Best Drop Spreader: Accurate Fertilizer Coverage - Backyard Boss
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Best Drop Spreader: Accurate Fertilizer Coverage

Drop spreaders can make short work of spreading fertilizer, grass seed, insect and weed killer, as well as ice melt. Some even double as aerators while you drop whatever it is that you’re spreading. But, beware: not all drop spreaders are created equally. Far from it, actually.

Keep reading and find out which spreader fits your needs best and will help you spread your fertilizer the most accurately.

Backyard Boss Top 5 Drop Spreaders for 2021

Scott's Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader - Best Drop Spreader: Accurate Fertilizer Coverage Scott's Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader
  • Type: Push
  • Spread width: 22 inches
  • Load capacity: 32 lbs
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Agri-Fab 45-0288 Tow Behind Spreader - Best Drop Spreader: Accurate Fertilizer Coverage Agri-Fab 45-0288 Tow Behind Spreader
  • Type: Tow behind
  • Spread width: 42 inches
  • Load capacity: 32 lbs
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Brinly AS-40BH Tow Behind - Best Drop Spreader: Accurate Fertilizer Coverage Brinly AS-40BH Tow Behind
  • Type: Tow behind
  • Spread width: 40 inches
  • Load capacity: 100 lbs
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Earthway Products 9696733 - Best Drop Spreader: Accurate Fertilizer Coverage Earthway Products 9696733
  • Type: Push
  • Spread width: 22 inches
  • Load capacity: 75 lbs
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Agri-Fab Spiker Seeder Drop Spreader - Best Drop Spreader: Accurate Fertilizer Coverage Agri-Fab Spiker Seeder Drop Spreader
  • Load capacity: 100 lbs
  • Type: Tow behind
  • Spread width: 32 inches
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Why You Can Trust Us

Even though I personally prefer a good old broadcast spreader for my own lawn, I have had the occasion to work with a drop spreader in the past. The drop spreader that I used on clients’ lawns was a tow-behind that we attached to a riding mower. I have to admit that it was pretty convenient, too. My dad, on the other hand, swears by drop spreaders, mainly for spreading ice melt along his driveway and sidewalks during the iciest months of the year. That said, this is not the first spreader piece that I’ve written either, so you are in good hands!

Best for Residential Use

Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader
    This drop spreader is perfect for residential use, especially for building turf in the spring and summer and dropping salt or ice melt in the winter.



Why We Like It: The Scott’s Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader is about as simple as they come, and it’s the perfect size for small to medium yards as well as sidewalks and garden paths.

The Scott’s Brand has long been synonymous with quality lawn care and their many products are popular with both residential and commercial property owners. Their Classic design holds up to 32 lbs of product to cover up to 10,500 sq ft of property at a time. With a 22-inch wide spread, this spreader makes following the edges of your property and gardens a simple task.

Who Should Buy It: This is a great product for homeowners who have heavily landscaped areas and need precision spread. It is a great choice for all-season use as you can load it with any sort of spreadable product.

Best Spreader for Commercial Use

Agri-Fab 45-0288 Tow Behind Drop Spreader
    Have a little more yard to seed or spread than the next guy? Hook the Agri-Fab 45-0288 up to your riding mower or tractor and call it a day!



Why We Like It: For a tow behind drop spreader, this Agri-Fab is both lightweight and easy to use. This one will give you zero headaches, even if you have never used a spreader before.

Agri-Fab is a popular brand with larger land and farm owners, and for good reason. The brand’s high-quality and dependable products are durably built to last and their tow behind drop spreader is no exception. With the ability to hold up to 175 lbs of product, you can cover up to 40,000 sq ft (1 acre) of land in just one pass. It also has a huge 42 inches wide controlled width of spread and durable pneumatic tires. It is made in America and includes a three-year warranty as well.

Who Should Buy It: When you need to cover a large amount of ground at any given time, at any time of year, this is a perfect choice. All you need is an ATV, riding lawn mower, or tractor to pull it.

Best 2-in-1 Two Behind Aerator and Spreader Combo

Brinly AS-40BH Tow Behind Spreader
    Looking for a tow behind drop spreader and aerator all in one? Meet the Brinly AS-40BH, a genuine heavy-duty 2-in-1 aerator and spreader combination.



Why We Like It: This tow-behind unit is built tougher than most, and it conveniently doubles as an aerator and seeder.

The Brinly AS-40BH Tow Behind is a stout little drop spreader that works with most riding mowers and small garden tractors. This model is a 2-in-1, with aerating and seeding/spreading functions. It is built with a steel frame and nylon spreaders. It is equipped with calibrated flow control as well as an adjustable stop, making it super user-friendly. The spreader features 132 galvanized tine stars as well, which is really impressive if you ask us. There is also a transport mode for pulling it across parking lots and other non-lawn surfaces. You can even use this spreader as a leaf and debris hauler.

Who Should Buy It: For large lawns and gardens, even small to medium parking lots for that matter, few drop spreaders currently on the market offer such reliable solutions for fertilizing and seeding lawns or spreading ice melts.

Best Budget Spreader

Earthway Products 9696733 7350SU Drop Spreader
    The Earthway Products drop spreader is an easy to use unit with a friendly-design, great capacity, and a cost that doesn't hurt your bank account.



