Scotts vs Pennington

Scotts vs Pennington: Product-by-Product Comparison

Lawn care can feel like a bit of a puzzle at times. The timing for laying seed, fertilizer, and weed control needs to be perfect (or close to it) for a lush lawn. Not to mention, there are so many different types of grass that thrive in different conditions. And lawn fertilizer is confusing for most homeowners. Once you have figured out the best types of grass for you, you still need to find the right products! In today’s article I’ll compare Scotts vs Pennington lawn care products to help you determine which brand might be best for you in terms of grass seed, fertilizer, and the best weed and feed products.

Trust and Accuracy Information

This article was last updated on by Lawn Chick Owner Sarah Jameson
Article content reviewed for accuracy by Horticulturist Arthur Davidson, A.S.

Shopping for Lawn Care Products

There are so many options for grass seed and lawn care products on the market.

If you’ve ever walked through the garden center at your local box store, you know that it can be overwhelming to know which brand to trust, and which product to choose.

Not only are there a number of brands, but there are even more options within each of those brands.

Pennington vs Scotts

What does sun and shade mean?

What do the different NPK numbers on the lawn fertilizer mean?

Should I use an all-in-one mix or layer grass seed, fertilizer, and weed control in separate steps?

Let’s take this one thing at a time.

Two of the front runners in lawn care products are Scotts and Pennington.

I’m sure you know these brand names. Both have well-rounded product lines that appear to be comparable.

So how do you choose?

Below I’ve profiled each brand’s product lines to help you make the product and brand choice best suited to your lawn. is reader supported. If you make a purchase after clicking a link, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Scotts vs Pennington: Grass Seed Comparison

First let’s look closely at the grass seed offerings from Scotts and then we’ll compare those options to what you can get from Pennington.

Scotts Grass Seed

Scotts Grass Seed Products

When it comes to grass seed mixes, Scotts has four product lines:

Each of these product lines contain options that are tailored to more specific environments or grass varieties.

This includes:

  • Sun and shade,
  • Tall fescue,
  • Bermudagrass, and
  • Centipede grass.

Heritage Seed is simply just uncoated grass seed while the other two lines have mulch, fertilizer, or soil enhancers in the bag.

Scotts vs Pennington Grass Seed

The two enhanced lines also have a coating on the seeds to prevent washaway.

Why You’d Want to Buy Scotts Grass Seed Instead of Pennington

In my opinion, Scotts boasts a superior mulch mixture to Pennington. My experience has revealed that Scotts seed mixes hold moisture better in order to help grass germinate more quickly.

This is important for homeowners who are new to growing grass from seed. It’s pretty user-friendly, though you’ll still have to water it correctly.

Scotts also guarantees that their grass will grow anywhere (with proper care), or you get your money back.

Seed is expensive, so that’s a big point for Scotts in my view.

Scotts has a good reputation for products that work. But one common complaint is the ratio of grass seed to mulch or other fillers in each bag of seed is low.

This is true, and this means you’ll spend a lot more to get the same amount of actual grass seed.

Pennington Grass Seed

Pennington Grass Seed Products

On the other hand, Pennington has three main product lines:

But hold on! Pennington also has several other grass seed products that aren’t included in these three main product lines such as:

  • Ultimate Plus,
  • Smart Blend,
  • Fairway Supreme,
  • Slopemaster, and
  • Contractor’s Mix.

The latter are specifically designed to thrive in their respectively marketed conditions; Fairway Supreme is resilient to high traffic areas while Slopemaster grass grows deep and sturdy roots that make it ideal for erosion control on hills.

In addition to this, Pennington has three product lines of grass seed specifically designed for patch and repair:

This is unlike Scotts which sort of groups them all together.

What Does Pennington Do Really Well?

Pennington grass seed mixes are touted to have more grass seed compared with the Scotts varieties and also have Pentoked technology that gives their seed better resistance to diseases and pests.

The Smart Seed line claims to use up to 30% less water but does require the addition of fertilizer and other soil enhancements in addition to the seed itself.

