Best Fertilizer Spreaders for Lawns

Lawn maintenance is hard work. Fertilizer application is a vital part of lawn maintenance. Uniformity is the game’s name when it comes to fertilizer application. Fertilizer spreaders ensure quick and uniform application of fertilizer granules. When choosing a fertilizer spreader for lawns, I found it important to consider the spreader’s type, dispersion mechanism, and cost. 

I’ve scoured different sources, matched real-time user reviews, and tested to compile a list of top fertilizer spreaders for lawns. Here’s a quick list.  

  • Agri-Fab 45-0463 Tow-Behind Spreader.
  • The Andersons LCO-1000 Spreader. 
  • Scotts 76565 Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader.
  • Lesco 50 Pound Spreader.
  • Scotts Whirl Hand-Powered Spreader.
  • Brinly Broadcast Spreader.

6 Best fertilizer spreaders for lawn

I’ve used different metrics to compare the size of fertilizer spreaders for lawns. Here are a few considerations I looked at: 

  • Ergonomics,
  • Weight carrying capacity,
  • Design and usability.

Best Pull-Behind Spreader: Agri-Fab 45-0463 Tow-Behind Spreader

If you’re looking for something you can effectively use to spread fertilizer over a large lawn, the 130-lb capacity Agri-Fab 45-0463 Tow-Behind Spreader is your go-to machine. This heavy-duty fertilizer spreader features a plastic hopper, wide pneumatic tires, and a durable steel frame.

The Agri-Fab 45-0463 Tow-Behind Spreader also has a universal hitch to attach to your riding lawn mower or ATV. This rotary spreader also has a low height to allow for easier hopper loading and improved stability on hilly lawn terrain. Meanwhile, the universal hitch is short to allow for better maneuverability around curves.

On the downside, I found the control lever on the Agri-Fab 45-0463 Tow-Behind Spreader difficult to operate from the mower seat. Additionally, the steel frame corrodes as it ages.

Note: This tow-behind spreader uses the broadcast mechanism to disperse fertilizer granules.

Best Push-Walk-Behind Spreader: The Andersons LCO-1000 Spreader

The Andersons LCO-1000 Spreader is a walk-behind spreader that’s easy to push due to its 13-inch pneumatic tires that offer excellent control and maneuverability. This push spreader comes with an 80-lb capacity hopper, making it an excellent purchase for landscaping professionals that often get maintenance contracts on large lawns.

The Andersons LCO-1000 Spreader felt stable as they come with a 21-inch wide wheelbase. Meanwhile, the rain cover accessory enables users to apply fertilizer even in wet weather. The Andersons LCO-1000 Spreader’s stainless steel frame rotary spreader is sturdy and durable, making it a perfect purchase for large lawns or lawn care professionals.

Note: The Andersons LCO-1000 Spreader features four easily accessible grease zerks that make maintenance a quick, tool-free task.

Best Drop Spreader: Scotts 76565 Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader

Scotts 76565 Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader is arguably the best fertilizer spreader for accurate application. It uses the precise drop dispersion mechanism. The Scotts spreader has a 22-inch spread pattern, allowing users to cover greater lawn width with every pass.

Note: The drop mechanism makes it easier to work near the edge of the lawn without wasting some of the fertilizer on the driveway, walkway, or other nearby areas.

Meanwhile, the cable-driven gate control makes it easy to stop the outflow of fertilizer whenever you’re making turns or stopping. With a 32-lb hopper capacity, this spreader can hold enough fertilizer to go over 10,000 square feet of lawn area.

Scotts 76565 Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader has some disadvantages despite the upsides. For starters, it features several components made of lightweight plastic, compromising its durability. Furthermore, I felt its plastic wheels make it hard to maneuver on uneven terrain.

Best Broadcast Spreader: Lesco 50 Pound Spreader

Lesco 50 Pound Spreader is a walk-behind spreader with a powder-coated carbon steel frame for extra durability. This broadcast spreader boasts a 5:1 gear ratio to facilitate the uniform distribution of fertilizer granules.

Meanwhile, the adjustable handles allow for comfortable use by operators of all heights.

Lesco 50 Pound Spreader also has an enclosed gearbox to protect your gear from dust and debris as you work. There’s also a hopper cover to allow usage even in snowy or rainy conditions.

