A good dish drainer will not only make your kitchen countertop more organised, it will also help improve kitchen hygiene and allow your dishes to dry quickly.
There’s a huge choice of dish drainers available in the UK, ranging in price from under £5 to over £50.
Some are designed for small kitchens, and only have space for a few dishes, while others are much larger and can store a lot of washing up.
Some dish drainers are only designed for plates and bowls, while other can also be used for pots, pans and cutlery.
When choosing a dish drainer, you also need to think about the material it’s made from. Metal dish drainers can rust and will also accumulate stains if you live in a hard water area.
Plastic dish drainers can be a better option, or you could choose a stainless steel dish drainer which won’t rust so easily.
Best Dish Racks in the UK
What’s the best dish drainer and cutlery drainer in the UK? Read on for our reviews of the best products on the market.
We’ve researched the market and selected some of the best dish drainers for different purposes. We hope this helps you find the perfect dish drainer!
1. Delfinware Large Drainer
Dimensions: 48.5 x 37.6 x 13 cm
The Delfinware Large Drainer is a good dish drainer for families, as it should offer enough space for drying dishes after a meal for 4 people or so.
It’s a straightforward dish rack that doesn’t look very exciting but gets the job done. It’s nice and heavy at 1.4 kg, so it won’t tip over if you place a heavy plate at one end.
This drainer feels well made and sturdy, and while it’s not the cheapest drainer out there it offers good value for money and should last you years of use. It’s also easy to clean just by wiping it with a cloth.
The gap between the rungs is about 2.5 cm, which is relatively wide, so it’s not a good choice if your plates are very thin. This drainer features a cutlery holder with three compartments which you can use to sort knives, forks and spoons.
2. Wilko Collapsible Drainer
Dimensions: 36.5 x 31 x 12cm (extended)
As you’d expect from a Wilko product, this dish drainer offers very good value for money. It has space for drying several plates and bowls and also features a cutlery holder.
This dish drainer can be folded up to a height of just 5 cm, making it easy to store. This makes it a good choice for small kitchens with limited space. It’s lightweight so it’s good for taking on camping or caravanning trips.
One downside to this drainer is that it doesn’t have a drip tray, but you could fix this by finding a separate tray to fit it. This drainer is cheap, easy to clean and compact, making it a great buy if you need something for a small space.
3. Addis 2-Tier Drainer Dish Draining Rack
Dimensions: 42.5 x 33 x 26.5 cm
This two-tier dish drainer is made from stainless steel, which looks fantastic and shouldn’t rust, at least not for a long time. As it has two tiers, so you can dry more dishes than you would with a regular dish drainer. It’s also very sturdy so there’s little danger of it toppling over.
This drainer should offer enough space to dry your pots and pans as well as your dishes. A cutlery drainer isn’t included by default, but you could buy one separately.
This drainer’s feet are made from plastic to prevent the drainer from scratching your kitchen countertop. The drainer doesn’t store water underneath, so it’s best for metal surfaces that will drain water into the sink themselves.
4. Joseph Joseph Extend Expandable Dish Rack
Dimensions: 53 x 36.5 x 16 cm
Like most Joseph Joseph products, this dish rack is designed in a very smart way. It has a sliding design that lets you expand it to store more items if you need to, or condense it to save space.
It’s designed to drain water back into the sink using a draining spout, and the base has raised ribs to stop water getting trapped under plates and bowls. This makes it more hygienic than many other draining racks that don’t actually drain the water away effectively.
This drainer is made of plastic so it won’t rust. The design looks modern and stylish, and the plastic used is tough and high quality.
The ability to expand and then close up the drainer is great if you have a small kitchen and need to be able to save space when you’re not using the drainer.
While we’re big fans of this drainer, it does have some flaws. The plug doesn’t always work perfectly, so it can leak onto your countertop. It’s also quite expensive, as you pay a premium for the Joseph Joseph brand.
5. simplehuman Plastic Compact Dishrack
This dish rack from simplehuman has a smart design with all the essential features you could want from a dish drainer. It has a steel wire rack for plates, a removable cutlery drainer and a 360° pivoting drainage spout.
The drainage spout helps stop water from accumulating on the bottom of the drainer, preventing it from getting grimy. However, one common issue with this dish rack is that the attachment for the water spout is quite flimsy so it can fall off.
This dish drainer looks stylish and is available in a choice of three colours: white, grey and black. It has carrying handles which make it easy to move around. The gaps for plates are about an inch wide, so it can fit deep plates.
This dish drainer is relatively expensive, but it’s a well made product that should last a few years before you need to replace it.
How to Choose a Dish Drainer
When buying a dish drainer, there are a few things to consider to ensure you get the right one for your needs, including:
The size of your dish drainer is really important. You can buy dish drainers that are the full size of your draining board, half that size, or simply cutlery drainers, for example.
The size you choose depends on how many dishes you need to stack and how much space you’ll need on the draining board for pots and pans and things.
There are plenty of shapes and sizes of dish drainers available, so you can pretty much get a custom size to suit the space.