That being said, One Step is a combination of Smart Seed along with fertilizer and mulch; it is marketed as one of their patch and repair products but could certainly be used to establish a new lawn or thicken an existing lawn in my opinion.

Lawn Booster, along with a majority of the other product lines, are also combination products that contain seed along with fertilizer and soil enhancements to ensure a lush lawn.

Should You Buy Pennington or Scotts Grass Seed?

As you can see from the list above, both brands have product lines that suit a variety of needs. Pennington has far more variety when it comes to grass seed mixes than Scotts.

Pennington has gone further to customize products for a wider variety of climate zones and growing situations, and I recommend it to most homeowners for this reason.

With that said, if you are looking for grass seed that will germinate and sprout quickly to cover patches, such as if you are having an event and have grass damage from dogs, then Scotts may be the superior option.

Scotts may be the right choice for you if you’re planting grass in areas where growing grass is very difficult. Their growth guarantee offers peace of mind.

But in the Scotts vs Pennington grass seed showdown, the Pennington brand tends to be more resilient with better coverage due to their Pentoke technology.

Scotts vs Pennington Grass Seed Comparison In Review

Scotts Grass SeedBest for novices who want to ensure success. Scotts offers less grass seed per pound, but their unique seed coating improves germination rate. They guarantee their seed and will replace it in the event of failure.
Pennington Grass SeedBest for most homeowners. Pennington offers more seed per pound, seed that has superior disease resistance, and grass seed that is specifically designed to grow in a wider range of growing conditions.

Pennington vs Scotts Fertilizer Product Comparison

Grass seed is only half of the story when we look at lawn care products.

Fertilizers, weed prevention, and pest control products are the other critical part of lawn maintenance. These products help to ensure a uniformly lush green lawn.

In this category we will look at both lawn fertilizers as well as fertilizers combined with weed control (i.e. “Weed and Feed” products).

Pennington vs Scotts Fertilizer

While many of the grass seed products I’ve already covered have fertilizer included, it is impossible to include weed control with grass seed since most herbicides (both pre-emergent and post-emergent) prevent grass from germinating the same way they block those pesky weeds.

Fertilizer that includes weed control will be a crucial step at certain parts of the year (I’m looking at you, Spring), while just fertilizer without weed control might be needed while establishing grass seed if it doesn’t already have fertilizer in the mix.

Scotts Fertilizers

Scotts Lawn Fertilizer Products

Scotts’ best known products are arguably their Turf Builder line; however they also have Green Max Lawn Food and their 4 Step Program.

In general, I think Scotts fertilizer and weed and feed products are the better buy. They’re more fool-proof for beginners, which is who most of these products are geared toward.

Scotts Turf Builder

Their Turf Builder line is very highly rated and comes in a variety of formulations that cater to different stages of grass growth and each of the seasons.

This makes picking the right fertilizer a simpler process than figuring out the proper NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) values you need for each season or stage of grass growth or whether or not you need weed control combined with it.

Scotts Turf Builder “Weed and Feed” is a top rated choice, and it’s a great option if you’re new to lawn care and your lawn has weeds and isn’t that great. It is inexpensive, and you can use it on a diverse range of grass types. If you use it this year, your lawn will improve and you can get more granular (fertilizer pun!) next season.

4-Step Program from Scotts

The Scotts 4-Step Program is another highly rated product line.

Going with this product line will take the thought process out of fertilizing and weed control.

Simply use the proper “step” depending on the season. Start with Step 1 in early Spring.

Pennington Fertilizers

Pennington Lawn Fertilizer Products

Pennington has three main product lines for lawn fertilizer:

Pennington Ironite

Ironite, like the name indicates, provides plants with a source of iron (along with other essential nutrients) that helps grass achieve a rich green color. It’s a good supplement that you can add to any fertilizer you use, and it’s worth the money in my opinion. You can read more about it here.

Pennington Ultragreen

Ultragreen is an approximate equivalent to the Turf Builder product line from Scotts and has very similar products that suit a range of grass types as well as growth cycles and seasons. Pretty fool-proof products that are geared toward beginners.

