A lawn fertilizer spreader is a great tool for ensuring fertilizer is spread evenly over your grass, helping to promote healthy growth. There are a wide variety of fertilizer spreaders on the market for different budgets, uses (spreading lawn seed, salt or even animal feed) and yard sizes.
So we’ve put together a quick buyer’s guide reviewing some of the top options to make this decision a whole lot easier!
Best Broadcast Spreader
Best Drop Spreader
Best Hand-Held Spreader
Best Broadcast Fertilizer Spreaders
1. EarthWay 2050P Commercial Broadcast Spreader
2. Agri-Fab 45-0463 130-Pound Tow Behind Broadcast Spreader
3. Earthway 2150 Commercial 50 Pound Walk-Behind Broadcast Spreader
4. Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Mini Broadcast Spreader
5. Agri-Fab 45-0462 Push Broadcast Spreader
Best Drop Spreaders
1. Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader
2. At Home 75 lb. Drop Spreader
3. Chapin Professional Rock Salt Drop Spreader
4. Spyker P70-12010 Commercial Drop Spreader
5. Agri-Fab 100 lb. Drop Spreader
Best Hand Held Fertilizer Spreaders
1. TIPU Hand held Fertilizer Spreader/Shaker
2. Spot Spreader Handheld Spreader Shaker
3. Scotts Whirl Handheld Spreader
4. Scotts Wizz Hand Held Fertilizer Spreader with EdgeGuard Technology
5. Yard Tuff YTF-25SS Shoulder Spreader
Choosing a Lawn Fertilizer Spreader
Lawn spreaders are a fairly simple tool. There aren’t a lot of parts. However, it is important to match the right spreader for your scenario.
The right fertilizer spreader for me may not be the best lawn spreader for you, so take some time to consider these important questions before you buy to help guide your decision:
Types of Lawn Spreader
There are three main types of lawn spreader – broadcast spreaders, drop spreaders, and hand held spreaders.
1. Broadcast Fertilizer Spreaders
Also known as rotary spreaders, broadcast spreaders are a good option for large yards as they are able to deliver the best coverage. They spray the seed or fertilizer out in a circle around them, which means you can cover more lawn with less effort.
However, they are a bit indiscriminate and uneven with their coverage, so you can easily spread seed and fertilizer where it shouldn’t go.
When spreading grass seed or fertilizer, you may have to overlap your rows as the outer areas won’t get as much seed as the area closest to the spreader.
- They can spread seed or fertilizer out in a wide circumference of 8 feet or more.
- A steady pace and some overlap are needed to get an even distribution.
- Coverage can be affected by the wind.
- Seeds and fertilizer can be spread beyond where you want it, into flowerbeds or onto hard landscaping.
2. Drop Fertilizer Spreaders
Drop spreaders are a great option because they deliver a uniform spread of grass seed or fertilizer and you can often even adjust the drop rate to your specific preferences.
This makes it far more customizable and reliable than a broadcast spreader.
- The rate is very even as you drop seed or grass, but you can get stripes if you miss a row.
- They are better for yards where you have to work around shrubs, trees and flowerbeds.
- They work very well in small yards of 5,000 feet or less.
- Coverage is unaffected by the wind.
- Perfect for fertilizing new sod
Crank or Walk Behind Spreader?
The next difference in lawn spreaders is how the seed is spread and delivered. The two options are a hank crank or a walk behind, as mentioned above.
There are some reasons you may consider both options.
- While hand crank spreaders are budget-friendly, they require a lot of manual labor and effort to use.They spray seed or fertilizer like a broadcast spreader but offer less coverage. As a result, they work best in very small areas.
- If you have a good-sized yard, a walk-behind spreader is the best lawn spreader because they offer sufficient capacity and require no vehicle other than yourself to operate. They’re also very maneuverable.
- For very large yards or homeowners with riding lawn mowers or garden tractors, a tow-behind spreader offers the best results. These are spreaders you attach to a vehicle and offer the biggest coverage and capacity.
Best Broadcast Spreader Reviews
Best Drop Spreader Reviews
Best Handheld Fertilizer Spreader Reviews
Best Broadcast Spreader
Broadcast spreaders have a habit of spraying in every possible direction, covering your shoes, and your paths with fertilizer and weed killer.
The Earthway broadcast spreader has unique patented side spread control, which reduces misplaced fertilizer by around 75%, saving you money, and stress.
On top of that, it’s got such a large hopper that it’s ideal for commercial use, but not out of place for larger gardens either, so for gardeners with good sized lawns to care for, the Earthway is a great investment, saving you time too.
Best Drop Spreader
If you’re looking for a broadcast spreader that gets the job done well, then we recommend the Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader!
Coming from a trusted, industry-leading manufacturer, this broadcast spreader helps make fertilizing your lawn faster and easier, providing an even spread as you walk.
It comes fully assembled, which is a big win for most of us gardeners, and it can easily cover a yard of up to 10,000 square feet, making it practical as well as maneuverable and durable.
Best Hand-Held Fertilizer Spreader
We have to agree that the Scotts Wizz Hand-Held Spreader with EdgeGuard Technology is the best hand-held spreader on the market!
It’s a little more expensive, but it’s well worth it. It’s battery-powered to make spreading fertilizer, seed, salt, or weed control products easy, and it has an impressive 5-foot broadcast that makes the job go quickly too.
