Spreaders can be broken down into three categories
1 – Handheld Spreaders
Great For Small Lawns
These are the most basic and are perfect for small lawns under 5,000 square feet.
These are pretty much bowls containing seed and the user cranks a lever to ensure a steady spread of the seeds on the lawn whilst they walk with the spreader.
2 – Broadcast Spreaders
Great For Medium To Large Lawns
Walk behind broadcast spreaders are probably the most well known and popular types of spreader on the market.
They scatter seeds in a fan shape over a wide space. These are great on large lawns over 5,000 square feet, although you do have less control over the spread, so you might get some of the product going on areas you don’t necessarily want it.
3 – Drop Spreader
Great For Precise Coverage
Drop spreaders offer more control than broadcast spreaders. The seed isn’t sprayed out in an fan shape, it is simply dropped behind the spreader. However you will need to overlap your wheel pass on every pass you make.
These are great for areas that need more precise coverage.
What Else Do I Need To Consider?
Choosing the best fertilizer spreader for your needs will not be as complicated as choosing something like a chainsaw or a lawn mower.
Take a look at the capacity of the hopper – try and ensure it can hold enough to treat your lawn without you needing to constantly refill it.
Don’t think that if you have a 50lb bag of fertilizer you will need a 50lb hopper though. You probably won’t wanted it fill right to the top!
Also be aware of how easy the unit is to push/pull/carry.
Spread It Real Good!
You will want the spreader you choose to spread the product evenly otherwise your lawn will not look as good as it could do. Research how well your intended spreader works in this respect.
If you are wanting something bigger you will want it to be durable and probably made of stainless steel. Smaller spreaders will probably be made of plastic and won’t need to be as durable.
Do some research into the tires as well as they can have a big effect on how easy it is to move.
I am sure you will have a price tag in mind – and I am sure you don’t need me to tell you the cheapest spreader around probably won’t last you long, but the most expensive isn’t necessarily the best.
The video below looks a bit more closely at choosing the best spreader for your needs:
I hope you love the products that I recommend here! Just so you know, I work with Amazon and other affiliate partners and may be compensated from the links below.
BEST FOR… Those average homeowners looking for the perfect handheld spreader
Capacity – 20lbs
Dimensions (inches) – 11 x 11 x 20
Weight – 6.75lbs
Spread Width – Up to 12 feet
One Year Warranty
PRICE GUIDE: $$
Want something that is easy to use, easy to load and spreads small seeds exceptionally well? Go for the Solo 421 Spreader – in my opinion the best fertilizer spreader on the market.
Let’s get started:
As the name suggests this is a chest mounted portable spreader, with a shoulder strap for comfort. It has a 20lb capacity hopper. It spreads up to 12 feet wide – and the spread range is determined by how hard you turn the crank. It weighs 6.75 lbs when empty and has a one year warranty.
This is HUGE:
In terms of control, coverage and convenience I think this is as good as you can get for a portable spreader. You can easily adjust the rate of flow and you can adjust the direction of the spread with equal simplicity – whether you want to aim it to the left side, right side or the center.
The beauty of this it makes seeding a lawn that has a lot of obstacles, such as trees, plants, ornaments or just generally tight areas an absolute breeze.
It is way more convenient than a wheeled spreader:
It is exceptionally well made – the gears are metal and can be lubricated, there is a screw on gap that prevents spillage and it sits snugly and securely on your chest without moving around.
It achieves the almost impossible for a spreader – neither the spreading mechanism or the hopper flow seem to jam.
For a portable spreader the 20 lb capacity is fantastic. It is easy to fill and should last the average homeowner several sessions before it needs filing.
One of the hallmarks of a good spreader is the crank and this is top quality – it feels well made, turns effortlessly and doesn’t bog down. Unlike some it won’t feel like your hand is about to fall off after a short time.
I think the price is great. On the face of it it might be more expensive than other hand held spreaders – but it is so well designed, efficient, easy to use and definitely built to last.
But a word of caution:
Because this has such a large capacity for a hand held spreader – you might find it heavy when it is completely full – especially with more dense material such as snow melt.
Also the lever for opening the material flow could be better positioned, as it is at the back of the spreader and you have to reach around and blindly feel for it.
This is absolutely perfect for the average homeowner. It ticks every box – design, capacity, efficiency, ease of use. Incredibly well made and engineered – it is the dream fertilizer spreader!
