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Don’t be fooled, a fertilizer spreader is a lot more versatile than its name implies. If you have a sizable lawn, a vegetable garden, or green fingers that love gardening gadgets, you’ll find that a fertilizer spreader makes certain jobs around your garden safer, more efficient, and pretty effortless.
Besides spreading fertilizer and seeds, spreaders can also be used to apply lawn treatment, treat bug infestations, and spread salt on icy, outdoor surfaces. The top fertilizer spreaders for 2022 help ensure the even distribution of fertilizers and seeds for consistent results, and they also help users avoid contact with potentially harmful chemicals.
There are a few different types of fertilizer spreaders to consider depending on your garden size, fertilizer type, and the greenery you are treating. Before we get into which one will be most suitable for your yard, here are our top choices.
We love this option from Scotts since this mini-broadcast spreader is easy to use straight out of the box. It comes pre-assembled and pre-calibrated so you can simply unpack it and get gardening. The fold-down handle makes storage easy and as its name suggests, the edge-guard technology blocks off the edge on the right side, helping prevent lawn products from getting onto your walkways, pavement, driveways, and landscaping. This version also includes a redesigned hopper and feeder for smoother and more consistent funneling. We chose this option as the best overall on this list because of its easy assembly and the functionality it offers customers.
Operation type: Walk-behind spreader
Coverage capacity: 5000-square feet
Ideal for grass seed and fertilizer
This seed spreader comes in the form of a nylon bag that sits comfortably on your shoulder with a secure and adjustable strap. The bag is tear and weather resistant with a zipper-top closure, allowing seeds to stay safe and dry inside without spilling. Seed is distributed out the side with complete flow control for accurate placement. You can also use this option to distribute a range of materials including fall deer pellets and a variety of seeds. The sloped floor also ensures full emptying so that nothing remains stuck inside when you’re tackling a new job.
Operation type: Shoulder bag with side spread control
Holding capacity: 25 pounds
Can be used for ice melt, grass seeds and sand fertilizer
Perfect for bigger jobs, this large-capacity spreader is great for lawn seeding and fertilizing large areas. It features an enclosed gearbox too, preventing seeds and other material from getting stuck inside the driving mechanisms. This option also allows you to determine the flow with precise settings for consistent distribution. There is an optional hopper cover to keep fertilizers and seeds safe and dry. The heavy-duty frame and large, pneumatic wheels make this device a great choice for slightly uneven terrain.
Operation type: Tow-behind spreader
Coverage capacity: 130 pounds
Ideal for grass seed and fertilizer
Brinley knows that outdoor equipment is constantly exposed to the elements and is prone to rust, which is why they’ve designed this medium-capacity fertilizer spreader with such durable hardware. This option features an enclosed, rust-resistant gearbox and stainless-steel components to make sure your machine lasts many seasons. The large, durable turf-tread tires make it easy to push this product over patchy lawn spots and soil. You can also stay in complete control of the flow rate with the accurate and easy-to-maneuver calibration settings.
Operation type: Push spreader
Holding capacity: 50 pounds
Ideal for grass seed, fertilizer, and ice-melt agents
This option features a 36-inch mesh basket with diamond-shaped slits, allowing for even distribution of lawn products. It breaks up chunky compost with the sifter mechanism which makes fertilizing a whole lot easier and much less messy than doing it by hand. The powder-coated finish is also heat treated to protect against rust and corrosion. The ergonomic design features comfort-grip handles and this spreader can also help minimize back strain. With a large, hinge-door opening you can easily fill the mesh drum and empty it as needed.
Operation type: Walk-behind or tow
Coverage capacity: 250-square feet
Ideal for compost, peat moss, topsoil, and mulch
How to find your next fertilizer spreader: A buyer’s guide
Whether you are nourishing an existing garden, seeding a new lawn, or doing some bug treatment on your yard, using a garden fertilizer can save you a lot of time and give you much more consistent results, which is really helpful in avoiding a patchy-looking lawn. Fertilizers and pest treatments are not always the most pleasant substances to work with. A fertilizer spreader can help you finish your tasks with minimal contact and less waste. Here’s what you need to know when choosing a multi-purpose fertilizing tool.