The spreader allows you to block off either side of the chute as you work, helping to prevent materials landing outside of where you want them to be. All you have to do is set the output you want on the dial, then walk up and down your lawn – job done!
How to Use a Lawn Spreader
How to Use a Broadcast Spreader
The most common types of lawn spreaders are the broadcast spreader and the drop spreader. Both of these utilize hoppers with adjustable holes according to how much fertilizer and seed you want to be spread.
Still, they do differ in the operation and working mechanism. As the name implies, a broadcast spreader is meant to broadcast seed or fertilizer products over a wide section of your lawn.
The hopper has a part underneath that allows the spreader to rotate and scatter the products all around. As you might have already expected, coverage isn't precise.
You would need to make several passes to achieve a more uniform coverage.
Get the Right Fertilizer and Measure the Area
First of all, you should get the right fertilizer. Regardless of the grass you have, you can take a safe bet and use an all-purpose fertilizer.
These include a 10-10-10 fertilizer and a 15-15-15 fertilizer, both of which have equal proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to feed to your grass.
Likewise, you can opt for a slow-release granular fertilizer if you want your lawn well-fed for as long as four months. The next step is to know the total size of your lawn. Calculating this is simple.
You just need to identify both the length and the width of your lawn using a measuring tape. Afterward, you just multiply them together to know the total area.
For example, a lawn with a 10-meter length and a 12-meter width will have a total area of 120 square meters.
Move the Spreader and Fill with Fertilizer or Seed
Next, you should place the broadcast spreader on a sidewalk or on a driveway. The surface of these areas makes it easier to sweep any spilled products.
Now, you should locate the handle and close the flow level near it. As for the amount fertilizer to put in the hopper, you should look at the fertilizer package to see the recommended amount.
Ensure that you are looking at the instructions for using a broadcast spreader, which is sometimes referred to as a rotary spreader. The same goes for when you are reading the instructions on a package of grass seeds.
There should be a distribution rate number ranging from 1 to 10 on the product label. Upon finding it, you should find a rate dial and set it to the recommended number.
Broadcast Over the Lawn
To begin applying the fertilizer, you should place the broadcast spreader a couple of feet from the edge. The fertilizer will be spread at the side of the spreader, so you shouldn't be at the edge.
Now, you must push the handle to release the fertilizer as you slowly and steadily walk on your lawn. Once you are back near the edge, you should release the handle.
However, the operation is not yet over. You must move the broadcast spreader a foot from its first starting point. Like with your first pass, you just have to move on your lawn in a straight line.
What this second pass does is to cover any areas that might not have received enough fertilizer in the first pass. There will be a slight overlap, but this is better than leaving other sections of your lawn without fertilizer.
Lastly, don't forget to irrigate your lawn using a hose or a sprinkler. Likewise, you must rinse away any remaining fertilizer in the spreader using a hose.
Here is a video of using a broadcast spreader:
How to Use a Drop Spreader
The one major difference between a drop spreader and a broadcast spreader is that the former has greater precision. As its name implies, it simply drops the fertilizer or seeds down your lawn instead of scattering them.
Thus, it utilizes gravity so that the products land accurately in rows with a straight pass.
Read the Package and Set the Dial
Similar to using a broadcast spreader, you must look at the fertilizer or seed package to see the instructions. Ensure that you are looking at the settings for a drop spreader (not the rotary type). There should be a rate dial indicated.
Disengage the Spreader and Fill the Hopper
To prevent any accidents, it is best to keep the machine disengaged. At this point, just fill the hopper of the drop spreader with the necessary amount of fertilizer or seed.
You can opt not to fill the hopper since you can always add more along the way. What we don't recommend is overfilling it to the point that spills occur.
Operate on Your Lawn
Now, you must place your drop spreader just before the edge of your lawn. Remember to squeeze or press the lever to keep it engaged.
With a steady pace, walk around your lawn to spread the seeds or fertilizer. Once you reach the end point, you must disengage the spreader and move it a bit.
In particular, you should align the drop area where the wheels of the spreader made contact with. You see, only the area between the wheels get covered with seed or fertilizer.
By moving the spreader this way for the second pass, the uncovered areas will also get enough coverage as you walk in straight lines.
Clean the Spreader
After using the spreader, you could lift it to place any of the unused seed or fertilizer back to the package. Also, you must remove any lawn care products that got stuck by rinsing the drop spreader.
Similarly, you should use a spray lubricant to stop the metal parts from developing rust. Both types of lawn spreaders have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Broadcast spreaders will cover a wide area quickly. On the other hand, drop spreaders don't scatter the seeds or fertilizer but it will cover your lawn evenly and accurately.
Just always remember to use them to the recommended settings and to clean them properly after every operation.
Wrapping Up Our Best Lawn Spreader Guide
Grass seed and fertilizer spreaders take a lot of the hard work out of growing and maintain a beautiful lawn. With the right fertilizer spreader, you can ensure even, lush growth and a lawn that’s the envy of your neighborhood!
Remember, a broadcast spreader is for large yards and can be uneven, while a drop spreader delivers the most even results and is easy to use in yards with lots of trees and shrubs.
We hope you enjoyed this article on the best lawn fertilizer spreaders and found it useful!