Using fertilizer in your lawn is essential to keep it healthy. Fertilizers provide your plants with all the nutrients they need to grow, like carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.
However, applying it manually is a tedious task. Not to mention, it can be pretty hard to distribute it evenly or precisely across your lawn.
Luckily, you can just use a lawn fertilizer spreader, a machine that’s been used by farmers and lawn keepers for decades, to apply it the right way.
In this guide, we’ll help you choose the best fertilizer spreader to keep a healthy lawn, so stick around.
The Best Fertilizer Spreader Right Now
Alright, now, let’s take a close look at some of the best fertilizer spreaders you can get. We’ve handpicked them out of hundreds of spreaders, so you can rest assured that they’re nothing but the best!
Best Overall: Craftsman 110lb Tow Broadcast Spreader
Made of genuine materials, the Craftsman Tow is a durable broadcast spreader that emphasizes quality and durability. It boasts a rustproof poly hopper and spreader plate for maximum durability.
With a 10-inch spread width, covering your lawn will only take 10 or 15 minutes at most, depending on its size, of course.
The hopper can take a whopping product weight of 110 lbs, meaning that you won’t have to keep refeeding it when distributing the fertilizer in your lawn as long as its area is less than 17,500 square meters.
What’s more, the Craftsman spreader is equipped with large pneumatic tires that provide a smooth grip on your lawn’s soil.
The Craftsman spreader also comes with a Universal Hitch that you can attach to all tractors conveniently. The only downside of this spreader is that the hopper’s capacity can be a little more than what the frame can handle. Sure, it won’t collapse or anything, but you’ll likely have a hard time stabilizing the cart when it’s 100% filled with product.
110 lbs capacity, with up to 17,500 square meters of coverage
10-inch spread width for quick distribution
Comes with a universal hitch
Hopper capacity is a little too much for the cart’s frame
Runner-Up: Titan 50 LB. Titan Fertilizer Broadcast Spreader
The Titan Fertilizer Broadcast Spreader is a compact spreader that flaunts an impressive build quality. Boasting a maximum capacity of 50 lbs, the Titan spreader is perfect for small-sized lawns.
One of the most notable features of this spreader is its innovative handle that makes pushing the cart a breeze, with 3 positions that you can alternate between depending on your needs. The wheels have an aggressive tread pattern that makes the Titan easy to move on virtually any terrain you can think of.
So, what’s the catch? Well, the Titan spreader itself is almost flawless, but assembling it can be a nightmare. The instructions are hard to understand, and it’ll likely take a while for you to figure out how to assemble your spreader. You might end up getting a professional to set it up for you at the end of the day.
Compact size; suitable for small lawns
50 lbs capacity
Excellent wheels with aggressive tread
Assembly is very complicated
The instructions are hard to understand
Best Budget: Scotts Turf Builder Edgeguard Spreader
If there’s only one spreader in the world that offers just the right balance between quality and affordability, it’d be the Scotts Turf Builder Edgeguard Spreader.
It flaunts Scotts’ innovative Edgeguard technology that lets you inhibit the product from spreading to the right side, ensuring that you don’t waste your fertilizer on non-lawn areas like your walkway or garage. Whether you’re going to use grass seed, salt, fertilizer, or ice melt, the Scotts Turf Builder will handle it gracefully.
What’s more, this Scotts spreader can evenly distribute the product over a maximum area of 15,000 square feet, which is quite impressive considering its price.
On top of that, the Scotts Turf Builder features a control panel that lets you adjust the precision settings, allowing for super-accurate distribution.
The Scotts Turf Builder is fully calibrated out of the box. You don’t have to do anything to start using it right away. We also like the fact that it comes with a free handheld spreader that you can use to spread products in areas that don’t exceed 5,000 square feet; it’s definitely a welcome addition!
Edgeguard technology for accurate product distribution
A free handheld spreader is included in the box
Covers up to 15,000 square feet
Affordable and easy to assemble
Can take grass seed, salt, fertilizer, and ice melt
Best Premium: Agri-Fab 45-0462 Push Broadcast Spreader
Looking for a premium spreader? Then the Agri-Fab 45-0462 Push Broadcast Spreader should definitely be at the top of your list. It boasts a rustproof poly hopper and spreader gate that can easily last you for many years. In addition, it’s equipped with solid rod gate control that makes it easy for you to maneuver the cart.
The Agri-Fab broadcast spreader’s hopper can take up to 130 lbs of product, enabling it to cover a maximum surface area of 25,000 square feet. And thanks to the enclosed gearbox with the heat-treated bevel gears, distributing the fertilizer all over your lawn will be as efficient and accurate as it can be.
The pneumatic tires can roll on all types of terrains without breaking a sweat. They also provide a tremendous level of stability.
