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Compact Dish Rack

How does the smaller version of our favorite dish rack compare?

More on the Best Dish Rack
We also tested and highly recommend the larger version of this dish rack. You can find our in-depth testing and full product comparisons here.

How We Tested

We love our favorite full-size dish rack, the Simplehuman Steel Frame Dish Rack, for its sleek design, excellent drainage, and thoughtful extra features such as a wineglass rack and a drainage spout underneath that swivels. It’s sized to accommodate enough dishes for a family of four (or a household that really loves to cook), but it can be a bit bulky in smaller kitchens. For those working with less kitchen space, the company also makes a compact dish rack—the Simplehuman Compact Steel Frame Dish Rack, priced at about $50—that looks like a shrunken version of our full-size favorite. To see if this compact version performed just as well, we loaded it up with enough dishes to accommodate a household of two.

Despite its size (at 15 inches by 11.9 inches, it’s about three-quarters the length and half the width of the larger Simplehuman rack), the compact rack accommodated all the dishes, glasses, and utensils a typical family of two would use with room to spare. Even when we added a saucier, a skillet, a 10 by 12-inch cutting board, and a quarter-size rimmed baking sheet, there was still plenty of room for air to circulate and allow all the items to dry quickly and evenly. Like the larger rack, it’s designed to work on either side of the sink in either long or short orientations; its drain spout can be adjusted to face the sink no matter which way you position the rack. Its sloped drip tray easily drained water (no pooling or puddles), and the whole dish rack came apart easily for occasional cleaning. 

If you have the space, we still recommend the larger dish rack from Simplehuman; it has a few extra features that make it worth the upgrade: more slots for plates and more hooks for cups, a wineglass drying rack, and a low platform for drying big knives. While the smaller version doesn’t have these extra features, it’s a great option if you’re short on space and you’re usually doing dishes for just one or two people. 


Methodology

  • Test the Simplehuman Compact Steel Frame Dish Rack, priced at about $50

  • Test fit with enough wet dishes for a household of two: 

    • Two 10-inch dinner plates

    • Two water glasses

    • Two forks

    • Two spoons

    • Two butter knives

    • Two wineglasses

    • 12-inch frying pan

    • 4-quart saucepan

    • Quarter-size rimmed baking sheet

    • Metal spatula 

    • Rubber spatula

    • Wooden spoon

    • 1-quart glass storage container

    • 1-pint glass storage container

    • 8-inch chef’s knife

    • Vegetable peeler

    • 10 by 12-inch cutting board

  • Measure how well the rack can drain 1 cup of water

  • Sprinkle the dish rack with coffee grounds, disassemble, and clean

Rating Criteria

Design: We looked at drainage, dimensions, ease of use, and ease of cleaning.

Capacity: We evaluated how well the dish rack could hold dishes for a family of two, including plates, cups, pots, pans, and utensils.


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The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

$33.31*

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.