Best Fertilizer Spreader

Best Fertilizer Spreader for Your Lawn

Growing a vibrant green lawn doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a lot of care and nurturing in the form of fertilization, proper mowing, and other maintenance. The good news is that fertilizing your lawn is not as laborious or time-consuming as it used to be. But owning the best fertilizer spreader for your lawn will certainly make the task easier.

Buy the wrong spreader and you will get uneven coverage, burn stripes in your grass, or have a patchy seeding job that looks like garbage. After your mower, the fertilizer spreader you buy might be the most important investment you make in lawn care equipment.

If you are serious about your lawn and want to invest in the best fertilizer spreader, I recommend The Andersons Yard Star Walk-Behind Broadcast Spreader. It’s not for everyone, but is a huge upgrade over the models available for sale at your local hardware and box stores.

The hopper, which has a capacity of 50 lbs., can be used with different products like salt, fertilizer, and grass seed. This allows you to use the spreader all year long for a variety of applications. It has an ergonomic, adjustable handle, heavy-duty tires, and a built-in screen to prevent clogs and damage to the spreading mechanism.

In case the Andersons Yard Star is out of your price range, I have included more recommendations which perform well for other applications and price ranges below.

By the end of this article you’ll know the best lawn fertilizer spreader for your property.


My Favorite Fertilizer Spreaders for Home Use

BEST OVERALL
The Andersons Yard Star Broadcast Spreader - Best Fertilizer Spreader Overall
5 Star Rating

This premium, American-made spreader has all the features you’d want in a fertilizer spreader. I love the three-hole drop configuration, 50-lb hopper with cover, height-adjustable handle, and big tires.

BEST MID-RANGE
Scotts Elite Spreader - Best Seed Spreader for Residential Use
5 Star Rating

Want a high quality spreader that works well for seed and fertilizer? The Scotts Elite spreader is a quality option for most homeowners who aren’t ready to invest in a top-line spreader.

BEST TOW-BEHIND
Agri-Fab 45-0463 Tow-Behind Broadcast Spreader
4 Star Rating

Have a riding mower or ATV and a lot of ground to cover? A tow-behind spreader is worth the investment. Agri-Fab makes the best one, with a universal hitch and 130 pound hopper you’ll love.


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How to Select the Best Fertilizer Spreader for Your Lawn

Choosing a specific fertilizer spreader from a plethora of options can be quite challenging. These tools come in so many different types and styles, making the selection a tad difficult.

An easy way to approach this is to consider the features that matter most to you. So here’s a list of factors to keep in mind and mistakes to avoid when buying lawn spreaders.

What to Look For When Buying a Fertilizer Spreader

Fertilizer spreaders come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. To narrow down your options, pay attention to the following features:

Type

The first thing you need to decide is the specific type of fertilizer spreader to buy.

Lawn Fertilizer Spreader

There are three main varieties:

  • Rotary Spreader – the key feature of this spreader is a spinning base. This is what it uses to scatter fertilizer granules or seeds over a large area. Interestingly, it’s also known as a broadcast spreader – a name that it gets from its mode of operation. It disperses the product in a fan-like pattern, distributing it a few feet to the front and sides of the machine’s pathway.
  • Drop spreader – in place of a spinning base, a drop spreader contains a narrow opening underneath.  Using the gravity principle, it drops fertilizer granules straight downward into neatly-prepared rows. The advantage of a drop spreader is that it provides a very precise application. If you’re planning to fertilize a lawn that has many obstacles or tight spots, a drop spreader is a fantastic choice.
  • Liquid spreader – as you might have guessed, this spreader works specifically with liquid fertilizers. What I like about a liquid spreader is that it does the brunt of the work. It automatically combines the right amount of fertilizer with water and then releases the diluted solution through a nozzle. And, it can be used to apply other liquid lawn treatments like insecticides.

Style

You will also want to consider the design of the fertilizer spreader. Based on this, these machines are further classified into three:

  • Handheld – if you have a small lawn and limited storage space, this is the ideal spreader to buy. It has a small hopper for holding fertilizer, and a hand-operated crank that turns the spinner. Handheld spreaders are the most portable of the three. Unfortunately, they don’t provide the best accuracy and their small-size hoppers can only hold a small amount of material at a time.
  • Push-along – in this case, you have to walk behind the fertilizer spreader, pushing it along. One point to keep in mind is that the pace at which you walk affects the spread width and accuracy.
  • Tow-behind – this spreader usually contains a hitch pin or other kind of towing connector. This lets you attach it to your ATV or ride-on mower. Also known as a pull-behind, this spreader offers a large hopper capacity and a sizeable spread width. Both of these factors make it ideal for big lawns.

