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The 5 Best Fertilizer Spreaders (2022 Review)

A spreader applies a consistent layer of fertilizer over the surface of your lawn. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best fertilizer spreaders on Amazon to help you find the one that’s right for you. The products included in this article are available at various retail stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

fertilizer spreader Workshop Media

While you can manually spread fertilizer over your grass, using a fertilizer spreader is easier, quicker, and more consistent. Whether you have multiple acres of property or a small fenced-in yard, you can find a variety of options to suit your needs. The This Old House Reviews Team did the legwork for you and researched the best fertilizer spreaders on Amazon. Here are our favorite models.

Best Drop Spreader: Scotts Classic Drop Spreader

This spreader holds enough fertilizer in its large-capacity hopper for up to 10,000 square feet of coverage. It also has a spread pattern of 22 inches to cover around a quarter of an acre quickly. With its coated handle, it’s easy and comfortable to control.

Key Features

  • Drop design
  • 10,000-square-foot capacity
  • 22-inch spread pattern
  • 26-pound frame

What Customers Are Saying

Overall, customers appreciated that this fertilizer spreader arrived ready to use. They also liked the ample coverage area that this spreader offered in a relatively lightweight package. Unfortunately, other customers found the short height of the fertilizer spreader to cause back pain during use. They also experienced durability issues with the edge guard handle.

Best Medium Capacity: Scotts Mini Broadcast Spreader

This fertilizer spreader has 15 settings to customize its spread pattern for your needs. Useful year-round, it can also salt walkways before a big snowstorm. Additionally, its foldable design and small size make it easy to store in a garage or shed when it’s not in use.

Key Features

  • Broadcast design
  • 5,000-square-foot capacity
  • One-pound frame

What Customers Are Saying

Many customers spoke highly of the portability of this fertilizer spreader, complimenting its one-pound frame. For the spreader’s compact size, customers were also impressed that it was able to cover up to 5,000 square feet in a single application. However, other customers reported that the wheels felt cheap. Some users also had issues with the spreader applying fertilizer unevenly.

Best Wheels: Chapin Tow-Behind Spreader

You tow this fertilizer spreader using a piece of lawn equipment, such as a tractor. It can hold up to 150 pounds of fertilizer to cover a large area, and it features 11 spread settings to customize the coverage.

Key Features

  • Tow design
  • 150-pound capacity
  • 41-pound frame

What Customers Are Saying

Although heavy, happy customers liked the smooth operation and high capacity of this fertilizer spreader. Customers with one or more acres of grass reported that they were easily able to fertilize it in one pass-through. Some customers noted that the drive mechanics started to rust after a few uses. However, with proper lubrication, the components continued to function as designed.

Best Multipurpose Spreader: ‎Agri-Fab Tow Spiker/Seeder/Spreader

This fertilizer spreader is meant for large yards with its 100-pound weight capacity and 40,000-square-foot coverage area. However, you don’t have to worry about handling all of this fertilizer yourself because it’s towed behind a tractor or another piece of lawn equipment. It also has a large spread pattern of 32 inches to cover your yard quickly.

Key Features

  • ‎Tow design
  • 40,000-square-foot or 100-pound capacity
  • 32-inch spread pattern
  • 46-pound frame

What Customers Are Saying

Many customers were frustrated by the assembly process for this fertilizer spreader, though they added that it did its job nicely once it was operational. The generous spread pattern and large coverage area were frequent review highlights. While customers appreciated the versatility of this tool, some users mentioned that it failed to evenly distribute seed and fertilizer.

Best Handheld Spreader: Scotts Handheld Spreader

Because of its handheld nature, this spreader can only distribute fertilizer over a small yard that’s up to 2,500 square feet in size. However, it’s still thoughtfully designed with 23 spread settings and a rubberized handle grip.

Key Features

  • Handheld design
  • 2,500-square-foot capacity
  • Two-pound frame

What Customers Are Saying

Satisfied customers were pleased with the entry-level price point of this fertilizer spreader, adding that it covered small and medium lawns in as little as 10–15 minutes. The battery-powered operation also minimized labor for most users. However, unsatisfied customers experienced issues with the hopper, reporting that the spinner jammed easily. Additionally, customers had a poor experience when they used the spreader to distribute sand or salt.

Buyer’s Guide

Read our buying guide below to learn about distribution, material, and other factors that will help you purchase the right fertilizer spreader for your yard.