Best Handheld Spreader: Scotts Whirl Hand-Powered Spreader

Scotts Whirl Hand-Powered Spreader is the best fertilizer spreader if you’re looking for a tool to quickly and conveniently apply fertilizer on small lawns or small patches showing turf stress on more extensive lawns. This handheld spreader is lightweight, so you can easily carry it for long as you work in your yard.

Scotts Whirl Hand-Powered Spreader is constructed from plastic, eliminating corrosion issues common in steel fertilizer spreaders. This lawn spreader has slide-out arm support that stabilizes the hopper. The arm support lowers the user’s fatigue and ensures maximum comfort.

Note: Though it’s primarily designed for patching up small areas on lawns, Scotts Whirl Hand-Powered Spreader has a 2-pound capacity, thus can hold enough seeds to cover 1500 square feet of yard space.

Best Heavy-Duty Spreader: Brinly Broadcast Spreader

Brinly Broadcast Spreader is a heavy-duty tow-behind fertilizer spreader that’s great for commercial landscaping professionals looking for something that has a high capacity and is durable. 

The stainless steel frame construction ensures this spreader lasts for years. Its 175-lb capacity hopper means you can fill it with enough seed to cover up to an acre of lawn area.

Buyer guide for lawn fertilizer spreader

When purchasing a lawn spreader, some crucial factors include the type of spreader, the dispersion mechanism, and the cost-to-reward ratio.

Best fertilizers spreaders for lawns, what to look for in a lawn fertilizer spreader?

Type of spreader

Fertilizer spreaders are classified in terms of how the user operates them. You can choose a walk-behind/push spreader, a pull-behind spreader, or a handheld spreader.

Walk-behind mowers are more budget-friendly but are best reserved for small lawns.  They’re slow, and it’ll take longer to apply fertilizer. Comparatively, pull-behind spreaders cost more but are excellent for large lawns as they offer faster coverage. This type of spreader is designed to be towed by motorized machines such as power mowers or ATVs.

Dispersion mechanism

Another important factor to consider when purchasing a lawn fertilizer spreader is the distribution mechanism. These gardening machines use either a broadcast or drop spreader mechanism.

A broadcast spreader is preferable if you have a large lawn that you need to cover within the shortest time possible. This type of lawn spreader channels the fertilizer material from the hopper onto a rotating disc, dispersing the seeds. This dispersion method ensures you cover a larger lawn area with every pass.

However, this dispersion technique means that some of the grass seeds tossed will inevitably end up in unintended areas like your driveway or flower garden, especially when working around the edges of the lawn. You should, therefore, only consider buying a broadcast spreader if you don’t mind sacrificing precision for quick coverage.

Note: Broadcast spreaders sparsely distribute seeds. You may need to overlap your passes to ensure sufficient and uniform coverage.

On the other hand, we have drop spreaders, which provide greater precision in seed dispersion, as the seeds are dropped directly below the spreader at a specific width. It’s, therefore, easier to tell which parts of the lawn have been seeded. 

On the downside, you have to make more passes to cover the entire lawn using a drop spreader, making it a more labor-intensive option.

Note: When purchasing a drop spreader, consider the width of the hopper, as this directly corresponds to how much lawn width you can cover with each pass.

Value for money

Some lawn fertilizer spreaders offer greater value for money than others. For instance, some broadcast spreaders ensure precise application by including a guard feature that controls the distribution pattern when working around the edges of the lawn. Fertilizer spreaders with additional functionalities, such as an aeration component, also offer value for money spent.

How to use a spreader to fertilize lawns

To enhance the chances of successful seeding or reseeding, you need to stick to each fertilizer spreader’s model’s operation instructions. However, the general steps below apply to most, if not all, lawn spreaders.

i. Set the application rate controller on the fertilizer spreader to the seeding rate specified on the manufacturer’s labeling on the grass seed product packaging.

ii. Most spreaders are designed to start dispersing seeds when the wheels start turning. Position the spreader at your preferred starting point or the edge of your lawn. Then, load the spreader by pouring the seeds into the hopper.

iii. Next, start moving the spreader at an even pace, all while closing the outlet before turning or stopping.

Here is a video on how to effectively use a spreader to fertilize your lawn:

References

I. Purdue University Extension: Agricultural Fertilizer Applicator

ii. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach- Integrated Crop Management: Equipment maintenance- Fertilizer applicators

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