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10 best dish racks to add to your kitchen
Whether you like to wash up by hand or just need somewhere to air-dry your pots and pans, a dish rack can be a handy addition to your kitchen. We round up the best of the bunch.
By Annabel Ross | Last updated Mar 1, 2023
Even if you have a dishwasher, it’s likely that you’ll make use of a trusty dish rack from time to time. If you want to reuse items quickly or only have a few dirty dishes in the sink, it makes sense to have a suitable drainage option to hand.
There are plenty of traditional wired and wooden dish racks to choose from but it’s worth looking out for handy features like expandable trays, drainage spouts and dedicated sections to dry wine glasses. Whatever your drying needs, we’ve got them all covered with our pick of the best dish racks according to Mumsnet users. As the largest online network of UK parents, Mumsnetters are a vital resource for the recommendations for the most practical items for the home, from the best freezers to the best cleaning products and top oven cleaners.
Here are the best dish racks to buy in 2023.
Best dish racks: at a glance
1. Best overall dish rack: Joseph Joseph Expandable Dish Rack
Price on writing: £40 | Buy now from Amazon
Size: 36 x 53 x 16cm | Material: Metal and plastic | Adjustable: Yes
What Mumsnet users say
"Check out Joseph Joseph dish drainers. Very stylish and practical." (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Lillipops)
Popular homeware brand, Joseph Joseph creates products that combine style with quality and this dish rack is a prime example. It’s expandable so you can reduce its size to almost half its fully extended length, making it really compact.
It has a drip tray with an integrated plug, allowing water to be collected during washing up and it features a generous utensil container as well as soft covered non-scratch 'spikes' to securely hold plates, bowls and glasses without damaging them.
Modern and sleek, this would look great in any kitchen. It’s not the cheapest item on our list, but it’s well worth the money.
If you're looking for more ways to up your dishwashing game this spring, don't miss our guides to the best dishwashers and dishwasher tablets as rated by Mumsnet users.
2. Best budget dish rack: Argos Home Dish Drainer
Price on writing: £9 | Buy now from Argos
Size: 14 x 32 x 43cm | Material: Metal | Adjustable: No
If you think of a budget dish rack, you might have a plastic contraption in mind, but this affordable accessory from Argos is way more stylish with its cool rose gold finish. Its rubber-coated feet make the rack non-slip and it’s guaranteed for a year.
It’s a little on the small side, and there’s no cutlery holder, so it wouldn’t be the most practical option for a large family, but at £6 it’s extremely affordable, and could even be purchased as a second draining rack for overspill items when you have lots to wash up – as long as you can afford extra space on your countertop!
Read next: Looking for more Mumsnet-approved items for the home? Don't miss our guides to the best fridge freezers and best kitchen bins.
3. Best dish rack for versatility: Simplehuman Steel Frame Dish Rack
Price on writing: £80 | Buy now from Amazon
Size: 57 x 51 x 29cm | Material: Stainless steel and plastic | Adjustable: No
What Mumsnet users say
"I have a Simplehuman dish rack and I love it." (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user ApolloandDaphne)
Simplehuman is a brand with a renowned reputation for both design and style — as long as you’re willing to foot the bill!
It has an integrated wine glass rack allowing glasses to be hung upside down from the base, preventing delicate glass from damage and reducing watermarks. It also has silicone-coated wire racks for a more secure grip on plates, and the plastic drip trays have a hydrophilic coating, which causes water to spread across the tray, drying out more quickly and preventing residue build-up.
A separate utensil holder and hooks for mugs and tumblers help to keep the space in the centre free for plates, bowls and other items, which means the rack can store a large load – ideal for busy families.
This is a real investment buy, and many people would probably not be able to justify the high price, but it would make a lovely housewarming or wedding gift. And, on the subject of kitchen items you can gift, don't miss our guides to the best placemats and best tea towels.
