Things to Think About Before Buying 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:
How large is the area that you are seeding/fertilizing?
Do you have a lot of trees, scrubs and obstacles to navigate?
Will you require precision seeding at any point?
How much time will you spend spreading grass seed or fertilizing your lawn?
Choosing a Lawn Fertilizer Spreader
Types of Lawn Spreader
There are two main types of lawn spreader – drop spreaders and broadcast spreaders.
There are also hand crank spreaders, but we don’t recommend these as they are tough to use, giving you a sore arm and a frustrating experience!
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.
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.
There are many reasons why we felt this was the best lawn spreader on the market! This spreader is very compact and is best-suited to small-to-average sized yards or where you have limited storage space.
It’s lightweight, so you don’t strain your back
It can hold 50lbs of seed or fertilizer, so you don’t need to constantly refill it
It has a great 3-hole drop shut-off system for an even spread
It is strong and stable, with wide 13-inch pneumatic stud tires, so it’s good over bumpy lawns
It has a screen that shields it from debris, so grass, sticks and eaves don’t get trapped in the mechanism
This spreader is very compact and is best-suited to small-to-average sized yards or where you have limited storage space.
In addition to what we’ve listed above, this lawn spreader really offers a lot for a reasonable price.
Earthway 2150 Pros
It is great for even applications of lawn seed or fertilizer, using a mechanism that has an adjustable drop rate so you can customize your application.
The enclosed, heavy-duty gearbox prevents frustrating clogging issues, making the spreader easy to use even in wet conditions.
The faster you walk, the faster the spreader distributes its load.
The tires do not go flat and are easy to maneuver as you push it over even or uneven lawn.
Its weight is well-distributed to ensure it doesn’t tip or unbalance easily.
You can also adjust it to ensure it’s at the right position for your height, making it comfortable to use.
Ideal for average to small-sized yards.
It’s a great option as an affordable all-rounder for spreading grass seed, fertilizer or road salt.
If you have a bigger yard, then you’re going to need maximum load capacity and a durable product – and that means the Agri-Fab 45-0463 130-Pound Tow Behind Broadcast Spreader.
This is a tow-behind spreader, so you attach it directly to your riding lawn mower, tractor or even an ATV.
Agri-Fab 45-0463 Pros
With a large capacity, it is ideal for yards of over 1,000 square feet of lawn, as it can hold 130lbs of grass seed (enough for 25,000 square feet).
It is very durable and well-constructed with 13-inch wheels and a 27-inch wheelbase for additional stability over tougher terrain.
You can control the settings from your seat without having to get on or off your vehicle. This allows you to control the flow of fertilizer, feed, grass seed or salt, which is a great feature that not every tow-behind lawn spreader has.
It handles bumpy lawns and rugged ground easily.
The lawn spreader is easy to assemble and comes with a 3-year warranty as well as great after sales service.
This large-capacity and durable device is the best lawn spreader for larger yards, offering useful features that make this type of yardwork simple and easy!
If what you want from a lawn spreader is an easy, lightweight, no-nonsense device for a 5,000 square-foot yard, then this is a great option.
Mini Broadcast Pros
A lightweight and compact device, this is easy to push around your lawn and easy to store.
It has large wheels, making it stable even over a lumpy lawn or rocks.
Despite being a mini lawn spreader, it offers good capacity and holds enough seed or fertilizer for 5,000 square feet of lawn.
It has great EdgeGuard Technology, which keeps the spread of the product confined to your lawn even when doing edges and flowerbeds. Not many lawn spreaders have this great precision feature, which is really useful when spreading lawn seed!
It’s hassle-free as it comes pre-calibrates and fully-assembled.
Although it is already a compact device, the handle also folds down to make storage even simpler.
We love the EdgeGuard Technology and compact size of this lawn spreader, and it’s great capacity delivers real value-for-money, making it one of our best lawn spreaders for 2021.
Another great lawn spreader from Agri-Fab, this walk-behind lawn spreader offers the same great capacity for large yards of 25,000 square feet without the need to attach it to a riding lawn mower.
Agri-Fab 45-0462 Pros
You get great capacity with this fertilizer spreader, so you don’t have to refill often. It will hold 130lbs of grass seed, fertilizer or salt – enough to cover 25,000 square feet.
As a push-style lawn spreader weighing 35lbs unloaded, it does require a little effort and fitness to use. However, the wide pneumatic tires and well-designed chassis makes this job a lot easier.
The spreader has good range, covering 10-12 feet in diameter, making the job nice and quick.
With a wide hopper, it’s easy to fill with seed, fertilizer, salt or animal feed.
It’s great quality, offering robust tires with good grip, an enclosed gearbox, a rust-proof hopper and a powder-coated metal frame.
It’s easy to assemble and you can get additional accessories, including a Pro Kit with shield.
This is a great push-style lawn spreader option for big yards when you don’t have a riding lawn mower. With great coverage and capacity, this yard chore is completed in no time at all, even in a large yard.
I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.