MY RATING: 94%
So easy to use and control
Very well made
Easy to crank
Can feel heavy when fully loaded
Lever to open material flow could be better placed
50lb capacity hopper, and the frame will support a load of up to 175 lbs. It spreads up to around 9 feet wide and has a two position adjustable handle. It has durable 13-inch in diameter tires and comes with a five year limited warranty.
Don’t you just hate those uncomfortable, difficult to push spreaders?
Thankfully this is nothing like that. It is ultra comfortable – it has a nice long handle with a number of holes so you can adjust the height.
It is very easy to roll, it seems to absorbs the bumps and means you can go up and down slopes and across uneven surfaces whilst always feeling in control and can easily keep it on a straight path, with feeling like it will topple over.
The design and build quality help ensure the feeling of totally stability when you push it. The drum is centered over a wide axis – plastic is used where needed, otherwise the important parts (ie the frame, handles, control and axis) are all metal.
This is further enhanced by large pneumatic tires – they are nice and wide apart and have a very large surface area which is why this glides over everything and never feels unstable.
This has a really clever removable plastic grate/screen you can put on top of the bin. What this does is catch large chunks of fertilizer that have got stuck together – you can then take these chunks and just rub them across the screen to crumble them up so they don’t end up on your lawn. And what does this mean for you? Well…
You get a lovely, smooth even spread pattern – and it has a wide spread and spreads well not matter what the situation.
There are lots of other little bits like a nice metal control rod, a well made and easy to use rate adjuster knob and a smooth on off/lever.
But it is worth knowing:
The assembly instructions are really poor – they are not very well illustrated and seem to lack important information – it may take you a little while to put this together.
I also noticed that as this is a commercial unit the lower dispersal rates are grouped closely together which does make them more difficult to correctly set.
Let’s rewind and…
This USA made spreader is a delight to use. It is insanely comfortable, built well down to the smallest detail and will definitely last.
You will struggle to find many spreaders that throw a better and more even spread and is undoubtedly the best compact commercial broadcast spreader on the market.
BEST FOR… Those with a large lawn wanting quality design and build.
Tank Size – 21 Gallons
Dimensions (inches) – 48 x 42 x 25
Weight – 60 lbs
Spread Width – 7 feet
Two Year Warranty
PRICE GUIDE: $$$
If you have a large area to spray the NorthStar Tow Behind Sprayer will save you lots of time and just oozes quality, with a top notch build and design.
Let’s take a closer look:
So as noted this is a 21 gallon tow behind sprayer. It delivers an overall spray width of 120 inches and an effective spray width of 80 inches. It has a flow rate of 2.2 GPM. It weighs 60 lbs and can be attached to an ATV or garden tractor.
It also comes with a spray wand, to spray weeds, trees and fence lines, this shoots 19 feet vertically and 30 feet horizontally.
Here is the deal:
You can tell this is one of the best broadcast spreaders around as soon as you have it ready to use.
It has a retractable tow bar with foldable boom arms. The axle and wheels are removable to make it easy to store and the cart itself is strong and durable and made of powder coated steel.
Talking of quality:
The pump is great, has lots of pressure and is resistant to pretty much every corrosive chemical under the sun and primes like a dream.
The tank is heavy duty, UV and chemical resistant and has a large 7.5 inch tank lid so it is ultra easy to fill. It also has gallon marks on the tank which are really handy.
It sprays fantastically and it ultra even and accurate. You have complete control over the left and right nozzles, which means it works great in tight spaces or when you need wider coverage.
It comes with a nice hand wand that is durable, has a good reach and a lot of pressure – it shoots 19 feet vertically and 30 feet horizontally.
It has a handy ATV remote switch so you can control the spray from the seat of your ATV if you are towing it. It means you can easily turn off the spray if you missed an area and can trundle back over to it before switching it on again.
The brackets that hold the wand in place are a little flimsy and you also need to pull the hose very tight around the hose reel as otherwise it feels like it will unwind.
And the hitch that you use to connect to your ATV/lawn tractor could be made of higher gauge metal as it seems a little thin.
But I am being picky!
This is an incredibly solid and well made broadcast sprayer. No corners have been cut in the design and build, with it having a quality pump and tank.
You have complete and easy control of the spray – and this is perfect for larger sized lawns. If you have an even bigger lot then there are also much bigger models of this available – up to 101 gallons.
BEST FOR… Those looking for a large hopper and wide broadcast range.