Holding capacity

This refers to the maximum amount of fertilizer that a spreader can hold at a time. If you have a big lawn, look for a spreader with a considerable holding capacity. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to refill it several times to cover the entire lawn.

For small lawns, a handheld spreader that can cover a maximum area of about 2,500 square feet will suffice.

For medium-size lawns, look for a small walk-behind spreader. This can cover up to 5,000 square feet. For big-size lawns, a larger walk-behind spreader that covers at least 20,000 square feet will do.

But, if your lawn is the size of a football pitch, you’ll want to invest in a tow-behind spreader. This piece of machinery can easily fertilize lawns that are one acre big (or more) without breaking a sweat.

Accuracy level

Using a fertilizer spreader always results in better precision than dispersing the fertilizer by hand.

Best Broadcast Spreader for Lawns - Fertilizer & Grass Seed

That said, the level of precision varies significantly between the different types of spreaders; although this comes at the expense of speed.

The most precise of the three is the drop spreader, but, it’s also the slowest. Conversely, rotary spreaders are less precise but they work faster. 

Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Fertilizer Spreader

Want to get the best value from your investment? Then be sure to avoid the following mistakes when picking a fertilizer spreader.

  • Failing to consider the hopper’s capacity – before you buy a lawn spreader, think about the amount of fertilizer you’re looking to apply. Generally, the hopper should have more than enough room to accommodate your lawn products. For instance, a 50-pound bag of fertilizer calls for a hopper with at least a 70-pound capacity. This ensures that the hopper can hold the correct amount of fertilizer without spilling it.
  • Neglecting the material used to make the spreader – hopper capacities and lawn coverage aren’t the only features you should check. You’ll also want to determine the material used to make the spreader. Most spreaders are made of either stainless steel or epoxy-coated plastic. Whichever option you choose, ensure that it’s one that lasts.
  • Forgetting to calibrate – if your spreader is not calibrated from the get-go, then be sure to do so before using it. This ensures that you’re applying lawn treatments at the right rate.

My List of the Best Lawn Spreaders This Year

Here’s a list of the best fertilizer spreaders for every type of homeowner, lawn size, and fertilizing or seeding application. This way, you’re sure to find the best lawn spreader for your needs.

  1. BEST OVERALL: The Andersons Yard Star Walk-Behind Broadcast Spreader
  2. BEST MID-RANGE SPREADER: Scotts Elite Spreader
  3. BEST TOW-BEHIND FERTILIZER SPREADER: Agri-Fab 45-0463 Tow-Behind Spreader
  4. BEST HAND SPREADER: Scotts Whirl Hand-Powered Spreader
  5. BEST VALUE SPREADER: Scotts Turf Builder Edgeguard Mini Spreader
  6. BEST DROP SPREADER: Scotts 76565 Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader
  7. BEST COMMERCIAL FERTILIZER SPREADER: Earthway Even Spread 2150
  8. BEST 3-POINT TRACTOR SPREADER: CountyLine FS Fertilizer Spreader & Seeder
  9. BEST ATV SPREADER: Field Tuff AS-125ATV12 Spreader

Keep reading for detailed analysis, product specs, and more on every one of these lawn spreaders.


The Andersons Yard Star Walk Behind Broadcast Fertilizer Spreader

The Yard Star walk-behind spreader is a well-rounded piece of equipment.

Unlike other spreaders that can only be used for fertilizer, this one also works with weed control treatments, grass seeds, and ice melt. Here are other features you’ll find:

Design

The Yard Star spreader comes in a pretty standard size. It measures 24.75” by 16.25” by 15.2”, resulting in a somewhat compact spreader.

But the feature that sets it apart from the crowd is the handle. It has an ergonomic design, and an adjustable height. This 2-position height adjustment allows the spreader to be operated by individuals of all heights.

Another thing I like about the Yard Star spreader is that it can navigate all kinds of terrains. There are two things that make this possible.

For one, it has large 13-inch pneumatic tires that provide superb shock absorption. Two, these wheels have a wide-set frame that facilitates a more uniform weight distribution.

Performance

Though efficient, a fertilizer spreader can be challenging to use. Some models have an uneven spread pattern, distributing more of the product to one section.

