The Best Dish-Drying Racks and Mats, According to Kitchn Editors

updated Oct 19, 2021
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(Image credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani)

Even if you’re lucky enough to have a dishwasher, you still have to wash plenty of items by hand — especially these days while we’ve all been cooking more at home. And especially if you value your knives or cookware in the slightest! What you do with that item once it’s washed is its own issue. Where do you put it once it’s clean and you’ve got wet hands with the water going? When it comes to the best dish rack, some people prefer to stack stuff up on a standard-issue tea towel. Some people prefer an extra-absorbent mat. And some people want, yes, an actual dish rack — a full setup with drainage and all sorts of compartments and spokes.

Not surprisingly, the preferences span the gamut even among our own Kitchn editors! We asked the team to share their favorite dish-drying solutions and what they love about them. We think the answers highlight the best products for every sort of preference.

1 / 7

"I don't like to take up too much room on my (limited) counter, so I like that I can keep this drying pad out when dishes are still wet, and put it away when they're done! It folds into a little square and fits in my drawer with dishtowels." — Lauren Masur, Staff Writer

2 / 7
was $18.99

"If there are babies in a house, you can bet this rack will be in the kitchen. It's that popular — for good reason. Not only is it downright adorable, but it's also super functional. The faux grass elevates pieces, allowing air to circulate around them. The open configuration allows you to stack and dry all sorts of stuff. And the two pieces come apart for thorough cleanings." Faith Durand, Editor-in-Chief

3 / 7

"Knowing full well that, no matter how much I wanted to, I'd never actually be putting my empty dish rack in a cabinet between wash sessions, I decided that I wanted something pretty that I could happily leave out. I used to have a cute copper option, which was pretty, but not functional at all. (Glasses fell over and broke!) Then, I remembered YAMAZAKI home (read: These Are the Most Stylish Kitchen Organizers We've Ever Seen) and bought this number. It was more than I wanted to spend, but I haven't regretted the purchase at all. It's beautiful, drains water back into the sink, and has a well-thought-out design." Lisa Freedman, Lifestyle Director

4 / 7

"I love my dish drain board. I put it under a cheap wire rack and it makes the whole setup a million times better. It keeps my counter clean and dry and is super easy to scrub in the sink when needed. It was difficult to find something narrow enough for my small kitchen, but this one works like charm!" — Emma Glubiak, Audience Development Associate

5 / 7

"This silicone drying mat is my favorite alternative to a cloth drying pad or bulky drying rack because it can be rinsed clean as needed, rolled up for quick storage, and even washed in the dishwasher. The ridges help air circulate around drying pots and pans, and the grippy surface keeps stacked pans and bowls from sliding around." Meghan Splawn, Associate Food Editor

6 / 7
was $21.49

"I think the best drying mat is actually a simple dish towel. I need towels anyway, so this way I'm not buying anything special or extra. I just lay out a clean towel before I start washing and line up the pieces as I clean. Then, I either use another towel to dry or let everything sit overnight. There's no reason to reinvent the wheel here." Ariel Knutson, Features Director

7 / 7
Bed Bath & Beyond

“I’ve been on the hunt for a rack that I can easily tuck away, but still has enough space for lots of dishes. I finally found this one and I love how sturdy it is and that it has a compartment for utensils, which some foldable ones don’t have. Also, it can be thrown in the dishwasher when it gets dingy!” — Sheela Prakash, Senior Contributing Food Editor

What about you? Do use a dish towel? Something else? Tell us in the comments below!