Why We Like It: This drop spreader from Earthworks is a medium-sized model built with the average homeowner’s lawn in mind, and it comes at a great price.

The Earthway spreader has a simple design made to get the job done. With a 75 lbs capacity, this product is made specifically for residential use and has eight-inch poly wheels for stability. The 22-inch spread is very precise and is controlled by a folding lever gauge handle located in a convenient spot near your hands as you push.

Who Should Buy It: This unit is excellent for numerous yard duties, including seeding, fertilizing, salting, and more. Anyone with less than an acre would do well to consider it.

Best Tow-Behind Spreader for Residential Use

Agri-Fab Spiker Seeder Drop Spreader
    A true time-saver, the Agri-Fab Spiker Seeder Drop Spreader aerates and seeds your lawn in a single pass.



Why We Like It: This one is another medium-size drop spreader that works well for most yards. The fact that it is a 2-in-1 and works with nearly any tractor or riding mower makes it a winner in our book.

The Spiker Seeder Drop Spreader is an excellent addition to any homeowner’s garage or tool shed. It has a wide 32 inches spread width, a 100 lbs capacity, and galvanized steel spike discs. The spreader is compatible with most tractors and riding mowers and has an adjustable handle as well. It may cost a bit more than some models, but most owners find it well worth the investment. Especially when you consider that it also works as an aerator and increases the health and appearance of your lawn in the same amount of time lesser units simply spread their payload. The spreader is made in the USA and comes with a three-year warranty.

Who Should Buy It: Anyone in search of a great tow-behind drop spreader for salting, seeding, or aerating their medium to large lawn should give this unit a closer look. It just may be the one.

What Is a Drop Spreader?

Scotts Turf Builder Drop Spreader
Image credits: Scotts via Amazon

These spreaders are a type of fertilizer spreader that can either be pushed or pulled to evenly distribute pelleted fertilizer (as well as other small, spreadable materials) over your property. They are very simple in design and consist of a hopper to hold your product, tires, and a release handle to allow for the spread of the materials. Pull behind styles also include a universal hitch for use with an ATV, tractor, or lawnmower.

They are very precise in their application, making them a popular choice for when precision is important. Narrow areas of the property, large amounts of lawn area against buildings and pathways, as well as many edges, can make spreading fertilizer (or ice melt) a challenge and often ends up wasting product. Dropping the product, rather than broadcasting it, can help keep this from happening, and in turn keeps you from over or under spreading, as well as from wasting an expensive product.

How Does a Drop Spreader Compare to a Broadcast Spreader?

When people think of a fertilizer spreader they typically are thinking of a broadcast fertilizer option. You will often find in your search for a true drop spreader many people including a broadcast spreader as a possible option. A broadcast spreader does not just ‘drop’ product, and although you can often turn off what makes it “broadcast” spreadable product, you won’t have very good coverage.

Broadcast Spreaders

Brinly broadcast spreader spreading fertilizer over lawn.
Image credits: Brinly via Amazon

Broadcast spreaders are similar in design to a drop spreader, but the hopper is almost always inverted towards a center point to allow for a gravity feed of the product through an opening that is connected to a rotor. This rotor is connected to the wheel axle which turns it to allow for the product to be ‘tossed’ in a circular pattern as you walk (or pull) the tool.

Although a broadcast spreader can cover a large amount of surface area in just one pass, it is hard to be precise in the application, and overlap of each pass commonly occurs resulting in over-fertilization and waste of fertilizer. It also is easy to miss narrow strips of the yard, and also cast product into areas that do not need it- such as up on patios or walkways.

Drop Spreader

Agri-Fab Drop Spreader
Image credits: Agri-Fab via Home Depot

These spreaders simply drop the product straight down through the opening you control as you walk. The width of spread is determined by the width of the opening at the bottom of the hopper, allowing you to fertilize right up against the edges of your lawn and gardens without the worry of waste. Both designs are highly effective, but as mentioned above, if precision is a need a drop spreader is an optimal choice.

How We Picked

Honestly, it wasn’t as challenging tracking down the best drop spreaders as we initially thought it may be. How is that, with all of the products available today, you might be asking? Simple: these five spreaders made the rest of the options seem like kid’s toys. No, seriously. You would be surprised how many poorly designed and cheaply made spreaders are available. With a bit of research and first-hand knowledge, we were able to line up the best units for your consideration. Each one is equally impressive in its own way, and all sized lawns are covered with these final selections.

Choosing the Best Drop Spreader for You

Drop spreaders can be the perfect solution to heavy landscaping and large amounts of edging control on a property. Their durable and stable builds make them ideal for all-season use, and they very much help you save on time and cost due to the ability to keep from wasting product. The above choices showcase the best of the best of what is available for you to choose from: everything from durable long-lasting options for large properties to simple, easy-to-use, budget picks.

Our favorite one of all is the Scott’s Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader though. We feel like it is a great starting point for those with no previous experience because of its simple and user-friendly design. Its capacity is enough for most yards, and it is doesn’t require a tractor or mower to pull it.

But, for those who prefer a tow-behind spreader, our top recommendation is the Agri-FAb 45-0288. It is, after-all, highly-rated by most retailers and owners, and is geared towards medium to large properties. In a pinch, it even works for commercial jobs.