Seeding and fertilizing can be tedious processes. A drop spreader is one of the most effective ways to get the job done. We’re going to look at some of their advantages and disadvantages and recommend a few products that may make good additions to your tool shed!
What To Look For In A Drop Spreader
The “must haves” in a drop spreader are similar to those of a broadcast spreader, although they are a bit simpler. Here’s what you should consider:
You want a spreader that you won’t have to refill too often. It should be big enough to hold enough material for your lawn or at least minimize the number of times you need to stop to load it up.
On the other hand, you don’t need to go overboard. Save yourself some money and space by getting one that’s the right size for your needs. It doesn’t do you any good to have a spreader that’s bigger than called for.
Ease Of Movement
Any tool should be easy to handle, but with a drop spreader, this is especially important. Because of the way it works, you need to cover every inch of your lawn. So you want it to be able to turn and pivot easily.
Even though a drop spreader simply drops the seed as you go by, you still want to be able to control how fast the material comes out. Look for a spreader where it’s easy to adjust the speed that your fertilizer or seed is dropped!
Pros and Cons of a Drop Spreader
A drop spreader offers both advantages and disadvantages compared to other spreader types.
On the plus side, you have an extra level of control over where your fertilizer or seed ends up. Unlike a broadcast spreader, your material only drops right below the unit. You don’t have to worry about it flying into a garden bed or onto the sidewalk or street.
However, that also means that you have to be more careful to cover the entire lawn. There’s less tolerance for missing sections. There’s still some risk of this with a broadcast spreader, but it’s mitigated by how it throws seed to all sides.
Top-rated Drop Spreaders For Grass Seed and Fertilizer
There are fewer options available when it comes to drop spreaders, but here are our recommendations.
This drop spreader from Scotts holds about 40 pounds of side. If you have a smaller lawn, it’s a great choice! It also works well for spreading snow melt in the winter.
Scotts estimates that you can cover 10,000 square feet of lawn with one full load of seed.
The spread width is 22 inches. You might spend extra time going back and forth, so if your yard is large, you may want to consider a larger model. But Scotts offers a Deluxe and an Elite version with larger capacities (available at the same link).
The only complaints we’ve seen seem to be isolated instances of manufacturing issues. Not that it’s ok, but these cases don’t seem to occur often, and Scotts is reasonably responsive to customer issues.
This large drop spreader will work well even if you have a big lawn. And if you don’t think it will be big enough, there’s also a 175-pound version available!
One of the greatest features, though, is that it provides some aeration as you go. The steel spikes aren’t quite long enough to do the job thoroughly, so we still recommend doing a separate aeration job. But it’s a nice added touch to help prepare the soil for the fertilizer, seed, or whatever else you’re dropping.
At 32 inches wide, it’s a tiny bit smaller than some other models. That means you’ll have to make more passes. However, it rolls very well as long as it has traction. And it drops the contents evenly, which is a key to a beautiful space.
At least some iterations of this tool have had faulty handles, although that appears to have been corrected with more recent production runs.
This is the largest spreader on our list and even contains “commercial” in the name. We think it could still be a suitable product for home use if you have a big lawn and take it seriously.
The hopper holds 120 pounds of material and has a 36-inch drop width.
It has a steel hopper and 13-inch wheels, which combine to make it a heavy-duty machine. It also offers a good range of settings for the drop speed.
We did find one thing odd: online ratings for this are mostly positive, but they tend to be at extremes. Most products we recommend have mostly 5-star reviews – and this one does as well. Normally, there’s a spread across lower ratings. However, in this case, while a clear majority are 5-star, there isn’t much in the middle. There are a good number of 1-star reviews. People either love it or hate it. We agree with the majority, though – we love it!
A drop spreader may not be for everyone, but it will offer a quick and easy way to fertilize or reseed your lawn. It takes a steady pace to use it correctly, but if you have a level lawn, it can be a great instrument to help make your lawn look great!