Updated February 16, 2020 – Even if you regularly use a dishwasher, a dish drainer is still nice-to-have in any kitchen. But what’s the best dish drainer for pots and pans? Especially if you’re like me and like to wash your pots and pans by hand.
So, if you’re on the lookout for a nice dish drainer, let the nerdy Kitchen Professor do the research for you.
We all know that stacking pots, pans, and lids on a dish drainer is like playing a game of Jenga where you always lose!
Looking for a dish rack right away? Check out the SimpleHuman Dish Rack here at Amazon.
Sometimes you get the balance just right, and it sits okay for hours. Then, crash! Seemingly out of nowhere, gravity affirms itself in the room and pulls down your leaning tower of Pisa.
Which dish drainers are the best?
The 3 most important features when it comes to the best dish drainers for pots and pans are space, strength, and drainage.
You need enough space to easily stack those pots and pans. And on top of it all, you need more space for those lids with their annoying handles. But without proper drainage, your pots and pans won’t dry properly. And if you make the mistake of buying a dish drainer that’s flimsy, you’ll be in for a bumpy ride.
There are about as many dish drainers as there are kitchens and it can be difficult to navigate through all your options. So here at The Kitchen Professor, we’ve done the hard work for you. Explore the best options available and make the right choice to suit your kitchen and your needs.
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SimpleHuman Steel Frame Dish Rack
First up is the SimpleHuman Steel Frame Dish Rack. This dish rack has a creative design, it’s functional and it’s good looking too.
The SimpleHuman Steel Frame Dish Rack is designed with a drip-free tray and 360-degree swivel spout. This innovative drainage system guides the water into the sink, keeping your countertops dry and stain free.
It’s also designed with feet to raise the drainer off your countertop. This keeps your countertops dry and the water flowing back into your sink. These feet come with rubber coverings to protect your surfaces and prevent slipping. Because of this elevation, the SimpleHuman is compatible with most overmount sinks.
The plastic tray is coated with a high tech Hydrophilic coating which spreads the water evenly. This means it’s quick-dry and prevents that ugly residue, we all dislike, from building up.
And that’s not all!
With the removable glass rack, your glasses will dry without puddling. So no more unsightly spots on those beautiful Bordeaux wine glasses.
Even more, features include a rack for utensils and a soft coating on the wires to prevent chips and scratches on the dishes.
We all know how tricky it can be to stack pots and pans on the dish drainer. So, the bigger the dish drainer, the better.
The main feature of the SimpleHuman Steel Frame Dish Rack is its size. It’s a monster! Measuring in at a whopping 21.8 x 20.2 x 14.3 inches. So, it’s roomy enough to stack your tower of pots, pans and lids, without them crashing down.
And if you need more space, just remove the glass dripper by simply lifting it off the rack.
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Pots, pans and lids are heavy, so you want a dish drainer that can handle the weight. The SimpleHuman Dish Rack takes care of this with its sturdy frame.
From my research, some reviewers have reported using their SimpleHuman Dish Rack for several years and then some! So you won’t be replacing this one anytime soon.
You’ll also be happy to know the frame is stainless steel, which makes it rust proof. So no more rusting at the joints and corners like some other dish drainers.
My kitchen is where I go to escape and I like to keep it spotless. The slightest smudge or drop of water sends me reaching for a cleaning cloth. So I love the fact that this SimpleHuman dish drainer has a fingerprint-proof finish.
Cleaning the dish drainer is easy as pie too. A weekly once-over with window cleaner will do the trick and keep up the beautiful shine.
If you have low-set cabinets you might experience one drawback because the rubber attachments raise the SimpleHuman Dish Rack even higher off the counter.
Depending on the space available you might you need to remove the rubber attachments which could leave scuff marks on your counter tops. But even with soapstone tops – which are soft – any marks can easily be polished out.
And, SimpleHuman won’t leave you high and dry if something does go wrong with your dish drainer. They offer a 5-year warranty on their dish rack.
Polder Advantage Dish Rack
See the Polder Advantage Dish Rack at Amazon.
Next in line is the 4 piece Polder Advantage Dish Rack. It comes with a dish drainer, drain tray, a sturdy cutlery holder with split compartments and a slide out drain tray for extra space.
