Solar energy is a clean and sustainable energy source that is widely accessible and can be utilized to organize more sustainable systems in future. In the present work, the thermal performance of the greenhouse dryer (GD) has been improved by integrating a cost-effective and easy-to-apply tube-type solar air heater (T-SAH). In this regard, a simple tube-type solar air heater has been designed, analyzed and manufactured. The main aim of developing this type solar air heater is to introduce an alternative and environmentally friendly air heating system. In the first step of this work, thermal performance of T-SAH assisted GD has been analyzed numerically. In the second step, the T-SAH assisted GD has been manufactured by considering the achieved numerical results. Apricot samples have been dried in the manufactured dryer at 0.010, 0.013 and 0.015 kg/s flow rates. Experimental findings illustrated that integrating T-SAH with GD reduced drying time notably. Also, the average efficiency of T-SAH was obtained in the range of 45.6-56.8%. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.