There are a variety of reasons you might want to treat your lawn. Perhaps you’re growing grass for the first time in that area, or you are simply spreading your biannual application of fertilizer. Maybe you’re even trying to get rid of a pest infestation. Whatever the case, you’re going to need one of the best seed spreaders.
Of course, you can spread most lawn applications by hand, but this has its dangers. Not only does hand spreading encourage inaccuracy and inconsistency, but it also takes a long time and can be harmful to your health.
That’s why we recommend grabbing one of the best seed spreaders listed below. But first, let’s explore the different types of seed spreaders and what to look for in a seed spreader.
Types of Seed Spreaders
When buying a seed spreader, the first thing to understand is that there are two different types of seed spreader and one additional type of spreader used primarily for liquid fertilizers. These types are rotary spreaders, drop spreaders and spray spreaders.
- Rotary Spreaders – These are the most common type of seed spreaders. They can also be called Broadcast Spreaders because they spread material in a circular pattern driven by agitators that move in circles underneath the material basket. While these types of spreaders cover a lot of ground in a little amount of time, they are not the most accurate type of seed spreader.
- Drop Spreaders – Drop spreaders are the most accurate type of seed spreader but they are not the most common. That’s because they take a lot longer to cover the same amount of lawn as a rotary spreader. Drop spreaders do not have an agitator mechanism, so they do not throw material outwards. Instead, they have a thin, wide door across the bottom of the bucket that pours material directly underneath the spreader.
- Spray Spreaders – While spray spreaders do not spread seed, we have included them here as they are useful for the secondary function of seed spreaders. That is, they can spread fertilizer. These types of spreaders hook onto the end of a hose and spread liquid material, automatically controlling the ratio of fertilizer to water on output.
Below, we’ve mostly focused on the most popular rotary or broadcast seed spreaders, as these are the most common spreaders in American households.
What to Look for in a Seed Spreader
Before you purchase the best overall seed spreader below, just because we’ve recommended it, there are a few things you should consider. You’ll mostly want to think about the material you have to spread, the area you have to cover and how accurately you want the application to be.
- Operation Method – In addition to different types of spreaders, each one can potentially be operated in various ways. The most popular operation method is push-along, just like a normal, walk-behind lawnmower. However, you might also find handheld spreaders, electronic spreaders, chest-mounted spreaders and tow-along spreaders that attach to a riding lawnmower. Think about which one would be easiest for you to use in your yard.
- Holding Capacity – This is definitely one of the most important things to think about when shopping for a seed spreader. How big is your yard? You’ll want to buy a seed spreader that can hold enough material to cover your lawn without needing to refill it often.
- Types of Materials – Most seed spreaders can disperse fertilizer granules and seed, but some have the ability to spread compost, topsoil, de-icing salt and more. Check which materials you may want to spread and then buy a device that can handle all of them.
- Accuracy – We hinted at the accuracy of spreading above, and if it’s a major concern for you, definitely go for a drop spreader. Otherwise, you may want to investigate the accuracy features of broadcast/rotary spreaders, which often allow these devices to block dispersal in a certain direction. This is especially useful if you have garden beds, which shouldn’t be seeded or fertilized.
Now that you know all about seed spreaders, it’s time to dive into the best options on the market. We’ve tested out some of these seed spreaders ourselves and can vouch for the durability and effectiveness of the following.
1. Scotts Elite Spreader
The Scotts Elite Spreader is the gold standard when it comes to the best seed spreaders. It’s not too expensive, yet it has all the bells and whistles you might expect from a rotary or broadcast spreader. The dual rotors ensure the best accuracy you’ll find among these types of devices, allowing you to spread in a six-foot pattern to save time, too. As an added benefit, it can also hold enough fertilizer to cover up to 20,000 square feet.
2. Scotts Whirl Hand-Powered Spreader
For those who are concerned about budget, the good news is that you can get a hand-powered spreader for under $25. While this still takes a lot of time, it is more accurate and safer than spreading fertilizer and other chemicals manually. The Whirl is engineered for smooth and uniform application over a small area. It can hold enough fertilizer to cover 1,500 square feet, and it can spread granules, seed or salt.
3. Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Mini
BEST SMALL PUSH-ALONG
If you like the look of our ‘Best Overall’ seed spreader, but you don’t need a device that can cover 20,000 square feet, consider the Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Mini. This has many similar features to the Scotts Elite Spreader but on a smaller scale. The pre-calibrated device can hold enough Scotts fertilizer to cover 5,000 square feet, and it uses EdgeGuard technology, which blocks off the right side of the spreader when engaged. That way, you don’t accidentally plant your rose beds with grass seed.
4. AMAZE Broadcast Spreader
EASIEST TO USE
You may be familiar with brands like Scotts and Chapin, but there are viable alternatives popping up all the time. One of our favorites is Amaze for its ability to design easy-to-use lawncare products, like this broadcast spreader. Fertilizing your lawn is as simple as one, two, three. First, tighten the handle to engage the spreader. Second, set the dial to tell the spreader how far you want to send your seed or fertilizer. And third, push the seeder around your yard, allowing no more than five feet between each pass.
5. RYOBI ONE+ 18V Spreader
Because handheld spreaders don’t have wheels to power the rotor, you usually have to hand-crank them. However, RYOBI has created a solution for this with their electric seed spreader. Simply charge up the batter and hold the spreader as it does all the hard work for you. What’s even better is that this spreader is part of RYOBI’s ONE+ line, meaning its battery can power any of the other tools in the same line or vice versa.
6. Chapin Professional Bag Seeder
We’ll be the first people to tell you that households with a large yard should have a pushable seed spreader. But, there are a few exceptions to that rule, with one being the Chapin Professional Bag Seeder. Whereas most handheld seekers can only cover 2500 square feet or less with a single load of seed or fertilizer, this bagged version carries up to 25 pounds of product. Plus, it’s a lot easier to store than a pushable seeder when not in use.
7. EarthWay Chest Mount Spreader
Whether it’s due to the amount of storage space available in your garage or the terrain of your yard, there may be a reason a push seed spreader isn’t practical for you. If that’s the case but you still have a large yard to fertilize or seed, consider the EarthWay Chest Mount Spreader. The backpack-like design allows users to carry up to 40-pounds of material across their chest, spreading it in a semi-circular pattern. The bucket comes complete with a rain-proof lid and the gears are pre-greased in the factory to eliminate the need for maintenance.
8. Landzie Lawn and Garden Spreaders
BEST FOR COMPOST
For more accuracy and more versatility, turn to the Landzie Lawn and Garden Spreader. This barrel-type spreader can hold a variety of different materials, from seed and fertilizer to compost and topsoil. Simply fill it up with whatever you want to apply to your lawn and push it around, allowing the material to slip through the 1/2-inch by 1/4-inch diamond openings. Additionally, this type of walk-behind spreader allows for greater accuracy over a broadcast spreader, as you’ll know exactly where the seed or fertilizer ends up.
9. Chapin Tow Behind Spreader
BEST TOW BEHIND
For those fortunate enough to own a riding lawnmower or other yard vehicles, a tow-behind spreader can be a quick and easy way to apply materials to your lawn. The Chapin Tow Behind Spreader boasts a 150-pound capacity and auto-stop technology, meaning it will quit spreading if the vehicle stops moving. Furthermore, the 11 different settings allow for a variety of materials to be spread, and the pneumatic tires provide a sturdy purchase, even on rough terrain.
10. Chapin International SureSpread
If you want to spread seed or fertilizer as the professionals do, you’ll need a professional-standard seed spreader, like the Chapin International SureSpread. This bad boy can hold up to 100 pounds of product and sits on a sturdy, stainless steel frame. It also boasts 14-inch wide pneumatic tires to handle anything your lawn can throw at it. Furthermore, the device is adjustable in two different ways. You can control both the opening size and the spreading pattern. For all the bells and whistles, this is the best choice.
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