Like all high-end dish drainers, the Polder Advantage Dish Rack’s design also features rubberized feet. These feet make it high enough to drain perfectly, even over high lipped sinks like porcelain ones. And they also protect your countertops from scuffing and scratching.
The Polder is a spacious rack measuring in at 19 x 14 x 6 inches. And the removable tray is 14.25 x 13.25 inches, giving you that extra drying space we all need sometimes.
Although it’s spacious, it takes up very little counter space, so even if you have a small kitchen, it’s a real space-saver.
The manufacturer claims the Polder can hold 10 plates and 6 pots and lids. As well as 6 regular sized glasses.
One reviewer raved about the number of dishes she’s able to stack on the Polder in one wash.
The Polder Advantage Dish Rack is made from brushed stainless steel. The brushed steel makes it quick dry, easy to clean and rust resistant. So it can take the punch when it comes to constantly dealing with water.
Both the drain trays are made from plastic and they slide out with ease, even if the dish rack is not completely empty. So no more fumbling around when you’re washing up and need more space.
The plastic lip of the drain rack hangs over your sink. And the large ‘ribs’ allow the water to flow easily into your sink. And the plastic material of the drain rack means no more pooling of water.
The slide out drain mat also has a plastic lip so when you need that extra space you’ll also have the drainage you need.
Thanks to the elevation of the Polder, cleaning under the rack is simple. And best of all you can clean even when the rack is full.
Cleaning the rest of the Polder is just as easy. The top drain tray and cutlery holder are dishwasher safe. Only the rack and the extra drain tray should be hand cleaned.
But using a product like CLR – Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover (Amazon) will take care of any stains, even in areas with high mineral content water.
In the past several reviewers complained of smaller items falling out of the sides of the rack. Polder paid attention to this and added an extra rail. Although, I’d like to see at least 2 more rails added to the design.
One gripe I have with the Polder is the shallowness of the cutlery holder. I think this could be deeper because large cutlery like chef knives tend to tip out.
Also, some reviewers have reported making slight DIY changes to improve the elevation and drainage. In my opinion, for the price of the dish rack, it should come perfectly functional. So this is a drawback for me.
Although the Polder Advantage Dish Rack can hold a lot of dishes, from my research I’ve noticed that larger pots and pans tend to fall out. If you’re like me and cook with heavy cast iron pots, this could be a deal breaker.
Only the short side can be placed over the sink for drainage. So if you have tricky space around your sink, the Polder is not for you. You should rather consider a dish drainer like the SimpleHuman dish drainer from Amazon.
And lastly, if you have only 1 sink using the extra drying tray will be a problem because it needs its own sink to drain into. So you won’t get the benefit of the extra drying space.
PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack
Next in the lineup of best dish drainers for pots and pans is the Premium Racks Professional Dish Rack.
This fully customizable dish drainer gives you a ton of choices to suit your needs.
It’s designed with:
- 2 separate draining racks.
- 3 removable cup holders.
- a cutting board attachment.
- a wide utensil holder.
- a knife holder.
And everything can be moved around to fit in with the space you have available and the load of dishes you have to tackle.
The top shelf can be flipped, moved from front to back or even completely removed. This is a fantastic feature and perfect for the space you need for pots, pans and lids.
But that’s not all…
Both the utensil holder and the knife holder have removable tops. So, they can hold large cutlery loads and also make the perfect space to store your sponges.
And a bonus is the knife holder has space for large chef’s knives as well as steak knives.
The feet elevate the dish rack off your countertop. This feature means no more annoying water on your counters. But unlike other dish drainers, this one does not have rubber stoppers that fit over the feet.
This could mean damage to your countertop if you’re not careful. You could always place a towel or mat underneath it to prevent scuffs and scratches.
When you’re dealing with awkward pots and pans, size really matters. But at the same time, you don’t want an inconvenient dish drainer taking up precious space on your countertop.
The Premium Racks takes care of this! It measures in at 17.5 x 13.9 x 11 inches. And because it’s fully customizable, you’ll have no problem fitting it into just about any space.
