If you have a big garden, you'll need fertilizer spreader to make your job easier. However, choosing a fertilizer spreader is not an easy task. It is a hard decision to make due to a large number of products out there with different brand names and typically the same range of prices with different quality.
This article will help you find the best fertilizer spreaders out there and help you make a decision on the one that suits you the most.
The 7 Best Fertilizer Spreaders
- Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Mini Broadcast Spreader
- Scotts Wizz Hand-Held Spreader
- Garden-Outdoor Earthway 2750 Hand-Operated Bag Spreader/Seeder
- Agri-Fab 45-0463 Tow Behind Broadcast Spreader
- Earthway 2150 Commercial Walk-Behind Broadcast Spreader
- Field Tuff AS-80ATV12 Receiver Mount Spreader
- Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader
Overall Best Fertilizer Spreader
Agri-Fab 45-0463 Tow Behind Broadcast Spreader
It's strong, built with steady construction, durable, easy to use, and fairly low price compared to what you'll get in a high-end spreader. No matter what the size of your lawn is, Agri-Fab 45-0463 is the right choice.
Budget Fertilizer Spreader
Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Mini Broadcast Spreader
This spreader is the most commonly used by gardeners for this one reason: it'll get the job done for a low price. Scotts Turf Broadcast Spreader arguably works better compared to other products with double or even triple its price.
Choosing a Fertilizer Spreader
There are several factors you should put in mind when comparing the different type of products out there. This guide will walk you through the whole process until you reach the desired product.
Different Types of Spreader
The first thing you need to consider is the spreader type. There are three different types out there: handheld spreaders, drop spreaders and broadcast spreaders.
The handheld spreader is the easiest one to use, it is as simple as lifting the product with one hand and grinding with the other. While it's easy to use, handheld spreaders have a small capacity. So if you have a rather big flower or vegetable garden around your lawn, handheld spreader might not be the right choice for you.
In comparison, drop spreader is a good choice for a bigger work area because of the bigger capacity and the ability to be pushed rather than held in your arms. As the name suggests, drop spreader will only drop the fertilizer to the bottom. This type of spreader works best for medium-sized row gardening layout because of its accuracy.
The third and last type which is the broadcast spreader (or rotary spreader) is the perfect spreader if you have a big working area, more than 1 acre. You can move it around your lawn also by a pushing mechanism, like the drop spreader. What makes it perfect for a big garden is because the broadcast spreader will push the fertilizer to the side with the rotary mechanism. The spread radius is usually 3-4 feet.
This YouTube video will help you understand each and every type with more details and even learn how to use them:
What Makes a Good Spreader?
Now that you are familiar with the different categories to pick from, you need to ask yourself what makes a good spreader. What are the factors that will affect your decision? Well, the most common factors are the price, quality, lifespan, and the type that is most suitable for your crops and fertilizer.
Generally, the price and lifespan are the two most important factors that people always put in mind while buying any product. But, the prices for most fertilizer spreaders vary within the same range. Only a few of the products out there have high prices yet are totally worth it compared to their features.
The second consideration is the durability or the lifespan. Usually, this will differ according to your usage levels. But, your spreader can endure for a very long time unless you're using it in an extreme way.
Other factors that create a huge influence on your decision are the size and the shape of your lawn plus the kind of terrain. If you own a large field or yard then picking a drop spreader is the choice for you as it allows you to pull the spreader directly behind the tractor making the job easier and faster. For a small project using a handheld spreader is a good choice as it is the cheapest and can still get the job done evenly.
If you are fertilizing a piece of ground sizing from 1 acre then a broadcast spreader is definitely your way to go. It’s the perfect choice as it shoots fertilizer at large ranges. It might have a fairly high cost but compared to the great job it completes it’s just an investment.
One last factor to consider is the material. Picking a steel made spreader compared to a plastic one is not that tough of a choice. A steel spreader has the advantage of precision which is compared with the durability aspect that the plastic spreader provides. A comparison between different products, usage, prices, and all attributes will be included in the next section of the article.
Using Fertilizer Spreader the Right Way
So far, we have established a base of the different types of spreaders out there that you can use and you have also learned the different factors that you should consider. One last piece of information is missing which is the best way to use the product concerning your technical skills, soil type and, most importantly, the type of fertilizer used.
It is always recommended to read the guide that comes with the spreader. However, here are general guidelines on how to use a typical fertilizer spreader:
- Calibrate the spreader according to the manufacturer's specifications. Follow the distribution rate and pattern indicated on the seed or lawn-care product packaging.
- Load the spreader on a sidewalk or driveway.