Spreader Type

There are four types of fertilizer spreaders:

  • Handheld: Handheld spreaders fit in your hands, dropping fertilizer as you walk. They’re best for small yards or gardens because they can’t hold a lot of fertilizer.
  • Drop: Drop spreaders drop fertilizer straight down as opposed to spraying it out. They’re in the middle in terms of efficiency when they’re compared to handheld and broadcast spreaders.
  • Broadcast/rotary: This type of spreader sprays the fertilizer out instead of dropping it. It has a piece below the dropper that spins. As the fertilizer comes into contact with this piece, it’s sprayed out in different directions. This type of spreader has a large capacity, making it best for large yards.
  • Liquid: These spreaders handle liquid fertilizer. They have a canister that hooks to a hose and a nozzle and sprays the liquid. This type of fertilizer works best for potted plants or other contained gardens.

Distribution Method

Fertilizer spreaders are towed, pushed, pulled, or held.

  • Tow: Both drop and broadcast spreaders can come with a tow-behind design. These models are attached to a vehicle, such as a tractor, and are dragged across your property, minimizing the amount of work you have to do yourself.
  • Push/pull: Drop and broadcast spreaders can also be manual. This means you have to push or pull the spreader across your lawn to distribute the fertilizer.
  • Hold: Handheld and liquid spreaders are held in your hand, giving you maximum control over where the fertilizer lands.

Distribution Area

This refers to how large of an area the spreader can cover with fertilizer in one pass. The larger the distribution area, the quicker you can get the job done. Some spreaders even have adjustable widths to match the size of your yard.

Capacity

This refers to how much fertilizer the spreader can hold. Manufacturers usually express this in terms of the number of square feet its full hopper can cover. For example, the small Scotts Handheld Spreader can cover up to 2,500 square feet, while the large Agri-Fan Tow Spiker/Seeder/Spreader can cover up to 40,000 square feet.

Material

Most spreaders are made of either steel or plastic. Steel is more durable but more expensive. Plastic is more affordable, but it can crack and warp with too much fertilizer inside.

Lawn Fertilizer Tips

Periodically spreading fertilizer across your grass is a key way to enjoy a lush and vibrant lawn. If you’re looking for a fertilizer spreader, you’ve already taken a major step in investing in your lawn. To help you get the best results possible, we’ve outlined some helpful pointers when it comes to fertilizing and maintaining your yard.

  • Test your fertilizer spreader on an inconspicuous area first: If possible, use your spreader on a paved surface before applying the lawn product to your grass. This way, you can make sure it works how you want it to. Additionally, consider filling the fertilizer spreader on a flat, paved surface. Any spilled fertilizer will be easier to see and collect.
  • Move slowly and steadily as you’re dispersing fertilizer: Similar to aerating your lawn, thoroughly and evenly fertilizing grass requires a little diligence. If you rush the job, you risk missing or overdoing a spot.
  • Clean your spreader after each use: Regardless of how often you use your fertilizer spreader, it’s a good idea to spray it with a garden hose and soap. Doing so prevents premature wear and tear and keeps past and future lawn products from mixing.
  • Calibrate your spreader before using it: If your fertilizer doesn’t come pre-calibrated by the manufacturer, you should be able to manually calibrate it using the provided instructions. Proper calibration ensures that a consistent amount of product is continually dispersed across the same radius.
  • Wear work gloves to handle fertilizer: Handling fertilizer with your bare hands could result in a rash or other skin irritation.
  • If your spreader has wheels, lubricate them every other use: Any basic lubricant, such as WD-40, can help your fertilizer spreader roll smoothly, eliminating jarring movements and sudden stops.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I apply fertilizer?

There are four recommended times for application:

  • Early spring: Apply fertilizer once between February and April when your grass is starting to turn green for the first time.
  • Late spring: Apply fertilizer between April and June about six to eight weeks after the first session.
  • Summer: Apply fertilizer between June and August six to eight weeks after the late spring session.
  • Fall: Apply fertilizer before winter hits between August and October six to eight weeks after the summer session.

Is fertilizer harmful to my health?

It depends on the fertilizer. Some fertilizers are non-toxic, but most contain herbicides or pesticides that can be harmful if they’re ingested or touched. That’s why most manufacturers recommend staying off of your lawn for 24–72 hours after applying their fertilizer.

Can I distribute grass seed using a fertilizer spreader?

Yes. However, depending on the type of grass seed you have, its consistency may be different than that of conventional lawn fertilizer. This could affect how smoothly and quickly the spreader disperses the seed.

Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

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