With winter quickly approaching I must admit to myself that this time around we are not going to make it without a decent boot dryer in the house. In the past years my son was still young, but this winter he’ll turn 5 and he is already asking about skiing. My youngest will be 2 but her favorite outdoor activity is stomping in puddles like the elephants in The Jungle Book.
For that reason, I have looked around and came up with a few different solutions depending on the scenario in which I might want to use the dryer. There are simple plug-in boot dryers, but there are also specific ski boot dryers, 12 V AC automobile boot dryers, and even battery-powered dryers. Each has different advantages and I have chosen my favorite in each category.
To help those of you who are in a hurry I will start with a shortlist with the best boot dryers in each category. However, if you want to know my thinking process, get a few more options for each category as well as a more detailed discussion about each product, you may want to scroll further down.
What is the Best Boot Dryer?
PEET Advantage 4-Shoe Electric Express Shoe and Boot Dryer – best regular, DC 120 V boot dryer due to its effectiveness and ease of use.
DryGuy Force Dry Boot Dryer with Articulating Ports for Ski Boots – one of the more powerful and safe boot dryers designed specifically to be used with ski boots and skate shoes.
DryGuy Travel Dry DX Boot Dryer – a small little accessory that will not take too much space in the car but is excellent for drying and warming the shoes on the go.
DryMyBoots USB Boot Dryer – the USB revolution has finally reached the boot dryer market and, if paired with the Ryobi USB adapter, can provide a fully off the grid, autonomous solution.
What I Look for When Considering Boot Dryers
There is something to be said about not pumping too much heat into shoes and drying out the oils holding the glue together and feeding the leather. On the other hand, if it is going to take more than 6 hours to dry your boots, you might as well call it overnight drying and forget about even using a boot dryer.
I have paid particular attention to those dryers that threaded the needle best between too much heat and to slow drying time. There is a third variable to consider here because, when you cannot turn the heat on too high you can always blow more air through the boot.
But then you end up with a dryer that may be too noisy for certain situations. The fact that it has a variable speed control for the fans is one of the reasons why the Peet Advantage is my favorite plugged in shoe dryer.
Although the temperature on boot dryers is usually too low to pose any type of danger to the shoes or to be a fire hazard, it is always good to see when a product has a temperature sensor to constantly monitor the temperature inside the shoes. Some of the boot dryers on the list also have a trip sensor that will completely cut power in case the device is no longer standing as it should.
On the other hand, there is also the danger of bacteria developing in the shoe because of the hot air. By drying the boots entirely, you are taking away one of the two important factors that encourage bacterial growth – humidity – while, at the same time introducing the other one – heat.
To deal with that, the best boot dryers either have the option of releasing a mild anti-bacterial agent or to blast the inside of the shoes with a UV light which kills bacteria.
If you decide to go with one of the boot dryers that do not have a built-in system to deal with bacteria you might want to check out the Steri-Shoe or a similar product. I own a Steri-Shoe which is why I trust it, but I also own the PhoneSoap which I have bought several years ago when I saw it on Shark Tank.
Finally, as my son grows up I would like for him to pick up on these habits that are so important to good personal hygiene. Making sure your shoes are dry when you are done using them, particularly when we are talking about skiing shoes, is just one such an example.
As a result, I am particularly concerned with just how easy it would be for him to use the boot driers. The DryGuy Force Dry Boot Dryer for skies is has an on and off switch so I don’t have to worry about him plugging it to start it, and the air ports fold down towards the back, so he does not have to achieve a complicated balancing act when drying his shoes.
So, seeing how you have skipped over the initial 4 products recommendation, and have endured my endless rant on what would be the criteria to judge boot driers by, here is the complete list of the best boot driers on the market. I have tried to keep my review short, just highlighting some of the features that I appreciate most about each individual product.
Best Plugged-In Boot Dryer
1. PEET Advantage 4-Shoe Electric Express Shoe and Boot Dryer
If you ignore the fact that you can’t really comfortably travel with the PEET Advantage, I would say this is the perfect boot dryer. It has 4 nozzles so it can dry 2 pair of boots or a pair of boots and a pair of gloves at the same time. It has a drawer for the antibacterial solution of your choice and it can be paired with a series of other PEET designed heads to dry stuff like shoes or scarfs.
Besides those more obvious features, I absolutely love the on/off dial for the fan that controls the speed of the fan so that you can keep it quiet in a more intimate mountain cabin setting. It also allows you to flip a switch to choose warm and cold air. As I have mentioned before, I am a huge proponent of using hot air to really get the boots dry as fast as possible.
