Kitchn Love Letters

I Spent 3 Years Searching for the Perfect Dish Rack — I Finally Found It

published Jul 8, 2021
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Woman washing dishes
Credit: Sarah Crowley

After three years of research, I spent almost $100 on a dish rack and I want the whole world to know it.

I should be clear upfront: I’m not normally a careful shopper who values time and research. Generally speaking, I’m the type to buy a case of rosé just because the label is pretty, or book a flight on a whim (I blame the case of rosé).

So why it took me three years of agonizing and hand-wringing to buy a new dish-drying rack is anyone’s guess. The last dish rack I owned I bought at Bed, Bath & Beyond for less than $10. It worked fine; it held dishes after I washed them. But did it work so well that it justified my moving it to three different homes, including one in Alabama and two in New York?

No. I shouldn’t have hauled a $10 soap-scummed plastic dish rack across the country.

During this time, I was never satisfied with my dish rack. Although it was functional, it was also ugly. Really, it looked as cheap as it was. And because I don’t own a dishwasher, I wash and dry my dishes by hand. Translation: I used this tool multiple times a day, every day. Each time I saw it, I thought, What an ugly dish rack. I hate it so much.

I would, occasionally, look at other dish racks — better, more beautiful ones. But they cost gobs of money. We’re talking prices in the $80s and up. Sure, I was willing to shell out hundreds of dollars for a plane ticket. But that’s a plane ticket

Finally, this spring, after a morning spent lining my stained dish rack with bleach-soaked cotton balls in an attempt to remove said stains, I decided enough was enough. I took the plunge and bought a white Yamazaki rack, aka the model I’d been lusting after for almost as long as I had my old one. It cost $78 before tax and shipping. (I got mine off of Food52, but it’s available elsewhere, too, like on Amazon.)

Credit: Rochelle Bilow

And guess what? This purchase has exponentially increased my happiness. I would do it again in a heartbeat … and I definitely wish I’d bought it sooner. Here’s why this dish rack was absolutely worth it.

1. It is the most beautiful dish rack you can buy.

I bought the Yamazaki largely based on aesthetics. It has smooth, ash wood handles and tall, delicate sides. It looks like a piece of art and, frankly, it kind of is. While there are other dish racks, also with favorable reviews, they’re largely made with stainless steel. If you favor a more natural look in your living space, the Yamazaki model is beyond compare.

Credit: Rochelle Bilow

2. The sides are super tall.

The best part about this dish rack is the tall sides. I didn’t realize how low the sides of my old rack were, but now I’ll never go back to a shorter option. A drying rack with tall sides, like this one, keeps all of your pots, pans, plates, and utensils corralled in … without any danger of them falling, or dripping all over the countertop. A friend asked if I missed having side prongs to hang glassware. Honestly? I never used those. I was always afraid the glasses would slide off and shatter. This rack is 19 inches long, 13 inches wide, and a whopping 8 inches tall. So, it can hold a lot of dishes — glassware included.

3. It comes with a rimmed tray.

Instead of a sloped side that drains into the sink and has to be positioned just right, water collects in a walled basin. It’s easy to dump periodically, meaning you don’t have to place it within a millimeter of your sink.

The bottom line: It was worth it.

I knew I’d appreciate how the Yamazaki wood-handled dish rack looked in my kitchen, but I’ve been surprised at how functional it is, too. It brings me joy every single time I use it, making it a worthwhile purchase in my book. Buyer’s remorse? Not here!

Do you have a favorite dish rack? Tell us about it in the comments!