The broadcast spreader is probably the common type of spreader used by homeowners and professionals. As you push them, they “broadcast” the material in a spray like pattern in front of and around the spreader.
There are lots of models on the market, so choosing the right one can be tricky. You local big box store probably has a large selection, but I would resist buying one there.
The models below have great a feature/quality to cost ratio. Spend a little bit more initially and avoid having to buy a new one in a season or two.
Quick Look: My Favorite Models for 2019
- Earthway 2150: In my opinion, the best broadcast spreader for most homeowners, I own this model
- Agri-Fab 45-0462: Great choice for people with larger lawns, holds up to 130 pounds of product
- Lesco 101186: If money is no object, this is the spreader for you, best money can buy, will last a lifetime
- Chapin 8401C: Commercial broadcast spreader, holds up to 80 pounds of product, stainless steel throughout to prevent rust
- Scotts Elite: Inexpensive homeowner model, edgeguard technology, new dual rotor design
- Spyker P20-5010: Professional level model, great for smaller areas, holds 50 lbs
Features to Look For in a Broadcast Spreader
When purchasing a spreader, you should review many different options. They include:
- Adjustable spreader settings – This allows for the operator to easily choose how much seed or other material they want to distribute in one particular area. Numbers should be easy to read and understand and the mechanism should move smoothly.
- Durable construction – Hoppers are normally constructed out of thick, plastic or steel and should be firmly attached to the carriage. Most carriages are made of steel tubing that has been reinforced to hold up to 200 pounds of grass seed or other material. Durable pneumatic wheels are normally found on spreaders and should turn freely on the axle
. Lookclosely at the spreading mechanism. It should be rust proof and clog proof. Determine whether or not it is adjustable and find out exactly how to operate the mechanism that determines rateof flow.
- If the spreader is going to be used for different purposes (fertilizer spreader, salt spreader, lawn spreader, etc.) determine the types of material that can be safely used. It is also good to know the best way of cleaning the spreader before it is stored for the winter or another material is used.
- Find out about guarantees and warranties that are associated with the spreader.
Most fertilizer spreaders with adjustable coverage settings have holes that can be opened or closed to a certain degree. This allows them to distribute a variety of materials ranging from fertilizer to medium-sized salt crystals evenly.
Read the instructions carefully when changing from one material to another. Special care must be taken not to mix too different materials.
For example, spreading salt or ice melt after grass may result in unwanted growth in the driveway where seeds are allowed to fall between the cracks.
Top Rated Brands
- Precision Products
How Much Should I Expect To Pay?
You can buy a broadcast fertilizer spreader for as little as $30 at a big box store, but it won’t be able to hold much product and will probably only last a few seasons.
A good quality, entry-level model will cost you around $100. Some of the pro level spreaders can cost upwards of $600. In my opinion, the sweet spot ragne between quality and not overkill is around $200-$250. The larger your yard, the bigger the hopper you will want which will increase the price. In some cases, you may want to consider a pull behind model.
Broadcast Spreader Reviews
1) Earthway 2150 Fertilizer Spreader
- Simple, easy to use and operate
- Large, pneumatic tires make it easy to push up and down hills
- Heavy duty steel frame and all metal controls
- Confusing assembly instructions
The Earthway 2150 is my favorite broadcast spreader on the market – for most homeowners.
It’s very easy to push up hills and over bumpy terrain, has a solid frame and the edge guard works really well. The linkage is all metal which works really well.
You can buy a cover for it – which I own – and a debris screen as well. The handle is adjustable for shorter or taller users.
I found Earthway very easy to work with as well. I needed to replace a few parts on mine and they had them sent out right away.
The frame isn’t as bulletproof as the Lesco, but it’s also priced much less.
I own this spreader and consider it to be best fertilizer spreader for most homeowners.
2) Agri-Fab 45-0462 Walk-Behind Spreader
- Large capacity hooper – 130 pounds
- Gearbox is sealed and protected from the elements
- At times, some of the bolts loosen
- Frame isn’t as strong as commercial models
I’m a big fan of Agri-Fab products and the 45-0462 spreader doesn’t disappoint.
It’s priced right (usually under $200) and holds up to 130 pounds of product. The hopper is strong and rustproof, so it can be used with a variety of materials.