Thankfully, this is one less thing to worry about with the Yard Star unit. It uses an exceptional three-hole drop shut-off system that provides a more even spread.

Better yet, its hopper has a modest 50-lb. holding capacity alongside a total bearing weight of 175 lbs.

This reduces the number of times you have to refill the hopper. It also explains why the spreader can be used with different products like ice melt and grass seed.

Price

If you plan to invest in The Andersons Yard Star spreader, be ready to part with a significant amount. It’s one of the most expensive options, but it has a nice selection of features to back this up.

The Andersons Yard Star Spreader Specifications

TypeBroadcast
Height adjustableYes
Spreader’s weight27 lbs.
PROS
  • Ergonomically-designed and height-adjustable handle
  • 3-hole drop shut-off system provides an even spread of the fertilizer
  • Versatile; compatible with ice melt and grass seed
CONS
  • Expensive

My Final Take-Away: If you’re looking for an all-round fertilizer spreader that can be used with an array of products, The Andersons Yard Star is the most suitable option.

Where to Buy The Andersons Yard Star Spreader

You can compare prices and order this online at the following retailers:


Best ATV Spreader

Field Tuff AS-125ATV12 ATV Spreader

Without a doubt, driving an ATV brings heaps of fun.

But did you know that you can also attach a fertilizer spreader to your ATV? Spreaders like the Field Tuff AS-125ATV12 easily mount on an ATV, helping you make quick work of lawn maintenance.

Here are a few more features to expect.

Design

Like the majority of spreaders we’ve looked at, the AS-125ATV12 comes in black color.

When it comes to size and weight, this spreader is on the higher end of the spectrum. It measures 30.1” by 20.1” by 18.7” and weighs about 50 lbs. This results in a big and bulky piece of machinery that requires a large storage space.

On a more positive note, it comes with its own rain cover. So if you forget to bring your spreader indoors, just use the rain cover to shield it from inclement weather.

Performance

Another thing that sets the Field Tuff spreader apart is the powerful 12-volt DC motor. This motor offers an impressive speed of 570 RPM. This enables you to finish fertilizing your lawn within a short amount of time.

When it comes to the hopper capacity, you’ll have the freedom to pick from two options. The first offers a modest 125-pound capacity, meaning it can hold a large amount of fertilizer at a time.

The second one has a smaller 80-pound capacity, making it more suitable for small-size lawns. Regardless of the hopper capacity you go for, the spreader offers a modest spread width of 12 feet.

Compatibility

One other reason why we regard this as the best ATV spreader is its compatibility. Unlike other spreaders that only mount on specific ATVs, this one offers a universal fit.

This means you can attach it to the front or rear of virtually any ATV, UTV, or utility tractor. The only thing you’ll need to ensure is that your ATV or UTV has a 1.75” or 2” receiver.

Field Tuff AS-125ATV12 Specifications

TypeBroadcast
Height adjustableNo
Spreader’s weight50 lbs.
PROS
  • Universal fit makes it compatible with most ATVs and UTVs
  • Has a rain cover for maximum protection
  • Backed by a 1-year warranty
CONS
  • Heavy and bulky

My Final Take-Away: If you want a spreader that’s compatible with a variety of ATVs and UTVs, the Field Tuff AS-125ATV12 is the right choice.

Where to Buy the Field Tuff AS-125ATV12 Spreader

You can compare prices and order this online at the following retailers:


Best Commercial Spreader

Earthway Even Spread 2150 Commercial Fertilizer Spreader

Are you a professional landscaper looking for a commercial spreader? Or maybe you just want to upgrade your fertilizing game. Either way, check out the Earthway Even Spread 2150 model.

Regarded as the Lamborghini of rotary spreaders, this unit is chock full of features that make it fit for commercial applications.

Here’s a closer look at its features:

Design

One of the most attractive traits of this spreader is its sturdy construction. It contains a heavy-duty steel frame to provide maximum durability.

This bad boy is also fitted with widespread 13-inch pneumatic tires. The advantage of having pneumatic tires on board is that they’re able to absorb the unevenness of any terrain. Thanks to this, you can enjoy a smooth operation.

The handle on this spreader boasts a killer design, and it’s one of the main reasons why we recommend it for commercial operators.

For one, it assumes a “T” shape, resulting in even weight distribution. Secondly, you can set it in one of two positions depending on your height. Both of these features help you push the spreader for extended periods without getting overly fatigued.