Pennington’s Lilly Miller Fertilizers

Finally, Lilly Miller has a combination of traditional and “natural” fertilizer ingredients. They’re good products, and I use them in my gardens sometimes, but it’s not something I typically recommend for lawn fertilization.

Should You Buy Scotts or Pennington Lawn Fertilizer?

While both Pennington and Scotts manufacture quality fertilizer and weed and feed products, the Pennington products are not quite as intuitive to use as the Scotts lines.

With that said, I do recommend the Ultragreen Winterizer Plus Weed and Feed product from Pennington as the best choice for your fall fertilizer. It is a great choice to use at the end of one season to prepare for the next.

While the Pennington products appear to be very similar to the Scotts products, in this area Scotts fertilizer product lines come out on top pretty much across the board, and if I had to recommend one brand, I recommend Scotts for fertilizer and weed and feed.

Scotts has made fertilizing and weed control a virtually foolproof process with their 4 Step Program and seasonal products.

Pennington still produces a top notch product, and is another excellent option especially for someone who already knows what their lawn needs at different stages in the growing season.

Scotts Lawn Fertilizers / Weed and FeedScotts lawn food and weed and feed product line is very user-friendly. New homeowners who know nothing about lawn care will be happy when they buy Scotts Turf Builder line or Scotts’ 4-Step program. The exception is Pennington’s fall fertilizer (Ultragreen Winterizer), which I recommend.
Pennington Lawn Fertilizers / Weed and FeedPennington lawn food products tend to be less intuitive and less beginner-friendly. They work well, and two of their products (Ironite and Ultragreen Winterizer) are ones I highly recommend, most homeowners will do better with Scotts.

Comparing Pennington to Scotts in Summary

Both Companies Make Good Products

Both Scotts and Pennington make high quality products that are excellent value.

If you’re buying grass seed, choose Pennington. If you’re buying fertilizer or weed and feed, choose Scotts.

And if you decide you aren’t interested in using chemicals on your lawn, check out my guide to organic lawn fertilizer, and my guide to overseeding while top-dressing your lawn with compost.

At Lawn Chick, I am committed to publishing accurate, useful, and trustworthy resources for my readers. As part of this commitment, I’ve invited subject matter experts to review our articles for accuracy. I invite you to read our editorial policy and publishing standards which outlines in detail how every article on this site is sourced, edited, fact-checked, and vetted.



Sarah Jameson’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.

4 thoughts on “Scotts vs Pennington: Product-by-Product Comparison

  1. BP

    It sounds like one can use the products interchangeably. Is this a correct understanding? I mean can we use Scott’s for everything except the end of season winterization? Can one use Scott’s and malorganite? And yes, you’re correct, there’s so much information and different products, it’s enough to make one’s head spin.

    • Absolutely, BP! You can use all of the Scotts and Pennington products interchangeably, though each set of products is really designed to be used together. Most people end up choosing whatever is most accessible and fits their budget regardless of the name on the bag.

      And yes, Milorganite is fine to use with either – it is a slow-release fertilizer and won’t burn your grass even if you apply too much.

      Good luck!

  2. Mark Phipps

    Hi Sarah!
    Great review! Have you had any experience with Scott’s Southern Gold? I planted some and it looks horrible. More like playground grass than the nice plush tall fescue I wanted. Scott’s customer service(after an hour on the phone), didn’t know what their product was supposed to look like.

    • Thanks, Mark!

      I’m up in New England so I have no first-hand experience with Southern Gold, but I’m sorry to hear that you had poor results. Hopefully your comment helps someone else considering a purchase!

      I just checked the product label and couldn’t even find what types of fescue seed were used in that bag – my guess is it’s on a sticker that’s applied for each region where it’s sold. There are so many different fescues that it’s tough to know exactly what you’re getting sometimes. Hopefully you have some luck overseeding the area with a seed that’s more to your liking!

      Thanks for the comment and for sharing your experience!

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