We go into this in a bit more detail below, but the material your dish drainer is made from is a big consideration.
You can choose metal, wood (usually bamboo) or plastic. In some cases, you have a combination of these materials.
Depending on the look you are after and how easy you’d like cleaning to be, the material really matters.
In general, metal drainers are easier to clean than the others because they are more open. Plus, metal offers quite a modern design.
Wood is a bit trickier to clean and more important to clean to prevent mould, but it offers a lovely traditional look.
Plastic dish drainers can be the hardest to clean because the draining gaps are smaller and often aren’t the most stylish. However, they are very practical, lightweight and often the cheapest option.
Lastly, do you want a simple dish drainer that sits nicely on top of your draining board and gives you some slots to secure your plates?
Or do you want a multi-tier drainer that allows you to hold a lot more stuff? These are excellent if you have a smaller drying space that you want to maximise.
Dish Drainer FAQs
Is plastic or metal better for a dish rack?
Metal dish racks provide a bit of a nicer style to your home and can work very nicely if you have other metal racks and things in your kitchen.
They also drain very quickly. As most metal dish drainers are made from thin pipes, the water can’t pool anywhere, so your dishes dry quickly. However, metal dish racks will rust over time (this will take several years, though).
Plastic dish drainers, on the other hand, are not as stylish (in most cases) but are longer lasting than almost any other dish rack on the market.
Plastic doesn’t collect mould like wood or rust like metal, so as long as you keep it, a plastic dish rack will last you for decades.
They usually have plenty of draining spots, too, so water drains away fast, and they are available in just about every style imaginable.
Just like every other thing in your kitchen, which dish drainer you buy is, of course, personal preference.
We have had plastic and metal dish drainers in our home, and we prefer metal ones. They drain the excess water really quickly, and as long as you keep them dry, they last a really long time. Plus, I feel, at least, that they are the best-looking dish drainers available.
Do bamboo dish racks go mouldy?
Bamboo dish drainers will begin to go mouldy, and bacteria will start to grow on the surface over time. This can be prevented by cleaning your bamboo dish rack to remove the mould and soap scum, though.
Also, letting the bamboo completely dry out will greatly help.
Of course, as it is a dish rack, it may remain damp for quite some time throughout its life, so regular cleaning is a must to prevent bacteria and mould build-up.
How do you dry dishes in a small kitchen?
Washing up as you go can really help if you don’t have too much space. When my partner is baking, for example, she washes up the mixing bowls, measuring jugs and utensils after she’s done using them.
That way, they are dry when the bread or cake is finished baking, and she is ready for the next step in the process.
If you aren’t too keen on washing up as you go, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. In this case, a multi-tier dish rack is ideal if you have a smaller kitchen. It adds two tiers to your draining board, so you can add more dishes to your draining board.
For even larger items, I often place a tea towel on the counter next to the sink and leave them there to dry. This is a handy trick for stock pots, large saucepans and slow cookers, for example.
Just ensure you drain the water from the pots and pans, and clean up any excess water from under the tea towel when finished.
Are dish racks clean?
As long as you clean the dish rack periodically, then bacteria on dish racks is kept to a minimum.
The key to keeping a dish drainer clean and bacteria-free is to clean it and dry it as often as you can. This is especially true for bamboo racks, but metal and plastic drainers also need to be cleaned and dried regularly to prevent bacteria build-up and rust from forming (on metal drainers).
Are drainer grooves necessary on a dish drainer?
Most dish drainers do have grooves in them to ensure that water doesn’t pool on the surface. Most have gaps built into the construction to allow the water to fall straight onto the draining board, which will then make its way to the sink.
Drainer grooves are not absolutely essential on a dish drainer, but they are extremely handy to have. Firstly, they prevent water pooling in the bottom of the drainer.
Over time, this water will turn pretty stale and yucky with bacteria growing in it. Secondly, it actually allows your dishes and cutlery to dry, not just sit in a pool of water.
So, while a few dish drainers don’t have grooves to drain the water, and they are not essential, they are well worth having to speed up drying times and keep bacteria at bay.
How often should you change your dish rack?
Now, this greatly depends on the material your dish rack is made from and how regularly you clean and dry it. However, if you own a wooden dish rack and start to notice any black marks, it is time to replace it. This is mould, and this means that bacteria are starting to grow on the wood.
If your dish rack is metal, a good indication of when you should replace it is any areas of rust. A few spots of rust on areas that don’t come in contact with your dishes or utensils aren’t really an issue. However, if you notice the rust spots growing, you may want to consider replacing the rack.
Plastic dish drainers are really hardwearing. They don’t grow mould or rust, although bacteria can still build up on the surface, so cleaning is still required regularly. You only really need to replace plastic dish drainers if they are damaged or if you’d like a bit of a different look for your kitchen.
If we had to pick just one dish drainer to recommend for most households, it would be the Delfinware Large Drainer.
It’s a generously sized dish rack that should be large enough for families. It’s not the cheapest dish drainer available, but it’s tough and sturdy so it should last you years before you need to replace it.
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