When you own a home or business, you need to care for your lawn by seeding, feeding, and treating it. While you can spread the granular fertilizer by hand, using a broadcast fertilizer spreader helps to make the job easier and faster.
Using the lawn spreader helps cover the ground more consistently, and you do not have to touch chemicals. A fertilizer spreader is also known as a lawn spreader. Most spreaders have some similarities, no matter the brand. These similarities include the hopper or bin that holds the fertilizer, seed, or other lawn product.
You push the spreader over your lawn, and the item in the bin moves through the series of openings at the bottom. There is typically some type of knob or controller that allows you to determine the rate that the material comes out of the spreader. There are spreader options that you can push or pull, even one that you can hold in your hand.
Continue reading this article to learn about the best fertilizer spreaders to find the right one for you.
Table of Contents
Best Overall Fertilizer Spreader
The first time I used this Andersons LCO-1000, I felt like I was driving a Cadillac. It was so smooth and effortless. There are multiple hopper adjustments to ensure perfect, uniform coverage.
- Open/close the third hole
- Adjust the opening inside hopper
- A cone dial under the hopper and above the spinner plate
This walk-behind spreader and is ideal for professionals or anyone willing to spend top dollar on a premiere product. It has a hopper capacity of 80 pounds, giving you the ability to cover a large amount of space easily. The LCO-1000 spreader frame is durable and meant to last for numerous years and applications.
You can use The Andersons spreader all season long with ice melt in the winter and fertilizer or pesticides in the fall and spring (though I would not ruin this with ice melt or salt). It has a much wider wheelbase to give the spreader stability and easy control. In addition, the LCO-1000 has a rain cover to ensure you can still apply lawn treatments even when the weather is not ideal.
The Andersons LCO-1000 has an open gear housing that does not need any tools. It includes four grease zerks with easy lubrication.
- Extra widespread pattern
- 13-inch pneumatic tires
- Easy to adjust settings
- Expensive price tag
Best Professional Fertilizer Spreader
The Lesco 50-pound fertilizer spreader is incredibly popular among DIYers and professionals. I now own the 80# model, which is fantastic and would recommend either one to pros. I did a side-by-side comparison of this Lesco and the Spyker spreaders, and I chose the Spykler overall, but there are many things I like about the Lesco.
It comes as a bundle with a hopper cover and edge guard in addition to the spreader. The hopper of the Lesco broadcast spreader holds 50 pounds of material and is made with a carbon steel frame that is powder-coated, providing durability. The Lesco 80# spreader is stainless steel – both capable of being used through all seasons, including spreading ice melt in the winter. I have the Rittenhouse spreader caddy on the back of my truck which makes it super convenient to transport from job-to-job.
This broadcast spreader is ideal for use where large machinery cannot be accessed. The ergonomic tires provide stability, especially on an uneven lawn. The Lesco gearbox is enclosed to protect the gears while you evenly spread your lawn material. The spreader weighs about 30 pounds when empty.
Lesco makes a larger size broadcast spreader with a hopper that holds 80 pounds.
- Dial on the back provides appropriate calibration
- Ideal for professional and home use
- Adjustable handles fit multiple operator heights
- Assembly instructions are not clear
Best Prosumer Fertilizer Spreader
While I recommend the Lesco to professionals, it’s the Spyker 50-pound spreader that I like the most – especially for homeowners. This is also a walk-behind spreader but the hopper is much better than the Lesco. I like how there is only one single opening in the hopper. It is also designed to prevent the material from bridging – you can see how it funnels down into a cone-like shape versus a square hopper and flat bottom. This makes the fertilizer empty out smoothly without having to shake the whole thing.
The Spyker has a handle that is designed to be ergonomic and adjustable. This design is intended to reduce fatigue when you are using the spreader which I found very noticeable versus other models. The frame is made from powder-coated steel to provide durability for years of use. I’ve had mine since 2019 and still going strong.
Spyker makes a larger size fertilizer spreader with a hopper that holds 80 pounds.
- Cover and screen are included
- Handles have two-position adjustment
- Edgeguard and Accuway system sold separately on older 50# models
Best Fertilizer Spreader for Smaller Yards
The Earthway 82640 is a 40-pound spreader that has features commonly found in commercial spreaders. The handle is a T shape that is linked without springs or cables. It utilizes control with a side spreader. This ensures you accurately place fertilizer or seed.
Earthway uses more than 55 years of experience and knowledge to manufacture an accurate and even spreader. It has a pattern that allows you to spread evenly to eliminate a stripe of lawn products that is common with commercial spreaders. It also includes pneumatic tires with steel tubes and metal controls.
The Earthway utilizes a three-hole drop system to guarantee even spread no matter what material you use.
- Affordable spreader with professional features
- Highest quality with lower price
- The settings may be difficult to understand
Best Fertilizer Spreader on a Budget
The Scotts Elite broadcast spreader is an accurate spreader. It has been designed to apply and spread the material efficiently and about 20 percent faster. It can hold materials for all seasons, including ice melt in the winter.
These fertilizer spreaders set themselves apart from other broadcast spreaders because they can hold as much as 20,000 square feet of material. It has a six-foot pattern for spreading which means you can take less time and fewer passes to cover your yard. The handle of the Scotts Elite broadcast spreader is ergonomic, making it comfortable to push the spreader.
The Scotts Elite broadcast spreader has tires that are filled with foam. This foam means they never go flat and are always ready, no matter what terrain you encounter.