And speaking of speed, the Peet Advantage dries shoes and boots in anywhere between 1 and 4 hours. Obviously, the 1-hour thing refers to light shoes and sandals, whereas boots will be dry in 3 to 4 hours depending on how wet they are and how water resistant they were supposed to be. Remember, waterproof shoes are just as good at keeping the water in as they are at keeping it out.
2. DryGuy DX Forced Air Boot Dryer
Although I am giving them the no 2 spot, does not mean I do not like the DryGuy DX Forced Air Boot Dryer any less than I like the PEET. Truth be told, I think I actually prefer them in term of the actual design of the dryer. The white and orange combo works great, and it really fits with a lot of the sports gear we have at home.
In terms of performance, I really like the fact that the dryer has a 3-hour timer which guarantees you in a way that the manufacturer is confident their product will get your shoe bone dry within 3 hours. You still get a switch to control whether you are using warm or cold air.
However, because the dryer has a thermostat that keeps the air temperature at 105 degrees, there is really no reason not to use it; unless you believe that the heat your body is putting out is endangering your shoes, that is.
Lastly, you may start seeing a pattern in that I prefer to use heaters that can dry 2 pair of shoes at a time. Currently, it is just me and my son that are constantly in need of a boot or shoe dryer, but when we do need one it is usually for the both of us.
In any case, I would suggest that even as a single individual you are better off with a double dryer because you never know when you will have the chance to impress someone with your state of preparedness, and, in the meanwhile, you can have bot dry shoes and warm gloves waiting for you.
3. Kooder Boot Dryer
As a final alternative for this category the Kooder Boot dryer has attracted my attention because, if you are going to go small, you should go minimalist.
The Kooder are a pair of heater/dryers that go straight into your shoe, therefore they take absolutely no extra space in a busy hallway. They also deliver the heat straight into the shoe, and therefore have no heat loss and are more efficient than the other shoe driers on this list.
The one thing I am not sure I like about the Kooder is that they don’t have built-in fans, so they are not as good as I would like them to be at moving the humid air out of the shoe so that new, dry air can come in. On the other hand, though, “no fans” means less energy consumption and less noise.
Best Boot Dryer for Skies
1. DryGuy Force Dry Boot Dryer with Articulating Ports for Ski Boots
As far as I am concerned the choice, I have to make is between the DryGuy Force Dry Boot Dryer with Articulating Ports for Ski Boots and the PEET Advantage. On the one hand I love the versatility of Peet products in general, but, on the other hand, the DryGuy’s articulating arms will allow my son to use it when we go skiing and thus learn to take care of his gear.
Besides that, there are several other reasons why I prefer this model over the PEET. There is the quality of the design, the color palette they chose is so vibrant and young. Then there is the fact that this dryer pushes hot, 105 degrees air through the shoes at such a speed as to dry them in 3 hours or less, even when talking about heavy ski boots.
Finally, I have experienced my self just how quiet the DryGuy boot dryer really is. I have even slept in the same common sleeping area with a friend who would only remember to turn his dryer on as we were going to sleep. I would have thought that the noise would keep me up but it was so low that it turned into a form of white noise and it actually helped me sleep.
2. OdorStop Boot and Shoe Dryer
At first glance, one might think the OdorStop Boot and Shoe Dryer is the answer to all the shortcomings of the dryers we have talked about so far. It has that 4 tube configuration that I need to dry both mine and a family member’s shoes at the same time.
It has a super heavy and stable base so that the weight of the ski boots will not tumble the thing over. And many reviewers actually praise how quiet the fan is.
The other aspect where the OdorStop improves on the original model is that the 3-hour timer can actually be set to Constant on, so you can run it through the night if you, for whatever reason, want it to. So already it is two steps ahead of the game on all the other boot dryers out there.
It also competes very well against the feature that the other boot dryers do have. It has a switch to easily turn on and off the heat, and also an on/off switch for the deodorizer, which, by the way, it has. So it is fair to ask why I am not just buying the OdorStop and just forget about the rest.
The answer is that this boot dryer has only a few dozen reviews on Amazon endorsing it, while the DryGuy and the Peet’s endorsements number in the hundreds.
3. Caframo Limited Work ‘n Play Drying Station
The other extremely interesting boot dryer whose only fault lies in that it has too few Amazon reviews from happy customers is the Caframo Limited Work ‘n Play Drying Station. Except for that, it has several very interesting features.
The most impressive one is that it uses very long, flexible air ports so the shoes stay in their normal position, on a drip tray, and the hoses go into the boots. That way, moisture just floats straight up and makes the Caframo a more efficient boot dryer.
On the other hand, the Caframo has no hot air option. They claim is to protect the boots, but we have already seen how the other dryers control the temperature to not go higher than your average foot’s temperature when performing intense physical activity, which is 105 degrees.
