If you look at the instructions for almost any lawn fertilizer, it will tell you that the best way to apply the product is to use a fertilizer spreader. The main reason for this is that you have much better control over the amount of fertilizer that you apply per square foot of lawn.
In short, using a fertilizer spreader ensures you don’t over fertilize or under nourish your lawns. It is also one of the most important tools you can have when creating the perfect lawn.
But which is the best fertilizer spreader? Which should you spend your money on?
Well, we have done the research and have put together this article for you that summarizes the best spreaders for your specific purpose. Read on to find the right one for you.
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Fertilizer Spreader Quick Comparison Table
Use the following comparison table to quickly choose the best fertilizer spreader for your requirements.
If you are still unsure which one is right for you, then read on for more info and detailed reviews on each model.
The Best Fertilizer Spreaders – Our Top Picks
Best Push Broadcast Spreader
Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Deluxe
- Type: Push Broadcast Spreader
- Max Coverage: Up to 15,000 sq ft per load
- Spread Width: 72 inches
- Weight: 10.82 lbs
Perfect for: Users with a large, open lawn
This fertilizer spreader is probably the most popular on the market, and this is with good reason. High quality construction, EdgeGuard technology, and an even spread are all reasons you should consider the Scotts EdgeGuard DLX.
The Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Deluxe features include:
- EdgeGuard technology to keep fertilizer where you want it
- Comes calibrated and ready to use
One of the downsides of most Broadcast Spreaders is the fact that it is hard to apply fertilizer near the edges of your lawn without accidentally getting it on your paths or garden beds. The great thing about the Scotts spreader is that it features what they call “EdgeGuard” technology.
Sounds fancy hey? Well, it isnt…but it is very helpful. Basically, its a piece of plastic that you can slide into place that blocks the fertilizer from spraying out one side – meaning you have much more control over where it ends up.
It has a reasonably large hopper, which holds enough fertilizer to cover up to 15,000 square feet and comes pre-calibrated so you can get to work straight away.
There are only a few small issues with this unit – the main one being that because the way the wheels are manufactured, fertilizer can collect in them and then drop off in clumps – causing the lawn to burn in spots. Although if you use your imagination there are ways to solve this problem, such as Amazon User B.Ickes explains here.
- EdgeGuard Technology is simple and works well
- Large hopper size
- Very affordable
- Wheel design can lead to some problems with fertilizer getting caught in them
The Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Deluxe is available from Amazon.
Best Push Drop Spreader
Scotts Classic Drop Spreader
- Type: Push Drop Spreader
- Max Coverage:Up to 10,000 sq ft per load
- Spread Width: 22 inches
- Weight: 12.55 lbs
Perfect for: Users with a medium sized lawn.
The next spreader on our list is another Scotts product: The classic drop spreader. This has been a staple in garden sheds around the country for many years, and will continue to be so moving forward.
The Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader features include:
- Fully assembled and ready to fertilize
- Heavy duty
Drop spreaders are great for users with a lawn that is under 5,000 square feet and areas that require precision fertilizer application. They generally provide a much more even application but do take more passes to treat an area. E.g. this spreader has a spread width of 22 inches while the Scotts Broadcast Spreader spread width is 72 inches.
The Scotts classic drop spreader is made from high-quality materials and will likely last you forever. Its frame is super sturdy and will survive almost whatever punishments you can throw at it.
Our main complaint with this spreader is that while Scotts claim that it comes pre-calibrated – we found that the factory set calibration was way off and we needed to re-calibrate it.
- Sturdy and well built
- Easy to use
- Cost effective
- Needs calibration despite Scotts claiming it doesn’t
The Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader is available from Amazon.
Best Hand Held Fertilizer Spreader
Scotts Wizz Hand-Held Spreader
- Type: Hand held broadcast Spreader
- Max Coverage:Up to 2,500 sq ft per load
- Spread Width: 60 inches
- Weight: 2.4 lbs
Perfect for: Users that need to fertilize small areas at a time
Yes yes, I know.. another Scotts product. Well, what can I say? they know their stuff when it comes to fertilizer spreaders! And the Wizz handheld spreader is one awesome little unit.
The Scotts Wizz Handheld Spreader features include:
- Battery powered for easy application
- EdgeGuard Technology
Call me a Scotts fanboy if you like….hey, you probably wouldn’t be wrong! But it is not blind fan love – it is simply because Scotts produce high-quality products that work. The Wizz handheld spreader is no different.
Some handheld spreaders have a handle you need to wind, which can lead to the application being patchy at best. Tot the Wizz handheld spreader though, it is actually battery powered (3 x AA) which ensures a nice even spread.
This spreader is perfect for quickly applying fertilizer to small areas of lawn, although I wouldn’t recommend this for larger lawns as you will find even spread is hard to achieve across large areas.
Our only issue with this fertilizer spreader is that it struggles a bit if the fertilizer is clumped at all – the motor could probably do with a bit more power.
- Very easy to use
- Nice and light
- Battery powered
- Motor is a little weak and struggles for some fertilizer types
The Scotts Wizz Handheld Spreader is available from Amazon.
