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Buying Guide

Best Lawn Spreaders For Your Yard

Drop Spreaders
Someone using a drop spreader filled with fertilizer behind a lawn spreader.

The two main types of lawn spreaders are drop spreaders and broadcast spreaders. There are also handheld spreaders that can be used to distribute fertilizer, seeds or ice melt over small areas.

Drop spreaders are made up of a bucket-type container, usually mounted on two wheels, with a raised handle so you can push. As you walk, the spreader drops the product directly on the ground beneath. Drop spreaders work best for small lawns or areas that need precise applications. 

Broadcast Spreaders
Someone using a broadcast spreader to fertilize a lawn.

Broadcast spreaders work by throwing the seed or fertilizer in a swath in all directions. A wide pattern is created and the margins of each pass overlap to provide uniform coverage.

Broadcast spreaders require a steady walking speed to ensure even distribution and are usually best for larger lawns. They are available in both walk-behind and handheld models.

How to Fill a Lawn Spreader
Someone filling a fertilizer spreader over a driveway.

Make sure the spreader is set to the “off” position before adding fertilizer or grass seed. If you don’t, you’ll waste fertilizer or seed as it is released on the ground.

Fill your spreader with fertilizer on a sidewalk or driveway to prevent any spilled fertilizer from burning your grass. 

Set the spreading rate on the micrometer, start walking and pull the trigger to apply. Some spreaders allow you to lock the spreader in the “on” position. 

Push forward, not backward, to avoid applying excessive amounts of fertilizer, which can damage the lawn.

Lawn Spreader Application Tips
Someone using a lawn spreader to fertilize a lawn.

Avoid spreading products on a windy day.

Lawn spreader application tips for a lawn with an irregular shape:

  • Apply a header strip all the way around the lawn.
  • Apply the product back and forth in the longest direction first.
  • Make sure the spreader is closed when you make a turn.
  • Steer slowly and smoothly around trees and other objects in your path.
  • Shut the spreader off when you reach the header strip.

Lawn spreader application tips for a lawn with a rectangular shape:

  • Apply two header strips across each end so you have a place to turn around.
  • Turn the spreader off at the end of the strip to prevent uneven application.
  • Before starting back, set the spreader in motion before opening the device in the header area.
  • Steer slowly and smoothly around trees and other objects in your path.
  • Keep the wheel about four feet away from objects you don’t want to fertilize.
  • Overlap the strips to prevent missing an area.