Capacity – 130lb
Spreader Width – 10 foot to 12 foot
Dimensions (inches) – 48 x 27.1 x 33.6
Weight – 37 lbs
Three Year Warranty
PRICE GUIDE: $$
With a large hopper and a wide broadcast range the Agri-Fab 45-0462 thoroughly deserves its place on my list of the best fertilizer spreaders.
So let’s get down to business:
This has a capacity of 130 lbs and spread to a width of 10 feet or 12 feet (depending upon settings). It has 10 inch pneumatic tires, weighs 37 lbs and comes with a three year warranty.
It all boils down to this:
With a 130 lb capacity hopper this is a real beast when it comes to push broadcast spreaders. Not only that it can spread up to 12 feet wide. These two factors are the hallmarks any broadcast or fertilizer spreader will live and die by and Agri-Fab have done a great job on both.
The hopper is rust proof poly and the spreader itself, with its powder coated metal frame is supremely well constructed. It is sturdy, quality and should last a lifetime.
Aside from that:
The tires are top quality, heavy duty pneumatic tires that give great traction and stability – so this is really easy to push.
It is really simple to set the spreading width – just use the handle mounted controller which is perfectly positioned.
This spreads very evenly, with a nice wide dispersal pattern and a clip rotates your material when it is in the hopper which prevents its clumping together.
A lovely taper and bevel gear box which is sealed and really high quality.
Ultra comfortable – nice long handle, a balanced and smooth feel, all the controls are easy to access and adjust.
Nearly everything about this is very well designed, but I say nearly as the feeder door/flow control shutter in the hopper seems to remains very slightly cracked open so it leaks a tiny bit when it is stationary.
And being ultra picky, when you want to stop the flow you have to take a hand off the handles and move the lever to zero. When you are on flat ground this is easy, but when you are on a hill it can be a bit of pain holding it up with one hand and using the other to adjust the controls.
This thing works! It is well built, but easy to push, has a huge capacity, but you don’t really notice it, is extremely well made, but won’t break the bank in terms of your budget.
This American made product is pure quality and with its massive hopper and great broadcast width – it is ideal for heavy use. It won’t let you down!
BEST FOR… Those with a small yard wanting a budget price spreader.
Coverage – Holds up to 1,500 sq. foot of product
Dimensions (inches) – 13.1 x 8.7 x 8.5
Weight – 1.15lbs
Comes with Scott’s No Quibble Guarantee
PRICE GUIDE: $
There cannot be many better value for money spreaders than the Scotts Whirl Hand-Held Spreader – an update of a prior version of what was already a good hand-held fertilizer spreader.
So here we go:
This holds up to 1,500 square feet of product and measures 13.1 x 8.7 x 8.5 inches. It weighs 1.15lbs and comes with Scott’s No Quibble Guarantee. This means if for any reason you are not satisfied with the product at any time you can can a refund or a replacement product.
You simply fill the bin, set the dispersal rate from 1 to 5 and then crank it!
Put it this way:
This costs about the same as movie ticket, or a couple of cups of coffee and it will last MUCH longer!
And whilst the price of this Scott’s spreader might be the most impressive thing about it, that doesn’t mean there isn’t much more to like.
It has a simple but clever arm/wrist support, this supports the weight of the spreader whilst you use it to make sure it doesn’t ever feel uncomfortable.
The dispersal settings dial is big and chunky and easy to turn.
The spread is surprisingly good for such a small machine.
Very compact and light, but also more sturdy than you would expect.
Scott’s have obviously listened and improved upon the previous iteration of this device – the new arm support and big chunky dial means it is much better and doesn’t waste much seed when you are using it.
Of course there are negatives:
The shute dial is big and chunky, but it is also plastic and feels a little cheap, so take care when you turn it. Also product does still seem to get stuck in the gearbox area somewhat, so you will need to keep an eye on this.
But the truth?
If you are really watching your pocket and want something for a small yard, or something that is compact and light and easy to use then this is your best option.
Don’t expect miracles, and remember its limitations and you will be very pleased indeed by this!
BEST FOR… Those looking for a comfortable push spreader.
Coverage – Holds up to 10,500 sq. foot of product
Spread Width – 5 feet
Dimensions (inches) – 19 x 22 x 22
Weight – 10 lbs
Comes with Scott’s No Quibble Guarantee
PRICE GUIDE: $$
The Scotts Turf Builder Pro Deluxe is the big brother to a broadcast spreader mentioned a bit further down the list – the Scotts Turf Builder Edgeguard Mini. This is a bit like its smaller sibling, except with a few more bows and whistles and a little more oomph!