The tires are big which make them easy to push up and down hills. They also have a good tread pattern to keep the spreader stable on slippery ground.
The frame is well built and fairly strong. If you need a commercial spreader, I would consider the Lesco or the Chapin, but they are also much more expensive.
About the only negative that I have heard about the 45-0462 is some of the bolts loosen over time. If you put a little Loctite on them before assembly, they shouldn’t come loose though.
3) Lesco 101186 Commercial Spreader
- Pro level build quality – will last for years
- Extra large tires make it very easy to push
- Stainless steel frame and axle will not rust
This spreader is just awesome!
Extremely well made, durable, tough and built to last.
It holds up to 80 pounds of product and includes a defector (edge guard) kit. The hopper is made from thick plastic that will not buckle under a heavy load.
The extra large pneumatic tires make it a breeze to push and ride smoothly over rough terrain. They also provide enough cushion so the material doesn’t fly out of the hopper when you go over bumps and ruts.
All metal parts are stainless to avoid rust and corrosion which makes this a true 4 seasons spreader.
It can be used to spread fertilizer in the summer and salt and ice melt in the winter.
An optional cover is available as well.
It’s near impossible to find an owner that has any negative comments about this spreader…it is expensive, but worth it if you can afford one.
4) Chapin 8401C Broadcast Spreader
- Wide tread pneumatic tires make it very easy to maneuver
- Handle is very comfortable to grip
- Stainless steel frame and linkage control to prevent rust
- Edge guard doesn’t work as well as competitors
- Fairly complex to assemble
The Chapin 8401C is a perfect choice for homeowners that want the quality of a commercial spreader, but want to save a bit of money. It generally costs around $100 less than the Lesco.
The 8401C has an 80 pound hopper, which is more than adequate for most yards.
The pneumatic tires are some of the biggest and best of any spreader I’ve seen. They have a wide tread pattern and absorb bumps very well keeping all the product in the hopper. The larger tires also make it easier to push this spreader up and down hills and through deeper grass.
The frame and most of the metal parts are made from stainless steel to prevent rust. The gears are made from metal and enclosed to add to the life of the spreader.
I have read that a few users don’t feel like the edge guard works as well as competitors and that this unit is fairly time consuming to assemble.
Other than that, this spreader deserves strong consideration.
5) Scotts Elite Spreader With Edgeguard
- Less expensive than most competitors
- 6-foot wide spray pattern saves time
- Never-flat tires
- Fairly cheap plastic parts
- Not a heavy duty frame
- Does not handle hills or bumpy terrain well
The Scotts Turf Builder Elite spreader is priced right and will work well for homeowners with fairly flat and small yards.
I don’t have any personal experience with this model, but Scott’s spreaders are sold all over and very popular so I wanted to research their newest model.
It’s similar to their models over the past few years, lightweight, inexpensive and simple to use.
In my opinion, the dual rotors seems a bit gimmicky and I can’t imagine they make the spreader perform better. It just seems to add to the list of parts that could fail.
The settings on this spreader make it easy to work with the other Scotts products. There is no calibration necessary which makes it straightforward for a beginner. But most people will “outgrow” this product fairly quickly if they become more passionate about lawn maintenance.
6) Spyker P20-5010 Seed & Fertilizer Spreader
- Height adjustable handle is ideal for shorter or taller users
- Cover included helps keep it dry for storage
- Pneumatic tires are some of the best in the industry
- Fairly high priced for a 50-pound spreader
- Some users have complained that they lever is faulty
I really like the compact size of the Spyker P20-5010. It is small enough to get in and around objects in a smaller yard, but still a very well made product.
The Spyker brand makes man commercial grade lawn products. The P20-5010 spreader lives up to the expectations.
It has a 50 pound hopper, adjustable handle height, and aluminum gears – all which make it a very high quality product. The positive on/off lever is also very well liked by users.
If you need a pro grade spreader with a smaller hopper, you should strongly consider this model. It is a little on the expensive side, but you are getting a great machine.
After researching (and using) a lot of different spreaders, my choice for most homeowners is the Earthway 2150. For the price, it’s very versatile and tough to beat this model.
If budget isn’t an object, I would buy the Lesco 101186. It is the best money can buy in my opinion, but probably overkill for the average homeowner.
If you need help choosing a spreader, please leave a comment below!