Just like many other broadcast spreaders, Agri-Fab requires some assembly. However, assembling it isn’t complicated at all, and you can even do it yourself. If you want to kick things up a notch, you can go for the optional Pro Kit that comes with a shield.
130 lbs capacity with 25,000 square feet coverage
Durable pneumatic tires with excellent grip
Easy setup process
Rustproof poly hopper and spreader gate
A bit expensive
Best Drop: Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader
The Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader is yet another spreader on our list that has many tricks up its sleeve. Not everyone likes drop spreaders, and we can see why. They require more effort from your side, and it may take longer for you to spread the fertilizer across your lawn.
However, the Scotts Turf Builder can make you fall in love with drop spreaders because of how durable and efficient it is. For starters, it boasts a 22-inch spread pattern to cover your lawn as quickly and effortlessly as possible. Additionally, this spreader can cover up to 10,000 square feet at once without having to refill the hopper with fertilizer.
Moreover, the Scotts Turf Builder features a durable frame that provides the cart with unmatched stability. And since this is a drop spreader, you can be sure that all of your plants will get just the right amount they need. You’ll also avoid spreading the product in the wrong locations.
We also like the fact that the Scotts Turf Builder comes fully assembled right out of the box. Not to mention, it’s 100% calibrated. That’s right; just unpack it and start using it right away!
22-inch spread pattern
Precise and concentrated product spread
10,000 square feet coverage
Comes fully assembled and calibrated
Front-wheel design may collect granules over time
Best Handheld: Dakaly Handheld Fertilizer Spreader
The last spreader on our list is the Dakaly Handheld Fertilizer Spreader. This spreader is absolutely fantastic for small lawns because you won’t have to look for a place to store it. It features a handheld design that makes it super easy to use and control.
Additionally, it comes with an artificial multifunctional agricultural backpack that you can fill with product. Not to mention, the bag has a waterproof rucksack that prevents the fertilizer from leaking.
The transparent lower mouth gives you a better idea of your spraying situation to pave the way for strategically timed replacement and adjustment. Whether you want to spray fruit trees, corn, sugar cane, pepper, or vegetables, the Dakaly Handheld Fertilizer Spreader is up to the challenge.
There’s also a knob that lets you control the amount that you want to spread, ensuring that you don’t over-spray your lawn.
The ergonomic handle is very comfortable to use, even if you’re going to use your spreader for prolonged periods. Our only problem with this spreader is that the backpack doesn’t look very durable. You’ll need to be extra careful with this bag to avoid tearing it.
Easy to use and handle
Waterproof rucksack to prevent leakage
Control knob to adjust the amount you use
Great for those on a budget
The product bag isn’t very durable
How to Choose a Fertilizer Spreader
There are several things to keep in mind when choosing a fertilizer spreader. For example, you need to think about the size of your lawn and whether it’d be hard for you to distribute the spreader all over it in a short time.
You should also consider the type of fertilizer you’re going to use. For a more in-depth guide, continue reading!
Types of Spreaders
Let’s take a quick look at the three most common types of fertilizer spreaders so that you can decide which of them suits your lawn best:
A broadcast or rotary spreader is ideal for large lawns because it can cover a large surface area evenly with little effort. What’s more, broadcast spreaders are capable of dispersing the product several feet away.
There’s a catch, though; the granules might end up in some wrong locations like your walkway or garage.
It’s also worth noting that rotary spreaders are available in multiple size choices to fit different garden or lawn sizes.
Spray spreaders are used to apply liquid fertilizer to lawns and gardens. If you’re wondering how such spreaders are any different than other commonly-used sprayers, the answer is pretty simple: spray fertilizer spreaders mix the right amount of water with your liquid fertilizer, ensuring that your plants get enough chemicals.
You can even use these spreaders to treat bug infestations.
A drop spreader has the advantage of precision. Lawn keepers use this type of spreader to apply large concentrations of fertilizer in specified locations. Another advantage of drop spreaders over other types of spreaders is that they give you a higher level of control when it comes to where your fertilizer is spread.
In other words, you won’t have to worry about the product being spread in the wrong locations, which can save you a lot of money in the long run.
The only problem with drop spreaders is that they require more effort since their spread width is nowhere close to what broadcast spreaders are capable of.
Deciding on a spreader can be a bit tricky if you don’t know what features you need to look for. Here are some of the most desirable features that could be included in your upcoming fertilizer spreader:
Method of Use (Handheld/Chest-Mounted/Cart)
Generally speaking, there are three fertilizer spreader configurations available on the market: handheld, chest-mounted, and cart spreaders.
Handheld spreaders are compact and lightweight. A handheld spreader has a handle that you can carry it with. It’s also equipped with visual guides that you can use to apply the fertilizer precisely.
Cart spreaders are mounted on wheels and have steel frames, with a hopper for product storage.