The other thing lacking from the Caframo is the ability to diffuse some type of antibacterial agent with the air. The fact that they are only using cold air mitigates the need for further chemical treatments, but still, it is something I would have liked to see.
Best AC Boot Dryer
1. DryGuy Travel Dry DX Boot Dryer
I really love how the DryGuy company seems to be able to dominate or to be among the strongest competitors in each of the different boot dryer categories. In terms of the best AC Boot Dryers system I absolutely had to give them the victory because they have managed to keep their dryer very small, easy to carry and store away, and yet very powerful and capable of putting out loads of heat.
In general, DC powered boot dryers are used in camping/hunting wagons and RVs, so the size of the dryer is not that significant, but with the DryGuy’s solution, you can make it fit even in smaller, passenger cars. It may not be the style now, but I remember going out fishing with my dad and we would have a large people carrier where the seats would fold, and we would have plenty of space to sleep.
Those were some of the happiest memories of my childhood but is I think it would have been great had we had a DryGuy Travel fishing boot dryer with us.
The other thing that I really love about the DryGuy Travel Boot Dryer is the fact that it can still provide 100 degrees hot air, despite the much smaller size and the fact that it is powered by a 12v car battery. It does come with an adapter that will allow you to plug it in to a 120v outlet, in case you decide to get a cabin, but it works just as well with a camper outlet.
2. Peet GO! Portable 2-Shoe Electric Dryer
Of course, wherever you have an excellent DryGuy product, you will always have to take into consideration the Peet alternative, and the other way around. When it comes to the Peet GO!, I had the most difficult time trying to judge between the 2.
The Peet GO! has maintained the option of adding some type of deodorant so that the shoes will not only feel warm and dry, but they will also smell nice.
By all accounts, I should actually favor the PEET GO!. It is not quite as small as the DryGuy solution, but it is not so big as to not fit comfortably in a glove box or under a seat. It also has a 3 to 8-hour dry shoes guarantee which is fast enough for most situations. However, it is just not catching my imagination as much as the DryGuy and I think it is because of the long drying time.
I have this fantasy of just skiing all day long, taking a lunch break, maybe driving to a new location and skiing there too. The DryGuy super-hot air can get relatively wet or moist shoes dry and fresh in the 1 to 2 hours we would take a break for, but I don’t think the PEET GO! will.
3. JobSite Mini-Dry Boot Dryer
Finally, and just to give you guys an alternative that significantly cheaper than the 2 portable options we have discussed, there is the JobSite Mini-Dry Boot Dryer. It does not have a fan, just a heating element so it really just halves the process of natural drying of the shoes by increasing temperature.
While I am not a fan of using just heat to dry shoes, because it inadvertently increases the growth of bacteria, I think that for a couple of times a season when you would want a portable shoe dryer, this would be an acceptable solution. It will definitely take a lot longer to dry really wet boots, even in comparison with the PEET GO!, but it will get your shoes or gloves dry eventually.
The only extra challenge I have for those of you considering the JobSite is that you absolutely have to have the discipline to clean your boots with one of the UV light purifiers I was talking about in the beginning. Most bacteria can’t really survive in dry environments, but if the JobSite is going to be your only drying solution, you really need to use a bit of extra care just to be sure that your boots will not be one of those extra stinky ones that no one really wants to use.
Best Battery-Operated Boot Dryer
DryMyBoots.com USB Powered Boot Dryer
Of course, in the age of USB power, every other appliance would have an alternative that can be plugged into a laptop to work! And I for one, celebrate this new attitude because it really creates a lot of opportunities. The DryMyBoots.com boot dryer would be the perfect solution if you were planning to leave in a tent somewhere in the mountains or even on a lonely beach for a couple of weeks. It does not use that much power so a fully portable battery would be enough to dry your shoes.
The problems are that it uses that little power because it only powers a small ventilator and does not have a heating option. That usually translates into long drying times, but still, tent living is all about relaxing and watching the world go by. I really hope that future iterations of this dryer will come with a heater option which is why I actually ordered it even while I was writing this article.
Hopefully, other readers will also buy this heater to encourage the manufacturer to come up with a heated solution. Yes, it will eat up more energy, but I have several large Ryobi batteries that I use in my work and that can be plugged into a USB adapter and thus power even one of the large DryGuy heated ski boot dryers if only the had the correct plug.
In conclusion, allow me to built a small argument for indulgence! Growing up, or even as an adult before I had my son, I would have said boot dryers are for spoiled people with too much money in their back pockets. Well, considering just how affordable even the more expensive products are, I would say it is not a question of money or even of being spoiled.
The reason why you should buy a boot dryer, in fact, the best boot dryer your situation requires, is that it will allow you to take your outdoor experiences to a higher level of enchantment, and your memories of those experiences will be just that little bit sweeter.