Let’s get things underway:
This has a coverage area of up to 10,000 square feet and a spread width of five feet. It measures 19 x 22 x 22 and weighs 10lbs. As with any Scott’s product it comes with their No Quibble Guarantee – so you can get your money back, or a replacement product, if you are not happy with it for any reason.
This also utilises Scott’s Edgeguard technology – put simple this is a guard that stops seed going to the right side of the spreader when it is engaged.
It is funny how some things can make a bigger difference than you might expect.
This has one of the most comfortable handles ever! And it makes this so much more comfortable to use.
It is very well padded and the height is great, as I am quite tall, but I have no need to hunch over it. It just feels really nice to use.
I just like how this is designed and all the controls are located within easy reach so there is no need to stop, change and start up again, you can do it whilst you are on the move.
There is also:
I do love the EdgeGuard feature. It saves you from wasting fertilizer or getting weed killer on your flower beds! It is easy to engage as well.
The dial for the spread pattern is really easy to read and set – much better than most of its competitors.
The hopper is pretty big for a wheeled spreader – it should cut down the amount of time you need to walk your yard.
The broadcast is smooth – the blades are fed well by the hopper and it throws a nice pattern. It has handy arrow marks in the plastic that you can line up with wheel marks you have just made in the grass to ensure you don’t overlap, which is a nice idea.
Whilst this is mostly plastic, that has one major bonus – it makes it really easy to clean, you just need to hose it off and you don’t have to worry about rust.
But a word or two of caution:
I don’t like the plastic wheels for two reasons – 1) they don’t provide great grip and don’t roll smoothly over bumps and 2) fertilizer does tend to build up on the inside of the wheel and you need to keep an eye on this.
This is an easy, efficient and comfortable push spreader and thoroughly deserve its place on my list of the best fertilizer spreaders. Comfortable to use and a step up from cheaper spreaders – Scotts have come up trumps again!
BEST FOR… Those wanting a bargain wheeled spreader.
Coverage – Up to 5,000 sq feet
Spread Width – 5 feet
Dimensions (inches) – 16 x 20 x 45
Weight – 15.33lbs
Comes with Scott’s No Quibble Guarantee
PRICE GUIDE: $
The Scotts Turf Builder Edgeguard Mini is a no frills wheeled spreader that throws a great spread and comes at a bargain price.
Let’s dig a little deeper:
This has a coverage area of up to 5,000 square feet and a spread width of 5 feet. It weighs 15.33lbs and comes with Scott’s No Quibble Guarantee. This means if for any reason you are not satisfied with the product at any time you can get a refund or a replacement product.
This also comes with Scott’s patented Edgeguard – this is a guard that blocks the right side of the spreader to prevent product going onto areas you don’t want – ie over paths or in flower beds, etc.
Bottom line is:
This is an all round good fertilizer spreader – that performs well in most areas without excelling. It is easy to use, has multiple settings, is easy to load and has a good spread pattern.
Not only that:
This feels really lightweight – offering up no resistance, so it is easy to push and easy to handle.
I do like the EdgeGuard. Simply turn the lever on the handle and it will block the right side of the spreader helping you from wasting seed, or spreading chemicals or poisons on an area you don’t want to.
The dial you adjust to set the level of application is smooth and easy to use and you immediately see what you need to set it to.
It has a nice foldable handle so you can store it away without it taking up much space.
For a budget price spreader (yes it is a very good price) it has a large hopper and holds a lot of product.
But it is worth knowing:
This does have a tendency to trap fertilizer on the inside of the wheel at the lever, mainly because the wheels are quite close together. You need to be wary of this as it can then fall out when you hit a bump and damage your lawn.
On the theme of the wheels they are rather cheap plastics tires, that crack easily, however for the price this is at you can’t ask too much.
All in all:
If you have a small yard, don’t want a hand spreader and don’t want to break the bank than this is a great idea – especially as it is priced at a similar level to many hand spreaders.
That said it still has enough capacity for reasonable sized projects, whilst being small enough to fold up and store easily.
Steve is a one time gardening hater turned into gardening obsessive. This was all thanks to going to University where a two year stint spent transforming the previously horrific garden of the student house he lived in left him addicted to all things horticultural! Now with a new house in tow and due to some fortunate circumstances he is free to test out a whole host of gardening equipment. Find out more about Steve or drop him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.