Performance

This piece of equipment certainly lives up to its name. It uses Earthway’s patented three-hole drop system that provides a very uniform spread pattern.

In addition, the 2150 model has a side-spread control. This feature lets you adjust the application rate when you get close to pathways and other areas where you don’t want to spread content.

A common challenge when using broadcast spreaders is their tendency to get clogged. Well, this is one thing you won’t have to worry about with this machine. Its gearbox is completely enclosed, minimizing this risk.

Assembly

I also like that the spreader comes with detailed instructions on how to put it together. However, be ready to spend a considerable amount of time assembling it.

Earthway Even Spread 2150 Spreader Specifications

TypeBroadcast
Height adjustableYes
Spreader’s weight27 lbs.
PROS
  • The adjustable drop rate makes it easy to navigate around narrow sections
  • Large, pneumatic tires can traverse any terrain
  • Height adjustable handle to accommodate different operators
CONS
  • Takes a lot of time to assemble

My Final Take-Away: The Earthway Even Spread 2150 is a beast of a machine that handles commercial applications incredibly well. It lives up to its name and spreads your seed and/or fertilizer very evenly.

Where to Buy the Earthway 2150 Spreader

You can compare prices and order this online at the following retailers:


Best 3-Point Tractor Spreader

CountyLine FS Fertilizer Spreader & Seeder with 3-Point Attachment

Have a lot of ground to cover and looking for a 3-point tractor spreader to use with your tractor’s PTO hitch?

Whether you’re spreading fertilizer, lime, or seed to your property, the CountyLine FS model is a great option.

Hopper capacity

If there’s one thing that makes the CountyLine FS worth investing in, it’s the hopper. It has a staggering 850-lb. capacity., which is 17 times more than what you get from a standard spreader.

With such a generous capacity, it is no wonder its spread pattern is also unique. Most spreaders offer a measly 5-foot spreading width. But this one offers a 46-foot spreading width.

Compatibility

Wondering whether the spreader is compatible with your lawn tractor? Well, it probably is thanks to its reversible lift arm pins. The pins have a universal design, allowing you to attach the spreader to just about any tractor.

Durability

Another factor that CountyLine took into consideration is durability. As such, this spreader includes galvanized fins to prevent corrosion.

CountyLine FS Fertilizer Spreader Specifications

TypeBroadcast
Height adjustableNo
Spreader’s weightNot available
PROS
  • Galvanized fins are resistant to corrosion
  • Has a large spread width of 46 feet
  • Lift arm pins make the spreader compatible with different size tractors
CONS
  • Expensive

My Final Take-Away: If you’re looking for a spreader that can attach to your lawn tractor, the CountyLine FS PTO fertilizer spreader is just what you need. It has a 3-point PTO hitch system that provides a seamless attachment to any tractor.

Where to Buy the CountyLine FS 3-Point Spreader

You can order this online at the following retailers:


Agri-Fab 45-0463 130-pound Tow Behind Spreader

If you’ve made the decision to buy a tow-behind spreader, the Agri-Fab 45-0463 Spreader is an excellent choice. Here are a couple of features that set it apart.

Design

Anytime you’re buying a tow-behind spreader, one thing you should be mindful of is compatibility.

You don’t want to end up with a tool that you can’t attach to the tractor you have. Luckily, the Agri-Fab 45-0463 is designed with this in mind. It boasts a universal hitch, making it possible to attach it to all tractors.

Yet another component worth mentioning is the hopper. I’ll start with the fact that it has a massive holding capacity of 130 lbs.

This is a pretty generous offer, considering other spreaders only have a 50-lb capacity. Better yet, it’s made of rustproof material, guaranteeing optimal durability.

Performance

The performance of the Agri-Fab 45-063 is top-notch. For starters, it uses large 13-inch pneumatic tires, enabling it to conquer any landscape.

Secondly, it has a direct on-off control that lets you adjust the flow of fertilizer. This dial is easily accessible from the tractor’s seat, providing maximum convenience.

If you want to get the most out of this tool, consider buying the extra attachments available. These include a hopper cover, material deflector, and hopper grate.

The hopper cover helps you avoid spillage of material that occurs if the fertilizer gets blown away by the wind. The material deflector reduces the spread width for better accuracy. Finally, the hopper grate ensures that no clumped material blocks the spreader’s opening.

Assembly

Although this spreader is a worthy buy, there are a few areas that the manufacturer can improve.