- Move at a steady pace when using a spreader.
- Close the spreader opening when you make turns or stop.
- You can get good coverage with a broadcast spreader by applying the product in a crisscross pattern. Reduce the application setting by half and make a pass over the lawn. Then make a second pass over the lawn that runs perpendicular to the first pass.
- Sweep up any material on surfaces such as sidewalks and driveways. Pour it into the hopper and apply it to your lawn.
- Some lawn-care products are caustic and can promote rust. Use a garden hose to clean the spreader after each use. After it's clean and dry, apply light machine oil to metal parts in the wheels and spreader mechanism.
7 Best Fertilizer Spreaders We Reviewed
In this section of the article, we discuss different products out there with pros and cons for each. Keep in mind the factors stated in the previous sections of this article while checking out the products thus making a choice you won’t regret.
These are the most recommended products out there for you:
1. Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Mini Broadcast Spreader
This Broadcast spreader is one of the most popular ones on the market. It is suitable for large fields or yards and will not give you a hard time to get set up. The price is fair compared to the work it does plus the long lifespan it can withstand. Due to it being common, almost every fertilizer’s bag has a setting for this particular product having the process to be easier.
- Low cost
- Easy to set
- Perfect size to use and store
- Suitable for many different fertilizers
- Covers more ground than most drop spreaders
- Doesn’t spread evenly
- Unstable on non-flat surface
- Wheel gets covered by fertilizer thus needing regular cleaning
- Not very durable
2. Scotts Wizz Hand-Held Spreader
Another one with Scotts name on the product. Scotts Wizz Hand-Held Spreader is a great choice for a hand-held spreader. It is suitable for all the factors stated earlier as the price, size, way to use and durability. It weighs almost 2.4 pounds and used mainly for small yards and easy use. It’s a good choice for you if you don’t like the push machines. However, it's important to note that it doesn’t work well with moist fertilizer.
- Low price
- Easy to use
- Easy to clean
- Have to tilt while using
- Lack of control
- Weak motor
3. Garden-Outdoor Earthway 2750 Hand-Operated Bag Spreader/Seeder
This is the second hand-held spreader on this list, but unlike the other, it's a bag. While Garden-Outdoor Earthway is actually a seed spreader, it can also be used to spread fertilizer. This product has a high price for a handheld spreader but it is compensated with the amazing features it has. It weighs almost 2.63 pounds and like any other handheld spreader, it is best used for smaller yards. Made with delicate precision, this handheld spreader is a good deal.
- Easy to use
- Does not corrode
- Does not flip over due to base design and plastic add-ons
- Smooth Cranking
- Variable Speeds
- Have to tilt while using it
- Lack of control
- May cause arm fatigue
- Cheaply made; might break (short lifespan)
4. Agri-Fab 45-0463 Tow Behind Broadcast Spreader
If you have a 4-wheeler or a tractor that you can use, then this is the model that I recommend. It is constructed of high-grade materials and it has smart settings that only put out the amount of fertilizer you want it to. The unit comes unassembled but it is no problem to put it together. It is best used for large fields (1 acre or more).
- Strong and steady body
- Easy to assemble
- Lower price compared to other spreaders in the same class
- Carries a lot of fertilizer
- Weak Springs
- A lot of residue remains
5. Earthway 2150 Commercial Walk-Behind Broadcast Spreader
This product is a strong candidate for spreaders that spread fertilizer evenly. It is made of rigid construction that will last you for a fair time. It can cover large pieces of ground and can easily be moved around. It has pneumatic tires and you can also easily find good deals for this product on Amazon with amazing prices.
- Easy to use
- Easy control especially at corners
- Sturdy body ensuring a long lifespan
- Long time to assemble
- Unclear assemble instruction
6. Field Tuff AS-80ATV12 Receiver Mount Spreader
This particular product is different than all the others concerning its way of usage and looks. It has a 12 volt DC motor which is a strong candidate compared to others. This product is known for its heavyweight but strong durability. As its name suggests it has a receiver mount which is one of the main reasons for this product being a great seller.
- Easy to use
- Covers a lot of ground easily
- Hard to assemble
- Weak quality production
- Tray door doesn’t close
7. Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader
Last but not least is the Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader. It's a strong efficient machine that holds a large capacity, making your job easier and less time-consuming. This product is fully assembled which will save you the hassle of reading the instructions and getting lost. While drop spreaders are the least popular type of spreaders, this product has proven to be of a strong use.
- Easy to use
- No assembly needed
- Even coverage with a fairly light weight
- Need calibration before using
- Slips on wet grass