Types of fertilizer spreaders
Although you can find several different designs when it comes to fertilizer spreaders, you really have three main options. Rotary and drop spreaders are used for dry applications while spray spreaders are used for liquid applications.
Rotary: Also called “broadcast spreaders”, these versions have a rotating-base plate where granules or seeds are distributed a couple of feet to the side and in front of the user. They come in different sizes and cover an area up to three times the device’s width. This means you can purchase a size that is suitable for your garden whether it’s tiny, expansive, or somewhere in the middle. These versions are a bit less accurate than drop spreaders but are the fastest way to spread dry applications.
Drop: This version might take you slightly longer to complete jobs but it offers more precision. The fertilizer, or other dry applications, is only released in the area between the wheels through an opening directly under the spreader.
Liquid: Liquid, or spray spreaders, are only suitable for liquid treatments. A hose-end sprayer automatically mixes the right amount of concentrate with the water moving through the nozzle. Although they aren’t as accurate as other spreaders, these products allow quick application and are ideal for emergency treatments. Liquids tend to be absorbed faster and can treat bug infestations more effectively, they also tend to dissipate faster than dry applications though.
Choosing a suitable fertilizer spreader
1. Yard size and type
While drop spreaders are ideal for large areas of lawn or soil, they can’t be used in places where there is already plant growth, or else you’ll be pulling or pushing wheels over your vegetables and flowers. Needless to say, when treating flowerbeds or vegetable patches, a liquid sprayer is the most suitable choice.
If you have an expansive lawn or are preparing a large area for crops, you want something that works quickly and can cover the space without requiring constant refilling. This leads us to our next factor.
2. Method of operation
For expansive areas, you’ll want something you can push, pull or attach to a lawn tractor. With medium lawns, a hand-operated device can work as well as a drop spreader. Small areas are best covered using a handheld unit since you may struggle to maneuver large devices in tight spaces.
3. Holding capacity
The size of the spreader is related directly to its holding capacity. Ideally, you’ll want something that you only need to fill once to cover an entire area.
For small lawns up to 1500-square feet, a handheld spreader can work well. A small walk-behind device is ideal for medium size lawns up to 5000-square feet. The same type of drop spreader can also be used for larger lawns up to 20,000 square feet, you will need a much larger device with a greater holding capacity though. It’s also a good idea to get a tow-behind unit for yards larger than half an acre.
4. Spreading capacity
While the holding capacity refers to how much substance a spreader can handle, the spreading capacity refers to what type of substance a fertilizer spreader is compatible with. All dry-product spreaders can spread grass seeds and pelletized chemicals effectively, however, not all of them are suitable for sand, compost, ice melt, or powdered lime distribution. Remember to check this when choosing a device.
When it comes to seed or fertilizer spreading, accuracy can sometimes come at the cost of speed. While any fertilizer spreader is still more accurate than doing it by hand, drop spreaders are elite options when it comes to accuracy. Manufacturers calibrate drop spreaders for a consistent flow of seed or fertilizer which generally allows for more even growth.
Although broadcast spreaders can be calibrated to a steady flow rate, the pace at which you walk will influence how even your coverage ends up being. Similarly, liquid spreaders automatically dilute the concentrate with water but you are still in complete control of the area you cover.
People also asked
Q: Is my fertilizer spreader the same as a seed spreader?
A: Yes. Lawn spreaders, fertilizer spreaders, and seed spreaders all refer to the same thing. They come in various types though and some are more suitable for certain applications than others.
Q: What are the settings on my fertilizer spreader?
A: The settings determine the rate of application. The rate will be determined by the amount of product you are applying per unit area of your land. For example, if you are seeding a new lawn, you will want to spread more seeds than if you are over seeding an existing lawn. Whatever product you purchase should list the recommended rate of application and coverage.
Q: How do I prevent lawn stripes after using my fertilizer spreader?
A: Stripes are generally caused by leaving small gaps between the area you cover with fertilizer due to ineffective alignment. Try to align the edge where the fertilizer hits the lawn as closely as possible so that there’s no overlap or gaps.