First off, putting the whole spreader together is time-consuming. It would have been nice if the unit was pre-assembled.

Another common complaint among buyers is that it’s shipped with some of its parts missing.

The silver lining to this is that it comes with a 3-year warranty. So if you encounter this or other issues, you can always return the spreader and get a refund or replacement.

Agri-Fab 45-0463 Spreader Specifications

TypeBroadcast
Height adjustableNo
Spreader’s weight37 lbs.
PROS
  • Has a larger hopper capacity of 130 lbs.
  • Multiple accessories are available at a small fee
  • Includes an on-off flow gate control for ease of use
  • Comes with a 3-year limited warranty
CONS
  • Some buyers reported parts were missing in their shipment
  • Takes a long time to assemble

My Final Take-Away: If you like the idea of a tow-behind spreader, the Agri-Fab 45-0463 is a great choice. Its 130-pound hopper capacity is pretty impressive and makes the tool ideal for lawns of up to 25,000 square feet.

Where to Buy the Agri-Fab 45-0463 Tow-Behind Spreader

You can compare prices and order this online at the following retailers:


Best Mid-Range Spreader

Scotts Elite Spreader for Grass Seed and Fertilizer

Are you looking for a seed spreader that has all the bells and whistles? If you are, you’ll enjoy the Scotts Elite Spreader. Here’s a list of features that make this unit worth buying:

Dual-rotor technology

Put simply, the Scotts Elite includes two well-functioning rotors instead of the usual one. The benefit of this is that it provides a high level of precision and a modest 6-foot spread pattern.

Yet another element that makes the Scotts Elite spreader exceptional entails the foam-filled tires. This allows you to tackle any terrain without worrying about the tires ever going flat.

While all these features sound great, it’s the smartphone holder that really impresses me. The ergonomically-designed handle includes a slot for placing your smartphone as you navigate. This way, you can read all your notifications in time.

Coverage

If you have a really large lawn, the Scotts Elite is just the spreader to buy. It’s designed to hold a whopping 20,000 sq. ft of lawn products.

The best thing is that it’s compatible with grass seeds, ice melts, salt, and fertilizer granules. This feature significantly increases its range of use.

Scotts Elite Spreader Specifications

TypeBroadcast
Height adjustableNo
Spreader’s weight19.75 lbs.
PROS
  • Dual-rotor design for better accuracy and a wider spread pattern
  • Ideal for lawns up to 20,000 sq.ft.
  • The handle has an ergonomic design and a smartphone holder
  • Foam-filled tires provide maximum durability
CONS
  • Has a tendency to clog up

My Final Take-Away: With dual-rotor technology and a 6-foot spread pattern, the Scotts Elite spreader is the perfect tool to use for scattering grass seeds. It provides a high level of precision and its tires can handle any terrain.

Where to Buy the Scotts Elite Spreader

You can compare prices and order this online at the following retailers:


Scotts 76565 Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader

Have you been searching for a lawn spreader that offers unmatched accuracy? If you have, look no further than the Scotts 76565 Classic Drop Spreader. Here’s a detailed review of this tool:

Coverage and Precision

A key reason for investing in any fertilizer spreader is accuracy. Well, this is one area where the Scotts Classic model outshines its competitors.

It spreads lawn products very evenly, which helps to prevent over- or under-application of the fertilizer in question.

The hopper also offers a generous coverage of about 10,000 square feet alongside a spread width of 22 inches.

Ease of use

Another thing you’ll love is that this spreader is user-friendly. For one, it requires minimal assembly as it arrives calibrated and pre-assembled. This reduces the amount of work you have to do to get it up and running.

Secondly, it has an intuitive design. To release products, simply press the handle to open the hopper. And if you want to stop the flow of fertilizer, just loosen your grip on the handle.

Scotts 76565 Classic Drop Spreader Specifications

TypeDrop
Height adjustableNo
Spreader’s weight12.6 lbs.
PROS
  • Has an intuitive design that makes it very easy to use
  • Extremely accurate
  • Decent coverage of up to 10,000 square feet
CONS
  • Too slow, which is a disadvantage if you’re looking to cover a large area

My Final Take-Away: For the detail-oriented homeowner, the Scotts Classic Drop Spreader offers the high level of precision you’d want.

Where to Buy the Classic Scotts Drop Spreader

You can compare prices and order this online at the following retailers:


Scotts Turf Builder Edgeguard Mini Spreader

They say that good things come in small packages. This is certainly the case with the Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Mini spreader.