4. Best dish mat: Diamond Dish Drying Mat for Glasses and Cups
Price on writing: £10 | Buy now from Lakeland
Size: 46 x 41cm | Material: Machine-washable polyester | Adjustable: No
What Mumsnet users say
"If you don’t want a rack, you could get an absorbent dish drying mat that can be folded away. I have one for overspill and it’s very effective" (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Deux)
Dish mats are great because they take up very little space and can be rolled up or placed inside a kitchen drawer when not in use.
Cheap to buy, these mats are also a great option as a second dish drainer (particularly for glassware) to hold excess items.
Made from a durable machine-washable polyester, it’s quick-drying so you can reuse it without having to wait too long between washing up sessions, and the fabric is also highly absorbent, making it a more effective option than placing a tea towel on your countertop. It even comes with an impressive three-year guarantee.
Read next: Find out how Mumsnet users rank the best glass cleaners in our handy guide.
5. Best over-the-sink dish rack: SNTD Over Sink Dish Drying Rack
Price on writing: From £55 | Buy now from Amazon
Size: 32D x 85W x 52H cms | Material: Stainless steel | Adjustable: Yes
This over-the-sink dish rack features a variety of storage caddies so it can be used as a very effective kitchen tidy for dishcloths, sponges, soap and much more.
It doesn’t take up too much surface space because the majority of its storage is spread over the length of the sink itself and will happily sit at the back of your countertop without being too intrusive — make sure to measure if you have enough height space though. It’s also expandable, allowing it to fit over almost any size of sink.
The downside is that it could look cluttered in small kitchens, especially when fully loaded. It's a great option for large families though, and we love the utensil containers placed on high tiers, away from mischievous hands looking to explore dangerous and sharp kitchen items.
At just over £50 it isn’t a cheap option, but well worth the investment for those who would benefit from its innovative design.
6. Best wooden dish rack: John Lewis Modern Country Beech Dish Drainer
Price: £35 | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners
Size: H17 x W32.5 x D49cm | Material: Beech wood | Adjustable: No
If you fancy a more traditional look for your dish rack, this X-shaped drainer from John Lewis features plenty of space for pots, pans, dishes and cutlery while giving your counter top a stylish, country feel.
While wood is not always the most practical option when teamed with wet crockery, there's no denying that this is one of the more attractive dish drainer options on our list, and many consumers report that they've had theirs for years with no problems. It features a fold out lower shelf for smaller items and folds away completely when not needed.
7. Best dish rack for small kitchens: ILO Clam Shell Small Compact Dish Drainer
Price on writing: £25 | Buy now from Lakeland
Size: 32 x 39 x 14cm | Material: Plastic | Adjustable: Yes
Want a stylish, substantial dish rack, but tight on kitchen space? This sleek and compact option is a great buy. It features a spiky edge, allowing you to hook mugs and other glassware on the sides, keeping the centre free for other items.
It also has two drainage spouts for flexibility and you can tilt the rack using the detachable tall and short feet, allowing water to drain back into your sink from any direction.
The separate utensil holder keeps cutlery stored neatly away and can be detached or placed anywhere around the rack. The tall sides allow you to pile items quite high while keeping dishes safe and supported.
8. Best luxury dish rack: KitchenAid Large Full Size Dish Rack
Price on writing: £195| Buy now from Amazon
Size: 51 x 38 x 17cm | Material: Stainless steel and plastic | Adjustable: No
This one will really impress your friends. A total luxury buy with a price tag to match at £195. Foodies will know that KitchenAid is a trusted brand and a safe pair of hands for all things kitchen gadget. Made from stainless steel, it won’t rust and it has a generous utensil container, spanning the full width of the rack. It’s large enough to cope with sizeable loads including glassware, dishes and varying sizes of pots and pans.
Soft non-slip feet won’t damage your countertops, and a tilted drainboard that tips excess water quickly back into the sink makes this a premium design. The stylish and supremely sturdy metallic structure will go the distance wash after wash.
