The 6 Best Compact Dish Racks of 2022

Save space and drying time with these dish racks

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If you don't have a dishwasher, or you have items that require hand-washing, then you probably need a dish rack for drying. Since they might have to accommodate a full load of dishes, dish racks can take up a lot of counter space in your kitchen. While we could all use more counter space, a dish rack can be a particularly large sacrifice for small-apartment dwellers.

When space is at a premium, products that are compact and thoughtfully designed can make a big difference. If your dish rack is too big and too in the way, check out these options that can save you space while still doing the job of getting those dishes dry.

Here are our top picks for the best compact dish racks.

Best Overall: simplehuman Steel Frame Dishrack

Simplehuman Compact Steel Frame Dish Rack

Amazon

The simplehuman Steel Frame Dishrack is only 15.5 inches long and 15 inches wide, but even with this compact footprint it still has enough space for a full set of dishware for two. Available in a white or gray base, this dish rack stands on rubber feet that keep it stable on the counter, but is elsewhere constructed of rust-proof stainless steel.

Unlike many other dish rack designs, which use an angled surface so water can run off into your sink, the simplehuman Steel Frame Dishrack has a movable spout, so you can direct draining water wherever you need it. This makes placement much more flexible, so you don't have to commit to losing one whole side of your sink to the typical dish rack design.

With an included 10-year warranty, this dish rack is likely to be a mainstay in your kitchen for years.

Best Budget: The Container Store Folding Bamboo Dish Rack

The Container Store Folding Bamboo Dish Rack

The Container Store

This rack, which measures 17.5 inches long by 13 inches wide, folds flat when not in use, so you can lean it against the back wall or stash it under the sink. Made from long-lasting, naturally moisture-resistant renewable bamboo, it’s petite and attractive enough to leave out all the time. This is a great option for most average-sized dishes or items that have to be hand-washed, but be aware that over-sized plates may not fit well on this rack. An optional bamboo utensil holder (sold separately) makes drying dishes even more efficient.

Best Sink Dish Rack: Surpahs Over the Sink Multipurpose Roll-Up Dish Drying Rack

Surpahs Over-the-Sink Multipurpose Roll-Up Dish Drying

If you don't want to give up any counter space, then Surpahs over-the-sink drying rack is for you. It can be easily unrolled over your sink to serve as a drip-dry platform, making it especially handy for anyone with a double basin sink. Rather than a permanent installation on your counter, the Surpahs dish rack is more like a temporary drying surface.

Surpahs' silicone-wrapped steel rack measures 17.5 inches long and 13 inches wide, making it capable of fitting over most sink basins. It's non-slip, dishwasher safe, and can even be used as a trivet mat on your countertop, since it's heat resistant up to 400 F.

Best Stainless Steel Dish Rack: Oxo Good Grips Folding Stainless Steel Dish Rack

OXO Good Grips Folding Stainless Steel Dish Rack

Courtesy of Home Depot

At 20 inches long and 17 inches wide, this stainless steel rack has plenty of room for a family dinner’s worth of dishes. The side walls fold flat for storage, while the spout directs water to your sink. A large utensil holder and a horizontal holder for sharp knives make it easier for everything to drip dry. Manufacturer OXO is a member of 1% for the Planet, which donates 1% of annual sales to environmental nonprofits.

Best Expandable: Joseph Joseph Extend Steel Expandable Dish Drainer

Joseph Joseph Extend Steel Expandable Dish Drainer

Amazon

Sometimes you have a few dishes, and sometimes you have a whole sink full, so a dish rack that grows when you need it to can be a versatile addition to your countertop. When closed, the Joseph Joseph Extend Steel Expandable Dish Drainer is a little over a foot wide, but its expandable rack can slide out to provide 20.75 inches of dish drying space.

Joseph Joseph's expandable drying rack is made from stainless steel, which is recyclable, and it has non-scratch separators for holding plates and glasses. There’s also a movable section for flatware, a rail for your cutting board, and a special slot for knives. The spout underneath helps direct draining water down the sink. Plus, it comes with a two-year warranty.

Best Splurge: Dorai Dish Rack

Dorai Dish Rack

Dorai

Constructed of zinc-plated, powder-coated stainless steel, this elevated dish rack allows air to circulate around items so they dry more quickly. But its most unique feature is the mat beneath the dish drying rack.

Rather than draining water into an adjacent sink, the Dorai Dish Rack is suspended above a drying mat made from recycled paper and diatomaceous earth: a powder comprised of silica and fossilized diatoms that's both highly absorbent and quick to dry. Rather than pooling water, the Dorai's drying stone absorbs up to 150% of its weight in water, which evaporates quickly, so it's soon ready for another load of dishes.

Final Verdict

We like simplehuman’s Steel Frame Dishrack (view at Amazon) for its small footprint and 10-year warranty. If you want to use even less counter space, consider Surpahs' Over Sink Multipurpose Roll-Up Dish Drying Rack (view at Amazon), which rolls over a sink basin and acts as a temporary drying platform.

What to Look for in Compact Dish Racks

Size

Measuring in advance is essential for picking a drying rack that takes up an amount of space you're willing to accept. But while the footprint of a dish rack's width and length may be the most important dimensions, don't neglect its height, either. If a dish rack is too short, it may struggle to accommodate large dishes.

Collapsible

Decide in advance whether your situation calls for a permanently in place dish rack or something that can be set up and removed for occasional use. If you have a dishwasher and only need to hand wash occasionally, then a folding, rolling, or collapsible dish rack may be the better option.

Dish Separators

Dishes will dry faster if water can drain and air can circulate around items. Many dish racks have specific compartments for silverware, but also look for separate areas to hold upside-down glassware.

Drainage

The most common dish rack design simply elevates one side of a mat beneath the rack, allowing water to drain into the sink. This may work fine for most situations, but models with a movable spout can offer you a lot more flexibility.

FAQs

What’s the best way to clean a dish rack?

Hot water, regular dish soap, and a scrub brush will do just fine. Make sure you cover all the surfaces and compartments, then let air dry completely. If you have a dishwasher, you may be able to wash it on the top rack, too, for an occasional deep-cleaning. Check with the manufacturer to be sure it’s dishwasher-safe.

 How often should you clean a dish rack?

An independent study by NSF showed that many unexpected kitchen surfaces harbor foodborne pathogens when not cleaned regularly. While your dish rack is typically handling only clean dishes and water, is proximity to your cooking surfaces makes bacterial contamination inevitable. Make sure to clean your dish rack regularly as part of your usual kitchen cleaning routine.

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