It’s among the most affordable spreaders, yet it has a large selection of features. Here’s what you can expect:

Design

The design of the Scotts Turf Builder is one of its key highlights. 

Measuring just 16” by 20” by 45”, the unit lives up to its expectation of being a mini spreader. This offers two key benefits.

For one, it makes it incredibly easy to push. Secondly, it only occupies a small storage space. In fact, the handle has a fold-down mechanism, taking up very little overhead space.

One other thing that I like about its design entails the redesigned agitator. This part ensures that the fertilizer is always well-mixed before being dispersed on your lawn.

On the other hand, the hopper holds up to 5,000 square feet of products. For a spreader of this size, this is a modest hopper capacity.

EdgeGuard technology

This review wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention Scott’s legendary EdgeGuard feature. Once you engage it, this tech automatically blocks off the right side of the spreader’s distribution pattern.

The idea is to avoid pouring fertilizer on non-lawn sections like flowerbeds, sidewalks, and driveways. This then reduces waste and makes it easy to clean up.

Ease of use

While I enjoy using a lawn spreader, I’m not a fan of all the work that goes into piecing it together. Thankfully, this Scotts model is designed with ease of use in mind.

For one, it arrives fully assembled. So all you have to do is turn the gigantic dial on the side to your preferred setting, fill the hopper with the product, and you’re good to go!

I also like that the Mini Spreader is calibrated in advance. This enables it to deliver fertilizer at the correct rate.

That said, there’s one feature that is a bit of a letdown. The wheels aren’t as sturdy as what you find in other models. So if you have a bumpy terrain, navigating the spreader gets quite tedious.

Scotts Turf Builder Edgeguard Mini Spreader Specifications

TypeBroadcast, walk-behind
Height adjustableNo
Spreader’s weight6.85 lbs.
PROS
  • Uses EdgeGuard technology, which reduces wastage of fertilizer
  • Fold-down handle and compact design resulting in easier storage
  • Lightweight; hence, easy to navigate
  • Fully assembled and pre-calibrated upon arrival
  • Affordable
CONS
  • Wheels could be more sturdy

My Final Take-Away: If you’re looking for a fertilizer spreader that will offer you maximum value for money, the Scotts Turf Builder Edgeguard Mini is it. It goes for less than $50 yet it contains cutting-edge features like the EdgeGuard technology.

Where to Buy the Scotts Turf Builder Edgeguard Mini Spreader

You can compare prices and order this online at the following retailers:


Scotts Whirl Hand-Powered Spreader

For small-scale applications, the Scotts Whirl Hand-Powered unit is the best fertilizer spreader. It comes in a small size, but it’s good enough for year-round use. Here’s what to expect:

Design

Right off the bat, you’ll notice that this spreader is quite small. It measures 13.23” by 10.28” by 9.49”, making it the perfect choice for those with limited storage space.

Better yet, it weighs just slightly over a pound. Its lightweight profile means that you won’t get overly fatigued when using it for an extended period. In fact, it even has an adjustable arm to help you find the most comfortable position.

Versatility

Despite being small, this machine doesn’t compromise on functionality. If anything, it’s among the most versatile spreaders you’ll find for this price.

This stems from the fact that it can be used with a variety of products and not just fertilizer granules.

Do you want to scatter ice melt on your snow-filled driveway? Or, are you looking to treat your yard with some weed killers? The Scotts Whirl Hand spreader is fully capable of handling such tasks.

Coverage

I understand that handheld spreaders are only suitable for small-scale lawn treatments. But the 1,500-sq.ft. coverage you get from the Scotts Whirl Hand Spreader is quite small.

If your lawn is bigger than this, you’re better off investing in Scotts slightly bigger model – the EdgeGuard Mini Spreader.

On the plus side, the Scotts Whirl Spreader is very affordable. Going for less than $20 makes it a valuable investment for those with small lawns. 

Scotts Whirl Hand Spreader Specifications

TypeHandheld
Height adjustableNo
Spreader’s weight1.15 lbs.
PROS
  • Adjustable arm helps to provide maximum comfort
  • Suitable for year-round applications
  • Small footprint makes it fit for limited storage spaces
  • Cheap
CONS
  • Only ideal for lawns up to 1,500 sq.ft.

My Final Take-Away: If you have a small lawn, no need to spend a large chunk of your money on a giant spreader. A simple no-frills model like the Scotts Whirl Hand-Powered model will do.