9. Best foldaway dish rack: OXO Good Grips Foldaway Dish Rack
Price on writing: £30 | Buy now from Amazon
Size: 48.25 x 39.5 x 16cm (49.2cm x 31.7cm x 7.30cm, when folded) | Material: Plastic and metal | Adjustable: Yes
This rack from OXO is really convenient for people without much countertop space. Once you’ve finished using it, simply fold it up and store it away in a cupboard or drawer.
It features pop out legs and a spout to ensure water drains away when in use, and it comes with two utensil containers for draining cutlery and similar items, such as whisks and measuring spoons.
This rack is dishwasher-safe, so it’s really easy to keep clean, and the light grey/white colours help to make it blend into the background when you have it out and in use, which is helpful if you don’t have much space.
10. Best two-tier dish rack: Galaxy Two-Tier Large Dish Drainer
Price on writing: £14 | Buy now from Amazon
Size: 28 x 45 x 27cm | Material: Plastic | Adjustable: No
This dish rack allows you to separate your plates and other dishes on a separate level from your mugs and glassware. It has a utensils compartment as well as some convenient hooks, useful for any bulkier items that can be hung to drip dry – you could also use these hooks as a nifty space to hang wet washing up gloves or perch cloths and sponges on to dry out.
Both tiers have drip trays to catch excess water, and although it's made from plastic, it’s pretty sturdy. One criticism would be that it’s not the most stylish-looking rack to have on display but it’s functional and a great price.
How to choose the best dish rack
Consider the space you have and how frequently you wash up to work out what size of dish rack to buy. You might not have enough space for pots and pans in your dishwasher, in which case you’ll need a dish rack that covers a sizeable area, perhaps with tall edges so you can pile items high. Or maybe you want to drain delicate glassware and are looking for a dish mat to suit your needs.
Best advice? Think about the amount of washing up you do, and what you wash up most often. Then measure up the space you have. The answers narrow down your options. Then pick the one that most appeals to you and your budget.
Are dish racks sanitary?
It really depends on how you look after it. As with all kitchen equipment, items are in contact with food, water and other liquids such as soaps and detergents. Dish racks, like your dishwasher, need to be cleaned and maintained regularly to avoid newly washed crockery and glassware becoming contaminated once placed onto the rack.
Be sure to empty drip trays and don’t allow old water to sit and accumulate bacteria. Don’t let rust build up on metal dish racks either, and keep an eye on wooden racks that may get damp and rot after long-term use.
However, the process of drip drying items on a rack is very sanitary. Many people like to wash and then quickly dry items with a tea towel. But actually, dust and germs on tea towels can sometimes be transferred onto your washed up items, which can undo all the hard work you’ve done.
Our top tip? As long as you keep your rack as clean as possible, then leaving items to air-dry is ultimately very safe and hygienic.
Is plastic or metal better for a dish rack?
It depends on what you're after, look-wise. While some consider stainless steel to be more sturdy than plastic options, you can get some very high quality dish racks in the latter material. And, of course, there's also wood if you'd like a more traditional, shaker-style kitchen look.
Are dish racks dishwasher-safe?
No. It’s important to do your research and make sure you carefully look at the materials your chosen dish rack is made from. It’s worth noting that while some parts might be dishwasher-safe, some may not be, so double check this before tossing the whole thing into your machine.
What’s the best dish rack to buy?
Our pick is the Joseph Joseph Expandable Dish Rack which combines style and quality for a mid-range price. It’s expandable, allowing you to reduce its size to almost half of its fully extended length and it comes with some impressive features to help make washing up a breeze.
How we chose our recommendations
We did some research across the wider web, looking at which dish racks had won accolades or been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites and print media, and what customer reviews said about them.
We also consulted independent review sites, as well as scouring the internet for honest reviews from the public, to ensure we were bringing you an honest summary.
Why you should trust us
Mumsnet has been helping parents make their lives easier since 2000 and, in those years, we’ve seen, tried and reviewed thousands of products.
We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust and we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find products that real parents rate.
Transparency is really important to us and that's why we're always upfront about where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family.