- The handle has space for a smartphone in the holder
- Dual rotors improve accuracy
- It may not be as durable as other options
Best Tow Behind Fertilizer Spreader
The Agri-Fab 130 pound tow behind broadcast spreader provides you the ability to grow the best lawn ever with even spread for every season. This size hopper means that you do not have to refill often and will have enough fertilizer. You can apply the material, aerate, de-thatch, and hauling with this tow behind spreader.
Tow behind spreaders have a hitch that is universal and can fit on any lawn tractor or riding lawn mower. This tow behind broadcast spreader includes tires that are larger to provide a wider wheelbase giving extra stability for even the roughest landscape. This tow-behind model makes spreading fertilizer easy and efficient.
The Agri-Fab 45-0463 has an on and off direct rod control operation that is accessible from your tractor seat.
- Proper care means the spreader will last you years
- Gearbox is enclosed, protecting the gears
- Hopper cover, hopper grate, and material deflector must be bought separately
Best Handheld Fertilizer Spreader
The Spyker HHS100 handheld spreader is ideal for spreading material, such as grass seed or ice melt, in small areas. This handheld spreader can help melt ice in small areas such as stairs, sidewalks, or driveways that are susceptible to hazards and slipping. You can also use a hand spreader to spread seed in garden beds.
Handheld spreaders have a funnel with a trigger that is ergonomic and easy to use. It has a rotary design that spreads evenly without having to shake the spreader. In addition, the rate can be easily adjusted by turning the knob.
I have a small 350 square foot section of turf along my driveway where I grew Poa Reptans (Creeping Bluegrass) and made a golf chipping green. This Spyker was perfect for seeding and overseeding, and fertilizing with precision. it’s also very handy in the winter to spread rock salt along my walkways.
The Spyker HHS100 has the shape of a funnel to help material flow through it properly and effectively. This hand spreader fits comfortably in either hand.
- Special lip design contoured for scooping
- Funnel can hold 5 pounds of material
- Expensive price tag, but worth it
Best Drop Fertilizer Spreader
The Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader is ideal for adding seed and fertilizer to your yard. The hopper holds 10,000 square feet of material. The Scotts Turf Builder allows you to cover your yard evenly. It is heavy-duty with a frame that is built to last. However, at under 13 pounds, it is incredibly lightweight. It can cover about 10,000 square feet, which is excellent for a medium-size lawn.
The Scotts Turf Builder Classic comes fully assembled, pre-calibrated, and ready to use.
- Comes fully assembled
- Spread pattern is 22 inches wide
- Not the best design
Things to Consider Before Buying
Above, we have listed the best fertilizer spreader along with their features. However, even when you have this list, it is helpful to know what features to look for when purchasing a suitable broadcast spreader for your needs.
Size of Yard
The size of the yard in which you are spreading matters when selecting a fertilizer spreader. Depending on the type of terrain in the yard, you can expect a 50-pound bag to cover about 15,000 square feet of yard. The size of your yard dictates how large of a hopper that you will need. If you have uneven ground, you need ergonomic tires to allow you to maneuver hills or bumps.
Handheld fertilizer spreaders are ideal for small yards around 1,500 square feet. A walk-behind broadcast spreader is ideal for yards from 5,000 to 20,000 square feet. The larger the yard is means you need a larger walk-behind spreader. If you have a yard that is larger than 1/2 acre, you may need tow behind fertilizer spreaders.
Your budget is critical when deciding which spreader to purchase. It is essential to remember that a higher-priced spreader does not mean better quality. It is also essential to consider that sometimes a lesser-priced item is not as good a quality. Spreaders can run anywhere between $50 to well over $500.
When determining which fertilizer spreader is suitable for you, you must think about how often you use it. Depending on if it is a professional or homeowner need, that may indicate the size of the hopper you want. Also, depending on your needs, you should consider if you want to consider broadcast spreaders or drop spreaders. Broadcast spreaders, also called rotary spreaders, make sure you have even distribution throughout the yard. In contrast, drop spreaders provide precise amounts of material in one location for areas that need it.
With proper care of your lawn spreaders, you should be able to use them for many years and numerous applications. If you select a big-name fertilizer and rotary spreader that is massed produced, you may pay less for it, but it will have more flaws. Fertilizers spreaders that are made from plastic must be appropriately stored and away from the sun.
Prosumer options tend to be more expensive but offer more reliability and longer durability. Lawn spreaders with stainless steel hoppers can withstand weed control products. In addition, you should look for rugged wheels and a durable reservoir.
Even when you buy a high-quality fertilizer spreader, you must use and care for it properly. If the fertilizer spreader has plastic parts and you leave it in the sun, it will become brittle. Some weed control products contain chemicals that may rust your new broadcast spreader.
It would be best if you used your hose to clean and wash it after every use. You want to make sure it is completely dry. You also want to apply some light machine oil to the wheels and other metal parts to protect them.
Lawn Fertilizer Spreader FAQs
Which is Better, Drop Spreader or Rotary Spreader?
It depends on how you want to use them as they each have positive and negative qualities. Drop spreaders allow you to be precise in the location of lawn seed as it drops directly between the wheels. You waste less product.
Are Lesco Spreaders Worth it?
Yes, they are worth it. Lesco makes top fertilizer spreaders that are well worth the price. They are more expensive but will last for years, longer than the lesser expensive models. They are durable and well made.
A rotary spreader is the same as a broadcast spreader. This spreader shoots material granules all over, allowing you to cover a larger area faster.