It’s perfect for places with small kitchens that don’t have dishwashers, such as dorm rooms, apartments, campers or cabins.
The Premium Racks is made with high-quality stainless steel that will keep its shape even with the daily stacking of pots, pans and lids.
Each rack is coated with a rust-proof coating. And during the initial design process, the product passed a 24-hour salt spray test.
If you’re kitchen conscious you’ll be happy to know that the Premium Racks has a beautiful cool grey chrome finish. Which looks stylish and sleek in any kitchen.
Because the Premium Rack is customizable, you can set up drainage according to your needs and space.
As I mentioned before, there are 2 separate draining trays for you to choose from. One tray is designed with ribbed grooves that collect the water from your dishes. This tray does not have a drainage spout. But the plastic used in the design is fast drying. Not one reviewer complained about this tray filling up with water.
But depending on how often and how many dishes you wash, you might need to empty it out from time to time.
The second tray has an innovate drainage design. In the center of the tray there is a rose shaped drainage system that guides the water to the spout and into your sink. I recommend using the ribbed tray for light loads and the spouted tray for heavy loads like pots, pans and lids.
Also, the utensil holder can be moved front to back with the top rack. And the cup holders can be placed front to back too. So you have a variety of options when it comes to drainage.
Similar to other dish drainers, the racks themselves must be hand cleaned. But like I mentioned before, a good wipe down with some window cleaner will do the trick. You’ll be happy to know that the extras like the cup holders, knife and utensil holder are all dishwasher safe.
The Premium Racks manufacturer also offers a 1 year no questions asked warranty on their dish drainers. I think this shows how much the company believes in their product. And how highly they value their customers.
One gripe I have with the PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack is the missing rubber feet. I think these feet are a must to protect your countertops and to prevent slippage. Although reviewers have not complained about slippage and have given positive feedback on this dish drainers stability.
The next issue is not a gripe per say, but if you have low positioned cabinets the height of the Premium Racks might be a problem. With the top rack in place, the height is 17.5 inches which could restrict you when loading plates.
One or two reviews stated they had some trouble figuring out how to put it together, but once they did they were pleased with the results!
The PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack is my favorite choices for the best dish drainers for pots and pans. It’s space smart and not oversized. And if you remove the top rack you have ample space to comfortably stack pots, pans and lids. The unique feature alone makes it a good option.
See the PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack at Amazon.
OXO Good Grips Convertible Foldaway Dish Rack
Last but not least in the lineup is the Oxo Good Grips Convertible Foldaway Dish Rack.
This dish drainer is beautifully designed to be functional and smart on space. Because of its unique foldable design, it’s ideal for kitchens with limited counter space.
The design features a wide-open center and a foldable rack which can easily be converted depending on your load of dishes.
For such a compact dish drainer it’s great to see not 1 but 2 utensil holders. And you can place the drainer on the left or right of the sink. Another great feature, especially for those of us who are left handed.
Similar to the most high-end dish drainers the OXO Good Grips has 2 feet for elevation. And this little baby sits perfectly, even over high lipped sinks.
Oxo has made sure your countertops are safe from scratching by adding rubber coverings to all 4 of this dish drainers feet. This also stops the drainer from sliding around while you’re stacking dishes.
The main feature of the OXO dish drainer is its foldable plate rack I mentioned earlier. This is what makes it the perfect drainer for pots and pans.
When the plate rack is folded down it opens up the wide center leaving you with enough space to stack pots, pans and lids.
Although the OXO dish drainer is a space saver it’s not stingy when it’s in use. Its open measurements are 20.2 x 13 x 4.1 inches.
And when you’re ready to stow it away it’s only 19.4 x 12.5 x 2.8 inches. Making it compact enough to fit snugly into just about any small space. And if you’re really strapped for space, slide it next to your cutting boards!
The 2 neat utensil holders each have 3 convenient divisions. And for a reasonably compact dish drainer, these can hold a surprising amount of cutlery.
The OXO brand is well known for their high-quality products. And this dish drainer is no exception.
The frame is made from rustproof stainless steel. And the rest of the drainer is made from high-quality PVC free plastic. But don’t let the idea of plastic put you off. The plastic is molded which gives it its compact functionality.
