Best dish drainers: 6 drying racks for a stress-free washing up time

Make our least favourite household chore a little easier with the best dish drainer. They will keep your worktop tidy and cut drying time, too

Brabantia light grey dish rack
(Image credit: Brabantia)

While nobody likes washing up, the best dish drainer with make the job much easier – even if not enjoyable. And this year, with us all at home ALL THE TIME there sure has been much more home cooking, and therefore more washing up.

So what do you need to look for in this kitchen must have? Well first, there are options to use over an existing draining area, but we have included some great choices if you sink has no drying board. Then you want to consider if you will leave your new drying rack by the sink or want one that folds away. If the former, looks are an important consideration.

So whether you are simply after functionality or something that matches the look of your kitchen, we have picked out the best dish rackers and drainers to make washing up as hassle free as can be. See our top picks below.

If you have had enough of doing the dishes, check out the best dishwashers – they don't negate the need for a dish rack, but if you have space it will cut your time spent at the sink.

The best dish drainers

Best dish drainer you can buy: Joseph Joseph Connect Adjustable 3-Piece Dish Rack

1. Joseph Joseph Connect Adjustable 3-Piece Dish Rack

Best dish drainer you can buy: an adjustable drainer that looks good even when it’s not in use, this is the best dish rack bar none

Specifications
Best for: Designer dish rack
Size: HWD 11x22x27cm
Adjustable: Yes
Material: Plastic
Reasons to buy
+Double tiered+Drains excess water 
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive 

This plastic dish rack is completely adjustable so you can shape it to your needs and make the most of the draining space you have. It has an integrated spout which is designed to drain excess water more so than other standard dish rack and it’s incredibly sturdy so you don’t have to worry about loading it up with lots of dishes. Users like that it is easily stored away when not in use, but do think that it is a little pricey for what it is. However, customers love it because it looks smart in their kitchen and stops puddles from taking over their draining board. It may be expensive, but it is unlikely to wear like other plastic drainers do, meaning it’s a worthwhile investment to keep your kitchen tidy.

Brabantia light grey dish rack

(Image credit: Brabantia)

2. Brabantia dish drying rack

Best large dish drying rack: plenty of space for your dishes and more

Specifications
Best for: Large loads
Size: HLD 14.2x49.2x38.6cm
Adjustable: No
Material: Plastic, corrosion resistant metal
Reasons to buy
+Removable cutlery holder+Includes tray to drain water into sink+Corrosion resistant metal
Reasons to avoid
-Plate slots not angled enough for very large, curved plates

This large dish rack includes a tray that will drain water into your sink, so is well suited if your sink has no draining area. It can be used without the tray too, and includes a plastic cutlery holder with holes in the bottom, that you can carry to your drawers for easy packing way. The capacity is great with slots for up to 14 plates and there is an area to the side with plenty of space for glasses and pans. The metal is corrosion resistant so it carries a five-year guarantee, but note that it can not be put in the dishwasher. It also looks less utilitarian than some other offerings so has a neat look on your worktop, and comes in light or dark grey. The only issues we found was that the plate slots may not be angled enough for some plates and they will need to be supported by plates in front.

Best compact dish drainer: OXO Good Grips Foldaway Dish Rack

3. OXO Good Grips Foldaway Dish Rack

Best compact dish drainer: a handy dish rack that can be stored away when not in use

Specifications
Best for: Folding away
Size: HLD 10.4x51.3x33cm
Adjustable: Yes
Material: Plastic, Metal
Reasons to buy
+Spout for draining+Self-contained tray 
Reasons to avoid
-Can get dirty  

This dish rack is great for those who don’t have a draining board already, as this can sit on the kitchen worktop and it will collect any excess water in its self-contained tray. The only trouble with this is that some users noted it can get dirty quickly when it’s not automatically draining the water, but since it is collapsible, this dish rack is designed to be drained and dried before being stored out of the way. Customers say that it is an extremely flexible tool that can dry all crockery, cutlery and glasses without fear of damage but that it may not be big enough for households of three or more. 

Best dish drainer for small kitchens: Simplehuman Compact Dish Drainer

4. Simplehuman Compact Dish Drainer

Best dish drainer for small kitchens: living in what feels like a micro-kitchen? this little but practical dish drainer is the best option for you

Specifications
Best for: Keeping things tidy
Size: HWD 16.5x33x37cm
Adjustable: No
Material: Steel, Plastic
Reasons to buy
+Compact +Handles on either side
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey for the size

Small kitchens don’t need anything else taking up space on the worktop, which is why this Simplehuman dish rack is ideal for households of one or two people. Its compact container has handles which make it easy to pick up and move around, and it’s designed to fit in the kitchen sink once the washing up is done, so that all your countertops remain free from clutter. It would be enough to hold a single wash load, but if you’re one to let the washing up pile up, you’re unlikely to fit it all in this drainer.

Best practical dish drainer: Umbra Tub Dish Drying Rack

5. Umbra Tub Dish Drying Rack

Best practical dish drainer: keep everything contained in this handy tub with handles

Specifications
Best for: Putting things away
Size: LWH 33x37x18cm
Adjustable: No
Material: Plastic
Reasons to buy
+Choice of colours+Easy to move around
Reasons to avoid
-Can be difficult to keep clean-Can't hold pots and pans

This self-contained tub keeps all of your crockery in one place and allows you to put everything away where it belongs when dry due to its carry handles. It’s a little narrow so it can’t hold pots and pans, but it’s perfect for your everyday bits and bobs. It comes in a range of colours to suit all kitchens and it won’t break the bank. Users have said it can be a little tricky to clean as it doesn’t have a draining spout, but it does fit neatly in your kitchen sink, making it the best dish rack for small kitchens with limited surface space.

Best dish drainer for drying glasses: Lakeland Diamond Glass Drying Mat

6. Lakeland Diamond Glass Drying Mat

Best dish drainer for drying glasses: a simple way to dry mugs and glasses on your worktop, this is the best drying mat for draining glasses

Specifications
Best for: Draining glasses
Size: L46xW41cm
Adjustable: No
Material: Microfibre fabric
Reasons to buy
+Keeps counter top dry+Machine washable
Reasons to avoid
-Mat gets very wet 

If you don’t like the idea of a dish rack, or you need something in addition to your dish rack, then this drying mat is the best way to drain your mugs, glasses and bowls. It can easily sit on your worktop next to the sink and is a much better way of keeping your worktop dry than using a tea towel. The only downside is users say the mat itself then gets very wet, meaning it needs to be wrung out occasionally. It is machine washable though, which stops it from gathering mildew or mould and it’ll also protect your worktop from getting chipped or scratched by the crockery. 

How to buy the best dish drainer

How much crockery can it hold?
Before you buy, bear in mind that it's not just about how it looks – you need to think about your kitchen worktops and how much room you have. If you often have lots of washing up, then a double tiered dish rack will save you taking up too much space. Or, if it's only mugs and glasses you need to drain, sometimes a mat can be less intrusive. If you have a dishwasher you only really need space for anything that isn't dishwasher friendly (though it helps to have enough room for a full load when you dishwasher is already full). 

Display or put away?
For those who like to keep their kitchen looking like a showroom, then a fold away dish rack will allow you to pretend the washing up never existed once it’s dried. Fold away ones are also less likely to be susceptible to the build-up of limescale or dirt because they are not left with stagnant water on them after the dishes have been put away, too.

Material considerations
Metal racks are strong and usually more slimline, but look for one that won't corrode – it will have water on it after all. Plastic racks are very easy to clean so if you go for plastic, find a durable offering that is built to last.