As for chest-mounted spreaders, these units are strapped to the front of your body so that you can easily access the product.
Spreading capacity refers to the types of materials that a spreader is capable of operating with. Generally speaking, almost all fertilizer spreaders can use chemicals and grass seeds. However, if you want to distribute compost or powdered lime, you’ll probably need to buy something a bit more advanced.
Your fertilizer spreader’s holding capacity is a function of your lawn’s size. For example, if your lawn is smaller than 1,500 square feet, a handheld spreader would be more than enough.
On the other hand, if your lawn is anywhere from 1,600 to 5,000 square feet, a compact, walk-behind style fertilizer would be more than sufficient for your needs.
Similarly, for large-sized lawns with a surface area of up to 20,000 square feet, you’d probably need a larger walk-behind spreader to distribute the product efficiently.
Precision refers to how well a fertilizer spreader can provide a specific part of your lawn with the right amount. Spreaders come with a precision rating that makes it easier for you to tell how precise a certain spreader is.
Too much fertilizer can lead up to burning in your lawn. Conversely, insufficient fertilizer will result in underdeveloped grass.
Fertilizers can be costly, and replacing your spreader every few months will just add up to your maintenance expenses.
We recommend that you invest in a high-quality fertilizer spreader made of durable materials like metals and hardened plastic. Also, make sure that the wheels provide a good grip.
Is Fertilizer Useful For My Garden?
Definitely! Fertilizers are essential for the growth of your plants. Similar to how we rely on food to get the nutrients we need, plants extract nutrients from fertilizer to grow and flourish.
The exact type you use depends on what plants you grow in your garden. Some plants may require an extra dose of calcium in the soil, while others may need an extra boost of phosphorus.
How Do Fertilizer Spreaders Work?
A fertilizer spreader consists of a hopper to hold the product and an opener that allows the product to come out. The opener is adjustable, so you can control how much is applied at any given time.
In a broadcast spreader, a rotating finned disk is implemented to spread the fertilizer all over your lawn or garden. Sometimes, the disk is replaced with a pendulum mechanism to improve consistency.
Can I Use Both Liquid and Granules in My Fertilizer Spreader?
No, you can only use granules in your spreader. Using a spreader to distribute a liquid fertilizer will just make it go to waste.
To apply the liquid, you need an adjustable, wide-sweep sprayer nozzle. However, keep in mind that liquid fertilizer is more expensive than granules, and fully relying on it can be costly in the long run.
Setting that aside, using both liquid and granular fertilizer on your lawn can be a good idea.
Which Is Better, a Drop Spreader or a Broadcast Spreader?
It depends on your definition of “better”. Drop spreaders have the advantage of precision. However, they’re impractical for large lawns.
On the other hand, broadcast spreaders are able to cover more surface area so that every single part of your lawn receives sufficient fertilizer. The downside is that they’re nowhere as precise as drop spreaders, meaning that you can’t be 100% sure where all the fertilizer is spread.
Do I Need a Fertilizer Spreader for My Garden?
Yes, you definitely need a fertilizer spreader for your garden. Applying fertilizer without a spreader is really not recommended, at least if you want your plants to get the maximum benefit out of it.
You can either use a drop spreader for precise and concentrated application or a broadcast spreader to cover larger areas easily.
What If It Rains After I Fertilize My Lawn?
Rainfall after fertilizer application can either be a good or bad thing, depending on how heavy the rain. If the rain is too heavy, it could wash away the fertilizer before your plants take its benefits. On the flip side, light rain is pretty much similar to lawn watering.
Just make sure that you check the weather forecast before applying fertilizer.
Should I Water My Lawn After Fertilizing?
Yes, watering your lawn after fertilizing is just as important as applying the fertilizer itself. As a matter of fact, watering your lawn after fertilization prevents it from burning. It also accelerates the fertilizer’s release rate.
For optimum results, water your plants in the early morning to give them enough time to dry.
What Do I Do if I Put Too Much Fertilizer on My Lawn?
If you accidentally apply more fertilizer than needed, your best bet will be to remove the excess quickly from the soil. Heavy watering can help wash it away faster.
Over-applying fertilizer can result in the growth of yellow or brown colored grass, which will ruin the look of your lawn.
A fertilizer spreader can do wonders to your garden, but only if you pick a high-quality one that’s suitable for your lawn’s size.
If we were to pick an ultimate winner, it’d be the Craftsman 110 lb Tow Broadcast Spreader. There are many reasons to fall in love with this broadcast spreader, including:
- 17,500 square feet coverage
- Easy to use and control
- Durable wheels
If you’re looking for something a bit more budget-friendly, consider going for the Scotts Turf Builder Edgeguard Spreader. Finally, if you prefer drop spreaders, the Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader would be the best choice for you.