The drainage of the OXO is different to other drainers on the market because it doesn’t have a removable drain tray. The drying rack is designed to also be the drain tray. But it’s still as effective because it has a built-in drain spout which you position over your sink. And because of the extra elevation from its feet, it works well with even high lipped sinks too.
Another feature worth mentioning is the tines which hold your cups, mugs or wine glasses, are positioned towards the inside of the drainer. This means any water is caught inside the rack and funneled into your sink, so it doesn’t end up on your counters.
Both utensil holders have generous holes in the bottom to make sure your cutlery air dries perfectly.
The OXO Good Grips Convertible Foldaway dish drainer is simple to clean. The plate rack and the utensil holders are removable and dishwasher safe. The rack and tines must be hand washed.
There are no ridges for dirt and mold to collect on and most reviewers are happy with how easy the OXO is to clean. Suggestions from other owners is a good clean once a week with Tilex or regular dish soap.
Because it’s small and compact, I don’t think the OXO dish drainer will take the punch of a large household. But it’s ideal for a 2 person home and can hold at least one large pot, a saucepan and lids. Of course, it can hold more if you’re washing up crockery, glasses, mugs and cutlery.
Also, the drain spout and feet should be flipped into place for proper drainage. If you forget to do this water will pool up in the rack. And it won’t be easy to flip these into place when the OXO is filled with dishes.
The OXO Good Grips Convertible Foldaway Dish Rack is compact and versatile. You don’t have to sacrifice comfort and convenience just because you have limited counter space.
And if you live in a condo or small apartment it could be the perfect dish drainer for your kitchen and one you should consider.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which drainers are best for small spaces with no dishwasher?
Of the drainers listed here, the best options for people with small kitchens would be the OXO or the PremiumRacks drainer.
The PremiumRacks takes up a tad more counter space, but it holds more dishes thanks to that top rack. The only way to benefit from this rack though is to have open space above where you plan to place it.
If you do not have that open space, then the OXO may be the right rack for you. It is compact and easy to store and takes up very little counter space while in use.
The other racks could work for people with smaller kitchens, but they will take up a lot of that limited counter space.
Will it rust?
None of these draining racks should rust. They are all made of high-quality stainless steel or plastic, neither of which should rust.
To keep your dish racks in good shape keep them clean and dry after use. It may seem redundant to dry the drying rack, but repetitive long-term exposure to water can lead to damage to most materials.
After you put your dishes away, simply wipe down the dish rack to make sure it’s dry, and clean it once a week, or at least once a month.
Is it easy to clean?
These racks are all easy clean!
Most of these racks can be cleaned very simply with a rag and some glass cleaner, and many have dishwasher safe parts.
Stainless steel can be wiped down with glass cleaner, but the plastic parts should be washed in dish soap and warm water. The only downside to washing the dish rack by hand like this is, well unless you have a second rack to dry it in you have to figure something else out.
How well does it drain?
These racks all drain well but drain differently. The specifications for each can be found in their review.
Most of these racks have spouts or are at least angled to drain the water and dry dishes fast. A couple of them only have a tray underneath to catch the water, but even then it is made of quick drying plastics with few if any complaints.
The PremiumRacks drainer even has both!
The racks that are listed here are top-notch, but if you steer away from the ones recommended here makes sure you check to see how the water drains and if that’s suitable for your kitchen setup!
Is it going to tip if I don’t distribute my dishes?
Some will some won’t.
Placing heavy dishes in the top rack of the PremiumRacks drainer, probably won’t end well. Use common sense when stacking dishes in this rack!
The other racks have no complaints about the balancing of heavy dishes. Despite the sleek and beautiful design of some of these racks, they are strong and durable.
Always use common sense when placing your dishes in the rack, just because it is well balanced and weighted, doesn’t mean you should place two cast iron pans on the side by the sink.
Avoid a Drain on Your Pocket!
There are many high quality, functional and beautiful dish drainers on the market. And there’s one just perfect for your kitchen. Now that you have the inside scoop on the best of the best in dish drainers for pots and pans, you can shop with confidence. And best of all, you won’t drain your pocket with a junk drainer that doesn’t suit your needs.
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