Where to Buy the Scotts Whirl Hand Spreader

You can compare prices and order this online at the following retailers:


Still Not Sure?

Let Me Answer Some Common Buyer Questions

Sarah, the "Lawn Chick" of LawnChick.com

If you’re like many homeowners shopping for a lawn spreader, you might still have some questions.

If you’ve spent any time reading reviews of fertilizer and grass seed spreaders online, you’re probably confused by how some people will give a product 5 stars while others share horror stories. The truth is, a lot of those negative experiences are due to user error.

Below I’ll try to provide some more information about choosing and using fertilizer spreaders to apply seed, fertilizer, and herbicides to your property.

I’ll also help you out by explaining some tips, tricks, and things to consider when buying the best fertilizer spreader for your lawn and unique use case.

If you’re still on the fence, please explore my site. I have hundreds of in-depth articles on a range of topics about yard maintenance and lawn care, and I expect that you might find one that addresses your specific question or concern.

For now, here’s some further reading about lawn fertilizer spreader products that might help as you make your final purchase decision:

Do you need a fertilizer spreader?

If you’re even moderately serious about lawn care, then yes, you do. A fertilizer spreader is a worthy investment for several reasons.

For one, it helps you apply just the right amount of fertilizer on your lawn. This way, you don’t end up applying too little or too much fertilizer– both of which can have devastating effects.

Best Residential Fertilizer Spreader

Secondly, this tool provides better accuracy than what you’d achieve if you were applying the fertilizer by hand. A drop spreader, for instance, applies treatment to the area that’s directly underneath it.

This makes it easy to avoid flower beds and other areas that don’t need fertilizers. 

How much fertilizer do I need to spread?

For best results you should get an accurate measurement of your lawn size. This way you’ll understand exactly how much fertilizer to spread on your lawn and avoid burning your grass.

I hired a developer to build a custom tool for this purpose, which uses satellite imagery and allows you to map out different lawn sections. It’s free, and you can try it out right here and see a quick demonstration of how it works below:

Demonstration of LawnChick.com's Free Lawn Measuring Tool

I recommend mapping out unique sections of your yard so you can calculate how much fertilizer to spread on each lawn zone (i.e. front yard, back yard, side yard).

The tool will add these up so you know how much fertilizer in total you’ll need to buy for your property in addition to understanding the square footage of each lawn zone so you know how much to load into your spreader for each section of your yard.

And if you have outbuildings, a pool, or garden beds in your lawn that you don’t want to include in the total square footage measurement? It’s easy to draw an outline around those and subtract that square footage from the total:

Subtracting outbuildings and other areas from your yard's square footage for an accurate measurement of how much fertilizer you need to apply.

When you finish mapping your yard click the blue “Save Your Map” button and you can have a private link to your lawn map sent over via email, allowing you to come back to your drawing any time.

What’s the best way to use a fertilizer spreader?

How you spread your fertilizer is the next key to getting great results.

I recommend spreading a header strip around your lawn (blue in the pictures below), and then taking two passes across your yard, spreading half of your fertilizer during each trip.

On the first pass travel north-to-south, and when you spread the second half of your fertilizer travel in an east-to-west direction.

How to Fertilize Your Lawn for Best Results

Header strip (blue) followed by North to South fertilization path for the first half of your fertilizer

Fertilizing a Lawn without Burning Your Grass

Spread the second half of your material in an East to West pattern to ensure even coverage across your entire lawn

Spreading your fertilizer in this way ensures that you get nice even coverage across your whole yard.

It prevents color and growth rate inconsistencies from over-fertilization in some areas and missing some areas entirely. And most of all it helps you not burn your grass!

So if you have a 2,500 square foot lawn area and one 20 pound bag of fertilizer covers 5,000 square feet you would pour 1/4 of the bag (5 pounds) into your spreader hopper, and put in your header strip and travel north-south until your hopper is empty. Then put another 1/4 of the bag (5 pounds) of fertilizer into your lawn fertilizer spreader hopper and travel east west across your lawn until your hopper is empty.

Most fertilizer bags have recommended spreader settings, but you can adjust these so you spread at the proper application rate for this technique.

Are drop or broadcast spreaders better?

Truthfully, each type of fertilizer spreader has its fair share of advantages. A drop spreader provides a higher level of accuracy. This, in turn, enables you to minimize waste and the amount of cleanup you have to do afterward.

The fact that it drops the fertilizer content directly underneath is another advantage. It ensures that the product doesn’t end up in undesired areas because of being blown away.

