The best boot dryer
In rain and snow, you need a good pair of boots to keep your feet dry and warm. But after you've trekked around outdoors, your boots can get soaked -- to the point where they're too wet to wear again. A boot dryer speeds up the process, so your boots are ready to wear as soon as you need them again. It also discourages mold, mildew, and bacteria from growing in your wet footwear. If you like hiking and other outdoor activities or regularly work outdoors, a boot dryer can be a real lifesaver.
Our buying guide is loaded with tips to help you find the best boot dryer for your home. We've even included a few specific product recommendations, such as our top pick from DryGuy, which is user-friendly and can dry multiple pairs of boots or other garments at once.
Considerations when choosing boot dryers
Boot dryers are available in a few different types that vary in terms of how they operate:
Positive temperature coefficient (PTC) boot dryers feature a ceramic element inside that heats up to a specific temperature and then is placed inside the boot. They're extremely affordable but take longer than other models.
UV boot dryers use ultraviolet (UV) light to dry boots and shoes. The UV light can also kill bacteria and mold to sanitize and deodorize your footwear. These dryers are usually budget-friendly, too, but can take even longer than PTC dryers to dry your footwear.
Gel boot dryers are filled with silica gel that effectively absorbs moisture. They don't need any power to operate, so they're ideal for camping trips. But they also take a long time to dry your boots, and the gel can reach a point where it's absorbed all the moisture it can and must be dried itself to work again.
Thermal convection boot dryers pull air out of the room and warm it with an internal heating element before circulating it around your footwear. They can dry more quickly than other types of boot dryers, don't need too much power, and offer fairly quiet operation.
Forced air boot dryers operate in a similar fashion to thermal convection dryers, but they also feature a fan that blows the warmed air over your boots and shoes. That allows them to dry your footwear more quickly than even thermal convection models. They can be noisy, however, and cost more than other types of boot dryers.
Propane boot dryers are meant for use outdoors when you won't have access to electricity. They operate like a thermal convection model but use a propane tank instead of electricity. They're very travel-friendly, so they work well for camping. But they can only be used outside and are usually fairly expensive.
Not all boot dryers can handle the same number of boots or other garments at a time. Most can accommodate one or two pairs that are ankle-length or shorter. You can find extension tubes that allow you to dry taller boots on the dryer, though you may have to purchase them separately for some models. Many boot dryers can also hold gloves or mittens on the same posts, while other models have a specific drying area for gloves.
Before buying any dryer, check the dimensions listed in the product specifications, so you can be certain that it will fit in the area of your home where you plan to place it.
Many boot dryers have a built-in timer, so you can set the device to turn off automatically. Most allow you to set a timer for anywhere from one and a half to three hours.
Some boot dryers let you choose a specific heat setting. If your boots aren't that wet, you can set the dryer to low. When your footwear is really soaked, you can run the dryer on high.
You'll likely pay between $15 and $100 for a boot dryer. Basic boot dryers that fit inside your boots and dry very slowly usually go for $15 to $25 per set, while convection dryers that can fit up to two pairs of boots typically cost between $25 and $50. For forced-air dryers that include boot extensions, expect to pay $70 to $80. Propane boot dryers are the priciest, going for about $100.
Q. What sort of maintenance does a boot dryer require?
A. A boot dryer doesn't require much upkeep at all. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the exterior whenever it looks dirty, and check the air intake vents every so often to make sure they aren't blocked with dust, dander, or pet hair.
Q. Can I run a boot dryer if I'm not in the same room?
A. If you operate it according to the manufacturer's instructions, you can usually leave an electric boot dryer unattended without issue. Read the safety guidelines from the manufacturer carefully to make sure you have the appliance positioned properly and aren't running it too long.
Boot dryers we recommend
Best of the best: DryGuy's Boot Dryer
Our take: It may be pricey, but this user-friendly dryer can fit two pairs of boots and boasts plenty of convenient features.
What we like: Four posts can dry multiple items at a time. Includes extension tubes to fit taller boots. Dial controls are easy to use. Offers both a heat and no-heat option, as well as a 3-hour timer.
What we dislike: Requires a lot of floor space. Doesn't run as hot as some buyers would like.
Best bang for your buck: PEET's Electric Shoe and Boot Dryer
Our take: A high-performing boot dryer that dries quickly and efficiently and comes at an affordable price point.
What we like: Dries more quickly than similarly priced models. Boasts high-quality construction that can last through years of use. Compatible with footwear in a wide variety of materials.
What we dislike: Doesn't accommodate wide boots as well as other models. Only dries one pair at a time.
Our take: Dries footwear quickly and can fit two pairs of boots or shoes at a time.
What we like: Four forced air-drying posts. Comes with extension tubes to dry tall boots. Can work with footwear in all materials. Won't break the bank.
What we dislike: Operation can be noisy. Doesn't get as warm as some other models.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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