Best Tow Behind Drop Spreader
- Type: Tow behind drop spreader
- Max Coverage:Up to 40,000 sq ft per load
- Spread Width: 42 inches
- Weight: 46 lbs
Perfect for: Users that have a ride on mower/4 wheeler and extra large lawns – especially those with lots of garden beds and paths.
Now we get into the big toys for big boys (or girls) and I do love the Agri-Fab tow behind drop spreader. Check out the size of that hopper – it can hold up to 175 lbs of fetilizer and boy does it do a good job at spreading it.
The Agri-Fab 45-0288 features include:
- Huge hopper (175 lbs/17 gallons)
- Poly hopper for long life (no rust)
- Pneumatic tires for smooth application
The sheer robustness of this machine is amazing – it seriously feels like you could drop this spreader over a cliff and it would still work after hitting the bottom. The poly hopper is tough as, and the metal frame should last forever.
Pneumatic tires are a great touch too as it makes all the difference when towing this beast – it just glides over most bumps and dips.
The adjustment lever is relatively straightforward if a little finicky.
One thing I would like to mention is that the agitator blades are quite thin – and depending on what you are spreading, you may have some problems with them bending somewhat if you are a hardcore user.
- Very tough
- Super large hopper capacity
- Pneumatic tires are awesome
- Agitator blades are a bit flimsy
- Adjustment lever can be a pain
The Agri-Fab 45-0288 is available from Amazon.
Best Tow Behind Broadcast Spreader
- Type: Tow behind broadcast spreader
- Max Coverage: Up to 43,000 sq ft per load
- Spread Width: 96 – 144 inches
- Weight: 47 lbs
- More Details: Manufacturers Website
Perfect for: Users that have a ride on mower/4 wheeler and extra large, open lawns.
If your lawn is huge and very open – then a tow behind broadcast spreader is probably exactly what you need. And if you are looking for the best of the bunch then the Brinly BS36BH is what you want.
The Brinly BS36BH Tow Behind Broadcast Spreader features include:
- Huge hopper (175 lbs/17 gallons)
- Universal attachment
- Directional spread pattern for even application
If you need a tow behind spreader to quickly apply fertilizer to a large lawn then this is what you need. It has an adjustable spread width of between 96 and 144 inches so you can set it to whatever suits your yard.
The on/off handle is very sturdy and works well and the adjuster handle also makes it very easy to set the range and calibration.
The Brinly BS36BH also comes with a 2-year warranty which is double what most other manufacturers give you. This is great peace of mind.
We did find that the wheelbase of the spreader was a little short. When you are carrying a full load it does feel very top heavy. While we did not have it top over on us, I did feel that it was a distinct possibility.
- Easy to calibrate and use
- 2 year warranty
- Covers a large area quickly
- Wheelbase is a little short which may lead to tip overs
The Brinly BS36BH is available from Amazon.
Types of Fertilizer Spreaders
There are two main types of fertilizer spreaders:
- broadcast spreader
- drop spreader
Each type has its advantages, disadvantages and specific uses.
So let’s take a closer look.
Good for: Large lawns
Bad for: Areas that require precision application
Broadcast spreaders spray the fertilizer out in a fanlike pattern that is much wider than the actual spreader itself.
This means you can quickly cover large areas, but also means that you have less control over where your fertilizer actually ends up. This can lead to problems if you are using something like a weed and feed product, and need to make sure that you are not getting any of the fertilizer into garden beds.
Broadcast spreaders Comes in handheld, tow behind and push styles.
Fertilizing before winter? Check out our Winterizer Guide here.
Good for: Smaller areas that precision application
Bad for: Large lawns
Instead of spraying the fertilizer out in an arc like a broadcast spreader does, a drop spreader drops the product only directly beneath it.
This results in a nice even application of fertilizer that can be placed with super accuracy. While this may sound great, it does also mean that it takes a lot more passes to fertilize the whole lawn.
One tip for using drop spreaders is to make sure that you overlap your wheel path on each pass. This makes sure that you do not live thin lines of lawn that are have not had fertilizer applied.
Drop spreaders come in push and tow behind styles.
Choosing A Fertilizer Spreader
So what do we look for when choosing the best fertilizer spreaders? Well there are many different criteria, but here are some of the main ones.
How much your fertilizer spreader can hold to spread in one go is an important consideration. You don’t want to be constantly having to refill the hopper.
Of course, this also comes down to choosing the right spreader for the job – be sure to check the hopper size of the spreader and make sure it can hold enough to do your lawn with as few refills as possible.
Evenness of Spread
If your spreader does not apply your fertilizer evenly, then it can lead to burnt spots, or areas that are undernourished.
The best fertilizer spreaders will apply the product evenly and at a predictable rate.
Self explanatory right? The price should be competitive and affordable, but in saying this we don’t mind paying a bit extra if the quality is also better.
If you are anything like me, then no matter how careful you are you will inevitably run your spreader into the side of a building or garden bed.
A well-manufactured model made of sturdy materials should be able to survive all but the worst bumps!
If you are serious about lawncare then fertilizing will be part of your lawn care plan and a fertilizer spreader should be one of your most used tools. If the models in this article don’t tickle your fancy, then be sure to check out the other models available on Amazon.
Just remember what you have learnt here and make sure you do your research!
So what do you need after a spreader? Take a look at a cordless mower!