On the other hand, broadcast spreaders are a better choice for larger lawns. They’re faster, enabling you to fertilize your lawn within a shorter time. They also have bigger hoppers, reducing the number of times that you have to refill.

Personally I own a broadcast spreader, and that’s what I recommend for most homeowners.

Are handheld spreaders any good?

Yes, they are. If you’re looking to spread grass seed on a small-size lawn, or need to seed a small area of your lawn then a handheld spreader is your best bet.

They’re cheap, easy-to-use, and won’t take up much space in your garage.

Best Lawn Spreader

I also like that these small handheld lawn spreaders are pre-assembled and ready to use as soon as you remove the tag or take it out of its box.

That said, if you are spreading fertilizer or herbicide/pesticides with a handheld spreader you need to take extra precautions and wear PPE (personal protective equipment). Since these spreaders are held closer to your body (and face) you need to be sure to protect yourself, and it’s particularly important to choose a day without wind.

Personally I only use handheld spreaders for grass seed applications, and use my broadcast spreader for all herbicide and fertilizer applications.

When is the best time of year to use a fertilizer spreader?

The best way to approach this is to first figure out the type of grass you have on your lawn.

If you live up north, there’s a high probability that your lawn has cool-season turf. Conversely, those who live down south likely have warm-season grass.

And if you live somewhere in the middle (the transition zone), your lawn could have either warm- or cool-season grass.

Once you’ve identified the grass species in your lawn, research its growing season. The ideal time to use a fertilizer spreader is during the most active growing period of the grass.

This allows it to use the nutrients that you add to your lawn.

If you want some guidance about when you should be fertilizing your lawn for best results, grab my free lawn care cheat sheet. I’ll send you two copies (one for warm season and another for cool season grasses) and it gives you a game-plan for a full season of lawn care.

How does a fertilizer spreader work?

Whether you choose a broadcast or drop spreader, their modes of operation are fairly similar. At the core of each machine is a hopper that contains adjustable holes at its base.

The spreader’s handlebar is fitted with a gauge that lets you set the size of the holes. This ensures that the right amount of fertilizer is exiting the hopper.

How to get the most out of your fertilizer spreader

Figuring out the correct way to use your fertilizer spreader shouldn’t be the end of the road.

Lawn Spreader

You’ll also want to learn a few tips that can help you make the most of it.

  • Start with a soil test – I know that you’re probably eager to try out your new fertilizer spreader. But before you do, consider performing a soil test. It will give you an idea of the specific nutrients your lawn is missing, and which ones are available currently. So when you finally put the spreader to work, you won’t end up over- or under-fertilizing your lawn.
  • Be mindful of the weather – So you woke up this morning ready to put your fertilizer spreader to use. But as soon as you’re done with this activity, a rainstorm washes away all that fertilizer. If you don’t want to encounter such a scenario, check the weather forecast.

Best Overall Lawn Soil Test Kit

The Soil Test Kit I Use & Recommend

There are many options for testing your lawn’s soil, but I prefer a lab-based soil test that provides a detailed analysis of your soil’s nutrients and what’s needed for your lawn to thrive.

I use this one from MySoil every year.

MySoil Logo

And if you’re interested in taking the guesswork out of what to do next after you get your soil test results, consider Sunday’s subscription lawn-care plan. They test your soil for you and use local weather data to send you exactly what your lawn needs, when it needs it. It’s pretty fool-proof – you can Click Here for Your Instant Lawn Analysis and take 12% off your order with promo code LAWNCHICK2023.

Can you use a fertilizer spreader for salt?

Yes, you can. But, not every fertilizer spreader is suitable for this, so make sure you buy one with a few special features.

If you plan to use the spreader to salt your driveway or walkway in winter, then invest in one that has a rust-proof powder coating. This ensures that it doesn’t get corroded by the salt.

Secondly, the wheels of the spreader should have good traction. This is to prevent the spreader from slipping or sliding on slippery icy surfaces.

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Sarah’s blog, Lawn Chick, is read by over 2 million homeowners each year and she is regularly cited as an expert source of lawn care knowledge by major publications. Her goal is to meet you where you are, and help you achieve a yard you’ll be proud of. Ready to take the next step toward improving your lawn? Grab her free lawn care cheat-sheet: What to Do When - Take the Guesswork Out of Lawn Care, or upgrade your garage by browsing her favorite DIY lawn care products.

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