftover soap suds and grime discolor your drying rack and tray. Frequent rinsing and occasional washing should take care of this common problem.

What can I put in a dish rack?

A. Just about anything you can wash in a kitchen will drain nicely in a dish rack if it stays within the rack’s design limits. 

What’s the best dish drying rack to buy?

Top dish drying rack 

simplehuman Steel Frame Kitchen Dish Drying Rack

simplehuman Steel Frame Kitchen Dish Drying Rack

What you need to know: This is a stylish and well-made 16 by 12-inch rack for drying dishes.

What you’ll love: The fingerprint-proof stainless alloy steel frame weighs 8 pounds and is very sturdy. The integrated wine rack safely hangs four large wine glasses upside down, so they dry quickly and efficiently. The other side has a rack for 4 cups or glasses. A separate compartment keeps utensils upright. The drain spout pivots so you can set up this dish rack, so the long side or the short side is closest to the sink.

What you should consider: Some people said their dish strainer rusted.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top dish drying rack for the money

Simple Houseware Two Tier Dish Rack With Drainboard

Simple Houseware Two Tier Dish Rack With Drainboard

What you need to know: This study metal dish drain has two tiers to reduce the footprint to 17 inches by 11 inches.

What you’ll love: This 4-pound drain rack uses chromed metal. The top-level is for dishes and plates and the lower level is for bowls. The cutlery bucket is detachable, and there are places on the sides to hang cups.

What you should consider: The space between the top and bottom tier is too low for most glassware. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

OXO Good Grips Convertible Foldaway Dish Rack

OXO Good Grips Convertible Foldaway Dish Rack

What you need to know: This stainless steel 20 by 13-inch dish drainer is compact, convenient and convertible.

What you’ll love: The pop-up plate rack folds down to accommodate larger items and is safe for fine china and delicate glassware. Cups and glasses are dried inside to avoid drips on the counter. The sidewalls, legs and spout fold up for more compact storage. 

What you should consider: Some say the design does not drain the water away as well as it should. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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